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!

Looking forward to the rest of 2012

One of the weirder — and more fun — fitness accomplishments of 2012.


At the beginning of the year, both Jill and I set fitness goals. Ambitious ones. Don’t remember? You can check out mine here.

Of the five goals I set, I’ve accomplished four. Weekly yoga is no longer a goal, it’s part of my work-out routine. Jill and I crushed a sub-55 10k on April 13, when we ran the Toronto Yonge Street 10k together in 54:57. In general, I’m a pretty healthy eater, sticking to a near-vegan diet. Sure, I slip on the carbs and the alcohol occasionally, but I don’t want to punish myself constantly. I work my body hard and it deserves a beer (or three) or a glass of wine (or bottle) every once in a while. And the morning person thing is so much easier in the summer, but, in general, when I plan a morning work-out, I make it more often than miss it. There’s still room for improvement here, but I consider this goal complete.

Which leaves me with the first goal. And the biggest one. I had my eye on the May 6 marathon, but training beat me up. It made me tired, sore and hate running. I do not regret down-grading to the half-marathon. Not one bit. But the disappointment I felt with my 2:14 time had me re-assessing my running goals for the year. And now that Jill is quickly on my heels as the premiere runner in the family, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what I want out of running.

I want to get faster.

I want to run a sub-2:00 half-marathon more than I want to complete full one right now. I know I have it in me to do a full and I know that my time to run a full will come. But I want to do with 4 hours on my mind, not 5. I want to run a sub-1:30 15k. I want to pass more people than people pass me.

It’s that simple. After putting my body through 30 days of yoga, I realized that fitness, for me, is about pushing my body to get faster and stronger, to test new limits and try new things. It’s not about celebrating what I can do and accepting what I can’t. It’s about running as hard and fast as I can, and crossing the finish line knowing I gave it my all. It’s about finally doing a handstand. It’s about doing a 5-minute plank, then saying ‘screw that, let’s go for 10.’

I think running faster ties into this better than running farther at this point. I believe this will change eventually, and I’ll seek to run faster and farther in the same training cycle, but not right now. Eventually.

First up is the Midsummer’s Night Run 15k. Jill is running it too. I want to cross that finish line under 1:30 together.

I’m on the hunt for a great half-marathon this fall. Suggestions?

Monday Miles: Marathon Training Week #9


Week #9. It means I’m halfway there with this marathon training. I’m not going to lie: I don’t feel ready. I don’t feel like I’m running enough to do this thing. I’m also sick of running all the time (even though I’m not running as much as I should be.) Gah.

Anyway, here’s how week #9 broke down:

Monday: rest

I ran 28.1k the day before. I was surprised I could even move.

Tuesday: rest

This was not the plan, but it was one of my very favourite colleagues last day on the team. (She’s still in the building, she’s just on a different project now.) You know what that means: DRINKING. And drinking means no running. I probably could have run in the morning, but why?

Wednesday: 7.2k, Hot Hour @ Kula

Three days later, and I was still feeling sore from the 28k epic run of epicness. So I thought I should get a little yoga in, and ran there to get some kilometres on the DailyMile chart. As much as running is pissing me off right now, I still hate the sight of empty days in that chart.

Thursday: 6.2k

This run took me almost an hour to do! Insane, right? I should be cracking out 6k runs in 40 minutes or less in my sleep. It was insanely slippery out and I had a hard time getting a solid footing. I was also exhausted. Why? It was my first morning run in one hundred years! (Okay, of 2012. But still. That’s a long time.)

Friday: 10.8k

I needed to pick up tickets to a Spice Girls tribute band (I am not kidding), so I ran the 5.4km to the store that sold them and back again. This worked out well, because I was seriously contemplating not running. But do you know what I hate more than running? Besides morning runs and blank DailyMile charts, of course! Paying for transit! (I am so grumpy today! I will try to be better the rest of the week. I promise.

Saturday: 7.6k

Saturday was our monthly pubruns meet-up. It was windy and cold so only 3 other brave souls made it out. We did a pretty loop through Taylor Creek Park — I’d never made it that far east on the Don Valley Trail before — before heading to Sarah’s Cafe for a well-deserved brunch.

Sunday: 25.1k

Another epic long run. I had planned for 30k, but wasn’t feeling fresh at all. Unlike last Sunday, where I felt strong until about the 20k mark, this entire run was a struggle. I took inspiration from pubruns the day before, and ran the entire Don Valley Trail to Victoria Park, looped down to the Beach and headed home. It was beautiful. And painful. I couldn’t move for the rest of the day.


I really wanted to do one 30k run before Around the Bay, but that’s probably not going to happen. It’s taper time. I don’t want to taper too much and ruin and training base for the Goodlife Marathon, but want my legs to feel fresh enough that I can power through 30k at under 4 hours. Which, as you know based on my long run past paces, will be a challenge.




Monday Miles: Marathon Training Week #8


Well, for a non-crazed work week, this week saw my fewest number of workouts yet. However, it is my highest weekly mileage to date, thanks to an insane, pain-inducing long run on Sunday.

Monday: Zen Stretch @ The Yoga Sanctuary

Monday was a holiday in Ontario, so Jill and I checked out a class neither of us had tried before, Zen Stretch. It was interesting and left me sore for days afterward.

Tuesday: Rest

This wasn’t a planned rest day, but thanks to a fever and some severe ladypains, I didn’t have a choice. Okay, I probably did. But going to bed at 7:30 was the right choice to make.

Wednesday: 8.5k in 1:05

I still wasn’t 100%, but decided to give running a go anyway. Then my stubborn side kicked in and told me I wasn’t allowed to go home until I ran for at least an hour. After ATB, I see some speedwork in my future…

Thursday: 8.6k in 1:04

Despite taking a different route than Wednesday, I ended up with almost the exact same time and distance! Weird. This run felt better, but the monotony of running for long periods of time is starting to get to me. I need to mix this up because…

Friday: rest

I should have ran on Friday. Even a quick 5k or track work-out or hill work-out. Anything. But I didn’t because I didn’t want to. I knew if I ran long on Saturday and Sunday, I’d get close to 60k for the week, so I bailed and drank beer instead. Bad Erin.

Saturday: 11.5k in 1:33

I mapped out this route in my head and for some reason, I thought it was in the 14-15k range. I have no idea why. This is also why my pace is slower than normal — I was planning to run loooong and still have to try for 25k the next day. I ran up to Rosedale, did my favourite loop, then ran home. Oh well. It was a solid run, despite the harsh, cold wind. Is winter over yet?

Sunday: 28.1k in 3:42

So. I needed to run long on Sunday. I was aiming for 25, would have been happy with 22. Then book club decided to meet on Sunday afternoon, throwing a wrench into my plans. I would wake up as 7am to get the run in — who does that?! — or run home apres book club. We were meeting in Port Credit, so I thought this would be an interesting challenge and an opportunity to see parts of the Toronto waterfront I hadn’t seen before. Now that it’s over and I’m sitting comfortably on my couch, it doesn’t seem so bad. But while I was running? I was cursing my idiocy, cursing Lynn for living so far away and cursing every runner who has ever run a marathon and enjoyed it. Who are these people? What is wrong with them?!



All in all, I’m happy with a 57k week. Next week, I hope to top 60k and get 2 yoga classes in. I’ve been toying with trying for 30k on Sunday, but I may abandon that plan. I’m not that much of a masochist.



Oh, viral videos

We’ve had several people (hi Anne!) send us these videos. And since I’m lazy and didn’t write a post today, I thought I’d share them JUST IN CASE you haven’t seen them.

You haven’t, right? Okay, good.

Shit Runners Say:


Shit Yogis Say:



Conclusion: Jill and I need to diversify our workout routines. We are these people. It is a little bit sad.



The little things

On Sunday, I did a 15.8k slog through the Don Valley Trail. I felt great, but when you’re running for that long, your mind will wander to weird places. That run, I thought about all the little things I have come to appreciate about running.

When I first started running, I didn’t enjoy it. I approached it as a challenge. I’ve always been a goal oriented person, stating “I want to accomplish X” (X being getting into grad school, writing a book, attempting veganism) and then developing a plan to make X happen. This time last year, it was a half-marathon. I ran that half-marathon. Then another one. I kept running. The running-related X became blurry. I need to get my eyes checked.

(Really, I do. I was in a meeting on Monday and was all “What’s that?!” when I saw a fuzzy red dot on a mock-up for a website thing. It was the CBC logo. The very place I work. The logo that’s on my ID badge and the website I stare at every single day.  I’m a moron. A blind moron.)

These days, my attitude towards running is complicated. I’d rather run than not run, but I still feel I haven’t fallen far down the rabbit hole enough to call myself a “runner.” I need races to motivate, schedules to follow, and this blog to guilt me into it. But in the past year, so many things have become essential to my runs.


1) My ponytail

This is a weird one, I know. But I’ve come to love feeling the swish and bounce of my ponytail as I settle into my stride. Ponytails at the gym, during yoga and playing basketball are hazardous. But on a solo run, there’s nothing stopping it from flying free. It’s not going to get in my eyes, caught on a machine or pulled by an opponent. (All these things have happened.) I love that about running.


2) Pink stuff

I read somewhere (Cosmo, I think. Don’t judge!) that there’s absolutely no reason the little things in your life — your cell phone case, your toothbrush, your iPod, your make-up case — can’t be your favourite colour. I completely and totally agree, and rapidly began acquiring more much pink stuff than any twenty-something should own. It’s bordeline embarrassing. But on my run on Sunday, I had a pink headband, a pink hair elastic, pink gloves, a pink water bottle holder, pink socks, a pink iPod and a pink windbreaker and it made me happy. Cosmo knew what they were talking about. (Yes, that’s why this website is pink. Pink is the best!)


3) Top 40 music

The only time I listen to Top 40 is when I run. It’s peppy, it’s light, it’s fun to move to. The iPod I got for Christmas (thanks Matt!) has a radio app and Virgin Radio and Chum FM are the best running buddies you could ask for. When you’re feeling down or sore or tired, a song like “Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson will come on the radio and the world will be well again.

Kelly’s right, you know. What doesn’t kill you really make you stronger.


4) Seeing random wildlife

At home in Nova Scotia, it was totally normal to see a bear coming out of your garage or end up late for school because a family of deer was hanging out on the only road from your house to town and blocking all the traffic. We wore bright orange hunting gear when playing outside for safety reasons. (True story.) Toronto has wildlife, true, but my interaction with nature is very different in the city than it is in the country. At home, it fully consumes you. Here, it’s fragmented and unexpected. Which is why whenever I see a deer or a rabbit or a trumpeter swan (there was a pair on the Don River on my long run!), it makes me happy. Really happy.


5) The runners’ hello

I like running solo, true. But nothing can power me through a few more kilometres — especially on those crappy days — than a fellow crazy comrade slogging through the rain or snow or sub zero temperatures. That little head nod, hello or smile means the world to me. I never expected it to. When I read about it for the first time, I thought it was weird. Now, I yearn for it when I see another runner coming my way. It shows I’m not alone and all someone else gets all this running.  I get sad when it doesn’t happen. So if you see another runner — especially on a day when normal people aren’t going outside — give a little wave. It might be me.


There are other things, I’m sure. But five is a nice number. And I’m sleepy.


What little things make your workouts better?



The run: 15.8k in 2:01:17


The route:

View Larger Map

The day the Santas came to town


As I mentioned in my New Year’s resolutions for 2012, I will run a race. But here’s a secret: I may already have.

I will have you know that this particular race, which was in no way MY idea to participate in, was 3k race, held last December, in the dead of winter… wearing Speedos. Yes, people, I ran the Santa Speedo Run in support of the Sick Kids Hospital. Okay, so this particular race maybe took 15 minutes to complete (thank goodness!). It was still a race.


Team 292 Borden: me, Shannon, Charlie and Graham.


December 10, 2011 will go down in the history books for myself and the entire 292 Borden household. Now, back to my point about my complete un-involvement this crazy diabolical plan. How did I get myself into doing this? It all started opening an email. Subject: “Santa Speedo Run.” Message: “Who’s in?” My first thought: “Hell, no!” This message, from one of one of my neighbours living above me, was sent to everyone in the house, Santa Speedo Run instigator’s girlfriend, my roommate and myself. My roommate, who was getting ready to move back home to Nova Scotia at the end of the month, agrees to this madness for this exact reason. The girlfriend, Charlie, says yes because Shannon said yes. This left me completely out of luck and with no other choice. I couldn’t be the only one not running. Thanks a lot, Graham.

It was cold — 4 below to be exact — and sunny. But the shock — not including the shock to my system — was how may people took part and came to watch, and how fun it actually was! Mind you, the drinks before the run and the drinks afterwards may have helped. A lot. Showing up at Hemmingway’s in Yorkville for noon ensured plenty of drinking time and dibs on a Speedo. Matching bright red speedos.

Grab a bunch of friends crazy enough to do with with you. You’ll have a few drinks and a few laughs with a close group of Speedo running experts of all ages, shapes and sizes. The die hards will pick you out of the crowd as a newbie like a swore thumb, but it’s totally worth it.

I may even be there running with you.


YaxTrax Attack!

Here’s a secret about Toronto: the winters are cold. And snowy. (I know, right? No one has ever told you that before.) This year, we’ve been really lucky, with little snow and mild weather. That changed this week, when temperatures dipped well below zero and Friday brought us our first substantial snowfall .

I don’t mind winter running, but, like many sane people, would like to avoid embarrassment — or worse, injury — by falling on the ice. So I was on the hunt for something that would make winter runs more interesting than out and backs on Queen Street.

Enter the YakTrax.


I put these....where?!


I discovered these snowshoe-like contraptions after reading a review on Run With Jess. After reading several more positive reviews online and finding out they were relatively cheap ($30 at Mountain Equipment Co-op), I decided to give them a go. I’ve spent $30 on stupider things in my life.

The YakTrax are basically a weird sandal that you slip over your shoe. The stainless steel coils act like spikes, cutting through ice and snow to give you a firm grip. I got a unisex medium (because I have GIANT lady feet) and they fit snugly, but weren’t difficult to get on. (I put them on wrong the first time. I figured that out quickly, thanks for the handy “toe” and “heel” labels!).


Success! Now to actually walk with these things...

Success! Now to actually walk with these things...


I decided to give them a try on a recovery run through the Don Valley Trail. It was snowy, icy and uneven — the perfect place for a test run.


Just like running on a treadmill, right?!


How’d they do? They passed with flying colours! I felt sure-footed and confident on ice and on packy snow. They weren’t bad on the parts of the trail that had been salted, either. They weren’t great in loose, powdery snow, but I have no plans to run frequently in that stuff. I just tried it for the sake of trying it today. Running was more difficult, thanks to the extra weight due to the YakTrax and the uneven terrain due to the ice, but not insurmountably so.

It was a challenge. I accepted. I won.

This photo is probably too cocky, isn't it?

I can’t wait to do it again.



The run:

7.0k @ 54:08

The route:


6.2km to Kula

I did minimal yoga last year as my racing geared up. I decided that this would not happen in 2012. I made dedicated space in my training program for yoga and spent much off my down time from training exploring different yoga studios in the city to find the right combinations of teacher, times and locations that worked for me as my kilometres creeped up.

Which lead to a genius idea. It’s so genius I bet no one has ever thought of it or attempted it before: running to yoga classes. It’s efficient and if I chose my classes correctly, yoga would provide the perfect counter to my run.


Look at my messy kitchen behind me. Look at how I ignore cleaniness in order to be fit. I am that kind of person.


So yesterday, I decided to run the 6.2km to Kula Toronto and take Linseed’s hot hour class — possibly my favourite yoga class this city has to offer.

It worked out great! Yay! Linseed’s class is all about winding down and relieving stress, which is exactly what I need after a long work day and what felt like an endless climb uphill. The first half of the run was tough, thanks to Monday’s morning yoga class and an evening filled with drinking more Crack Baby Cocktails than anyone should ever attempt. (We were celebrating Kate Middleton’s birthday. We are going to make this an annual tradition here at Two Fit Girls. Don’t judge.) Once my legs warmed up, the running got easier. I coasted into a breezy yoga class that had too many lunges for my liking (what was with the moving lunge segment, Linseed?!), but I will deal. I’m a big girl.

I plan to do it all again next week. If only to have my neck massaged with miracle lavender chamomile cream again.  That was the best part of yoga class.

The Route:


On the run in the Don Valley

I hadn’t seen Jill since LAST YEAR (it was about a week ago, but LAST YEAR is crazy fun to say!), so I invited her to join me on my long run and have brunch after this morning. It was a beautiful winter day — -5 degrees and sunny — so we took to the Don Valley Trail for an easy 8k loop. Destination: the Fresh Co. and Dundas and Parliament for brunch ingredients!


A perfect day for a run! So sunny! Not so warm, but can't complain. It IS January after all.


I live steps from the Don Valley Trail, and it’s the perfect place to run on days like today. In the summer, it can be overun with cyclists, but in January? Only the crazy types hit the trail.


I include Jill in these crazy types.


My back has been super sore lately. That, coupled with my weird foot problem, my dog bite and the fact Jill isn’t much of a runner (which is going to change this year! She signed up for the Toronto Yonge Street 10k today — her first race ever!) means we took it easy and walked up hills and stairs. Everything felt good though, and it was a relief to know that I didn’t overdo it too much during my first week of marathon training.

In the end, we ended up doing just over 8k in 53:10. Not bad for the first “long run” of the year.

Of course, the best part was brunch.


Fresh salad and tofu scramble. Delicious.


The route: