Thursday: Adventure run.

Took Wednesday off fitness (except for the ab work) because I could barely move. I am more out-of-shape than I’m willing to admit.

On Thursday, I got up and ran before work. Since it rained torrentially the night before, the trail was wet and muddy. Again, I took it easy. By the end the marathon-ruining knee was aching – but the other knee was fine! Running is weird.

I caved and bought the Yurbud race case at lunch on Wednesday and took it out for the first time this morning. I like it. It makes the phone easy to access and was handy to have when I *gulp* took some photos and timed my post-run stretching. I think I’m only going to use it for outdoor workouts and runs less than 10k, though. Being off balance and having a hunk of plastic attached to my hand could potentially get annoying on the long runs. But for now, I see it being a useful fitness tool.

Adding two new goals this week: Working out Friday morning to up my morning workout totals this week to 4. (I love summer and all its daylight). And…I’m going to bust out my skipping rope.

Tuesday: Get lean with Nike.


Since it’s summer, I went to the park to get this done! YES! This meant I didn’t have any weights or medicine balls, but wasn’t concerned. If I ever get that hardcore, I’ll figure it out. I love this app and the workouts are intense and varied, which I like. However, I had a hard time with my phone (I constantly need to check the app to make sure I am doing the moves properly), which means I am now completely sold on getting the Yurbuds race case. I can see it coming in handy for these workouts.

And then I did more ab wok. In the wet grass. So glamorous.

Monday: The first run back.

This week is the first week I plan to back into fitness in a regular way. My plan is to alternate between running without any pressure and the Nike fitness app workouts. I’m also going to do a daily 10-minute ab session – core strength FTW!

This was my first run back post-marathon. I put on my Garmin but put no pressure on myself. I wanted to run for 30ish minutes at a pace that felt comfortable – and that’s exactly what I did. The legs felt heavy and my right knee was a bit sore (which is weird because that is NOT the knee that caused my marathon pain), but overall it was a good first run back!

In the evening, I played softball. After 1.5 seasons, I am no longer completely terrified of the ball coming my way. It had stormed prior to the game and was still drizzling when we started the first inning, but we still played. We are hardcore like that.

Six things on Sunday.

Not a lot of fitness going on in Balser-land these days. Soon. In the meantime, here is a bunch of other stuff going on:

1. I got a new phone.

YES! iPhone5s for the win. My contract was almost up, so I successfully negotiated a new free phone as part of my new contract. It is so much faster than my old phone and the camera is so much better. I might stop hating photos now.

2. I joined Instagram.

Obligatory Instagram cat photo.

At least the photos I am now uploading to Instagram no longer suck. I’m still not entirely sure about Instagram, but I am giving it an honest effort. Follow me @Booksin140. I do not understand¬†taking photos of your food. Or selfies. I am officially old.

3. I went to the beach.

And made a fire. It was good times. I totally recommend going to the beach on a weekday evening. It’s beautiful and calming and hardly anyone else there – the opposite of most weekend beach trips.

4. I downloaded a pedometer app.


I downloaded it on Friday and though the magic that is an iPhone, it back-dated my lack of fitness to make me feel bad about myself. And am now obsessed with hitting 10,000 steps a day. It’s hard, y’all. It also means carrying my phone with me ALL THE TIME, because I don’t want to miss any steps. I’m becoming a ridiculous person.

5. I think I want this iPhone running case.

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I never take my phone with me running because it’s big and annoying and the best place I’ve found to keep it is in my bra, where it’s still awkward and uncomfortable. But with this case, the YurBuds Race Case, I could have my phone with me, use it for my music instead of my iPod, use it for track splits, have a communication device on hand and maybe, maybe, start taking the obligatory on the run photos so many other bloggers do. Plus, I kinda like the idea of being balanced: water bottle in one hand, phone in the other. It’s $29.99 and I saw it in Canadian Running. Thoughts? Would it actually be useful or would I hate it? Someone send this to me so I can review it! That’s how this blogging thing is supposed to work, right?

6. Three of my friends had babies last weekend.

Seven days later, this still blows my mind.



The NYC Marathon training plan

Is marathon training really starting all over again?

Yup. Damn you, NYC Marathon lottery.

The goal: A 4:15 or so marathon that’s strong, fun and evenly paced.

The plan: 4 runs a week, 1 strength-training session a week, 1 60 minute yoga session a week.

Training will begin on Sunday, July 20. Until then, I want to stay loose and stay in shape.

I need to remember: To foam roll and stretch more.

The races:

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I am so glad Midsummer’s Night Run is back on the spit!

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I’ve run the island twice before as part of the Island Girl Half-Marathon relay with Jill, but have never done this race. Looking forward to it!

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Andie and I agreed that a half-marathon in late September would be good training. Since the boyfriend’s parents live in Oakville, this is an easy solution! (Word on the Street is the same day, but I think I can do both – this race has a 7:45am start.)

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I still find it ridiculous and amazing this is actually happening. I just hope I don’t hate running once it’s all over.



On a running break.

Tomorrow, it will be three weeks since I ran the Ottawa Marathon.

In these three weeks, I have not run once. Instead I have done the following:

1. Worked on a few writing projects.

2. Went to an art festival. Bought some art.

3. Bought the mirror our living room has needed since 2010.

Art! A mirror! These are both miracles.

Art! A mirror! These are both miracles.

4. Went to a Blue Jays game.

5. Accidentally stayed out until 3am guilt-free.

6. Slept in the next day.

7. Confirmed my NYC training plan with my coach.

8. Started tracking calories and food consumption, which is time consuming and ridiculous and I want to stop soon. But it’s been a good learning experience.

9. Framed my marathon bibs – a thing I once thought was ridiculous. Until I ran a marathon.

No shame. Oh and those frames are Dollarama hacks, not real floating frames. I am a craft master these days.

No shame. Oh and those frames are Dollarama hacks, not real floating frames. I am a craft master these days.

10. Went to two street festivals.

11. Went to Toronto Island.

12. Got a new phone! iPhone 5s, yes!

Basically, this list is proof of HOW MUCH FREE TIME one has when one isn’t marathon training. It’s mind boggling.

I’ll get back to running soon. But I’m not in a rush. Toronto in June is perfect and I want to make the best of it while I can.

Yep, I’m a runner.

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I’ve always been reluctant to call myself a runner. Maybe it was the spandex, or the discussions about pace and splits and mileage or my slower-than-average times, but saying “yes, I am a runner” was something I was – and still am – uncomfortable with.

I refused to acknowledge it after my very first race, a 10k. I ignored it during my first, second and third half-marathons. Even when I ran 30k the first time and had the best race of my life, “Erin the runner” was not a title I was comfortable with.

I even ran a marathon – a magical day – and came out of that experience uncomfortable with that thought. I signed up for a second, and still – nope, not a runner.

I have nothing insightful to say about my trepidation towards the running community (which has only been lovely and supportive) or about labels (which I have eschewed with vengeance since childhood) other than that calling myself a runner was something I wasn’t ready to do. It probably has to do with my relationship with running more than anything else. There are people I know who love running. LOVE IT. They love 5am wake-ups and 8×400 repeats and hill workouts and carbo-loading. They get a runner’s high that can’t compare.

I don’t get it. Very few runs I’ve done I’ve enjoyed. The act of running fills me with dread. I do not like to run. At the very best, I reach a point of zen-like acceptance with the fact I am running (which, perhaps ironically, happens more often on long runs). And so I’ve associated the label “runner” with someone who loves running. Not someone who runs. I’ve reached a point where I need to run – my body gets yelly and achy without it – but that’s not the same as wanting to run.

This changed during my trip to Ottawa. There’s a girl I went to university with. We graduated together. Ever since, I see her, randomly, a few times a year. A yoga class, a park, a bus stop. It’s inconsistent and unexplainable. And I ran into her on the street, the day before the Ottawa marathon.

We discover, during our conversation, that she’s in town for the half-marathon, her first. She’s floored to find out I am in town for the marathon, and that I’ve done one before.

After blabbing about training runs and fueling and how my first marathon went – completely overwhelming her – I wished her luck, and walked away realizing just how far down the running rabbit hole I have gone.

I was so excited for her, to be running 21.1k for the first time. I would have never questioned it if she called herself a runner.

So why wasn’t I one? Being a runner, after all, was about putting one foot in front of the other, again and again, until you crossed the finish line. It wasn’t about enjoyment. It wasn’t about fueling strategies. It wasn’t about time or distance. And whatever I thought I lacked as a runner – well, screw it. It all melted away after that conversation. I run. I run far. For whatever reason, I keep signing up for races. I keep making training plans. I keep putting one foot in front of the other.

That’s what makes me a runner.

It took me three years to learn that.  I just hope that others, no matter how much or how far they run, learn this lesson a hell of a lot faster than I did.

Keep walking on

Back on the road again. And again!

Back on the road again. And again!

Yup it’s true. Cecilley and I just can’t get enough of this walking thing. After three short days of relaxing and nothing planned for the next little while, we decided spending our extra time in Santiago could be much better spent than trying to find cheap transportation into Portugal. Being as close as we are we figured why not visit Portugal? That and having an open invitation to visit an albergue (that’s Spanish for hostel) on the Portuguese Way also helped.

So it’s off to Portugal we go! But getting there, that was the question? Our transportation search was falling short so we decided to get there the best way we knew how. Walking!

The Camino has routes all over Europe and one route actually takes you out of Santiago all the way through Portugal to the very south part of the country. It was like it was meant to be. So when I told you Cecilley was going to burn her sneakers at Finisterra I lied. And it’s a good thing too. She may have found it hard walking barefoot or in flip flops. Although after the blisters poor Cecilley faced, barefoot might be the better choice.

The last arrow at Finisterra. But not the last for us to follow!

The last arrow at Finisterra. But not the last for us to follow!

Once in Portugal we’ll let the route of The Way take us where it will. We will walk on to Porto, a city of influence on the Camino, and spend time in awe and reflection. Walking for 40 plus days, eventually we’ll need to stop somewhere. But it’s interesting now looking back at the beginning having our year of travel somewhat mapped out, the Camino really shook things up for both Cecilley and I in a way we did not see coming. I know for myself I needed clarity and answers to questions like “what the hell am I really doing?” having this pilgrimage come to a close I think I might now know the answer. Or at least I feel closer to finding it. I am in a better place to figure it out then I was before.

This chapter’s close was a much bigger close on many different levels. I have found proper completion with my grand voyage. The Camino has given me that sense of completion and I can return home happy knowing I have completed something from start to finish. After all this time, that’s what I needed? Go figure! I suppose that’s why they say “there are no coincidences on the Camino”.

It’s also been said, time and time again, “the Camino will give you what you need and not what you want”. Let me tell you how true it is.

So after all of that the next, next adventure will be?? It’s starting to look like Digby, Nova Scotia of all places.