Thursday, 31 January 2013

A world where anything is possible

This week has not been my best... I woke up Sunday morning with tears in my eyes. I was tired. I felt beat down. I was frustrated. And more than anything I was just sad.

I was mourning the year I wanted. I wanted the year I had imagined - a year sans surgery, free of medical drama, full of running, full of racing, stress-free, finishing my degree and focusing on my future and my family. That was the year I wanted. I woke Sunday knowing that this was not the year that I was going to get, so I cried.

With tears in my eyes I laced up my sneakers. I just needed to blow off some steam. I needed to squeeze in one more run before I had to face recovery again. My posture was stooped, my lungs were burning, and my legs felt heavy. But I pushed through. I found my rhythm. I stood tall, my breath evened out, a smile spread across my face, and my heart felt free and light.

This is not the girl I was 5 years ago. This not even the girl I was 12 months ago. This is the girl I have become become from all the years I had not planned. And I remembered that it is the Challenges I have faced that have made me - Me.

They have taught me to be grateful for everyday.
They remind me cherish the little things and to hold those you love close.
They taught me to believe in the kindness of strangers and see the love that surrounds you.
They have taught me that I am stronger than I ever knew.
They have taught me to be driven and reach for the stars, because you are limitless and you just might surprise yourself.

And above all else these challenges have taught me that ANYTHING is Possible.

So I face tomorrow smiling, knowing that this is just another challenge. This was not the year I wanted or planned, but I know when I wake up there is a beautiful life waiting for me in a world where anything is possible.

Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

#WIAW - Top 5 Protein Shake Recipes

Yesterday's Food Fuel's Today's Workout which Build's Tomorrow's Body.

I learned a lot about fueling and nutrition during my last stint of Marathon training. And this time I am taking what I know, and hopefully improving upon it. While I am recovering there are five main principles I am going to follow to get me back up and running and back into training...

1. Focus on Real Whole Foods (ie. skip anything processed and Eat Mostly Plants) 
2. Protein at Every Meal (+ a protein shake post-workout) to aid in muscle repair
3. Lots of Berries and Citrus to aid in iron absportion (something I am working on
4. Lots of Dark Leafy Greens (ie. kale, spinach, brocoli, etc.) - again for iron
5. Take My Vitamins Every Day!

I have been using Neocell's Collagen Sport Protein Powder for quite sometime now. Not only do you get an added Protein Boost from Collagen Sport’s formula (30 g!), but the Collagen is great for muscle and tissue repair- something I definitely need while I work on recovery. This mixture falls under both Principal #2 and #5. But following the rules is always a whole lot easy when they taste good, so these are my Top 5 Protein Shake Recipes!

Cozy after my Run with my Chocolate Peppermint Shake
Chocolate Peppermint Protein Shake
*Dilute 1 tsp of peppermint extract in 2 cups of water*
1 scoop chocolate neocell protein powder
1 cup of almond milk
½ cup of peppermint water mixture

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein
1 tbsp of natural peanut butter
1 scoop of chocolate neocell protein powder

½ cup of milk

½ cup of water

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein

Protein Vanilla Chai Latte
Brew 1 cup of black chai tea
1 scoop of vanilla neocell protein powder
½ of almond milk
Handful of ice

Pina Colada
1 scoop of Neocell Vanilla Protein Powder
¼ cup of vanilla yogurt
¾ cup of coconut water

½ cup frozen assorted melons
Strawberries and Cream

Strawberries and Cream
1 Scoop NeoCell Vanilla Protein Powder
½ Cup Water
½ Cup Strawberry Flavoured Soy Milk
¼ Cup Frozen Strawberries
Hope you all Enjoy!! Make sure you Refuel after you log those miles!
Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Sunday, 27 January 2013

It's Show Time! My Reality TV Debut!

Remember way back in September when I spent one epic Sunday PR-ing my half marathon, while running with Canadian Silver medalist Helen Upperton, and shooting a reality TV show?!

Well now it is time for my episode to finally air!! And with all that will happen this week and all that I now know about my recovery - I gotta admit I am pretty damn proud of this half marathon PR.

So if you guys are on the west coast, just check your local Shaw TV listings. For the rest of us (myself included) The folks at Make It Happen will be streaming the video live tonight Monday January 28th at 8:30 Mountain time! That means you can tune in anywhere in the world - just make sure you account for the time difference in your neck of the woods! Just check out the link below!!

I have not seen it yet, so I will be watching it for the first time with all of you.

I feel slightly queasy about seeing myself on TV. Mostly because I sound like an overgrown 6 year old and that sneaky little Olympic Athlete made me cry several times during the interview process. BLAH!! Questions about my amazing family get me EVERY TIME! So...I am just hoping I was pretty crier, and I don't look like a hot sobby mess!  (**Cliff I am blaming you if you edit me poorly hahaha xo**)

Anyways, I am really excited to see the final product. And feel so incredibly lucky to be give this opportunity to share my many misadventures with all of you in this way!

Thank you Zoe, Helen, Cliff, and Alysha for such a wonderful experience and allowing me to be part of something so awesome! And above all for helping me spread the word about Heart Disease, Breast Cancer, and Kicking Booty Darwinian Fail Style!!

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Thursday, 24 January 2013

@NeoCellSport Collagen Winner

The random number generator selected comment #49!
You won this week's #Distance13 NeoCell Collagen Giveaway!!

**Please email me at to claim your prize**

You all have been busting your booties this week and totally rocking 2013! I wish I had enough Collagen to giveaway to all of you! That being said if you are coming back from an injury, a medical misadventure, or just training really hard I recommend you still consider giving NeoCell's Collagen Powder a whirl. I know I already have an extra tub waiting for me in my cupboard when I return Post-op.

Have an AMAZING weekend friends!
Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Surgery 411

The date has been set. Next Friday February 1st is Operation Fix a Heart. I realized I have done a pretty terrible job of explaining what this surgery is all about, so here is the Surgery 411.

I can't say for certain, but I am fairly confident that I am one of the first women who has ever undergone a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy and also rocks a robot heart. I might not be the only one ever, but I know I am the only that they have done at Toronto General. Being the first one means that my surgeons used all kinds of cutting edge research, science, and techniques. But it also makes me a bit of a guinea pig. (We are establishing Best Practices here people! <--- thats just a little medical humor for ya!)

I was linked up with some of the best surgeons in the countries and we spent 15 months discussing options, having consults, running tests, and going back and forth about how exactly we were going to make this work. In the end it was decided that we would place my ICD (Internal Cardiac Device, aka my robot heart, aka Penelope) behind the muscle and behind a slightly smaller implant. So in essence my left tata is half robot heart and half silicone implant - but it looks the same as the right one.

What was supposed to happpen:
  • Once you place a foreign object in your body, your body recognizes it as foreign, and then creates a pocket of scar tissue around it to isolate it from the rest of your functioning body and to keep it in place.
  • The scar tissue was meant to form around both the pacemaker and the implant. And then they would both remain secure and happy inside one little pocket.
What actually happened:
  • Having two different sized foreign objects in the same pocket meant that they actually worked against each other.
  • The implant couldn't stick to the metal surface of the ICD.
  • And the ICD is so much smaller than the implant, so it is left floating around inside a pocket that is too big for it. 
  • And finally the scar tissue couldn't form properly because everything was moving around way too much
Make sense? Have I lost you yet?

Obviously hindsight is 20/20 here. We went into my last surgery thinking one thing, but the struggles I have had post-op have revealed another. There was a lot of wishful thinking happening early on in my recovery. Maybe things would just take longer to heal? Maybe we could put off surgery for a while longer? Maybe? Maybe? Maybe?
I knew things were going down hill in December. That pesky wire was sticking out more. My energy levels had dropped. Swelling and irritation at the site was becoming an everyday thing. The signs were all there. But I wanted to live in a blissful world of denial and remain surgery-free. So I chalked up my symptoms to the craziness of the holidays, my own silly paranoia, not enough running, etc. You name it - I probably used it as an excuse. But once I heard that fateful pop - I knew. It was time.

But watch out world, because I am coming for you! This time nothing is going to stop me! This time we are going to get it right! This time I am going to feel strong and healthy! This time I am making a full recovery! And this time I am running a sub-5 marathon! So let's do this!

February 1st I am making genetics my BITCH (*again*)! Bring it on Robot Heart! You don't know who you are messing with!
Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

#WIAW - NeoCell Collagen Smoothie Recipes

Since one of you lucky folks will be taking home a container of your own this week. I decided I would share a few of my favourite ways to blend up some Collagen Deliciousness just to tempt you further! 

Make sure you go and enter my NeoCell Giveaway. It ends Friday and it is AMAZING! - so you do not want to miss out!

 Collagen Fruit Smoothies

Antioxidant Boost
1 scoop of collagen powder
¼ cup of assorted frozen berries (blueberries, strawberries, pomegranates)
Handful of raw spinach
½ cup of pomegranate juice
½ cup of water

Shirley Temple
1 scoop of collagen
½ cup of frozen cherries
½ cup of orange juice
½ cup of Perrier water
Splash of cranberry juice

Tropical Basil
1 scoop of collagen powder
¼ cup frozen strawberries
2 sprigs of fresh basil
½ cup of orange juice
½ cup of water

Pina Colada
1 scoop of collagen
½ cup of coconut water
½ cup of frozen pineapple
½ cup of almond milk

Carrot Cake
1 scoop of collagen powder
1 carrot peeled and grated
1 tsp of cinnamon
¾ cup of apple juice
¼ cup of water
Sprinkle of brown sugar

Green with Envy
1 scoop of collagen
Handful of raw spinach
½ cup of apple juice
1 pear grated (include skin)
½ cup of water

What do you guys think? Curious about the power of Collagen? All of these recipes are easy to make and extremely nutrient dense. They are the perfect way to add a little extra fruit and veg into your routine. Hope you all will give these a try!

Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Let's Talk Food and Stress

So I have been a little on edge the past few weeks. It is no secret that I am a planner and a type-A personality to a fault, so while I try my best to roll with the punches I am feeling a little flustered about the whole thing. And with no happy running endorphins to keep me balanced either - I have morphed into a little ball of stress. 

Stress has always been something that wreaks havoc on my routine and my diet. Combine that with my inevitable negative feeling towards this defective body of mine, and you've got a recipe for disaster.

I have found myself doing everything from skipping meals due to tummy troubles and lack of appetite, to later comforting myself with all the wrong foods. It's a vicious cycle, its unhealthy, and I know better.

So this week I am making a promise to my body...
 "I promise to take care of myself. And love and respect my body for all that is does and all that it will do in the coming months. We are in this together!"

It's a Happy Heart Restart!

This week I Promise...
1. To cut out all processed food. I have been reaching for a lot of processed meals for conveince sake. So this week me and my little defective bod are fueling up with healthy whole foods!
2. I will be tracking my meals on My Fitness Pal (Profile: KSibaBishop - if you are really curious) and posting pics on Instagram. I am not a big calories counter, but when you have to write down that you just ate an entire bag of M&Ms it reminds you that you are not exactly sticking to the plan.

3. Vitamins are a MUST! I always get lazy with this stuff when I am mad at my body. But they are going help give me an advantage while I heal so I need to stock up!
4. Hydrate!! I have slacking big time in this department, but I got my water bottle stocked and glued to my side. My goal is 3 liters daily.

It is time to get back on track and face this next great misadventure Strong and Healthy!
Because Strong is Sexy and Healthy is Fabulous!
Let's do this!
Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Sunday, 20 January 2013

NeoCell Collagen Giveaway!

If you guys have been following along, it is Week 3 of our Go The Distance Challenge. And while my grand plan was to start 2013 training for my sub-5 marathon - that was simply not to be. My body had other plans for me. But while I am sidelined, I have been living vicariously through all of you and your progress

And this week, I am here to encourage you and reward your efforts with an 
AMAZING Neocell Giveaway!!

I have been using NeoCell's products for over a year now, but their Collagen Powder is something I have only just recently added into my regular routine. Shortly after my double mastectomy a care package from this amazing company arrived at my door. They included an assortment of their healing products to help aid in my recovery and my love affair with their magic Collagen Powder began.

If you follow me on instagram (<--- and if you don't you probably should - all the cool kids are doing it! PEER PRESSURE!), then you will regularly see me blending up all kinds of fruity collagen concoctions. After my surgery I started blending up one of these vitamin rich smoothies everyday! I just love the way it makes me feel. And I really do think it has helped with my healing and recovery. 

Collagen is a supplement known to aid in muscle and tissue repair - an area I could definitely use help with post-op. But those benefits are something I continued to enjoy while training for my marathon and after particularly difficult workouts. And as an added bonus it is also supposed to thicken hair, strengthen nails, and promote healthy WINNING!

And as you all go the distance this week, I want to share these collagen benefits with one of you lucky folks. Neocell will be sending the winner their very own supply of their Collagen Powder.

How to Enter...
  • Just leave me a comment sharing your Distance Goals for this week
  • Tweet: "This week I want to Go The Distance with the @darwinianfail giveaway! And Win @neocellsport"  (*leave me a separate comment telling me you did*)
  • Like The Misadventures of a Darwinian Fail and NeoCell on Facebook (*leave me a separate comment telling you did - and if you like both you get 2 additional entries!*)
  • Follow Me and Neocell on instagram (*again leave me a separate comment telling me you did - potential for 2 additional entries*)
The winner will be randomly selected on Friday January 25th!! 
Good Luck and Happy Running!
Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Friday, 18 January 2013

Guest Post - A Step in the Right Direction

Today I am featuring a guest post from Darren the author of The Runners Knees, a running buddy from across the pond. This year he is committed to Going the Distance and is training for his first marathon. This is his story - all about getting started and taking a step in the right direction.

I’m a firm believer that you need to move onwards and upwards in life and, having changed career a few times, living in several countries, and having tried a lot of other things to give myself a sense of accomplishment (Serbo-Croat, Afrikaans, stained glass, SCUBA diving, horse riding, driving, snowboard, investment banking, writing, animation, theatre, painting, sculpture, interior design, you name it), I zeroed in on running as a real challenge. 

There is a side story where this lack of accomplishment and a ridiculous set of life goals gave me deep set hypochondria, but I won’t go into that here. Suffice to say, I have never felt challenged, and running would be a true test of my physical and mental resolve. After all, I had not run since high school (22 years earlier) and broke my left knee twice in the mid-90s, and left ankle at university. Those around me were challenging each other and a large group of friends signed up for the Amsterdam marathon in October and the Dublin marathon a week later and I was fast being left out, so took a leap of faith and signed up for the Amsterdam half marathon.
So I had a target, 13.1 miles in 8 months.
Day one of my training did not go well. The aforementioned breaks on my left meant I had over-developed my right, changing my gait so much that even walking fast would give me crippling shin splints. So, true to form, I got on the treadmill with my old Brooks Beast trainers, and tried to run. 2 minutes later my shins were on fire, and I limped off beaten.
Determined to pick myself up, though, I started to look at the problem in terms of; footwear, clearly I was not wearing running shoes, and pace, I didn’t know my pace, and as pace changed running pattern, I needed to fix that to fix my running pattern. I also knew that I couldn’t just run, that I needed to  work out these issues first and build up stamina and endurance.
So to shoes. I self-diagnosed my running style and have to tell you, this is a mistake. Do not try to diagnose whether you pronate or supronate, or mid-foot, toe or heel strike, then buy the shoes you think will correct your problems, as you will just cause yourself more difficulties. I misdiagnosed my running style and bought Nike Pegasus and Lunarglides. Now, having run for a year and developed joint pain in my second toe, ITB issues and anterior knee pain, the physiotherapist filmed my running and recommended I run in Brooks Adrenalin shoes. I now have these and ran the last 3 races in them without any pain, and quicker.
Pace and stride pattern are something different, and I think you need to slow down to get it right. Slow down to speed up, so to speak. So I purchased 50 Military Cadences of the US Military and put it on my iPod. My plan was to run to the cadences, as soldiers run forever. I also decided to follow the Couch to 5K program. So, I returned to the treadmill a week after my previous failure and tried again. “I wanna be an Airborne Ranger.” 8.5 KPH pace, focused, in new shoes. And, amazingly, it worked. I threw a towel over the display and just kept running. I ran and ran until the album had finished and restarted from the beginning again, somehow finishing 11 Kilometres. I guess the Couch to 5K was no longer needed.
I kept this up, deciding to up distance or time by 10% per week, running 3-4 times a week, with one eye on the race in October. But October was a long, long time away. I needed a challenge in the interim and so signed myself up for the London 10K, a wonderful race through the middle of the city, by all the landmarks and in a crowd of 20,000. The run was in May, and would let me know how far I had come.
And so I progressed on the treadmill, developing the toe pain and ignoring it, running all the time until the race. I ran it in1:07 and absolutely loved it. I was hooked, and quickly signed up for more races. I ran 10ks in London twice more (running 1:01 and then 0:56), in Sheffield (1:02), and signed up for another half, the wonderful Royal Parks half in London, one week before Amsterdam.
I could rattle on, but what I have done this year has been remarkable to me. I have never run before March, and yet in a 7 day period in October I ran two 2 hour half marathons. I find it astonishing, as even walking fast to get out of the rain would cripple me with shin splints. And I have run 3 more 10ks and the #virtualhalfmary since then, giving me a grand total of 10 races entered and completed in 2012.
2013 will only be better and more challenging, having signed up for six 10ks, 6 half marathons, a ten miler and my first full marathons, 2 of them, in Luxembourg in June and Berlin in September. The only limit to what I feel I can achieve is self-doubt, and running is fast removing that from the equation. I couldn’t recommend running enough. I have met some amazing people in this first year, and feel that I have accomplished something that was impossible in my mind as recently as March. To quote the Beastie Boys, “You can’t, and you won’t and you don’t stop.” And that is how I feel now when it comes to anything.
I guess, my summary would be that running can heal scars. For me, those scars are mental. Has running cured my hypochondria and lack of self-worth and achievement? Not entirely but every step is a step in the right direction.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

My New 2013 Race Schedule

You know you are officially a Runner when the first two thoughts that go through your head when you find out your going in for another surgery are...
1. How is this going to affect my race plans, and
2. That's why running that marathon was so difficult

It sounds crazy, but as I sat there discussing my symptoms and the next steps with my surgeon, these were the things I was thinking. A triumphant return to the Chilly Half was out. And there would be no Spring marathon for this girl. But the fact is my body never really healed following my last surgery. So try as I might to strength train, up my protein, and log those miles I was always at a disadvantage. I was always battling against my little bionic body.

But this time around we are going to get it right. My robot heart will be placed in a new pocket and that pesky wire will be tucked away. And my silicon tatas will be reconfigured, so everything can heal up right. This time I am going to come back Strong and Healthy. And this time I am going to run sub-5 marathon!

So after making some changes, here's my New 2013 Race Plan...

April 6 - Harry's Spring Run Off 5k
This is will be my first race back, so it will just be for fun. No crazy goal times. I am just going to finish it (potentially with some walking, depending on how recovery goes).

This is one of the first local races I ever ran, and the first one I ever documented here on my little blog. The energy at this run was AMAZING and it was very well organized. So this year I am definitely going back. And I think I may have even recruited my husband and few friends to join me on this one.

May 5 - Toronto Goodlife Half Marathon
So this was originally going to be Marathon #2. But that is just not realistic anymore. Instead of running the full. I will be running half. I have no great expectations for this one. I just want to run it. I just want to rebuild my strength and increase my endurance post-op. Oh and just have FUN!

This is lining up to be epic Fitfluential weekend! Pavement Runner has confirmed his attendance! And we are in the process of recruiting several other awesome folks to come run with us as well (I am looking at you Candy Fit, Christina, and Lindsay). So this race will just be my reintroduction to distance running and my goal post-op run. And with friends like these joining me, I know it is going to be AMAZING!

June 15 - Met Con Blue Adventure Race
I am pretty sure Team Insane Pain is planning to make a repeat appearance for this years Met Con Blue Race. There is even some talk that we are gonna push it to the limit and go for the Full Metal Jacket 10km. EEP! The distance is not 100% decided yet, but I know I will definitely be there.

July 20 - Warrior Dash
Team Awesome is heading back to Barrie for this year's Warrior Dash. We are signed up, with a few new Team Members in tow. And I am going to run hills like crazy to prep for those crazy inclines. If you want to join us, we are in the 10 AM heat!

September 22 - Island Girl Half Marathon
This is a women's only race - which is something I have always wanted to run! It is out on Toronto Island - which will be a fun change of pace. It is a flat double loop course - so I am racing this one! You read it here first, I am gunning for 2 hour PR! This one is for REAL!

And with a month in between this race and my marathon, I will have time to recover and taper before I tackle that dreaded 26.2!

October 27 - Niagara Falls International Marathon
This is it! This will be Marathon #2. And I will run it in under 5! It is going to be epic! I will cross that finish line smiling, rocking out to girlie-pop, and completely triumphant. It's happening!

So surgery or not, I got this!
Let's Do This People.

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

#WIAW - Spicy Lentil Salad

It is What I Ate Wednesday, brought to you by the adorable Peas and Crayons. And I am continuing my adventure with veggies and dabbling with vegan recipes.

This week I am sharing my new favourite lunch time eats - my Spicy Lentil Salad recipe. It is the perfect way to squeeze in some extra veggies into your daily diet. It's packed with protein and extra fiber. Plus this salad is hearty enough that it will keep you full and energized all day.

Spicy Lentil Salad

(*This makes enough for me to take for lunch over 4 days out of the week - but that because I don't share*)

5 cups water
1 1/2 tablespoons coarse sea salt
2 cups of dried lentils, rinsed and picked over
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
1/4 apple cider vinegar 
4 green onions, whole and slices on a diagonal
2 whole carrots, grated
Sprigs of Parsley, roughly chopped

1. Rinse your lentils and pick out any that look less than stellar. Add water, sea salt, and lentils to a pot and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and allow the lentils to simmer covered for 30 minutes
2. Mix up dressing while the lentils cook. EVO, cumin, coriander, cayenne, salt, apple cider vinegar, and garlic.
3. Strain cooked lentils - they should still be firm and hold their shape - nothing worse than squishy lentils. Top the lentil with dressing and allow the mixture to cool. The heat of the lentils will give the dressing extra depth.
4. Once your lentils are cooled mix in parsley, green onions, and grated carrots. And you are ready to serve.

Hope you all enjoy!
Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Zen for Thought

Knowledge is learning something every day. 
Wisdom is letting go of something every day.
- Zen Proverb

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Channeling My Inner Yogi

"Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. It is learning to dance in the rain."

So today I am dancing. Or rather channeling my inner Yogi.

I struggled last week. I know the surgery is necessary. And as much as I am not looking forward to the recovery progress, I know I will be healthier because of it. But I must confess my body's reaction to the events of this past week have been very telling. Nausea. Migraines. Junk food craving. Sleepless nights. Loss of Appetite. All signs of the battle raging within.

I need my body strong as we move forward. And I need a way to calm all the questions and the unknowns that swirl in my head. My goal for this week is to stay present, balanced, and centered. All while prepping my body for what is to come.

Heading into surgery positive is just as important as heading in strong and healthy. 

So this week I will be focusing on a clean, primarily plant-based diet, combined with a daily yoga practice. 

Yoga has always been a very healing and restorative practice for me. It always quiets my mind, strengths my body, and helps me restore the balance. So while I can't go the distance with you all this week, I will be starting each day with a 30 min yoga practice. I plan to welcome each morning with 10 sun salutations sequence B, followed by 10 minutes of healing meditation.

I will be grateful for each day. Be accepting of this journey. And take solace in the strength I know this little defective body possesses. 

Let's do this!
Love Your Favourite Darwianian Fail

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Strong is Sexy Shout Out

So you all have been rocking our #Distance13 Challenge. It has been so amazing watching all of your progress this past week. I am stuck at home - kicking it on the couch - so I have been living vicariously through you all and your miles and your races.

We posed the challenge and guys have delivered! And this week I want to share some of the Strong and Sexy progress being made by some AMAZING folks!

Congrats to Jackie! She has been kicking butt on this month's #Distance13 challenge, and she just PR-ed her most recent half marathon. She rock it her 13.1 miles with a time of 2:23:12! So proud of you girlie! Looking Strong and Sexy with that race medal chickie!
Huge Shout Out goes Xander who is all geared up for a triumphant 10km this spring! He is all registered for the Sporting Life 10km and has been rocking some snowy runs in preparation. Braving those elements is Strong and Sexy! Work it!

Welcome to party Jenn! Jenn has committed to running 10 miles this week! You can do it! Go the Distance!

And Strong and Sexy shout out goes to Steph who literally went the extra mile this week! Way to rock this 5.5 miles! So proud of you!

So Proud of Everyone this week! And I hope you all have a Strong and Sexy Weekend!
I love hear what you are up to and all about your progress. So don't be shy about sharing your success and join the fun and you could be featured here next week!

Tweet Me - @Darwinianfail
Use the Hashtag #StrongisSexy or #Distance13
Message me on Facebook
Or email me
Oh and I love Instagram so send me your strong and sexy pics @DarwinianFail too

Let's do this people!         
Because Strong is Sexy and being Healthy is Fabulous!
Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Fix A Heart

So the verdict is in. And this gal is heading back to the OR. After spending much of the afternoon kicking it at Toronto General - my fate was decided. Surgery is a must. Tweaks need to be made. And all of this is expected to go down in the next couple of weeks. I am just waiting for my official OR time

So I thought Demi Lovato's Fix a Heart was apt musical edition to today's post.

Because you can bandage the damage. 
But you never can fix a heart.

The reality of a robot heart is just this. There will be maintenance, complications, and surgeries. Those things are all very much a part of my world. This won't be the first - in fact this will be surgery #6. And I am well aware that it also won't be last.

At first the thought of heading back to the OR was devastating. The thought of going through the recovery  process all over again. Thinking about how much time and effort it took to rebuild after the last one. The changes this latest misadventure would have on my life and plans were all so overwhelming. The wounds from the last one were still very fresh in my mind.

But this is my life. 
And while these realities aren't ideal - I am grateful for it all none-the-less.

Being a badass bionic woman has its downsides. But there is no cure for Long QT syndrome, and this treatment has given me my life back.

I generally lead a healthy happy life. I run with abandon, train for marathons, and regularly get my sweat on without issue. And as mundane as some of that may sound - those are things that play a huge part of the life. I live a better life because of those things. And this is the life I want. I don't want to be a slave to my condition. And I want to be healthy and active for the rest of my life.

No limits, No excuses, Just endless possibilities. 
My little robot heart makes that all possible.

So while Surgery obviously isn't how I planned to start 2013, it means that I get to live the life I want. Don't worry about me. I'll be back. Stronger and Better than ever. And logging miles again before you know it.

Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Top 5 Running Tips for Beginners

While I sort out all my robot heart drama I have been forbidden from continuing with my Marathon Training Schedule this week. In other words I am living vicariously through all of you. So Go the Distance for me this week! As I pout and look on enviously from the couch...*sigh*

These are my Top 5 Tips for newbie runners! 
Here's how you can get started!

1. If you want to start running... Just start running!

Okay so that sounds silly right? But it's true. In a lot of ways there is no big secret. If you want to run - run and stick with it. It might not be easy to start. And you might not go very fast. But all that comes with practice and logging time with those sneakers.

There is a lot of research that shows it is possible to train for any race and any distance by committing to running 3x/week. Commit to run 3 days a week and you will see progress in no time!

2. Break it up

Don't go out and try to run 5km straight right off the bat. Pick a manageable distance - that could be anything from 1 mile to 5 km - and head out. Remember breaks are allowed!

I started by mapping out 8km and running as far as I could, and then taking a walk break, running as far as I could, and then taking another walk break. I used landmarks to keep track of my progress. Last week I made to the stoplight before I needed a break. This week I made it to playground. And so on, until I could eventually run the whole loop continuously.

A lot of other program recommend  more formal break strategies like 5:1 or 10:1 (aka 5 min running 1 min walking or 10 min running and 1 min walking) And I think it all works! It just depends which one you are most comfortable with.

3. Make a Goal/Sign Up for a Race

A goal without a deadline is just a dream - so set a deadline and make it happen. Signing up for a run/race is the easiest way to ensure you stick to a program.

If your goal is to run your first 5k - find a local run approx 8-10 weeks away and sign up. You know you have to get out there and train for it. It helps give those training run a focus and an event to look forward to.

4. Tell Everyone You Know What You Are Up To!

You are signed up, you are training, so now just tell everyone you know what you are up to. Tell your friends. Tell your family. Post it on Facebook. Let everyone know what you are planning and how your training is going.

It will help you stay accountable and they can also be there to support you along the way.

5. Remember to Respect Your Progress and Thank Yourself for all Your Hard Work

Keep a log. Post your progress on your fridge and be proud of each step you take!

Sometimes progress can feel slow and a bit discouraging, but every time you head out the door and doing a training run you are doing something amazing for yourself and for your body. Remember to be proud of each milestone and thank yourself for making your health a priority.

You can do it!
Happy Running!
Love your Favorite Darwinian Fail

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

#WIAW - Vegan Portobello Pizzas

I have been reading Ultra-Marathoner Scott Juerk's Eat and Run, and you can colour me inspired. His work ethic is unreal. His dedication to the sport is extremely motivating. And his passion for health, diet, and a vegan lifestyle bares repeating.

I was a vegetarian for almost 7 years, and still use a lot of those principles in my regular diet. I have always dabbled with vegetarian and vegan dishes. And while I doubt I will ever officially convert to full blown vegan, I have been inspired to add more vegan style recipes into my diet. I love how clean and nutrient dense these dishes are. So I have been experimenting!

This is my recipe for Vegan Portobello Pizzas.

* Serves 4 or enough for 2 with leftovers for lunch! They reheat really well in the toaster oven*

8 Portobello Mushrooms
2 cups spinach
1/2 of a white onion diced
1 yellow pepper diced
1 whole tomato roughly chopped
1 cup of tomato sauce
1/4 cup of peanuts chopped
2 sprigs of basil chopped
2 green onions chopped
1/4 cup of vegan cheese substitute (or just mozza if you just want to make it vegetarian)
2 tbsp of olive oil

1. Preheat Oven for 350 F
2. Remove the stem from the top of your Portobello Mushrooms and place on your baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and a dash of salt. Place in the preheated oven for 10 min while you prepare the other ingredients.
3. Place the white onion, tomato, pepper, and spinach in a frying pan with a tbsp of oil and cook at high heat for 3 min. Add the tomato sauce and bring the contents to a boil before turning the heat down to med-low. Allow the contents to simmer. You want a lot of the water to cook off and the mixture to be a bit thicker (almost like a stew).
4. Spoon the veggie mixture onto the cooked Portobello Mushroom caps. Sprinkle each cap with peanuts, basil, "cheese", and green onions.
5. Place the completed caps back in the oven and set to Broil. Allow 2-3 minutes for the "cheese" to melt and serve.

I hope you guys enjoy!
Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Monday, 7 January 2013

Robot Heart Update

Thank you all so much for all your sweet words, positive comments, and Happy Heart thoughts.

Unfortunately no official decision was made today. We decided this is something we are going to have to explore further. So I am waiting to meet with my surgeon, hopefully later this week, and he will make the final decision.

It is still a waiting game over here at Darwinian Fail Central. But I am trying very hard not to lose hope, and am hoping that 2013 will still be a year of health and happiness. (Just perhaps not exactly how I planned)

Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Being a Cyborg is Hard

I had a great post all planned for you guys today. It was supposed to be all about the 65km I ran last week. It was supposed to be about my fabulous weekend - watching En Vogue with my best friends and visiting with family. It was supposed to be about starting 2013 balanced and healthy.

But none of that was to be...

I didn't do any of those things this weekend. In fact I spent most of it on the couch, snuggling my ever faithful pup, and trying very hard to keep the tears at bay.

Sometimes Being a Cyborg is Hard.

And now is one of those times.

When I wrote about that pesky wire and the less than ideal placement of Penelope (aka my robot heart) a few weeks back - I knew I was on borrowed time. I just hoped and prayed with all my might that the time I had to borrow would last a little while.

But life often has other plans for me. And if I have learned anything from my many medical misadventures it is to assume nothing and accept that you are never in control.

On Friday, after a delightful meet-up with Miss Candy Fit herself, and gushing about how excited I was to start 2013 healthy, I felt a pop. I told myself not to panic. I took a deep breathe. Calmly walked home. And gentlely tried to push my robot heart back into place. Everything was swollen and bruised by that point, and I knew I needed to see my Cardio Team ASAP.

After several phone calls with the clinic coordinator, the pacemaker techs, and finally the cardiologist on-call, we decided I should just come in. And while we decided the problem didn`t require immediate action, it was now a game of wait-and-see.

Today I head back in to see my regular cardio crew and discuss where we go from here. After a quiet weekend there has been little to no improvement. Surgery is back on the table - though I am really hoping for another alternative. And there are a lot of questions that need to be answered. Time will tell where this latest misadventure will take me.

Wish me luck. And think Happy Heart thoughts.
Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Friday, 4 January 2013

Scars are Sexy! #StrongisSexy Shout Out!

There was a time in my life where I felt differently about my scars. A time when I would never take a picture like this. 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. (many that are not appropriate to photograph)

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.

Scars are Sexy Damnit! 
They just show the world that you are stronger than whatever has tried to hurt you! So this week's Strong is Sexy Shout Out goes out Derek! Someone I have had the pleasure of getting to know this past month through the power of the internet. Derek is battling melanoma right and is still recovering from his first surgery, and he now sporting one sexy looking scar.

So today I just wanted to take the time and send Derek lots of LOVE. I know you have a battle ahead of you, but you are STRONGER, BIGGER, and BADDER than anything cancer can throw at you. Your Scars are Strong and Sexy! And whenever you are feeling low, just look at your scar and remember that this is you making Cancer Your BITCH! You got this!

Please feel free to join in the Derek love-fest and leave him lots of comments and well wishes! You can also visit Derek's blog to follow his journey and support him all the way along!

Remember Strong is Sexy! And Being Healthy is Fabulous! So don't ever take that for granted.

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Resolutions, Rehashing, and Racing

It's a New Year! Meaning it's that time of year again. It's time for another grand plan. And in case you all haven't noticed by now, this gal loves to make a sweeping declarative statement. I love setting goals, making plans, and dreaming of the big finish.

And this year I am dreaming of my perfect Marathon finish! 2013 is all about Going The Distance! I am going to log many miles this year. And I am going to run many races in search of PRs and a healthy happy life.

2012 was a year of Running and Recovery. It took 8 long months to find my running mojo again. But now I am finally feeling strong and healthy. So this year is all about discovering what this little defective body of mine can really do - Healthy, Happy, and Whole.

I will run a Sub-5 Marathon. I will cross that finish line rocking out to girlie pop, smiling, feeling strong, and embracing my body for its strength and determination. So let's get started, shall we?!

Training for a sub-5 marathon means logging those miles - lots of miles. 

And this time I am challenging you to join me?! Let's go the distance together!

Your goal might not be marathon. Maybe it's just making a commitment  to start logging a few miles each week. Maybe you are a looking to start running for the first time? Maybe you just want to start moving more in 2013? Whatever it is - I am challenging you to commit to logging YOUR distance each week for the next month!

By the end of 4 weeks you will have made your new routine a habit. You will see amazing progress. And you will be committed to going the distance this year!

I teamed up with a couple of my favourite local bloggers to help keep you motivated! Robyn, JessMorgan and I are all committed to logging our miles (in a wide variety of ways). We are here to encourage and support you - plus we all have snazzy prizes for those of you who participate! Think of us as your little Distance Fairies - sending you sparkly motivation, running mojo, and swag!

How Do You Participate?!
  • Leave a Comment here sharing your commitment to distance! What are your goals for this week?
  • Tweet Me or Send me your Instagram pics @darwinianfail and share your workout and progress
  • Use the Hashtag #Distance13 so we can see what you are up to and you can link up with others who are Going The Distance!

Next Week Robyn will be hosting the first if our 4 giveaways! And I will be sharing my training plan, my 2013 racing schedule, lots of recipes, and my Running Tips for Beginners! So make sure to check in on Monday and get ready to go the Distance!!

2013 I got this!
Ready?! Let's do this!
Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,