July Self Care Challenge, Get Active!

Ah the first month of summer vacation. Who's going crazy with me already? No? Just me? Surely there's another mom out there who is marking off the days on the calendar until the first day of school...

In any event! Here is this month's self care challenge.


The summer for moms typically means shuttling kids from camp to camp, playdates to the soccer field, beach days and so much more. It's exhausting and can be overwhelming even for the most super of supermoms.

This month, I encourage you to take some time out for yourself and do something active.

Alone.

For me, going for a run is my sacred me time. An hour and a half of just me, my music, the pavement and some space to breathe. I may think about everything, I may think about nothing. It's entirely up to me and it forces me to take a step back and do something really positive for myself.

Usually, I end up sprinting home, so I bust through the front door panting. In that moment, I feel a huge rush of accomplishment and my son, Owen, races over to me asking how my run was. He tells me that I did a good job, and that he either missed me or was worried about me (he worries about everything).

In that moment, I feel free. I feel a sense of clarity. I feel that I've shown my family that I can put myself first, and I feel proud of what I've accomplished.

Get out there. Get active!

signature

Taking a Break...to Chuckle #ChuckleRun #Run4Fun

So it's been almost a month since my first half marathon. I'm not going to lie...it took me a good three weeks to recover. My first two runs back sent pain shooting through my right knee and I started getting really worried about my upcoming race calendar.

It dawned on me that something in me has changed. The medals are lovely. The sparkle and bling. Sure sure.

But I've become competitive. Any who have I been competing with? Myself.

So I took a few steps back, and not just because my knee felt like it was going to shatter. I want to run just for the fun of it. I want to laugh and smile and be silly for a change. I want to show my boys that Mama isn't afraid to wear shorts with neon knee high socks and a tutu. In public.
A photo posted by Shannon Moyer-Szemenyei (@sweetstellas) on
Those that know me intimately, know that I take things way too seriously, almost all of the time. It's time to change that and focus on the fun. What better way to do that then to have fun while I run?

On May 31st, I'll be heading up the #RuntheDistrict #Run4Fun Ambassador team for the #ChuckleRun. It's just a 5km (note: three years ago...it would have been "a 5km? are you freaking kidding me? no!") so it'll be a nice and easy race...with a big loud mouth medal at the end.

Come run, walk and chuckle with us in the Western Fair District as we support Vanier Children's Services, KidSport and Oxford-Elgin Child & Youth Centre. The route promises to be historic, scenic and comical with every step you take toward the finish line.

Run for fun...it's about damn time!

A photo posted by Run The District (@runwfd) on
signature

10 Thoughts I Had While Running a Half Marathon

A new blog series kicks off today! 10 Thoughts I Had While.... will give you a bit of a glimpse into my thought process during certain tasks



running
doulaing
parenting

Just a little glimpse, some perspective. Today...10 Thoughts I Had While Running a Half Marathon


1. I'm pretty sure I heard Owen go into our bedroom before I even left the house. Man that's early! Colin's not going to like that at all.

2. How are we only to Wharncliffe?!

3.I really need to get some long sleeved shirts that will stay down and not roll when I run.

4. I. Just. Stopped. Traffic. That is so cool! How many people can say that they had a police officer stop traffic so they could run through a major intersection!?

5. Gotta pee gotta pee gotta pee gotta pee. PORTA POTTY!

6. Photographer! Better start running! Smile! Cheese!

7. That is NOT 17km! Wait. Is it? Hot damn I hope so. Oh wait...nope...7km.

8. I freaking love this song (Shut Up And Dance) *wiggles bum and laughs*

9. I got signs!!! They made me signs!

10. That's my husband!!! That's Colin! Oh here comes Owen...*crying*


and a bonus thought: I can't wait to sit down. All I wanted at the end of the race was to get out my running gear and into comfy clothes and a different pair of shoes!

Have you run a long race before? What was going through your brain?


signature

My First Half #fcrr #doinit

It's been two days since I ran my first half marathon. While I'm sure I'm still processing exactly what I just did, I do have a few thoughts that I want to share.

After rehabbing my knee and building strength in my legs for almost seven weeks, I put my training to the test and set out with determination and heart. I wasn't sure what to expect. All I knew is that I had a great playlist, and that my friends and family were waiting for me at the finish line. Right from the first bend, I was at the back of the pack. I'm not going to lie, I wanted to cry right away. I immediately felt defeated and, well, like I was last.

Then my bff Heather drove by and her son, Tyler, was hanging out the window yelling at me and cheering me on. With a big smile on my face, my step picked up a bit and I went on my way. It was exactly the encouragement that I needed in that moment.

I could feel that there was a bike following me about 1.5mi into the course, and met Kathleen my bike pacer. She was lovely and such a great encouragement throughout the race. It was so nice to walk/run with her, especially throughout the University campus.


 I was really happy with my pace for the first 6.2miles, and then my knee started to hurt.

The kind of hurt that throbs in one location and then shoots down through your leg. It did not feel good even a little bit, so I knew that I was in for a long haul of walk/run splits, with more walking than running. It was about that time that I text my husband to let him know that I was in pain and not sure what to do. He was great at telling me that I would finish what I started and could do it.

Kathleen stayed with me until about 10miles then went ahead and I never saw her again. If you ever read this, Kathleen, you are amazing. You talked the whole time about how I inspired you...and you had it totally backwards. You started running in 2012...and now are a triathlete at 54years old. That's incredible. Seriously, incredible. Thank you for sharing your journey with me!

After getting through Gibbons Park for the second time, and getting up that darn hill I could see Central Ave. up ahead. I sent my husband another text to let him know where I was and hobbled along. At this point, I was limping a little and favouring my right leg, but I kept going. One last set of lights and I was practically there.


I round the bend onto Wellington Rd. and then I saw them. Friends. Family. Husband. And kiddo...out Owen came onto the road and started running toward me. I couldn't hold it in anymore and just started bawling. I heard their cheers and saw my best friend jumping. I saw their signs and smiles.

And then I ran.

Hand in hand with my son, I ran to that finish line and we crossed it smiling, together. For as long as I live, I will never forget that feeling and the sound of my best friend yelling YA YOU DID when I picked up the pace.


Running a half marathon is very likely the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life. Yes, including giving birth. While my thoughts went from why did I decide to do this? to I will finish. Just 4/3/2/1 more miles, I finished.

I finished.
I ran a half marathon!

Up next? Niagara Falls Women's Half Marathon in June!

A great big thanks to all of you for supporting me on my training. Your cheers on the Nike app, comments on Instagram and emails filled me with an immense amount of determination. My leggings were sponsored by Evelynn by Nicole Snobelen, who was a dream to work with! To my friends with signs, yelling and hollaring...you made my heart so happy when I saw you. To my husband for pushing me to run when I really didn't want to, and encouraging me every step of the way...I love you so much. 

And Owen. Oh Owen. Thank you. Thank you for holding my hand and telling me to run faster to get to the finish. I love you so, so much, Bear! 



signature

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.

signature

National Heart Month, Goals and #GetOutAndGo

Happy National Heart Month!

I am so thrilled to be working together with Staples Canada this month to promote their #GetOutAndGo campaign. What is the goal? Well...just as the hashtag says, to get out there, go, get faster, get stronger.

My personal goals for this month are....
  • stick to my training schedule as closely as possible
  • listen to my body and rest if it needs it
  • strength train with the Reebok medicine ball circuit on my rest days
  • inspire my 4 year old to #getoutandgo once a week with me
  • focus on the experience, not the pace


National Heart Month is something that means the world to me. In 2005, my Dad passed away from a massive heart attack. He was, very simply, my hero. Losing him was one of the most devastating points in my life. It rocked the very core of who I am, and even though I feel him near when there is a chill in the room that only I can feel, I still miss him every single day.

It's not too late to take care of your own heart and #GetOutAndGo. Follow me on Instagram to see how my training is going, and to get little tips and tricks of how you can incorporate heart healthy activities, recipes and lifestyle into your every day.

This week brings #FCRR Half Marathon Training, learning to properly fuel my body for long runs, and getting some strength training in. What are your goals this month? Use the hashtag #GetOutAndGo, take care of your heart, and encourage those around you to be active this month!


Disclaimer: I was sent a fit kit by Staples Canada as a part of their #GetOutAndGo campaign. Set your own heart healthy goals, and get out there! All opinions expressed are my own.
signature

Half Marathon Training and Self Doubt #fcrr #doinit

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been in half marathon training mode. I'm trying to run every other day, most times it works out to be three runs a week. I was following the Half Marathon Training app for iPhone and after conquering the Walt Disney World 10km earlier this month, it felt really strange to go back to short runs with 60 sec/90 sec run/walk splits.

Weird as in I didn't like it...not one bit.

So, I set out to make up my own calendar with distances in mind. Time and pace aren't my focus right now; completing the full 13.1mi is.

I had my first scheduled training run yesterday. It was -11C (12F), slightly windy and I was all bundled up and ready to go. It had snowed overnight, with a little freezing rain, but the roads were dry and clear so running should have been nice and easy.
A photo posted by Shannon Moyer-Szemenyei (@sweetstellas) on

Should is the operative word there.

I had my zaggora hot pants on, so I was pretty warm, but they are capris so my calves got pretty cold and then started cramping. I tried to ignore it, and ran in .5mi splits which seemed to help them recover but boy oh boy...did I ever feel like a snail trying to run in peanut butter!

So often this thought crept into my head...

What in the $%ll am I doing thinking that I can run a half marathon? This is insane! What am I thinking!?

When the 2mi marker chimed in my ear, I knew that the end was so close and I started to consider a few things.

I have a six month old baby, who was napping while I was out running.
Of course my pelvis is going to be sore when I run...I have a six month old baby.
I got back to running just 23 days postpartum.
I've run in six events since having Graeme.
I have a six month old baby...and I'm kicking some serious running ass.

My pace may have been slow as molasses in, well, January, but I was out there. My feet were cold and wet...but I was there. My nose was running and I was cold with sweat...but I was there.

And I will be there...every step and every mile of that Half Marathon in April.

When doubt creeps its way into your brain, sometimes you need to consider just how far you've come and how hard you're working toward that goal.





signature

#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!
signature

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?


signature

Two 5km's...One Weekend #fcrr #doinit

Well friends...my 2014 race season has come to a close with the Santa Shuffle in London, Ontario this past weekend.


Dressed as snowmen, we ran in support of the Salvation Army. I was pretty darn happy with my pace, and it was a great training run for WDW10km! The atmosphere was super festive; most everyone was dressed up, there was holiday music playing as we ran the track and hot cocoa waiting for us at the end!


Then of Sunday, I joined up with the Forest City Road Races folks for our first training run!



You may have seen on Facebook and Instagram, I was recently named one of the ambassadors for the 2015 Forest City Road Races! I'm so excited to have found a community where I feel at home. Everyone was super welcoming, and it was actually my first time running without music and for the purpose of enjoying the company of other runners.

It was awesome. We chatted about our reasons for running, why we started and what our goals are. I talked about my weight loss journey, and how I've been working really hard over the past year to lace up and get out there.

We finished our 5km training run at Farm Boy, who greeted us with hot coffee, bananas and energy bars!



And then I started thinking about my goals for 2015. Aside from WDW10km, what do I want to accomplish?

Two words.

Half Marathon.

Stay tuned!
signature

It's OK to be last #running #MEC #5km

You may have noticed that there haven't been many race or training recaps on Instagram or the blog, lately. A few things happened...

sick kids
sick self
travelling husband
sleep deprivation

It's been a rough few weeks, but Saturday meant race day for my November race, and I met it head on in the brightest of fashion.

A photo posted by Shannon Moyer-Szemenyei (@sweetstellas) on
Saturday was -3C (that's about 26F for you American folks), so I layered up and met up with my friends at the park for the MEC5km.

This is the part where I get honest and vulnerable. About 1.5km into the race, I thought to myself...

Whose stupid idea what this? I am so tired after having been sick for a week and a half, taking care of sick babies, doing school drop off and pick up, and being on all the time. I haven't run since the Scotiabank Waterfront 5km. Oh my god, another hill. I want to go home. 

Then I resolved with myself to just burn rubber down the hill and see how I felt. This wasn't my first time on this particular course; it was the same route as the Run for Retina, which I ran at 7 months pregnant. Here I was, 4 moths postpartum, and dreading every hill and pretty much every step.

I saw 10km racers passing me, which didn't exactly help my morale. I reached the water station, and half way point, and the route marshall asked if I was on the 5km or 10km route. When I showed him 5 on my hand, he told me it was the turn around. I said that's the best news I've heard all day. You're amazing! Then the words on Fun rang in my ears

It hurts at first, but it gets better.

I tried to conquer those hills. I tried with every ounce of my frozen being to reach the finish.

I must have been at about the 4.5 km marker when I saw a few racers who were very clearly done. They started clapping and cheering. I passed one gentleman who yelled You're doing great, hunny!! and I just was beaming.

I realized something in that moment, and pushed myself to keep running, keep going, to be present in that moment.

A photo posted by Shannon Moyer-Szemenyei (@sweetstellas) on
Coming in last really isn't a bad thing at all, and on Saturday it was exactly what I needed. I had so many people at the finish, cheering me on. Smiling with me. Encouraging me. Yelling my name, even.

For me, coming in last meant that I had my community waiting for me to finish. They were there, they were present, and they were cheering.

It's ok to be last, and you know why?

Because it means you finished. Against every thought in your brain, ever sore muscle, ever numb toe...you finished.

And that's amazing.

 



signature

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!

signature

Setting Goals #running #ua #iwillwhatiwant

After the Oasis Zoo Run, while we were walking around and seeing some of the animals, I casually said to my husband My goal is to feel confident enough to race in a sports bra and leggings. 

Six years ago, at 180lbs at my wedding day, I would never have uttered those words. Sports bras were made for going under clothing...not being the clothing.

Four years ago, at 205lbs, I would have laughed in your face if you had of told me that one day, this would be my ideal racing outfit.

Goal Running Outfit



When it comes right down to it, I am finding myself becoming increasingly obessed with funky running clothes. I always have a one or two basic items (like the headband and leggings above) that I pair with funky shoes and a tank. So...why not a funky sports bra to go along with it, only ditching the tank before the race begins.

It's intimidating, but given all of the training that I will be doing over the next few months, I don't really think it's that unrealistic of a goal.

I chose the items above for a few reasons. The sports bra has a great design to it and I like that it has a criss cross back instead of a racer back. It's a mid-impact bra so I know that it will be good for running.

The leggings are heat gear from Under Armour, which means that not only are they compression to help with muscle recovery during and after your race, they help you stay cool and dry while you are hitting the pavement. I've really loved running in compression pants and find that they truly do help my muscles to move properly, and recover quicker, so having more options in my running drawer is essential.

The shoes...oh the shoes. I know that I am going to have to retire my Micro G Toxic Six's after Disney (at the very latest, next spring) and I really love how lightweight Under Armour running shoes are, so I'm looking to replace them with a new pair. I love the design and color of the new Speedform's. They have storm technology to repel water from the shoe, which is awesome since some of my training involves hiking. These shoes are also made for trail running, meaning that they are supportive, lightweight, and have great grip for added stability.

And the headband. Now that my hair is so much longer than when I started running over a year ago and I am currently growing out my bangs from blunt to side swept, I like having a headband when I am racing. But that means finding the right headband, and one that doesn't slide on the hair. The UA Perfect Headband fits the specs of what I am looking for, and has great subtle detailing in the tucked design.

So...there's my goal. And when I get to the point when I feel that confident...I will rock it. Every stitch, every item. Rock. It.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.


signature

Let The Training Begin... #WDW10km #ua #IwillwhatIwant #oasiszoorun

If racing has taught me one thing, it definitely is that I can do more than I ever thought.

This past weekend, I celebrated my one year raceaversary. A full year....man. I never ever thought I would call myself a runner, let alone a racer.


The weather for this years Oasis Zoo Run at Toronto Zoo was so much better than last year. The sun was shining, it was lovely and warm and boy was I ready to get out there. My bff's son, Tyler, was running his first 5km event, and I was definitely feeding off of his excitement. We started together, and he {very proudly} beat me by a full 11minutes.

I saw him twice out on the course. The first time was at the dreaded big hill at the Zoo (if you've been there, you know what hill I'm talking about) and gave him a high five. The next time I saw him, he looked pretty pooped, so I sprinted up to him and started clapping and cheering for him. I am just so proud of his will and determination!

The course itself was hilly, but I ran alot more of it than I did last year. I didn't make my 43minute goal (I finished at 47minutes) but I was ok with that. I am also nursing a hurt quad...I'm not sure on what obstacle I hurt my left leg on at Badass Dash, but I definitely did something and it is very sore! My compression capris from Under Armour helped with recovery during the race, and I will absolutely be using them for the next few weeks for my longer runs to make sure my quad heals nicely.

When I came up to the top of the hill, and saw the finish line, it was like it was my very first race ever. All of the butterflies...all of the feels. And then I saw my bff and the huge smile on her face. I started fist pumping and sprinting and cheering! I was so excited...but not tired.



My first thought was that I am ready for the WDW10km. When my first mile was at 14mins, and the second mile at 14:10...I knew for a fact that if I keep training, keep getting stronger, I will be able to do the 10km race in well under the 16min/mile rule.

On the way home, my husband says to me Now we just need to get you running for free. And he's right. I run a few times a week, but then will have a decent break and a week will go by...I'll get busy or Graeme will be up too many times over night and I won't feel like running. But...I need to lace up my shoes, and get out there. No matter if it's raining, snowing, cold, sunny, hot. No matter if I'm tired, crabby, excited, happy. No matter what.



My training schedule will be running on Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday until the weather drops below zero. Once it does, it will be Insanity or T25 on those days, which I am really looking forward to. With Owen at school and Graeme napping fairly regularly throughout the day, I will be able to get in those power workouts. I know the impact that Insanity has on my mental state, my body and my soul, so I am really excited about this training schedule.

Since I will be running in the colder weather, long sleeves and compression gear are going to be essential, as will reflective gear since the days are getting shorter and I will be running in the evenings.

Three more races...three more months...and then...WDW10km. Here we go!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.  


signature

Running after Pregnancy

So my first 5km race since I had Little Mister is this weekend, it's also the one year anniversary to when I started this crazy journey and caught the get.all.the.medals bug!



Am I nervous? Quite possibly moreso than last year, and for a few reasons.

First and foremost, I am just a couple months postpartum. That means I haven't been training for this, and really...have no idea what to expect of myself. I know I will finish, but that stupid competitive streak will rear its head and I need to remember to listen to my body.

Secondly, I know the course. Holy moly is it hilly! We ran it in the pouring rain last year, and I have everything crossed that rain stays out of our way this year.

And finally, my poor husband will have toddlers and babies in tow. He was such a champ last year pulling a wagon with two 3 year olds in it, while watching a 10 and 5 year old, and making sure the 13 year old was within reach with the 1 year old. Whew! Add a 2 month old into that?! Ack! Thankfully, we have more help this year!

I signed up for this event all the way back in January when I was 4 months pregnant. I knew that it would be a challenge, but one that I was excited for and one that I wold welcome with open arms.

Now, I'm a ball of nerves!

But all I can do is try, right?
signature

Badass Dash Kitchener 2014

This past weekend, on our sixth wedding anniversary, my husband and I competed in our first ever (and possibly last!) adventure race called Badass Dash.

Badass is a term that I use with the deepest amount of affection, so when I saw that there was a race that would provide me with a new shiny medal that confirmed my badassness...I so wanted to be there!

The event was on September 13th...our wedding anniversary, and after losing a combined 120lbs and completely changing our lives, I suggested that we do the event to celebrate how far we've come. 6 years ago, there would be absolutely no way we would have been able to compete in Badass Dash and make it out with only a bump and bruise. But that was 6 years ago...we are totally different people now, and have lost as much weight as one adult person!

Folks...there is absolutely no amount of training that can prepare you for this. 7km and 40 obstacles.

FORTY

The dash started with a run up a Black Diamond ski hill (120' elevation) at Chicopee in Kitchener, Ontario, then a trail run through the woods and a few obstacles. I won't detail all of the obstacles, but there are a few that stand out in my bruised and battered mind.

Crazy Cargo Climb - this was the first real obstacle that I looked at, standing at the bottom, and felt so small. But...It was just a cargo net to climb, a transport truck to go over and another cargo net to go down. I did it with encouragement from my husband, but not with his hands on help, so that made me pretty proud.

Feared Float - essentially, floating square pontoons that you had to try and walk/run/scoot across. I went with the walk/run method and made it about a 1/3 of the way before it tipped and I went into the muddy water. That was my first panic attack as you couldn't see a darned thing, and were getting kicked by the people in front of you (and subsequently kicking the people behind you as you tried to find the rope and pull yourself to shore.

Container Climb - I will not lie, I had a full out panic attack on this one. It was three storage containers high...climb up (using the hay bales) go across the top, then climb down. I got to the top container and then stopped dead in my tracks. There were no guard rails. It was straight down to pavement if I stepped the wrong way. I was definitely holding up the line, which made the panic worse, but with everyone encouragement, the helpful hands of the volunteer watchperson and my Husband, I did it. I crawled across the top, then back down the other side and jumped...and fell! Ha! But I did it!

Claustrophobic Crawl - It is exactly what it sounds like...large PVC tubes covered with sand or tarps that you have to shimmy and pull yourself through for about 50'. This was one of the obstacles that I saw on the website and told my husband I was darn unsure about. We went through tubes side by side, and Colin finished first so kept encouraging me and telling me I could do it. Hearing his voice definitely helped, but holy moly....tight squeeze! Not made for hips that spread recently from having a baby!

Australian Backcrawl - Emerging from the second trail run to a muddy hill with a tarp at the top third, covered by a cargo net that you are to scale...on your back...to say that was intimidating to see is a complete understatement. The obstacle was about 60ft in length and at a 65degree angle. We climbed the hill and I stopped. My heart was racing, and I looked over at the other side, probably 50ft away, to where my husband was about to get under the net and I shook my head no. He smiled and told me it was ok if I needed to skip it. I held the net for a few people, helping them get their feet anchored so that they could get going, and I saw a woman who we started the race with. She was competing by herself, so I got her situated and anchored and she said "come on, we can do this." She was right...and I did. My husband told me later that when he got to the top he was kind of freaking out because he couldn't see where I had gone and assumed that I would be waiting at the top. Then he saw me in the net and began cheering me on.

Stupendous Slip-n-Slide - Another Black Diamond hill, this time going down...on a gigantic muddy and wet slide. We started together, even holding hands, and then all of a sudden it was like I was shot out of a cannon and I went flying. It was exciting...until I saw the rocks at the bottom...and the mud...and that there was nothing soft to crash into. Well....grin and bear it right? I somehow missed going over the rocks, flew a good 30' past the end of the slide and spun out, only to see Colin barreling down on me and we crashed. I think I screamed, and I know I (stupidly) put my foot out to stop him. Then we laughed and tried to help each other up when we saw that the secret photographer had come out of his hiding spot, in his camouflage, to take pictures of us. I keep refreshing the Badass Dash facebook page to see if our photos made the cut!

Then, it was just an army crawl under a chain link fence which resulted in bruises on my hip/pelvic bones, an over/under through the sand, back up a rocky trail to the top of the Black Diamond hill, then run back down it. Oh...and climb a sedan-van-bus-van-sedan at the bottom!



We crossed the finish line hand in hand, both beaming with pride at what we had just accomplished.

Then he turned to me and said Next year, I get to plan our anniversary. And it will be full of pampering and a nice dinner.



Deal!

Afterward, we celebrated over some appetizers at a local restaurant, after I recognized that my body was going into shock. The type of shock where you shake all over and start heaving. Not fun...but the medal on my neck stayed there for the rest of the day, and it certainly could have been worse.

My heart goes out to those who were badly injured, taken off the course with broken limbs and on stretchers, especially the gentleman we saw in crisis having CPR administered. It was scary to see, and I cannot imagine how his family felt. I pray that he is okay!

signature

Compression Gear to Speed up Recovery Time

If you are a regular runner, you know that muscle cramps and sore joints sort of come with the territory. Did you know that by incorporating compression gear into your running wardrobe can help speed up your recovery time, making your training easier?



As part of my training for both Badass Dash and WDW10km, I have been incorporating calisthenics. We have a park right around the corner that is perfect for it.

Benches to use for elevated planks and tricep dips
Paved walkways for sprints
Stairs and ramps for climbing
Monkey bars for upper body strength
Benches to use as hurdles



With all of that added to my running route, it means that my muscles are doing extra work and cramping is a good possibility. Instead of risking injury a week before Badass Dash, I put my UA Fly By Compression Capris on, and noticed a difference immediately.

While I was running, I noticed that my legs felt sturdier than ever. My muscles were tight, my legs moving fast, and my pace improved tremendously.

Then, when I circled by the park to my first bench for tricep dips, a plank and squats, my legs had a chance to rest. I was a little worried that they would be too tired but was I ever wrong. After my quick set of body exercises, I sprinted to the next set of benches. And I mean SPRINTED. I ran fast and hard, and when I got to the benches, I jumped up on the bench...ran across and down...jumped up on the second...across and down!



It felt really awesome to add some variety into my run, and it is definitely something that I will continue to do on days that I run in my compression capris to ensure that I minimize the risk of injury. I feel that the combination makes me a better runner, and that races will come easier.

I am excited to see how training with my UA compression gear, and how they help me perform at the WDW10km! The fabric is super soft and they fit like a second skin, so there is no chafing (something that will be important in a 10km race!), and they even feature a zippered back pocket for your keys or ID! Just an overall smart design, and the color is out of this world!

Stay tuned for details of my WDW10km outfit, including my UA Fly By Compression Capris!



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


signature

New Month, New Goals #WDW10km #ua #IWillWhatIWant

Oh, hello September! A new month to conquer, with new goals and some really awesome events that I will be participating in!

The events that I have coming up this month are pretty incredible. First, I am participating in the Badass Dash on my wedding anniversary (September 13th) with my husband. Yep...7km and 30 obstacles...mud...hills...water...ahh!! I am really excited about it, albeit super intimidated, but I know that I can do 7km and the obstacles will just be a part of the fun!

using my Arrow to guide my feet

I only have a couple of weeks to really train for Badass Dash, so I'm focusing on adding things like squats, kettlebells, walking lunges, and box jumps into my runs. We have a playground around the corner, which will definitely come in handy! My compression leggings will help to condition my muscles so that they will be good to go for the Dash, as well.

Then I have my one year Raceaversary with my bests at the Oasis Zoo Run at Toronto Zoo. It was my first every 5km event last year, on my birthday weekend, and I am so excited to return and run in it again. This year, my bff's son is running in the 5km as well, and I'm hugely proud that he's taking the challenge and doing it! My bff's are doing the 10km, which is pretty incredible as well! It'll be a great weekend, one that I am really looking forward to.

My first race! September 21, 2013
 So, what are my goals for this month?

Run three times a week
Incorporate calisthenics into my training for the Dash
Complete all the obstacles at Badass Dash
Finish the Oasis Zoo Run with a time of 43mins (or less!)
Plank every day

That last one, the planks? Well, core strength is something that is really important for runners, and really important if you have just had a baby. My belly is certainly coming back quickly, but I want to tighten and tone my muscles. Whether it's 30 seconds or 3 minutes, there will be a plank done every single day!

What are your goals this month? How are you staying active, healthy and setting a positive example for those around you?



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


signature

Getting Back to Running After Baby #UA #IWillWhatIWant #WDW10km

I have to say, my legs have returned to me a lot faster than I anticipated. I even braved the big hill last week and did my first 5km!


I am, however, a little disappointed about how often I am getting out running. I didn't think that it would be so difficult to balance mom life and duties at home, my husband's crazy schedule and running the 4 year old to and from camp...it's been pretty hectic!

Now we're all a little under the weather, but I am itching to get out running in my new UA Fly By Compression Capris. They're the same ones that have inspired my outfit for WDW10km, which I will be revealing little sneak peeks of over the next few weeks!

Strength training, aside from lifting and carrying a 12lb newborn and a 42lb four year old, hasn't happened but it's because I'm listening to my body and trying to get back to things slowly. Running has been the perfect thing to get me back into a routine of healthy living and physical fitness, as well as setting a positive example for my boys.

I've noticed a pattern. Run twice, rest ten. I'm not super happy with it, it's partially circumstantial, and it will be changing.

In terms of my 50km in August goal, I have run a total of 16km. Still a long way to go in just a very few days!! That's 26km to get under my belt to finish the final station in the LOST running series and 34km to my August goal.

Will I be disappointed if I don't make it? No. I know in reality it was a bit of a lofty goal, that I'm just 7 weeks postpartum and only cleared as of yesterday by my doctor to get back to my regular training. The mental break that running gives, the sense of accomplishment and the feeling that I'm doing something for myself that I am proud of is all that I need right now.Self care is so important, and running is definitely just the thing that gives me that mental break so I can still be me...and be good to everyone around me.

So...tonight, I run.
Friday, I run.
Saturday, I run.
Sunday, I run.

That's four runs still to go in August, which means I could get very close to my 42km LOST running medal if I push myself and do about 6km each time, and I know that with my new compression capris that is certainly possible.

Can I do it? Follow me on Instagram and see!




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

signature

Le Chocolat Mother's Day Primer 5km #running #fitmama #healthypregnancy

Who in the world would have ever thought that at 8months pregnant, I would complete a 5km race? Not this girl, but I certainly did and it was honestly the best race experience that I have ever had.



At the beginning of the race, not even half way into the first km, all I could think was what was I thinking? This is awful and I want to stop running right now!  Then I saw a group of people; Dad's with their kids who were cheering their moms and wives on, and they saw my shirt. They started clapping and cheering, ringing their cowbell and this little girl had pom poms. They were SO excited and it was the motivation that I needed to keep going.

While I didn't finish with the best time ever, I also didn't finish last. At the 5km marker, I was at 52 mins and my goals was "finish in under an hour." I smiled and kept pushing myself.

When I was walk/running up the last leg and saw my friend Rebecca, I was gassed, but then I saw it...the finish line. I smiled, she walked with me and I said something to the effect of needing to run and off I went. The amount of cheers, yells, cowbells and smiles were incredible! The crowd was definitely on my side, and I even had strangers asking for a hug or a photo with me after the race!
 
Having the girls at the finish line was the best. They were hooting and hollaring at me, I got a high five from a very handsome firefighter, and then they yelled that they had a puppy and I pretty much sprinted over to them! She was so cute!!!


And I even made the news! This photo was on windsorite.ca!


I ran about 4mins, then would walk a minute...run another couple of minutes...walk for a few minutes. I had some issues with my feet (my new arch supports, per my doctor, gave me massive blisters and while it felt better to run on my feet, it made my belly tight...) but all in all, I'm really proud of my will and my determination.

The aftermath has been interesting...my belly feels fine, and the little guy has been active...but he's definitely moved. He's not lying diagonally anymore...oh no. His head is right smack down low in the middle and his little bum is right in the middle at the top. Yikes!

The other issue is my left foot. Basically, if it's not wrapped and taped, it feels the same way my right did when I broke two bones on the top. I would bet dollars to donuts (mmmm....donuts) that I have a stress fracture on the top of my left foot. On my list to talk to my doctor (this time my resident, not my OB, as my resident is a little more in tune with my running and fitness during this pregnancy than my OB who pops in from time to time for baby specific needs) and otherwise just taking it easy over the next week and a bit. If there's running to be done, it will be in much much shorter splits (1min run/1min walk) and for shorter distances (3km max).

I have to give credit to Ruffles With Love for my awesome tank, fancy shoes by Under Armor and SweatyBands for my headband. My running tank certainly garnered alot of attention, and made me feel silly and fun going into my last race before I have this baby!

And yes...I'm already filling out my fall race calendar!

Cheers to another medal, a great experience and a fantastic weekend with the girls!

Photobucket