Summer SUPing had me a blast

Mandy and I being SUP rockstars!

Mandy and I being SUP rockstars!

Everyone knows that summer is the time for fun, getaways, vacations, amazing food, and sometimes if you’re lucky a little summer lovin’ may find it’s way to your heart. I’ve found love this summer in the Beaches. A little thing called stand up paddleboarding! Ya you may have heard about it especially if you’ve been following the blog lately. It’s all I seem to talk about these days. That or running. But let’s face it we’re all entitled to change and I really don’t want to bore you to death with how much running I’m doing. I’m running all the time! I too needed a break and stand up paddleboarding seemed to be just the thing I needed. Yes, it may have been taking me away from some of my Saturday training runs… but I’m okay with that! I deserve to enjoy the summer… or what’s left of it. It sickens me to think it’s almost over. I may cry.

Last summer I went stand up paddleboarding with Jackie for my first time ever at the Harbourfront. It was right around (what I thought then) Jackie’s permanent departure from Toronto. She talked about SUPing a lot and I decided I needed to try this so called SUPing with her before she left. The first time I went I didn’t really stand up. Actually I hardly did at all! It’s rather intense your first time, finding your balance and the sweet spot on the board. When I went with Jackie I had no idea what I was doing. So this year, after meeting Jenn, I decided a real lesson was in order. When I took my friend Mandy to the Beaches last month I hardly stood up again! I was a bit of a baby. The sky was cloudy and dark and the water was wavy – not my ideal SUPing conditions. However, we stuck it trough and once again I quickly realized how much fun this sport can be! But rule number to really let go and have fun: stop fearing falling in! If it happens it happens, so what. I let loose the second time around and that’s when I really had a good time.

My second trip out to the Beach was much nicer and calmer than the last. It was the perfect day! The sun was shining the water was picturesque and I could not wait to jump on my board and go! This time I stood up like a pro and paddled all over. The wind was just right, so we literally could have gone anywhere. A good chunk of our time was spent playing. We practice yoga moves, attempted balancing postures, and just enjoyed the fact Toronto is a city where you can escape within it. That’s if you really want to. Jenn can show you the way!

A big thanks to Jenn for the pictures!

A big thanks to Jenn for the pictures!

I went out for my third time last Saturday once again with Marianne (hi, Marianne!) and plan on getting in a few more rides before the end of the month. I’m addicted. I can’t help it. When you start to get god at something it’s really hard to stop.

There are many places in the city to try stand up paddleboarding all the way from the east end to west end. It’s a good work out and a lot of fun all rolled into one. You may recall JK’s guest post when she went last summer with SUPGirlz. I know that Jenn, from Big City Boards, plans on paddling up until the end of August. Get your last summertime fix in while you still can (sunrise and sunset are the best)! At the rate the weather is changing we might not have summer for much longer! That’s too sad to think about right now.

Making my own sport things, Vega style

You know what, this whole Being Healthy thing is actually quite easy. Ha! I can say this now coming from a place where I feel confident in my training, settled in my work routine (for now) and my fridge is stock with nothing my Thrive Diet approved ingredients. But I have yet to purchase a food processor, so making a lot of the recipes I want to where completely eliminated for my first attempt of making Thrive Diet things. With my first long run with the Running Room a few Sundays ago (remember back to training week #5) I wanted to be ready. I needed to show everyone I will be well hydrated, I need something to carry my gels in, and above all that I needed my confidence and that feeling of being ready to run. I’m not going to lie 19k with these runners had me rather nervous.

So after finishing the Thrive Diet from cover to cover I flagged all the things I want to make – basically everything – but to start it all off I thought a pre workout energy drink would be easy enough. Not only do I still need a good processor I am also still lacking a few key ingredients ie. hemp, hemp oil, chia seeds etc. Again, my options were limited. But! I settled on making the Mint Carob Sport Drink. It was weird at fist, but after refrigerating it for a day it got better with time. For the following days I drank a bit of this before each run and I felt great.

The Mint Carob Sport Drink. It was weird at first, but got better with time.

The Mint Carob Sport Drink. It was weird at first, but got better.

For my during activity fuel I made the Coconut Carob Gel with protein – these do not require a food processor, you can use a blender! Perfect. I do have a blender. These looked like sludge. I didn’t have them right away (Brendan swears they are best served fresh) but I wasn’t running for a few days. I kept them in the fridge and boy when I finally took it out on a test run it was so yummy! Proof you can’t base a book by it’s cover (or in this case gels on how they look). I love dates and the bit of chocolaty sweetness from the carob bits was delicious.

Coconut Carob Gel with Protein (the protein is hemp protein). These look awful I know.

Coconut Carob Gel with Protein (the protein is hemp protein). These look awful I know.

And last but not least I attempted a different smoothie – I’ve been stuck on the Vega One (natural flavor) and adding a half a banana, water, ice, some almond milk, and a scoop of almond/peanut butter for days – for the “drink a nutritious smoothie each day”. I actually took a break for like a week because I was having this way too much. So finally I broke the habit and made the Chocolate Almond Smoothie. It was an excellent choice.

And I drank all of it!

Have you attempted making your own drinks and things? Or have an amazing smoothie recipe I need to try? Tell me about it!

Off to Newfoundland

Newfoundland - East Coast Trail

I know I’ve been quiet here. I hurt my back and couldn’t move very much this past week and I’ve been planning my East Coast Trail hiking adventure with JK. We leave tonight. 220km. Two girls. One tent.

I’ll give you the full update on my return. Until then, Jill will keep this blog busy with her marathon training.

 

 

 

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.

 

Playing some ball

Not my team. Not my field. Same general concept.

Not my team. Not my field. Same general concept.

On Tuesday night, we had our second softball game. I learned something important.

I am terrible at softball.

Well, not really. But the plan was for me and another girl to trade off outfield and second base, but after I fumbled two grounders, I was permanently relegated to outfield for the rest of the game. Grrr. It was frustrating, because I am competitive and expect too much from myself.

I want to blame my lack of prescription sunglasses, but really it’s because it’s been way too long since I’ve played softball regularly. I just need to practice more.

Our team lost. Then I met up with Matt and watched the Jays win and all was well in the world.

 

 

I’m going for a walk in the woods

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A 220k walk, that is.

After what is probably a year of discussing and dreaming, JK and I took a big step forward in making our Cheryl Strayed-inspired dreams come true: we booked our tickets to Newfoundland.

(To be specific, JK booked them. I owe her money. Soon, JK, I promise!!)

On August 3, we are flying halfway across the country to go into the woods for two weeks. We return to Toronto on August 18. I hope we emerge alive.

I hope we emerge still friends.

The plan is to cover the 220k of the East Coast Trail on the Avalon penninsula in Newfoundland (the developed part) in 12 days. If we plan it right, we’ll hike for 10 and have two rest days at some point — hopefully in adorable seaside towns. Our planning hasn’t developed that far yet. I do want to travel to the far part of the trail and end in St. John’s, so we have a city to enjoy when we are done. This seems to be the opposite of what the maps and internets suggest. Are we wrong already?!!!

This will be my longest hike EVER. While I feel more prepared than Cheryl was (and let’s face it: that’s not hard), I’m not that prepared!

So, experienced hikers, share your secrets! What do we need to know about hiking for that long? What should we eat? What gear do we need? What gear do we think we need, but don’t? Tell us everything!!!

 

Yoga & Biomechanics for Runners Workshop

Thanks Alice & Kris! Photo is from ChatterRunGirl.

Thanks Alice & Kris! Photo is from ChatterRunGirl.

What: Yoga & Biomacanhics for Runners
When: Sunday, May 26th @ 12:30 p.m.
Where: Moksha Yoga Danforth (372 Danforth Ave)
Who: Kris Sheppard and Alice Toyonaga

I am really excited for summer. Like really, really excited for summer. And most of all, or most surprising, I’m excited to run! This summer I’ve decided running will be for me. 2012 will forever be remembered as my summer of hell! Okay, I’m being very dramatic here, but fundraising is not easy, and Cecilley and I did nothing but train and fundraise. Not that that was a bad thing, I did spend pretty much my whole summer with Cecilley! And met some great people along the way. Then we celebrated our hard work in California. Okay, so 2012 was not the summer of hell at all.

My goal this year is to work hard, get faster, run farther. I want to become an all round better runner. I think it’s time. The Blue Nose and Around the Bay taught me that the human body is physically capable of doing many things under pressure or stress (and with little training, I may add). Not that I want to promote this fact! If you’re running longer distances do yourself a favour and prepare. Join a clinic (like me!), hire a running coach, find a running group, or get together a group of friends to run with. It’s easier than you may think. Toronto is full of great organizations and people doing great things. Or just ask me! I’ll do the research for you!

With my new goal on the horizon of running faster and running properly, I signed up for a running workshop hosted at Moksha Yoga Danforth with Alice Toyonaga. This was an excellent place to start my summer of running. Alice (aka ChatterRunGirl) is a marathon runner, Moksha teacher, and a big inspiration and mentor of mine. Alice is so great!

Alice has been traveling from coast to coast hosting running and yoga workshops at Moksha studios all over Canada. See. This is why Alice is great! Lucky for me, and the Toronto community, Alice partnered with Dr. Kris Sheppard, a chiropractor at Absolute Endurance Training and Therapy and a certified strength and conditioning specialist, to host a yoga & biomechanics for runners. My love for Alice and my goal of running a marathon compelled me to go. Obviously.

We met at the studio strapped on our sneakers and away we went for a light 2k run to get us started. During the run Kris and Alice broke down the components of the workshop and addressed the importance of proper active recovery, which yoga can do for all athletes!

Back at the studio Kris took us through a series of exercises — lunges, squats, high knee running — to demonstrate proper running technique. Just from observation Kris can tell the type of pain you may experience, he can tell your range of motion, where you carry your weight when you run, as well as knows your foot strike. Apparently I’m a quad dominate runner with weak ankles. Kris has worked with many different clients from sprinters to long distant runners, to the everyday runner, like most of us attending the workshop. Kris, we may have to talk. But watching myself run, I can think of anything worse…

Afterward was Alice’s turn. She lead a beautiful sequence focusing on strengthening our quads and our butt muscles — something we runners really need — then we stretched everything out. Our hips, our hip flexors, this was a treat. Also in attendance was Vanessa Montenegro from Flipswitch Studio who happened to be assisting during Alice’s class. And for the first time in my life she got me to engage my glutes! I actually felt the sensation of firing up my butt. Ha! Thanks, Vanessa! After all this time you think I would have learned.

What a perfect day. The weather was incredible, but better yet the information I took in, along with the great company, made this workshop one of a kind. Thank you Alice, Kris, and Vanessa! And thanks to you too, Brent and Michelle from Moksha Yoga Danforth. I telling everyone right now to attend the next one. Keep your eye on Alice she is going great things.

 

 

Women’s Self Defence @ Krudar

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What: Women’s Self Defence class
When: Saturday @ 11am
Where: Krudar Muay Thai (152 Augusta Avenue)
Who: Kru Darwin

Not only is Krudar the sweet spot to learn muay thai boxing in Kensington Market, but now they have Women’s Self Defence classes! How great is that? And if you’re even the slightest bit curious to take a peak inside or maybe if you’re feeling up to it try a class, every last Saturday of each month Krudar hosts an open house and all classes are free on this day. Free! Once I discovered a self defence class was on the schedule Anne and I jogged our way to Kensington to give it a go.

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For those who may not know, I had a rather scary in counter a year ago in December on my way to work one morning. I was pushed down from behind on a major street in broad daylight. I don’t want to scare anyone, but this experience left me quite shaken up for days afterward. I called the police when I got to work — after calling my Mom, Erin, and my roommate at the time, Shannon — I gave my statement to an officer (from the cop car!) who came to the office that afternoon. Literally hours later, I recieved a call from a dispatch officer telling me they have a guy in custody that matched my description. And what’s even crazier is that an identical attack was called in shortly after mine. Crazy! I was shocked and surpised how quickly this all happened.

They caught the guy he then pleaded guilty to all accounts and so the case was closed. But I was left thinking I don’t want to feel scared in my city ever again. I want to better prepare myself for another incident like this, should one ever occur.

(An important lesson learned: call the police should anything should happen to you, as minor as it may seem. Do it.)

So a goal of mine since then was to take a self defence class. Being an all women’s class everyone was on the same playing field – everyone had different expectations from what to get out of a class like this, but Kru did his best to touch on all the important things to keep in mind. He pointed out the effective ways to stop someone quickly, so you can then run away, using the heel of your hand, your fingers, and/or your knuckles. We then focused on protecting our faces from throws and punches while using the environment as a tool to defend your self. You never know what could be around to aid you in a tough situation. And lastly, Kru pointed out the most effective tool we have to defend ourselves and that’s our voice. Just yelling “STOP” at someone will make then stop, even just for a few seconds. This is an innate characteristic in us as humans to stop when told to stop.

During the class, Anne and I practiced attacking each other while the other protected themselves. We also had the boys of Krudar surprise attack us too. They were also nice enough to give us pointers and feedback.

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In the end, Kru left us with the understanding that all things said attacks are all different and we can’t walk around with fear. The mind needs to be strong before our physical bodies can protect us. Throwing a punch is one thing, but thinking the situation through and knowing how to react is how you’ll come out of any situation protected and unharmed.

I was so grateful that I wasn’t harmed last year when my attack happened. But even just the hour with Kru I feel better and more aware of what to do. There is a weekly class on the schedule, which will be twice a week once the numbers in class grows. The classes will then look at different situational attacks, what to do when the attacker comes from behind, and the metal strengthening involved. But as a fist time experience I was a satisfied client.

 

Yoga. Surf. RawFood: Day #5

After a brief break, my Costa Rica recaps are back! If you missed them, read about Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 and Day 4!

 

After a full day of being tired and complaining because surfing wasn’t my best, the next day was even tougher. I faced some major fears, and broke my raw food cleanse (I had a very good reason, I promise!) and really brought the awareness to myself that I can choose my own choice. And so the real journey begins…

 

I'm still happy to surf no matter what!

I’m still happy to surf no matter what!

 

Day 5:
Today began with qigong meditation and practice with Kevin. I was still sore from my 3 days of surfing in a row, the thumping and shaking felt great when I actually lifted my arms to do it. My body was stiff and I needed to shake this out. Even the slightest sensation of my heels thumping into the floor shook all the way up my spine and through my jelly like arms and legs. Really paying attention to parts of the body, as Kevin guided us through class, I could sense the parts that were sore and the parts of my body that needed special attention. I moved though class as best as I could, but it was tough and tiring. Where have I heard that one before?

Afterward, once the post qigong kicked in, I was ready! I was invigorated and wanted to hit the waves once more. I took the morning surf crew out to Noara and decided we would stay in town for the afternoon. And why not, the sun was hot, the water was warm, it was grand. Surfing today, for me, was mediocre. The waves were choppy and my pop-ups (or lack of) where hurting. I wasn’t standing on my board nor was I catching good waves. I guess you can’t win them all. Kimberly taught me the push up which you do over the smaller waves as your paddling out. You literally do a push up on our board and the wave goes under your belly and over the board. It’s not as hard as it sounds, unless our arms were dead like mine.

 

Time to go home. This picture was taken by Patrick, thanks Patrick!

Time to go home. This picture was taken by Patrick, thanks Patrick!

 

Today’s surfing was rough, so was yoga and so was the evening yin class with Ezmy. We did a lot of good things however – lower back, and hamstrings, oh my! Kevin played music for us again which did relieve some of the tightness in my hamstrings. Thank goodness this evening was our free night. I clearly needed a rest.

 

Yoga. Surf. RawFood: Day #4

Happy New Year! Let’s go back to January 1st, 2013 — day 4 of my yoga retreat. 2013 is the year I deemed as the year of big change. And it will be I’m going to be a yoga teacher remember?! That’s the plan. I’ve been sending this energy out there, to the universe, for I don’t know how long! And now I feel as though my stars are aligning. In the fire on New Year’s Eve, I burned fear and self doubt, and with that comes letting go of regret. I think back to where I was in September when I almost decided not to go on the retreat. But Jackie knew this decision wasn’t coming from my heart. It was fearful and worry clouding my mind. Thankfully, I listened to myself (and to Jackie’s advice) because I would have lived with this regret for a very long time.

Day 4:
2013 started off in the most perfect way I could imagine: vinyasa with Jackie! Jackie took us though a sequence focusing on lots of hip openers and back bends. It was the start of a brand new year, time to ring out all that stale energy! This class was extra special. My body moves to the smooth rhythm of Jackie’s words, I don’t just hear Jackie’s instructions I feel them. Ohhh I have shivers thinking about it and how I’m going to offer my class and practice to future yogis. It’s exciting stuff!

After class I meet my new surfing best friend (hi Mandy!) and two very lovely ladies for Moksha Downtown (hi Maria and Cathy!). Maria will be accompanying me to LA. She was also accepted to the Moksha Teacher Training. I am so overjoyed by this whole experience.

That afternoon, before hitting the waves, I went for a (very) quick run. I was in Costa Rica! It was hot! And I needed to conserve my energy for surfing. I ran for a good 20 minutes to Black Sand Beach. Erin’s training for a marathon and I am determined to run a marathon too. So I went for a run.

I blame the stupid run for what happened next. But in all honestly, when have I ever surfed 3 days in a row? Umm never. My arms were like jelly, sadly I was not the surfing superstar I had played up to be. I was tired and drained and I could not pop up on my board if my life depended on it. And today of all days Kimbo (the head surf instructor at the Nosara Surf Academy) was in the water taking pictures! I do not have documented footage of me on my board. This saddens me a great deal.

Everybody go surfing!

Everybody go surfing!

Back at the our yoga headquarters Ezmy lead another amazing yin class. My battered body and sore arms need the stretching and tenderness. The surfing yogi lives a hard life!

That evening Kevin gave a super interesting talk on the 8 Limbs of Yoga. So much I have to look forward to. And that, my friends, is how I spent New Years Day 2013.

Beach time! Happy New Year to me.

Beach time! Happy New Year to me.