Thursday, 30 August 2012

Marathon Training Thursday - Am I a "Real" Runner?

Recently while spending the morning reading tales from some of my favourite internet friends, I found myself pondering the girl I have evolved into (<----get it? Darwin joke?! I slay myself sometimes) to over the past year.

Katie from Wishes and Whimsey recently posted The Day I Became a Runner, talking about what it means to be a "real" runner. And I commented, "that even though I am in the middle of training for my first Marathon, I still struggle to see myself as a "Real Runner" ". That sounds silly, doesn't it?

Hmmm...What is a Runner? Am I one? Or am I just a girl who wishes she was?
Immediately after posting that comment I found myself visiting Michelle over at NYC Running Mama, where she was discussing the rising cost of racing. To which I chimed in saying, how "this year I had really noticed the cost of races. Because to prep for my Marathon I was actually going to run 7 races in 2012". 7 races? Is that right? That is bananas!

Then it clicked for me.

I own more pairs of running shoes than I do high heels. I spend hours every day hydrating, fueling, and pounding the pavement. I worry about my time. I think about my splits. I spend my evenings reading Runner's World, coaching a 10km clinic at the Running Room, and mapping out my morning route on Daily Mile.

I am actually running. I am actually training. I am actually going to run a Marathon.
This little Darwinian Fail evolved into a Real Runner.

Imagine that?
Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Monday, 27 August 2012

Motivation Monday - Running for the Cure

It is Monday! Time to start another week. And time to get Motivated!

Does anyone else think it is crazy that this is the last week of August? How did this happen? Where did the summer go? It is crazy to think that I am only 7 weeks away from my genetic battle royale, and my Marathon! EEEK!!

So, there are miles and miles, and more miles on tap this week. My goal is to hit 30 kilometers on my long run Friday (**cross your fingers and wish me luck on that one**).

As I find myself barreling towards my Marathon, and as I watch this crazy year speed by, I got to thinking about everything that has happened this year and everything that has brought me to this point. A lot has happened in 2012! I ran my first half marathon. I toasted the ta-tas and got a shiny new robot heart while I was at it. And here I am recovered and training for my first full marathon. What an adventure it has been!

Today I am healthy and happy, but I owe this wonderful life of mine to years of research and medical innovation. So in order for this journey to be complete, I need to give back.

Which is why I am adding one more race to my schedule for this year. I have signed up to run Collingwood's CIBC Run for the Cure on September 30th, with the lofty fundraising goal of $1000 for cancer research.

If you have been following my journey, than you know how important this cause is for me. And I would love to be able to bring this year full-circle and give back to the people who have given me so much.

This is a shameless plug for donations and support, as I tackle this part of my journey. If you or someone you know has been affected by Breast Cancer please click the link below and donate to my Fundraising Page. I do not expect anything crazy, but every little bit helps! So if you can spare $2, $5, or even $10 to support this cause - that would absolutely ROCK MY WORLD!

(ps all charitable donations are tax deductible and an electronic receipt will be issued to you)

Let's make cancer history!
Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

PPS I will also be starting a new blog feature called Boobie Tuesdays where I will share my experiences with BRCA, Breast Cancer, and my Fundraising progress each week leading up to the Race!

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Marathon Training Thursday - Mind over Matter

This is the real secret to distance racing.

So much of long distance running is about mental stamina, as much as it is physical endurance. A lesson I learned while running my last race.

When I took the plunge into distance running this past March I did so under a certain amount of duress. I was at my breaking point during the weeks leading up to my half marathon. And while the race was a great distraction from the surgery and all the other thoughts I had swirling around in my head - it was not my focus.

So when I found myself struggling at kilometer 17 - I had nothing left to give. There was no push left in me. I didn't have the energy to push through the pain and the fatigue. I couldn't dig deep. My second wind was used up long ago and on other things.

The results I battled for that day show a girl whose body could do better, but whose mind could not.

Deep down I knew this, but running my 15km last weekend really drove this point home for me. I felt a little down after my tumble by the lighthouse, and my legs were getting tired. But on this day, at this race, this girl knew she had more to give.

I spent the rest of the race building myself back up.

I chanted my intention over and over again.
"Take PRIDE in how far you have come. And have FAITH in how far you can go". 

With every positive affirmation I felt myself growing stronger.

I knew I could push hard to the end. Not because my body was exponentially stronger this time around, but because I believed I could.

So as I crossed the finish line on Saturday night I could hear the voice in my head chanting,
"Push! You run this body! F**k Genetics! You are stronger than this! Push!"
And you know what? I really believed it.

So as I strive for Marathon Glory, I am going in with an open heart and a strong mind, and that is going to make all the difference.

Let's Make It Happen!
Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

#WIAW - Rest Day

It has been a crazy couple of weeks. There has been lots of training, loads of miles, all mixed with the madness of final exams. Oh and then I also had my 15km Race on Saturday. I have been a busy bee!

So when a quiet Monday finally rolled around, I decided that a REST DAY was a MUST. No running. No studying. Just a quiet day to myself. So this week's What I Ate Wednesday posted on Peas and Crayons, is actually What I Ate Monday.

This is how my glorious rest day went down!

I got up at my usual time. Mostly because my little alarm clock decides when I should get up. There is no snooze button on this guys. So when the puppy says wake up, I am up.

After our morning walk. I made myself a bowl plain Chobani topped with some delicious Love Grown Granola. I grabbed the paper, a big cup of coffee, and eased into my morning.

After a leisurely morning spent reading and catching up on the bloggy world. I made myself a simple lunch and got ready to head out of the afternoon.

I made 2 eggs scrambled, with a side of spicy Hungarian salami (not pictured) and a banana. It was quick and easy, but packed with protein.

I needed to get caught up on some of my bloggy correspondence that I had let fall by the way side, while stuck in my exam time-warp. So I did some errands and spent the afternoon on my local Starbucks patio, enjoying the cooler temperatures, sipping lattes, and writing.

I did try to balance out my crazy caffiene intake with lots of water too.

This was more exciting than usual, because I a girlie date planned with the lovely Lexi. We met at the Foxerly Bistro - one of Lexi's favourite spots. The menu focused on small plates and Asian-fusion. We agreed to get two items each and share, share, share. All over a nice glass of red wine!

We started with lamb and duck prosciutto dumplings, and a kale salad with pecorino toscano and lemon dressing. Great food, and fabulous girlie talk time.
For our mains we shared the sea scallop ceviche with kumquat and grilled jalapeno and spicy crispy shrimp with jalapeno and garlic. They were absolutely AMAZING! And needless to say there was not much left, by the time we were done.

Our girl time was not quite finished when the food was though. There was still more to discuss and more silly topics to rehash, so we switched locations for coffee and dessert. We shares a piece of homemade key lime pie and continued our gab-fest over cappuccinos.
I strolled home rested, refreshed, and with a very happy tummy. It is all about balance, and Monday was exactly what the doctor ordered.

Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Sunday, 19 August 2012

MidSummer's Night Run Race Recap

Friday morning I took a break from studying to venture downtown and pickup my Race Kit for this weekend's long distance adventure. I was excited, but I was also incredibly nervous. My palms was sweating as I collected my bib number and sovereign shirt.

I knew I had been training. And I had also done a couple of races recently. But running and training alone is different. And running an obstacle race with a couple of girlfriends is not the same as running a distance race. There was some extra pressure this time around.

I was jumping back into distance racing, and this was the first step on my Marathon journey.

Despite my nerves, I told myself that I would run My Race at My Pace and that I would enjoy myself. The competitive little runner that lives inside my head said that I also had a secret time goal of 1:30.

A MidSummer's Night Run, is a whimsical night time race held to benefit Sick Kids. The grounds were energized, spirits were high, and lots of runners were sporting everything from tutus, wings, wigs, even leaves and ivy. It was easy to get excited with a crowd like this.
I was rocking my new oiselle gear and was feeling good, as I lined up with the 1:30 Pace Fairy. The horn sounded and before I knew it I was off and running.

It was a lake front course, following the trails in and along the Leslie Street spit. The view of the city from there was gorgeous. And the breeze coming off the water helped make the conditions ideal for racing. I stuck close with the my Pace Fairy for the first 5km, but I was struggling to find my happy heart rate. So I told myself to relax and fall back. I could see the 1:30 sign bobbing just up ahead, but by scaling back a little I was able to hit my ideal BPM.

As I rocked out to my Pop-Fabulous Playlist I found my rhythm. My heart rate stayed happily in between 175-185bpm, and I was enjoying my run. Before I knew it I could see the lighthouse, and the halfway point had arrived.

The terrain around the lighthouse switched from the smooth paved path we had been running on to one that was very rough and uneven. The race organizer had made a point of warning runners about this. But in true klutzy Krysten fashion, my toes caught one of the rocks the wrong way, and I was down for the count. OUCH! I was dusty, a little scrapped up, slight embarrassed, but otherwise okay.

I dusted myself off and popped back up just as Kelly Clarkson was belting out "I'd fall a thousand times 'fore I let you drag me down" (**Sometimes life is just too funny! I swear!**) So I took that as a sign - and said "DAMN RIGHT!". I was meant to rock this run and I was going to push hard during the second half to make up the time and momentum I lost during my tumble. 

I embraced race day mantra and told myself I was going for it.

I pushed hard. I even started chanting this out loud during the last few kilometers. I felt strong. I felt happy. And I finished the race on a serious runner's high at 1:34! 

I missed my goal time by a couple minutes, but I think without my tumble I would have hit my time. So I will take that! Because more importantly I crossed the finish line feeling strong. I had energy left in the tank. And all of that told me that my training is actually WORKING! My hard work and long hours in the trails are starting to pay off. And if I stay focused, and if I keep plugging, than my Marathon dream could really become a reality!

So Let's Make It Happen!
Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

#WIAW - Toast the Ta-Tas Party

So those of you who just come visit me on What I Ate Wednesday from Peas and Crayons, may not realize this, but just about 5 months ago I had a double mastectomy and reconstruction as a preventative measure for the BRCA 1 genetic marker.

Obviously the decision to go ahead with this surgery was a difficult one. And the entire process was a long. Recovery has taken a long time. Definitely a lot longer than I initially anticipated. But I think it is pretty safe to say that my body has healed, and my energy levels are finally back. And after all that, I am just so incredibly happy to be healthy and out the other side, so it was time to celebrate!

This weekend I hosted a Toast the Ta-tas Party. It was a way to say farewell and thank you to the boobies of the past! And as a welcome to the new Ta-tas! It was a night to celebrate being healthy and oh so happy!  

Here's how it all went down (commence photo bomb)

We had lots to eat, and clearly no thought was given to sugar content or points for healthy fare. We just ate yummy things, and had celebratory drinks! Pitchers of Mojitos and Margarita were made and enjoyed. And I ate my fair share of that licorice.

The Piece de le Resistance though, was definitely my beautiful over the top Boobie Cake, created by Emily Scott Cake Designs.

Emily is one of my super amazing and insanely talented friends, and her masterpiece far exceeded my expectations. I definitely struggled to cut into this beautiful piece. Much of the night was spent gushing over this gorgeous cake, and then enjoying eating it! So beautiful and so delicious!

For any of my local GTA friends who may need cakes, please make sure to check out Emily's Facebook Page or Email  her for consultations/pricing at Emily is just starting to grow her cake-making business, so I definitely want to help spread the LOVE! Although I am pretty sure her work speaks for itself!

The night was great! And more than anything I was struck by how lucky I am. I love my life, bumps, failures, scars, and all. And I love all the of the amazing people in it.

Last year was difficult, but I had an amazing group of people supporting me (many of whom were also there on Saturday). They were there for me when I was down, and they were right beside me to celebrate when I got back up. 

I spent Saturday night smiling and relishing in this great life that belongs to me. And I just felt incredibly grateful. I feel so grateful to have my health, and so proud to be able to recognize how far I have come. And with a life this beautiful, who needs boobs anyways?

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Monday, 13 August 2012

Marathon Motivation Monday - Oiselle

It is Monday Friends!

And that means I am only 5 measly days away from my foray back into distance racing. This coming Saturday I am diving back into things and running the 15km MidSummer Night's Run. This is going to be my first serious race back post-op, so I am feeling a little nervous. Oh and it is also the first time I will be shooting with the crew from Make It Happen. GAH! Nothing like having a camera crew following you to really help ramp up the PRESSURE.

And if a Race and Camera Crew weren't enough to motivate my little behind. Than the lovely package I received from the girls at Oiselle should definitely do the trick! Nothing like adorable workout apparel to get you excited about logging those miles, right?!

I am so excited and honoured to announce that I have officially joined Team Oiselle. Oiselle is an AMAZING women's running apparel company and they have graciously offered to sponsor me as I take on my latest and greatest adventure. (**Squeal! Love!**) Not only does Oiselle make adorable running gear, but it is a company founded by a group of kick-ass women who are also incredibly passionate about running and the health and wellness community. Fabulous, right?! So I am beyond excited to sport their gear over the coming months and be a part of this astounding group of women!

The package they sent me is chalk full of Fabulousness! They sent everything from cute Tees, running shorts, racing tanks, zip-ups, compression sleeves, and even an adorable note to boot. I have already decided that my new Oiselle Racing Tank is reserved for Saturday's Race, complete with my matching orange shorts. And I have been happily sporting all my new gear out and about all weekend. Including on my very long, very wet and rainy run on Friday.

I swear new running gear does wonders for a girls soul! And with all this new motivation my training has been going really well this past week. And despite a little lingering achy-ness, I am feeling strong and much more like myself. Last week's training was intense, but sticking with new schedule felt AMAZING! So this week I am planning on doing more of the same. And hopefully Rocking Race Day!

So, if you guys are looking for a little MOTIVATION this week in the form of ADORABLE new gear, then I am here to help! 

for 10% off your order at Oiselle

Let's Rock it this week!
Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail!

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Marathon Training Thursday - Community LOVE!

I am SUPER excited to report, that after my less than stellar couple of weeks, this week has been AMAZING!!

Ah, that picture sums it up nicely. (PS slightly obsessed with this heart effect from picfx! OBSESSED!) I have been running like a crazy woman this week. Seriously. And did I mention I have started running 2x a day on Wednesday and Thursday to balance my Marathon Mileage with my responsibility as a Run Coach at the Running Room? And, and, and, that I am actually enjoying it?!

My body is sore, sweaty, and tired. But my soul is Sparkly again.

Perhaps I am just high on endorphins, but I am pretty sure my new found sparkle has a little something to do with all of you guys.

I say this all the time, but the Health and Wellness Community is pretty much just plain FABULOUS! And my Fitfluential Family is amazing. I got so many supportive comments, tweets, and emails following my last post. And just knowing that you guys believe me definitely give me an extra spring in my step.

So THANK YOU for being the amazing, positive, kick-butt people that you are. You all rock my world!

Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

#WIAW - Grilled Chicken Salad with Peanut Sauce

I have had some requests for more recipes recently. But because I have been lacking confidence on the nutrition front lately, I have been reluctant to share much about food. BLAH! But that is just silly isn't it?! Because even though I may still be trying to navigate Marathon Training, I still know a delicious salad when I taste one! And because it is What I Ate Wednesday on Peas and Crayons I thought I should definitely share this one with you!

This recipe actually comes from Bonnie Stern's Heart Smart Cookbook. She is a wealth of knowledge. She also has lots of heart healthy and delicious recipes to choose from - seriously - this book is full of them! Plus anyone who wants to help me take care of my little defective ticker and gets the Heart and Stroke Foundation's seal of approval is alright in my books!

This has been a great way to use up all the veggies from our weekly CSA produce box. And it is quick and easy because you can just use leftover chicken (recommend 3-4 cups) from the night before. Perfect Summer Staple!

Grilled Chicken Salad with Peanut Sauce
Makes between 6-8 servings

Nutrition Note: Each serving is 328 calories and packs a whopping protein punch with 31 grams!


1 large head of Romaine lettuce (shredded)
1 head of Radicchio (shredded)
2 carrots (grated)
1 sweet pepper
4 corn tortilla chips
1 bunch of cilantro or parsley (chopped) 

Peanut Sauce:
2 tbsp peanut butter
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp sot sauce
2 tbsp hot water

Lime Honey Dressing:
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp honey mustard
1 clove of garlic (minced)
1/2 tsp pepper
salt to taste

1. Mix up the two dressings first in separate bowls.
2. Cut tortilla into strips, spread on a baking sheet, and bake at 400 F for 8 minutes until crisp.
3. In a large bowl (Note: use a very large bowl there are a lot of veggies) toss together all of the prepared veggies, the chicken, the crispy tortilla strips, and the Lime Honey dressing.
4. Drizzle Peanut Sauce over the finished product and Enjoy!

Hope you guys like it!
Happy Wednesday!
Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Monday, 6 August 2012

Motivation Monday - No more All or Nothing

I have been having a hard time finding my groove lately. The last 2 weeks of training have not been my best. And I am not proud of training I have done during the later half of July. I have been struggling with my nutrition, feeling panicked about training, and lacking confidence.

I know I need to make a change for August. So I am attempting to ditch my "All or Nothing" attitude.

It is no secret that I have a serious Type A personality. And I credit my little Type-A self for keeping me organized and driven, but it can also stall my progress all at the same time.

The little voice in my head is a negative girl. She is an evil little nay-Sayer who frequently tells me that my objectives are crazy. That my body is not built for this. That signing up for run a Marathon and have a whole bunch of people watch it on a reality TV show, probably means certain disaster. And that unless I can do everything perfectly, then I am destined for failure. That I am going to fail and everyone is going to watch me do it... BLAH! Isn't she the worst!?!

I have been overwhelmed while trying to process all that Marathon Training means. And I have found myself completely bogged down worrying about my race times, how I will perform, and all of the little details. Deep down I know I can't listen to negative voice, but that voice has been VERY LOUD the past few weeks. And thus, very difficult for me to ignore. And I have lost myself a little.

But this weekend, after heading home to visit my parents, I am feeling refreshed. I needed to hit reset. I needed a change of scenery. And I needed to get out of my own head for a while.

So I laced up my sneakers on Sunday morning and went running around the country side. It was nice to be out of city. And to just enjoy my run for my change.

I hit the dirt roads that flank my parent's house. I took in the wide open spaces. I breathed the clear country air. And I found myself smiling. I felt like me again.

I am not running this Marathon to win, to set any records, or for anyone else. I am running my Marathon for me. This is MY MARATHON. This has been tough year and a long hard battle. I have the scars to prove it. Genetics may have taken away a lot of things - including my boobies. But it can never take away my FIGHT. It will never break my SPIRIT. And I am running 42 km (26 point freakin 2 miles) to show that. I am running this race just to say I can! To say that despite everything - robot heart, malfunctioning ticker, horrible genetics, and no boobies - it does not matter. I am doing this anyways.

So Marathon Training Here I Come! I am back baby!
Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Marathon Training Thursday - Aphrodite

Whew. It is August! Month 1 of Marathon Training is complete. How crazy is that? I only have 10 weeks until Race Day, so it is time to really buckle down and get serious.

This past month has been one big learning curve. And I still feel like I am trying to strike that elusive balance. I am still searching for my happy pace, trying to figure out my nutrition, and working on my confidence.

And there is nothing like a good old fashion pop song to help bring out your inner running goddess on those early AM runs, right? So this week I am going to channel the power of Aphrodite and rock it out!


It's a truth. It's a fact. I was gone and now I'm back.
Running while still recovering has been a struggle. And I will admit that there is a slight possibility that I jumped back into training a little bit too soon. Running is something I do because I genuinely LOVE it. And I spend most runs beaming like a goofball, but rebuilding my mileage has been difficult and I haven't exactly been enjoying it. But I know that I have made a lot of progress in the past few months. I was gone and now I'm back! Yeah! 

I got soul, you can check. In my heart, in my head. I got spirit you can feel.
Training is all about finding my fight and that drive. Because let's be honest, I am not exactly genetically blessed. So if I am going to rock this Marathon then it is going to be all about the training. So let's do this! Let's see what this body can do if I really push it.

Oh, I'm fierce and I'm feeling mighty. I'm a golden girl. I'm an Aphrodite.
I have said this before and I will say it again - when I am running I feel like a total Bad Ass! My little inner diva comes out. Each mile I knock out makes me feel fierce, strong, powerful, and unstoppable. I am channeling my running goddess and rocking my Marathon Training this month.

I'm fierce and I'm feeling mighty. Don't you mess with me you don't wanna fight me. Alright.
So that is a warning Genetics. I run this body. So you better just sit back and enjoy the ride this time around, because I am about seriously whip you into shape. Genetics may have been giving me the run around lately, but that time is OVER! It's time for me to run genetics.

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