Long Run Bliss – It Can Happen

Have you ever had one of those workouts (running/cycling/yoga/etc) that just makes it all worthwhile? One of those workouts when you think to yourself “yes, this is why I do this!“?

That was me yesterday.

It’s no secret that I have my ups & downs with running. Who doesn’t? But, yesterday I had one of those long runs that just made it feel all worthwhile. Dare I say that it felt, blissful? It wasn’t about the speed or the distance, it was more about the moment. The feelings while running. The scenery. All of that combined for one of the best runs I have had in a long time.

Yesterday, I got up a little earlier than I usually do on a Sunday because the boyfriend had a major brick workout to do for Ironman training. The sun was shining in the window, so this actually wasn’t too difficult – especially since he made the coffee. He took off and I finished up my coffee with a smoothie and got my butt out the door after laying out my gear. I was actually feeling a little nervous about this 20KM because it’s the longest I have ran since the Honolulu Marathon in December 2016. Last week’s 18KM long run was a little difficult, so of course, I was a little worried about how this run would go.

Run Gear Saucony Nuun

Got my gear ready! (Saucony, Clif, Nuun, Yanky, Garmin, 2XU, Gregory Pack)

I got out the door and right away I realized there was a little chill in the air, so my hands were cold but the sun was out so I knew I would warm up quick. Pace started off great and I was a little excited to head out to a different route than I usually do. Funny thing is that I usually get a little lost when I try a new route, but not this long run!

Took my run along the paved Calgary pathways, ran through Sandy Beach Park, over the reservoir dam, and then to the north section of the Glenmore Reservoir. I had been wanting to run around the reservoir for awhile now, so I’m really glad I went this way yesterday.

It’s funny because you could say that the weather was almost perfect for a runner. Sun shining, cool breeze, and crisp air – you seriously couldn’t beat it. The skies were so clear that you could see the view all the way to the mountains from some points during the run. It was beautiful! I actually couldn’t believe some of the gorgeous views I came across during this run and also the friendly people that were out enjoying the day as well! So many friendly runners yesterday, I wish every week was like that. ๐Ÿ™‚

Glenmore Reservoir Calgary

Beautiful views at the reservoir! See those mountains?

The settings were so perfect that I started to think to myself that this is why I love running. Of course, I love the challenge and the race atmosphere, but I also love that my feet and legs take me to beautiful places. I felt so grateful in that moment for the ability to run and see these spots around the city – and other places I’ve travelled as well. This run felt meditative and relaxing (is that possible?!) and I almost didn’t want it to end… but, I also knew that I shouldn’t push my training.

I’m not sure I’ve had such a completely enjoyable run before. Is this the runner’s high people talk about? ๐Ÿ˜‰

It’s hard to top moments like this, but that’s not really the point I think. It was special for me to feel relaxed while running and to also feel so completely grateful for the ability to do this running thing right now. Pace didn’t matter, but the ability and the feeling of strength while running did. Enjoying the moment, the scenery, the fresh air. These are the things that matter and then achieving speed/distance/etc goals are the bonus. I realized that although it’s challenging, I really do love running. And, I hope to do this for many years to come.

Running Glenmore Reservoir

Deep in thought. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Have you ever had a run (or workout) like this? Were you training or was it during a race?

{Calgary Marathon Half in just under 2 weeks!! Now I taper!}

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Seeking: My Race Mojo for 2017

Is it possible to have the post-marathon blues for 5 months?

I’m not sure what’s up with me, but I haven’t been excited about racing lately. Don’t get me wrong, I have been training – lots – but, the big push to race hasn’t been there for me. Maybe I have the end of winter blues spilling over as well, but I’m hoping to get the racing bug back soon!

I ran a 10K in Halifax recently, and I have a half-marathon at the end of May, which I’m looking forward to, but wouldn’t say I’m super excited about it. I could be nervous… but, not really realizing it. At this point, I want to PB my half marathon time and maybe the added pressure is causing me a little anxiety. What if I don’t PB? How will I feel after training pretty hard this winter? These are some big unknowns for me that I probably shouldn’t dwell on too much.

YogiCrystal Running 2017

Part of me also thinks that some of these “blues” is because I don’t have a marathon picked for this year. I decided to only run one this year, but I still haven’t chosen where or when I want to run it. The options around where I live are pretty slim, so I know I’ll have to travel. I have an idea in mind, but I just need to see if I can make it work. I’m also pretty sure that I won’t be doing any travel or running in the U.S. this year because of the dollar exchange rate, so that has me checking out Canadian races for the fall. Lots to think about and I certainly need a plan at this point!

Last year was such an exciting year of running for me, with completing my first – and second! – marathon and travelling to Hawaii for the first time. It almost seems too hard to top for this year, but maybe that shouldn’t be the goal. This year seems like a nice time to work on my half-marathon goals and really start getting a stronger base for marathon running and my long-term BQ goal. Maybe this isn’t the “blues”… it’s just different and I need to take a moment to really enjoy it. Let’s hope the Calgary Half Marathon really pumps me up and helps me work towards some bigger goals for the rest of 2017! ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyone else seeking their race mojo? What techniques have you used to find it or get it back?ย 

Honolulu Travel Tips from a Lone Budget Traveller

Flashback Friday : Honolulu travel tips from a lone traveller on a budget

It’s only been a couple of months, but I seriously miss Honolulu. I was a little nervous to go on a trip there by myself, but then once I got there I felt comfortable and at home. Ocean and palm trees. Friendly people and good food. Honolulu is definitely not a destination that you want to skip, especially if you like running marathons. (Seriously still have to complete my Honolulu Marathon recap!)

Although there were thousands and thousands of people there for the big race, I travelled to Oahu alone, but never really felt lonely. Also, you may not know this about me, but I don’t drive. Yep, I said it. So, this can make travelling alone interesting. How do I get to the sites? Do I spend a fortune on taxis? To get around when I am travelling, I try to stay budget conscious and patient. Patience and enjoying the moment is key because I mostly take local transit around places to see the sites. It’s a great way to see local happenings, while also getting to my destination pretty cheap.

So, here’s some stuff you can do around Honolulu if you don’t drive:

– I rented an Airbnb near Waikiki for a really good rate, so I walked everywhere. Why not?! There’s so many sites to see and local atmosphere to take in, all while getting some good exercise. I would walk down the main strip or really enjoy the scenery by walking along the beach walk. So many gorgeous sunsets to see this way. Also, the weather was warm in December even when it was raining, so no excuses!

~ Note: if you’d like to be even more budget conscious than a good deal on Airbnb, I also stayed a few nights at the Seaside Hawaiian Hostel and it’s definitely a cute little place. A hostel is a hostel, but this place was relatively clean and very cozy. A little noisy being close to the street, but still managed to get a decent night’s sleep. Front desk staff also really awesome and friendly, which is great for lone travellers! (I met a gal also named Crystal from Edmonton, how funny is that?!)

– I walked/jogged to Diamond Head and then hiked up it. This is a good workout! The hike up this crater isn’t too bad, but don’t wear flip flips – it can be slippery if it’s raining. Also, if you have an injury or mobility concerns, definitely take the quick bus ride up and, ideally, hike it with a friend or group. Everyone should take their time and enjoy the scenery on this trail.

Manoa Falls Honolulu Hawaii

Stunning Manoa Falls

– You can bus to Manoa Falls and it doesn’t take that long! You’re surprised, right? Before I left, I was looking at $50 USD hiking tours to the falls and I kind of thought that was a little steep. Some quick research and I realized that I could take the bus for $2.50 and hike on my own… come to find out, I wasn’t the only one doing this! At the bus stop there were some other lone travellers doing just the same thing, so a good way to make a new acquaintance too! This hike is a little challenging, so no flip flops here either. The trail is relatively quiet, but the Falls were busy with people going in the water, taking pics, etc. You can still find space to relax at the Falls, but just something to keep in mind depending on how introverted you are. ๐Ÿ™‚

– You can also bus to awesome food places outside of Waikiki. Quick bus ride took me to an awesome Poke place – Ono Seafood – which was totally worth it. You could also run or cycle to this area if you’re feeling energetic!

– You’ll need a little more time for Hanauma Bay, but if you have a good book or some awesome music on your phone, take the bus. One bus from Waikiki will get you there, just be sure to look up the times and be ready to get to the stop early. No problem here, because I was super excited to go. The bus can be quite busy, but once you get to the Bay you are relaxed again. Tours for the Bay looked pretty expensive as well, so unless you’re going snorkelling with a guide, you can easily take the bus, check out the Bay, hike around, and relax, before jumping on the bus back later in the day.

Hanauma Bay Hawaii

Gorgeous Hanauma Bay, how much do I love thee?

– I highly recommend surfing if you’re in Honolulu! Now, this I did not do completely alone. I paid for a private session with the Ohana Surf Project, but you can also lower your costs by doing a group session (I’m a terrible swimmer, so I spent a little extra on this outing for my own peace of mind). I only had to walk a few blocks from where I was staying and they picked me up in their van to head to the site. This whole experience was awesome and I hope to go back and do it again someday. Great staff and instructors, super helpful, and fun. After the session they can give you a ride back to your pick up location, but I decided to take the afternoon to walk along Waikiki Beach back to where I was staying. I always try to get as much ocean time as I can!

It may be surprising, but you can easily get around a lot of places when travelling if you don’t drive or if you want to save money on rentals. You just need a keen interest in taking in the local atmosphere and a little patience. Walking, biking, running, and bussing while travelling can really make for a unique experience!

Do rent cars while travelling or rely on walking and local transit? How do you enjoy the experience?

MEC Race Two: Citadel Highlander Recap

Signed up for this race on a whim once I knew I would be visiting family in Halifax during the last weekend of April 2017. Online registration was easy and inexpensive at a price of $15 + tax. It’s worth mentioning that because of this low price, there are no bells & whistles with this race. No t-shirts or medals – only for the top 3 male and female finishers. If you’re not familiar with MEC (Mountain Equipment Coop) races, they usually hold a lot of local events including road and trail races. It’s a good option if you’d like an inexpensive timed race or you just want to join a bunch of ย random people for your Saturday or Sunday run.

MEC emailed us the course description a few days before the race, but it was hard to visualize for this very unique course. The race runs around and through the Halifax Citadel (http://pc.gc.ca/en/lhn-nhs/ns/halifax), which is a series of forts that served to protect the Halifax Harbour from 1749 – 1906. It’s a national historic site, and I was excited for this race because I haven’t visited the Citadel in over 10 years.

Mec Race Halifax Citadel Runners

Me & Kendra! Pic from @RunningPhotosbyTim https://www.facebook.com/RunningPhotosByTim/

This race starts at 9:30 am, which isn’t too early, so I showed up a few minutes before and met up with a friend. We decided to run the 10K together, which ended up being a good decision because the focus of this race became about fun. The course involved running around the perimeter of the Citadel, up and down side hills, through short tunnels, and inside a WWI trench. So, while being a very unique course, it’s not really a PB race unless you’re situated right at the front of the pack. Main complaint is that the directions could be more clearly communicated from onsite volunteers. My friend and I got a little lost around our 3rd or 4th loop, so making sure we were going the right way got confusing. We even improvised our last lap to make sure we came in around 10 KM instead of crossing the finish line short. (We crossed at 10.20 KM)

Overall, I really enjoyed my time at this race. Good company and a fun course certainly made the atmosphere for a great morning. Luckily, the weather was beautiful, so the views while running around the Citadel were outstanding. You get to see green spaces, downtown, and the ocean! Got to love that!

Mec Race Halifax Citadel

Lovely volunteer took a fun group shot! (So windy!)

Pros
– Unique, fun course (go to this race with an attitude of fun)
– Inexpensive, easy to register online
– Nuun hydration tablets and water at the end, plus fruit
– Great views (if the day is clear)

Cons
– Course directions could be improved
– Possibly add a water station half way through the 10K

If you’d also like to check out how I rate certain aspects of the course, please check out the rest of my review on Bibrave.com!ย 

Have you run a MEC race before? How was your experience?

Yanky Sport Hanky Review

Have you heard of this cool new sport hanky product with the name that makes you giggle?

When I first saw the product on social media, I chuckled a little at the name, but I’m glad I got the opportunity to test one out on my long runs. It’s taking a little while for the weather to warm up in Calgary, but thankfully my last 2 long runs have been done in nice weather that I have overdressed for – so, I sweat! And, the Yanky is great for wiping sweat off your face and neck, while you’re on the go. Apparently you can also use this as a hanky too for a pesky runny nose, but I haven’t tried that yet. You could also use it to wipe mud off your legs after a trail run, but then you probably won’t want to rub it on your face… so, get two!

yanky sport hanky

Take it with you on a run!

First, this little hanky is super soft, which is nice compared to carrying paper towel or wiping your face with your sleeve. Second, the Yanky is attached to a little clip that extends, so you can clip it to your pocket or running belt for easy access. As the owner Ryan says, “Just Yank It!” (You can’t help but laugh a little, right?) Third, this product is based out of New Brunswick, Canada, which I love because so many products come out of the States, so it’s nice to see an awesome product from Canada! Last, this little hanky is really absorbent, which makes it useful for many different sports and activities. My boyfriend snagged it for an indoor cycle session and found it great for wiping up sweat. I might not get it back!

yanky hanky clip

Clip it to your running belt or pack!

Have you heard of Yanky? Do you want something better than your sleeve for wiping your nose or sweat while working out?

Check Yanky out on Facebook and Twitter to learn more!

Time Flies: Spring Catch Up

Well, that was a fun “break”, wasn’t it? I can’t believe it’s been almost 2 months since I posted any of my ramblings about running or life!

Trust me, it’s not like I haven’t been doing anything. I’ve been busy. I know we’re all busy, but really, the last 2 months got away from me. I had a really crazy school term that overwhelmed me a bit more than usual, but I put the work in and so far my marks look good. The bf and I also moved to a new apartment, which I am enjoying already even though I’m nowhere near unpacked. I do not recommend moving during a busy school term, but I’m definitely happy it’s done.

Have I been running? Of course! If you follow me on Twitter & Instagram, you’ll see that I’m still out there running lots… but not with a lot of focus. I haven’t done a race since Honolulu this past December (which I still need to write a recap about!), so I’ve been feeling a little lost with my goals lately. But, now that I’m in between school terms (start again early May), I am trying to get back on track and training for the Calgary Half Marathon at the end of May. Hoping for a PB at this one, so speed and tempo work has been the focus lately. Fun, right?!

RunCalgarySpring2017

I do not have a marathon picked yet for this year, which freaks me out a little bit. I have one in mind that I am strongly leaning towards, I just need some things to work out for it to happen. Either way, I’m excited about a few other races that I have lined up during the summer – the big one being Seawheeze!! I can’t wait to finally run this race and see Vancouver for the first time. Very excited!

Well, I only have a couple weeks off until my next school semester starts, so I’m trying my best to unpack the apartment, read a couple novels, focus on running, work (of course), blog once or twice, maybe re-brand this whole YogiCrystal thing (we’ll see), and maybe find time to relax in there… Here’s hoping I get a couple of these done!

How was the rest of your winter? Got any spring races on your calendar?

February Friday Funny

Say that blog post title 5 times fast…

๐Ÿ™‚

Ok, down to business. Have you ever been called crazy for running? Have people rolled their eyes at you and basically called you insane because you do some kind of fitness activity?

I have. Multiple times.

And, sometimes I agree. But, that doesn’t make it better!

I guess it makes it funny though.

While I often think of myself as crazy during a “lovely” 30+ KM training run, I don’t need to hear you tell me I’m nuts. I think as runners, we already know we’re crazy. But, it’s a special kind of I’ve-got-goals-to-crush kind of crazy. And that’s pretty damn cool.

This goes for runners, cyclists, triathletes, swimmers, fitness freaks, whoever… because I’m betting you’ve been called crazy or nuts or silly for your endeavours at some point.

Despite possibly being seen as nuts, I think we should be proud of ourselves. It’s not east getting up early. It’s not easy working out in -30C (-22F)… in the snow… going up hill… well, you get the idea. So, there are times when we have to find the inspiration inside ourselves. We can’t listen to everyone that tells us we’re nuts… unless that shit motivates you. Then do what you gotta do.

My hope is that we’re inspiring at least 1 person who’s calling us nutty. Maybe they’ll be sitting at home and start to think “that Crystal is nuts, but maybe I’ll try a 15 min jog and see what all the fuss is about”. Hey, it could happen! That’s almost how I got started when I think about it.

Ok, that’s my February Friday Funny rant. Tell me what you think.

Stay nutty out there you fabulous fitness people! ๐Ÿ™‚

Found on Pinterest. Made me laugh. ;)

Found on Pinterest. Made me laugh. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Have you inspired someone who originally called you crazy for your fitness endeavours?

Saucony Peregrine ICE+ Review and Thoughts

Since I’ve become a bit more serious about running, I now spend more time doing training runs outside all year round. I also spend more time b*tching about it throughout the whole winter too… just ask my bf! So, when Saucony Canada sent me a pair of the Peregrine ICE+ I was beyond excited.

Saucony Peregrine ICE

All new & shiny!

Normally, I run through all different types of winter weather in my regular running shoes. Snow, slush, rain, sleet, wind, cold, whatever – I was using my regular running shoes and burning them out pretty quick. I don’t usually have a problem with cold feet, so this worked most of the time… except for when my feet got wet. Running in heavy rain and slush always caused me to get wet feet, but I just dealt with it and kept going. People thought I was crazy, but I often felt overwhelmed by the amount of trail and winter running shoe options that I just didn’t take the time to sit in a store and try them all on. So, I was pleasantly surprised when these shoes showed up in my mailbox. And, I actually didn’t try them right away because Calgary had a pretty mild winter right up to the middle of December, but since then winter has been crazy and I’ve been running in these shoes most of the time.

First, I’ll say that I love these shoes. I’m picky about shoes, so this was kind of a surprise. Second, I haven’t had cold or wet feet all winter yet, and I’ve been able to maintain close to my regular pace when running over snow and ice. Definitely happy about that! Last, I actually think they look pretty cool too. Not too flashy or dull, perfect look for winter and trail running.

Calgary Saucony Peregrine Ice

You can’t tell, but it was freezing cold this day!

Now, down to the nitty gritty info:

Pros

– Vibram ยฎ Arctic Grip in high contact areas of the sole – this has been awesome for reducing the amount of ice/snow slippage when I’m out running on local pathways and sidewalks, excellent traction.

– Flexshell-protected upper – keeping my feet warm and dry all winter (it’s water resistant!). I’ve run in slush, strong winds, and a snowstorm and my feet were the only part of my body that were warm!

– Women’s colour blue/black actually look pretty cool… see my pics ๐Ÿ˜‰

– Saucony EVERUN in the heel – more comfy for when I heel strike… don’t lie, we all do it!

– Apparently there’s a rock plate in these, which is great for trail runners. As a roadrunner, I haven’t taken these on the trails yet, but thought I would still point it out. Also, don’t really notice it as I find these shoes quite comfortable and flexible.

Cons

– Some might find the price point a little high for a pair of running/trail shoes, but after all the great runs I’ve experienced in these this winter, I’m thinking it’s worth it. Keep an eye out at your local running store for sales if you’re budget conscious and looking to grab a pair.

Specs from the Saucony site:

– Pronation : neutral
– Cushion : responsive
– Type : trail
– Surface : ice, trail, grass (I’ve run with these on grass, love it!)
– Water resistant : yes (but not classified as waterproof)
– Offset / “drop” : 4mm
– Heel stack height : 21.55mm
– Forefoot stack height : 17.55mm
– Weight 8.5oz / 241g.

Saucony Peregrine Ice snow

Do you have a favourite shoe for winter running? Have you tried these yet?ย 

 

Disclaimer: Saucony Canada sent me these shoes, but did not ask me to write a review or anything like that. I just wanted to share with you how much I’ve enjoyed these shoes throughout many different winter conditions. You can check out where else I’ve taken these shoes on my Instagram. ๐Ÿ™‚ย 

New Year Goals – How you doing?

Well, we’re one month into 2017 and I’m wondering how your goals/resolutions/intentions are coming along?

If you’ve popped by this blog recently, you probably noticed that I only set some intentions for the year last week. I’m still working on my race schedule, but so far I’m just trying my best to keep it together for the first month of 2017.

Often it seems like this is a tough time of year for some people. Winter blues are kicking in, maybe some goals haven’t been started, or we could be putting too much pressure on ourselves so this is causing stress or anxiety. Trust me, I’ve been feeling this a little bit myself lately. I know it’s not easy, but maybe this is a good time to re-visit the goals we set to see if they can be adjusted to suit our needs and wants more. Maybe they need to be a little more realistic, or broken down into more manageable pieces. Whatever it takes, I’d say now is a good time to start this process.

The important part here is that you don’t give up on those goals! Keep moving forward.

If you’re reading this and thinking “Crystal, you’re crazy, why are you checkin’ in on me?“, that’s ok. ๐Ÿ˜‰ There’s totally another reason why I’m harassing you about your goals/intentions/resolutions: I’m offering a fun little giveaway over on Instagram!!

Momentum Jewelry 2017

Head on over to my Instagram to enter!

If you’re finding yourself in need of a little motivation and inspiration, then my Momentum Jewelry giveaway is for you! Head on over to my Instagram for all the details and how to enter! ๐Ÿ™‚

Are you sticking to your goals so far? Are there any you can adjust so that they are more attainable?

Where My Goals At?

How bad is it that I don’t have any goals set in stone for 2017 yet?

I don’t make resolutions, but I do like to set some intentions and general guidelines for myself in regards to what I would like to accomplish or stay focused on throughout the year.

So, for some reason, I’m a little behind and trying not to worry too much about it… yet.

This new year actually started off with some less-than-awesome news, but I’m really hoping that the “when a door closes, another door opens” quote will come into play here. So, now that the dust has settled a little, it’s time to start thinking about some goals/intentions that I’d like to keep in mind for 2017.

YogiCrystal Running 2017

Goals, Intentions, Dreams for 2017

~ Get a race schedule figured out. Starting to panic a little here. I have only scheduled in the SeaWheeze Half Marathon (YAY!!!) for August, but as someone who has a long term BQ goal, I obviously need some plans & structure for my race schedule.

~ Continue to do well in school. Stay focused, take it all in, learn lots, build skills, and work on that networking thing. (Introvert alert here!)

~ Have more compassion for myself. I feel like I write this one down every year. Always a work in progress, but I need to have more compassion for myself when times get tough.

~ Work with a great team of likeminded individuals.

~ Cross train more. Yoga. Meditation. Cycling. Ideally I can get a coach at some point to help me with this… not easy on a grad student’s budget! Keep in mind that I need to train smarter. Aim to get faster. PB. ๐Ÿ™‚

~ Travel. Find ways to travel for races, but on a good budget. Most likely staying local & in Canada this year. The U.S. dollar hurts. Also, visit family and friends.

~ Read more. This one is hard to do as a grad student because I feel like I should always be reading textbooks and journal articles, but I love novels and need more casual/fun reading in my life. Trying to make more time for this. Same goes for writing, need to get on this blog more! (Side note: this involves actually starting my re-brand… scary stuff.)

~ Run with people more. Tough to find a run crew around work schedules that involve evenings, but I’m going to keep an eye out. This could help with my introvertness and to keep running fun & interesting. Be part of an awesome community offline & on –> Which includes recently being chosen and a Nuun Ambassador! If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you can probably tell that I love Nuun, so this was certainly fun news to receive this month!

~ Breathe. Focus on positivity more. Smile. Have gratitude, write it down.

~ Health. Keep focused on healthy lifestyle. Try to reduce stress. Eat at home more. Cook, try new recipes. Share. Find a mentor. See joy in the experience. Appreciate the little things.

That’s a good start for the year, right?

I’m sure I may add to this as time goes on, but this is what I am starting with. Nothing here really involves tons of pressure and that’s how I operate best. I don’t set resolutions, because if I “fail” I will feel awful. Trying to avoid feeling awful, but I also know I actually need to set some running goals. I have that BQ by 40 dream & I need focus and strength to get there.

Picking myself up from the start of this year and ready to charge on!

Did you set any intentions for 2017? Please share one that stands out for you as really important!ย 

Or, are you like me and haven’t set any goals in stone yet?ย