Hill Sprints and Hikes...July Self Care Challenge

So the kiddos are on summer break....who wants to pull their hair out already? Is there wine in your coffee cup at 10am?

Just me? Oh, it can't be!!

I never realized how stressful it would be to be a fulltime business owner and a fulltime mom, especially in the summer with a very busy 5 year old who needs his sponge of a brain stimulated at.all.times.

So how do I take care of myself when life is at its busiest?


This month, I want you to get outside. I want you to run. I want you to bike. I want you to do hill sprints.

As a good friend of mine said on a training run back in March, be an active participant in life. Put your headphones on, crank your favourite music, or ask a good friend to go for a hike! (Jen, I'm looking at you, lady!)

Set the example for the rest of your family and tell them that you're going out for a while to run, walk, hike, or do sprints and see how proud they are of you when you get home. It's honestly, the best feeling ever!

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When It's Time to Slow Down #FCRR #doinit

You know that time when you didn't listen to your body? When you looked at your training schedule, and against our better judgment still went to the training run and thought oh well maybe the cold air will clear out my congested lungs and I'll feel great!, only to have to turn back a half mile into your run and call it a day?



That was me this past Sunday at the FCRR Farm Boy training run. To say I was disappointed when I circled back in an understatement, but I am actually quite thankful that it happened. I needed for it to happen.

I got to talking with Shauna, the Community Director, and she put things into incredible perspective for me. She used to run nationally...on scholarship...like, one of those amazing runners that I look up to and admire. She was telling me about the training group she leads and the amazing athletes that she works with on a daily basis. Individuals who run for the fun of it, who just want to have a fantastic experience. Sure, she used to be competitive but now it's about the experience. The fun. The miles run. The distance.

Not. The. Pace.

These winter training runs have been difficult, and fitting them into a busy, fulltime work-from-home mom schedule isn't for the faint of heart. Add in two sick kiddos...whew!

When all of the runners came back, we started talking about when you listen to your body. Rest days are meant for resting, not for running. If you're sick, sit out your training run. What I love about this group and #FCRR is that everyone just wants you to finish...it doesn't matter if you are first or if you are last. Your community is there, supporting you and cheering you on, while you do your best.

1 mile
5 miles
13.1 miles

At the end of the day, it's all the same, and all that matters is that I got out there and tried. This training experience has been amazing so far, for so many unexpected reasons.

80 days to go!

Looking to ramp up your training?


I could ramble on for days about how supportive everyone is at the #FCRR training runs. They aren't about racing, and it's not about time. It's not about being a super-athlete. It's about trying your best, putting one foot in front of the other, and enjoying every moment.

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#WDW10k Recap...Where Dreams Come True #running

Going into this past race weekend, to say I was nervous and stressed would be a massive understatement. Just as my husband! I was snapping at pretty much everything in sight, couldn't sleep....just a pile of stress.

After we checked-in at the Caribbean Beach Resort and enjoyed dinner, I set out my race clothes and tried to sleep. Ha! Good luck sleeping the night before a race when you have to be up at 3am, and on a tram to your race by 4am!

I got to the starting area and met up with my friend Stephanie from GooberMonkey. She was so reassuring and it was exactly what I needed that early in the morning. Off to our corrals we went, and then my nerves kicked in again. Big balloons lit up the way for our corrals, and I was shaking I was so nervous.


Then I met these two lovely ladies. I didn't catch either of their names, and didn't think to get a photo with them, which I really regret. They were amazing and talked about how they started training, that they were doing the Dopey challenge, and when I told them it was my first Disney event and first 10km they were SO EXCITED. It was really amazing to have them cheering me on throughout the course, and I am so thankful to them both for their encouragement.



Then came our start. 6:10am. Fireworks and bam...away we go.

At the first overpass we saw Anna and Elsa...and it was snowing!!! It was so neat. The first three miles were out in the open, on the road, so it was a little boring, but being that it wasn't a route I had ever run before, it went by pretty quickly. When I got to the 2mi marker and realized that I had run the entire way, I was pretty pumped. I felt I was doing a good job pacing myself; every now and then I would sprint to a song, and then I would slow down and run at my training pace. It was good and it helped me feel like I wasn't gassed all of the time.

When we ran into Epcot through the cast member entrance, it is a sight that I will never forget. The sun was rising over the different pavilions and it was just beautiful. There were characters everywhere, but I was too worried about those darn balloon ladies catching me that I didn't stop to get my picture taken with any of them....aside from a selfie with the Genie.



Then a message from my bff Heather

I know you're not quite done yet Shannon but I wanted you to know how awesome you are and how proud I am of you. Keep running!

That's about the time that this photo was taken...and Golden Slumbers was pouring in my ears



I kept pushing, kept running (I think I stopped to walk a total of 2 minutes, in about 3 different sections) and saw the finish line.

I started bawling as it neared and probably looked like the biggest dork, but I was just so proud. I cried and crossed that finish line with arms raised. Then exhaustion hit, and I felt like I was in a daze. I got my medal, some refreshments and got on my bus to get back to the hotel and see my boys.



I cried the entire drive back to the hotel, and bawled when I saw my husband and kids. My son, Owen, was asking why I was so sad and I told him I wasn't sad, I was really proud and really tired. They gave me big hugs and Owen fawned over my medal.

This past weekend I learned that I really can do anything. I can run further and harder than I had before. And it made me realize that I can do a half....absolutely I can. I may not be the fastest out there, but I will finish. One foot in front of the other.




Next up: Gasparilla 5km!
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From Tampons to Half Marathons #fcrr #doinit

So something happened on Tuesday night. My friend Jen, of Suburban Hippie Homestead, and I met up with some of the Forest City Road Races runners for Tampon Tuesday.



What is Tampon Tuesday? Well, it's a local networking event where your admission is a feminine hygiene product that gets donated to local shelters, schools, the food bank etc. It's a chance for people that you would never see or chat with about your business, goals, or in our case running the Forest City Road Races, to connect and share.

So, what happened? How did my pack of tampons turn into a half marathon?

While we were listening to Alyssa Jarvis of the London Food Bank talk about the Business Cares Food Drive, it hit me that there is so much more out there that I could be doing with my running. I mean....I finished Insanity, so why not a half marathon?

Then Shauna, the FCRR Community Director, got up there and kinda knocked my socks off. She said a word that I am all too familiar with...

Purpose


What are we here for if not to run with purpose?

So there...there we have it. Purpose lit a fire under neath my soles and I am determined to run the half marathon at Forest City Road Races in April 2015. Sure, I won't finish first and yes, there is a distinct possibility that I will be last. But I will be there putting one foot in front of the other. I will be there pushing myself.

I will be there with purpose.

Will you?


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That Time I Set a PR #running #swtm

I knew it would happen at some point, but I didn't expect it to happen this weekend.

This weekend, my bff's and I ran in the Scotiabank Waterfront Toronto Marathon 5km. Surrounded by 9000 people, all huddling together with our free McCafe coffees, waiting for the sun to come up, we ran in the largest running event in Canada this year.


We ran along Lakeshore Drive, toward the Rogers Centre, with the sun coming up over the Toronto skyline. Not being a huge fan of the city (moreso of driving in the city), it was really eye opening as to just how beautiful it is with its tall buildings, bridges that cross over one another, and pedestrians that cheer on the runners.


Now...I don't know if it was because of Mercury being in retrograde, but my phone just outright shut off. 80% battery and poof...off! And it wouldn't turn on. I got super nervous, and my bff Tiff kept assuring me I would be fine. Then...about 20 seconds until our corral was to start...it started working! Yahoo! Off I went, to the sweet sounds of the Foo Fighters.


The course was awesome...slightly downhill in the spots where I was feeling fatigued, then up some small hills, but relatively flat compared to the races that I've done so far this year. I was so proud when my first mile chimed in my ear...my pace was 13:47! I was pumped, and kept running with a big smile on my face.

Then it hit me...I gotta pee! Damn that free McCafe! Oh well...no porta-potties were in sight, so I just had to keep running...if I stopped to walk for a bit, that I gotta go! feeling intensified so I just kept running. Then I saw it...400m To Go...300m To Go....the signs were everywhere, so I sprinted.

My last mile was at 12:14...I'm not sure I've ever done that, and when I finished 3mi with a time of 41min, I was SO EXCITED! A PR! I just got a PR! My overall time per the chip timing was 45min or so, which I am totally ok with as well since it's my best race time for 2014!


To those that have stood by me in this crazy running journey, everyone who clicks LIKE or comments on my Nike status to give me a cheer in my ear, and those who underestimate me...thank you. You make me run harder, you remind me that all I can do is try. And this smile? That time? It makes it all worth it!




Next up...MEC 5km on November 15th!

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Pitter Patter Let's Get At 'Er #goalsetting #runmamarun #IWillWhatIWant #WDW10km

If you're following me on Instagram, you saw that this past weekend I went for my first post-baby run. Yep...this mama is running again, and at only 25days postpartum!



Time to put some goals out there to the universe, and hold myself accountable to you lovely readers who count on my words. Before putting it on Instagram and facebook, I didn't realize just how many are being inspired...and I am so humbled by all of your comments. I LOVE being tagged in your running and fitness photos, so keep it coming!!! The best thing that we can give to our kiddos is an example of a balanced and healthy life, so lace up and get out there!

Onto the goals!
- run 50km in August
- finish the Orchid 42km medal in the LOST running series
- add in strength training (resistance bands) once a week

How did I feel after that first run back?

Post-run satisfaction. I wasn't sure I could do it. I wasn't sure if it was too soon. Mother Nature threatened a thunderstorm. But I laced up. I put foot to pavement. And I ran. I ran the whole first mile then walked .25mi and ran again. I ran through side stitches (note to self: hydrate more!) and when it got to the road that leads home, I ran past it for another .25 mi. Yes, my legs are trembling, sweat is rolling down my back and my fave is grimy with dirt. But I ran. And it feels insanely good to be back. #momsrunning #running #badmamajamma #ua #iwill
And then...I ran again on Sunday; 3.5km in 35mins. I shaved 30seconds off my pace, and felt really confident about my training that will be coming this fall. I can feel it in my bones that being under the 16min/mile pace per runDisney rules will be absolutely no problem at all.

One thing you will notice in my training are my bad mama jamma Under Armour running shoes, some new UA gear coming for my cold weather training and the hashtag #IWillWhatIWant. I want to be strong. I want to be healthy. I want to run with purpose. And I will.

Notice that I didn't mention weight or inches in those goals? My weight, the inches and the loose skin from having two big baby boys are not my concern. My goals are how far I can run, at what pace, and, ultimately, how I feel when I look in the mirror.

And I don't mean how I feel about what I look like. But the expression on my face. How I feel when I close my eyes and picture myself out there running.

Proud
Strong
Healthy
Determined

Bring it on #WDW10km

Bring
It
On


Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.

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Tips for Running during Pregnancy #fitmama #fitpregnancy #pregnancy

Now that I am into my third trimester, I thought sharing another round of tips for running during pregnancy would be good. The warmer weather is finally here, which means that I'm out there hitting the (paved and safe) trails a couple of times a week.

Running during pregnancy is not without its challenges, and running during the third trimester is certainly not for the faint of heart. But...as with any exercise, as long as you are smart about it, listen to your body and are safe, it is really good for both baby and mom.


It goes without saying that you should listen to your body, but if you were running prior to becoming pregnant it can feel really limiting, and it's almost difficult to slow down your pace. What I have found works for me is to treat it like I am running for the first time. I downloaded the 5K Runner app again, and have started over at day1. Every time I run, I turn on the prompts and do a 1.5min/1min walk/run split. I'm still running, and I'm still pushing myself, but I at least have scheduled splits to follow so that I am not pushing my body too hard. A huge thank you to my doula, Jena, for suggesting this routine!

One thing that I absolutely cannot run without at this stage of my pregnancy is my belly support band.


There are many bands out there, and the one that works for me may not be the right one for you. Regardless....I picked up this black stretchy support band from Walmart (George brand, found in the maternity clothing section) and as you can see above, I fold it over two to three times, then sling it low across my belly for support. It really helps limit the bouncing on my lower belly, and I haven't had an issue with back pain (so far) so I haven't needed more support than the stretchy band.

It's also great since my running leggings are just regular leggings, with no belly panel. It helps my entire belly feel supported, which makes my run overall more enjoyable.

There will be days where you feel like your old non-pregnant self, and can do a longer run. There will be other days where you are completely gassed and do alot more walking than running. What matters is that you are out there, and you're doing something good to keep you and your baby healthy.

Lastly, hydrate. This is something that I'm not super great about, because I always feel like I'm going to pee my pants due to my weak pelvic floor muscles right now, but it is so important to hydrate your body, both for you and your baby. If possible, choose a running route with a bathroom, or do a few loops around your block so you can always circle back to your house a pit stop if needed!

At the end of the day, do what you can, when you can. I like to get out two or three times a week for a run, even if it is just 2km. Running is so amazing and I have really enjoyed my journey over the past year. It provides stress relief and mental clarity, weight loss and toning, and during pregnancy helps to set you up for an easier labour and delivery, as well as an easier postnatal recovery period.

Be smart, be safe.
Go run.

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Run for Retina recap #running #pregnancy #fitmom

This past Sunday, against the threat of rain and at 7 months pregnant, I ran the Run for Retina in London, Ontario. 5km...most of which was surprisingly uphill, but I did it...and I didn't finish last!

My first km went by really quickly, and my tracker dinged at about 8minutes. I was surprised that I was going so fast, and then slowed down a bit to walk some.

This is when it got a little silly. In my brain, when I am running, I am not pregnant. I push myself, and tell my legs "you're not tired, your brain is...keep going" When you're 7 months pregnant, this is really dumb, but there's something that happens when you're at a race...there's something in the air. People are super jazzed to be there; for some, it's their first race and you can see the mix of excitement and nerves written on their face. For others, they're seasoned pros and complete the course in no time.

Then there was me. Pregnant and determined.

Around the 2km mark, my belly started to cramp. I walked a little more, and knew that it was my body telling me that it didn't necessarily need to slow down...it needed water like whoa. Thankfully, I could see the water station in my sights, so walked to it, and chugged a couple of glasses. Once the cramp went away, I walked quicker and worked my way up to a run.

This course was supposed to be a 5km, but when my tracker dinged that I had run 3km at the half way turnaround, I had a feeling that alot of the way back would be walking.

Grabbed some more water at the station, then just kept going. There was only one way back, and I would get there when I got there.

When I could see Blackfriars Bridge, I knew that the end was near, and that it was primarily downhill. I started running...and kept running. I actually ran right past my husband and son, and didn't realize that they were there! I ran past a few of the other racers and over the finish line.

I wanted to cry...but I really really needed to pee! So I collected my medal, grabbed two more glasses of water and ran right to the bathrooms. Once I had some much needed relief, took a moment to smile at myself in the mirror, pat my belly and be proud...all by myself.


When I found my husband and son, my kiddo ran up to me with the biggest smile and was SO proud. Then my husband said I I had of told you four years ago that you would become a runner would you have believed me? I laughed, and said no.

Then he said Would you have believed me if I said that you would run a 5km, while pregnant with our second son?

Absolutely not...but I did, and that's pretty awesome!

I'm SO looking forward to my next race in just a couple of weeks, the Le Chocolat 5K Run/Walk. It's actually a full on girls weekend away with my bests, and I can't wait!

If all else fails, I can have a firefighter carry me to the finish!
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Preparing for Race day, #prenatal fitness and #running during pregnancy

I'm not going to lie, as I write this I am thinking what the hell was I thinking registering for a race when I knew that I would be 6months pregnant? 


To say that I am nervous about my first 5km race is an understatement.

To say that I am worried I won't finish is dead on.

To say that I will probably cry at the end...well that's pretty obvious.

But I think I am ready. I have been running and doing strength training since January. While in Florida, I was running 3-4 times per week, on average 3.25km per run. Pretty good, I think!


Even in the pouring rain
Even on a cruise

I laced up and got my booty out there. Healthy mama, healthy babe...right?

It's true, but running at 6 months pregnant is alot different than 3 months pregnant. My belly is bigger, heavier and babe is moving alot more.

But all I can do is try, right? There's certainly no harm in trying, and I know well enough to listen to my body, walk when I need to, carry a water bottle since my little love needs the hydration too, and to not pay attention to the time. Like I've said before, it's not about setting personal records.

It's just about finishing.

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Running Playlist for Motivation and Speed, #running

Recently, I created my most favorite playlist for while I am running.



When making a running playlist, I typically keep it to 12-15 songs and choose whatever music I like on that day. Usually, that is alot of Maroon 5, Of Monsters and Men, Metric and Fun, but sometimes I like to add slower, more emotional music into the mix like Beam me up by P!nk if I know that I am running something that will be a personal achievement. The emotional songs are usually the ones that are playing when I cross the finish line, in a stream of tears.

Every now and then, I like to crank it up a notch. I was reading about speed training {not something recommended during pregnancy} and it got me thinking about how the music that you listen to while you are running really helps to set the tone and pace for your run.

When I want to go faster, I have five power songs logged into my Nike app.

One Foot by Fun
Here Comes The Weekend by P!nk
The Truth About Love by P!nk
Learn To Fly by Foo Fighters
Beam Me Up by P!nk
Breakout by Foo Fighters

My top tips for creating a good playlist?

1) Choose what you love. You'll be less likely to skip the songs and it will set your pace more naturally

2) If you are speed training, choose songs are are about the same tempo. Foo Fights and Maroon 5 are great options for fast songs.

3) Select 3-5 of your favourite songs as your Power Songs. These should be ones that you fist pump, dance and smile to so you're happy when they come on. With the Nike app, you can add them as Power Songs then at the press of the button, they will come on at your request.

4) Keep your playlist to 12-15 songs. I always find it disappointing when I finish a run before my playlist, and would rather it loop back around.


Have fun!! Enjoy your playlist and make it something that you want to listen to while you're out running!

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#UnderArmour Micro G Toxic Six #Running Shoes #review #ua #iwill

After Insanity, C25K training and running four races, it was time to trade in my Nikes and get something new.


I have some pretty big goals for my running this year, namely to run more races {yes, even though I'm pregnant!} and collect more medals than in 2013. Right now, I am registered for 3 official races, with 3 more to register for, then there are 4 LOST series runs that I am set to complete.

I have also noticed that after about 3km, my toes go numb. I talked to Amy at Under Armour about this issue, and about my prenatal fitness plan, and she suggested the Micro G Toxic Six.


First and foremost, I was really impressed with how lightweight these shoes are. I'm not a fan of clunky running shoes, and sort of like to feel the ground beneath my feet. The Micro G Toxic Six Running Shoes are definitely a minimalist shoe with a very natural feel to them. Check out the bottoms!


In terms of construction, the offset laces definitely relieve pressure on the top of your foot, which means great things if you ever experience numbness while you're running. One tip though, since the laces are offset, you don't need to tie them as tight as you would a normal shoe. I made that mistake on my first run, and experienced a little bit of numbness, but once I figured out the issue and made adjustments, I was good to go.

If I could compare the feeling of wearing these running shoes to anything, I would say that they almost feel like you are wearing compression shoes. They fit like a glove to your foot, and it's a perfect fit every single time. This is because of the molded neoprene upper, that moves with your foot.


Another bonus are the perforations in the heel and toe of the shoe. They are SO breathable. My first run with them was in Florida and boy, was it hot and humid! No more gross sweaty feet, and stained socks!! Such a nice change from what I am used to. The last time I went for a pedicure, the nail tech commented that the bottoms of my feet look shredded. I told her that I'm a runner, and it made sense: my shoes weren't breathing and my feet were just used to being sweaty.

If you're in search of a new pair of running shoes, I would highly recommend the Under Armour Micro G Toxic Six. Design wise, they are beautiful, and they are the best fitting running shoe that I have tried yet!

Disclaimer: I am a brand ambassador for Under Armour, and received these shoes for the purposes of the review. All opinions expressed are my own. This post may contain affiliate links.

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London Lady's Half Marathon, Relay and 5km

November 3rd marked my fourth running event this fall. Fourth...that seems insane given that I really only started running regularly in July, then picked it up in September once I was cleared from the miscarriage.

My first race, the Oasis Zoo run, I was nervous as all heck. By my fourth race, I was pretty cool and calm. I knew the process, to get out of the way of others, be respectful of their space, and that it was about no one's goals but my own.

All set and ready to go!

Post-race glow with Rebecca Nash

Finished!

My time was 43:36, which I was really happy with. I achieved a personal best, and finished 200 out of 273 (with the 5km walkers included).

So...what's next? Well I have the LOST running series that I'm working on. Right now I am working toward the 15km Swan medal, and have 5.149km under my belt from the London Lady's event.

After that, the 16km Flame, 23km Pearl and finally the 42km Orchid. That will complete series 1. My goal is to complete everything by Christmas.

Just gotta keep lacing up, and pushing myself!

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Arrow8km

I was bound and determined to do the second leg of Series 1 for the LOST Running Series.

I taped up and told myself that no matter how long it took me, no matter how many times I needed to walk a few paces, I would finish.

KT Tape is saving my knees right now! If you have any pain in your legs from running, look up how to tape yourself!

8.223km - 1:20:29. Beaming with pride...and exhaustion
The point is to keep going. It doesn't matter how long it takes, or if you're the fastest one out there. What matters is that you lace up, bundle up and get your booty out there.

Oh and my medal for this leg?


The next leg is a 15km. While I'm not sure that I'll be able to do it all in one shot, I'm certainly going to try!

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Gobble Gobble!! Running a 6km at the Gobbler Gallop and setting a Personal Best!

To say that I was nervous to run my first solo race was an understatement. The Oasis Zoo Run and color Me Rad, I had the support of my beautiful bff's at my side, and waiting for me at the finish line.

The Gobbler Gallop...I was on my own. I set out, praying that it wasn't going to rain (which it didn't) and headed to Springbank Park in London. I was met by the most cheerful bunch of runners, most who train for these types of races through the Running Room.


First, the kiddos went for the 1km Waddle. It was so cute and they even got medals upon finishing.

Then it was our turn. The way they had it set up was a 3km loop, and you had the option of running 3km or 6km. Going for the gusto, I had my sights set on 6km.

 The first mile was relatively easy, even with my groin/quad strain that I have been nursing over the past week, and thankfully the course went down the big Boler hill and not up. I think I surprised a few of the runners and volunteers when I kept going through the Start/Finish to do my second loop.

All in all, I beat my pace, and my past two 5km times! At the 5km mark, I was at 42mins. Then I saw this little dude and was SO excited.



I yelled at him (over the music in my ears) for him to run with me and he very excitedly did.


I'm super proud to have a 6km race under my belt, and finished top 10....which isn't too difficult when only about 10 people continued through the first 3km to run the full 6km race. Ha! Still a pretty awesome feeling!

And I definitely did not expect to get a medal at the end, so that was pretty awesome and it is up on the wall next to my Color Me Rad bib and Oasis Zoo Run bib and medal.


Next up...the London Lady's Half Marathon and 5km on November 3rd!

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