Tag Archives: toronto

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!


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!


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…..


SBC: Day 20

20) Twenty fun facts about yourself

1.  I’m the oldest of four children.  It’s so engrained that I act like I’m EVERYONE’S big sister.

2.  I’m shy.  Like, super shy.

3.  I’m scared of balloons.  Not the foil kind though.

4.  For almost 20 years I thought my uncle had taken my cousin and I to see a Michael Jackson concert when I was like 6.  Turns out it was actually just a dream.

5.  I hate wearing shoes, but own no fewer than 30 pairs.

6.  I’ve moved 10 times in the past 11 years.

7.  For being as clumsy as I am, I’ve never had stitches and the only bone I’ve ever broken is my second toe on the left foot.  Twice.

8.  The last movie I saw in theatres was the Dark Knight Rises in the summer of 2012.

9.  I’m not scared of spiders or any other bugs except for dragonflies and grasshoppers.  I hate those things.

10.  I know how to knit and my specialty is socks.

11.  I’ve never been on an all-inclusive vacation.  And probably never will.  So not my style.

12.  I’ve been a vegetarian for 12 years.

13.  I used to want to be a lawyer.  I blame Ally McBeal.

14.  All things aside, I would have 6 children if I could.  2 bio, 4 adopted, fyi.

15.  I’m fluent in French and can muddle my way through Spanish and Italian too.

16.  I laugh at all jokes.  Like all.  Good, bad, mean, crude.  Allllll of them.

17.  I’m a morning person trapped in the body of a night owl.  Or a night owl trapped in the body of a morning person.  Either way, it’s as tiring as you’d expect.

18.  I’m a Detroit sports fan, if by “fan” you mean I wear the team’s tshirts and passively cheer for them without ever knowing a single stat, player, or their current standing.

19.  I’ve had a guitar for about 15 years and the only 2 songs I can play are Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” and Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl”.  And DON’T ask me to sing.

20.  I don’t own a hairbrush.

SBC: Days 5 and 6

I’ve decided that I’m definitely giving myself a pass on the blog every day thing on days that I work a double shift.    Something about 14 straight hours at work makes me feel pretty entitled to taking a pass on pretty much everything else that day.

5) Top five highlights from summer

1. Bali.  Duh.


2.  Weekly roadtrips to visit someone awesome.

3.  Sunday morning yoga in the park.


4.  Cottage visits with amazing friends.

5.  Realizing I can pop up into headstand every.single.time.I.try now (this used to feel soooo unachievable)


6) Six things about fall you’re looking forward to

1.  A trip out east to visit one of my dearest friends.

2.  Starting to work with my very first private yoga client – so exciting!

3.  Hikes through High Park with Kaylee.

4.  Mocassins.  Boots.  Warm socks.  I loooooove being barefoot most of all, but something about fall footwear makes me super happy.

5.  Crisp fall nights.

6.  Cozy comfort foods.  Soups, stews, roasted veggies, pumpkin everything.

SBC: Day 4

4) Thankful Thursday

Today I woke up verrrrrry tired.  So thankful for coffee.



For balance.  Vegan donuts // Smoothie bowls


For a strong and able body, that can power through runs and ease into asanas


(gratuitous Bali memory)

For finally keeping a scoby alive and nailing a new kombucha recipe


For making the best of things with silly friends



For these two


Epic Fail

^ That’s all that comes to mind when I think about my grand plans to actually update over here.  

I have simultaneously no excuse and every excuse.  I got home from Bali and jumped right back into life head first: working 50+ erratic hours a week, catching up with friends and family, trying to carve out a bit of time to teach, training for a half marathon (maybe), maintaining my personal yoga practice, keeping up with the house, the dog….life in general.  

I’m not complaining.  My life is very full and I love it, but I do want to make a conscious effort to be present in this space.

So in that vein, I’m taking on a challenge.  Gracie from girl meets life put together a September Blogging Challenge and I’m going to join in!  I think part of my problem is that blogging isn’t part of my daily routine.  And since it’s supposed to take 21 days to create a habit, hopefully this 30 day challenge will really cement it for me.


Since I’m already a day behind (old habits die hard….??), I’ll do days 1 and 2 now.

1) Your goal(s) for the month of September

Well, first one is to actually complete this challenge! 

Like I mentioned, I’m sort of training for a half marathon.  By sort of, I mean that I’m hoping to continue training.  I have a long history of running-related injuries, yet I still can’t seem to let it go.  Call me a masochist, but I’m dead set on keeping running in my life.  Next weekend I’m running the Longboat Toronto Island 10k, and I’m hoping to finish in under 50 mins and (more importantly) injury-free.

Yoga-related, I’d like to get back to a longer daily practice.  On busy days, I’ve been doing 15 mins of sun salutations and random stuff and calling it a day.  While this is better than nothing….it’s not great.  And it doesn’t make me happy.  Time on the mat is so precious to me, and really helps my mental state.  Even if it means waking up earlier (which is so painful for me), I’ll spend more time on my practice.  Also, I need to figure out how I’m going to extend my Sunday morning yoga in the park into the colder months.  My (tiny) group of yogis make me really happy and I look forward to it all week, so I definitely want to make it a year-round thing.

Lastly, I want to sneak in a little trip before hockey season starts.  Not because I’m a diehard fan, but because the restaurant I work in gets infinitely more busy during the season, and I need to check-out and get myself mentally prepared for a few days before it hits.

2) Something you’re proud of accomplishing recently

Am I still allowed to say completing my teacher training? It’s been two months, but I’m still riding high on that.

I’m also proud of myself for really being there for some very important people in my life who are going through some tough things.

And on a more trivial note, I’ve been consistently making all my own almond milk and coconut milk yogurt, which has been a longtime goal.


See you tomorrow for day 3!


my first (practice) class

I did it!

Today I taught my first full-length class to the group.  And it was awesome.

One of the major evaluation aspects of this training is (obviously) your ability to lead a class.  We’re fortunate to get two opportunities to do this, the first counting as a practice, then again a few days later to actually be evaluated on.  For most of the people here at this YTT (myself included), this is their VERY FIRST time doing anything like this, so having a practice class is a really awesome tool.  Post-class, our instructor gives feedback on what you did well, and what could use improvement.  And after lots of hugs and high fives, you can also persuade your classmates to let you know what they thought.

I’ve been working on my sequence in my head since day 1.  Or maybe even before then – just kind of taking a mental note of anything that I really loved in a class I’ve attended.  I used to do this to tuck it away for the times when I would practice by myself at home, but I definitely noticed myself doing it in more of an “I want to steal this” way in the weeks leading up to this training.  So once it came time to actually program my own class, my problem wasn’t knowing where to start, or trying to fill an entire 60 minute slot, it was what to leave out so I wouldn’t go over my time!

I finally whittled it down to 60 minutes, then it was time to work on my music.  First playlist draft? 2 hours, 26 minutes.  Oh. Good.  Once I got the music situation not only under control, but to a PERFECT 59:05, my lovely roommate was kind enough to let me teach her my class.  I was nervous, and unsure of myself, and all those other icky feelings.  After the first go-through, I was totally rattled.  Everything that sounded so good and so smooth and so automatic in my head was really, really hard to put into words that would come out of my mouth.  I couldn’t figure out my cues, much less get left and right straight (this is something that’s been hard for me my whole life – I make a big ‘L’ with my index finger and thumb at least once a day – so I don’t know why it was surprising).  Kind of the way it feels when I start speaking French to someone.  I know that I know it, and it’s perfect in my head, but it just won’t come out right.

Something weird happened though.  I didn’t worry about it.  As in, I didn’t keep practicing it.  Not in my head, not out loud to myself, and certainly not to anyone else.  Until last night.  I “taught” roomie and another girl, and it was better.  Still, I lay awake far past my bedtime (which has been 10:30 here), totally nervous.  I slept poorly, and woke up way before my alarm (so as not to waste precious stressing time on silly things like sleep).  I was the 4th girl to teach today, so I made my way through 3 other practices, trying to really give each of them my full attention, mostly failing miserably since I was so stuck in my head.  Then, it was my turn.  I got everyone set up, tucked my little cheat sheet under the corner of my mat, and pressed play on my iPhone.  I decided to start my class with a short reading, channeling one of my favourite teachers from home.  For the first few lines, my voice shook.  I felt that little sting of tears welling up like they always do when I’m in a situation where I feel overwhelmed.  But I kept reading, and by halfway through, my voice was strong and clear.  I felt empowered and strong and all of those awesome “girl power” words.

And then I kinda, if I do say so myself, kicked ass.

I didn’t have to check my cheat sheet.  I hit all my cues the way that I wanted to, and I only screwed up left vs right once. The hour flew by, and before I knew it I had everyone in savasana and was sitting on my mat at the front of the class, hands in prayer at my heart, with more tears threatening to spill over.  This time though, tears of joy.  Pride.  Release.  I did it.  And I did it well.  All I had to do was step out of my head, step out of my own way, stop over-thinking it, and let it happen.

After class, there were only glowing reviews.  From my teacher, and from my fellow students.  The words “you’re a natural” may have even been tossed around.  And it felt so good.



PS: for everyone who has predicted that I’m going to come home totally transformed, a witch doctor, only playing kundalini chants, chimes and instrumentals in my classes….I played The Foo Fighters, Arcade Fire, and a dubstep remix of Ellie Goulding.  And we only said “om” once.  I’m still me.