Wake Up, Nike Women’s Marathon!


Hello, Toronto! I am officially back and ready to rekindle my fitness regime after a much needed break (from both the city and from running). Everyone needs a break once in awhile, it’s important to refuel the mind and body, and that is exactly what I did on my west coast vacation. But now, as a promise to Erin, I must make up for a lot of loss time.

Oh my goodness California is amazing! This may also be a slight bias opinion due to the fact my race went really, really well. But seriously, California is amazing.


My name on the Nike Town wall of runners!


I am super excited to talk about my adventures and my first half marathon! Not to sound full of myself, but I rocked that race. Even though I was not as fast as I wanted to be (I was shooting for a sub 2 hour time) I ran the race in 2:09. However, after looking back I have a lot to be thankful for. I felt super strong, hard core and pumped the whole way through. There was a leg of the race around the 11 mile mark when I felt really slow. I wasn’t fatigued or tired. I was just slow. But after a boost of Beyonce’s Run The World (Girls) anthem —  the music during the race was too perfect — I was able to pick it right up and push to the finish, despite almost running straight into a wedding proposal happening at the finish line! I sprinted through that finish line (as Erin said you should always do), didn’t stop once, I didn’t walk, and I ran up each and every hill.

Ladies, this truly an invigorating race and one I would do again in a heartbeat. That Tiffany necklace and attractive firemen do make the whole thing worth it in the end. It also helps San Francisco is a very cool city, and that Nike does an amazing job hyping up the spectators before and during the race. Nothing is better than an excited crowd! Another benefit is the scenery – running a race in a city you’ve never been to, or only visited briefly once or twice (or maybe a million times) regardless it makes for a completely different race experience on its own. It makes for excellent distractions. Seeing the Golden Gate Bridge in the background, running along Fisherman’s Wharf, spotting Alcatraz from a distance. We even saw bison along the way! This all made the hills not so bad. Surprisingly, mine and Cecilley’s hill training was actually enough. Although I was very doubtful of this the morning of our race. Seeing the vertical streets downtown as we waited corralled around Union Square – this would put doubts in anyone’s mind. I felt sick to my stomach at the thought that we haven’t prepare nearly enough for what was about to happen.

Cecilley was another reason I survived this whole thing. We started the race together, but she gave me the confidence to break away from the crowd and go after my goal time. So I ran ahead, into the sea of purple shirts. Cecilley’s carefree attitude and positivity was just what I needed around me. She was the best friend to have along for this crazy ride and the best running buddy I could have asked for. Good thing, this whole TNT/running a half marathon was her idea after all! And not only did Cecilley take care of me the night before the race and the morning of: she made sure I ate good running food and made sure I was hydrated: she also acted as my Erin substitute when I felt the need to sing a song about our race. Only Matt truly understands the Erin and Jill pre-race rituals. Cecilley, thank you! You may have been my saving grace. And I’m so proud of you! You ran so fast!!


Cecilley and I towering over the hills!


I still find it hard to believe we actually did it. After all the months of fundraising, training, more fundraising, climbing hills, and more running our race came to an (unexpectedly pleasant) end on Sunday, October 14th. But, now I have no idea what to do with myself! This is something our coaches and mentors didn’t prepare us for, the post race blues. I want to start running again, but for now I’m going to bask in the glory of successfully completing the Nike Women’s Marathon and not dying! That’s until Erin and I start training for the Blue Nose Full Marathon of course!

The route for the Nike Women’s Marathon was great and the support throughout the race was incredible. Team In Training had a huge presence at NWM – makes sense being the official race to benefit blood cancers. But Cecilley and I were a part of something much bigger than the race itself. Women and men (yes men are allowed to run this race too) from all over Canada and the US did exactly what we did, we trained hard and raised a tone of money to be there. We earned the right to run and that felt really good. Each time I heard someone yell “Go Team!” or yelled to me specifically “Go Canada!” or “Right on, Ontario!” I felt even better. But the stories I heard and the coaching moments I saw during, after, and before the race truly brought everything together for me. The energy I had from the moment I woke that morning to the last person I watched cross the finish line, that feeling stuck with me. Cecilley, myself and the 25,000 other Team In Training participants all did an amazing thing that day. We all ran a race! And we helped change lives. These are two of my new favourite things to do. What’s up next? I need to plane my own race where I can make this happen.

Thank you Team In Training, LLSC, and Nike for an experience I will never forget!

TNT Fundraising Update: Yoga, On the Beach & LLSC Lottery Winners!



A few weeks ago before the “2 month till race day mark” officially passed I was feeling quite anxious about NWM and running all together. Let’s face it Cecilley and I have a lot of fundraising left to do and time is running out. In my mind a few months back, I wanted us to have reached half our goal by now. Long story short, we haven’t.

But thankfully Jackie Szabo, my yoga teacher wonder, and her generous soul wanted to help us out. We put together the LLSC Lottery and bam! Donations started coming through. Then we planned Yoga, On the Beach! And as luck would have it, even more donations were contributed to our cause. Thank you, friends!

I started to feel a little more at ease.

So now that Cecilley and I have two successful fundraising events under our belts we would first like to send a big congratulations to Robin McLuskie the grand prize winner of the Weekend Yoga Retreat at the Harmony Dawn with Jackie and Jess Lemon!

And congratulations to our other lucky winners: Kristi Soomer, Jennifer Piggott, and Deborah Hudson!

But the highlight of this fundraising journey, for me, will forever be doing yoga at Sugar Beach. Unfortunately, the particular weekend we chose was looking gloomy and rain was in the forecast. The two most terrible signs you could deal with when planning a morning yoga class outside at a beach. After humming and ha-ing over what to do, we decided to play it safe and not gamble with Mother Nature. We switched the date to Sunday that Friday afternoon. Changing the date of your event is never a good thing because you risk losing people. Sadly, one RSVP no longer could come, but the sun shine, she came that morning.

It was picturesque view. The sun glistening on the water, the sand glowing under our mats – it almost felt like being in Costa Rica again. Almost. Minus the pick umbrellas behind us.

Doing yoga on the sand was harder then it seemed. The ground was a bit uneven which meant you had to be extra mindful in balancing poses. We worked hard, we sweat, and breathed in the lake water breeze as we flowed. It was all good. We even had a few spectators – a mix of bikers, tourists and perhaps some party goers from the night before. Again, it was all good and something to do again for sure! Jackie made the class fun as always and with only four people practicing, we all received special attention. It’s impossible to have a bad class with Jackie, sand or no sand, she is a joy to have guided us through this class. I am forever grateful to have a spirit like Jackie’s in my life to mentor me as a yogi and inspire me as a teacher. Jackie, thank you!


Even lunges on the beach were harder than a practice room!


And the fun doesn’t stop there. Our upcoming events include (please email me if you’re interested in attending or would like more information):

8pm Karma Class at Moksha Yoga Downtown, Friday August 24th (all proceeds of this class will support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada)

Come And Swap It! A clothing swap at Cecilley’s House, Saturday August 25th (donations accepted at the door. We will even come pick up the clothes at your house in advance)

We hope to see you there!

2012, what else is in store?

My first race! How is 2012 halfway over?


2012 has been a crazy (and amazing) fitness year so far. When this blog idea actually came to life, I found myself wanting to do as many blog worthy classes, races, climbs whatever, just to write about them. I’ve had moments of self discovery, found rage I didn’t knew existed in me, but more importantly I can cross off some of the new years resolutions from my list. Remember way back when?…

Not only have I completed a 30 day yoga challenge, I did two – yes, Matt, I’m saying two – I have JK to back me up here! This is where the self discipline, friendly coaching, and pure determination to power though really kicked in. I quickly realized fitness (at any level) can fit into your daily routine quite easily, if you let it. Mind you, I still make excuses not to, but instead ask myself if this is what I really need right now? It’s okay not to practice yoga three times a day, every day. Although I do find it very hard now a days to not go a day without practicing. This could also be because I’m crazy.

I ran a real race! And not only that I’ve done two so far, my third is coming up in August – the Mid Summer Night’s Run I’m running with Erin. And I will run a half marathon before the year is out. Again, this could also be a refection of my obsessive personality.

I also joined a running group, Erin’s Pubruns running group, and found a new yoga/running/work best friend to drag along with me, but who has inspired me to take on more fitness adventures (and is teaching me everything doesn’t have to be a competition). Yes, I’m talking about you, Cecilley!

As for eating more healthy and being aware of what’s going into my body, I Lived My Moksha and really tried to implement each of the 7 pillars into my life. Some weeks where easier than others, but that’s the whole part of a challenge. And no I still have not claimed my head stand prize. The competition was put on hold. I think Graham is scared. Although I’ve gave him zero reason to be afraid.

2012 has taught me a lot of important things. Don’t be afraid to try new things, to set intentions as well as goals, and to listen to my body. This head stand competition will be the fail of 2012 I can see that coming. But I will continue to look at the positives – like climbing the CN Tower, my new mission to save lives, I met Ted Grand! I paddled the Don, I went on a yoga retreat and I’m now considering my yoga teacher training. (Hint: I also may or may not be going on another retreat with Jackie over the holidays.). All positive experiences.

I used to be afraid of the how: How will I make things happen? How will I become a real runner and run marathons? How will I pay for another trip to Costa Rica? Haha… I’m making things happening right before me. 2012, it’s been fun. But I may have spoken too soon. Erin has a new mission for us – the Toronto Urban Warrior – oh my. This could be very interesting.

The only item that needs a check is my triathlon training. But hey I still have another 6 months for this, and the summer has only just begun!

Team In Training – Jill’s marathon mission

First, don’t be fooled. I am not running a full marathon… Yet. Although these past 4 weeks with my new Team In Training community would have you thinking otherwise. I will not, or cannot, run a full marathon before Erin does. I owe it to her, doing my my 30 day secret challenge in secret was enough. And besides Erin has worked very hard and deserves that glory before me. Gosh, I am such a good sister.

Since day one of TNT training (May 26th) I’ve run with the full marathoners. This was either by complete accident, by default, or by no choice other than my own. I’m rather afraid of San Francisco and the mountainious treck the Nike Women’s Marathon has set for us. My housemate Charlie (and Nike marathon participant last year) gave me the idea that training with the full marathoners would make the mountains easier to climb come October 14th. So that’s what I’ve decided to do. We shall see how right Charlie is this fall.

Now that my mission to run a half marathon is really on, how exactly was I able to get into the Nike Marathon without entering the lottery or without any marathon running experience at all? It’s through Team In Training, the charity organized by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada, that’s how. Through Team In Training I was granted automatic entry into a marathon of my choice (there are a series of races TNT can send participants to which usually require special entry in some way). Clearly, I was going to San Francisco and not staying here in Toronto. Given the choice, why not? I would love a Tiffany necklace handed to me by a beautiful firefighter, thank you! Team In Training also sets you up with a running coach and a fundraising coach to help you along the way. TNT also fully equipped us with a weekly training program, and not only do we meet every Saturday to run as a group, our coaches provide weekly tips and inspiration for everything running related — from shoes, to stretches, to what food to eat — there are people who’s job it is to answer all my questions. And having very little running experience going into this, this eased my nerves.


Running & fundraising makes Cecilley and I very excited!


The other component to Team In Training is the fundraising. No, you do not get a free ride to any marathon courtesy of the lovely folks at LLSC. You have to give back. But trust me its completely worth it. Because Cecilley and I have decide to stick this out together we’re combining our fundraising efforts and set a combined goal of $8000 to raise for LLSC. The minimum is $3800 each, or we can’t go. We’re going with optimism here, we’ll make it there I know it. A big chuck of our proceeds earned go directly to the LLSC to help support those living and fighting leukemia and lymphoma, though research and improving treatment facilities. A portion, yes, will get Cecilley and I to the half marathon, but we’re running with the cause in mind.

It was Cecilley after all who convinced me to do this in the first place. I had no idea what TNT was before she told me this was some we had to do. But it was I who suggested we run in San Fran. I truly believe we are the perfect pair, just like Jody and Beth from Gold Diggers: The Secret Of Bear Mountain. I’m Jody in case you’re wondering.

Now that you know what I’ll be doing for the next 5 months I have to ask – if you’re feeling generous and want to support Cecilley and I as our mission to run a half marathon (and save lives) has begun, we’d appreciate all the help we can get! This is our donation page. 🙂

Thanks for your support! I’m going for a sub 2-hour time, if that’s not worth something, I don’t know what is.