Friday, 21 October 2016

Fall Happenings

I can not believe that in a few short weeks my little boy will be three years old! Things have been busy around here as we prepare for his party and a visit from Grandma (my mom). She will be flying out on November 3rd and I can't wait. I haven't seen her since May so a visit feels far overdue.

I also wanted to give an update on a couple of things.  We found out a few weeks ago that W tested positive for Celiac in the tTG-IgA blood screening. We have a follow up appointment in early December with a Paediatric Gastroenterologist.  Until then, we are to continue giving him a normal diet with gluten.  Jay will also be tested early next week as we suspect there is a chance he could also test positive.  The odds of a false positive for a toddler are fairly rare but the gold standard for diagnosis is a biopsy. I am not thinking about that right now and will deal with it as it comes.

But, guess what! Weston is having such great success on the potty! His lactulose combined with daily Lansoyl seems to have been a magic potion for us. Thank goodness.  If you want to know more about how thing are going feel free to send me an email.

In lighter news, I have been taking part in a one-month HIIT challenge and have to date completed 10 of the 12 classes required to finish the challenge! Exercise is helping me focus and forget about all this other stuff at the same time.

I also saw a new physio who gave me some new exercises to work on my glutes.  On a positive note, when he tested my strength I was much stronger! I have come terms with the fact that tendonitis is just going to cause pain.  He told me to try to stop thinking about it because sometimes that can make it worse. I laughed and asked if that meant I was imagining it (at this point anything is possible) and he went on the explain the mind/body connection. I am a bit sceptical, but I am trying to not feel down about it in the morning when it hurts and I swear it might work just a little.

I am sharing the quote below because it has been a powerful mantra for my Fall.  I am looking forward to the rest of the season and preparing for ALL the holiday things.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Trials and Tribulations of Potty Training

I haven't been doing a lot of running these past months. Partly due to injury, but more so due to all of my attention being diverted to W's potty issues.

I mentioned previously that we have had a couple of Dr's appointment due to withholding and functional constipation. I have been reading everything from peer reviewed medical articles, naturopathic articles and mommy blogs to try to help him work through it.

While our Dr. initially prescribed Miralax, I have reservations for a couple of reasons. For one, it didn't help us. His blockages remained but watery poop passed around them, leaking into his diaper up to nine times a day. I also found evidence that Miralax has many adverse side effects. Most concerning is the fact that it has never been approved on label for pediatric use.  You can read more about that here if you are interested.

I am sharing a short listing here of potential remedies for other parents who might need help navigating this tricky issue.

More water: If you are going to add fibre you need to increase water. In an attempt to get more fluids in W we also give him juice once a day. This is something I hadn't done before but there is a water content and many juices have a laxative effect (papaya and pear if you can find it). We have also tried to make it more fun with ice cubes and new water bottles.

Lansoyl or mineral oil: At our last appointment our Dr. was very receptive to our concerns and suggested we try Lansoyl - a fruit flavoured mineral oil jelly that can easily be mixed with jam at breakfast time.  *mineral oil should not be given to infants.

Flax meal: I try to ensure W has a high fibre and nutritious diet. That said, I have been making a concerted effort to sneak in additional fibre where possible.  Flax meal in peanut butter is one solution. While peanut butter can be a binding food (= leads to constipation), we do give him it once a day mixed with flax meal and topped with the Lansoly/jam mixture mentioned above.  I also made these muffins on the weekend and they were a quick family favorite.

Reducing binding foods: through research on naturopath and health food focused sources I have read that there are a number of foods that can contribute to constipation in children.  Frequent offenders in our house include bananas, too much dairy, and apple sauce. In retrospect, I realized things used to replace eggs as binding agents often make the list.

Increase beneficial foods:  We have all been eating more pears, prunes, coconut oil, figs etc. in an attempt to model healthy gut behaviours.  There is some great information on this site and some pin-able reminders too.

Calm Magnesium Supplement: This powder is easily mixed in water or juice and has a lemonade taste. 

Magnesium, a gentle laxative, helps to prevent constipation by relaxing the walls of the colon. This role of magnesium is very relevant when you are under stress, have anxiety, or have too many worries. Magnesium, normalizes tension on colon walls allowing for a normal peristaltic action. Also magnesium attracts water and allows you to bring in more water into your colon.

Additional remedies: Aloe vera gel apparently works quite well but I have yet to find a way to disguise it enough for W to take it.  Ex-lax will work in a pinch (I have used it past the 7 day mark) but it is habit forming.

I also suggest keeping track of all bowel movements using a calendar. There are some really good resources online (see here).

We have had small victories. We went from 7-8 days to a 4 day gap. Still too big, but I am hoping with time things will improve. As always, advice would be great!

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Stress Relievers

I am currently battling a summer cold and actually stayed home from work yesterday to try and get some rest.  For the past two years, whenever I get a cold it almost always morphs into bronchitis or a more serious chest infection. I think that had something to do with a lack of sleep and a taxed immune system.  We are all more prone to catching colds/flus when we are stressed. Stress = poor immunity for me.

The combination of not being able to run (my #1 stress reliever) and quite a bit of uncertainty with my job is making me restless.  I am getting an MRI later this week so they can see what is going on. My Dr. suspects a tear that is not healing, which will most likely require a stitch. I am not looking up how that is done.

J also recently found out that he has a hip spur that is a symptom of a degenerative hip condition. In the grand scheme of things, he is pretty healthy, but the more certain thought of a hip replacement in later years has me worried. Don't we all know someone who either bounced back better than before or deals with chronic pain? 

I also have the joys of a soon to be threenager on my hands. Whoever said three would be harder than two was not kidding. He is very emotional and the tantrums are a bit wilder. We are also trying to give him time to potty train (he is almost 34 months).  We currently have a Dr's RX for laxatives for our little guy because he is a "withholder".  If any parents out there have experienced this, please share your words wisdom.

Where am I going with this? Stress relief?? How do you do it? What are your tricks? Here is what I have tried so far:
  • Strength training: I can't run so I am pouring myself into a new world of all things strength training. Right now I mostly feel like it just isn't the same, but I am giving it a chance and following a whole new set of instagrammers. 
  •  Aromatherapy: I went into Saje wellness on the weekend and bought two new scents from the 'relaxation' line for my diffuser.  I then caught a head cold so the jury is out.
  • Yoga: I have done two yoga classes in the past week which is more than I have done in the previous year. I used to love yoga and had plans to do teacher training. I'm not sure what happened along the way but I think it has something to do with all my friends being trail runners.
  • Comedy: I have watched about 75% of the comedians on netflix. There is something about sitting down and laughing at the end of the day that is therapeutic.
If you have any ideas at all, please share away! I am also looking for your resources on strength training. 

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Supplements Part 2

I have posted before on supplements I find helpful in supporting joint health and recovery.  It is no secret that I am sometimes hampered by injuries and have found recovery time has lengthened with age.  In addition to focusing on proper nutrition, supplements can replace or bolster missing nutrients and antioxidants.  Also with age, I have noticed my skin changing.  I don't necessarily have a fear of aging, but I do believe you can take preventative steps that improve the health of your skin. Fore example, wearing sunscreen is something we should all be doing for both health and cosmetic reasons.  It is a simple step in reducing or preventing visible signs of aging such as sunspots and more importantly, some forms of skin cancer.

The folks at Etrexa were kind enough to share two supplements with me to test: Derma and Cardio.  Here is the overview both supplements:

  • Nourishes your inner skin layers
  • Improves skin appearance and elasticity
  • Contains: L-lysine, Hyaluronic acid, L-carnosine, N-Acetyl Cysteine, Coenzyme Q10.
  • Eliminated free radicals and damaged proteins
  • Promotes cardiovascular health
  • Helps muscle and nerve tissues regenerate
  • Contains: Coenzyme Q10, Hyaluronic acid, Reservatrol, L-carnosine, Rutin.
Of all those ingredients, I had never heard of Rutin. Rutin is known to exert free radical scavenging activity, and may be beneficial for cardiovascular health. Reservatrol is the antioxidant found in red wine and the reason all your friends tell you it is healthy :)  

With both supplements, it is important to drink plenty of water o maximize the efficiency.  From the reviews I read, the supplements help to lock in the water you drink and ensure it is delivered to your tissues.

The other ingredients are common in topical skin care products, but I have never taken these as dietary supplements.  I have just started the 30-day supply an will report back with a full review. You can find out more about Etrexa here.


Monday, 1 August 2016

Love With Food

Hi folks,

I am sharing a post with you today about a snack delivery service that is now offering shipping to Canada. I know what you are thinking, I can get snacks here? Yes, I totally understand.  But, if you are looking to try new foods or something to kickstart your goal to try healthier options, this may be  of interest to you.  When we have traveled down south to visit my parents, we often spend quite a bit of time in the snack section.  In particular, have you ever noticed how many flavours of Clif bar there are south of the border? Hot chocolate flavour for one! 

While it's true that some health snacks are really glorified chocolate bars, I did spend some time perusing this company's website and there are a lot of great options. Barney butter packets, sorghum pilaf, seasalt lupini beans. Sounds very promising right?

About Love With Food:
Founded in 2012, Love With Food is a monthly delivery service of personalized products that helps healthy conscious consumers discover and try new, organic, natural or gluten-free snacks in their homes. Love With Food operates in 27 countries and to date, has donated more than ONE MILLION meals to food banks. 

Coming to Canada!
Love With Fooda "snack discovery service" that focuses on delivery of affordable, all-natural, organic or gluten-free snacks to your doorstephas announced it will begin shipping internationally to Canada on August 2, 2016. Love With Foods international expansion will bring curated, hard-to-find healthier snack selections to even more health conscious consumers. Canadian households will now have the opportunity to try hard-to-find or American snacks and brands previously unavailable in their local markets. 

Love With Foods Canadian customers will have the option to order:
  • The Deluxe Box, a sampling of 16-20 new surprise snacks, or 
  • The Gluten-Free Box, a sampling of 10-12 surprise celiac-safe and mostly dairy-free snacks.
In addition, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Canadian food banks to help fight world hunger.  Note: I don't have specific information on how the money will be passed on to food banks but I suspect it will be via larger charitable organizations.  In the US, for every large box sold, one meal is donated to the food banks. 

To subscribe and learn more about this tasty discovery service, visit

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

When life gives you lemons

I am looking forward to the long weekend. In part, because we have an extra day off to spend together, but mostly because I am eager to send July on it's way.  July is usually a good month for me. It is my birthday month, the month that officially says summer is here joined by later sunsets and warmer temperatures. This July however has been an unwelcome intruder in my summer plans. 

It started with two ER visits and an unfortunate fracture in Weston's ankle. Jay then learned that he most likely has another (threes a charm?) stress fracture in his pelvis and what appears to be bone growth on the cam joint of his hip. I was told 17 days ago (but who's counting) 's take a three to six week break from running because my left hamstring tendon is still extremely inflamed and at risk of a larger tear at this point. To be honest, at this point I haven't been able to run consistently for the past seven months without pain so it is probably a needed break.  It still stings.

When the trails are lush and everyone is planning mountain running getaways, it is hard to sit idle. When there are two runners in one household that are on a break it is even more trying. Add to the recipe a toddler who can't walk or go to the park to get rid of two-year old energy, and everyone's spirits are tested.  

So what is the game plan? Regroup. Strength train. Drink coffee on the deck while everyone runs. Ride bikes with our new-to-us chariot. Plan trips. Dream about running. Look at possible fall races that you could take part in. Attend appointments with paediatric bone specialists, chiropractors and MRI techs.  I would add reading to the list, but all I am reading about is why my child is now walking with his foot turned out and whether I should be concerned??

We have 6 weeks left of work until we take our first three-week vacation since Weston was born. It is not a globe trotting expedition but we are excited to see what the great state of Oregon has to offer. We have hikes mapped out and donut shops to visit, children's museums and Weston's first dip in the ocean. 

The cloud that hung over July will lift and we will be back to ourselves. I hope your summer has been  whimsical and full of adventure. If not, let's dream about August together : )

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Safety on the Run with Armpocket

Let me start this post with a confession. I am not always a safe runner. I hate carrying a phone, I rarely have ID, I don't have one of those info bands or tags for my shoes. I don't have a good reason other that I get really irritated by having things in my pockets. They rattle, keys jingle, phones feel heavy.

A couple of weeks ago on a run my friend T laughed and laughed when I said I brought my bank card as ID. I was sort of serious. When Armpocket offered me the opportunity to test out one of their arm bands for running, I was excited but apprehensive. I have tried belts and backpacks in the past and have not been a fan.

I went with the purple aero-i10 model because it was best for my phone (the super reliable but slightly outdated IPhone 5s :) ).

Here is what I loved about it:
  • There is a separate pouch inside for my bank card, ID and a key.
  • It was tight enough to stay up on my arms (note: I need to work on arm strength)
  • There was no chafing.
  • The colour was great!
  • There are two small holes in the bottom for ear phones for your phone. 
Here are some other benefits:

Comfort: ergonomic design paired with cushioned memory foam, soft moisture-wicking rayon bamboo and durable sport velcro conforms to your arm and stays in place.
Protection: Weather and sweat proof.
Quality: Built to be durable and last. Made from sustainable Eco-friendly PET fabric, natural rayon bamboo, with pristine stitching and double zipper closure.
Convenience: Keep your protective case on your phone. Easy touch screen navigation and audio port function. Interior storage for ID, keys, and more.

I feel the Armpocket will be particularly good for long distance trail runs when I really should have a way to contact someone in case of emergency.  There are a lot of other colour options if purple isn't your thing.

Thank you Armpocket for the chance to try your brand and product!

Do you carry a phone? How do you practice safe running?

Friday, 8 April 2016

Race Schedule for 2016

I am a little late posting this, but there is nothing quite like sharing your race schedule to make sure you have an accountability mechanism in place.

Last year I ended up racing a few too many runs a bit too close together. This year I have more of a plan with a mix of distances.

2016 Races

May 1: Winnipeg police half (training run)

April/May: United Cycle Trail Series (5 runs, 4.5-7.5k)

July 3: Great White North Duathlon (10/40/5)

July 23: 5 Peaks Camrose (12.5k) injured

August 10: Seawheeze (½ marathon) injured

Sept/Oct: Franks Trail Race Series

October 9: Grizzly Ultra (26k)

That's it in a nutshell! I would love to hear what your race plans look like for the year. The duathlon is a fist for me and I am trying to do more trail running.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

The thing about self-doubt

We have all been there. 80 per cent of the way through a training cycle you begin to think “maybe my goal was too lofty”, “there is no way I can crack that time”, “what if I don’t finish”.  I call this the “I can’t” phase. Not every runner experiences it to the same degree. My husband, for example, never doubts.  Maybe this is because he puts more work in than me and trusts the algorithm of training completely.  Maybe he has not felt the crushing pain at km 18 or 39 that screams you should just quit.
Recently a running friend who is closing in on her first full marathon asked me if the long runs ever get easier.  My short answer was no, but I thought about it after and realized what she was really experiencing was the tiny seeds of self-doubt trying to plan themselves.  “It is too hard”, “I can’t do it”…“what was I thinking”.  This discussion came as follow up to one a few days earlier when she asked me if I ever felt like I just “could not get through a workout”.  For the record, if anyone ever tells you they have not experienced this they are not being truthful.

Why does this happen so often throughout the training cycle and what can a runner do to combat these negative feelings?
I think the first thing is realizing it is normal to feel this way. You are getting closer and closer to a big goal. Big goals are scary, even terrifying at times.  You are also tired.  Training volume is near its peak and your body and mind are exhausted. This is all part of the plan and the glorious taper week(s) that will be coming your way.

As someone who doesn’t have a particularly strong mental game leading up to a race, here are some things that work for me:

·         Resist the urge to run more than your training plan calls for.  Runners tend to take a more is better approach. We are horrible at listening to our bodies and will push through a workout rather than take a much needed rest day, shorten a run or pull back on pace.

·         Find a running mantra. Some of my favorites are “it’s not supposed to be easy” and “you are stronger than you think”.

·         Believe in the process.  If you put in the work, you have to trust that on race day you will tap into that next level.

·         Prioritize self-care (aka take a break). There comes a time when a break will be much better for you than feeling you did not hit a workout. It is ok to rest, regroup and come back and crush a workout.  The training benefit is also better.  I’m not saying miss a week or two, but try to listen to the signals your body (and mind) are sending your way.

Do you experience a lot of doubt leading up to a race? Do you have a go to mantra while training or racing?

Monday, 7 March 2016

Check in

The most exciting event to hit our household in a while took place this Saturday: our new treadmill was delivered!

It is no secret that I have had a hard time scheduling workouts since Weston arrived.  Sure, one parent can easily go out for a run/workout but there are a number of things that need to sync in order for that to happen. 

If J runs home I have time to run after, but after not seeing Weston all day I try my best to maximize the two or three hours I have with him a day.  This means we eat dinner and do bedtime routing first, and a run can happen by 8pm (if not later).  Because it is dark out and I would be running solo, the best option is to head indoors to a treadmill.

Days J doesn't run home, he also does intervals later which means more time juggling. I would typically go first to be home for him to head out. The downside of this is cutting workouts short or not hitting my paces in order to get home on time.

And then there is a timing/nutrition issue.  If I have intervals to do, I can't eat a full dinner at 6:30. Weston ends up having less family sit-down meals which I am just not comfortable with. I could run in the morning, but I also flex my schedule so I start at 7:30 and have to be out the door by 7am.  Again, because it would be dark out, sub zero and lonely running I would opt for indoors. I typically see Weston for 20 minutes before work and I don't want to miss that time either.

In talking with other runners, I really think the challenges we experience are related to having two runners in our household. I wouldn't say I compromise my training more, but I am more likely to miss a workout than J. I am a bit more flexible because I don't train as hard. The impact on my running is noticeable. As mentioned before, I am following the RLFR program so that I only run 3x a week. The workouts are intense! Lately, I haven't found time for an 8k tempo so I shorten them (and shortchange my training).

After a lot of deliberation and even a placed and cancelled order I finally decided enough was enough. We need a treadmill!

I went with a NordicTrack sale at Sears. It's a mid-range model that will be used mostly by yours truly.  Yesterday I logged my first 40 minutes during nap time while J did a Costco run. It was so freeing to be able to pop downstairs and pump out some miles while Weston napped. 

For our family at this moment, it seemed like the best solution. I just wish I had made the decision two years ago!

How do you juggle training sessions with family life??

Monday, 29 February 2016

Get to Class: Foxy Kickboxing

Ok, so it has been ages since a 'get to class' post.  I think I have probably tried new things in that time, I just haven't thought to post. Today's class was something totally different: Foxy Kickboxing! The closest I have come to a kickboxing class is probably the old Les Mills classes. They have changed names and formats so many times, but I think it was called Group Kick... or maybe strike??  Knowing that I loved that class, I jumped at the chance to try out a Foxy Kickboxing class.

What to expect:

Arrive early to learn how to wrap your hands. You receive purple boxing wraps with your registration which seems more intimidating than it is.  Once your hands are wrapped, you do a quick warm up followed by sets of drills.

Beginners and intermediate boxers are split into two groups and the newcomers learn technique and do slightly simpler drills. Think jab cross jab cross later followed by a snap kick.  You also learn to hold the pads and punch properly with the gloves on. It took me a few punches to get used to keeping my knuckles down.

Here is a summary right from the website:

If you liked your Tae-Bo video’s from the 90’s our kickboxing classes will be like that but 1000 times harder. Why? Well we actually use pads and gloves. You will be hitting and holding Thai Pads throughout class so you get a lot of resistance training (e.g. muscle building). In fact holding the pads is just as exhausting as the actual hitting! And don't worry if you struggled with rhythm - we aren't a 'cardio-kickboxing' class so we don't hit to the beat of the music either. 

It was really fun to do something different for a change.  Run-bike-run can get old after a while, so mixing things up can be a welcome change.  I can definitely see how this class would be a shoulder burner.  Whether you are holding the pads or throwing the punches, you get a workout!

Most of the class was partner work. This is the only part I didn't love, but I think I would have if I was with a friend who wasn't afraid to hit hard and vice versa.  With a stranger, I didn't feel I got those hard hits in, which made the workout not as challenging as it could be.

I would love to go back with a friend who would keep me on my toes! I can see how that would really bring it to the next level.

More info:

Currently, Foxy Kickboxing classes are only in SK, AB and BC. There are plenty of locations to choose from however, so finding a class a short drive or run away shouldn't be a problem.

6 weeks of classes 1x/week is $95 and classes are 1 hour long. That is less than average for other drop in classes in Edmonton.

Are you a fan of kickboxing or martial arts type classes? Have you tried out Foxy Kickboxing in your area??

Note: While I was provided the opportunity to attend at no cost, as always this review represents my honest feedback.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Strength for days!

It is a long weekend here in Alberta and I am so happy to have that extra day for family time.  Today we got a bunch of new books from the library for Weston and we have a couple of little valentines day treats planned for him.

Today I want to talk about strength training.  I don't think it is a secret that it is the weakest part of my exercise regime. When I do get in strength work it is usually in a HIIT class, which is no doubt a great training option, but not necessarily runner specific.  Also, in full disclosure, given the option I am likely to do anything but strength.

As I reflect on some of my running injuries and the frustration that comes with taking time off, I decided it was time to make a concerted effort to get stronger.  Here is what I was looking for:

  • Runner specific training
  • Minimal time for maximum benefit
  • An easy to follow plan that didn't make me feel intimidated
  • Exercises that I could easily do at home when the gym isn't feasible.
After spending a bit of time on youtube trying to put together some semblance of a plan, I decided to take another route and look for injury prevention specific training.  This search led me back to Strength Running.  I have been a follower of his blog for a while now but had never actually purchased a plan.  Last week I finally did! 

His question is simple: Do you want to run faster with fewer injuries? Umm, yes please!

I chose the injury prevention plan which includes 2 books, PDF descriptions of the workouts, and access to videos demonstrating the exercises.  The books were very informative.  As a runner who has had almost every injury he talks about I had a few aha moments where I realized what I may have done wrong to rehab.

Here is the best part: the workouts are not super time intensive.  I have done one six days this week and the max time was about 20 minutes.  I do the core workout watching TV.  

The most interesting thing I have learned so far is this: strength training is just one part of an injury prevention plan.  Other elements are smart training and nutrition amongst others.

Ahh the complexity of being a successful runner ;)

If you want to see more, here is a link to the core workout (my new favourite!!) 

Are you a frequently injured runner??
Do you love or loathe strength workouts??

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Runners Supplements

Let me start this post with the following: It is likely best to obtain all of your nutrients from a whole foods, well balanced diet.  You should also consult with a health practitioner before taking any supplements that could interact with medications you are taking. That said, there are a couple of things in my medicine cabinet right now that I consider essential supplements.

Magnesium: I have been having some really strange strained muscles/injuries the past few months. Most recently, a nagging hamstring tendinopathy issue.  I am going to physio quite regularly for treatment, but I have also been looking at other ideas.  After quite a bit of reading, I decided to try magnesium supplements due to the possible link to tendon health.  Most adults don't obtain optimal levels of magnesium from their diet, in part due to changes in food processing that strips nutrients and minerals from foods, and the depletion of minerals in soil. Also, if you drink a lot of coffee or other sources of caffeine, you may be depleting your magnesium (WHY is caffeine so bad yet so good?).

I bought the effervescent kind, because who doesn't like a fizzy citrus drink.  I do think I am feeling less pain in my hamstring area but that could be due to a) placebo affect or b) reduced inflammation over time.

Zinc: I added zinc to my supplements because I was tired of having ALL the cold viruses ALL the time.  I blame this on a few things: being the mommy of a toddler, taking public transit, and having a slightly taxed immunity following long runs. 

"In one study, athletes had twice the zinc loss through urine following a 6-mile run compared to when they didn't exercise. When you realize that a small amount of zinc is also lost in sweat, and that many people don't get their RDA to begin with, you see why up to 40 percent of athletes may have below-normal levels of zinc in their blood." (source)
I take 100 mg a day right now but it is probably too soon to note any positive effects. I'm pretty sure I might also be getting a cold, but when 6 toddlers hug you at daycare pick-up that might just be par for the course.

I have written before about some of the other supplements I take regularly including omega oil and probiotics. I also have plenty of fortified foods that tend to push my RDI up a bit. Cereals, almond milk and Luna bars for example, have added calcium, iron and Vitamin D.

Do you have a regular supplement that you take for performance/health?
Are you an early adopter of things like cherry and beet juice??

Friday, 22 January 2016

#Impi Team

I am so thrilled to share that I have been chosen as a member of the 2016 Balega Impi Team! In the words of Balega:

Impi is a zulu word that means warrior. We want you to be a warrior in our Balega tribe and help us conquer the  world in explaining to others the Balega difference!

I have had the opportunity to be an ambassador or influencer for a couple of brands now and by far, the most valuable part of the experience is connecting with other runners and fitness enthusiasts.  Why Balega? We runners have our sock brands that we trust the most in a race situation.  I discovered Balega a couple of years ago by chance when I got a pair in my Christmas stocking.  Since then, I have been a frequent visitor to one of the two shops that carries them here in Edmonton to stock up.

Here is what makes me picky about socks:
  • Double layer socks, while great for some runners, always bunch up for me and cause rubbing.
  • I like a heel tab, low-profile sock, but it has to be high enough to not slip below your shoe.
  • Position of toe seams. Have you ever been mid race and wondered, "what the heck is rubbing my toe?!"
  • Material. Not too thick, but too thin and my feet are too cold for this northern climate.
  • Compression mapping. There is a reason the arch is tighter.
  • Colour options. I don't like black socks!
Besides the great fit and blister protection for my hard to sock feet, here are some other things I love about them:

The Lesedi Project
Balega's corporate culture is centred around giving back to the Zulu culture which is a pillar in the companies history and identity. Lesedi translates "light and enlightenment", which for Balega reflects the concepts of shining outward and inward.  Through the project, Balega has assisted a school for physically disable and visually impaired children in South Africa, partnered on a beadwork project to raise funds for school tuition, helped finance a therapeutic play space, and provided scholarships to the school.

Balega also raises fund for veterans and breast cancer awareness through special campaigns and sock promotions.

It is important, I think, when partnering with companies to reflect on how you match up with their corporate vision and responsibilities.  I am very fortunate to have been chosen in 2016 and look forward to offering opportunities to share the Balega love!

Do you have a favourite sock? And horror stories to share about bad socks on a long run??

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Tech Tools

As I sit at the kitchen table trying to turn over a new leaf by putting some effort into meal planning for the week, I thought I would share some of my favourite fitness and meal planning related apps.  I tend to be a late adopter on things like this but as they say, it is better late than never!

  1. Cody App: Some friends of mine set a goal for January to complete the Complex Foundations plan by Darrel Michnowicz.  You can watch online from pretty much any device and track your progress. I do end up doubling up some days because of falling a bit behind, but the workouts are about 20-25 minutes so it isn't too time consuming.  Once I complete this one I might do a yoga challenge.  I would love to be able to do a headstand!
  2. Fitocracy: This one is really easy to use. I upload my panned workout before I head to the gym and enter the weights I use and # of sets as I go.  Except when I forget my phone at home (like yesterday). I have (loosely) been following Jamie Eason's From Flat to All That plan.  It is really helpful for those new to weight training or heading back to the gym after  hiatus.  
  3. On The Regimen macro calculator: In late December I had a body scan done to obtain a more precise calculation of my Resting Metabolic Rate. I have been trying to be more accurate with my macronutrient intake so that I fuel my training and recovery properly.  With this calculator, I can input my meal totals and see how things add up.  I use it mostly as a tool to remind myself to eat more balanced meals.  I have a tendency to eat 80% carbs so this helps :)
  4. Eat This Much: This one goes along with the OTR calculator.  I was finding I was consistently having a hard time meeting the right macros for the day and needed a better planning system.  With the help of this site, I can plan out three to four really good days and then repeat them.  I know a lot of people enjoy more variety but I can honestly eat the same thing for weeks.  If you upgrade to a premium account you can plan your whole week out in advance. 
Some of my all time favourites remain Barre 3 online workouts, Blogilates and Trainer Road.

Do you have any go to Apps or websites that help you achieve your fitness goals? Let's swap ideas!

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Run Less, Run Faster

Hi all!

I wanted to share with you some of my running plan for 2016.  As you know, I get injured quite frequently.  Despite doing what I think is quite a bit of runners strength training and stretching, I end up with random aches and pains that sometimes develop into much bigger issues.

For example, in 2015 I had a sprained ankle (totally my clumsy fault), a calf strain, hip pain and most recently a strain near my hamstring tendon. Yikes!!

After quite a bit of talking with J about our training plans I happened to come across a runners world article in my twitter feed on the Run Less, Run Faster program.  I immediately bought the book and started reading it on kindle that evening.

Once I was convinced, I also bought the app which does exactly as you would hope: plans out your three runs a week.

Here is what the plan is not:

  • less activity. While I run 3 days a week, I also have two intense x-training sessions. I usually choose spinning class so I get in a solid 55-60 minutes which is above the recommendation and above the amount of time I would have spent doing a recovery run.
  • Easy. The runs are harder in terms of intensity. One track workout and 1 tempo plus a longer run that is paced much faster than I am used to.
Here is why I think it might work for me:
  • Hopefully less injuries because my two x-training workouts will be much lower impact.
  • I am still learning to mom and run. Time constraints are real friends, and three days a week is so much easier for me to schedule and I will hopefully have less stress and guilt when I can't make 5-6 days a week.
  • Speed workouts are my weak spot. I sometimes get in the habit of thinking "at least I ran" when I didn't have the energy to complete harder workouts. I end up running a lot of "junk miles" or workouts that just don't have a great benefit for me training wise.
  • I have dropped 10 and 1s. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with that plan, but I was feeling that I couldn't run with other people who didn't do the 10:1 program and I have had a couple of races where I have been completely thrown off my game by a pace bunny that doesn't take walk breaks.
I am in week 9 of marathon training, but week 2 of the RLRF program.  Honestly, it is too soon to give you feedback on how it is all going but I am optimistic!!

Want to read more? Here are some handy links:
please note: This is not a sponsored post!

I would love to hear about how you are training in 2016? Are you switching things up at all? Do you have a tried and true approach?

Let's chat!

Monday, 4 January 2016

Made to Measure

This post is loooong over due but I wanted to share my experience ordering my first ever E-shakti custom dress.

Back in June, I was looking for a dress to wear as a bridesmaid to my friends wedding.  The request was simple: black and knee length.  While that sounds like an easy task, shopping trip upon shopping trip left me empty handed.

I had already bought and returned one dress, when I received an offer to try an E-shakti dress at no cost.  If you aren't familiar with E-shakti, it is an amazing company that offers dresses to fit your shape and not a store mannequin or fit models.  More info on how it works can be found here.

I tend to have a hard time with dresses that aren't a-line or flare because my chest is not proportional to my hips. I blame my pear shape on my mother's side of the family!  I don't typically have the confidence to rock a body-con style, so I was looking for something fancy enough for a wedding, comfortable and hopefully wearable on other occasions.

After narrowing it down to quite a few styles, I selected this one:

I didn't change the dress at all in terms of style, but I did fill in all my measurements and height.

I was pleasantly surprised with the quality and structure of the dress. It has a bit more pouf than I expected, but when I look at the pictures now, I think that was probably true to the image.

I would definitely order again for a special occasion.  The online shopping experience helped me manage the stress of being a bridesmaid and the fit mirrored what I would have found in store.  My only complaint would be the zipper was a bit snug in the rib cage.  I don't know if anyone else has experienced a wider rib cage post baby but I certainly have!

Maybe my next purchase will be a sheath dress made to fit my curves (or lack of curves in some areas haha).  How fun would this have been for new years??

Are you an online shopper or so you prefer to hit the mall?

Have you ever ordered from E-Shakti before??

Saturday, 2 January 2016

In 2016 I will...

yesterday our little family kicked off the new year by attending a fun run and goal setting session.  After running just under 7 shake out ks, we headed back to a great local gym and wrote our fitness goals for 2016 on the chalk wall.

Here is my big one for 2016: Run a 3:40 marathon to BQ for my age group!

at the moment, I am 7 weeks into my base training cycle of marathon training for the Vancouver BMO. It is a lofty goal.  My saving grace (and curse) is my strong suite is in endurance.  My half times don't differ much from my 10k's so what seems impossible might be wishing reach.

In the fall, I dropped running 10 and 1s which has been a pretty big change for me.  I have battled a few injuries but I am hoping that getting my nutrition in check and doing more strength work will help in that area.  Recovery eating within the proper time window is tough for me because I usually feel really nauseous post long run. I have a few tricks that my dietitian shared though so I am hoping to put all of these things together into a solid training plan.

My other goals include:

  • Staying injury free. 
  • Adding in more speed workouts and tempos. The track is not my comfort zone, but I know I need to put in the work to get the results.
  • Eating less processed foods. I am not horrible in this area but I do eat convenience foods like packaged hummus and crackers way more than an adult woman probably should.
If you are curious, J's goal for 2016 is running a 1:16 half.  We have mapped out all our goal races so that our training doesn't overlap too much and no one (me) is left with the short end of the training stick. 

I would love to hear your goals for 2016 (they don't have to be fitness related).

Happy New Year!!