Friday, 28 September 2012

Marathon Training Friday - Mezamashii

The wonderful people from Mizuno Canada sent me an invitation to participate in their Mezamashii Project. And I was beyond excited to be a part of the Brillant Run Movement.

Ever since I started my foray into distance running this past year I have gone a little Mizuno Crazy. You can see pictures of my favourite sneakers all over my little blog, making regular appreaces on my instagram, and dotting my twitter feed. I think it is safe to say, that I really like these shoes.

Mizunos have just worked me. I like the way they fit my feet. I like the stability they offer. And you know, I like all their rainbow bright colours. Its a girlie-girlie's paradise - fit and function meets fashion!

Mizuno offered to send me a pair a sneakers to try out during my marathon training, but I actually selected a pair to break in after Marathon Glory is achieved. I chose the Wave Musha 4. The Musha 4 offers the stability I need as an overpronator, but they sport a lower heel drop and light weight/minimalist feel. I think these are gonna be perfect for speed work!

If you are a runner, then there is no way you have ecaped the minimalist hype. It is everywhere these days. Lower heel drops, forefoot strikes, and barefoot running is all the rage. Everyone is talking about it. And quite frankly, this girl is curious. Does it really make you a better runner? Could a shoe like this make me faster and more efficient? Inquiring minds want to know.

I have always worn a stability shoe, and definitely lead with my heel. So the middle of marathon training is not the time to try something completely different. But it is something to look forward to after race day.

Mezamashii is the Japanese word for eye-opening, or brilliant

And that is exactly how I would describe this past year. My journey to my first marathon has been both eye-opening and brilliant. Every run is a new adventure. I have learned more about myself - and about my body - in the last 6 months than I ever thought possible. I wouldn't trade this journey for anything else in the world.

Everytime I lace up my sneakers I have a Mezamashii run - because I am here and I am healthy. This little bod is strong, partially bionic, complete with a shiny robot heart, and just failing it's way to success, one crazy misadventure at a time.

Marathon Glory here I come!
Hope you all have a Mezamashii weekend!
Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail!

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

WIAW - Panzanella Salad

It's Wednesday, and I am creeping closer and closer to Marathon Glory, so Food, Fuel, and Nutrition are more important than ever.

So let's talk food. I have an AWESOME Panzanella Salad recipe for What I Ate Wednesday over at Peas and Crayons. This is perfect running fuel, because it obviously offers a higher level of carbs than you average salad. Plus the smoked salmon provides protein, there are tons of veggies, and the pepper are a great source of vitamin C.

Smoked Salmon Panzanella Salad

Makes 4 servings

Nutrition Note: 332 calories/servering, 16g of protein, and 21g carbohydrates

1/4 cup of EVO
3 tbsp of white wine vinegar
2 tsp of dijon mustard
1/4 back pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 day-old whole wheat baguette (cubed in 1-inch)
2 cups cherry tomatoes, quatered
1 green pepper, roughly chopped
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup of fresh basil,  thinly sliced
1/3 cup of Kalamata olives, chopped
3 oz feta cheese, cubed
6 oz smoked salmon, sliced

1. Whisk together EVO, vinegar, mustard, pepper, and garlic
2. Add bread, tomatoes, pepper, onion, basil, olives, and feta, to a large bowl and toss to coat with dressing.
3. Let the dressed mixture sit about 30 minutes
4. Plate and Serve

Hope you guys enjoy!
Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Boobie Tuesday - Hey Cancer

Oh Hey There Cancer. Remember me?! 
Yeah, its been a couple months... but I am pretty sure this is me  kicking you ass!

The CIBC Run for the Cure is this Saturday, so this is my last and final shameless ploy for donations. You all have been beyond amazing! And the response has far exceeded my expectations, so THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! To everyone who has donated, followed my journey, spread the word, and has been willing to fight along side me.

As of this Morning we have raised... 
$1260 for Breast Cancer Research! 

Every dollar we raise goes to battling cancer, and I gotta admit, it is nice to be on the winning side this time! We can beat Breast Cancer! And I am more than willing to help give it the ass-kicking it deserves!

So will you fight with me? Will you help make cancer history? We got got 5 more days to throw a few more punches at this disease. So if you are able, please consider clicking the link below and visiting my Fundraising Page...

Cancer we are mad as hell and we're not gonna take it anymore!
Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Sunday, 23 September 2012

A Half Marathon, An Olympian, and A Reality TV Show

Today was possibly one of the craziest days of my life

You know, just PRing a half marathon with Helen Upperton, an Olympic silver medalist, all while shooting a reality TV show. Just another day in the life of this Darwinian Fail. Just your average Sunday.

Needless to say, Sunday was completely bananas! So let's start at the beginning shall we?

Sunday started early - very early. I was up at 6am eating protein pancakes and sporting my Team Oiselle attire, and topped with some necessary sparkle from the girls at Sparkly Soul. An Olympian and a camera crew, from Shaw TV's Make It Happen, knocked on my door at 7 am. And they found a very nervous, bumbly, slightly nauseous Krysten. After some quick pre-race preperations and introductions, we were off to the Ajax Half Marathon.

This was going to be my second half marathon, and I was definitely hoping for PR. I was also rolling with a silver medalist and a camera crew, for a little added pressure. I am not going to lie, the idea of running with Helen was nerve racking. I am typically a lone runner - especially during distance - so I was nervous to have someone tag along. And I was especially nervous to run with a real legit olympic athlete! I mean a darwinian fail and olympian - what a pair?

So this odd couple lined up at the start and got ready to tackle 21.1km (13.1 miles) together. Even though I was hesitant about our pairing initially, Helen and I quickly fell into a good rhythem together. I really wanted to finish in 2:05 so we started out next to the 2 hour Pace Bunny. We were off. We were feeling good. And we were rocking a great pace.

I felt like the first 15km flew by. Running with someone really helped keep my mind off the distance. And our banter back and forth made the time pass quickly. Everything felt great until about kilometer 17. The course was down by the lake front, and there was some serious head winds on our way back. There were also some rolling hills, which we all know, does not bode well for the old ticker. So I found myself falling off the pace.

Kilometer 19 was hard. I saw 2:05 pass on my watch, and I still had 2km to go. I was feeling low, but Helen kept me up beat. I pushed hard during the final stretch, and crossed the finish line at 2:12:31.

I finished strong and that's still a PR. Not quite the the PR I wanted, but you can't frown at a PR, right? That was 5 minute improvement on my last half. And I think that puts me on track to for my upcoming marathon. This is it too, my last race before Marathon Glory. And I think with this new PR, that my marathon goal time of 4:30 is definitely in my sights.

Today was beyond AMAZING. I found myself regularly asking how this was my life. I mean really? Someone pinch me! 6 months ago I ran my first half marathon, toasted the ta-tas, and got myself a brand new shiny robot heart. And today here I am running half marathon #2, with an Olympian, shooting a TV show, and 3 weeks away from my first Full Marathon.

Pretty Crazy Right?!
What a day! What a race! What a life!
Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Marathon Training Thursday - Long Run Questions?

I need your help and your running expertise?!

I am just 25 days away from my very first full marathon, and I am starting to question my training plan.

I ran my longest distance to date this past Monday, and I hit 35km (21 miles). I had planned to do one more long run before I started to taper. And I had planned to run the full distance - 42.2km. The reason I wanted to run the full distance was mostly for the mental game. I thought if I ran the distance before, than when I am racing and fading, I can say to myself "you can do this, and you have already done it".

That being said, everyone I have talked to lately, has recommended that I stop at 35km or even 32km. And almost everyone I have told about my plan says, "Don't do it! Quit while you are ahead!". Everyone is advising me against running the full distance. There are questions of muscle fatigue, recovery time, and fear of potential injury pre-race.

And now...I am official confused...and I just don't know...

I am new to distance running, and just figuring it all out. This is my first marathon after all!! I want to be as prepared as possible. But I also don't want to over train and peak before for my race.

So friends, I am turning to you and the wonderful world of the internet. What are your thoughts?
Quit while I am ahead? 
Or go the full distance for sanity's sake?

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

WIAW - Periodization of Eating

Oh goodness gracious! It is Wednesday! Which means it is What I Ate Wednesday over at Peas and Crayons. And it also means that I am just 4 days away from my second half marathon.

The Ajax Waterfront Half Marathon is this Sunday, and I am hoping (secretly, not so secretly - its on the internet) that I PR.

I read a really interesting article last week in the Trail Special of Canadian Running about the "Periodization of Eating".

This is not a concept I was familiar with, but the article really struck a cord with me. Issues with nutrition and "hitting the wall" have plagued my training sessions, so I was intrigued.

Periodization is meant to maximize your fitness by adjusting your nutrition and recovery depending on where you are in your training cycle. The ultimate goal or periodization is to make sure your body gets the right stress at the right time during training - and then comes back stronger for the next workout.
"The purpose of carbohydrate-loading is trying to build extra energy stores, and extra glycogen beyond the two-hour reserve you have stored in your body already"
In short, giving you the energy you need to power through your race and finish strong. Sounds like just what this gal needs to squeak out a PR, right?!? So here's the plan

Pre-Race Periodization Recommends 3 days before Race Day...
  • Increasing the amount of starchy carbohydrates in your diet by about 50% per day
  • Drinking 1 litre of sport drink per day
  • Adding 1 extra carbohydrate rich snack at bedtime the night before
I am going to give this whole Periodization-thing a try for this week's race, and if it all goes well then I am definitely going to rock this plan for my Marathon as well.

I won't know until I try?! So let's see how it goes! Periodization starts tomorrow! Wish me luck!

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Boobie Tuesday - Support


My fundraising target has been met! And we are still a little under 2 weeks away! 
We have currently raised $1150 for Breast Cancer Research!

I am honestly over the moon excited, and completely overwhelmed by all of your love and support. Thank you so much to everyone who has donated and has helped to spread the word about this cause. This project has been so important to me and your love, kindness, and generosity has gone above and beyond anything I could have hoped for!

When I signed up for this race, I knew that it wasn't just going to be a race for me. Not unlike a lot of things I have done this year, this run was more of a symbol of hope. This run was meant to bring my personal journey full-circle.

I owe my life to the amazing cutting edge research being done in the medical field, and that is by no means an exaggeration. In a different time, in a different place, I would not have been given these options, and I would not have had the choice that I am so grateful for. So it was incredibly important for me to be able to give back.

In my brief 26 years in this world, and within my own own small corner of this planet; I have watched three generations of women face this disease and battle it in their own way. Breast Cancer has become a very prominent fixture in my world over the last two years; during my mother's diagnosis, the revelation of our family's genetic link, and my own journey to treat this disease preventatively - but I am not alone.

I dream of a world with a cure.
I hope for a future where women are not asked to make difficult choices.
And I pray for a world without cancer.

I believe we can beat cancer within our lifetime.
And every dollar we raise goes towards finding that elusive cure. So let's stand together and FIGHT!

Please click the link below and visit my fundraising page!
Any little bit helps!

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Marathon Training Thursday - Running Questions

One the things I like best about blogging is all of the amazing people I get to meet and connect with! So after reading a post from one of my favourite fellow bloggers, Phaedra from Blisters and Black Toenails. I am skipping my usual Thursday recap and answering her Personal Running Questions instead.

1. Best Run Ever?

I am pretty new to the racing game, so I don't have a lot to choose from, but I would have to say my last race The MidSummers Night Run was my favourite so far. I finished that race feeling strong, and I ran it in the time I set out to run. I got to see and feel all of my training pay off.

I hope I feel half as good when I finish my next few upcoming races.

2. 3 words that describe your running?

Determined, but Average as Hell. (that is technically 5, but...)

I am so inspired by all of the amazing elite runners out these, those BQers, and super speedy genetically predisposed people who are out there clocking amazing times. But I know that will never be me. I will always be a middle of the pack runner, but that doesn't mean I am still not determined to get a great middle of the pack time!

3. Go to Running Outfit?

I love everything bright and colourful. And I am completely in love with all things Oiselle at the moment! Their distance shorts have been rocking my world all summer. Oh and I love my Mizunos!

4. Quirky Habit when Running?

I always run with my thumbs up! Werid, right?! I don't know why, but that is just how I hold my hands! Don't judge!

5. Morning, Midday, or Evening?

That varies for me. I used to be Mornings always, but now with my longer runs I need more time to fuel and sort the tummy out before I log my miles. So I have been doing a lot more midday and evening runs lately.

6. I won't run outside when...

Ummm that is tough, because I ONLY run outside. No tredmill for this gal. But I am considering changing this for the upcoming winter months. I have run in pretty much everything, snow, ice, rain, you name it. But thunderstorms will likely keep me inside.

7. Worst Injury and how you got over it?

Last summer (August 2011), when I was hoping to run my first half marathon, I over trained BIG TIME. I ended up with a stress fracture in my metatarsal, which I promptly ignored, which made it worse, and I ended up with a sprained ankle!

I had crutches for about 3 weeks, and then no strenuous exercise for 8-10 weeks. It sucked, and  couldn't run my half. BLAH!

8. I felt like the most badass mother runner when?

To be honest I feel like that every time I lace up my sneakers!

I shouldn't really be a runner. The whole heart-condition-pacemaker-thing says running is not something I am built to do. So every time I run, and I run long distances, I feel like a total gangster! I get a rush from doing something that I am not supposed to. Every mile is like screaming a big "F you" to genetics. I run this body bitches! (...sorry got a little carried away there)

9. My Next Race is... The Ajax Half Marathon on Sept. 23

10. Running Goals for 2013?

I am just trying to survive my running goals for 2012! I will get back to you when I have finally achieved Marathon Glory, and I will go from there!

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Boobie Tuesday - Scars

There was a time in my life where I felt differently about my scars. A time where I felt differently about my many medical misadventures. And a time where I felt differently about my body.

I would cover myself with baggy clothes, don high necklines, and sport a smile - all in an attempt to hide the battle that was raging underneath. My eye was constantly drawn to that prominent red scar that had made a home on the left side of my chest.  And I hated my body.

And all I could see were all the things I wasn't. That scar was a reminder that my body wasn't healthy. It screamed "You are not enough. You are weak, and your body is defective!". And it's bright angry appearance made sure that everyone noticed.

There was a time where I was deeply embarrassed by all my Darwinian Failings..

But those days have come and gone.

And this little body of mine has a whole lot more scars.

But today when I look in mirror and I see all of the jagged lines crisscrossing my chest - I see something different.

I see health. I see strength. And feel a profound and overwhelming sense of gratitude and pride.

I am so grateful for my life. And I am so grateful for my scars.

They remind me every day how precious life is, and how hard I have fought for my health.

They serve a a reminder to relish in every moment, of everyday, and to never take anything for granted.

Today I can see the beauty of my scars and I feel incredibly blessed.

Help me with the fights against Cancer by visiting my  Fundraising Page for the CIBC Run for the Cure. Click the Link below! Let's make Cancer History in our lifetime!

Thank you so much to everyone who had donated so far! I am just shy of $600 at the moment!

Love you Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Monday, 10 September 2012

Motivation Monday - A Dress

Okay, so I think it should be no secret by now if you have been reading along, that I am a girlie-girl.

I love anything pink or sparkly - and can usually be found wearing one or the other, or possibly both all at the same time. And this blog is generally filled with a lot of squeals, pop music, and more exclamation points than are probably necessary to express my enthusiasm.

But because I am girlie-girl, sometimes something simple and slightly trivial, like a very special dress, can mean a lot.

I am not sure if you all remember, but way back in November, I made my best friend's wedding and a specific dress my mission. That dress was meant to signify my journey toward self-acceptance and self-love. I purchased that dress in an attempt to show off and enjoy the body I had, while I had it. (aka before I toasted the tatas) And I decided that this was going to be my last HOORAH with my body, before sh*t got real.

Needless to say, this dress still has a very special place in my heart.
But it's significance has changed along the way.

For me toasting the ta-tas - while obviously difficult - has also be my greatest lesson in self-love. I thought that once I changed this part of my body that something pivotal to my sense of self would be lost. But when I woke up - while I obviously no longer had boobies or nipples for that matter - I was still Krysten. I was just a healthier version of the person I have always been, and for that I will be forever grateful!

So this weekend, as I stand here 10 months after operation goal dress, after all the dust has settled, and at another wedding - I find myself feeling differently about this dress.

I am standing here with a different body than the one I had the last time, but I feel even more beautiful.

Because today this dress signifies how far I have come.

Today I am thankful for my body's strength, ability, health, and tenacity. And I wear this dress to remember what beauty really means. Real beauty comes from strength and determination, a joyful heart and grateful spirit. Real beauty really does shine from within.

Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Friday, 7 September 2012

Darwinian Fail Friday @MizFitOnline

Hey Friends!

It is Friday, and I wanted to draw your attention to a very special guest post I wrote for MizFit Online.

Hey Cancer! I am not done with you!
September is Ovarian Cancer awareness month. I have spent a lot of time blogging about BRCA and its link to breast cancer because of my personal journey this year, but this evil little gene is tied to ovarian cancer as well.

I would love if you would take some time and check it out.

Because even though I am a Darwinian Fail I still consider myself Genetically Blessed!

Link: Genetically Blessed (guest post)

Cancer is beatable if it is detected and treated early; so know your history, recognize your risk, get screened, and above all… FIGHT!

Happy Fail Friday!
Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Marathon Training Thursday - Give Your Heart a Break

I am not going to sugar coat Marathon Training - it is HARD freakin' WORK!

During the last few weeks, as I ramped up my mileage, I have been feeling burnt out and more than a little worn down. I have been struggling to get excited about my training and my two-a-days. On every long run I struggle through my final 5km, and I wonder how the heck I am ever going to get to 42km. My body has been craving rest.

So this past weekend - rest I did. Well sort of... I had a girls weekend at the cottage for my girlfriend Sarah's Bachlorette! So I wouldn't exactly call it restful, but all of the laughing and girl-time silliness was definitely restorative.

We all spent the weekend at her cottage in Muskoka and got a little goofy. It was AMAZING! Most of the details of our girl weekend shall remain safely on the island. But I will reveal, that an epic girls-only dance party did consume a good part of the wee hours of Saturday.

PS I realize this is slightly strange song to pick as a Marathon anthem, but bare with me!

As I found myself rocking out to lovely Demi Lovato and belting out these lyrics, something struck me...

Don't wanna break your heart  
I wanna give your heart a break 
I know you're scared it's wrong 
Like you might make a mistake  
There's just one life to live 
And there's no time to wait, to waste  
So let me give your heart a break

Running a Marathon scares me. I want to reach this goal so badly. But all the weight and significance I have put into training and completing this race terrifies me. And it is my fear that is holding me back. I am past my comfort zone at this point, and there is part of my that worries I won't be able accomplish everything I am striving for.

But then I remember, I didn't sign up for all this "to break my heart". I signed up "to give my heart break", and to remind myself that this body is strong and it is finally healthy. And to remember that I worked damn hard for all of that. "There's just one life to live. And there's no time to wait, to waste", so it is time to put it all out there and push!

6 weeks of training left, so Let's Make It Happen!
Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Boobie Tuesday - A Moment and A Choice

I had a moment a few months back.
It is not an uncommon moment.
It is a moment that bothers me all the same.

About 12 weeks after my surgery, my mom was also in the OR finalizing her own reconstruction. The mood was relatively light, mostly because pain medication was involved. But also because this was going to be last visit to the hospital that this family would have to have for awhile.

While packing up, and getting ready to head home, Mom and I were swapping OR tales and experiences. And the nurse overheard us joking about the nausea that often accompanies anesthetic.

She joined in by saying that I could thank my mom for those genes. Our family immediately erupted into fits of laughter. We then calmed down enough to explain that I could thank her for quite a few more less than stellar genes while I was at it.

But rather than being greeted with a conspiring chuckle about my hilarious genetic joke, I was met with a sad pitying look. She evidently did not think double mastectomies were as funny as I did.

"That is an awful lot for a young girl to go through", she replied as she quickly scurried out of the room.

To which I quickly quipped, "Meh, I have been through worse", as I tried desperately to shrug away her pity. UGH!

But what I wish I had said. And what I say to anyone who feels that pang of pity well up in their chest when they hear my story and see my scars is,

"Well it sure beats cancer though doesn't it?!?"

The reality of cancer is a dark one. It is not all pink and festive like the ads would have you believe. It is scars. It is a body ravaged by drugs and a long harsh treatment schedule. It is a time of fear, darkness, and uncertainty.

And while I may be standing before you nipple-less, boob-less, and without a defining part of my femininity. I also stand in front of you healthy and cancer-free.

I got to make a choice. A choice I am grateful to be given. A choice that was afforded to me by years of research and medical innovation.

So put away the pity. And help me stand up and fight instead. Help me fight so more women can have a choice. So more woman aren't asked to face that reality.

On September 30th I will be running in Collingwoods CIBC Run for the cure.
(and yes this is a shameless plug for sponsorship)

Cancer is an ugly disease, but I believe we CAN beat it in our life time! And I would love if you all would help me join the fight!

Please click the link below and visit my fundraising page!
Any little bit helps!

I will bombarding you with boobies every Tuesday until the Race! And updating you on my fundraising progress! Thank you to everyone who are donated so far! We have already reached $380!

Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,