Tuesday, 31 July 2012

#WIAW - Whole 30 Update

 It's What I Ate Wednesday brought to by the Peas and Crayons
Confession: After about 6 days of Whole 30, I am Whole 30 no longer. (*sigh*) 

Okay so let me explain, because I feel like my Whole 30 post got a lot of attention - both good and bad.

The first few days of my Whole 30 challenge started out really well. I was feeling light and energized. And I was really surprised that I was not hungry, because I was so sure I was going to be. I enjoyed the meals I was making and was really excited about the whole process. But admittedly my training was light on both days. One was a rest day, following Warrior Dash, and the other included a 90 min Hot Yoga session.

Wednesday was actually where things started to go downhill for me. I ran 16 km (or 10 miles) on Wednesday morning. I stuck to the Whole 30 plan, which advocates a small light meal before exercise, and had trail mix and melon before I started my run. I completed the full 16 km, and generally felt good out there. It was at a slower pace than I am used to, but again the Whole 30 plan said to expect that in the first week. By 3 pm that afternoon my energy levels took a serious dive and my stomach wasn't too happy either. I knew I was making a lot of changes to my diet and still demanding quite a lot from my body physically, so I figured it would just take some time to pass.

I will spare you the details, but despite sticking with the the Whole 30 plan and my training, I spent Thursday and Friday being very sick to my stomach. I doubt very little of what I ate from Wednesday night until Friday night was actually absorbed as usable energy for my body. And by Friday afternoon, I was shaking and resigned to the couch.

Something was just not working for me. My body was not happy, I felt horrible, and I was missing my Friday training run. So something had to give. I made myself a bowl of plain pasta to ease my angry tummy, and felt better almost immediately!

The Whole 30 describes my symptoms as "carb flu", and is apparently common for a lot of people when they cut out grains. They also said those symptoms can last for quite awhile, but because I only have a limited time before my Marathon, I don't think now is the right time to try to wait it out. I know that the Whole 30 program has worked for a lot of people. And I know a ton of people who advocate this lifestyle. But diet is one of those things that is very personal. What works for someone doesn't always work for someone else. And at this point, with the type of training I am doing, this plan did not work well for me. Don't get me wrong, I think that the Whole 30 raised a lot of valid points for me...

1. There are a lot of extras in my diet that I don't need  
Sugars/Sweeteners, Diary, and White Potatoes are definitely things I am going to continue to try to do without. I have learned that dairy does make me feel sluggish. And I can drink my coffee black, skip the juice, and the protein bars filled with extra sugar. Those things are not necessary.

2. I rely too heavily on carbs for my energy. 
Prior to Whole 30 I would guess there were a lot of days where I ate processed carbs at almost every meal - granola for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch, a bar of some kind of a snack, and pasta for dinner. I think I need some carbs to fuel my long runs, but probably not as many as I was taking in.

3. I still have a lot to learn about nutrition.
Which is why rather than continuing to experiment on my own, I have decided to start working with a Nutritionist. Let's just be honest and say that I really have no idea what I am doing, especially when it comes to nutrition and this type of training. So I am calling in the Calvary. Miranda Gibson is a Holistic Sports Nutritionist, and she is willing to take me on as a client and help me reach Marathon Glory.
(Note: you can click on her name to check out her blog and services)

So this week I am filling out a food and activity journal for Miranda to review and analyze for me, and we will take it from there. Nutrition is still something that I want to focus on. And an area I can definitely improve. It has just become very clear to me that I am out of my element and I need the extra help to be able to make that happen.

I will keep you all posted on the results.
Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Monday, 30 July 2012

Muddy Monday @MetConBlue Giveaway!

So I don't know if you guys have noticed, because there has been so much talk on my little blog about marathons, training, and races lately, but my last 2 races were actually Mud Runs. I ran Met Con Blue as my first race back post-op. And then the Warrior Dash just last weekend with my girls.

Because as much as I love the challenge running provides, and as much as I love competing against myself and the clock, I really just run for FUN! This little Darwinian Fail isn't going break any world records, qualify for Boston, or even so much as place in a local race. But that isn't why I lace up sneakers.

Running is FUN, it is the ideal release, and it is home to amazing community of people - and these silly mud runs capture all of that perfectly! It is a chance to head out with a group of friends, wear matching outfits, run through the mud, scale walls, climb cargo nets, jump over pits of fire, plunge down giant slip and slides, and just spend the day being silly!!

It is the perfect atmosphere for first-time racers. And it is great way to shake your sillies out when you training seriously. I recommend these runs to pretty much everyone!

Which is why I am so excited to giveaway...

1 Entry to September 8th's MetCon Blue

Part of Team Pain in June
I ran this race in June with Team Pain and it was a HOOT! Team Pain will be back in September - sans me unfortunately, because we have a wedding that weekend. But I highly recommend this event! And I am so excited to give you all a chance to experience for yourself.

To enter...
  • Leave me a Comment below telling me which obstacle you are most excited about
  • and for an additional entry Tweet:  "Pick Me @darwinianfail! I want to get MUDDY at @MetConBlue"
The winner will be randomly selected and announced on Wednesday!
Happy Muddy Monday!

Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Friday, 27 July 2012

Friday Fitspiration

This week I hit the half way mark! 21km (or 13.1 miles)! We are on our way! And we are half way there. It wasn't an easy run, and it was slower than I wanted, but I hit my mileage this week.

So I am reminding myself...

Gotta Keep Working!
Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

#WIAW - The Whole 30

It is What I Ate Wednesday, brought to you by the lovely Peas and Crayons.

So I don't know if you could tell, but I was feeling slightly paniced in my last WIAW post. I was feeling lost last week, and I was floundering. I found myself wondering why I signed up for a Marathon? And why I agreed to allow a camera crew follow me while I do this? I was feeling the pressure of everything I signed up for. And all I could think was "What if I fail? I have no clue what I am doing?! Oh my goodness!" PANIC! PANIC! PANIC!

Nutrition has never been my strong suit. I know enough to consider my diet relatively healthy and balanced. But nutrition has always been an after thought for me. My focus has always been training and exercise. But the truth is nutrition is important, and it is one of the areas I can improve and control. As we all know, my body has certain physical limitations, so my training will only take me so far. Nutrition is is the other piece of the puzzle. And I think focusing on eating clean and fueling my body will help enhance my performance and training.

I know all that in theory, but I have no idea how to translate that to real life. Enter the fabulous Bill - of Collingwood Crossfit fame and founding member of Team Pain. Bill is a hardcore crossfit-er and a nutrition enthusiast. He is serious about food and training, so he came to my rescue last week, and mailed me a copy of "It Starts with Food".

I tore through my copy this past weekend, and a lot of the what was said made sense to me. I loved their focus on whole unprocessed foods.

But taking their Whole 30 challenge was going to be BIG change for me, because this meant taking food very seriously and making nutrition a priority. Part of me was hesitant. But the other part of me was excited. I felt like I had a plan. I had a direction. So first thing Monday morning I started the Whole 30 program.

I won't go through all the details, because I won't do it justice, and I can't condense all the material into one blog post. But if you are interested in the program and all the science behind it all you can check out their website http://whole9life.com/category/whole-30/.

In a nutshell for 30 days you have to commit to eating whole unprocessed foods - with meals generally consisting primarily of protein and vegetables (note: its heavily paleo inspired). And you are asked to cut out a lot of the extras and things that could be potential causes for digestive issues. You eliminate for 30 days and then reintroduce those eliminated foods gradually to see how you body reacts and note any sensitivities. So for 30 days you cannot have...

Is this plan intense? Yes. Am I crazy? Perhaps, I know my husband sure thinks so. Am I grasping at straws because I am feeling paniced? Also possible, but this straw does have science and results to back it up. So I am gonna go for it. This is just for 30 days. And I perfer to think of myself as - dedicated, committed, motivated, pick a word, - rather than crazy. And I am mostly hoping that by shaking things up for 30 days that I will gain a new perspective on food and fuel. Time will tell if this plan will really work for me. And if this will really help my marathon training, but I am going to give a try and let you all know what happens.

It is time to take my nutrition a little more seriously - I am trying to run a Marathon after all?!?!
Wish me luck!

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Monday, 23 July 2012

Warrior Dash Recap

So several weeks ago, I was crazy enough to throw myself back into racing just 12 measly weeks after my double mastectomy at MetCon Blue. I had an amazing time. And it was the perfect way to celebrate the 12 week milestone with my hubby. But my body was no where near ready to tackle that challenge.

So fast forward 7 weeks, and I have finally had my moment of mud run obstacle redemption.

My girl Robyn convinced me to tackle the Warrior Dash with her way back when, with the promise that she would use her personal training expertise to whip back into shape post-op. And once I had been giving the A-okay to start training again - Robyn, the fabulous Jess, and I started training every Monday. We were a team and we going to run this race together. Not only did these amazing girls help me train for the race, but they were a huge source of support and encouragement. I cannot gush about them enough!

So yesterday, completely decked out in our matching neon outfits, we drove to Barrie for our 12:00 start time.
It was extremely hot when we took the starting line. But even with the heat the energy level was high - everyone was excited to race. The course was extremely muddy and the hills felt like they just kept coming. But all of that plus the obstacles made for a great race.

Jess was an absolute machine on the hills. She was killing it on the course. Me...not so much. My little defective ticker still hates hills, and especially hates hills in the heat. But Jess was there to root for Robyn and I as we slowly made our way up the inclines. Robyn was my biggest cheerleader as I climbed the rope wall, rocking my new found upper body strength (*thank you for the TRX training girlie*). And I was able to support them over some of the dizzying heights on the course. We all encouraged each other in different ways, and we crossed the finish line muddy and holding hands at 54:59.

It was such a fun day! And it was big milestone for me and my recovery as well. 7 weeks ago, when I ran MetCon Blue I completed the race 1:17:15. And yesterday I saw an almost 25 min improvement! It was HUGE! My road to recovery is almost complete and it felt so great to celebrate it with a few of favourite girls.

It has been a long 5 months of recuperation. And while I know I still have a little ways to go in terms of endurance, it has taken a lot of hard work to get back to this point. Yesterday was a celebration of how far I have come and Girl Power at its best!

Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Thursday, 19 July 2012

4 years

4 years ago today I said "I Do" and married my best friend.

Very few people would describe me as a lucky girl. But I have been lucky in love. And I have built my world around that love.

It takes a strong man to love me, because he said "in sickness and in health", boy did he have to mean it. The battle we endured this past year wasn't something either of us saw coming, and unfortunately we both know it will not be our last.
I know how hard it must have been to stand by and support someone you love so deeply, but never let them see the way you are hurting too. His strength has carried me through the darkest days of my life. And it is how I know I married one of the strongest most incredible men going. And for that I feel a gratitude I could never express.
He has been my rock, my biggest supporter, my best friend, and the love of my life.
I love and am loved whole-heartedly and unconditionally, and I often wonder what I have done to deserve all of this. I married the sweetest, kindest, most brilliant man I have ever met.

So the day I walked down the aisle and into his arms I know I became the luckiest girl in the world.

Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

#WIAW - Training, Calories, and Fuel

It's Wednesday! So you know what that means, it must be time for What I Ate Wednesday! (brought to you by Peas and Crayons)

As you guys know, I have taken on the slightly scary and arduous task of training for my first Marathon. This is only week 3 and the learning curve has been quite steep. I feel like I am learning new things about training, running, and my body everyday. My most recent realization obviously revolving around food.

I very recently made the switch to Iphone (which I LOVE LOVE LOVE by the way! Hello Instagram! I am obsessed!)) and in doing so have been exploring the wonderful world of apps. One of my training goals is to focus on fuel and really nourishing my body. So I figured, there's gotta be an app for that!? Am I right?! So I downloaded My Fitness Pal (which is free by the way), and started recording all my meals and activity during the past few weeks of Marathon Training.

Needless to say I was completely surprised by the results. I fell short of my required calories every day last week. I simply was not eating enough to sustain my new high intensity training plan. Not even close in fact! I was burning so many calories on my weekly runs, and I wasn't making the necessary adjustments to my meal plan to compensate for my new routine.

But now that I am smack dab in the middle of Marathon Training and running more than I ever have, I need to ensure my body gets the fuel it needs. I really want to fuel my body vs. eating empty calories, so it's a good thing the mailman was extra good to me this week! Two of my favourite Canadian companies Chobani Canada and Magnum Nutraceuticals came to rescue and said they were up to the task!

The Chobani Fairy sent me some Cho Power, in the form of their delicious protein packed greek yogurt. The 14 grams of protein/cup will definitely help me refuel after my runs!

And Magnum set me a Training Trifecta. They sent Opus for Pre-Run fuel, Quattro for Post-Run fuel, and Heat to help boost my enegy levels and keep me training hard. The world of supplements is relatively new to me, but I am excited to see how adding Magnum will enhance my regular training routine, so stay tuned!

I think I've got the tools I need to Make It Happen this week, so let's do this!
Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Monday, 16 July 2012

Darwinian Fail and Reality TV Star?


It's true!

This little Darwinian Fail and my journey to Marathon Glory is going to be featured on Shaw TV's new reality show Make It Happen!

You can check out the show on Facebook and Twitter and tell them how excited you are that I am joining the show (which I know you obviously are! *shifty eyes*)
I am beyond excited to be a part of this, and feel so incredibly honored to be chosen. And I'm a little nervous too. This is all really happening.

If I am being honest - when I started this little blog last year I thought no one would read it. Seriously. I thought maybe some close friends and my immediate family would glance at it from time to time. And I hoped that maybe if another soul was really scowering the internet for experience with Long QT or BRCA then they might be able to find me deep within the bowels of a googles search. So to say the response I have received has been completely humbling and overwhelming is an understatement. And no where in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine that something like this would happen!

So more than anything I just want to say Thank You!
Thank you for believing in me.
Thank you for supporting me.
And thank you for accepting me as I am - no boobs, robot heart, Darwinian fails, and all.
I promise I will not let you down! I am going Make It Happen!

Let's Do This!
Love you Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Nature vs. Nurture and @MizFitOnline

So I had a great What I ate Wednesday post scheduled for you all today, but during my early morning internet surfing I found myself reading a fabulous post from one of my favourite fitness bloggers - MizFit Online. Her post - Genetics loaded in the Gun - really struck me. And after mercilessly bombarding her Facebook wall with my thoughts and feelings, to the point of bordering on spamming, I decided to just write a post about it. 

So if you have even so much as read the title of my blog, then it should be fairly obviously that genetics has played a huge role in my health and my body. There is absolutely nothing I could do or change to ensure that I did not develop my heart condition. I had the gene and I got the condition. And when I drew the short-end of the genetic stick again with BRCA 1, I chose to take an active role in my health and ensure I did everything possible to keep this body breast cancer free.

I credit my genetic struggles for making me the person I am today. My journey has had a profound effect on the way I choose to live my life. And I can see how genetics ties into almost every facet of me.That being said, because genetic has had this profound impact on my world, I think I make a conscious effort to ensure that it does not define me.  

Your genetic predisposition doesn't have to define your life or your ability. There are very important areas that you can control and they have a HUGE impact on your overall health. Choosing to eat a healthy diet. Training for a Marathon. That is all me! And despite being blessed with a little defective body, and less than stellar genetics, I plan to be healthy and around for a long time.

You can push through boundaries and limits - its all up to you! FACT!

Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Marathon Motivation Monday - Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

Well friends, Week 1 of Marathon Training is in the books. Lessons were learned and training schedules have been tweaked. In other words, the fun has just begun. In case you missed it, I posted a video update about my progress ( *you can expect regular video updates on my brand spanking new YouTube Channel - Darwinian Fail, so come on over and subscribe! You can also hear my 8 year old voice in all it's glory - and yes that is what I really sound like...*)

I spent the week training and learning, but Confession: I spent the weekend enjoying. We went back to our old stomping grounds in Kingston, ON for the night. It is where my husband and I did our undergrad and our little love story began (*insert collective chorus of "Awww!"*). We went back for the weekend to visit amazing friends and their brand new baby. The weekend was spent laughing, eating, drinking, chatting, and enjoying baby snuggles. It was the perfect weekend, spent with some of my favourite people. But training was not exactly high on my agenda.

As lovely as this weekend was, and as refreshed as I now feel - too many weekends spent like this and I will have to roll across the Marathon Finish Line. I knew the lure of this weekend would be too hard to resist though, so I gave myself a free pass for food and fun. And boy, did I make the most of it!

But it is back to reality and business as usual. I've got 15 weeks to push this body to the limit and really see what I am made of. So this weeks theme is...
Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger!

I am going to train Harder
I am going eat Better
I am going to run Faster
And I am going to get Stronger

Let's do this people!
Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Friday, 6 July 2012

Fail Friday - Darwin Edition

Being a Darwinian Fail can get a little lonely sometimes. We are a rare breed, so I don't often stumble upon other genetically challenged friends. And I find myself wondering - is anyone else out there? Where are my cyborg friends? I know there more of us, but it's easy to feel like you are fighting this genetic battle alone when you are the only girl under 75 in the cardio clinic. 

But this weekend while watching the Euro Cup final, I found myself rooting passionately for Italy. Not because I am Italian, nor because I am devoted Italy fan, but because I found a fellow fail on the team. Antonio Cassano started for Italy's European Championship squad despite having heart surgery last fall. He had Patent Foramen Ovale which is a type a heart disease that occurs due to incomplete closure of the upper heart chambers at birth. The person with this disease is not aware of the problem until symptoms appear. He experienced a Transient Ischemic Brain Attack (TIA), which presents like a stroke, this past fall. And underwent surgery to repair the opening 6 days later. Seeing someone with a less than stellar genetic predisposition competing at the top level was inspiring.

Not only did he experience a cardiac episode and have surgery, but he then needed to recover and work his butt off to get his body back into shape. This is no small feat, especially not when you consider that he was training to compete against the world's top athletes. Italy didn't win the Euro, but I think Cassano did.

So often when you experience a diagnosis like I have, physical activity is more likely to be discouraged than anything else. An arrhythmia like mine is a strange entity. They are unpredictable, and the way they will react when tested and put under physical stress is a big question mark. So while I now lead a healthy, happy, active life there are limits to how hard I can push my body and a certain amount of care and patience needs to be applied to training.

It is also the reason why I have a pacemaker/defibrillator. The pacemaker provides therapy - mine is working 70-75% of the time- to manage my heart rate and condition. And the defibrillator is there just in case, because robot hearts can be handy like that. This amazing technology let's me lead the life I want, while knowing that I am protected against the the unpredictability of my diagnosis.

Soccer rules in my house. We are an Arsenal family: it occupies a very important [and loud] part of every weekend beginning in August. So, soccer also provides this hopeful Darwinian Fail clip and inspiration. Anthony Van Loo, a defender of Roeselare (Belgium) experiences what is known as instant cardiac death at the football field, but is almost instantly revived by his cyborg heart. This is a direct result of his arrhythmia and the reason all of us fails thank our lucky stars for the advances in technology and medical science. 

These men despite all the odds, and despite their genetic shortcomings are strong, healthy, and competing at the highest level of their sport. Limitation only exist if you let them. So this gal, despite all the odds, and her genetic shortcoming is going to run a Marathon this Fall. No limits!

Let's do this!
Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Marathon Training Thursday - Heat Wave

This first week of Marathon Training has been exciting.
It has also been VERY HOT. 

So far the weather has been absolutely ridiculous. Every day this week the temperature has soared to 30 degrees plus (that is 90 F). Add humidity on top of that and it feels like I am running in pea soup. My legs feel heavy and it is hard to breathe. Every mile felt like a battle this week.

My body does not like the heat, and navigating this new factor has been an adjustment. This is a huge change from my Half Marathon Training, which was done in heart of the cold, Canadian, icy winter. I am still trying to figure out when is the best time to run. Should I get up early and tackle my run first things in the Morning? Or should I wait until after the sun goes down and hit the road around 9pm? I just don't know.

I am leaning towards the AM at this point, despite my longing to stay under the covers. Tomorrow's long run will begin at 6 AM. Time will tell what is going to work best for me. I think it will just be trial and error until I figure out my new routine.

What time do you guys run? Or do your skip the heat all together and hit the treadmill instead?

Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Monday, 2 July 2012

Marathon Motivation ...Tuesday - Week 1

Welcome to the very first edition of Marathon Motivation Monday Tuesday!

It was a long weekend here and Canada's Birthday - so I am a day behind on my postings. I spent this weekend relaxing and regrouping with my adorable hubby and one and only puppy sidekick Clark. And I must confess, I took this weekend off. I spent yesterday reading, enjoying puppy snuggles, drinking wine, and eating dessert. (yes, I ate 2 of those cannolies for dessert and I enjoy every bite!)

This relaxing weekend of bliss and enjoyment was very much a MUST, as I find myself staring down the obscene and daunting task of Marathon Training.

To say that I am scared is an understatement. My stomach is full of butterflies, and I find myself asking "Can I Really Do This?". I am silently cursing at myself for proclaiming so loudly and proudly on my little blog and social media that I want to tackle those elusive 26.2 miles. What was I thinking? Who decides to run for 4+ hours just for kicks? This is nuts! And trust me, I know this is nuts. But I am going to do it anyways because...

Darwinian Fail? Robot Heart? BRCA +? No Boobs? No Problem! None of that matters anymore. Anything I can dream is possible. This week is all about logging miles and loving every single blessed second of it, because I CAN! Because I am HEALTHY! Because I am living the dream. Because I am going to sweat and sparkle all the way to Marathon Glory. Because this year I am going to prove that I run this body and I am so much more than a few silly genes.

So this week's goals are...

Log My Miles 
My plan is to start my day running. I need to get up early to try to beat the heat here in the city. I want to log a total of 50 kilometers this week (31 miles for my American friends). And run a 15 km long run (9.3 miles), which will put me well on my way to my goal of 20 km (13 miles) long run by the end of the month. 
Day 1 of 103 is in the books!

I also promise to start logging all my workout on the Daily Mile again. So you can keep track with that little widget over there on your left, or by adding me as a Daily Mile friend for regular check-ins.

Strength Train
I have 3 strength training sessions scheduled for this week - 2 arms/chest workouts using the TRX and 1leg and core circuit. I promise despite adding extra miles and my love of all things cardio I will do my Strength Training this week. 
Eat Clean (mostly)
Okay so this is the one that is going to be tough. I am going away for the weekend with my hubby to visit friends and their new baby (SQUEAL with excitement and baby delight). In other words there will be dinners out, and likely a few cocktails mixed into our weekend plans. So I am giving myself a pass on Saturday to enjoy a few bevies and less than healthy-fare with friends, as long as I do so in moderation, stay on track during the week, and follow through with all of my training goals. 
I will check in again with a Marathon Training update on Thursday to let you know how the week is going, and if I am on target to reach this week's goals. 

Fingers crossed, as I head out on a hope and a prayer! Wish me luck (I am gonna need it)!

Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,