Distance Learning Project #2: Wheel of Life


I am not a person who sits well with my emotions. I mean really sit and reflect why I’m feeling the way I am. And for what reason? I know it may sound completely bizarre because I’m an insanely emotional person who wears my heart on my sleeve, and perhaps is a little too sensitive to, well, pretty much everything. But as I’m slowly learning through unfortunate situations with friends, stuff at work, and with life in general, having an open heart is not a weakness nor is it a bad thing. We all have our strengthens and weaknesses, reflecting on why our so called weaknesses are just that, weaknesses, is important to do from time to time. It’s good to check in with yourself. Because as we age and mature – or not – these strengths and weaknesses of ours can change yearly, monthly, or even daily.

Like most people I imagine, I tend to hide away when I’m feeling sad or throw and punch things, in the privacy of my own apartment of course, when I’m angry. Or I anger clean my house. Which is kind of efficient really. I don’t like showing my sadness or anger, rather I try and cope with it. This is not the best solution because coping is not a way of solving the real issue, it’s more of a deterrent from the root problem. As you can imagine a lot of this mentality came up in training. Emotions would run high and low and all around because a lot of training – in the most subtle way hidden under all the practicing and lectures – was connecting with yourself.

After a month of practice teaching and receiving feedback for my classes project number one was complete! Project two, the Wheel of Life as they call it, was designed for us to open up to the experience and emotions teaching brought up, but even more so, we were to reflect with what was going on in our lives leading up to training. Boy, this is getting deep.

I won’t bore you with the details of what I wrote, but as I was writing I found more and more stuff come up. Like why I was so driven with my career and less interested in romance. And why I would beat up myself for not being a good friend, and what I need to work on in certain family relationships. It was kind of weird. But therapeutic.

Our wheel of life was divided into eight categorizes: Business/Career, Finances, Health, Family and Friends, Romance, Personal Growth, Fun And Recreation, and Physical Environment. For each category we had to grade ourselves and explain why. Like I said it was weird, but therapeutic. Then we had to create another wheel, but this time we had to show where we wanted each category to be. This was even weirder. And more importantly how are you going to go about bringing these changes into your life to improve your grade. Not so easy now, is it? Again I won’t bore you with any grueling details of my wheel, but if you’re interested (or just curious) I’d be happy to share!

What would your Wheel of Life look like? What parts of your life could you improve or work on? Give it a try and journal it. You may just surprise yourself with the kind of circle you create.



Jill’s Marathon Training Week #4

I look super excited. It's probably because I'm not running!

I look super excited. It’s probably because I’m not running!

The unfamiliar stride of confidence from week 3 had me soaring into week 4. I had good intentions set and a great feeling of moral to get me going. I had the feeling of liking running back! Because holy when it’s gone, you forget how awful running can be. But it’s important to stay alert and not hold onto any strong feelings, either positive or negative. Notice what’s going on with each run and try to remove each experience from the other. Yes, they could be related – in terms of your emotional connection of feeling good or bad, or physically what you did the day before can affect your run the following day – but remember it’s not going to last forever. Ha! That’s easy say! This is the lesson week 3 taught me and this alone gave me hope that I can do, a least some of the training when required to do so, on my own. This week was one of those weeks. I did not see my running clinic friends or coaches or anyone at all for the entire week. I was left on my own because of conflicting evenings with work, planned personal outings, you know… blah blah blah. But run on my own I did. And for the most part it was okay.

After a great Sunday long run and yin practice, the following Sunday, I took Monday off. Completely! I taught a Free Yoga with Jill! class and that was all I had going. And you know what was kind of nice.

Tuesday was another hot day — story of our lives here in Toronto — but I managed to get myself out at lunch. I was at the office this day and the studio that evening so running at lunch was a must. I ran it on my own (it was definitely one of those What Would Scott Do? moments) and proudly got the 6k in I needed. That’s what counted. I even did yoga that evening. The stretching was a must!

According to my run schedule hill training was to begin this week. Oh goodness! Because my race is a couple weeks before Scotia my program is slightly different than most runners taking part in the clinic. The Running Room has an online scheduler where you input your preferred race of choice and it spits out a training program for you! It’s quite something. According to my training guide my long runs are a little longer and hills start sooner. I feel even more behind than when started. But Wednesday I got my butt out the door ran to Popular Plains and ran hills. Again, it wasn’t so bad. It was hot! But I was okay with that. It was also another day where yoga happened that evening. I’ve kept to my promise of practicing and I’ve been very good about keeping this promise – to keep up with my own practice. Working the desk at MYD four times a week means I have no excuse not to do yoga at least four times a week.

Thursday was a very special day. Anne and I had a date with three boys. That’s right three boys called the Jonas Brothers. And no I’m not ashamed to say it was a really fun evening. I am ashamed to say it meant I didn’t run. But! I finally had my yoga date with Scott. That counts for something right? Yoga combined with all the dancing Anne and I did… I’m going to say yes, yes it does count for something.

Which leads me to Friday and the weekend. I started the week off really well, but as it progressed my training digressed. I did get a run in Friday (to make up for not running on Thursday), I even did yoga too. Saturday I did yoga and didn’t run and Sunday I did run, just not quite far enough. Not far enough at all actually.

It’s probably a good thing I didn’t see anyone from the Running Room this week. Apparently Coach Chuck and Coach Doug gave the Thursday night talk about running the right mileage and why our long runs are maxed out at 32k. Oops. I am determined I will not let week 4’s downward spiral get me down. I was tired by the end of the week, but learning to separate my feelings of “I don’t want to run!” from “My body is too tired to run!” is another lesson I’m working on.

Hot and humid workouts

I got this for free at a Jays game. It comes in handy because all I do these days is sweat and sweat and sweat some more -- often without effort.

I got this for free at a Jays game. It comes in handy because all I do these days is sweat and sweat and sweat some more — often without effort.

There has been one good thing — and one good thing only — about this extreme heat.

It’s turned me into a morning fitness person.

With temps “feeling like” 40+, the last thing I want to do when I get home is think about running. Or yoga. Or anything beyond lying down in a cool, dark place. So, last week, I opted to run on Tuesday morning. And Wednesday morning. Neither run was very long (6k and 5k, respectively), but they got the job done. I felt accomplished and relieved that my workouts for the day were done.

On Thursday morning, I hit up Yoga for Runners at EnergyXchange. On Friday and Saturday, I did a whole lot of nothing. Sunday was more yoga in the park, although it was slightly less magical than my first time. Isn’t that how it always goes?

Oh, and on Tuesday, I played softball. We lost, as per usual. But I played catcher for the first time and spent all the next day wondering why my quads were so sore.

Right, it was because I spent two hours in a squat. Good times.

Even though Toronto has cooled off, I’m hoping to keep this trend up. Although, if I ever want to run more than 5-ish kilometres, I’m going to have to wake up even earlier. Yikes.




Jill’s Marathon Training Week #3


Week three of training was full of ups and downs. I tried to prepare myself (in advance) for the upcoming weeks where my emotional hatred for running would kick in, but I was not prepared for the physical hatred. After another failed attempt at completing my long run on my own, then trying to get the mileage in on my day off either before or after teaching at MYD, the end of week 2 had me in a bit of a downward spiral. And I did not like how this was feeling or where this was going.

I waited for Tuesday to kick start week 3 off on the right foot: a 6k tempo run was in order. One good thing about marathon training, 6k runs feel like nothing, and you can pretty much squeeze them in at anytime during your day! I was at the office this day, with a scheduled yoga date with Scott, therefore, I did not bring my runners. But when I arrived to an empty office due to Monday night’s storm activities, I was stood up. So I planned my run after work. When you plan on running at a certain time, just go for it. Don’t sit around and contemplate the run you have to do, or in my case do not sit around waiting and stuffing your face with fruit and almond butter. After I finally got my ass out the door I took off. I was shocked at how strong my legs and body felt. But then came this overpowering feeling of nauseousness and I needed to end early. My body wanted to keep going, but my stomach was telling me otherwise. Note to self: do not run after eating too much almond butter. I learned my lesson the hard way.

Wednesday was our Running Room 10k tempo day. Given the thunder shower warnings for the evening our coaches changed the planed Don Valley route to a route around town. It was hot and humid and I left heavy. I felt slow. This was not my best day performace wise, but I did meet a new friend, Julie Collavoli (hi, Julie!). Julie and I became fast running friends – she was feeling the exact same as me this day – it’s so nice to know you’re not alone in moments like this. Especially when the rest of the group feels a million miles away from you. I was ready to give up if I had not been for running with Julie. Sometimes you just need a friend.

Thursday was much more fun – the day that is, not the run. Dr. Kris Sheppard made an appearance at the clinic to give a talk on running biomechanics and gait. And to my surprise he remembered me from the Yoga & Biomechanics for Runners workshop. I was not allowed to answer his question “What is stride length?” but you can ask me now! After Kris’s talk we headed out for a 8k loop from the Downtown store to Cherry Beach and back. I was struggling once again, but Julie stuck by my side for most of the way. I met another running friend on the way back to the homestretch (hi, Flo!). Flo gave me excellent pointers about training, the clinic, and important things to stay focused on – like not getting injured during your first marathon. Sadly, this happened to Flo, but now she’s getting back to optimal heath and I can learn a lot from her.

I used Friday as my day for yoga. Being tired and exhausted, I didn’t even want to ride my bike this day, so I opted for a class called The Practice at Kula instead of going all the way to MYD (I live so close to Kula it’s silly I don’t practice there more). This class was gentle with the right amount of challenge. It was exactly what my tired running body needed.

Saturday morning I got up to get my 6k in before work. I only ran 4.5k, I think, but whatever. I’m over this week already. Then there was Sunday, the day I had to run not only 19k, but I had to go it alone. Oh god! But if anything was working for me during this week of struggle, grumpiness, and disappointment, it all came together for me on Sunday. I planned a route prior that would end at Steam Whistle – I had a friend in town for the weekend and left my bike there overnight – running to pick it up was perfect. In the hot sun, I ran the whole way at a nice and steady, slow pace. I felt good! But how? I couldn’t tell you. I’m not going to question it, I’ll just take it! The last leg of my route felt long, but whatever I finally ran a long run. Maybe that’s all I needed? To end off this great Sunday I made it to the studio for Julia’s yin class with live music. It was a piece of heaven.

Going into week 4 and I finally have good feelings about training. This is good!


Yoga in the park


What: Yoga in the Park
When: Sunday @ 10am
Where: Trinity Bellwoods Park
Who: David Good

Every Sunday from 10-11, Lulu Lemon hosts a FREE yoga class in Trinity Bellwoods Park. I’ve been meaning to go all summer and on July 14, I finally did.

It’s a different teacher every week and this time it was David Good from Octopus Garden. (They have the teacher schedule on their Facebook page.) The weather was perfect, sunny and on the verge of a perfectly hot summer day. David led us through a quick moving classes, filled with lunges and flows. It was playful, fun and sped by very quickly.

There were a lot of people there, including kids and a few puppies. I was in a hanging-in-the-park kind of mood, so this added to my overall enjoyment of the class, but if you’re not a fan of dogs or kids, you’ve been warned. There was also A LOT of people in attendance  but thankfully Trinity Bellwoods is huge, so there’s room for everyone. David did a good job of moving through the class and demonstrating the poses and he was miked (thank goodness) so even when I couldn’t see him, he was easy to hear. There’s water (bring your own mug) and mats if you don’t have one.

Overall, it’s a free yoga class in the park. That can’t be beat.

Take this class if: You want to do yoga in a park for free. Obviously.


Jill’s Marathon Training Week #2


Team brunch after the long run. I was not there. So sad! But thanks to Koray for the picture!

Team brunch after the long run. I was not there. So sad! But thanks to Koray for the picture!

Oh, week two. It came and went and somehow, once again, I didn’t stick to the training schedule. I have a weekend job. This messes with my time to run, okay. I know shouldn’t be making any excuses, so instead I may have to juggle my days off and my long run day around a little bit. But if I learned anything from my half marathon training last summer, getting in the milage is super important. I was close this week. I really was!

After running with Erin on Monday, Tuesday would be my first 6k tempo run all on my every own. As luck would have it that day I went to the Bullfrog office and that day, the boys, also known as the Bullfrog Run Club, decided to run. And guess who got the invite? Me! And so I went. Their planed route was an 8k loop down to the water, then to Ontario Place and back. Meh, what’a extra 2k going to do to me, as Scott would say. It was a hot one, I felt good at times and struggled at times, but over all running at lunch is one of my favourite things about going to the office. I like that I’ll be able to count on the run club for my Tuesday runs.

I was feeling a little weary for Wednesday’s run – it was the first time I’ve run this many days in a row in a very long time. We were told by our coaches that Wednesday would be our time trial day to determine which pace groups we’d be divided into for our long runs. This makes sense, but I made me want to run fast! Even though we were told not to. Good thing to because this 10k felt long. I also need to buy a fuel belt and remember that training in the humidity is not easy. I finished in 57 minutes grouping me into the 4:15 pace group. That’s cool. Alice said this is the time I should train for. So I guess it all worked out accordingly.

On Thursday I practiced yoga. I did so on my own, which was okay, but I really wanted to take a class somewhere. I’m going to try to keep up my practice as much as possible, where and when possible, I know I’m going to need it. So I squeezed in a session before heading to our clinic meeting spot. Today we had a talk before the run about shoes. Having the right shoe on your foot is another very important part of training. I just bought new shoes the day before. And socks too! There will be no more blisters for me. So tonight’s run was all about trying my new kicks out and taking it easy. We ran a steady 8k, which felt much better than the night before.

My new shoes!

My new shoes!

Friday was our off day. And I did yoga! Saturday I didn’t get out to run. I know not good, but I did practice again and was full on ready and determined to make up for this run on Sunday. Which I did. I managed to get 8k in before work, but the 16k for the week’s long run is still missing. So I devised another plan and would run Monday evening after teaching the 6pm class at Moksha Downtown. Brilliant! But that plan crashed and burned when it began to pour. And thunder, and lightening!

When the storm hit and mass flooding was happening all over town, I decided against running (for obvious reasons) while stranded at the studio I decided to take a class instead. That was, until Anne called and I realized then I had bigger things to worry about — like my basement flooding! Clearly, I was not meant to run this day. Thanks Mother Nature, I got your message loud and clear.

Okay, so I promise week three I will get this training thing down pat. Third time’s a charm, right?


A week in review

My beloved Don River Trail, underwater. But better the river and highway than houses. (via @ivanvector)

My beloved Don River Trail, underwater.  (via @ivanvector)

What a week it’s been, eh? Let’s recap.

I took Friday off intentionally and Saturday off accidentally, as it was filled with other priorities. Since I’m not training for anything, this isn’t a big deal. On Sunday, Matt and I had to head out of town for a funeral, so I squeezed in a boot camp style 5k in the morning before we took off. It was humid, but since every day has been humid, I’m trying my best to not focus on that.

On Monday, I got in a 9am pre-funeral swim, which was lovely. I had also planned to get a quick run in after we returned to the city in the evening.

Those of you in Toronto know where this is going.

The torrential rain diverted us to Oakville because every one of our downtown highway options was flooded. We sat in Matt’s parents house in the dark for several hours, wondering if we should set up camp for the night. I took the dog for a walk, mostly because there was nothing else to do. Eventually, it cleared enough that we could drive to our house safely. Our house made it through the storm dry as a bone. We never even lost power. Which is weird, considering we live 500 feet from the Don River. We were lucky — and the beneficiaries of an excellent waterproofing job last summer.

Tuesday, the city was wet and I went to yoga at lunch. It was a speedy class, but I was tight and couldn’t do firelog to save my life. It was brutal. There’s a yogi lesson in there somewhere.

Wednesday morning I did a quick 5k and ran past my pal Nathan. We gave each other high fives. It as great. I don’t feel like I’m pushing myself enough fitness-wise these days, but it’s a delicate balance between staying healthy and getting fitter. A frustrating one, too.

And here we are, on Thursday morning.

I’m also getting bored of my yoga/run/yoga/run cycle, but don’t want to give any dollars to join a gym. Any suggestions?!


The run: 5.0k in 33:12
The route:

The County Half-Marathon

Screen Shot 2013-07-06 at 9.00.18 AM

Once Jill chose her marathon and I realized she’d be there all by herself, a plan quickly formed in my head. Having mom, dad, Kendal and Jill there for my first marathon made it special. And, even though I signed up for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, I wasn’t excited by it.

So I signed up for the County Half-Marathon, too.

The route looks absolutely stunning and, if Jill and I time it right, I might be able to run with her for at least part of her second half. The half marathon begins at the halfway point of the full marathon 2 hours after the full marathon begins. If Jill’s hoping for a 4:15, it could work out.

This means that I’m running two half-marathons in two weeks in October, but I don’t care. I’ll run this one for fun. STWM can be where I go fast.

And with that, my fall race season has shaped up nicely:

September 22: Island Girl Half-Marathon Relay

October 6: County Half-Marathon

October 20: Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half-Marathon

If my knee holds up, it’ll be a great season.



Jill’s Marathon Training Week #1

The Downtown Running Room Marathon Clinic. Thanks Coach Chuck for the picture!

The Downtown Running Room Marathon Clinic. Thanks Coach Chuck for the picture!

So I officially survived week number one of training. And what did I discover? A marathon is really far! Yes, we all know this, but once you start running 8-10k’s three times a week – which is really far too – 42.2k seems like, well, an insanely far distance to run. After my slow go on day 1 I was beginning to doubt my decision to run a marathon already. But Erin did it. So could I!

Friday’s is one of our days off, so I took this day to do some yoga. I attended the 8:15am Community Class at Moksha Downtown to support another newish teacher Derek (hi, Derek!). The class was lovely and I needed to stretch. Thankfully the class was a wee one which meant I got lots of special attention – in the form of adjustments! A way straight to my heart is through a press in child’s pose or pigeon pose, in case anyone wanted to know.

When Saturday came I was bad and didn’t run. I know! Already it’s week one and I missed a run. But I did go to yoga again had another seriously good class on the Thompson rooftop at Yoga Unplugged. After class I went home and logged into my Running Room account and finally sat down to pick a race to run: The County Marathon here I come! After a very intense evening of race researching I realized I the County Marathon was my only option in Ontario. With a wedding on the 12th of October and another yoga retreat scheduled for October 19th to the 26th, these two events slashed my race options completely. But I’m excited with my choice, it’s going to be so pretty! It just means my race is at much sooner!

Now that I have a race and a proper training schedule to follow, I’m feeling better already. So what did I do the following day? I only ran 9k of the 13k I was supposed to do, but I went to a 90 minute yin class and had intentions on running the rest after work. But that didn’t happen. I just might be the worst runner ever. However, Erin and I did run 10k on Monday day (my other supposed to be day off), so I did get the milage in I was supposed to for the week. Both Sunday’s and Monday’s run felt great, but running that extra day and not having another day off until Friday will make for an interesting week two.

I will do week two right… hopefully.


Yoga Unplugged Vol. 2

Photo compliments of Lululemon. Can you find me? I am in this picture!

Photo compliments of Lululemon. Can you find me? I am in this picture!


What: Yoga Unplugged
When: Saturday, June 29 @ 4:00pm
Where: 889 at the Thompson (550 Wellington St. West)
Who: Sunny Smith

One of my all time favourite things about summer is playing outdoors! What’s not to love about running, being at the beach, ummm hello beers on a patio? And yoga outside! The possibilities are honestly endless. Summer in a city like Toronto makes the options that much bigger (and better!). It can be very easy to burn yourself out trying to think about how on earth you’re going to be able to do it all – trust me it’s really hard – but with free summer events like Yoga Unplugged happening all summer long, you can easily sneak in a class or two during the months ahead. There are so many different free and fun things to do, so do not by any means let things like a tight budget get in your way (because I hear you on that!). Keep your ears and eyes open or just ask Erin and I, we can tell you what to do!


Thanks Lululemon for the photo. That's me in the background!

Thanks Lululemon for the photos. That’s me in the background!


After the crowd rolled out onto the 889 at the Thompson’s rooftop, we were introduced to our teacher Sunny. Sunny was really sweet and offered a fun and uplifting class. I did notice, however, as a new teacher it is super important to be able to instruct on many different levels. Although Sunny guided us fluidly from pose to pose, there was not a lot of direction in each posture. Cues were not given, but for the majority of the class this looked to be not a problem. But for a new student this class would have been rather challenging.

I also noticed this time there were not random Lulu girls and guys practicing amongst the class. The ones wearing the bright tights and Yoga Unplugged shirts? I thought these guys and gals were super helpful given the class is giant and you can’t always see the teacher. A class such as this needs to offer something for everyone – whether you’re new or experienced – everyone should walk with a feeling of satisfied gratitude. But I know finding that balance is not easy by any means, but it is important. Especially with free classes, new students will be drawn to attend. As they should be! This was an excellent class for regular practitioners and I certainly enjoyed myself.

Like I said earlier I love this event and what it represents. I’ve been many times and it still puts a smile on my face and a new song in my heart each and every time. I’ve already planned my next class. I hope to see you there!

Check out my three reviews of Yoga Unplugged last season: Yoga Unplugged, Jock Yoga, and The last Yoga Unplugged hurrah.