Moksha Yoga Teacher Training Day #17

Morning asana was taught by more trainees including my new bestie Jamie Wessel from Moksha Yoga East Vancouver – East Van folks look out for Jamie’s community classes she’s the best! I was so proud of her today. It’s so cool we’re teaching yoga classes!


After class (and my karma cleaning duties) Bryde introduced to us YuMee Chung, Moksha International’s newest staff member. She gave a talk on the History and Philosophy of Yoga. This is some heavy stuff, but she was a delight to listen to.

Today was a free afternoon after class! Yay!! Bryde taught our afternoon asana and threw a bit of a curveball at us. Our community is falling apart and the group dynamic has shifted in the past few days and Bryde called us out on it. So, to salvage our minds and hearts towards each other, we did a staring meditation with a partner on our mats. My partner was Matt. Bryde set a new intention for us as a promise to each other. Matt is my new buddy, and I promised to be there for him and not let him hide. I will encourage him and be his support. And he will be mine.

Bryde, thank you for acknowledging the group lack of effort and fading community, and giving us the shift kick in the butt we needed. I know I needed it today!

Moksha Yoga Teacher Training Day #16

Happy Birthday to Me!!! Yes, everyone day 16 (March 3rd) is my birthday and celebrating turing 27 was more than I could have hoped for. I was in LA with sunshine, my yoga teachers, and fellow trainees. It was absolutely perfect.

My birthday morning kicked off with a visiting Peer Support Guide mentor, Diane Karlos from Moksha Bloor West – she was one intense lady. But I mean this in the best possible way. I’ve never had a yoga teacher like Diane before, and I don’t think anyone else has either. When Diane walked into the room right away the energy lifted. Having the kick-some-ass approach to yoga, made me remember that yoga isn’t easy. At least it’s not if you don’t want it to be. But it can always be fun. And that is what I enjoyed the most about Diana’s teaching: there was tough love and sweat!

After our hour asana we had a morning lecture with Frank. Frank touched on mindfulness in the body and sensory reactions to feelings and how feelings of pleasure or unpleasure stir our beliefs. Say whaaat?!! I know it was confusing to me too.

It was a long birthday morning and the week 3 wall is starting to hit us all one by one. You can see it all around. At the end of lecture Frank lead a 20 minute meditation. The time flew by. Meditation is a powerful thing.

After lunch Ted finished off the last hour of our posture workshops. I really did not want these to end! Ted’s gentleness and open heart towards everyone and their unerring questions was such a treat to listen to. And his stories. I miss Ted and his stories! But, lucky for me – it was my birthday and all – our posture workshops ended with the entire group singing Happy Birthday to me! And I really have my friend Jen Allen (Hi, Jen!) to thank. My new pal from Moksha Yoga Charlottetown bought me a birthday balloon which I happened to carry around with me all day. Ted happened to spot this from the crowd.

That's Jen to my right! And Jamie and Dan.

That’s Jen to my right! And Jamie and Dan.

Our afternoon asana was lead by my fellow trainees (another job well done by everyone!). And to end my birthday we had more presentations. But to end things off one an even better note the group sang happy birthday to me again, I was given a mini raspberry tart with a candle and everyone got cookies! Yay for birthdays! And let’s not forget the mini birthday striptease, shout out, and hat thrown to me from another trainee buddy Matt (hi, Matt). Remember back to day 5 when we acted out our favourite and least favourite class ever? Well, Matt played the role of Peter Ward, and lets just say we upped the anti. Big time. Thanks, Matt.

And! To make the night even more special Krista, Mere, and Morgan bought me dinner and a birthday cake!

Birthdays are the best!

Marathon Training Day #88: Recovery Run

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After not running yesterday, I emailed Andie asking for an adjusted plan this week. On deck for Thursday: a 6k recovery run. I had the day off work and so did my friend Kendal, so we made a coffee date for 11am. The plan: run the 3k there and the 3k home. I know, I know, it’s cheating. A bit. But I ran. That’s all that matters.

I can get back to normal tomorrow.



The run: 5.8k in 33:16
The route:

Sister Act: Around the Bay

Me (with Erin and Andie) after the race!

Me (with Erin and Andie) after the race!

Now that you all heard Erin’s side of the story, it’s my turn to share mine.

I, too, ran around a Bay! And was it awesome! The race itself was awesome, the fact I actually survived was really awesome. The not being able to walk afterward, well, that part was not so awesome. But it was totally worth it.

Months and months ago when my dream for 2013 was to run a full marathon with Erin she decided Around the Bay would be the perfect lead up race to the Bluenose Marathon (which I still have full intentions to go home and run, I’m just running the half now not the full). This was the plan. We’d run ATB together, then a full together. But then my acceptance email for yoga teacher training arrived from Moksha. Then my training took a huge plunge and I wasn’t running at all. I was doing yoga everyday in perpetration, not running.

All throughout my teacher training I was dreading Around the Bay knowing when I returned home I had this race to complete. Then days would pass, then weeks, and I wouldn’t think about the race at all. There was so much going on and not enough room in my head to think about anything! But maybe, just maybe, if I didn’t think about ATB, it wouldn’t happen! I was wrong.

I returned home from LA with very little training done. (And I mean very, very little: a couple long runs in LA not even 10k distance coupled with a few runs to and from the studio on the days I wasn’t completely exhausted. It totaled about 3k or so maybe 10 times. And that’s being generous.)  But I was doing yoga, twice a day, every day, for 30 days. This counts as running training, right? I was banking on it to save me! And it actually worked.

As much as I didn’t think the day would come, March 23rd sprang upon me and I found myself at the GO Station with Erin, my overnight bag, and shoes for the next morning. I was actually doing this. Please note the longest run I’ve ever completed in my life was the Nike half back in October. Yup, that is right: I have never run over 21k or longer than 2 hours. I’m going to die! End of story.

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Somehow,  probably thanks to all the yoga I did, my body was capable of running. During training, I felt the strength in my legs increase as the weeks went by. That was the biggest change I noticed. It must have helped me run! Although, if it was for Erin and running alongside of her, I wouldn’t have done so well. I am not a good solo runner. I love company and distractions.  The course was a lot of fun! And with a little more (okay, a lot more) preparation it could be that much better.

I was also surprised at how difficult everyone said the course was. Call me crazy, but it wasn’t that bad. Having run the Nike Women’s Half ,I feel as though I can make that bold statement. The “hill” at the 26k mark was a bunny hill in comparison to San Francisco. But let’s be honest. I’m just amazed that I: 1) actually ran the whole thing; 2) finished it under 4 hours! (3:09:08 to be exact!); and 3) I didn’t walk to the finish.

Given my competitive side I’m surprised I didn’t push myself harder when I lost Erin around the 25k mark. I wanted to catch her so bad, but the last 10k of the race is the worst part. I could not go any faster. My mind wanted to, but I was stuck. Before the race I convinced myself not to get tied up in a time, a pace, or keeping up with Erin. I actually listened and stuck with that. We made a pack – as Erin shared – I didn’t want to be the one holding her back. I’m glad she took off and finished before me. She’s been training so hard and deserved that glory. I just wanted to finish the damn thing! Even if I had to crawl across the finish time in front of all those spectators.

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Erin was convinced by the 15/16k I’d tap out and have to walk in. (Ha, what a supportive big sister!) But I felt good all the way through to 20k. So I kept going. I knew I’d have to slow down at some point. That happened at the 25k mark. The last stretch of the race could not be longer! But when I saw that grim reaper I knew the end was near. (The finish line that is.) Finally, I saw the crowd of people and hi-fived a bunch of children along the way in. I made the turn into the Coliseum and sprinted to the finish line.

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It was surprising a very good day, but I promised Andie (Erin’s running coach) I would never run that far ever again with no training.

We’ll see if I crazy enough to do something like this again.


All the pictures — except the one of us with Andie – are by My Sport Shooter, the official race photographer.

Marathon Training Day #87: Setbacks

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I was really going to run today.


But my body rebelled. We had a work event last night and this work event kickstarted severe dehydration and a sore throat. I don’t really know how it happened, but I feel like I smoked 20 packs of cigarettes today. And the shoulder pain is still there. And my jaw decided it was feeling left out of the pity party and is doing something funky to my ear. It doesn’t really hurt in the traditional sense, but since my jaw has a history of being seriously effed up, I’m worried.

And I didn’t run. Let’s get better first. Run later.

On the bright side (maybe?!), the Bluenose Marathon race route is up. (The pic above clicks through to the full-size PDF map.) I’m a bit bummed that Point Pleasant Park, my go-to university running route (yes, I really had one of those. Just because I ran much, much less 10 years ago doesn’t mean I couldn’t have a favourite route) is near the end of the route. Perhaps I can find strength there.

I can’t wait to go home.

I can’t wait for this to all be over.



Marathon Training Day #86: Aches and pains

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Tuesday. Supposedly I can run this day.

I don’t. Instead I go to yoga. I think this is the right move. My legs are tiiiight from running Around the Bay. My right shoulder is aching (it started during the race. It’s probably race related.) I’m just tired. I need to rejuvenate. So to yoga I go.

(Coincidentally — or not — my monthly book column is about books on rejuvenation. It’ll air this weekend. While I feel I hit the mark with good reads, they might not be “feel good” reads. Oh well. I ran 30k on Sunday. This means I get a free pass on book recos, right?)

Yoga is good. I stretch. I skip vinyasa flows. I use blocks. I feel like a beginner. Then I remember: yoga is about accepting where your body is now.

And my body is only two days out from running a 30k race.

So I stretch. And breathe. And accept.


Marathon Training Day #85: Race recovery

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So, last week was a four work-out week. Normally this would bum me out, but since it was race week, I will let it slide. And this week (week 12!) is a recovery week, so there’s not too much on my schedule right now. It all depends on how my body feels — and right now it feels SORE.

(TMI moment: I am chafing everywhere. It’s not fun. I need to acquire some Bodyglide for my marathon. And a better sports bra. Any recommendations?!)

Here’s what’s on deck this week:

Monday: REST (Obviously. I can barely walk.)

Tuesday: REST (I have my eye on a lunch time yoga class, but it remains TBD.)

Wednesday: 6k recovery run

Thursday: 10k “as I feel”

Friday: Speedwork – 2km warmup; 3km at 5:25 – 5:35 per km; 2km cool down

Saturday: Yoga

Sunday: 22k LSD (Andie wants me to aim for a 5:45 pace when I run. YIKES!!)

I’m on vacation as of Thursday, thanks to a combination of end-of-fiscal vacation days, Easter and a family trip to the Final Four planned! I cannot wait. I’m hoping I can squeeze more yoga (and more sleep) into this schedule.


Moksha Yoga Teacher Training Day #15

Week three has officially begun. With all the warning signs flashing – the tiredness, the cranky yogis, the droopy eyes during lectures – this week is going to be a hard one no doubt. I woke up not so early, as always after a relaxing day off, and made my way to the studio for my first morning asana taught by my fellow trainees. In the hot room! Oh boy!

Everyone is doing such a great job. It’s amazing to me the progress everyone is making and the quality of everyone’s instruction. I’m doing yoga with real soon-to-be teachers. And it’s awesome! This morning Joe (one of the Moksha LA teachers) lead a silent meditation proir to class. I love meditating and quickly realized I don’t do it often enough. Rule number one of post-teacher training: implement a daily meditation practice.

Joe definitely has a way with words because I was very keen about more meditations.  After this particular morning I was out of my head completely and loving life afterward. What a great start to the week ahead. To finish off the morning just right, it was my week for Karma cleaning. We good little trainees were assigned to clean the practice room and change rooms (in groups of 4) as a nice gesture to our hosting studio out. It’s good Karma to help out, and it’s being a good guest when you do.

After practice and cleaning the ladies locker room until it was spotless (this was my job for the week) Frank gave another mind blowing talk on mindfulness, yoga, and everything and anything else you could think of that could toy with your mind that much more.

More presentations followed our lunch hour, where agin, everyone did so great!

My second LA home, the studio!

My second LA home, the studio!

Our afternoon class came all too quickly and just like that we were back at the studio practicing once again. Ted guided us though another 60 minute asana. Weirdly, I felt tired going in, but really strong during class. It was a good one.

Even more presentations followed class and we finished off the day early. Yay to finishing early! This doesn’t happen often so one must celebrate.

Race Recap: Around the Bay

My coach, Andie (left) with me and Jill after the race!

My coach, Andie (left) with me and Jill after the race! Thanks Andie for the pic!

A 22-minute PR, whaaaaat?!

Here’s how it happened.

We spent the night in Oakville in order to get car access and closer to the starting line. The race began nice and late at 9:30. I woke up shortly after 7 and made coffee and my go-to pre-race meal (toast, peanut butter, honey and banana) for me and Jill. We dressed, stressed out and tried to get excited for the adventure to come.

By this point, I had totally psyched myself out. I have no idea why. I’m faster and better trained than last year. But I was feel a tad tight and had been out late on Friday night. I was convinced this would be my doom. But in the drive to the start, I started to get excited. I focused on “having fun.” It was a training run, after all. (Hahaha, what a lie. You race races.) We got there shortly before 9 and tried to find a washroom.

Decision fail.

Copps was crammed. It was impossible to move anywhere and the bathroom lines were dozens and dozens of people long. It felt so much busier than last year. We abandoned out bathroom plans and headed to the start. On the way, we ran into Alice T., who Jill knows from yoga, and Andie, my coach (who scored a bib that morning, by the way. Impressive!). They sent positive vibes our way and I started to think that I’d at least finish this thing.

With Jill by my side, this was my plan: we’d run together with the 3:30 10 and 1 bunny in sight. We’d fuel up (Clif Shotblocks!) every 30 minutes. Jill would stick with me as long as she could, but we agreed we’s split up if we had too. The starting line was jammed, just like Copps was, so Jill and I just headed out on our own. In my effort to settle into a decent pace and find space within the crowd, I lost Jill just after the 1k mark. Ooops. I kept running and decided to use my first walking minute to find her. Crisis averted! We ran the next couple kilometres at just over a 6-minute pace. Pretty fast. It felt tough, but comfortable, perfect for a race that’s supposed to be a training run. Around the 4k mark, we saw a bunny just ahead of us. It was time to bunny hunt (I found this phrase hilarious during the race!). We didn’t pick up the pace, but got closer anyway. When I saw it was the 3:15 bunny and not the 3:30 one, I started to feel good about the day. They were running straight through and it was jammed, so we quickly passed them. We passed the 5k mark at 30:15. Kilometres 6,7 and 8 were more of the same. It got hot, so I removed my gloves, ear mitts and outer layer. We kept moving. Then we noticed a log-jam up ahead. WTF? A train!

A train was running directly through the race course and hundred of runners had stopped.  It apparently took 4 minutes to cross. Jill and I were lucky. When we saw the delay, we slowed down, and by the time we reached the train, the crossing had cleared. We had lost maybe 20 seconds. No big deal.

It did cause another log-jam at the 10k mat (1:05:49), which was annoying, but what can you do? Around the 12k mark, we ran into the 3:00 bunny. My brain lit up at this point. Was a sub-3 run really within reach? I decided we should hang with the bunny just to see. But after about 12 minutes, I realized there was too many people and the pace was a teeny bit too fast. If ATB had been my goal race, I would have stuck it out. But reason prevailed and Jill and I fell back.

Around 15k (1:35:47), I started to get tired. This is where the real race begins. How the hell Jill was still right next to me this far in, I will never know. But I was grateful to have her there.

When 20k hit, it was all about survival. This is when you turn into Burlington and the relatively flat course evolves into rolling hits. Before the race, Andie told me to run up the hills, but take it easy on them. I could make up any time I lost later by not killing my quads on the big hills. Made sense to me. We ran through the last 10k at about a 6:30 pace, which wasn’t too bad. But at the 25k mark, I lost Jill. There was a downhill, it was crowded. I kept turning back to see if she was there, but didn’t see her! I was a bad big sister at this point and figured she dropped off, so I kept on running.

Right at the 25k, there’s a steady downhill into the biggest, nastiest hill of the course. A 1 minute walking break came up on the downhill, but I decided to run the whole way down, the whole way up, then take a 2 minute walking break at the top.

So I ran down. Then I ran up. Take that, hill!

Jill still hadn’t made an appearance, so it was time to put on cruise control for the last 3k. I felt totally wiped at this point, so it was all about putting one foot in front of the other. A walking break at 28k came up, then I knew I had to run it home.

So I did. I knew if I kept going, I had a shot at sub-3:10. And when I rounded the corner into Copps with 3:06 on my watch, for the first race ever I didn’t sprint my heart out to the finish. Sure, I picked it up, but I took in the moment. I crossed the line in 3:07:45, crushing last year’s time of 3:29:36.

Not bad.

Jill’s recap is coming. Stay tuned for her version of events…