Sister Act: Toronto Yonge Street 10k Race Recap

Finishing the race at the same time!

Erin’s story:

I don’t really remember how it all began, but Jill suddenly became keen to run a race. Because I decided to include the Toronto Yonge Street 10k (the new/old race that emerged after the Sporting Life 10k debacle — which I still don’t really understand) because it fit in nicely with my planned marathon (now half-marathon) training. It was my first-ever race just a year ago and I remembered having a great experience — it’s an easy course with a great crowd — and suggested that Jill give this race a try. As you already know, by the time we lined up at the start line Jill already had 1 race under her belt, but that didn’t matter. It was time to race 10k. Down Yonge Street.

Jill slept over (yay sleepovers!) and we woke up to a REALLY cold day. This was a challenge because we didn’t want to check bags (I had a bit of a time crunch because I had a bridal shower immediately after the race), so we each grabbed old long-sleeve shirts to trash at the beginning of the race. After the race? I had no idea what to do.

These shirts weren’t enough. It was that cold. The shuttle was quick and easy, and we spent 20 minutes bouncing around trying to not freeze. Once we started running, it was fine. The tailwind and 4 degree weather was perfect.

The race plan? I wanted to run sub-55, but knew I probably couldn’t do it on my own. I let Jill set the pace (she had no idea about this) and adjusted accordingly if we fell too far off the 5:30 mark. This worked out great — we hit 1k right at 5:30, but fell bit behind at 2k. We coasted through, running fast, but strong. I felt good until about the 8k mark, when I started to fade. I made Jill yell encouraging things (the best one? “Matt is buying brunch after!” but once we turned the corner down Bathurst, I was the one with the energy and we kicked it up a notch for the final km.

This was a great race. I pushed harder than I ever had in a race before, we stayed on pace and it was great to have someone next to me I could push forward or lean on accordingly. We made a great time and I don’t think I cold have PRed without Jill by my side. Yay us!


Jill’s story:

I have to say running races is way more fun than I had anticipated. Plus running with Erin is the best! It’s an excuse for me to sleep over and Erin feeds me. Best big sister ever! We always have the “runners breakfast” which includes toast with peanut butter and honey and bananas. See running is totally the best.

Way back when Erin and I started this blog one of my new years goals was to run a real race. The Yonge Street 10k was a perfect place to start. Knowing this was a distance I could handle, plus the race is mostly downhill, and Erin had run this last year and planned to do so again this year, there was no reason for me not to sign up. And after my successful first real race in High Park (which was planned after signing up for the 10k) and a very solid run with the Pubruns crew the weekend before and having just climbed the CN Tower – I was still riding high on the “we could do anything!” mentality – I felt confident going into race day. Plus Erin and I decided to run the race together and under an hour. Easy! I was actually excited to run, for once.

But that Erin, she’s so clever. I knew we’d be much happier with a sub 55 time, but I didn’t know the tricks she had up her sleeve. Next time I know to push much harder. Running with Erin is when I feel my best, she usually guides me along and keeps me on pace. When we have run together it’s always been shorter than 10k, so I kept this in mind and that Erin knows best. I didn’t want to burn myself out early on, especially where I don’t really know what my running capabilities are just yet. My plan was to let Erin take the lead (as she usually does) and I would follow suite. I really didn’t want to think too much about anything, only that we’d be running together.

To even better prepare myself for the race I convinced Cecilley (my work friend) to run too. After talking about it all the time on our lunch hour mini workouts, it was rather easy. Now I had running buddy! Erin and I are very busy. If don’t have time to watch our shows together when would we ever run together? I needed backup support. It also helps that Cecilley and I not only work together, but live in the same neighbourhood too. Having Cecilley to run with made up for not having Erin around for pre-race training. This would be Cecilley’s first race too, and that made me happy. This race was very contagious (but really, who woulnd’t want to run down the middle of Yonge street?) because Jenn (my roommate) decided to run this race too. Jenn was insanely fast and finished 10th (10th!) with a time of 40:56. I both love her and hate her for this.

But I was very happy with the way Erin and I finished. We both pushed and helped each other along the way. When I felt slow Erin was there to help pick up my pace. There were moments when I felt I could have ran faster, but I stuck with Erin and used her as my guide. I had this worry of going to fast to quick, and needed to stay on track to save some juice to gun it at the end. The 7-8k stretch was the hardest for me. I stopped enjoying the run for this portion and wanted it to end.

Thank goodness it didn’t last too long because when that finish line came in sight, sprinting to the end together made the whole race totally worth it. Erin took off and I had to catch up! I know Erin went full speed ahead because sprinting is the best way to finish, not because she had an ulterior motive and secretly wanted to beat me. That would have been okay, I’m the middle sister, I’m used to this. Jokes! We both did good. Yay us, indeed!



The race: 10k in 54:57

The route:

Living your Moksha


This time last year Moksha Yoga introduced the Living Your Moksha Challenge to the yoga world. Me, being a trade at Moksha Downtown, saw the posters and wondered, “How can anyone do yoga for 7 weeks straight?” 30 days seemed hard enough. 7 weeks is beyond crazy.

Mind you, this was fresh off my very unsuccessful first attempt at a 30 day challenge (the unplanned 30 days was successful attempt number two), so my perception of this particular challenge was a little skewed. I completely boycotted the idea of any yoga challenge — yes, I do tend to be a tad extreme when I don’t complete something after the first time trying it — I didn’t want to be a failure again, and so I didn’t pay any attention to this living your yoga business.

No, you do not do yoga for 7 weeks straight. I found this out a year later. A few weeks ago to be exact when an email was sent out to all the Downtown trades about the upcoming challenge. Erin (not our Erin, but Erin my studio manager) outlined the 7 pillars behind the challenge and explained what the challenge actually was. I felt rather silly after this.

Here’s a quick video about LYM, the real deal:



So think of this as a yoga challenge off your mat. Taking the feelings yoga gives you, the foundation you build on in class, and the idea of inner peace to your everyday life. Sounds easy, right? It is April after all, a time for spring cleaning and new beginnings. I feel as though a major change needs to happen in my life and I’m ready to commit myself to this. That or it’s Costa Rica withdrawal. I need that post yoga retreat high on life and zen outlook to everything, I want to eat insanely well again and fell great. I want this all again! And I wouldn’t mind both the sun and surfers too, while I’m at it.

So here I go. Starting May 1st, I accepted this Living Your Moksha challenge. It could very well be just what I need to rethink and refuel for summer. I have a horrible feeling parts are going to be terrible, as I’m starting a 10 day detoxifying cleanse as part of the “Be Healthy” pillar lead by Dr. Allison Creech. You may remember her from the voice that puts me to sleep, the Costa Rica voice of reason. But hopefully the community behind LYM and my fellow yogis at Downtown will be there to help me when I’m ready to punch something because I can’t have my morning coffee. Hey, I can do anything now! I climbed the CN Tower!

As a tease, here is some pillars you can expect to see in the 7 weeks;

1. Be Healthy: Practice yoga daily for one week (piece of cake, I did 30 in a row!)
2. Live Green: Green your plate – 7 days of vegetarian/vegan delicious food eating (I’m already a vegetarian, easy!)
3. Be Peace: Extra long savasana each day (I pass out during every savasana, is this really on the list?!)
4. Sign up now and you can join me in this crazy yoga challenge!

Maybe this whole challenge thing won’t be as bad as I think.

We shall see.




Sister Act: We climbed the CN Tower

Us, before the climb. You know it's before because we look happy, not dizzy and exhausted.

Erin’s story:

I have a confession: I have never been to the top of the CN Tower.

I’ve lived in this city since 2007, but have made no effort to enjoy its most famous landmark, its overpowering tourist attraction.

I am a bad Torontonian.

I have another confession: I’ve always wanted to do the CN Tower Climb.

I can’t really explain why. It’s just one of those ridiculous athletic feats, like skydiving and mountain climbing, that I’ve always wanted to try.

I got that chance this year.

Jill works for Bullfrog Power and they put together a CN Tower Climb team every year. Jill, thanks to her pushy colleagues, got coherced into joining the team this year. From the volume and frequency of Jill’s complaining, I got the impression that she didn’t really want to do it.

Not me.

We were at the cottage on Easter weekend when Jill brought it up again. I’m not exactly sure how the conversation went, but once the opportunity for me to join their team was mentioned, it took all of four seconds for me to sign up. I was in. I didn’t even ask Jill’s team captain or boss for permission. (If that was a faux pas, I apologize).

I set my fundraising goal for $250 (hey, I only had a week and a bit!), and raised $310 — enough to get me two free movie passes and three chances at a trip to see polar bears. POLAR BEARS!!! (Thanks to everyone who supported me, by the way. I know how annoying and frequent these campaigns can be and I appreciate every dollar sent my way. So do the bunnies and lions it will save.)

I was amped and ready. Then I realized how insanely busy Thursday, April 19 would be.

A trip to Barrie.

Plans for covering a colleague’s workload during his vacation.

Climbing the CN Tower.

Going to an awards Banquet thing and presenting. In French.

I did it all, with gumption.

I got back from Barrie at 4:30, enough time to chat with Adrian about his vacation and prep for the climb. Luckily, CBC is about three feet from the CN Tower. The team headed over early early early (later, I realized how smart this was but at the time, I thought Jill’s co-workers were all crazy). I found Jill, donned the requisite Bullfrog Power paraphernalia, and got in line. We waited. And waited. And waited.

And waited.

Finally, it was time.

Su, the team captain, gave us one piece of advice: “Don’t stop.” This seemed simple enough to follow.

But then you start climbing.

At first, it’s not so bad. The stairwell is dark and stuffy and the stairs are wire mesh and a bit narrow. I found if I didn’t look at the stairs, I quickly lost my footing. Since I didn’t want to fall 142 stories down — or disturb the 1500 other people climbing that day, I kept my head down.

The calf burn set in around story 50. It wasn’t too bad, I’ve pushed through worse. But the most difficult thing of all was breathing. The air was stuffy and poorly ventilated. And with all these people working hard, it got hot and musty. Fast. The higher you climbed, the harder it was to get the air you needed. I got dizzy and nauseous and my left foot went to sleep a lot. But I powered on and, suddenly, just when you think you are going to quit, that the CN Tower is actually an endless stairway to heaven, you finish.

Or so you think. Sure, the “climb” is done, you get a time card, and people cheer for you, but it’s not over. Oh no.

There are 5 more flights to climb before you get to the observation deck.

Screw you, CN tower architects.

At least the view is worth it.

Oh, and my time was 20:49. So close to sub-20, yet so far.


Jill with the Bullfrog Power Stair Hoppers captain, Su!

Jill’s story:

I too have the same confession as Erin: I have never been to the top of the CN Tower.

As a great iconic landmark, I can’t really say I’ve ever had the desire to pay money to go to the top. As a tourist, yes I can see why this would be appealing, but now that I live here, not so much. I see this building each and everyday, that’s enough for me. But now, I can never look at it the same again!

I have another confession: Unlike Erin I have never wanted, nor ever considered taking part in the CN Tower climb. We all know now who the sane one of the two really is…

While at the cottage, as Erin so lightly puts it, the conversation led to the invitation of her joining my work stair climbing team. Totally not true. While discussing the next insane thing I was going to do for this blog, Erin jumped at the opportunity to join in. Where taking part in the public climb on Sunday wasn’t an option because of the Toronto Yonge Street 10k we were running, Erin gave the invitation to herself to join the Bullfrog Power Stair Hoppers. I suppose this was okay, I really didn’t mind, I just had to okay it with captain Su. But a decline wouldn’t have been an option because Erin had already registered herself right then and there.

So back to my story and how I got myself into this whole mess in the first place. My job at Bullfrog is events. And my biggest event of the year is the Green Living Show. Not only was I involved in organizing Bullfrog’s presence at the show, making sure the booth was set up and the car arrived on time (yes our booth had a car at it!), I had to staff the show as well. All was great when serval co-workers voluntarily signed up for multiple shifts, however, one time remained vacant on Saturday afternoon. What was I to do? I really didn’t want to have to work double duty this day.

Well I knew Su needed one more sorry soul to complete the stair climbing team. I knew this all too well because she tried constantly to recruit me during our lunch time running sessions with the Bullfrog Babes Buns of Steel. So the week before the show I gave Su an ultimatum — she works Saturday at the Green Living Show and I will join the Stair Hoppers. To both my relief and shear disappointment, she accepted.

The show came and went, but now I had a bigger mountain to climb (quite literally). But with Erin joining me, it couldn’t be that bad could it? Yes is the correct answer. It was that bad! Climbing a zillion stairs just to reach the top, and then what? I go down the elevator with a thank you after facing near death? WWF is a parter of Bullfrog’s, as such Bullfrog has entered a team every year for years. So I’ve heard all the horror stories — the people passing out, vomiting and crying, gasping for air as they are forced to climb to the top. There is no coming out once you’re in! I’ve seen the evidence of what happens to people whom make it out alive. There have been few Bullfroggers to live to tell the tale. Now you know why I was not thrilled to do this by any means!

I was sick to my stomach all day and even had nightmares the night before. The constant torment from one particular colleague didn’t help my situation — who then became the my source of motivation. I beat his time and he buys me a mango milkshake, and not just any mango milkshake, but the best in the whole city. Done! I would crush his time of 21 minutes. I did, however, receive very positive feedback from my fellow Bullfrog Babes all of which had way more faith in my climbing capabilities than I did. I need to listen to these ladies more often. Not only did I earn that milkshake I was the 14th (I like to think I was actually 10th as there has a bit of a card hand off dilemma which cost me valuable seconds) fastest girl coming in at 17:47. I then found out is was a rather fast time around the office for a rookie and a girl. I love having bragging rights!

After the feeling of nausea passed and the two-day coughing fit finally ended, I may consider doing this again. But not until I have the mango taste of victory. I know the secrets now — the railing is your friend, climbing 2 steps at a time makes you go faster, there IS a light at the end of the tunnel, and Tom (our president) and Scott (our Development Manager) are very fast.

I have set a goal time of 15 minutes for next year and being the fastest girl ever! Okay, maybe not ever, but of 2013 at least.

I better start training… now.




To run or not to run?

I am having a dilemma.

I don’t know if I want to run a full marathon on May 6.

Correction: I know I don’t want to run a full marathon on May 6.

So what do I do?

Me finishing Around the Bay. I look tired! And relieved! Do I want to do that all over again (only with 12.2k more to go)?

Reason why not #1: My foot is effing sore

I know that losing toenails is a rite of passage for runners. People run toenail free all the time. But, in this tender early stage, I can barely wear shoes. (In fact, I didn’t wear them for a week at work. Thank goodness for a casual work environment and having several superiors who are even crazier runners than I am.) I’m not sure my foot can hack any more training — or another monster race. To make matters worse, the left foot is feeling the beginnings of something serious. It’s okay until I run, then it hurts like a mofo for a few days after.


Reason why #1: I’ve trained this much already

I am going to run a marathon. One day. But, as its been pointed out to me by a few helpful people (thanks Matt!), if I don’t run this one, I’m going to have to start at ground zero all over again. And this training cycle was physically challenging, mentally challenging and time-consuming. Do I really want to abandon all this training so far for what could turn out to be only a hypothetical situation?


Reason why not #2: Around the Bay was great

Around the Bay was probably my best long-distance race experience yet. I had fun and felt strong. Does it not make more sense to focus on the positive, focus on the 30k coming up in August and grow slowly as a runner, instead of potentially diving in over my head because I’m stubborn and silly?


Reason why #2: Around the Bay was great

I spent weeks worrying about about not being ready, for not having trained enough and for not being strong enough. But I was wrong. I was ready. I had trained enough. I was strong enough. Why would 42.2 be any different than 30 — especially when the 42.2 course is so much easier than the 30 one?


Reason why not #3: Am I really ready?

I took a week off before ATB. I took the week off after. And the week after that. And the week after that was my lowest mileage since early in the training cycle. Call me lazy, but I think I’m just burned out and not enough of a “real” runner yet to push through this. I don’t want to say I’m a quitter. I’m a hard worker who understands my limits and listens to my body. What this means is that I pretty much stopped following my training schedule post-ATB. And that’s not good.


Reason why #3: Everyone already knows you’re planning to run a marathon

Matt knows. Jill knows. My mom knows. All twelve people who read this blog know. Do I want to be seen as someone who gives up? NO!


Reason why not #4: I’m tired of running this much

See reason Why Not #3. Burn out. It feels real. And it’s not going away. Running has taken over my life. When I sleep revolves around running. What I eat revolves around running. My entire social calendar revolves around running. And while I like running, I’m not sure if I like running this much.


Reason why #4: These are just excuses

If I just got out of my head and ran, it would be okay. I don’t need to win the damn thing, just finish it. And the race gives you 6 hours to do it.


There you go. And I need to decide soon. The more I sit on my rear end, wallowing, the less ready I become for 42.2. Should I do it?


Right now, I’m leaning to downgrading to the half-marathon. I know I can do a half and have a great race. Then focus on having fun this summer. I’ll still run — I plan to sign up for a couple 10ks and 15ks and focus on getting faster — but none of this 60km a week stuff for a while. I need more yoga in my life. I want to sign up for recreational basketball. Try suspension yoga. Do things that are not running.

Tomorrow, Jill and I will run up the CN Tower. Then I’ll decide, definitively.


UPDATE (8:34am on Wednesday, April 18): I did it. I signed up for the half-marathon. I’ll give this marathon dream a go another time.


What the hell have I just done?







Funky, funky vinyasa

What: Creative Vinyasa
When: Saturday @ 4pm
Where: Moksha Yoga Downtown (577 Wellington Street West)
Who: Jackie Szabo

After the fantastic (or rather insane) Saturday morning roomie date which consisted of running and pilates, it was my turn to take Jenn to try something new. She picked pilates so I picked Jackie’s 4pm vinyasa class! Oh, I was beyond excited! Warning: this class should not be attempted by beginners or anyone who has never taken a Jackie class before. But for anyone else, I highly recommend taking this class. Seeing how I haven’t been to a vinyasa class with Jackie since Costa Rica, I was dying to go, and Jenn wasn’t totally convinced that Moksha yoga is challenging. I took great offence to this, as Moksha is practically my life. I knew Jackie would change Jenn’s mind and make her see things my way. Jenn does Bikram Yoga when she does practice. Boo!


Me showing off my yoga moves before a run. I am awesome.


The afternoon brightened up as we hopped on our bikes and headed to the studio. The whole 4pm gang was there – Lee Ann, Jackie, and my fellow 4pm yogi Michelle – to welcome us. I love this place so much. I gave Jenn the grand tour then we went inside for class. I sneakily placed my mat beside a fellow yoga retreater Joy, who I spotted out as soon as I entered the room. She was my bus and surfing buddy in Costa Rica and the sweetest girl you’ll ever meet. As Jackie began class I felt a tickle at my side and knew Joy had seen me too. This made me happy. Joy is an amazing yogi to practice next to. I feel myself feeding off her energy and graceful practice.

Jackie warned us on Tuesday (the 8pm has become the meeting class for the whole Costa Rica family to practice together) that Saturday’s class was going to get funky. Returning fresh from a trip to San Francisco, Jackie had some tricks up her sleeve. We began with a shoulder stretch then moved in to gentle movements, then began our transitions from triangle to triangle twists then to warrior two. I was confused. And this was only the first variation! Then we moved from pigeon to crow pose. How I successfully managed to do this, I may never know, but I have conquered crow pose. I can actually hold this pose with both feet in the air for longer than 3 seconds.

Now I have a new challenge: side angle crow pose. At least this is what I’m going to call it. We moved into this pose from eagle, we squated and twsited our elbows to our hips then with our hands on the floor you kick our feet out to the side. Or something like that. I saw a girl actually do it before I attemped this insane yoga pose (if you’d even call it one). My jaw hit the floor. But I was feeling good and determine to do it. And I actually did! My feet came off the ground and everything! Joy can attest to this success as I had her laughing as hard as I was. I have another new challenge: some strange looking leg split, but one of your legs is hoisting the other up and your twisting your arms to the oposite direction. You’ll have to talk to Jackie if you want to know what I’m talking about.  I fell. I fell right out of this pose and on the floor, staring Joy right in the face. This got a few more laughs out of her. Poor Jenn, I hope she was having as much fun as I was. But this why I love Jackie’s classes so much. Jackie isn’t afraid to test your boundaries, and she makes yoga both challenging and fun. She keeps true to the traditional Moksha series, but makes every class her own. You’ll never know what’s coming up with Jackie and I like that the most!

Jackie once told me Diane Bruni (from Downward Dog) and Christi-an (from Kula) fuel her soul. Well, Jackie, you fuel mine 🙂

Monday Miles: April 2-15

I’ve all but abandoned this marathon idea. I blame Around the Bay. In the three weeks since, I haven’t run enough. I’m still toying deluding myself that, despite my lack of true training, it’s a possibility, but I may drop down to the half-marathon. I’d much rather run a strong, solid half-marathon that I’m proud of than an ill-advised full marathon that could turn me off running forever or, worse, injure me. I’ll keep you updated on this constant interna debate as it rages on. But first: I need to update you on my training!


April 2-8


Monday: 10k I’ve discovered that if I run north to Mortimer instead of just stopping at Bloor, I can add a few kilometres to my final total. This was my first post-ATB run, a full week after it happened. It was not pretty.


Tuesday: rest
I had a run planned, but felt awful and had an event after work. So I bailed on the morning run. See? This is why a marathon is looking like a bad idea.


Wednesday: 11k
This was almost the same route as Monday. It hurt almost as much.


Thursday: rest
A planned rest day. I enjoyed very second of it.


Friday: Power Yoga at Kula
It was Good Friday so Jill, JK and I celebrated by checking out the new Power Yoga offering at Kula. We all approved.


Saturday: Harry Spring Run-Off 8k
At the time I signed up for this, I thought this race would be a run addition to my training. And it was: beautiful day, challenging course, running friends abound. There wasn’t a lot to complain about here — and you know how much I like to complain!


Sunday: 11.2k
Immediately after the race on Saturday, we headed up to Matt’s family’s cottage for some Easter goodness. Last time, Jill and I ran at the cottage, we did the 16k to town and back with little trouble. This was not the case this time around. We were both sore from our race, so when we saw Matt on the road to come pick us up a full 5k before we were supposed to, we bailed heartily.

April 9-15



Monday: rest
A race followed by a long run deserves to be followed by a day off.


Tuesday: 7k
I bought new shoes the day before, so used this short run to test them out. Since they are the same make and model as my old shoes (these ones!), they worked just fine.


Wednesday: 12.1k
The run the day before was cold and windy and I wasn’t happy with it. I headed out and did the run-all-the-way-to-Mortimer trick to get a decent long-ish run in. It’s funny how runs can be so different from each other, as I felt strong the whole time and enjoyed the run.


Thursday and Friday: rest
Thursday was a planned rest day. I just got lazy on Friday because it was cold and rainy and I just didn’t want to run. I regretted this around 9pm, after I had a few drinks in me. I could have at least gone to yoga.


Saturday: 18k
I knew pubruns was on Sunday, so I wanted to get a long run in on Saturday. This was going to be my true marathon test. If I could crank out something in the 30k range, a marathon on May 6 was in my reach. That, as you can tell, didn’t happened. I just wasn’t feeling it. I probably could have powered through if I really pushed myself, but didn’t see the point in that. But 18k puts me in good half-marathon position.


Sunday: 12.2k
Sunday was pubruns day! When I got up in the morning, it was pouring. Thankfully, by the time we started running (we did the Don Valley Trail to Cherry Beach), it was just misty. Major props to the ladies who came out! We treated ourselves to brunch at Okay Okay after and that was definitely more than okay! Add the clicks to pubruns and home from brunch, and this run was longer than I expected. Yay me!



We need new people to come out for pubruns. We don’t bite! I promise.




We are climbing the CN Tower and need your help

The instant Jill told me her office had a team in the CN Tower Climb for the WWF, I wanted in. Why? I’ve never been to the top ($22.50 to see a city I live in seems ridiculous), and it seemed like the perfect fitness challenge to distract me from the fact that I am sick of running. In case you missed it: I. am. sick. of. running. (I am pretty damn close to abandoning this marathon idea, and I’m totally okay with it.) Running up stairs is totally different. I swear.

The Canada Life CN Tower Climb for WWF Canada is a fundraiser for WWF Canada. Each team member must raise $250 in order to participate. That’s right, without $250 in hand, you will be declined the privilege of climbing to the top of the tower. Crazy, I know. But the tigers and polar bears are counting on us.

This is where you come in. Jill and I need sponsors. Neither of us have reached our goal of $250 yet and the climb is THIS THURSDAY. April 19, 2012. If you can sponsor us, even for only $5 or $10, we will love you forever.

You can sponsor Jill here and sponsor me here.

I could write an entire post about how important it is to protect our planet, how extinction is occurring at a terrifying pace, how global warming is changing, wel, everything, but you probably already know that. I could also write a post about insane this idea is and, really, should should just sponsor us for the joy the recap post and post-climb photos will bring you (apparently Jill’s office makes team members wear costumes), but you probably know that too. And you’re probably sick of people asking for charity from you for every run, walk and bake sale for a better cause. It bugs me too.

But if you can give, please do. It doesn’t have to be to us. It doesn’t have to be to this charity. But charity is an important part of the fitness community, and Jill and I want to start embracing that.



Power up at Kula


What: Power Yoga
When: Friday at noon
Where: Kula Annex (304 Brunswick Avenue)
Who: Christi-an

Kula (aka my favourite studio and one Jill is slowly warming up to) just started offering Power Yoga classes! The best part? For the month of April, your first Power Yoga class is free! How could we say no to that?

See? Who would say no to this?


I haven’t done any “power” yoga since I abandoned my favourite ashtanga class for running. Translation? I was scared. JK, Jill and I agreed to give the power yoga class a go on Good Friday. I NEEDED some yoga that day. The day before, I weirdly busted out in a fever and chills (at the same time!) at work. I looked like a moron wearing two sweaters, wrapped in a blanket and sweating profusely. I also got a migraine (my second ever — I am not liking this trend), left work early, crashed at 5pm and didn’t wake up until 9am. My body had a lot of issues that needed to be worked through.

Christi-an was teaching, so we knew it would be fun and playful, but challenging. In this class, we were constantly moving, building from easier poses to harder ones. Since the class was packed (and it was most attendee’s first power yoga class), Christi-an thoughtfully threw in an extra child’s pose or two. Thank you, Christi-an!

I love Christi-an because she doesn’t overwhelm the class with “feelings”, plays fun but not intrusive music and encourages students to have fun with their practice. She was in her element in this power class, as some of the poses were DIFFICULT. But that’s the point, isn’t it? To build on your practice so the day you finally pop-up into that side-plank/dancer hybrid (which JK and Jill could do, but I could not!), you feel on top of the world. The other point of yoga is to have fun. And Christi-an made that easy.

It will be interesting to see how other teachers at Kula tackle this new offering. It’s very different from the other classes at Kula. I liked that Christi-an said the sequences would change from month to month, so the power offering won’t get boring, but will offer a consistency through which you can improve.

I won’t be taking power yoga every week. But I do plan to add it to my regular yoga routine. It was exactly the kind of yoga I need every now and then.

Take this class if: you want to push your practice to the next level — but have fun doing so.



Race Recap: Harry Spring Run-Off 5k

Well I did it, I actually ran a real race – one fully equipped with a running kit and everything. I got a shirt, a bib number, a real finish time, and even a medal to show for it. And, no, this race was not done wearing my swimsuit. I almost consider myself a runner now. Although runners to me will always be those crazy people who run marathons for fun. I don’t think I will ever be one of those people. But maybe, just maybe. This past weekend does have me reconsidering this persona.

The week before the Harry Spring Run-off Erin’s running group were exchanging emails about the next monthly running route and brunch spot. I was included on these emails and felt more and more like I could enjoy the thought of going for runs, but I wasn’t quite there yet. Then the question came up of who’s running on Saturday in High Park. I wanted to consider doing this. “Wanted to” being the emphasis. My plan was to go for a run in High Park. Why did I have to join a race to do that? But Erin’s words of excitement — “races are fun” — tied with the invitation to join her and Matt at Matt’s family cottage for the weekend, and the guilt that races raise money for charity, left me re-thinking this race. And I do have the Toronto Yonge Street 10k coming up, which I may want to start thinking more seriously about. So I signed up (knowing full well lots of beer would be waiting for me at the cottage, no matter the outcome).

There were a number of reasons for running this race: 1) Erin would be there with me. Running your first real race requires lots of support and a fan club. I had Erin! This made all the difference in the world. 2) I’ve ran 5k in High Park before. I was a little more relaxed knowing I wasn’t going into this race completely blind, I sort of knew what to expect (minus how terrible the end hill was going to be). 3) 5k is a distance I can do – I’ve ran further than this, I knew 5k was not an impossible distance to complete. That was a good thing.

After watching Erin take off on her 8k, I soaked in the racing scene. Okay, real runners are intense and make running look good. If you can look good while running fast, props to you. Those pictures you get from the random photographers after the race are not pleasing at all! I would quit running to never see those facial expressions of mine ever again. I was intrigued by these runners and felt myself wanting to be more like them. Running that fast would be awesome. I caught a glimpse of Erin a few times along her route, and then at the end. I was ready for my race after watching Erin and these running models.

Me, looking like a real runner!

Erin had 3 important pieces of advice for me: 1) high-five any kid who wants to high-five you during the race. It is weirdly awesome how strangers cheering for you can boost your moral and pace! 2) Run up the hill at the end. The last 400m were straight up hill and I was dreading it for the entire race. I knew it was coming and that was all I could think about the whole time! But I did it, I ran up that hill, just as Erin said to do. 3) Sprint to the finish. Thank goodness the finish was literally steps after the awful hill. Somehow I managed to give’er at the end and boy sprinting (if that’s what I actually did) felt great.

I gave myself one goal for this race – to run under 30 minutes. This was something I could do, not too much to think about, and not unrealistic by any means. Being my first race, I didn’t want to stress too much about it, but having 1 goal I figured was important. With a time of 26.07, I crushed 30 minutes (you could save the world in just 4 minutes). I was both impressed and excited by this and have something to strive for, for my next race.

Enjoying the rewards of being a champion!

It was even quite possible Erin was more excited than I was about my finish time and the fact I placed 14th in my age group. Okay, I was a little excited by this too. So I eat my words, races are fun!

Extreme date with my roommate

What: Pilates Mat
When: Saturday @ 11am
Where: Extreme Fitness (1521 Yonge Street)
Who: Paula

It’s April now (in case you haven’t noticed yet) and I don’t know whats’s scarier the fact that winter has completely disappeared on us, or that this Toronto Yonge Street 10k is creeping up on me very quickly. I’m starting to freak out! Just a little bit. The reason being — and I’ll be completely honest — I have not been following the running training schedule at all. Erin, I am terrible! But running and I, we just don’t mix. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy a nice run on a fantastic sunny day or running with friends or with Erin, but I have to have something to make me want to run. I will not run because a piece of paper is telling in it’s Tuesday and this means I have to run 5k today. I won’t do it! More like I don’t want to do it. Or I will make myself go and hate every second of it.

My life is very sporadic and usually based on last minute decisions. You’d think working in events, I’d be good a scheduling things. Nope. Not true. My work involves planing things, not my life. I’ll go to yoga whenever I want to, I’ll pop by the JCC for a workout when I feel like I haven’t been there in a while (or if Phil is teaching the Group Cycle class). Trying to fit running into this mix has been hard. Okay, I’m being a baby. This bigger hatred for running sparked last Wednesday morning when Jenn (my new roommate) suggested we go for a morning run together. Bad idea. One, I’m not in ideal running condition (did you not hear me complain just now?) and Jenn is a total running freak. This is a girl who run 21k because she felt like it. She was also a track star in her university days at Dal. This was a tough morning for me, but I did complete the 8k at her pace (mind you, it was slower than her normal pace).

I then decided I shouldn’t be so hard on myself and use Jenn as a mentor. She helped me pick out new running shoes and we bought matching running shirts! Okay, Jenn, the next run I’ll be ready! Saturday we had a roommate bonding day which involved a run, a pilates class, and then yoga. Yes, I actually found a person busier and more active than myself (and yes this makes me jealous, but I like Jenn too much to hate her for this). If only Jenn were a boy, I would have the perfect boyfriend!

We ran the trails in Mount Pleasant — a way better run for me this time — before our pilates class at Extreme because the spinning class (which was the original plan) had a 60 person wait this! What? How is that even possible? Jenn and I wanted to do cardio before our core workout so we opted for running instead. That is one thing I do not understand, why do people join gyms like this? Ugh. It was an awful feeling walking into a place screaming at you “Lose Weight!”, “Muscles!”, “Get Fit!” from every possible direction — from the cardio machines to the instructors to even the changing rooms — I am thankful for the JCC. The pilates class was actually fantastic though, I will give them that. Although if Fitness Barbie existed she would have looked like the pilates teacher we had. Paula was blonde, beautiful and super in shape. This did not help the overbearing “Extreme” attitude.

I will probably never go back. Not unless Jenn gets her hands on more guest passes. I just can’t see myself enjoying a gym like that, not when I have Moksha Yoga Downtown in my life. Which is exactly where I took Jenn for the next part of our date.