This Week’s Workouts

Look at me keeping up with my resolution for the first half week!

I haven’t started wearing my fitbit yet (it’s charging as I type…), so look for step counts and stuff next week, but I’ll just give a quick recap for this week.

Monday – a double at work, which is kind of a workout in and of itself, but I don’t count it, so REST.

Tuesday – a quick 2 mile run, weights and then a 75 minute hot class

Wednesday – 45 minute spin class and 30 minutes of home practice

Thursday – ummm… I was a lazy bum and barely got out of bed all day.  REST, REST, REST.

Friday – 60 minute hot class plus another 60 of home practice

Saturday – 3.5 hours of rock climbing! My shoulders and back are SORE today!

Sunday – 3 mile run, weights and 90 minute yin class

I’m also going to start tracking food this coming week. This past week wasn’t terrible, but between New Year’s Eve and a friend’s birthday party last night there was definitely more bubbly liquids consumed than usual…..I’ll never complain about an excuse to drink champagne though! (Or, one that’s more legit than my usual “It’s Tuesday….or Wednesday….or Thursday….”)

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On to the next one

Like pretty well everyone else out there, the end of 2014/beginning of 2015 has me reflecting on the past year and looking towards the next.  I’ve never really been one for official new years’ resolutions, but I definitely have some goals for 2015.

A year and a half ago, I made a tough decision to leave what was a pretty good job that I was totally comfortable in to pursue one that I knew would have way more challenges and potential emotional difficulties, but that would help set me up for some future goals.  The most immediate of those was doing yoga teacher training, and I’m so happy that I ticked that one off this year.  Big decisions and changes and new people are hard for me so taking the leap was definitely, well….a leap! Ha.

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Going into the new year, I want to take on a few more private clients and by the summer have my schedule set up so that I can teach in a studio setting too.  I find private clients so fulfilling, and with my erratic schedule it’s much easier to make it work, but I really love the energy of a class and can’t wait to start doing that too!

Hand in hand with the teaching goal….I definitely want to make this the year that I start focusing my energy on what I love doing and start to phase out the things that I don’t.

I also want to organize and beautify my home.  Clutter stresses me out, yet I can’t seem to keep it away.  I feel a big purge coming, and afterwards I want to (finally) do some decorating.  I don’t have the innate eye like some people do, so I’m definitely planning on enlisting some friends’ help with this one!

And it wouldn’t be a new years’ post if I didn’t mention some health goals…..

The past few months haven’t been great for me, fitness and eating-wise.  I’m usually really good at motivating myself and keeping myself on track, but for some reason I’ve just totally gone off the rails this fall.  There are certain truths that I know: I feel best when I’m eating healthfully, staying hydrated, sleeping well and making exercise a priority.  Refined sugars give me an instant headache.  Dairy makes me bloated (aside from the fact that I also really hate supporting the industry as a whole).  Less than 8 hours of sleep makes me really grumpy.  Muscles don’t stick around if you’re not using them.

So for 2015, I’m not hoping to do anything revolutionary, simply go back to what my ideal looks like.  I’ll be tracking my workouts again (which I gave up on because it was getting embarrassing….) and maybe tracking my food for a week or two as well, just to create some accountability.  I may even dust off my fitbit – nothing motivates me like competition!  My plan is to start posting some sort of weekly recap on here.  Someone yell at me if you don’t see one around the 7th!

Oh, and another goal….some more advanced asanas.  I really need to work on both strength and flexibility, and there’s nothing like a little headstart!

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Here’s to 2015!!

Race Recap: STWM 2014

I just realized that I kind of left you hanging after that pre-race post!

So first, I’m alive….clearly.  And well, actually!

Race morning was COLD.  I woke up at 6:30 and put on the kettle to boil.  Meanwhile I drank a huge glass of water and a smoothie that I had blended up the night before.  I made myself a mug of coffee (using my beautiful pour-over stand from jm&sons) and took it with me while Kaylee and I went for a walk.  It was so cold out!

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I wore my parka, toque and mitts and only feel like I was being sliiiiightly dramatic.  There are few things I dislike more than being cold.  Being hungry actually might be the only other thing that is sure to cause me as much misery.

My friend Meghan and I had plans to meet up at the starting line, and as soon as I got back inside I definitely texted her saying that it was too cold and I was going back to bed until April.  Given the cold weather and my general apprehension about the race, I seriously considered not doing it.  Why the heck would I want to go (maybe) run for 13.1 miles when it was zero degrees out?!

Sigh.  Because I’m stubborn.  Right.

By this point it was about 7:30.  I drank some more water, did a few sun salutations and dynamic stretches, foam rolled my IT bands and hamstrings and used a lacrosse ball to roll out my feet.  Then it was time to head out.  I made a piece of peanut butter toast (my pre-race ritual!) and headed out the door around 8.  I was walking over to the starting line, and gun time was 8:45.

It was COLD waiting around.  I had worn a throw away hoodie and toque and was still freezing.  Thankfully the huge crowd made for a bit of extra body heat!  More than 25,000 people were registered to run this year!    Since I was in one of the mid-time corrals, it took an extra 13 minutes after the gun to cross the start line.  And then just before 9am we were off!

I spent the first few miles just waiting for the crowd to thin out, trying not to get frustrated (like I always do) with the sheer volume of people.  Around 5km, everyone had pretty much settled into their pace and I was starting to get hot!  I ditched my sweater and toque at the first water station, which I always walk through anyway.  I was surprised at how good my foot was feeling, and had to hold myself back from picking up the pace.  I was purposely staying right around 9:15/mile which felt slow but again, I hadn’t run anything longer than 10km in two whole years and didn’t want to push it.

Around 10km, I could feel my calves starting to get really tight.  After the 12km water station I kept walking for a couple minutes, then completely stopped to do some stretching.  Getting my legs moving again after that was tough, but they felt so much better.  For about 2km.  I could feel the tightness in my right calf starting to pull on my knee and started to get nervous that this would be another “limp to the finish line in tears” race (yes, that’s happened before).  So more stretching, more walking.  I told myself that I would do this every 2km until the end of the race.  At 18km during one of my walking stints, I was having a really hard time talking myself into running again.  I knew I wouldn’t finish in under 2:00, which had kind of secretly been my wish, and thought that just maybe I’d walk to the end since we were going to be waiting for my friend who was doing the full marathon anyway.  Then I saw Meghan run past me, and it lit a fire under my ass.  If she was still going (doing her first half, btw!) then so could I!

I ended up crossing at 2:05:57 and was so proud of myself for pushing through when it got so tough mentally.  Having Meghan on the course really helped too!

Meg’s boyfriend was waiting at the finish line for us with warm sweaters and some celebratory champagne!

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Post-race we went for a well-deserved brunch and spent the rest of the day being rather lazy.  My poor calves were sore for almost a full week after, but I’m happy to report that the bit of pain in my knee disappeared after a day and that my foot feels great!  And of course we’re already talking about signing up for the spring…..

Carbs! (Or….Half Marathon Prep + Blondies)

Soooo about that half marathon.  It’s tomorrow.  Let’s talk for a minute about my training.  Back in July and August, it was going pretty well.  I hadn’t done any runs over 10k yet, but I was working on speed and even doing some horrific hill training workouts.  And everything was feeling pretty good.  Then, after that 10k race I did back about 6 weeks ago, it wasn’t really feeling good anymore.

More than two years ago, I suffered a stress fracture in my 4th/5th metatarsal (that’s your toe bone).  Stress fractures are pretty annoying because the only thing you can really do for them is rest them, and my entire life basically requires me to be on my feet.  And I’m a busy body, so there’s also that.  I took about 4 months off running, and then ran the Scotiabank half that fall.  I hadn’t trained properly, because I was scared of re-injuring my foot, so I went into it pretty much cold.  It was painful.  I could feel myself adjusting my stride to compensate for my sore foot, which in turn really hurt my hip.  The race went RIGHT past my front door at about mile 6, and I remember telling myself I should just walk into my apartment and give up.  But, being as stubborn as I am, I didn’t and proceeded to finish the race.  In less than 2:30, only just over 30 mins longer than my best times.  (I probably should not consider this a victory of any sort, but I somehow still do.)

Fast forward to today, and Dr Google tells me that the nagging pain I’m experiencing on the ball of my foot is metatarsalgia, and probably a direct result of this “never-quite-healed” stress fracture.  So about 4 weeks ago, I was faced with a decision: keep training and hope that it doesn’t continue getting worse (but knowing it probably would), drop out of the race, or do the race “cold”, but on fresh feet, and hope for the best.

I chose option 3.

Is it smart?  No.  Am I going to be hurting?  Most likely.  Am I doing it anyway?  Yes.

I got some new shoes that are way more supportive (read: heavy and clunky and I feel like I have bricks strapped to my feet and I hate them) in a last-ditch effort to help.

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One day I’ll learn to stop being stubborn.  But that day is not today.  (Or tomorrow.)

So today I’m enjoying all the perks of knowing I’m running a race tomorrow.  Buying copious amounts of expensive coconut water.  Lazing around.  Eating all.the.carbs.  That’s where the blondies come in.

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I came across this recipe for chocolate chip chickpea blondies on Chocolate Covered Katie‘s blog a few years ago.  I had just recently discovered the amazingness that is black bean brownies and was eager to try these.  I made them for my coworkers and everyone went bananas for them.  They’re my go-to when I’m trying to convince someone that you can sneak healthy ingredients into your desserts and still have them rock your world.  Today I decided to give them a fall twist by subbing most of the peanut butter with pumpkin puree (I kept 1 tbsp pb) and adding fresh ginger, lots of cinnamon and some nutmeg.  I left out the chocolate chips (although I think white chocolate would have been AMAZING in here) and went for icing instead.  Apparently this is a completely stolen recipe, because I used (a different) Katie’s toasted coconut frosting to top them.

I’ve eaten a third of the pan.  I need to go deliver these to someone.  STAT.

Superfood Anytime Cookies

I’m always trying to put together recipes that use almond meal.  Since I started making my own almond milk, I constantly have it kicking around.  You can dehydrate it into almond flour, but who wants to do the extra work?

These cookies are healthy enough for breakfast or a snack.  Lightly sweet, hearty, a bit cakey and full of superfoods.  They come together quickly, and best of all, you only need one bowl.  I like to make them in my stand mixer, but with a little elbow grease you could do it by hand too.

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Superfood Anytime Cookies

Makes about 28

1 large ripe banana, mashed

1/2 cup pumpkin puree (either canned or homemade)

1/2 cup almond butter (if using unsalted, add 1/2 tsp salt)

2 tbsp coconut oil 

3 tbsp agave nectar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1-2 tsp cinnamon (I like lots)

1/2 cup almond meal

1/2 cup spelt flour

1 cup rolled oats or spelt flakes

1 tbsp each: flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp hearts

3 tbsp goji berries

1/4 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut

2 tbsp chopped pecans

2 tbsp cacao nibs

Preheat oven to 350.

Add all ingredients from banana to cinnamon in a bowl.  Combine well.  Add almond meal, flour and oats and combine.  Add your mix ins and stir until just incorporated.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Drop by rounded teaspoon, flatten gently and shape.  The cookies will not spread much, so they can be close together.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Cool 5 mins on cookie sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container.

I plugged the recipe into an online calorie calculator and came up with 113 calories, 7g fat, 3g protein per cookie.

SBC: Days 23, 24, 25

Gotta get caught up since September is almost over!  Where has the month gone??

23) Things you want to learn how to do

I could make a huge list that is only yoga-related.  For the most part, the asanas that I want to “learn” how to do really just require building more strength and flexibility.  A lot of the inversion/arm balance ones are about allowing my shoulder (that I injured years ago and continues to flare up) to heal and regain mobility.  On the wish list though? Forearm stand/scorpion, handstand and fallen angel.  One day.

I want to learn to knit cables:

Also, I want to learn a bit more about this whole wordpress thing, how to actually create cool blog layouts and all that good stuff.

24) Favourite form of exercise and why

It probably goes without saying at this point that I loooove yoga.  I love the super chill yin that I wouldn’t precisely count as exercise and I love the hot sweaty power classes that totally count as exercise.  Everything about yoga makes me feel good.  And it’s given me better muscle tone than the gym ever did.  However….

I do love the gym.  I like doing huge bodyweight/dumbbell/cardio circuits.  They get my heart rate up and you can get in a really challenging workout in pretty short order.

And I have a love/hate relationship with running.  There aren’t too many things that feel better than a really solid run.  I love clocking times and miles and PRs, the endorphin rush you get afterwards, being outside (don’t get me started on the treadmill)….I could go on forever.  My poor body says a big N-O a lot of the time though.  Half marathon training has been totally put aside.  More on that another day.

25) What you’re reading right now

Working my way through The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte.  I love it, and I can’t wait to read The Fire Starter Sessions next.

I usually like to have a fiction and a non-fiction going at the same time, and I just finished Gone Girl and don’t have anything else lined up at the moment.  Any good recommendations?