Sister Act: A Midsummer Night’s Run 15k

Erin’s story:

I ran A Midsummer’s Night’s Run last year as part of my training for the Scotiabank Half-Marathon. While the race itself didn’t go so well (1:48), I enjoyed the route and spirit of the race, so signed up for 2012. Thankfully, many of my running pals were aso into the 15k distance and Shakespeare theme, so we had quite a strong contingent heading out there!

Despite what happened last year, I didn’t do a lot of training for Midsummer this time out. A handful of 10k long runs dotted my DailyMile reports, but that’s it. I feel that I’m much fitter than I was last year and my running base was there, but I wasn’t sure what was going to happen after 10k. My plan? To feel strong until 12k, then just hang on.

That’s exactly what happened.

In the back of my mind, I had a 1:30 goal time. I felt that despite my lack of training, 1:30 would be difficult but achievable. I could handle that. On race day, we had perfect running weather. Sunny, but cool. It’s beginning to feel like fall. Jill and I met up with Kate before the start (who is a fitness monster — she followed this 15k race with Tough Mudder on Sunday morning!) and we agreed to stick together. Kate was using the race as a long training run (reason: the aforementioned Tough Mudder) and it was Jill’s first ever 15k race, so she was unsure what to expect (her race experience is below!).

The Midsummer crowd is dense for the first couple kms. Without timed corrals, it’s bound to happen. It’s not the biggest deal, but it does make it tough for three people to stick together and try to find a pace that works for everyone. After about a km, Jill took off. This was cool with us — I knew if Jill felt strong, she’d run under 1:30 without any problems. Kate and I settled in. I was feeling good, running around a 5:45 pace. I knew it wouldn’t last, but I felt It wouldn’t wear me out. Then Kendal caught up with us and hung around for a bit. Kendal was also using this run as a training run. Her race mission? “No slower than 1:25.” Stick with me, Kendal, that’ll definitely happen.

Kilometre 3. I was slowing down. Kendal and Kate inched ahead of me. Then Kendal put on her music and settled into her run. Kate dropped back and made the decision to run with me the whole way. Thank you Kate!!

We passed the 5 mark at 28:38, making good time. Both 1:30 pace bunnies were right in front of us, so we decided as long as we kept them in sight, we were fine. Kilometre 7 is the one that rounds the lighthouse at the end of the spit. The trail changes here from pavement to dirt and last time I ran on dirt, I rolled my ankle. I slowed. Kate stayed with me. We picked it up for kilometres 8 and 9, and even passed both 1:30 bunnies. I fueled up at kilometre 8. I was fading, but not in pain. I concentrated on my breath and not letting Kate get too far ahead of me. She was running maybe two steps in front. When we passed the 10k marker at 59:32, I felt we were in the clear. If I could hang on to a 6:00-ish pace, we’d be fine. Kilometres 11 and 12 started to hurt. Nothing painful, just the I’m-at-the-end-of-the-race-and-using-everything-I-have-left feeling. We were running closer to 6:10 by this point, but I was okay with that.

Then kilometre 14 lasted forever. It felt like the longest click of my running career. The sign was never coming. (I confirmed this with my fellow runners after — it was long!). Then,  it was the final kilometre. We kept pace until we rounded the corner for the last couple hundred metres. “Do you have a sprint in you?” Kate asked. “No, arfhghjkgkd!” I believe was my answer. But we picked it up anyway and crossed the finish looking and feeling strong.

1:30:35. 35 seconds off my goal and 18 minutes faster than last year. Can’t complain about that at all.

Thanks, Kate for running with me. Running a race with a friend changes the entire dynamic of what you are doing. You’re focused on them, making sure they feel good and running strong, but you also don’t want to let them down. The few times I felt weak in this race, I pushed through because Kate was there. I really enjoyed having someone to talk to and someone to measure myself against.

Next year: 1:25. I think I can do it. Especially if I run with a fast friend.

Jill’s story:

A race featuring fairies, princess and mermaids is defiantly my kind of race. Although, Midsummer Night’s did not have that race feel at all. Instead it was super fun, friendly, social, and rather exciting. Maybe that’s why it’s called a run and not a race. Either way this is a run for all Toronto runners. I kid you not there was a mermaid!

When Erin put this run into our summer race schedule, I was really excited. Let’s be honest: fairies are fun! And the chance to run among them would be grand! My only worry was the distance. Up to that point (when we registered) my longest race would have been the Yonge Street 10k. Anything beyond 10k was going into scary territory. But I signed up anyway, as getting a 15k race under my belt was one goal of mine to accomplish before leaving for San Francisco. As my Team In Training runs were stretching out further and further, I was becoming more comfortable with my longer runs. Adding more kilometres each week helped build the confidence I wanted to run a solid 15k for Midsummers. I knew full well in my mind 15k was more then manageable, but once I ran 20k “accidentally” with the marathoners one Saturday morning with TNT, I knew I was ready. This was just the boost I needed.

So finally race day came. I wasn’t too happy having to work the weekend I had a race, but seeing how the event was the canfitpro Conference and Trade Show — 2 days of taking to fit people — would be a good thing. I was complemented for my hippie environmental beliefs and ways of life, but also for my running and race goal times. I had a sub 1:25 in mind, but would settle for a sub 1:30. Erin and I explored the expo that afternoon, sampled more protien bars than any normal person should have, discovered to our newest fitness-must-try, Piloxing — more on this whole experience in a later post I promise — we ate a nice late lunch in the park by the CBC, then biked to Erin’s to rest for the race. I was tired, I needed a power nap!

Finally it was race time. As much as I wanted to run with Erin and Kate, we quickly realized running with 3 people is hard. As Erin mentioned the run did not have designated corrals so the first stretch was a tight squeeze to manoeuvre around. I saw the 1:30 pace bunny and caught up to him right away. I could hear Erin and Kate behind me, so I knew they weren’t far. I was feeling good and ready to run, but kept focused on not doing too hard to fast. For now. The next thing I knew the 1:25 pace bunny was behind me. I was then determined to keep it that way! With no music or no one to talk to I was insanely calm and focused on my breath. I had a song in my head to move to and new scenery to look at. As night time grew upon us I went into attack mode. I was stealthily taking down my opponents in front of me to finish ahead. This was probably more fun than it should have been, but hey whatever gets you going! But then the 13k stretch came and this leg of the race was not fun. My brain wanted it to be over and passing people became harder. I didn’t want to slow down, but most likely I had. The finish was drawing closer and people were in sight. I needed the cheers and claps to help me finish. Sprinting to the end I finished with a time of 1:22:45! Crushed 1:30 and minutes ahead of 1:25. I had a good race and was very happy with the outcome.

21.1k in looking easier and easier. Of course I say this now….


The route:

Karma at Moksha Downtown & Come And Swap It! – more TNT fundraising efforts

I wanted to invite you all to two events – one is coming up tomorrow and the other next month – the 8pm Karma Class at Moksha Yoga Downtown and Come And Swap It! (a clothing swap soiree!).

Everyone knows what karma means in the yoga world, the idea that if you do something good (or bad), the universe will find a way to repay you. Whether it’s good or bad depends on your intentions of the deed. Yogis like to give back in good ways. Remember the LYM fifth pillar Outreach? This is a perfect example of expressing good Karma. Which was the week Cecilley and I truly devoted ourselves to run with Team In Training for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada. I’m hoping karma will find a way to get us $8,000 before October 14th.

As part of Moksha yoga’s philosophy giving back is in their blood. Every studio has karma class (donation-based classes) that help support a charity of Moksha’s choice, or a cause or charity dear to the heart of the individual studio. I am truly blessed to belong to such a wonderful community at Moksha Downtown. And without a doubt Erin (the studio manager) was behind me 100%. She has kind enough to offer this Friday’s Karma proceeds to go towards my and Cecilley’s marathon mission. Thank you, Erin!

So please come join Cecilley and I at 8pm this Friday, August 24th. We promise good karma will come your way if you do! If anything it is a great way to practice hot yoga at a cheaper rate then paying the regular drop in fee.

But, if your Friday evening is taken up by other activities we understand. But don’t be shy for Saturday, September 15th at Cecilley’s apartment we are hosting a clothing swap for all our friends, which includes you! Drop a donation at the door and come brows though an assortment of stylish new finds to update your fall wardrobe. From dresses, to shirt, to pants, shoes and accessories there is no way you will walk away empty handed. You can find more details on the Facebook event post, so check it out!

Don’t have clothes to swap, no problem. We’d rather see you there and walk away with something new then not show up at all. Also, to make the afternoon that much sweeter, there will be grown up refresherments and snacks for our guests. As well as a fun playlist. Hey, who knows when you’ll be need to strut your inner model down an imaginary runway and when you do music is needed. Our DJ is taking requests. Okay, so I understand a clothing swap isn’t exactly fitness related. But! My yoga friends and teachers are contributing yoga clothes – so there you go a clothing swap can be fitness related. Now that you’ll have new workout clothes you will have no excuese not to go to yoga or run or whatever it is that you’ve been holding back from doing.

Good karma, good clothes, good food and lots of fun. Please come.

Lunch time yoga

This is the face I make when I don’t do enough yoga. It’s not pretty.


So, in the month of August, something weird happened. Enough people went on vacation, that my meeting schedule went from a couple a day to a couple a week. I had huge blocks in the middle of the day where I could do what I wanted (within reason, of course!)

I started going to lunch time yoga.

Lunch time yoga is the best.

Yoga Tree at Richmond and Spadina has 50 minute classes. Perfect! I could get there and back in under 10 minutes. Add changing, settling in, and what-not, these classes would probably take an hour and a half out of my day. So I decided to get their 30 days for $40 intro pass, go to work for 8am instead of 9am, and take as many lunch time classes as I could. I went about 3 times a week for three weeks, opting for hatha and vinyasa classes instead of their hot classes so I wouldn’t have to shower when I was really crunched for time. (I’m gross, I know.)

Did I tell you lunch time yoga is the best?

I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it so much. But it breaks up your day and gives you 50 minutes were you don’t — and can’t — think about work. You get to move your body, focus on your breath and sweat. It calmed me. Not only because I was giving myself a break, but also because it meant I was fitting my daily workout in without any problem: no feeling guilty about not waking up early to get things done or feeling bad because I missed an evening run because of a social engagement. It was scheduling efficiency at its best. I didn’t dwaddle during my coffee breaks or spend my lunch reading celebrity gossip sites, because I knew I was going out of the office for an hour. I wanted my time at my desk to be as productive as possible to validate that hour.

It made me a happier and more productive employee.

Every yoga studio should offer 45 minute classes at lunch. Seriously, people. An hour is too long to expect people to slip in and out of the office. But 45 minutes? It’s a manageable block of time.

But, with August almost over, everyone is back. The 1pm and 2pm meeting is becoming a staple again. I need to figure out how to negotiate getting 2-3 mid-day classes in without disrupting everyone’s work schedule. I know I can go before (Yoga Tree has a 7:15 class on Monday, Wednesday and Friday) or after (like I’ve been doing since I became a grown-up with a real job), but it’s not the same. I haven’t done lunch time yoga in 4 work days and I’m achy, sore and a little bit grumpy.

This needs to change.

And not just for me. We’re a team. And when individuals thrive, the team thrives.



TNT Fundraising Update: Yoga, On the Beach & LLSC Lottery Winners!



A few weeks ago before the “2 month till race day mark” officially passed I was feeling quite anxious about NWM and running all together. Let’s face it Cecilley and I have a lot of fundraising left to do and time is running out. In my mind a few months back, I wanted us to have reached half our goal by now. Long story short, we haven’t.

But thankfully Jackie Szabo, my yoga teacher wonder, and her generous soul wanted to help us out. We put together the LLSC Lottery and bam! Donations started coming through. Then we planned Yoga, On the Beach! And as luck would have it, even more donations were contributed to our cause. Thank you, friends!

I started to feel a little more at ease.

So now that Cecilley and I have two successful fundraising events under our belts we would first like to send a big congratulations to Robin McLuskie the grand prize winner of the Weekend Yoga Retreat at the Harmony Dawn with Jackie and Jess Lemon!

And congratulations to our other lucky winners: Kristi Soomer, Jennifer Piggott, and Deborah Hudson!

But the highlight of this fundraising journey, for me, will forever be doing yoga at Sugar Beach. Unfortunately, the particular weekend we chose was looking gloomy and rain was in the forecast. The two most terrible signs you could deal with when planning a morning yoga class outside at a beach. After humming and ha-ing over what to do, we decided to play it safe and not gamble with Mother Nature. We switched the date to Sunday that Friday afternoon. Changing the date of your event is never a good thing because you risk losing people. Sadly, one RSVP no longer could come, but the sun shine, she came that morning.

It was picturesque view. The sun glistening on the water, the sand glowing under our mats – it almost felt like being in Costa Rica again. Almost. Minus the pick umbrellas behind us.

Doing yoga on the sand was harder then it seemed. The ground was a bit uneven which meant you had to be extra mindful in balancing poses. We worked hard, we sweat, and breathed in the lake water breeze as we flowed. It was all good. We even had a few spectators – a mix of bikers, tourists and perhaps some party goers from the night before. Again, it was all good and something to do again for sure! Jackie made the class fun as always and with only four people practicing, we all received special attention. It’s impossible to have a bad class with Jackie, sand or no sand, she is a joy to have guided us through this class. I am forever grateful to have a spirit like Jackie’s in my life to mentor me as a yogi and inspire me as a teacher. Jackie, thank you!


Even lunges on the beach were harder than a practice room!


And the fun doesn’t stop there. Our upcoming events include (please email me if you’re interested in attending or would like more information):

8pm Karma Class at Moksha Yoga Downtown, Friday August 24th (all proceeds of this class will support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada)

Come And Swap It! A clothing swap at Cecilley’s House, Saturday August 25th (donations accepted at the door. We will even come pick up the clothes at your house in advance)

We hope to see you there!

My happiness commandments

(Click for bigger.)

I recently read Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project, after JK recommended it. It’s a solid, useful read. Some of Rubin’s explorations into the more mindful and spiritual side of happiness I felt forced and a bit hokey, but her study of creating happiness in the home and in your relationships was eye-opening and practical. There are a lot of solid takeaways in this book and it serves as a reminder that you’re happier when you’re trying to be a better person.

One thing I really liked about The Happiness Project was the idea of a set of personal commandments: notions that guide your day-to-day life and decision making. Gretchen’s own happiness commandments are here. They are a great base for building your own, but I thought long and hard about what I wanted my commandments to reflect. What was important to me? What makes me feel happy and fulfilled? I wanted my commandments to be vague and inclusive, so each would work in multiple spaces in my life. Eg. “Be a better friend” is a worthy and lofty commandment, but I felt it is too specific for what I wanted my commandments to accomplish. I also wanted them to reflect me and what I wanted in my life.


With that in mind, here’s what I came up with:


1) Show up.

This refers to not only going to things I am invited to, but also showing up for friends and family. Be someone they can rely on and count on.


2) Be present.

Too often I will attend said event, but will be thinking about work or my grocery list or checking my phone. This happens at work, at yoga and even at parties. I will get a lot more out of what I do if I try to be in the moment. I’ll be a better listener, a more productive employee and a better friend.


3) Be fit.

Working out is important to me (obviously, you are reading my fitness blog after all!). By taking my bike instead of the TTC. By choosing healthy food. By using fitness as a social activity, instead of eating and drinking. I’m happier when I’m active, so let’s make it a priority. I want to keep my mind fit by doing challenging things and reading stuff that exposes me to new ideas. This means more crossword puzzles, newspapers and Scrabble games in my life and I’m excited by that.


4) Be with nature.

Here’s a truth: everything is better when you are outside. This is a reminder to go outside more, but to also think about where I am and what I want to do. Maybe this means going to Toronto Island more often, or choosing to run outside instead of doing a class inside. It also means to think about the food I eat (local and organic is closer to nature than pre-packaged and frozen) and to bring more greeney into my home. I want a beautiful garden and more inside plants. Flowers should be an everyday occurrence, not an occasional one. Let’s make it happen.


5) Be light.

If I can be light in my mind, I will be more carefree and more happy and will have less stress and worry in my life. I also think this is relevant to my body, and not just in a weight sense. Believing I am light will make me run faster and will make that elusive yoga handstand more possible.


6) Be thankful.

By being thankful for more things, I hope I will see everything more positively and recognize all that is good in my life, and not take things for granted.


7) Let go.

This goes hand in hand with “Be Light.” Don’t hold grudges. Don’t take yourself too seriously. I almost made “it’s more important to be supportive than it is to be right” a commandment (it will be one of my “secrets to adulthood” or “splendid truths” or another happiness-based list), but I feel “Let go” embodies that as well and encourages me to be happier and to find the humour in things.


8) Wait, but don’t procrastinate.

When it comes to work, email, I’m a big “do it now” person — to the point that doing it right away might not be the best thing in the world. I recently read Wait: The Art and Science of Delay by Frank Partnoy and his argument that procrastination can lead to better decision making and better work really resonated with me. That said, I’m terrible at cleaning up and didn’t want to become a procrastinator of everything in my life. “Wait, but don’t procrastinate” is a reminder to take a breath and assess before diving in — but to not put things off for so long that they become problems.


9) Make good, do good, feel good.

This is just a reminder that by being creative and being a good friend, neighbour or employee, I will feel like a better person. And a reminder to do what feels good, whether it’s run, go to bed early or have another glass of wine.


10) Be me.

I can improve who I am, but I can’t change who I am. “Be Gretchen” was Rubin’s #1 commandment and it drove a lot of her decision making in her book. I really liked this commandment and its premise resonated with me, but I feel I have a strong sense of self and am okay with who I am. That said, a reminder to embrace, love and celebrate who you are is always a good thing. Hence, “Be me” being my final commandment.

Another rule I love and try to live my life by, that isn’t commandment-worthy, but is worth sharing: you never regret taking a shower, going to bed early or exercising.

Try it, it’s true.



My 45 days at Kula

This is me at yogalites at EnergyXchange. But you get the idea.

If anyone from Moksha Downtown was wondering where I’ve disappeared to for the past two months, don’t worry. I haven’t been kidnapped nor have a fled the country. Answer #1: I was home in July for a refresh and real outdoors Digby adventuring, and for birthday celebrating (not mine or Erin’s but our mother’s)! And Answer #2: I’ve been practicing at Kula. I know! I didn’t think it would ever happen either: the day I bought classes at another studio. Shame on me.

After the few experiences I’ve had a Kula (some great, others not so much), I had very mixed feelings about the space. Right away, I knew it would not be a place I would practice at regularly. But once I let my guard down and began to warm up to Kula a bit, I forgave them for my awful Reiki experience and actually brought an intro special. Lucky for me it was on the perfect day — the day of the Bloor Street Festival — because my 30 day intro turned into 45 days! Lucky me indeed. Kula was celebrating their birthday on June 10th and to celebrate Erin and I went to class for free. One discovery I’ve made – Kula loves birthdays (as do I!) whether it’s theirs or yours, there’s free yoga for everyone!

As you know Erin and JK are Kula advocates and practice there all the time. Given how close I live to the studio — which was too prefect for those early morning 6:30am-ers — I should too. But I’m too attached to my Moksha and can’t break away from it. It’s the yoga I love. But I do love trying new places and a break from the heat and sweat is always a good thing. So the next 45 days would begin a new challenge: to stay away from MYD and only practice at Kula. I had an extra 15 days, I was planning to make the most of it.

To this day I still think of my first class with Christi-an. I fell in love. Her class was pure magic.

I made the effort to try all the classes on the schedule and try a class with every teacher. I did rather well with this, but found my schedule more accommodating to the times Jen Slade taught. Which wasn’t a bad thing. Jen is a singer and. man can she ever belt out a tune. She also has an incredible joyful personality and makes you excited for yoga. Just know with Jen, class will always a surprise. Her music classes and the Power hours were my favourites. Tuesday 10pm nighttime yoga with Lindseed was also very lovely, if you can manage to stay up this late. I also really enjoyed my mornings with Marinella. Nothing like a hot hour and a hard class to wake you up in the morning. And the days where I would do both were both fantastic and tiring.

I have to say when my 45 days were over I was very sad. I think back to all the classes I didn’t get a chance to do and this makes me even sadder. But I guess you can’t win them all. I would have done a 45 day challenge, if June 10th wasn’t the final day of my secret 30 day challenge. 75 days would have just been too much. Or would it?

So with that, I take back my sour feelings towards Kula and would recommend it to everyone. Whether you’re a new or experienced yogi, Kula offers a great variety of classes – hot, power, yin and restorative – you name it. You will find something that works to your individual practice. And with the overwhelming sense of community it really is a space for everyone to enjoy. Oh, and everyone should take a class with Christi-an and some point in your life. Trust me on this.

Thank you, Kula, for a fun and challenging 45 days. JK, I hope I made you proud.

FitStreets Round #4

No pictures this time, so you’ll have to handle seeing this one again!


Well, what goes around comes around. With my last FitStreets post, I was getting cocky. So I was well overdue for an ass-kicking work-out.

I missed FitStreets last week, thanks to the long weekend and a sport I’d like to call extreme Olympic watching. So I was ready to roll when August 13 came around. And it hurt from beginning to end. Steve (hi Steve!) made me look like an out-of-shape slowpoke this week. It certainly helped put things into perspective.

The night started off with a longer run to UnderPass Park. (If you haven’t been yet, you should go. It’s fascinating and fun!). There we conquered by biggest fitness weakness: my upper chest. I’ve tricked myself into thinking I have decent upper body strength. I can do push-ups and planks, see? But oh no. That’s a lie. Tonight, I could barely do the swing tricep dips, I couldn’t do the pull-ups, I couldn’t lift myself off the ground. I could do the box jumps, which saved any last shred of dignity I had.

After that, we ran to Trinity Church. By this time, I was feeling it in my legs. Our pace felt significantly slower than it has in the past and I am totally to blame. I’m not sure what it is. Thanks to lunch time yoga, I’ve significantly increased the number of workouts I do in these past couple weeks. And Jill and I did an epic bike ride to the Junction and back to check out the Junction Flea Market the day before. I think it was a combination of both these things. Regardless: my legs were tired. So when Andie told us we were going to do 3 sets of “6 burpees and a sprint,” I thought I was going to puke.

I didn’t, but it was close.

After Trinity, we ran to Sherbourne Common. I have never been so excited for ab work in my life. Stand-up push-ups were followed by leg lifts, crunches and butterfly crunches. Then we did a short running loop, ending with a sprint from Jarvis to Sherbourne. Well, Andie and Steve sprinted. I tried to.

In the end, we did 5k in 27:33. And I woke up with a sore chest and upper back. Good times.

I sound whiny, but I’m grateful. Too often I get into a run/yoga/run work-out routine and this keeps things fresh — and keeps me aware of how many other things there are too work on.

Living Your Moksha week #7 – Be Peace


Here we go: June 12-18 the last and final week of the Living Your Moksha challenge.

Be Peace. This was the theme of the week with the intention of bringing an hour of silence into your day. And the super challenge was taking the time to enjoy an extended savasana after very single class you went to over these 7 days. I was very excited for this super challenge, clearly. My regular savasana is usually 15 minutes long. If I go any longer the trades will have to kick me out of the practice room! But hey, if it’s all for the good of living my moksha then I’ll do it! Okay, I know there is more to the challenge then falling asleep after class, so now I have to challenge myself to stay awake and really connect with what savasana is really about. And it’s not exhaustion from doing yoga.

I did listen to the super challenge and I did try. I will admit I did snooze off once or twice after a class or two, but I also acknowledged my own thoughts and feelings that came up afterwards. Some were rather out there and had no correlation to yoga whatsoever, bizarre right? While other thoughts were of family and friends. Sometimes I thought about how hungry I was other times were how at peace I felt. Seriously! Savasana is a powerful pose and often teachers will tell you is the most difficult. Whether your an everyday yogi or a yogi at heart savasana is a pose worth giving yourself time for. Your mind and body will thank you – as Mind Body Green explains.

So why is silence important exactly? I too thought this seemed a little silly at first, oh but on the contrary it is really challenging. Try it sometime. Just be silent. Whether it’s for a minute, an hour or even for a whole day! Imagine that. Listen to the silence of your thoughts. It can be rather scary, but I assure you, you may just hear the answers to those troubling questions boggled up deep down inside. Facing these thoughts or answers is the true challenge that silence can bring. Although falling into silence may sound depressing, and searching for answers very soul searching, everyone also just needs a break. Whether it’s putting a pause on your busy day, a break from people or just a break from yourself, taking the time to reflect on you is just as important (if not more) then being available to others. It goes along with that love yourself before others philosophy. Silence can be grounding and the foundation of a stable practice. And ultimately a stable life.

Trust me. Silence is a good thing and now I have nothing more to say. My LYM challenge is over. And that feels pretty good.

Now you too can be at peace. Here’s what New Leaf Yoga Foundation co-founder Laura Sygrove had to say about finding peace.


Yoga, On the Beach!

UPDATE: Due to rain, Yoga on the Beach will now take place on Sunday, August 12 at 8am. Hope you can join us!


Now that you’ve all purchased your Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada lottery tickets – because I know everyone has – I wanted to extend the invitation to attend Yoga, On the Beach. Yes, this is another Team In Training fundraiser Cecilley and I have planned. As I said before, we have a long ways to go!


Okay, so the class won’t be at this beach. But you can pretend!


Come yogis, one and all! And start your weekend off on the right foot.

Join us at Sugar Beach for a special sunrise class on the beach staring at 8am. We’ll be rising and shining to a funky, creative vinyasa flow, taught by the amazing Jackie Szabo.

Your donation of $15 will help support Cecilley and Jill’s marathon mission, and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada. Please leave a comment on our donation page indicating your attendance to the class.

Please bring your mat, some water, and a towel for a possible after yoga dip, perhaps? And for those interested, optional brunch will follow. We haven’t yet picked a spot so please leave your suggestions.

And for those who may be driving, there is an Impark located at 178 Queens Quay East. Important details to provide for event planning. As well as directions – google maps! And again the time is 8am to 9am on Saturday, August 11th Sunday, August 12th.


This is proof. If you come do yoga on the beach, you will be as cool as Cecilley.


Honestly, what could be better than yoga, brunch and great company?

We hope to see you there!

Race recap: Highland Yard 10k

At the start, ready to run.


Matt’s family has a cottage in Minden. It’s lovely and wonderful and we don’t go there enough. This summer was a busy one, but I was so excited to book the August long weekend up north and get in some rest and relaxation (oh, and some Olympics watching too!).

But then, I got an email from Matt.

His mom (hi Debbie!) wanted to know if I wanted to run the local 10k — the Highland Yard — that just so happened to be on the Sunday morning of the long weekend. She was doing the 5k walk with her friend Shelley (hi Shelley!) and Shelley’s mom.

I couldn’t say no. Even though I didn’t feel race-ready, I was stuck in a corner. I needed to run anyway. What else was I supposed to do?

I said yes.

And then I stressed and stressed and stressed.

I didn’t want to embarrass myself. But it’s not like I totally stopped running. And FitStreets meant I was getting in something of a tempo workout once a week. But the Highland Yard 10k made me face the very problem I’ve been avoiding all summer.

I’m not running enough to be in race shape.

I would face all that at the Highland Yard. It would be my kick off to two intense training weeks for the Midsummer’s Night Run. There’d be no relaxing taper this time. I needed to boot up and boot up big.


So sleepy! This was before the race!


The race was at 10am, which would have been a problem if the horrid heatwave hadn’t let up. But it thunderstormed the night before and the morning was gray and cooler than normal. Still humid, but it wasn’t a death trap. We headed downtown. It was the first year of new organizers, so Debbie wasn’t sure how the day would unfold. We were pleasantly surprised to find an excellently managed small race. The course was an out-and-back through the main stretch of town, then along the main roadway to and from town. The race kit had a dri-fit hat, coupons to pretty much every local business and anti-inflammatory meds — more than I’ve gotten in some big-time race kits. Way to go, Minden. There was about 100 people running the 10k, then 150 running or walking the 5k. There were no corrals, just a grouping at the start and an adorable man yelling instructions we couldn’t hear. (Someone eventually got him a microphone.) At 10am we were off! My race strategy was to hold on to a 5:30 pace as long as I could, then hang on for a sub-1:00 time. Scientific, I know. But it worked.

Sort of.

The first 2 kms were great. I ran them 5:35, 5:35. But then I got hot and tired and began to focus on how crappy I felt and not on my goal. An amateur mistake. The conditions weren’t brutal and I wasn’t hurting. I was just too aware of what I was doing and it was getting me down. Boo. The third kilometre I slowed brutally, unaware of how much time I’d lost. 6:30, I think, was my pace. Then, just as I was conceding that a sub-1:00 race wasn’t going to happen, Debbie’s friend Bink (hi Bink!) came up behind me. Bink is lovely and a strong runner, and I didn’t want to let her pass me. I picked it up and we ran the 4th and 5th kilometre together right on a 6 minute pace, not really talking. Thank you, Bink, for running with me and not taking off. I really appreciated that and it got me focused again.

At the turnaround point, there was a water station. Bink walked through it, I chose to keep on running. My thought was that if Bink caught up to me, we could run the rest of the race together. But if she didn’t, then my time would be a-okay. Kilometres 6 and 7 were good. During kilometre 8, my calf got tight. It’s happened to me before — never during a race though — but it wasn’t painful, just distracting. I chose to run through it and reassess if it got worse.

It didn’t get worse.

Then I passed Debbie, Shelley and Shelley’s mom, powering through the 5k like pros. Home stretch! I held on to my 6:00ish pace until the final curve into town and sprinted home, praying I’d be under 1:00.

My time?

1:00 exactly.

Was I disappointed? A little bit. It’s my slowest-ever 10k time. But I ran the whole thing and learned a whole lot about my running. My base fitness is much, much higher than it was a year ago. But I’m going to need to work much, much harder if I want to see that “getting faster” goal become a reality.

I had a lot of fun at the Highland Yard. Minden came out and truly impressed me. It made me want to run more small town races, and made me feel proud to support a local event. Thanks, Debbie, for asking if I wanted to do this.

I might even do it again next year.


The race: 1:00

The route:

View The Highland Yard in a larger map