Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Around the Bay 5K Recap

Oh my gosh, I love this race!

Since I started running and looking up races and reviews about races, I've kept reading about how people love the Around the Bay race. Granted, most of them are talking about the gigantic 30K (which is on my radar now!) but the whole atmosphere, organization and spectacle that the Oldest Race in North America presents is amazing!

The weekend started with me making a trip out to Hamilton to pick up my packet. This was one of the only things that bugged me about the weekend. I had to find some time on Saturday to escape, drive out to Hamilton and pick up my kit. I understand the chaos that can come from the race day pickup, but it was a pain. The only good thing was that I had an idea of where I was going on race day and didn't have the stress of where to park, where am I going, etc.

The race didn't start until 9:45, so getting up and getting out to Hamilton wasn't a big deal. My older son was up at 5:40 with a washroom accident so after dealing with that we slept until 7. I didn't leave until 8:15 and was all packed the night before so it was a quick hop into the car and off I went. I followed the same route as Saturday but I knew the exit I took Saturday was closed. Luckily, there were about 100 other cars getting off at the next exit, filled with people wearing running clothes so I just followed them.

Once parked, it was a short walk to the arena where I was able to use a real washroom (not port-a-potty), stay warm inside (without jumping around) and sit and watch the start of the 30K. I waited about 5 more minutes and headed out.

The weather was absolutely gorgeous. A little windy but sunny. I don't think I could have asked for anything better during this time of the year.

I lined up just past the 26:00 - 30:00 time sign because I'm usually just over 30:00. The race started and I spent the first 1.5 - 2 km zig-zagging around all the walkers that lined up ahead of me. That was the other frustration. There were tons of walkers which was great, but they didn't line up properly, or stay to the right. The was even one pack of about 6 that walked in a line across.

Once I hit the turnaround point, it cleared out a bit more. I bypassed the water station and then it really cleared out. From there I pretty much stayed in my 'lane' and right into the finish line. My favourite part was definitely running down the ramp and into the arena where lots of people were cheering and celebrating.

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The food, water and awards were done really well and methodically too which was fantastic! I wanted to hang around and watch some more finishers come in but I needed to get home.

I'll definitely be doing this race again and if I finally run my half marathon in the fall, maybe I'll graduate up to the 30K. We'll see.

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Monday, March 30, 2015

#MotivateMe - Week #5

Apparently I didn't rest enough on March Break.

Last week, I had zero motivation to do any sort of exercise. Most days it took all my energy to get myself to function after work! Not sure what was going on, but I'm hoping that this week is a little better.

There's no point in recapping last week's exercise, because there wasn't any.

The plan for this week is a little more optimistic.

My main goal for the week is to hit 10,000 steps each day. Plus, I need to continue upping my kilometers so I'm ready for the 10k in a month!

I did my first 5k of the year yesterday (race recap tomorrow) and while I'm not overly sore, there are definitely some parts that are tender, especially the ankle that I rolled walking from the parking lot to the starting line. Today is a rest/laundry day so here's the plan for the rest of the week:

Monday: rest/laundry/bathroom cleaning (exciting stuff)
Tuesday: Run 4 miles on treadmill
Wednesday: Weights
Thursday: Rest (maybe a swim)
Friday: Outside run 4 miles
Saturday: Out of town
Sunday: Out of town

We're going to the in-laws for Easter dinner on Saturday and staying over until Sunday. Hopefully, we'll go to the zoo or go for some walks so that I can keep my steps up.

So that's the plan for this week.

I'm linking up with Janice at Fitness Cheerleader and Rachel at Running Rachel for #MotivateMe Monday! Share your plans for the week there too!

A weekly linkup on Mondays for you to share your weekly fitness plans and meal plans #MotivateMe http://www.fitnesscheerleader.com
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Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday Five #1

I decided to try something new for this Friday. I've found a link-up at Eat Pray Run DC called Friday Five. This week, the topic is Favourite Spring Foods.

I feel like spring is a time for lighter foods and getting into healthier eating. Here are my five favourite spring foods:

Spinach strawberry salad
I try to eat salad all year round and I do participate in a salad day every Monday at work (which is fantastic because it's one less thing to think about on Monday mornings) but I find that salads are nicer in warmer weather. When they are filled with in-season fruits and vegetables it's even better. Add some cheese to it and yum!

I love smoothies, but there is something about them in the spring/summer that is amazing. My favourite is a strawberry/banana/orange juice combination.

Food on the Grill
The weather is getting warmer and my husband is more likely to head outside and grill food. Something about shrimp and salmon on the grill is absolutely amazing. Add to the salad above and it's delicious.

I think brunch is more exciting in the spring. Not sure why. I guess it's usually brighter and sunnier. I'm really not sure.

Frozen Yogurt
I think again this has to do with the warmer weather. Something about freezing, negative temperatures doesn't lend itself well to the idea of cold frozen yogurt. Now this doesn't fit with many healthy eating plans because the amount of unhealthy toppings I add probably cancels out the healthy benefits of the frozen yogurt.

I can't wait to see what other delicious foods people have listed. Maybe I'll get ideas on how to get my diet a little healthier.

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Why I haven't run a marathon...yet

I've been thinking a lot about marathons lately. There are so many good ones during the summer and fall that I'd love to do and never mind the accolades from friends and family when you finally complete one!

However, I can't bring myself to sign up for a full yet and there are a bunch of reasons that I constantly use to talk myself out of it!

1. Time
time management
The time to dedicate to training and running a full marathon is huge! Having two young kids and having a full time job is definitely keeping me from dedicating the amount of time to my kids. I understand that lots of people make the sacrifice but I don't want to. I enjoy spending time with my kids, especially on the weekends when they're home with me and not stuck at daycare.

2. The Pain

I'm scared of the pain that comes with training for a marathon and after running a marathon. I know the pain that comes from a half marathon so I'm assuming the pain would be double (although at my speed it's surprising it hurts that much).

3. I haven't run my half marathon yet

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At my first half marathon, Niagara Falls in 2012. Still my PR at 2:39.

What I mean by that is that I haven't been satisfied with my half marathon times yet to feel like I've conquered the half marathon. My first one was good, but I've tried to get my time down instead I've made it go up which is frustrating. I think once I've gotten my time down I can move onto the next challenge (although I've thrown triathlons into the mix now). I want to say that I consistently followed a training plan, successfully tapered and that I feel completely ready to set a new PR. I'm hoping that this is this year either at Scotiabank or Niagara Falls (still haven't decided).

Those are the three things that are holding me back from training for a full marathon. I know in my heart that once I'm ready I will know for sure and that it will be an appropriate time in my life to do it.

Have you run a full marathon yet? If you haven't, why not?

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Inspirational Women

It's rare for me to find something or someone inspirational. I'm not sure why but I read stories that are considered inspirational to others and for me, I find that the people are great and what they've done or succeeded in doing are great as well, but maybe because I don't have a real connection with them that I find they aren't an inspiration to me.
I finally have two inspirational women that keep me pushing during those last few minutes of my run.
The first is Krista Duchene.

 She isn't an overly famous runner, but if you run some of the races I've entered, you've probably seen her at some point. Krista is a world-class runner, a dietitian and a mom of three. She is also working her way back into competition after suffering a fracture in the Canadian half marathon championships last April (she was leading and ended up third). After surgery and months of rehab, she raced in the Chilly Half Marathon and won with a time of 1:14 and the title of first female finisher. I love reading her blog and seeing how well she is doing. I have to admit, I was a little star-struck when she spoke to me one race. I'm such a nerd!
The other inspirational woman is an online mommy friend of mine, Tracy.

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Tracy has three little boys and her oldest is four years old. That's how Tracy and I 'met'. We both have boys born in January 2011 and we're in this crazy Facebook group together. Last year, on March 14, 2014, Tracy was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. After having her thyroid removed and going through cancer treatments, she decided to take on the challenge of running a marathon. She trained through the winter for the Rock 'n' Roll DC race and on March 14, 2015, she finished her first marathon in a time of 4:35:19, which I think is absolutely amazing! She recently got hired as a fitness instructor at one of her local gym and I really wished I lived near there so I could attend her classes!

These two ladies are amazing and I when I'm running low on motivation I think of these two ladies and how much they've gone through in order to run and do things they love and it gets me a little more motivated.

Who or what motivates you?

I find that this time of the year motivation is hard to come by. Not sure if it's the weather or the busy-ness of life or what but sometimes you need an additional push!

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Monday, March 23, 2015

#MotivateMe Monday - Week 4

Last week was a week of relaxation!

It was absolutely glorious. I took naps, I read my book, I watched sooo much TV and I went shopping. I did make it to the gym one day and I did get out to run so I'll take that. However, the healthy eating went down the drain quite quickly! I took the opportunity to eat out for lunch, Starbucks in the morning after dropping the boys off. It was heaven!

Now, I need to get back to work.

Here was last week's plan:

Monday: 5K (outside) - did 4k instead (close-enough)
Tuesday: Abs & push-ups - napped
Wednesday: Weights and a 2 mile treadmill run - weights and a 0.2 m treadmill run
Thursday: Hopefully into the pool! - no pool

Friday: Rest - did I ever!
Saturday: 4 miles - nope
Sunday: Raptors game (with a 4 year old so not really a break!) - enjoyed that!

So as you can see, I was hit and miss last week. After my weight training on Wednesday, my legs were like Jello. I couldn't get my 2 miles done on the treadmill. Too much jiggling. Forget Thursday and by the time Friday came, my legs were still sore from squats and lunges that there was no running.

This week, I'm focused on eating better. Back to tracking everything on MyFitnessPal (vmackasey if you want to follow along) and back to less snacking and making better choices.

I don't really have a workout plan for this week. My mind can't really put one together for some reason. I'm trying to focus on getting things together for the remainder of the school year and trying to get myself back into the groove of work. So, instead of laying out a plan, check back next Monday to see exactly what I did (or didn't do).

I do have my first 5K of the year on Sunday, so we'll see how that goes!

I'm linking up with Janice at Fitness Cheerleader and Rachel at Running Rachel for #MotivateMe Monday! Share your plans for the week there too!
Hope you have a great week!
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Monday, March 16, 2015

#Motivate Me Monday - Week 3

Let's just not talk about last week, m'kay?
It didn't go well, nor as planned. I made it to the gym once last week out of my planned three times. I made it Monday. Wednesday, I went home with a headache so that didn't work either. Thursday, didn't make it to the pool and Friday, I hurt my knee which put me out until Sunday.
So, instead of looking back, let's look forward!
This week is March Break, as aside from Tuesday, my boys will be going to daycare. It seems mean, but they have fun there and this is the last year I have before they're home with me over March Break, since my older one starts Kindergarten in September and the other one the year after that. I'm taking advantage of my time. Therefore, I have no real excuses for not doing exercise this week.
Here's the plan:
Monday: 5K (outside)
Tuesday: Abs & push-ups
Wednesday: Weights and a 2 mile treadmill run
Thursday: Hopefully into the pool!
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 4 miles
Sunday: Raptors game (with a 4 year old so not really a break!)
That's the plan and hopefully I'm sticking to it!
The biggest issue this week will be eating since I already have my mind wandering and thinking about all the things I could go out and get (that I don't have time to do during work)!
I'm linking up with Janice at Fitness Cheerleader and Rachel at Running Rachel for #MotivateMe Monday! Share your plans for the week there too!
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Friday, March 13, 2015

I wish I ran before I had kids...

Now that I've been running for two years (huh? already?) I've had time to run in many races. While I'm happy for my fitness and everything up to this point, I really wish I had started running before I had kids. Possibly even as far back as high school or university.

Here's why:

Finding the time to run with the boys around is tricky. It's finding that healthy balance between taking care of yourself and taking care of your kids. I get the whole "in order to be the best mom you have to take care of yourself first" but I mean really. My kids are at daycare all day (while I teach other people's kids) and when I get home I really just want to spend time with them. There are a few days where I can run when my husband picks them up from daycare but it's not fair for him to get them everyday. If I was back in high school or university, I could have run anytime I wanted!

Energy Level:
Again this is a combination of work exhaustion and life at home, but once dinner is done and the boys are in bed, my energy level drops immediately and right down to the bottom of the energy meter! All I want to do is sit on the couch and zone out. In the morning, I have to get the boys up and ready to go and then The Husband takes them to daycare. I haven't found that boost of energy in the morning to run during that time or get up earlier to run. I'm hoping that once they stop getting up in the middle of the night I may become a morning runner.

btwed_Bigelow Tea Fuels Up For Big Races
While most of the races I've participated in are awesome, I look at some of the bigger ones or ones that are further away and I really wish I could go. The giant expos, thousands of runners and visiting new cities. To go to a race farther away means bringing the boys with us or leaving them at home with The Husband, which is a lot of work. This is true for longer distance races as well. Not only does a longer distance race take longer to run, it also takes more time to train for, meaning more time away from the kids. The money and entry fees is a whole other story!

While I wouldn't change much in my life (it's pretty perfect), I would have focused on myself and my health a little more before I had kids. If had to give younger people advice, that would definitely be it. Focus on you before you have kids and do what you like.

How do you manage kids/exercise/eating healthy?

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

One Click Wonder

I'm definitely not a Holly Homemaker.
Chores and cleaning are things that are not done on a schedule but more on an 'as-needed' basis.

The last thing I want to spend my weekends (or even weeknights) doing is cleaning my house. I'd rather be relaxing, doing some crafts, reading, visiting the dentist and getting a root canal. Ok, maybe not the root canal part, but cleaning is not high on my interest list at all.

That being said, we have three people using our bathrooms on a regular basis (soon to be a fourth *fingers crossed for successful potty training*) as well as any guests that might appear at our door. Trying to keep the toilets looking clean and presentable is getting more and more difficult.


In comes, the 'One Click Wonder', Lysol® Click gel™ Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner! This is my new lifesaver!


With the Lysol® Click gel™ Automatic Toilet Bowl Cleaner my toilets stay fresh, clean and safe for an entire week with just one click. The gel is bleach-free, sticks to the wall of the toilet bowl and can be used together with Lysol® Liquid Toilet Bowl Cleaners to help fight through tough stains and keep toilets clean and hygienic.

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The cute little applicator! No need to touch the toilet bowl with your hands! Just a quick placement of the gel against the bowl and a push on the applicator and it's stuck!

The gels are available in packs of 4 (each lasting 1 week) in Citrus, Lavender and Spring Waterfall scents. I tried out the Lavender scent and my whole bathroom smells fantastic! No need for any other air fresheners and it’s recyclable.

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Stuck against the toilet bowl! Still standing strong three days later!


Check out the Lysol® website to find out more details about the product and to take advantage of the coupon offers available.


Although this post has been generously sponsored by Lysol®, the opinions and language are my own, and in no way do they reflect Lysol®.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

March Break is coming....

T-minus 3 school days until March Break officially begins.

While I'd enjoy being here...

La Sagesse Beach
I wish!

...that isn't really in the cards this year.

Instead, I'll be relaxing at home.

I'm a mean mom though. The boys are going to be going to daycare. I figure after this year, they'll be home with me for every March Break, so why not take advantage of the spare time I get? They won't be too upset though. They're having a fun week at daycare full of superhero dress-up day, pajama and movie day and green day on St. Patrick's Day. My four year old is completely pumped for next week!

Therefore, I'm pumped too!

I'm going to go shopping (by myself), possibly get my hair cut, do some spring cleaning around the house, do some crafting, hit up the gym during the day instead of trying to squeeze it in after work and definitely take a nap.

how long to nap
A guide to napping!

I admit, I'm going to do some planning for the remainder of the school year as well, but it'll be on my terms and when I get to it as opposed to having to do it.

Maybe in the future some tropical getaways will take place, but for now, I'll take the me time and soak it all up!

Any big plans over the March Break or is it business as usual?

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Monday, March 9, 2015

#MotivateMe Monday - Week 2

Today is the big day! Registration for the Nike Women's 15K on the Toronto Island in June. Well, it's the registration for the random draw. I'm entering my name. I'd love to participate but wouldn't be overly heart broken since my try-a-tri is the weekend before.

Nike Women 15K Toronto

Before then, though, I have to train for the other races, such as my 10K in April and the 10K trail run.

Last week's plan started out well enough. I did get my Monday and Wednesday 5Ks in but the rest of it didn't pan out.

This week, my training plan officially starts. Here's the plan for the week:

Monday: 3 miles + abs
Tuesday: Weights + a short cool down run (2 miles)
Wednesday: 35 minute run (which for me equates to 3 miles)
Thursday: Rest
Friday: 3 mile run
Saturday: Not sure (supposed to be weight)
Sunday: 4 miles (fingers crossed)

We're might be visiting my in-laws for the weekend so I'm not really sure if I'll get my weekend workout in or not. I've also had to alter the training plan a little to account for swimming lessons on Thursday nights (plus my exhaustion reaches a new level on Thursday nights).

My meal plan is looking good and I'm going to really try to not snack after dinner. My mom brought a case of pop over when she came to babysit on the weekend so now my powers of resistance really need to work!

I'm linking up with Janice at Fitness Cheerleader and Rachel at Running Rachel for Motivate Me Monday!
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Friday, March 6, 2015

And the training begins...

I know following a training plan for a 10K may seem a little silly, but I think I need to do it in order to get myself back to where I want to be.

My 10K is coming up at the end of April (Mercedes-Benz 10K), but I really want to PR at this race. Right now, my 10K personal best is 1:08 but I find that once I hit that 6K mark, I run out of steam. I'm hoping that following a training plan will help me get to a more consistent 10K pace.

I'm going to stick with my go-to Hal Higdon training plan, except this time I'm going to go with the intermediate plan. I want to add in some actual work as opposed to just running a certain distance each time.

Here's the plan for the next 8 weeks.

Hal Higdon's intermediate 10k program

Most of this will be done in the gym on the treadmill until temperatures get a lot warmer so that my asthma doesn't act up, but I'm hoping to get outside consistently after the Around the Bay 5k (which falls nice and perfectly into my training plan).

What are you training for right now?

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