Confession: Seasonal Affective Disorder and Me

If you’ve checked out any of my recent posts, you can probably tell that winter has started where I live. Yes, the daylight hours are very short and it is cold and snowy almost everyday. Not the most ideal environment for a winter-hater like myself, but it’s a nice city so I guess I’ll be staying. ;)

You read that right… “winter-hater”. I’m a born & raised Canadian and I don’t particularly care for winter. It’s cold, dark, messy, and inconvenient. It’s difficult going months without seeing much daylight when you go to work in the dark and go home in the dark. But another reason I don’t like winter is because I suffer terribly from seasonal affective disorder (SAD). I can’t control it and I don’t like the person I am when SAD kicks in. To be honest, I can usually make it till about early January without sinking too deep, but then after that I don’t know how I will react.

Running in snow already!

Running in snow already!

I may have mentioned this aspect about myself on Twitter before, but I thought I should share this post as we’re heading into winter. I feel it’s worth sharing because sometimes I don’t think people take it, or me, seriously. Yes, I will complain about the weather on Twitter or Instagram. I try not to, but when I get the winter blues I will share my hate of the cold weather & snow on social media. I need to watch this because the general response is not positive. Of course, I’m being negative, but I’m not trying to be a “debbie-downer”… I’m trying to share my pain in my own strange complain-y way. It’s not constructive, but it’s like part of me is searching for others who may be experiencing the same thing. I’ve dealt with this for as long as I can remember – through winters in Halifax, Toronto, and Calgary – and I still can’t beat it.

Often when I share my sad feelings about the weather I receive comments like “why complain? you can’t control the weather” – um yeah, I know. Or, “at least it’s not worse”… such as a hurricane or something. Yes, I am most certainly glad it’s not at natural disaster level. People just don’t seem to understand where I am coming from… they see the negative post and assume I’m just being a whiner. And this of course causes me to feel worse.

I share this with you because I know there are others out there dealing with SAD every winter. We don’t feel well. We aren’t ourselves. We WANT to feel better.

I don’t like feeling like a shell of myself.

Honestly, I got shit to do. I want to run. I’m going to train for a marathon. I don’t want to hibernate and lose all face-to-face connections. I want to be my silly, vibrant, weird self.

I’m going to try my best this winter, but I know I’ll need help. Winters tend to be a little longer in Calgary than the other two cities I’ve lived in, so I need extra help. I’ve got a few tips for dealing with SAD in the winter… but, what would you add? If you deal with SAD every year, what’s your best remedy?

My Tips for Dealing with Seasonal Affective Disorder

– Vitamin D drops

– Healthy balanced diet

– Get outdoors even when you don’t feel like it

– Exercise… again, even when you don’t feel like it

– Tell people what you are going through. Don’t try to hide it.

– Light lamp… I hear these help. Looks like I should invest in one. Got a brand you recommend?

– Journal and meditation.. write those feelings down.

– Treat yourself – bright new sweater? Warming latte? Do it. Just don’t go overboard… all about balance!

– Keep fun upbeat music or funny movies nearby

– Keep your Christmas lights up as long as you want if they bring you joy (totally me!)

– Travel if you can and if you like to do this sort of thing

– If you need a day bundled up warm at home with movies and hot tea, do it. I like to hide from snowstorms and windchills too sometimes.

– Find a buddy who does enjoy outdoor activities in the winter and join him/her. Allow him/her to kick your butt out the door if necessary.

– Try something new in the winter! I want to finally try snowshoeing this year.

– Go to a local park and just take in the beauty after a fresh snowfall. I don’t like snow, but doing this gives me a more positive perspective. Take pics and post them if you damn well feel like it. :)

I’m sure there’s more that I can do to try to keep the winter blues at bay this year. What has helped you in the past?

Yep. (Great share @JennVFitness)

Yep. (Great share @JennVFitness)

Some resources on SAD:

Canadian Mental Health Association

Mayo Clinic

University of British Columbia

(Note: I am not a doctor, these are tips from my own experience. Please check with your physician if you’re going to change any program or exercise regime. Also, if you think you may be experiencing symptoms of SAD, please consult your physician.)

So, I signed up for my first marathon

If you follow me on Twitter and/or Instagram then you probably already know that I registered for my first full marathon on Saturday. (If you don’t follow me, what’s going on?! :P)

Yep, you read that right. I signed up to run 42.2 glorious KMs (or 26.2 miles for my American friends) at the Calgary Marathon on May 29, 2016. Sure, there’s a lot of time between now and then, but I’m really going to need to prepare. The furthest distance I’ve raced was 30KM (18.6 miles) at Around the Bay earlier this year. I distinctly remember thinking at the end of that race “how the hell could I run 12.2 more KM?!?” and that thought has certainly ran through my mind again because I’ve only ran up to 21.1K (13.1 miles) in the past 5 months or so. This marathon is going to be a huge challenge for me, but at this point I feel ready… ask me again in February

It's official!

It’s official!

With this new endeavour I’ve really had to think about what needs to change in my life in order to be successful. Yes, I can follow a plan and just complete all the runs, but that won’t be enough to get me to the start (and finish) line. So, I thought I would share with you a few things that come to mind right now that need to change for me to kick ass at my first marathon (in no particular order of importance).

Better nutrition. Right now I mostly follow the 80/20 rule when it comes to healthy eating. 80% of the time I eat super healthy and relatively balanced, 20% of the time I will have a treat (wine, macaroon, poutine). Of course, I am not a doctor, but I believe this is a system that works for me. The alternative side is that I don’t eat enough to sustain a body that will train for a marathon. I’ll really have to look at my nutrition making sure to eat enough of the right foods so that my body is optimally fuelled.

Cross training. This is tough to admit, but I really don’t cross train right now. I just run. And sometimes do yoga and stretching. I can seriously acknowledge my weaknesses and I know that cross training will set me up for success while training for a marathon. I’ll need weights and low impact exercise for non-run days. This is one area that I have to really get serious about.

Stay strong. Since I will be training through a Calgary winter, I am going to need all the motivation I can get to do those long runs outside. The furthest I ran outdoors in the cold was 25KM training in about -20 celsius (-4 fahrenheit), which was not enjoyable AT ALL. But, I did it. So, I will need to channel that motivation again for even longer training runs in possibly colder weather. I will need to do my best to stay mentally strong through a long winter of training, keeping the ultimate goal in mind.

Connect with community. Further to the point above, I will need to be less afraid of connecting with the running community both online and offline for support. I’m sure I am not the only one training for a first marathon in the winter, so seeking advice or just chatting about issues will be extremely helpful. I need to reduce the fear associated with asking for help. I love the way runners support each other and feel grateful to know people all around that will be there in tough times.

Group runs. I need to keep doing this. I need to get out and about with people, whether it’s a full long run or just running with a group for part of my long run. This will help me stay motivated and happy to also know others are embracing the cold weather running too.

Looks cold right?!

Looks cold right?!

Get the run gear. My winter running gear collection is not perfect. I need to seek out some sales and grab some extra gear so that I am not making excuses and skipping outdoor runs.

I’m sure a few more things that I need to change will come to mind, but these are the immediate ones that I need to start taking care of right away. I’ll be honest, I am both excited and scared of running my first marathon. The distance seems insurmountable, but with proper training and care I know that I should be able to tackle this challenge with strength and tenacity!

Mec Group Run

While shopping at Mountain Equipment Coop (Mec) recently, I noticed their listing for a group run on Saturdays on their community board. I’ve been thinking about joining a group on the weekends as the weather gets colder because I know I’m going to need the extra motivation when winter really sets in. As I’ve mentioned, this will be my second winter running outdoors and I’m not sure what to expect in Calgary. So, having some people to “suffer” through winter with might actually be helpful. :)

I was a little nervous going to this running group because I actually haven’t ran with a group in about 5 years. There was approx 2 years in there when I hated running and didn’t do it, and then the rest I have been self-motivating and running alone. I’m proud of what I have done on my own, but last winter I did face some mental challenges and I believe it would have been nice to commiserate with people in person about this tough season. I’m thankful I had people cheering me on and being supportive through Twitter, but I think there’s just that little extra when you are able to gather together and give each other a push in person.

Stunning! {Crescent Heights, Nov 7/15}

Stunning! {Crescent Heights, Nov 7/15}

So, on Saturday I went to my first run group in years and really enjoyed it! I showed up a little too early and the store wasn’t open yet, so I was pacing and freezing outside the front of the store while I waited. I’m hardly ever early for anything, so this amused me. While I waited, slowly more people started to show up and a very nice gal introduced herself to me, which made me feel welcome right away. Everyone seemed cheerful and welcoming, which you don’t always get with run groups. The run leader (Josh) was this hilarious guy who seems to have way too much energy on a Saturday morning. He made everyone in the group feel welcome and got us all laughing while doing warm-ups and stretching. In this group there were all levels of paces and I mostly ran somewhere in the middle. Parts of the route I was on my own, but it was nice and I didn’t feel left out. We ran a route I normally wouldn’t do on my own (huge hill) and then did a round of the Memorial Street stairs, which was very challenging for my first time. I can see why people are training on these stairs constantly, definitely a good workout! Once we were up in Crescent Heights the views were STUNNING!! I actually took a few moments to walk and snap a pic so that I could take in the beauty and peacefulness of the morning. During the run I had great chats with a couple of different runners and enjoyed sharing running stories with each other. We ended up running about 7.25K and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Afterwards a couple of us went to a local coffee shop (Bumpy’s) and chatted away for about an hour about running, winter, etc. It was really nice to get out and meet some fellow runners and I look forward to doing this again. While living in Toronto I didn’t meet great running friends until close to leaving, which I regret now. This time around, I’d like to get out there, meet people, and be part of a community. Really looking forward to joining this group again… and who knows, maybe I’ll lead my own run group someday. A girl can dream! :)

Winter Running is Here

So it begins…

What, you ask?

Winter running.

That’s right, winter running has started in Calgary, Alberta and I will be honest… I’m not ready. I was debating doing another season of running outdoors because I did face some difficulties last year, but then I realized that I can’t stop now. Especially since I am considering a spring marathon as my first, well, I need to get my running butt outdoors. Even though I came to this realization, I didn’t want winter running to start so soon. But, this is Calgary and you can’t predict what mother nature will give you.

Yep, that's snow.

Yep, that’s snow.

So, this week we had snow on November 2nd… yes, you are reading that correctly – snow. And then the temperature dropped. My first “winter” run happened on November 3rd at about -5C and I was layered up. Don’t laugh, you know by now that I am a chronic over dresser. I probably didn’t need the jacket you see pictured, but what’s done is done. My worst over dressing experience definitely was Around the Bay 30K earlier this year, so I need to keep that in mind for future long runs. I don’t have all the answers for winter running, but I definitely learned some lessons last year. There will be new ones to learn as I embark on my second season of outdoor running in a different city. I’ve lived in Calgary for 5 winters previously, and I will say that they weren’t awesome. Very different from winters in Halifax and Toronto, especially the length. One year winter was from October to May! Yeah, that’s long for a girl who only really enjoys sunshine, warmth, and beaches. I really know how to pick where I live! :)

And so it begins... brrr!

And so it begins… brrr!

I’ve been enjoying seeing pics on Twitter and Instagram of people still in enjoying fall… pretty leaves, shorts on, etc. But here it’s time for winter running and I am trying to get myself pumped! Got any tips?

See you out there! I’ll be the girl bundled up. ;)

Toronto, I will miss parts of you…

Can you believe that I started this post months ago and then just never got to it? I had every intention of posting this during my transition from Toronto back to Calgary, but I got busy… and crazy… and busy. It happens to the best of us!

I decided I should still post this blog because I KNOW you are on the edge of your seat wondering what I will miss about big, crazy Toronto. Some of you may know that I had a difficult time adjusting to the huge city life in TO, but I think it started to grow on me near the end. Although I have been excited about this new chapter in my life, there are things, people, and places that I will miss about Toronto… so here’s a cool list for you to peruse. :)

Ten things I will miss about Toronto (no particular order)

1. The area we lived in. We were up in the north and the area was quite nice with all of the trees, wide open spaces, and parks. I never felt crowded in my area, which I can’t say about downtown.

2. The maple trees. The area that I lived in is lined with large, beautiful maple trees up and down the streets. It’s a gorgeous green in spring and summer and then in the fall the fantastic colours can’t even be described properly with words. It’s a gorgeous sight that I revelled in every day of the fall season. (I’m missing these trees right now!)

Stunning. <3

Stunning. <3

3. My best friend from Nova Scotia lives in Toronto. Enough said.

4. Going to Blue Jays games. I’ve loved baseball since I was little and the Jays have always been my team. I will definitely miss going to games and having a blast with friends at the ballpark.

5. My favourite football team is SO CLOSE. I’m a Buffalo Bills fan (go ahead and laugh) and living in Toronto has been convenient for making it south of the border for games. I’m not sure I’ll see a live Bills game again at this point.

6. Favourite restaurants – I have a few in different areas of the city, they will be missed. Danforth – Louis Meat Market. My area – Sushi Kiku & Wimpy’s Diner. Little Italy – Utopia. There’s definitely more, but I will miss these places most.

7. Wine country is very close. I love wine, so you know it’s nice to have so many wineries only about an hours drive away. Niagara wine country is absolutely stunning and definitely will be missed. … but my wallet may be happier. ;)

8. Large body of water nearby. Lake Ontario certainly doesn’t fill in for missing the Atlantic Ocean, but it was nice to have close by.

9. The winters are shorter than Calgary’s. Not a winter girl, wish I could avoid it, but alas I live in Canada. Seriously, there were flurries in Calgary in August. I can’t make this up.

10. My running friends. Perhaps too late into my journey in Toronto, I met some really awesome running friends. I miss these people every day, but I am glad that we still connect on Twitter and Instagram. Such a great support group of strong, confident people. Lisa, Carmy, Cathy, Melly, Gemma, Courtney, Heather, and many more both in person and online. You’re all awesome and I hope to see you again soon! Related – I will miss all the awesome races available in Toronto to run with these people. Great times and lots of fabulous memories.


Awesome ladies!

Great group of people!

Great group of people!










You know, there are probably more than ten things that I will miss, but this keeps the post short and to the point. I never thought I would say this, but I hope to visit Toronto again soon. It’s tough missing people in both Halifax and Toronto now, but I am glad to know great people across our amazing country. <3

Tell me, did I miss anything? Something else I should have mentioned about Toronto?

It’s Been Awhile…

Don't you sit down after doing speed work?

Don’t you sit down after doing speed work?

You may have noticed that I’ve been off the blogging grid for a little while. You can still find my rants, shenanigans, and running updates on Twitter and Instagram, but I guess I’ve been hiding from my blog for a couple months. It’s funny because I have tons that I could write about, but I haven’t been able to get in the groove. Honestly, I miss my blog a little bit.

Lots has happened in the past few months – ran a couple races, moved across the country for the 5th time, started a new job and taking some courses, struggled with my running, and a number of other things that have put me on an emotional roller coaster. Change is hard. Tons of change is extremely hard… Especially when it’s not all positive change.

I’ve been doing my best to manage and hoping to feel more settled soon. All I can say is thank goodness for my running. During these tough times with tons of change running serves as my therapy, it really grounds me when I need it most. I missed being away from Calgary and I have enjoyed hitting the trails and new routes since I got back. Funny enough, I’ve also been missing my Toronto routes throughout this fall season so far. I miss the warm air that stays a little later in the season and I especially miss all the beautiful changing colours of the maple leaves. Calgary has some colour changes, but not as vibrant as the maple trees and my neighbourhood in Toronto was overloaded with them (similar to where I grew up in Halifax too).

Either way, we are settling into our new routines in Calgary and I’m back to mentally preparing for another winter of running. I keep debating if I will continue winter running this year because last year definitely had its challenges. But, I don’t think I can give up on running like that. Also, I just need a goal… and my first marathon is the goal in the back of my mind. We’ll see… :)

I’m excited to post this update and hopefully get some more posts flowing again… I’ve missed sharing with my readers!

Are you mentally prepping for winter activities? Got any tips for me? 

2015 Toronto Women’s 5K Race Recap

If you follow my blog regularly you might start to notice that it takes me a long time to get my race recaps written and posted. Seriously, I envy those runners who have the energy or free time right after a race to bust out a well written recap filled with tons of awesome pictures. I’m usually so carb deprived that I can’t even string two proper sentences together! Ok, I’ll stop rambling about my blogger envy and get to the recap…

This race was held on May 24 and I signed up 2 days before on a whim. For some reason I have been planning races last minute lately and that’s not good because it gets hard on the wallet due to higher race fees as you get closer to event day. I’m not sure if I just plain forgot about this race, but a few days before I realized how close it was to where I live so I had to sign up!

The Toronto Women’s Runs are a series that are held throughout the summer and this event was the first in the series with a 5K and Half Marathon option. I wasn’t interested in running another Half only 3 weeks after the GoodLife Half, so I happily signed up for the 5K at packet pick up. This race doesn’t have an expo of any sorts, but I do like the location of packet pick up at the Rosedale Running Room because it means that I don’t have to travel too far for the kit (such as the Direct Energy Centre, ugh!). It was easy to sign up on the spot and pay cash, so on the Friday before I was ready to go.

I didn’t do a lot of planning for this race and no serious pre-race rituals, although I did feel like I needed to carb load just to be safe. ;) The only plan I had was to enjoy the race and the morning at the lovely Sunnybrook Park and hopefully see a friend or two while I was there.

The morning of the race I got up and had my usual smoothie breakfast and got ready. It was easy to get to Sunnybrook Park and as soon as I arrived I was able to meet up with a friend. I also saw a couple other friends before the race, which was a nice change of pace from usually being alone. We all hung out together for a little bit, but then it was time to get into our waves. Before that I quickly checked my bag (no issues there) and headed to the porta potties which was a little more of a disaster because they were all mostly out of toilet paper after the half marathoners took off (so they definitely needed someone checking those). I was able to manage and then it was time to head to the start line. There were two waves and somehow I was put in the second one. I’m not sure if this was because I signed up last minute, but I definitely was in the wrong wave, which I quickly figured out once the gun went off. I was at the front of the line and I took off like a bandit when the gun went off. I was actually so far ahead of all the others in the second wave that I thought I got lost and wasn’t on the route anymore. Catching up to people in the back of the first wave calmed my nerves and I was glad to know that I was still on the right track. (Now, I am not saying this to brag, I am mentioning it because I learned a good lesson about how it’s pretty important to be in your proper wave. I did not like the feeling of thinking I was lost while I was trying to focus on my race).


For the whole race I keep a pretty good pace and felt strong. I stayed focused and ran through the water and chocolate stations – shocking, I know! I love running through Sunnbrook Park, so I quite enjoyed the course and the feeling of being away from the city. I crossed the finish line with a time of 25:57, which I am pretty damn happy about. That’s a 5K personal best for me! {3 races in May, 3 personal bests – woot woot!}

The post race mini-expo at the Toronto Women’s Runs is quite fun with a few snack options and vendors available. The post race snack bag kept me happy with chips since I am gluten intolerant and also delicious chocolate from Awake (so I don’t feel so bad for skipping the chocolate station!). After consuming food, picking up my checked bag was a breeze and then I was free to enjoy my time with friends cheering on runners who were coming in for the half.

Cute bling!

Cute bling!

Overall, I had a great morning at this race and I was glad that I signed up. I got to spend some time with friends before and after the race, which was really nice. Also, I really like the atmosphere of this race and seeing women cheer each other on to the finish line. It also helped that the course is close to my apartment. ;) Oh yeah, and the race photos are complimentary with registration, so that’s a nice bonus considering how expensive these pics can be from other companies.

I won’t be around for the next two races in the series, but if you’re in Toronto you should definitely give them a try. You’ll have a lot of fun and who can pass up free chocolate?! :)

Blue Nose Marathon 2015 10K Race Recap

Some of you may know this, but I’m originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia and I like to visit home at least once a year if I can make it happen. I usually visit in the spring or during the holidays because that’s the way it works out, but I tell you, I would much rather visit in the summer. Halifax can’t be beat during the summer and early fall, so beautiful and festive – you really should visit if you can! So this year I booked my trip a few months ago for the May long weekend, but would you believe it took me till about 5 days before to realize that I would be home during the very popular Blue Nose Marathon?! I have no idea why it took me so long to clue in, but once I realized it, I had to sign up. I managed to squeeze in my registration on the last day online, grimacing a little about the cost of waiting until the last minute. I definitely like to register for races ahead of time to save $$ (for more races), but I just couldn’t miss this one in my home town!

I got to Halifax the Thursday before the race and did the usual – spent time with one of my good friends and checked out some familiar sites. I’ve always been a tourist in my own city and how can you not be when  you’re right next to the ocean? Seriously, I could sit on the waterfront for hours just listening to the water and people watching.

Friday morning I got myself up and ready to go to the Expo. This is when I started to get really excited for my first race in my home town (I wasn’t a runner when I lived in Halifax). So many happy and excited runners wandering around the expo and I can’t forget to mention the awesome volunteers. There’s just something about Halifax, when I visit there from Toronto I really see how friendly Maritimers can be. I greatly enjoyed this expo and not just because I got to try some chocolate avocado mousse (SO GOOD). There were lots of vendor booths, food samples, and friendly people around to really make the experience enjoyable. I even got my picture taken with the race mascot! :D Packet pick up was a breeze and I was even able to exchange my t-shirt size easily. I don’t normally do that, but I really want to wear this shirt when I am out training in Toronto and Calgary.


Selfie with Myles!!

Selfie with Myles!!

The night before the race I probably didn’t really need to carb load, but my aunt made a huge bowl of delicious potato salad for our BBQ dinner so I pretty much ate all of it. It was for the greater good of running, you can’t blame me for that!

The morning of the race I got myself up nice and early and enjoyed my usual quiet ritual of getting ready and having breakfast. My grandparents did not get up at 6am to join me, but I can’t blame them… I may be a little running crazy. :) I had to hop on transit to make my way down to the ol’ Metro Centre (close to the start line), so I am very glad that transit fees were free if you showed your race bib. Such a nice bonus, really! Once I arrived, I did a little people watching and then I was able to check my bag easily before getting myself ready to head to the start line.

The morning was a little cool and it started to rain while we were waiting to take off at the start, but the atmosphere was fun and vibrant. People were laughing, chatting, and having a good time despite the little bit of rain. I really enjoyed this relaxed and fun vibe, which I normally don’t experience before races in Toronto (why is everyone so tense here? ;) ). Someone from GoodLife Fitness came out on the stage and even got us all dancing and jumping to the music to keep warm – so much fun! But then it was time to get serious, it was time to race my fellow Bluenosers to the finish… but ya know, still have fun and all that. ;)

The rain literally stopped as the race started and we were set off into the streets of downtown Halifax. I was amped up and really feeding off all of the excitement, so I took off ready to give it my best for this race. I’ll mention that I did not have my running watch with me, which I worried about at first but this actually became freeing as I tackled the kilometres feeling confident and strong. My biggest challenge was climbing up the MacDonald Bridge going back towards Halifax nearing the end of the race. I was a little tired and did have to walk for about 30 seconds, but after that it was ON. With no watch, plenty of hills, and my own determination I managed to come in with a 10K PB at 53:12!! I can’t express my excitement about this in the proper words. I felt strong for most of the race, I had a good stride going on, and the cheering crowds were the icing on the cake when it came to pushing me along. The support on the streets in Halifax and Dartmouth was amazing. I felt a new level of pride for my home town as everyone came together early on a cloudy Sunday morning to cheer on all these crazy runners. I don’t know if I’ve ever had so much fun at a race. Star Wars Half was fantastic, don’t get me wrong, but there’s something about running in your home town that just makes your heart explode with pride and love.

After giving it my all, I was so happy to cross the finish line and then get my medal from a Twitter/Instagram friend (@crazymamaruns) that I had been wanting to meet. She was awesome and friendly to me in my post-race delirium, which I appreciated. When you go to races alone it’s nice to run into people you “know”. :)

Who's this crazy gal posing in front of the clock tower?

Who’s this crazy gal posing in front of the clock tower?

After the race I went into the Metro Centre to get my food and bag and then I basically sat in the stands people watching for at least an hour. It was nice to see everyone so happy and congratulating each other, I just didn’t want to leave. I wanted to soak up as much of the race excitement that I could before heading home. I stretched. I enjoyed the music. And I basked in the camaraderie. Halifax, you made me feel at home again. What a great morning.

Once I finally left the Metro Centre and walked around downtown it was nice to see how many people were congratulating complete strangers, so of course I did that too. When I got on the bus to head home we were all acknowledging each other and having a quick chat about the morning too. Even the bus driver asked me about my race. Got to love that! The Maritime charm is still there if you allow yourself to see it. :)

Overall, I had a fantastic morning at the Blue Nose Marathon 10K and I certainly hope I will be back again. Most likely to take on the hilly half marathon, because the extra challenge will be fun, right? Thanks for a great race Blue Nose Marathon, this was one to be remembered.

A huge thank you to all the workers, police, volunteers, and vendors for putting on such an amazing race weekend in Halifax. And to the runners – you were all awesome! 

GoodLife Fitness Toronto Half Marathon 2015 Recap

Love that Bling!

Love that Bling!

On Sunday, May 3rd I ran my third Half Marathon at the GoodLife Fitness Toronto Marathon. I was very excited before this race because I had a goal of achieving my first sub-2 hour 21.1K race. But, in my last post I mentioned how I had to adjust this goal because of the foot injury I sustained while running Around the Bay. This didn’t mean I was any less excited, it just meant that I had to adjust my expectations so that I wouldn’t feel disappointed. I still trained the best I could after Around the Bay and I went into the morning of the race with a good mindset. I wasn’t worried about covering the distance, I just knew my time goal might not be the most ideal for me at this time.

The morning of the race I did my usual ritual of getting up early to enjoy a fruit/protein smoothie while I got ready. I already laid my gear out the night before, which really helped me not to panic at such an early time in the morning. I also made sure to check Twitter and Instagram to send off last minute motivational messages to others who were running GoodLife as well.

One thing I really like about this race is that the start line is relatively close to where I live in north Toronto. So, my awesome bf gave me a drive so that I didn’t have to feel rushed with taking transit (especially since the subway doesn’t open till 9am on Sundays in this crazy city!). I was able to find the start line near Mel Lastman Square easily, but before taking off I did spend about a half an hour waiting inside the North York Centre for the washroom. The timing actually worked out really well for me, but I couldn’t believe how crazy the lines for the washrooms were. Spent a good amount of time getting pumped up and chatting with other runners who were a little nervous about the race. Maybe it’s because I was about to run my third Half, but I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be. Take out all the expectations on yourself and you tend to lighten up a little I guess. I was just really excited to be there that morning and even happier about the good weather were having.

Taking off at the start was really easy and relaxed and I even ran into some runner friends, which was just the extra push I needed before the race. I always start races alone, so it was nice to see some familiar faces (and take a selfie) while waiting to take off. I wasn’t too far back, so I was off and running pretty quickly!

Overall, I love the course for this race. I was ecstatic about running down Yonge Street and even kicked butt running up the hill right after York Mills Road (Hoggs Hollow Hill). I managed to tag along behind a 2:00 hour pace bunny group because I was starting out the race optimistic and feeling good. I was able to stay with this group for pretty much the whole race until I took off from them around 19K. At that point I was feeling tired, but I felt good and knew I could get to the finish line under 2 hours. With that last push to the finish line I finished in 1:59:28 and I couldn’t be happier! I actually surprised myself and felt really good about this accomplishment. I was even more pleased with the fact that my foot/ankle didn’t bother me the whole race. The whole race!

The Half course did have a good amount of entertainment & cheer squads to motivate us along the way. The Briar Hill Lululemon crowd was especially entertaining – thank you for being out there! I also found that there was an adequate amount of water, which was good considering how this race was a little warm (and I don’t carry any water on me). I was a little disappointed that at the end there weren’t any bottles of water (unless I couldn’t find them) and there were only tiny cups of Brita filtered water available. Walking back to downtown Toronto to find water got a little rough there. Run 21K and you get pretty thirsty! I did like how there was a gluten free bun (Udi’s) option available though! That’s definitely a nice addition to the post-race food for those of us who can’t have gluten but still want ALL THE CARBS. :)

As you can probably guess, I really liked this race. I had a fun morning (yes, fun!) running the Half Marathon with all those other “crazy” people and earning my shiny, cool medal. The 2:00 hour run/walk pace bunny was very nice and encouraging and I’d like to thank him for doing such a great job. I’m not sure I could have kept up the pace without his encouragement and conversation. I had a fun time at the 5K last year, a great time running the Half this year, and who knows what distance I’ll do next year! ;) Maybe it’ll be time to early that Marathon medal that is the size of a plate!

Huge thanks go out to:

GoodLife Fitness for this great race!

Toronto Police and Paramedics for monitoring the runners and roads,

And, all the hard working staff and volunteers. You did a great job!


GoodLife Fitness Half Marathon and Adjusting Goals

Happy it's Spring!

Happy it’s Spring!

As a runner (or any athlete, really) sometimes you have to adjust your goals mid-training. Hopefully the adjustments are for the better, but occasionally they’re not. I’m currently in the latter category.

After running Around the Bay and injuring my foot, I’ve had to adjust my goal for the GoodLife Half Marathon to something more realistic. Originally I had made my goal to finish the 21.1KM race in less than 2 hours. That means that if I crossed the finish line at 1:59:59 (chip time!), I’d be happy. I would have achieved my goal for that race. Unfortunately, I’ve now had to adjust this goal. I injured my foot running the ATB 30K on March 29, so I had to take 2 weeks off running to let it heal. I know that’s not a long time and trust me I am grateful, but it threw off my training for the 5 weeks before GoodLife. Speed training? Nope. Hill training? One session. Long run? 16K. So sure, I still feel strong and I know I can cover the distance, but under 2 hours has now been adjusted. At this point I am just hoping to PR (under 2:08), but I know that I can’t hold that against myself.

It’s three days before the race and my foot feels good. Running over the past 2.5 weeks has picked up and I’ve felt strong, so I’m taking that as a good sign. I’m also excited to get out there again to enjoy a crazy morning with my fellow runners. Races become almost like an addiction because of the connection to community and the excitement of everyone achieving new goals and dreams. It’s the amazing energy that I feed off of and really look forward to each race. I think even more so because I run/train mostly alone. It’s nice to get out there amongst the others who are taking part in this crazy sport. ;)

So here I am, chowing down on a bag of popcorn (carb loading, right?), ready as I’ll ever be for my third half marathon. It’s the first time that I’ve had to adjust a goal to be slower and it probably won’t be my last. But the best thing I can do is look after myself and listen to my body… and most of all – have fun!

Good luck and have fun to everyone running the GoodLife Toronto Marathon (every distance!) this weekend! May we be blessed with fine weather, speedy feet, and good treats at the end!