Marathon Training Day #20: The day of four work-outs

Honey, peanut butter and banana on toast. The greatest pre-run run ever.

Honey, peanut butter and banana on toast. The greatest pre-run meal ever.

Clearly, I’m a moron. Or, at least, a bad social planner. I asked my sister Anne (hi Anne!) to do yoga with me, forgetting my pal JK (hi JK!) and I already mde plans for squash and Bodypump. And since I bailed on my hill training yesterday and refused to bail on my friend or sister, it meant today would be a day of extreme fitness.

Here’s what went down:

1. Biked to Goodlife
2. Squash
3. Bodypump
4. Biked to yoga
5. Yin yoga
6. Biked home
7. Hill training

Now I am exhausted and my legs are dead. But tonight is JW’s (hi JW!) 30th birthday. The first of many 30s I will celebrate this year.

Tomorrow’s long run won’t be pretty.


The run: 5.1k in 39:01
The route:

My Week In Costa Rica – Day 1

After talking about this yoga retreat for months, it finally happened. Even after my epic birthday yoga challenge, and the Spice Girls show with Erin, which ended around 1 in the morning, I somehow managed to pull myself together, pack my suitcase and catch the cab to the airport with my fellow yogis on time! It was either the beer buzz, lack of sleep or the vacation high settling in – or maybe all of the above – but I was wound for sound. Costa Rica here I come!!

Its almost been a full week of reminiscing about the beaches, the people and the food. Oh my, don’t even get me started on the food! Moira and her Feel Good Guru will change your life. Being back in this real life of mine in Toronto saddens me. A lot. How does one come back to reality after a full week of bliss – silent mornings, waking up to the warm sun, the ocean view, coffee and fresh fruit – yes this was every single morning. The one thing I’ll truly miss is the yoga, a little weird I know. No 7am class will ever compare.That Costa Rican air is intoxicating.

Considering how life changing this experience was for me (and how fit I was being considering this was a vacation – doing two yoga classes each day, plus meditations, plus excursions) however, I did eat an insane amount of food so the fitness portion may bag to differ. I could’t help myself that Ronald, was a cutie, and a great chef too. Ronald (or Ranald as I tried calling him with a Spanish tongue, but was promptly corrected) was the house chef who came to help Moira each day with brunch and dinner.

I want to share the highlights of each day with you all. This gives me another reason to continue wining about how much I want to go back. Let’s start with Sunday’s arrival:

Team Delta force (those of us who flew Delta) arrived in San Jose mid afternoon to the heat and no luggage. But the missing luggage could break our spirits we boarded the bus with no worry – at least I wasn’t concerned – while we waited the arrival of our fellow yogi retreaters. Manuel Antonio was a short hour and a half drive, so we thought. That was until we found out the highway was closed because it was Sunday – of course! Who leaves town on Sundays? Apparently no one. Plan B – take the long way because its shorter, well Dad, not this time. 3 hours later we were checking into our Costa Rican home Casa Maravilla aka the yoga sanctuary.



Dinner was served, Jackie welcomed us, hugged and kissed us all, then Brendan served up some yin yoga – which I apparently need the rest more than the yoga. I totally fell asleep in savasana and poor Allison (Dr. Allison Creech, M.Ed, ND. Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine, yup we had our own naturopathic doctor at the retreat) had to wake me from my slumber. Mind you the last time I slept was over 24 hours ago (minus the bus ride and flights) so this is acceptable. The theme was move into stillness right after all.

It was going to be a good week.





My love for yin yoga

It’s Thursday and we all now what this means: yin yoga at Moksha Yoga Downtown!

If it’s not evident by now, I love yin yoga. A lot. And I have Moksha Yoga Downtown to thank for this obsession. I started trading two years ago on Thursday nights and I haven’t looked back. I remember my first night showing up at 7pm ready to clean up after very sweaty people. Ken, my Thursday night buddy (now the trade manager), and Lee Ann, the wonderful weekend manager, taught me everything I needed to know: times to switch the laundry, the proper water to Benefect ratio for cleaning and the technique of mat folding.

I loved every minute, but little did I know what was in store: yin yoga. To this day I’m still a regular of the 9:45pm class, even though I’ve been promoted to the 5:30pm trade time, I still stay late just for this class. I love yin yoga. And here is why.


1. The challenge:

Yin yoga is hard, at times even difficult. Although spending most of the class lying on the floor sounds pretty easy, you’re actually holding poses a lot longer. This is the tough part. Learning to sink into poses and letting your body give in is a bigger challenge than you think. I like forcing myself to give in and knowing it’s okay not to be moving around all the time.

2. The feeling afterwards:

There is honestly no better feeling then coming out of a yin class. Yes, there is a certain “yoga high” you get from doing yoga in general, but with yin it’s different. It’s more a sleepy, limber “I feel so great” kind of expression and at 10:45pm, all you should do is go to bed.

3. The stretch:

Yin is an amazing way to stretch your whole body out. The practice is designed to focus on your deep connective tissues, so basically it’s stretching beyond what you would in a regular yoga class. Opening up your hips, shoulders back and spine it’s great for flexibility. And for those, like me, who spend way too much time sitting at a desk, this yoga is for you.

4. The short-term effects:

Not only will you be more flexible within your regular practice, it’s the deeper opening you get in your shoulders and hips that gets me. I love lengthening out these parts of my body, knowing how much time I spend sitting at a desk staring at a computer. It’s great for your posture, your heart rate, breathing the list goes on. I’ve noticed changes in my regular practice which have come from practicing yin, but particularly my flexibility is the shocker.

5. The long-term benefits:

My teachers rave about the long term benefits of practicing yin, although I have yet to see any difference (and I doubt I’ll actually will) I feel good knowing I’m doing something great for my body. Everything from your insides out benefit from this yoga. I trust what they say, so I’ll keep doing it anyway.


So give yin a try at least once, your body will thank you even if it’s not right away. Yin takes time so keep that in mind.

Monday Miles: Marathon Training Week #1

The first week of 2012 marked the first week of training for the Goodlife Toronto Marathon. It was a week filled with highs and lows. I didn’t follow my training plan exactly (yikes!) but overall, I am happy with my effort.


Outside the Fresh co. I am happy because our run is done and we are going to pick up ingredients for an epic brunch!

Here’s how the week broke down:


Monday: 6k @ 45:00

This was my first serious run back after many, many snow-filled Christmases. It was stiff and slow, but it felt good to be back on the road.


Tuesday: 5k @ 36:00

I planned for 6k this day, but when the weather was 20 below, I’m just happy I headed outside.


Wednesday: 8K @59:00

A slow and steady effort that felt better as the kilometres passed.


Thursday: Rest

It wasn’t the plan to rest on Thursday, but after 3 days of running in a row and a dinner invite from the in-laws, I felt good about this decision. Because I knew I’d make up for it…


Friday: 5.2k @34:00

On Friday. This was a tough run. My legs were stiff, my foot was hurting, and I got attacked by a dog. Not a great way to spend a Friday night.


Saturday: 20 minutes with my Acuball

Even without the close encounter with a canine, my body was screaming for another rest day. I gave in, and spent some time with my beloved-but-underused Acuball. It paid off.


Sunday: 8k @ 53:10 in the morning, 90 minutes yin yoga in the evening

Sunday was beautiful! Since Jill wanted to join me for the run, I knocked the planned 10k back to 8. I felt strong, it was sunny, and we even fit in a delicious brunch and yin yoga to boot. If I can have more weekend days like this, I will be a very happy runner.
Tomorrow starts a new week of training. Here are my goals for the week:


1) Do at least one morning workout.

Now that the routine of running, reading, working, repeat is back in action, I want to refocus on waking up earlier, going to bed earlier and making each minute count. That means more time being active and less time on Twitter.


2) Jump rope once.

I got the old jump rope out and intend to use it. It was a Christmas gift from my basketball coach freshman year. He had devious reasons for giving it to us: have you ever preceded a BEEP test with 30 minutes of skipping? I have. Thanks, Les. But jumping rope is an AWESOME way to mix fitness up. So let’s try it.


3) Complete my first-ever hill workout!

Eeeek. I hate hills. And since both my half-marathons were relatively hill-free, I didn’t bother to train for them. But Around the Bay is different. There’s a bitch of a hill at the 26k mark. I’ve decided to include both hills and speed work into this training plan — one week hills, the next week, speed. These will be on Tuesdays and Thursdays, depending on how I feel.


4) Bring my lunch every day to work.

Homemade lunches are cheaper and healthier. This seems like an obvious thing to do, but I am TERRIBLE at it. The spicy lentil soup in the food court is simply too delicious….


5) Hit 40k this week.

I know it’s more than a 10% increase, but before the holidays, 30-40k was doable. I want to get back to that base ASAP and concentrate on getting as marathon-ready as I can in the weeks ahead.


We’ll see how this goes!






Unexpected Day 5 of My 30 Day Challenge

After a glorious day of sister bonding, running, epic brunch, and yoga AND me registering for my first 10k race ever, I have now been persuaded into doing a 30 day challenge. How did this happen? I’m asking myself the same question.


This will be me in thirty days. Just you wait and see.


After working at Moksha Yoga Downtown for over 2 years now, I have become part of a religious Thursday night “Yin Crew”, all of whom worship the teachings of the lovely Julia Gibran. One avid follower, other than myself of course, is my friend Tiffany.

So whom do I run into at mine and Erin’s Sunday night 90 minute yin class (which is actually not that surprising), is none other than Tiffany herself. A fellow east coaster living in Toronto, she is fresh off her return from her Maritime Christmas vacation and in much need of getting yoga back into the yoga groove.

Well, Tiffany has kicked her yoga return into high gear with a 30 day challenge and now I’m along for the ride. “Starting off Monday with 7am class, why not?” she says. Which then turned into “Why not do a 30 day challenge with me? You might as well.” Lucky for me, counting back my yoga from last week, I’m actually going into day 6 of the 30 lying ahead. I guess that’s not so bad.

I say this now, ask me again when I’m on day 17.

Now Tiffany and I are partners in crime on this 30 day adventure. A new item to add to my 2012 resolution list. I’ll be very excited to cross this off!


Image via lululemon’s Flickr account.




Just another Thursday

I don’t know about you, but if I’m looking for a quick fix yoga is my go to. And there is no better place to be than Moksha Yoga Downtown on a Thursday Night. One, Thursday just happens to be my trade night at the studio and second it’s Yin Yoga night! My favorite!!

Sooo soothing! I could sleep right on that floor...

For those not familiar, let me introduce to you Yin Yoga. This style of yoga focuses on the deep connective tissues in the body and finds an amazing way to stretch these out. Primarily, targeting the shoulders and hips you will deepen your overall practice in a whole new way! Any regular yogi should be at a yin class on fairly regular bases. It highly recommended – not only by myself – but most yoga teachers will tell you the same. Don’t be alarmed when you hear you’ll be holding poses for 3 to 5 minutes (yes, this does sound scary) but trust me you’ll be surprised at how fast 60min flies by!

Oh and I should also tell you, these classes are done mostly on the floor lying down and don’t require much movement. Sounds great, right? So come say hi and make the late night visit for class – the only downer is the time, 9:45pm, but you’ll sleep like a baby afterwards.

Or if this is too late for your schedule, there is a 6pm class on Sundays. You’re body and practice will be sure to thank you after class. I’ll probably be there too.

Yeah, I practically live there. It’s that good.