Tuesday, 6 October 2015

A Day in the Life

I have noticed that quite a few of my favourite bloggers have been posting glimpses into their day-to-day lives with "A Day in the Life" Posts. And I decided I wanted to join in. So here is how Monday went down.

7:00am - Wake-up
I am not really a morning person. I have always wanted to be the type of person who is up at 5:30am running as the sun comes up, but the truth is I can be pretty grumpy in the morning. Especially, before I have had my coffee. So I tend to be slow moving while I struggle to start the day. I read the paper, spent some time reading a few of my regular blogs, fed Clark, and took him for his morning walk. I washed the dishes (because I didn't do it the night before), dropped my husband off at work (he works about 10 mins from our place), and then got myself organized to start the day.

8:15am - Work Begins
(*Notice the multiple coffee cups - this speaks to my caffeine addiction*)
My office is downstairs, so the commute is pretty awesome. I work for Polar Canada. The head office is in Montreal, but I work remotely here in the GTA. My official title is Technical Training and Social Media Engagement Coordinator. Yes it is a mouthful. Basically it means that I manage our Canadian Tech Team. And I also manage the Marketing and Canadian Content for our Social Media Channels. On Monday, I had to finish my September Tech Team Report first thing. I then spent the rest of morning on Conference Calls discussing upcoming product campaigns and events.

12:30pm - Lunch Time
After wrapping up my last AM call it was time to eat, and to take a break since I would be working late that evening. This happens often. I have commitments in the morning, but I also have evening commitments, so I need to break up my work day mid-way through, so I don't end up working an obscene amount of overtime.

I made myself a my new favourite lunch - Pumpkin and Kale Pita Pizza. My husband has informed me that this type of lunch makes me look like a complete hippie-health-nut. But I don't care. It is delicious.

You just need...
1 whole-wheat pita
2  tbsp. of pumpkin puree
1 bunch of Kale sautéed with garlic
2 tbsp. of Pecorino Romano
Bake for 10min at 350 and Enjoy

I had my pumpkin pizza with  my home-made Matcha Almond Milk Latte. I am trying (emphasis on trying) not to be so dependent on coffee. Its a work in progress..

1:00pm - Running and Getting Ready
I then sent out a couple more emails, changed into my running gear, and set out for a 10km training run

I got home and hopped in the shower. I planned to immediately head out the door. But Clark guilted  me into feeding him dinner and taking him for a short walk around the block. It is hard to say no to this face.

3:30pm - Meetings
I spend a lot of time in my car journeying around Ontario. Luckily on Monday, I was just in Toronto, so my commute time was not crazy. I had 2 meetings with our key retailers on my way to my evening heart rate talk.

5:30pm - Grabbing Dinner On The Go
I popped into Fresh to grab some dinner. I order a green juice and the Tangled Thai Salad with tempeh bacon. Unfortunately the salad took a little longer than anticipated to get to me. So after this picture, I just had to ask for a to-go container so I could eat it later.

6:00pm - Heart Rate Training Talk
I often get asked to speak to Runners and Athletes about Heart Rate based Training. On Monday I was talking to a group of about 15 runners abut how to incorporate Heart Rate Training into their current routine.

8:00pm - Home At Last
I arrived home a little after 8pm and I was finally able to eat my Salad. I snuggled up downstairs with my 2 favourite guys for about an hour of TV. We have been watching the Strain which a slightly cheesey but awesome hybrid Alien/Vampire show.

Clark had his last walk for the evening. I did my nightly meditation and then curled up with my book for a little while before I fell asleep.

10:30pm - Lights Out
How do your days usually shape up?

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Positive Self-Talk + Meal Prep

I shared over the weekend via Instagram that I have been struggling lately with Negative Self Talk.

I have never hidden the fact that on and off throughout my teenage years and early 20s I battled with body image. Over the past few years, I laid my demons to rest, and found a positive space within the world of running. I stopped looking at the scale, and started measuring my success with training runs completed and miles run. There is something deeply satisfying about ticking off that training run for the week. I stopped worrying about what my body looked like and instead focused on what my body could do. It was a huge shift, and one that I continue to be grateful for.

But over the past month I have felt myself slipping back into my old ways.

I have not been training in the way that I have become accustomed for about the past 6 months. And despite knowing that it was necessary, I have been beating myself up about it. I have also been struggling after our loss last month. I have found myself brooding over the way my body has let me down.

I know I need to make a change. And one of my goals for October is change the way I talk to myself.

There are things that I control - I can continue to improve my training, and I can cut out my recent stress-eating habits. I know that by prioritizing taking care of my body, this will immediately have a positive impact on my state of mind. But I also know that I need to work on simply being kinder to myself overall.

It is not always easy, but I know it is a cycle I need to change.

This week I have been working on increasing my mileage. I spent much of the last few months running 5-15km a week. So this week I finally worked my way up to 30km again with 3x 10km runs. It was nice to be out there for a longer distance more regularly. And I am hoping to add an additional 10km for this coming week.

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: 60 min Indoor Trainer
Wednesday: 10km Run
Thursday: 10km Run
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: 10km Run

Meal Prep:
I have definitely been indulging in more stress-eating than my meal-prep break down will suggest. I have been snacking and turning to sugar more than is wholly necessary, mostly in the evenings. For the month of October I am also making toning down some of these habits a priority.

Monday: Panzanella Salad
Tuesday: Sushi and Kombucha
Wednesday: Sausage and Roasted Potatoes
Thursday: Cheddar Broccoli Quiche
Friday: Sushi Date with my Husband complete with Cheesecake for Dessert
Saturday: Cabbage and Sage Soup
Sunday: Fettuccini and Kale Alfredo

I hope you all had a great week.

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Summer Home Renos

It has been awhile since I have done a house update. And since moving into our new house in January we have been slowly working on a few different projects to make it our own.

One of our big summer projects was to put in a fence. This was mostly for Clark - but we found it made the yard more usable for us as well.

Jamie and I spent a couple of weekends building it. We had the posts professionally done, but everything else we did ourselves. I became very well acquainted with our drill over the course of those few weeks. And all-in-all we are happy with how it turned out.

We have spent lots of summer evenings BBQ-ing dinner and relaxing back there. After many years of apartment living, it is nice to have some green space to call our own. The yard is still a bit of blank slate so a deck and/or patio is on our long term to-do list, but for now this works.

We rearranged the living room area slightly - moving the sideboard over to the far wall to flow into the dining area better. 

We also added several vacation canvases to the wall. They are all pictures from our last couple of trips. We ordered them from Poster Jack. They were well priced, they were delivered in no time, and I love how they turned out. I am not 100% happy with the Coliseum picture - mostly because I don't think the colouring goes with the rest of the group, so we may have to exchange that for a couple of new picture from our upcoming vacation in February. 

I want to add more storage to this room long term, we are just looking for the right piece. I am looking for something like this. Anyone have any great tips? Is it potentially easier to just make something?

So this main room is still a bit of a work in progress for us.

And finally, we completed the Nursery. 

I was reluctant to share this, because I realize I look slightly crazy having a fully outfitted nursery at this point. But I wanted to be honest about this part of the process. 

Anyone who knows me, knows I am planner. So it will come as no surprise  that I had already ordered bedroom furniture for the nursery. I found 2 pieces that I loved and they were on sale - so it felt meant to be.

When we first found out about the miscarriage, we closed the door to this room. We even had friends offer to come over and help us dismantle the crib. But after a couple of days, both Jamie and I decided that we wanted to go ahead and finish off the nursery. 

We painted after miscarrying - in part as an act of defiance. This wasn't our time, but our time for a little one is coming so we may as well be ready for it.

I bought bedding with an Amazon Gift card from a friend (*thanks Ron!*) and went in search of a little marquee B for Baby Bishop. For me, this was healing. They always say if you want something you should put that kind of energy into the universe, and it will find its way back to you. So this was me putting positive baby energy out into the universe. 

Everything Beautiful in its Own Time. 
And when the universe is ready, I am ready.

Love Your Favourite (always hopeful) Darwinian Fail,

Monday, 28 September 2015

What Book are You Reading Kim Davis?

Religion has been a fairly hot topic these past few weeks. It has been impossible to turn on the television, go on social media, or open a newspaper and not be faced with an image of the Pope or the tears of Kim Davis.

I rarely speak about religion, though I often receive questions about my faith. A blog with a title like mine draws people from both ends of the religious spectrum - devout believers and atheists alike.

I think faith is beautiful, but it is complex. And what faith and religion means to one person, does not always translate to another. It is deeply personal, so it is a topic that I tend to shy away from. 

I was raised in a Baptist home. We went to church most Sundays. I spent my summers at a Baptist Bible Camp. I then went on to minor in Religion at University - perhaps in part because I was looking for something myself during that time. And my idea of faith and religion evolved. 

I don’t know if you would call me religious in the traditional sense now. Spiritual, is perhaps a better term. What I practice now probably resembles something closer to Buddhism than Baptism. But I still consider myself a person of a faith.
The recent story involving Kim Davis a Kentucky Court Clerk who refused to issue Marriage Licenses to Same-Sex Couples  has left me pondering this typically taboo subject. I realize this subject is controversial and many people will not agree but I have never hidden the fact that I am staunch feminist, a believer in equality, and over-all left-leaning gal. And this is an issue of discrimination. Discrimination is not something I will tolerate.

Taking religion out of the equation this simply comes down to the fact that no one should be discriminated against whether for race, gender, or sexual-orientation. But today we will discuss this from a religious stand point, since this why these actions were taken.
I am not sure what book the Kim Davis's of the world are reading, but the message I take away from Scripture is that of love, light, positivity, and beauty. I will be using the Bible as an example for this particular post, as it is a the scripture I am most familiar with, and it is the book that Kim feels she is defending. 

There are 31 102 verses in the Bible. There is one - yes, just one passage - in the bible that could be interpreted as anti-gay. Maybe, up to 6 depending on how you chose to read specific passages. In other words, the issue of homosexuality barely makes an appearance in the teachings that faith is meant to be built upon.

And this is where the issues of faith and religion start to blur. For me, Faith is the personal belief that people hold about a higher power. Religion is the institutionalization of that faith through rules and daily practice. And Religion has long had very strong opinions about homosexuality, the LGBT community, and the role of women within society full-stop. 

This is where it starts to become dangerous for me. Faith is powerful. But how that power is used is ultimately decided by us. There is no doubt that this power can be used for wonderful things, and often is. Faith and our desire to live life as our best selves has long led to acts of kindness, generosity. and has been a foundational component in civil and human rights efforts made around the world. Pope Francis' recent address in Congress on the Refugee Crisis stands in stark contrast to that that of the actions of Kim Davis. 

But all too often, humanity clings to the issues and statements created within a very specific historical context and chooses to use that power to reinforce outdated societal norms. The world has changed drastically over the last 2000+ years. And as we grow and evolve as a society, so too should our faith. It is up to us to advance our faith within our changing social landscape.

Scripture provides a basic template to create a better world. Our faith in something greater instills hope for a better tomorrow and could become catalyst to create positive change. It asks us to search deep within ourselves and choose to greet the world with kindness, acceptance, gratitude, and grace.

But looking around at the world as it is today, I am not sure we are doing that.

Rather than allowing our faith to evolve, we continue to base our religious practices on the societal conditions of 1393 BCE. We continue to perpetuate an idea that some people are worthy, and other people are not. Instead of creating a place where we can meet each other, removing all other boundaries, and see the power of humanity at it purest form.

There are 538 passages about Love in the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible. Kindness is mentioned 78 times. Good is used in 859 verses and Light is spoken of 414 times. Doesn't this sound like a better representation of the faith we could be living? Doesn't this sound like a better use of that same power? 

A life filled with more compassion and kindness is something we can all get behind. Whether you identify as religious or not - a world that is driven by love (heterosexual or homosexual) should be the kind of world we all strive for.

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Run Ajax 5km + Meal Prep

I mentioned last week that I signed up for the Ajax 5km on a bit of a whim. Which kind of seems to be my Race MO these days. My hubby was signed up for the half and I was working the event for Polar, so I figured why not?

I am not in 5km shape.

In fact. the last speed session I did was in April before my May Half Marathons. I then basically proceeded to halt/severely limit all training in favour of starting a family - which has not really gone according to plan. Training-wise I have not been myself for the last 5 months. And the last few weeks - for obvious reasons - have been a struggle.

I admit I feel heavy, out of shape, and not quite at my best at the moment. (Just keeping it real, as runner you notice every little change in your body, and it can lead you down a critical path)

So I signed up expecting very little.

I started out at a 5:27/km pace (8:45/mile pace for my American friends). The course had some rolling terrain, so I wasn't convinced I could hold it. But after the first kilometer I felt pretty good so I settled in around a 5:30/km pace (8:50/mile pace) and felt pretty good through out. I ended up finishing in 27:09 and 4th in my Age Category. Which I must admit I was quite surprised about.

My finishing time is only 38 seconds shy of my 5km Personal Best. Which means despite all the negative self-talk I have been throwing at myself, I am not as far off the mark as I think I am.

The hubby crushed his half marathon in 1:36:39. And as you can see below he was flying all the way to the chute.

It ended up being a pretty good day of racing around for the Bishops. And it left me feeling anxious to get back into more structured training this week - especially since I won't have to spend quite as much time on the road.

This week felt more balanced than last week, but I was still working a ton. Saturday ended up being my only day off for the last two weeks, which has left me feeling a bit run down. I opted for more rest days then I originally planned this week, but I feel like my body needed it.

Monday: Rest - I was feeling worn out from the weekend
Tuesday: 40 minute HIIT Workout at Goodlife Fitness
Wednesday: Rest
Thursday: 60 min Ride on the Trainer in the AM and a 5km Run with the hubby in the PM
Friday: 30 minute HIIT Workout
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: 5km Run Ajax

Meal Prep:

Again, not a lot of meal prep happened last week. But I did use my day at home yesterday to get some meal prep done for the upcoming week. And I am actually feeling organized, which has been a novel concept lately. I made a batch of my Vegan Gluten-Free Pumpkin Muffins and crockpot full of Black Bean + Squash Stew. So next week is shaping up to be a better week.

This week was by no means perfect nutrition-wise - I caught myself snacking more in the evenings, I had some chips Friday, and more than one Pumpkin Spice latte helped get me through this week. But it is all a work in progress.

Monday: Gluten-Free Pasta with Pesto and Ground Turkey
Tuesday: Sushi from Whole Foods while on the road
Wednesday: Butternut Squash Soup
Thursday: Broccoli and Cheddar Quiche
Friday: Feta and Spinach Perogies + Ceasar Salad
Saturday: Herb and Garlic Chicken with Rice and Greens
Sunday: Gluten-Free Chicken Alfredo

Hope you all had a great weekend!
Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Adventures in Acupuncture

Acupuncture is something I have been curious about for a long time. And this week I finally decided to go ahead and take the plunge.

The original reason I was drawn to acupuncture was for its healing benefits and its ability to increase circulation in problem areas. For the last 10 years I have lovingly referred to my left arm as my "chubby arm" and I often do my best to hide it in photographs. I developed Stenosis down my left arm as a complication from one of the wires in my ICD. I was on blood thinners for 8 months several years back to try to break up any clotting that may have formed, but there was no change. So my cardio team decided that remaining on the meds was unnecessary and the condition was simply deemed chronic.

Now admittedly, it is more of nuisance than anything else. And part of what bothers me is strictly an issue of vanity - my arms functions just fine, it just looks swollen, and occasionally will not fit properly in my more fitted and structured shirts. The swelling and inflammation varies depending on the day, but there is always a mark able size difference between my right and left arm. And acupuncture is always something I have wanted to try to see if I would be able to manage the inflammation on the left side.

After my miscarriage, I also read about the use of acupuncture to help restore your hormonal balance and stimulate fertility. And if I am being honest, this was the true catalyst that drove me to schedule my appointment this week.

Both my husband and I have additional health benefits through work to cover off the majority of the treatments. So I decided it would be worth a shot.

I had my first treatment session yesterday and I feel excited about the plan we have agreed upon. I went to the Barefoot Health Clinic. I was drawn to them because of their focus on women`s health. Dr. Doran felt that acupuncture was a great method to target both areas of concern and agreed that my research was sound.

I was able to have my acupuncture session target both areas at the same time. The first session was actually surprising relaxing. We use 3 needles in my left arm, 4 in my stomach, and 2 in my ankles. Once the needles were placed, they remained there for 20 minutes. It was not painful, but Dr. Doran did mention that I was much more relaxed than most first time patients. I am going to be receiving treatment once a week for the next 4 weeks to hopefully regulate my body, restart my natural cycle, and decrease the inflammation in my left arm.

I also have an appointment scheduled with an RMT on Friday for a Pelvic Massage. This is again meant to help increase blood flow and restore health/balance following my D&C.

At this point it is hard to say if this has made any difference at all. But I did feel pressure at the acupuncture sites for about 24 hours after my treatment - so it appears to be doing something. I realize this makes me sounds a little bit like a hippie, granola-eating, flower child. But I believe in treating health with a holistic approach whenever possible.

I also for obvious reasons believe in the power of science and traditional medicine (*cough* Robot Heart, Genetic Screening, Double Mastectomy *cough*). So I have met with my family doctor as well. He requested some simple blood work for me to ensure my thyroid is functioning properly and that my iron levels are okay. He also assured me that despite how devastating this all feels, I am just one of the many women who experience miscarriages, and I should not be afraid to try again.

Experiencing a miscarriage takes away some the joy of pregnancy. You are forced to face the harsh reality that it does not always work out. And the innocence of the experience is lost. It is easy to get swept up in that fear, but I am choosing to hold on to hope. When we are able, we will try again. And I will continue to pray that our rainbow baby is waiting for us.

For now, it just feels good to know that I am taking an active role in moving forward. And I am keeping the faith that there will be better days ahead.

Love Your (always hopeful) Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Sunday, 20 September 2015

On the Road + Meal Planning

I have decided to start linking up with Laura from Mommy Run Fast to share my Weekly Workouts and my Meal Planning on Sundays. I have been a little all over the place lately, and in order to restore some balance to my life I am trying to focus on the little things and get back into healthy habits.

I mentioned last week that I had been struggling with my diet and stress eating. And this week it would have been easy to stay in rut. I worked all 7 days this week and I was on the road for 5 of them. This is typically when my healthy habits fall by the way side. Its difficult to prep meals that travel well, so I end up eating out. I drink way too much coffee. And to help keep my energy up I often reach for extra sugar. But this week I wanted to stay on track and really focus on taking care of body. It was but no means a perfect week - Pumpkin Spice Lattes were had - but I did my best to focus on whole foods, track my Eats daily with MyFitnessPal, and to make time to Sweat.

I also decided to Register for Run Ajax 5km Next Weekend. I was not originally planning on racing, because I don't exactly feel in Race Shape at this point. There is little to no speed in these legs. But after talking to my friend Heather, I decided that much like the Zoo Run, it might feel good to get back into my normal routine.

If you are interested in Running too, I have a discount code for you. Use Krysten10 to get 10% off your entry. It should be a great event, so come on out and run with us.


There were no long runs or lengthy workouts this week. This week was all about being efficient and squeezing in my workouts while also managing my travel schedule. HIIT workouts have fast been becoming a regular part of my routine - mostly because it is easy to get it done anywhere and it doesn't require a ton of time or equipment.

Sunday: Rest (Post Zoo Run)
Monday: 80min Hot Moksha Flow Class
Tuesday:  5km Run
Wednesday: At-Home HIIT Workout
Thursday: Rest
Friday: 5km Run
Saturday: 40 min. Hotel HIIT Workout via Tone It Up Girls YouTube Channel

Meal Prep:

Admittedly there wasn't a lot of prep happening this week, as a lot of my dinners were eaten on the road. But I was happy I was able to stay on track as much as did.

Sunday: Chicken, Salad, and Roasted Potatoes
Monday: Sushi
Tuesday: Smoked Salmon on Half a Bagel with Cream Cheese and Coleslaw with Apple Cider Dressing
Wednesday: White Fish Tacos on Gluten-Free Spinach Wraps
Thursday: Quest Bar, Vega-One Smoothie, and Veggies with Hummus
Friday: Fettuccini Bolognese
Saturday: Kale Caesar Salad and Crab Cakes

I am finally heading home later today. I definitely looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow, seeing my husband, and having a chance to prep some regular meals again.

Hope you all have a great week.

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,