Jill’s 2013 in review

After looking over Erin’s list of accomplishments for 2013, I took some time to rethink my year. What happened? What did I do? Where did the year even go?! My December (well, really the past three months) have been a bit of a disaster in the fitness scheme of things and not because of sickness. 2013 was the year I packed up my life to travel the globe, but it was also a year full of great accomplishments.


2013 was the year I took running training seriously… sort of.

I never considered myself a serious runner. I just ran for the hell of it. That and I felt I was good at it. And oddly enough I actually like doing it. Running gave me something else to do other than yoga, and something else Erin and I could do together. That’s all I really needed to make me run! But when I finally made the leap from running the occasional half marathon to actually signing up for a full marathon, it was time to get serious. 42k is not something to joke about. I joined the Running Room, met my running pal Julie, and took on a somewhat serious eating plan (the Thrive Diet) where I made my own gels and recovery drinks. I was taking this marathon business serious! Maybe a sub 4 hour marathon isn’t completely out of my league?

2013 was the year I became a yoga teacher.

I never thought this day would ever come, the day I would step into the practice room and actually lead the class. But it happened. I’m still playing around with the idea of teaching, but I like that it’s a part of my life and something extra I can offer and now do. I have the certificate to prove it! Back in February I was accepted into the Moksha Yoga Teacher Training in LA. After that I spent the spring and summer teaching my own free classes and classes at Moksha Downtown. If someone had said to me a year ago that I would actually be doing this I would have laughed out loud. But here I am, a real Moksha teacher.

2013 was the year I ran my first marathon too.

My marathon experience wasn’t quite like Erin’s, but it was the best weekend of my summer by far. A romantic getaway with Erin in the picturesque town of Prince Edward County, I couldn’t have asked for more. But as the events of the weekend unfolded – making it through the first half of the race feeling good, having Erin meet me at the half way point to run the rest of the way with me, my splits were almost perfect, and I broke my goal time of 4:15 – what an amazing weekend it turned out to be. Despite the rain.

2013 was my year of yoga.

Having rung in 2013 on a yoga retreat in Costa Rica I pretty much ended 2013 on the exact same note, on a yoga retreat, but this time I was in Bali. Yoga became a integral part of my running training, my social scene, and a huge part of my life in general. I took my practice seriously – both the mental and the physical – I found myself wanting to be on my mat more and more, but this was the year I would explore my practice as a whole. I searched for ways to bring yoga into my life off my mat. I started practicing at home, something I never took the time to do before… I know you would think otherwise. But now having the yoga knowledge and ability, evolving my self practice will be a great tool (and goal) as I continue to travel in 2014.


2013 was the year of my grand travel and fitness voyage.

2013 was a great year, but it was also a tough year. I learned a lot of valuable life lessons I know will only make me a better person in time, but this year in particular was a year for me to move though a lot of stuff. Leaving a job, losing a job, moving out of my home, leaving Toronto, packing up all my things and getting rid of everything else, it was serious. 2013 was a year of change, and with Cecilley by my side we headed off to Bali never to return! Okay, that last part isn’t true, but Bali was the kick start to our grand voyage and the place were we decided our next race together.

I’m happy to see 2013 come to a close because having a new year in sight can only mean new goals to set, new fitness promises to make, and new training  programs to adopt. 2014 is going to be great!

Erin’s 2013 in review

Even though 2013 ended in disaster (It’s December 30 and I’m still sick!), the year was a big success fitness-wise. Let’s recap!

2013 was the year I ran my first marathon.

This goal dominated the first five months of 2013. And when it finally came, it’s easy to say that race day was the best day I’ve ever had since becoming a runner. My family was there, the weather was perfect, and the route was interesting and challenging. I was uncertain about the marathon, but now having done one, I think they are worth doing at least once.

2013 was the year I got faster.

I’ve been a runner now for two years, but 2013 was the year I turned a corner. This is 100% due to hiring a coach who made me do speedwork and pushed me during group runs. I crushed my PRs at every distance I ran this year: 30k, 10k and 21.1k. This is a trend I hope continues for 2014.


2013 was the year I hiked 215km.

I spent the first two weeks of August hiking the East Coast Trail in Newfoundland with JK. It was beautiful, it was difficult, and it gave me the opportunity to reconnect with and appreciate the most basic things. I feel like such a badass now, being able to recap this adventure. But that’s because four months have passed. That said, I’m down for a weekend hiking adventure in 2014. Any takers?

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2013 was the year I got a Garmin.

This seems simple and silly, but it made me a smarter runner. I’ve never been one for data and numbers. I don’t keep track of the books I read or what I eat or have a real approaching to budgeting money beyond “don’t spend all of it and save some of it” and I’ve had the same approach to running. But being able to know how far I’ve gone and how fast I’m running makes each run more valuable as part of my overall training.

2013 was the year I put yoga quantity over yoga quality.

I read somewhere this year that it’s more important to do yoga more often than it is to do it for longer periods of time. That is, three 20 minute sessions a week is better than one 60 minute session a week. After giving Yoga Download a try, I can 100% confirm this is true. While nothing beats an ass-kicking hour-long practice guided by a teacher I like, building yoga into my everyday run-heavy life — even in 20 minute intervals — made me more flexible and less stressed.

Those are the big changes and accomplishments I had, fitness-wise, in 2013. What will 2014 hold? We will see!




Ay, ay, ay it’s Christmas!

Happy Holidays one and all!

Happy Holidays one and all!

I know Christmas was a few days ago, but with the new year still upon us I wanted to wish everyone a joyful holiday season and a very happy new year!… That and I haven’t had very much to say for quite some time. Sorry, I am still alive. Honestly!

As my travels continue on into 2014 I realized along the way how important family and friends really are, especially this time of year, so much so that I’ve been spending the holidays with my Papa in North Yorkshire in the United Kingdom. You’re never too old to miss your family. There I admitted it.

2014 is coming whether we’re ready for it or not. This will be a year of exploration and new adventures for me, but what will 2014 look like for you? Recapping the highlights of 2013 and looking at what lies ahead, Erin and I have a lot to talk about. I’m excited! I’m excited for new experiences, new races, new things to see, and new places to discover. A new year is a great time for a fresh, new start.

Happy Holidays!! Now please enjoy one of my favorite Christmas classics sent to me from Erin on Christmas Day. How did she know, this was the perfect gift!

Erin’s advent fitness failure

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree.

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree.

December, how did you get away from me? I had big plans. Lots of parties. Lots of fitness. Lots of fun.

Then I got sick. Really, really sick.

It started off as a simple cold. I decided to skip a fitness challenge day to recuperate. One day turned into several. I missed a party and Chris Hadfield at the Toronto Public Library in an attempt to get better.

It didn’t work.

I did go to one party after a few days of this — which was at my house. The next day I woke up, feeling disgusting and voiceless. I thought it was a hangover and forced myself to go to work.

It was bronchitis.

I missed four parties because of this bronchitis. I missed 20 (!!!!) planned workouts. I lost my voice and got pinkeye. Bronchitis is disgusting, people. I have never felt so gross. But I did get to watch the rest of Scandal and some of The Good Wife. And I got an obscene amount of sleep. Silver linings.

Getting better has been a slow process. I still have a cough and a sore throat and produce more mucus than any normal person should, but I feel relatively normal. I’ve given up on fitness for the rest of the month. I don’t want to relapse again. I want to get better and stronger for 2014. After all, I have a marathon to prep for. 2014 is going to be a good year. December is almost over — it’s time to look forward.

Happy holidays, everyone! I hope you were all safe and warm and surrounded by loved ones.


Distance Learning Project #4: Be Accessible

A nice reminder why I love Moksha. I can Be Accessible. I really can!

A nice reminder why I love Moksha. I can Be Accessible. I really can!

This summer has been the summer of challenges, change, and trying to find compassion with myself as the craziness life continued to unfold all around me. I know, you’re probably thinking… “Projects? More teacher training business? I thought this was long over?”… Long over due more like it.

While I finally rallied up the nerve here in Tokyo – yes a lot of time has passed this is true – to actually finish this project, I realized I have not been open to accessibility at all. And having been confronted about what’s really been bothering me, I felt like a terrible person. How can someone be traveling the world and be grumpy all the time?! I’m in a funk right now and I don’t like it. A fitness funk, a life funk, and a down right “why am I not happy and stop being uptight” funk. Thank goodness Cecilley put me in my place. Someone needed to. I would have punched me if I was her and I would have totally understood why. Yes, it was that bad.

So back to Being Accessible. This project was perfectly timed then, but possibly even more so now, and made for an excellent theme to my life. Learning to be accessible to change was the focus of this project. And it could not have been more spot on.

Way back when this project was first underway accessibility was me letting out of my job and what happened. I needed to find closure with this in a way that would give me a peace of mind. For my last day I always envisioned doing a grand gesture of some sort like baking cookies or writing little notes to everyone, but something had to be done in order for me to move past this. I believe it was Cecilley who suggested the idea of teaching a yoga class for my former colleagues. It would be completely unique, real, and a very authentic gesture of gratitude from me. What an excellent plan! But, regrettably, this did not happen. Why you ask. Because I chickened out. I pushed and pushed this project aside, avoiding the thought of planning the whole thing, and distracting myself with anything else. I think I was scared or truth be told I didn’t really what to do it. Being accessible at this sensitive time in my life was a lesson for me to be accessible to my heart and my true feelings. I don’t have to do things other people expect me to do or do things people want me to do. Or even doing things just because. Yes there is a time and a place when you do need to step out of your shell and maybe go out that one time when you really don’t want to, but you shouldn’t feel forced into anything. Life is too short to not enjoy one minute of it.

It took me a very long time to listen to what that actually meant. Back in August I was also in the very early planning phases of my year of travel and this was more important than anything else at the time. I was uprooting my life and leaving town. I needed out. I needed change and travel and a sense of connection to something more than the life I created in Toronto. I have a lot of things to figure out with myself before I can give back. My heart was in a heavy place, I needed to be true to it and not brush it aside anymore for the sake of others. But I also didn’t mind brushing it aside with distraction and activities. But now accessibility is coming back to haunt me as I travel. When certain things don’t go according to plan, or when I think Cecilley is upset with me because of something I said or a decision I made, I have to be aware of the “why” and let it go. I hate being a person on edge and rigid and I’ve been such a stick in the mud for way too long. I’m surprised Cecilley doesn’t hate me – or maybe she does? Man karma, it really can be a bitch.

In time I will reconnect with all of my colleagues, my mentors, and friends. And when I do I will be ready and in a much better place. But for right now I’m going to stop letting the stupid little things bother me that I can’t do anything about, other then figure it out and move on, I’m going to tackle the bigger issues in my life causing me stress – these are going to take a lot more work but I need to start somewhere – and I need to be a better friend and travel companion to Cecilley. I owe her so much, it’s the least I could do given she is all I’ve got!

Although the project didn’t go entirely as planned, I did find accessibility, in a much broader sense and in a much truer sense. Now it’s time to enjoy it. There’s a whole world to see and I’m not going to get in the way of myself anymore!

Erin’s advent challenge, day #4

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After two days of running, it was yoga time. I did my go-to Yoga for Runners podcast from YogaDownload. It’s quick and challenging and gets into the muscles that get really tight as a runner.

I feel a little like I cheated, doing a short class at home. I feel like I need to re-focus on yoga in 2014. Make going to class a priority again. But a yoga podcast is better than nothing.



Erin’s advent challenge, day #3

Scandal! You know you love it. I certainly do.

I had planned to do yoga in the morning on Day 3, but I woke up tired and grumpy and dwaddled instead. Then I had a rough day at work and all I wanted to do was skip my community meeting and skip my work-required reading, and instead go for a run and watch Scandal. So that’s what I did. It was short and cold and I felt stiff (again! I need to foam roll SOON.) The run made me feel better. So did Scandal. It’s was an important reminder: it’s okay to not do things and do other things instead.

Erin’s advent challenge, day #2: morning run

I have aspirations to be a morning person. I really do. But once it becomes dark when it’s time to wake up, getting out of bed feels impossible. It’s a big reason why I did so little fitness in November: with multiple social engagements each week, the morning was the only time I could work out. And when it’s pitch black at 7am, who wants to do that?

But I’ve set myself a goal. And I will accomplish that goal. So on Monday morning, I got up, got dressed, and headed out into the darkness to run.

It was fine. It’s always fine. My legs felt stiff and heavy, but now it’s 7:30am and my work-out for the day is done. That can’t be beat.

Erin’s Advent challenge, day #1: gratitude flow

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December 1 marked the beginning of the month, and the beginning of my challenge. It also marked the day my sister Anne moved out of my basement and into her own apartment. My original plan was to go for a run before we got the van to lug her stuff across the city, but I woke up to rain. Yucky wet, cold rain. So instead, I spent a few hours helping her move, then did the Yoga Download 60 minute Gratitude Flow class in the evening.

It was the first time I had done a video class from Yoga Download. I found myself too focused on checking the video to make sure I was doing things right and not trusting myself enough. This class was okay — it has a lot of weird flows that my hip didn’t like. But it was good to get 60 minutes of yoga in on a very busy day.