Sunday, 31 March 2013

Spring Forward - My Resolution Do-Over

Okay so back in January I made some sweeping declarations and 2013 resolutions... then surgery #6 happened, and I have been playing catch-up ever since. Blah!! I think it is no secret that this little type-A gal likes to plan. I love the promise of clean slate, a new set of challenges, and a fresh start. So I want a resolution do-over DAMNIT! And I am dubbing it...

Spring Forward! 

That's right I am reclaiming the year I wanted and declaring my 2013 resolutions in April. Better late than never right?!

Health woes aren't good for much, that much I know. But these little misadventures have been good for helping me regain some perspective. It can be easy to get bogged down in all of the day-to-day shenanigans. But having the proverbial rug ripped out from under you on a semi-regular basis does wonders for keeping your attitude in check. It helps remind me to cherish each and every moment, because in this moment I am here, I am healthy, and I am happy. It for those 3 very simple reasons that I am blessed.

As a little Darwinian Fail it can be hard to tell when the next great medical misadventure is going to sneak up and knock you on your butt. And this year has taught me that despite my best efforts to control these situations - sometimes life has other plans. So my goal for 2013 embracing the beautiful crazy life that I have and as MizFit always says "Live My Priorities" and the Life I Dreamed.

So here's the Life I Dreamed in no particular order...

Running and Racing
1. Get the marathon finish I dreamed of.
I want that sub-5 marathon - even better 4:30- but I will be happy with anything under 5.
2. Complete my first Sprint Triathlon (maybe 2!)
3. PR my September Half 
I am running the Island Girl in September and I am gunning for a Goal Time of 2hrs.
4. Train Well 
This means finding a more balanced approach to training this time. Including: biking, swimming, and yoga. And just enjoying the process.

Health and Wellness:
1. Make a commitment to nutrition.
Food has always been my weakest link, but this year I am gonna change that. I want to work on eating all whole healthy foods, primarily plant-based, with enough room for some delicious-ness for my soul every now and again.
2. Meet with a Naturopath to discuss Acupuncture
I have a chronic blood clot in my left arm - one of the many complications of my robot heart status - which causes problems with swelling and circulation. I have heard that acupuncture can work wonders for healing and circulation issues - and with 3 surgeries in the last 12 months - I can use all the help I can get.
3. Meditate for 15-20 minutes each night before bed
This is just important for my mental health. I want to end each day with a grateful heart, because life is just too beautiful.

1. Finish my Psychology Degree
I am so close. Even with all of the surgeries this year I have still been able to work towards completing my degree. And the goal is to be done by August 31st.
2. Find my Dream Job
With school wrapping up, it will be time to head back to work, and I am looking for perfect career! Preferably something that focuses on counseling or social work <--- if you are in the Greater Toronto Area and are looking for someone? I am your girl!
3. Work on my Free-lance Writing Portfolio
I started this little blog, just because I love to write. So this year I want to look for more free-lance opportunities and really increase my portfolio.

Life and Family:
1. Save for a French Vacation in 2014
I need a vaca in the worst way! But with tuition-fees and my sporadic part-time student income it is unlikely to happen this year...BUT ITS DEFINITELY HAPPENING NEXT YEAR. So I am gonna start saving.
2. Make Time to Enjoy My Family
I feel like I don't mention it enough on here, but I have the BEST family. I am hopelessly in love with my hubby. My furbaby Clark rocks my socks - even if he is a sassy monster. And I am lucky enough to have grown up with great parents, a sweet sister, an amazing extended family, and I married into a family that is just as fabulous. So I just want to make time this year to enjoy being together.
3. Focus on Our Future
This summer Jamie and I will be celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary (**time flies when you are having fun!**). He is my rock, my best friend, and my world. And as tough as this past year has been I know that we have long, beautiful, life waiting for us. So now that all the medical-drama is behind us for awhile - it is time to start focusing on that. Enjoying this perfectly imperfect little life we have together. And planning for the future - a house...maybe our own little Darwinian Fail Success in the next few years...time will tell. But its time to start looking forward.

So that is it.
That is the life I want. That is the life I dreamed of.
And that if the life I am going spend the rest of this year creating.

Do you need a Resolution Do-Over?! What are your goals for the rest of 2013?

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Friday, 29 March 2013

Finding Ultra - Rich Roll

I mentioned a couple weeks back that one of my favourite RUNspiration techniques as of late is to curl up with a a Running Biography by one of the GREATS before bed. And since I have been stuck in recovery mode for the last few months, I have been living vicariously. I was hoping to learn a thing or two. I have been running on and off for a while now. But I have only really gotten serious about it over the past year. So I still feel very new to the distance game. Definitely still lots to learn. And definitely room for lots of improvement as I strive for a sub-5 marathon this year.

So over the past few weeks I have been seeking guidance and inspiration from Ultra Runner Rich Roll. Not only is he one thrid of the reason I have been inspired to go more plant-based with my diet. But his journey from overweight father to elite ultra runner has left me feeling like a gal with robot ticker and no boobs can make it too!

Of course being the dweeby little Run Nerd that I am, I flagged a few of my favourite quotes to go back to as my training progressed. And I wanted to share my favs with you. Just in case you need a little motivation boost this weekend too!!
  • I am the farthest thing from a natural born runner. In fact, I don't consider myself a runner at all. Any success I've achieved on foot is more a matter of fitness and discipline, than innate ability.
  • The typical amateur endurance athlete trains far too hard on the aerobid and active recovery days. But not nearly hard enough on the intense days. A certain level of proficientcy can be achieved this way, but full potential is never realized.
  • There's simply nothing like a near-death experience to remind one of the impermanence of everything. And living imprisoned by fear only to die with regret over dreams postponed was life neither of us was interested in.
  • The idea that when you believe you've reached your absolute limit, you've only tapped into about 40% of what you're truly capable of. The barrier isn't the body. It's the mind.
  • Because no matter how relaxed you try to be, there's no escaping the fact that 26.2 miles is still 26.2 miles.
  • At times the pain of confronting seemingly insurmountable obstacles was so intense that comfort came only through living completely in the moment. Yet with obstacles come the opportunity for growth. And if you're not growing, you're not living.
  • If you show up and stay present, that step will eventually become a giant leap forward. And then you'll show us who you really are.
Happy Running Friends!
Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Long Distance Lessons

So as I gear up to start training again, I find myself dreaming, plotting, planning, and thinking about Marathon #2. I long for those perfect 42.2km (or 26.2 miles). Just me, a pair of sneakers and the road - spending some quality time together, battling my inner demons and my genetic shortcoming - all while smiling and bouncing across that finish line triumphant and happy. OOOOOHHHH I want it so bad I can taste it!

And this time I am gonna be READY! This time I have decided that I am a little older,  a little wiser, and better prepared for this monstrous task. So I am taking all the lesson I learned last time and putting them into action!

Lesson #1 - Respect the Distance
42.2 kilometers is a LONG WAY to run. I definitely underestimated the power of the Marathon. Don't be fooled - it is far! Very very far!

Lesson #2 - Patience is a Virtue
Miles, Strength, Endurance and lots of training are required to run a Marathon. And all of that requires patience and perseverance.

I tried to run my Marathon way too soon after toasting the ta-tas. I started running again in June, but I had absolutely no base, no strength, no endurance. I was basically starting over. I tried to go from running 0 miles to Marathon glory in 4 months. It was ambitious and also a little silly. I wasn't ready. I just really really really wanted to be.

So this time I going to be patient (or rather as patient as I can be). And I am giving myself time to build that base. It is also why I have decided to change my goal race. I have decided to run the Hamilton Marathon on Nov 3rd. It is a flat course. It is ranked the #1 Boston Qualifying Course in Canada. And it is a little bit later than the other race options I was looking at, so I will have more time to train.

Lesson #3 - Nutrition is Key
So deep down I always knew this. But I was a total nutrition newbie when I ran my last marathon. I had experimented with lots of things and lots of different products leading up to me race, but I never really nailed down what worked for me. I am going to make an effort to log my meals along with my miles on My Fitness Pal so I can keep track of what fuel works for me and what doesn't. There will be no funny business this time around.

I will also be fueling my runs with Clif Blocks to help keep my sugar levels in check. CLIF Bar has been absolutely amazing to me and has offered to sponsor my marathon journey. (**No big deal, just a CLIF sponsored athlete. Totally normal for a newbie amateur marathoner and Darwinian Fail, Right?! Totally normal...**) So I am going to nail down my nutrition plan early and practice my race day fueling on my long runs. No Bonking Allowed!

Lesson #4 - Cross Training is Your Friend
Because I was trying to get my running legs back so quickly after my surgery, I think it is possible that I over-trained. Or at the very least over-ran. My approach to my last marathon was simply run, run, run, and run some more. I was logging 5 runs/week on my own and 3 additional runs/week with the 10km clinic I coach. This was clearly not the most balanced approach. Miles were logged, but at the end my legs were fatigued and I wasn't any stronger for it.
This time around my training plan will include swimming, biking, and yoga. The swimming and biking are key for my endurance as well as triathlon training. And the yoga is required to help restore my body and balance my training after those long training run.

Lesson #5 - Consistency is Powerful
One of the things I think I did right last time was remain consistent throughout my training. I followed my training plan to the letter, now granted it wasn't the ideal training plan, but I was on point in terms of commitment. If you want results you have to do the work. And I plan to do the work.

What do you guys think? Would love to hear your thoughts, criticism, feedback?

Ready?! Let's go!
Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

#WIAW - Tosca Reno

It's What I Ate Wednesday and I am inspired! This past week I was invited to attend Canadian Tire's Destination Home Event featuring the Eat Clean Diet guru herself - Tosca Reno.

Tosca is a total BOMBSHELL and officially my new fitness idol. She epitomizes healthy living. Her very presence screams vitality and I was beyond inspired. We got to sample Tosca's recipes and cooking skills, while checking out some of Canadian's Tire's new kitchen gadgets. It was a pretty spectacular way to spend a Thursday morning. Plus it didn't hurt that I had some pretty fabulous company either - Christina and Morgan were there as well. 

Our Menu Included...
  • Smoothies with the Nutri-bullet
  • Waffles with the Cuisinart Waffle Maker
  • Eggs and veggies in the T-Fal Actifry (it’s “like” a deep fryer but you only need a tbsp of oil)
  • Bellinis with the Soda Stream

Tosca said something that really struck a cord with me,
"There is a difference between Food and Nutrients. Food is anything edible that we can ingest. Nutrients are what fuels, heals, and nourishes our bodies"
 More than ever following this most recent medical misadventure it has become clear to me how important it is to take care of myself and my body. This past year has made me cherish my health that much more - healing is humbling that way. And with the impending misadventures that are sure to come for a gal with a robot ticker and bionic boobies - I want to ensure that I do everything in my power to care for this little defective bod of mine.

I have long loved a good sweat-fest. And derive a sick twisted pleasure from the ache you fell after a good workout. But nutrition has always been a weakness of mine. I like Food - aka yummy edible things that don't exactly nourish my body, but taste damn good. So this year as I continue to recover and get back into training I want to make Nutrients a priority.

So here's the plan..

1. Strive for a primarily plant-based diet 
I spent 6 years as a vegetarian and have long known that I feel best when eating a plant-based diet. That combined that with my recent vegan inspired reading-fest - Scott Jurek, Rich Roll, and Bredan Brazier - all vegan elite endurance athletes. Has made me question some of my diet choices. So I am refocusing my diet around plant-power! Yay Veggies! I will still be eating some meat, but I will be doing my best to limit my love of bacon.

2. Limit Diary
Now I am not sure what has caused this - my recent trips to the OR, the powerful anti-biotics I have taken 2x this past year, or just a shift in the body - but diary has not been my friend lately. And don't get me wrong I love a cheeseball like nobody's business, but I never feel great afterwards. So while eggs are still a pretty big staple in my life, I am doing my best to cut out milk and cheese. This won't be perfect. And I know I will enjoy a cheese pizza from time to time. But I am trying to be conscious of my diary intake on a day-to-day basis.

3. Track my EATS
This is a big one, and one I have been working on. I struggled with my nutrition during my last stint of marathon training, especially with getting enough calories and getting enough of the right calories. On a long run I found myself burning 1500-3000 calories, which is all well and good, but you need to replace those and fuel your body for recovery. Fueling I often did with a Burger and Fries for a quick calorie hit. Not the most nutritious meal around. So I am working on regularly logging my meals on My Fitness Pal to help me plan and stay focused. And I am Instagramming my daily EATS as well to give myself a visual reminder of meals and my goal. (**PS if you guys are interested you are definitely welcome to follow my food journey on both accounts**)

So that's it. Nothing crazy. Just a few tweaks to help heal, fuel, and nourish my body.
This is all a work in progress, but I am hoping to make 2013 my Healthiest Year yet!
Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Motivation Monday - Flawed, Scarred, and Freakin' STRONG

This past year has been one giant no holds bar adventure. And I gotta be honest, over the past 2 months I have been struggling to muster loving feelings for this defective body of mine. Recovery has been humbling and frustrating. And rebuilding is hard - always harder than I think. I needed to reset.

I needed to to kick start my recovery and seriously adjust my grumpy-pants attitude. With a Triathlon looming and dreams of Marathon Glory - it was time to start getting serious about my training. Cycling around the city is kind of out of the question at the moment for two reasons - a) the weather is bananas and b) I don't have a bike yet... So I am keeping my training indoors for the time being and rocking it out at my favourite hybrid spin/yoga studio Spynga.

Spynga offers a ton of unique classes - everything from your typical yoga and spin classes to amazing little combos of spin, yoga, and weight training. So I woke up at 5:45 AM on Friday morning to start my weekend off right with their 45 minute Cycle Flow. It was exactly what I needed! It was a challenging sweat-fest that really pushed me to the limit on the bike and tackled rebuilding my endurance. All married with muscle building weight training to help me regain my strength. And just enough body-loving affirmations to keep me positive and moving forward. I left the studio feeling happy and restored.

I felt like me again. I was full of happy endorphins. My legs were burning in that way that secretly feels so good because you know it means you really pushed yourself. And I remembered how strong this little defective body of mine can be.

This was the little boost I needed. It was the perfect workout. So there I was running a speedy 5km with the hubby on Saturday. And tackling a full 10km on Sunday. I was back. I was training. Running Strong. Rocking out to my girlie pop beats. Getting ready to race again. This was it.

I have spent the last year feeling like I am at war with my own body - willing it to be stronger, faster, healthier. I wanted it to better. I wanted things to be different. But my workout on Friday reminded me how much this little defective body is capable of. This body is flawed, covered in scars, and freakin' STRONG. So I will continue to thank my little war-torn body for fighting this fight with me. And I promise to spend the rest of my life taking care of my body the way that it has taken care of me this past year.

We are in this together after all! And we got this! Watch out world! I am coming for you!
Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Thursday, 21 March 2013

TRI-ing to Figure Out What to Wear?!

Who is excited for Race Season?! 
ME!!!!!!! Just 3 measly week til my VERY FIRST Race of 2013. So close now, I can taste it! I am so READY!

I have spent the last few weeks floating around in la-la land. Day-dreaming about Races and Triathlons. Smelling of chlorine. Sweating it out in Spin Class. And bouncing along to my girlie-pop music on my weekly runs. But then it hit me... What the heck am I supposed to wear?!

The whole Triathlon-thing is new to me. I have loads of running shoes, and running clothes for every occasion, but what does a girl wear to a Triathlon?

So I did what always do when I don't know the answer to these sorts of questions - I Googled it and then dilly-dallied on Pinterest. This is the picture that came up....
Okay so I am all for loving your body and rocking that swimsuit loud and proud...But the truth is all I could think was how sore my butt was gonna be riding 30km in a wet bathing suit. And the wedgie I was sure to get running 5km in it after. Oh and the mondo unflattering race pictures I was going to have. This simply was not going to fly for me. No way! There had to be a better option. And preferably a cute one too.

A Fashion-Forward, Stylish, Womens-Only TRI-gear company!

Yes! Totally Winning at Life with this find, RIGHT?!

Melissa Moo is the companies creator and designer. She mixed her degree from Parsons School of Design with her love of Triathlons and Sport and came up with MooMotion. Not only is her gear adorable, but she definitely knows her stuff performance-wise as well. She has completed several marathons and is a three-time Ironman finisher (<--- full on ROCKSTAR status in my book). And if that wasn't enough she is so TRI CRAZY that after she and her husband raced in the 2010 Lake Placid Ironman they got married at the finish line! Now that is serious commitment to your sport. And it's that kind of crazy attitude that makes me love her even more!

I have tried out 2 of her of outfits during training the past few weeks, and I am officially in LOVE. The padded-booty made a huge difference in my spin class. And the I was wedgie-free on my training run! And the best news, it can been worn in all 3 legs of the race! The fit and fabric is built for speed and distance through water and land. And her gear fits true to size.  

Melissa and MooMotion are new and up-and-coming, so she want to help share the Triathlon Fashion Fun. For the next month March 20th -April 20th Melissa is offering Free Shipping to all of my US-based readers!! Yay cute TRI-gear for everyone!

Use Discount Code - DarwinianTRI to get Free Shipping on your order
(*please note that the Discount Code is case sensitive) 

I have the answer to my triathlon fashion question. And I must admit I feel like a Hardcore Triathlete when I put on my new gear - confidence is a huge part of racing equation right?! So if you are also stumped, I definitely reccommend you check her out!

You can find MooMotion... 

Let's get TRI-ing!
Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,


Sunday, 17 March 2013

Live Lean Meltdown!

It is no secret over here on this little blog, but this girl loves to run. And lately she also loves to bike and swim. Truth is I really just love to generally get my sweat on. But try as I might, I struggle to get excited about Strength Training.

I have written about my need for balance and desire to incorporate strength training into my routine several times. And I think I started to get on track with the addition of Crossfit into my regular routine. But once I start to get serious about distance - cardio seems to consume all of workouts. And my attempts at strength training fall by the wayside. I have yet to achieve symmetry in my routine.

I have learned some things over that last year though. And this year I am going for a Sub-5 Marathon along with my first Triathlon - both feats of strength that require endurance and some serious muscle too. Muscle being the big thing I seem to lack...especially post-op.

But I am training smarter this time around, all with the help of my Fitfluential Friend, Personal Trainer, and Live Lean Creator Brad Gouthro. So if it wasn't obvious from the requisite ab-shot below - Brad knows his stuff when it comes to all things strength and muscle related.
And when Brad offered a sneak peak of his new Live Lean Meltdown series, not only was I happy to spread some Fitfluential love but I was game to try something new. He was in the process of launching his at-home "no equipment" DVD workout program, and he gave me the chance to put it to the test. So for the past few days I have been incorporating Brad's new series into my training routine, and LOVING IT!

The series is built around the "Main Event" - a high intensity 30 min strength training workout along with 8 other 4-5 min quick burning sessions. Because of their efficiency I have found them easy to incorporate into regular schedule. And the 5 minute sessions are a perfect way to cap off my regular cardio sessions. I feel like this is something I can maintain even when I start to really ramp up the distance. This just might be the elusive balance I am search for?! 

Brad's New Live Lean Meltdown Series Launches Today! And if you are looking for fabulous new way to sweat on, I highly recommend you check it out! 

And if that wasn't enough Brad is offering a 3 day only discount of 40% OFF. For a one time sale price of $27! Pretty good Right?! Hope you guys will give Brad some love!

Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,


Friday, 15 March 2013

Eat and Run - Scott Jurek

I regularly scower the internet, read my favourite blogs, Pin quotes and motivating images, read books, articles, and magazines all to keep me focused and inspired. Because no matter how motivated you are when you start a training plan - you inevitably hit a lull. Life gets in the way. Your runs start to feel tedious. You would rather press snooze button when your alarm goes off at 6am. You would rather eat candy than the training trifecta - Protein, Carbs, and Vitamin C. At some point everyone needs to refocus and a little motivational kick in the pants.

One of my favourite Runspiration techniques these days - is curling up with a Running Biography by one of the GREATS before bed. And since I have been stuck in recovery mode, I have been living vicariously. And my bedside table is littered with these gems. I fall asleep dreaming of epic distances. Longing for that perfect run. And craving that burn and that sweat. Needless to say when my alarm goes off in the early AM - I am excited to log those miles.
Over Christmas Break I started reading Ultra Marathoner Scott Jurek's Eat & Run. And like the dweeb that I am, I flagged some of my favourite Runspiration quotes to go back to as my training progressed. I wanted to share my favs with you. Just in case you need a little motivation boost this weekend too!!
  • Because I had learned that once you started something you didn't quit, because in life, much like an ultramarathon, you have to keep pressing foward.
  • I ran because over coming the difficulties of an ultramarathon reminded me that I could overcome the difficulties of life, that overcoming difficulties was life. (*** <--- MY FAV!!***)
  • By the time I started running, I knew how to suffer.
  • When I hear a runner say he "runs his own race", what I hear is bushido. Bushido is letting go of the past and the future and focusing on the strengthen my mind's control over my body.
  • Just do the distance, and that will (usually) save you.
  • If I thought biology was destiny, I would have given up a long time ago.
  • Sometimes we have to go to dark places. Things will be better off and you'll grow. You just don't know it now.
  • One step at a time. Stay present.
  • We try our hardest and come up short. It's not the losing that defines us. It's how we lose. It's what we do afterward.
Happy Running!
Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Resting, Recovery, and Rebuilding

It has been 6 weeks since my last surgery, and I am actually feeling really good. I am getting around really well now. My energy levels have been restored. And I am slowly but surely trying to get my body back to where it was before all of the medical drama-rama.

Recovery is a strange and complicated thing. And something I think is very difficult for most people to understand - unless you have been there yourself. My goal first and foremost for this month is to Train Smart, Be Patient, and Rebuild Slowly. A proper recovery requires you walk the fine-line between giving your body enough rest and pushing yourself enough to rebuild but not re-injure. It is balancing act, but I think I have come up with a plan that fits the bill. And to be honest, for me getting back into my training routine means that I am just getting back to normal.

Operation Fix a Heart was my 3rd surgery in 11 months. So to say that this body has been put through the ringer this past year is a HUGE understatement. And despite my initial reaction - which is always dive head first into training - I have made a promise to my body to be patient, nurturing, and rebuild slowly this time around.

I have discussed my training and my ambitious goals for this year with my medical team. And while I have been giving the green light to train again, there are a few things they would like me to keep in mind as I ease back into training...

Upper Body is a No-No and Keep Impact to a Minimum

In order to access my robot heart and secure its placement - they had to make an incision in the muscle. Then essentially my ICD was moved to the right and secured in place by stitching everything to my ribs. Obviously the muscle is still healing. And the scar tissue that will ultimately ensure the ideal placement for my robot ticker is still forming. So the less movement and trauma to the site - the better.

Here is my New Three Point Plan...

This months training is primarily focused on the Pool with 2-3 workouts a week. I will be incorporating a combination of Pool Running and Lower-Body Lengths into my weekly routine. The water ensures that the impact and movement usually involved in running is negated, and it will also help me prep for the swimming element of my Triathlon. The pool will help me rebuild the muscle and endurance I lost over the last 2 months, so I am better prepared to tackle running more seriously in the future.

I will also be heading to my favourite Hybrid Spin/Yoga Studio - Spynga once a week for an Endurance Spin Class. This workout is again lower body focused, and centers around rebuilding my endurance and Triathlon prep. Nothing like starting off your day with a wicked sweat-fest while rocking out to a fantastic playlist - this class is probably the highlight of my week!

And then there is Running - my first love - this is going to be a work in progress. My goal is to gradually increase my mileage to 10km by the end of the month. But it will not be my primary training focus. I will only be running 1-2 short runs a week. No attention will be paid to speed, and again training will be focused on rebuilding strength and endurance. The goal is to establish a solid base this month to build from in the future.

So that's it! I would love to hear your thoughts?
Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

WIAW - My Favourite Salad

It is that time again - What I Ate Wednesday. And this month #WIAW is going Green! So decided to share my new favourite salad recipe with you all! It is really Yummy, really Easy, and packed with Veggie Power. Check! Check! And Check!

My Mexican Fiesta Salad

I eat this for lunch. So I prep enough bean to top my salad all week - since that is the most time consuming part. And then I roast a fresh sweet potato daily. But if you are making this for your family just use the same amount of beans, add a small sweet potato, a carrot, and an additional cup of spinach per person. (ie. 4 servings = 4 sweet potatoes, 4 carrots grated, and 4 cups of spinach)

1/2 cup of Red Beans
1/2 cup of Black Beans
1 Sweet Potato cut into thick wedge
1 cup of Spinach
1 carrot grated

1. Cook the beans over night in the crock pot on low with 3 cups of water and a bay leaf. You will have enough beans prepared to have them on top of your salad all week.
2. Place the sweet potato wedges on a baking sheet with a tsp of oil, and roast at 400 for 10 minutes. Flip and finish roasting for an addition 7 minutes.
3. Line plate with 1 cup of spinach, top with roasted sweet potatoes, carrot, and cooked beans (on day 2 just reheat the beans in the microwave) and drizzle Chipotle sauce and a dash of salt on top to serve.


Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Musical Monday - Inner Ninja

It's Monday!!! Are you ready?! I am READY!!!
(**note my excessive use of exclamation points says I am ready - so very ready!!!!!!***)

This is it friends. It is time. Marathon Training. Triathlon Prep. Let's Do This! I am hitting the pool, rocking out in my Spin Classes, and running my little legs off. Upper Body Work is a No-No for another month, but I have been given the okay to train again (*more info on the training details later this week*). Part of post-op recovery  is rebuilding. It is just important to do it properly, listen to your body, and train smart. Which is why it is time to channel my Inner Ninja!

No sweat, no fear, no blood, no tears. I go hard and I ain't makin' up no excuse.
I think it would be easy to give up on my dream of a sub 5 marathon this year. I mean here I am gearing up to rebuild...again. I have to rebuild strength, stamina, endurance, everything. It feels like despite all my hard work last year, I have to start all over again. But I am not making any excuses. It time to train, rebuild, and go!

I'm overdue, I don't do what I'm supposed to do. Cause you can think about it man, we're supposed to lose 
I know how this goes. I am always fighting to come back from behind. My genetic failings have all said that I am supposed to lose. But forget that. I am overdue. This year is my year. And as promised I am making Heart Disease and Breast Cancer my BITCH! Bring it!

Hey yo, I've been high and I've been real low. I've been beaten and broken but I healed though 
To say that this year has been tough is an understatement. In the last 12 months I have had 3 surgeries. There are the physical challenges that go along with that, but there is also the very real emotional toll that it all takes on your life as well. My body has been beaten, broken, and bruised a few times. But I am back. I have healed. And as always, life goes on. 

There ain't a thing I've faced thats been too much for me 
These challenges have only made me hungry though. They have only made me want to reach those goals that much more. And they have taught me that I am strong - stronger than all of this. More than ever I am determined to train hard, and make that sub-5 marathon dream mine.

Nobody's gonna see me comin'. 
Nobody's gonna hear a sound. 
No matter how hard they tryin'. 
No stoppin' me since I've found. My inner ninja

So let's do this friends! Me and my Inner Ninja are waging a stealthy war against genetics. Nobody is gonna see me coming, but this year I am gonna run harder, better, faster, and stronger than ever before. Watch out world! I am back! And I am coming for ya!

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Thursday, 7 March 2013

The Heart of Life

And the sappiness continues over here on my little blog...

The official 4 week recovery period for my latest greatest medical misadventure has come and gone complete. Which means slowly but surely life has begun to return to normal. I have gone back to work. School will get back on track. And I will continue to recover, rebuild, and recoup. Life goes on.

But the truth is this most recent journey has been hard. And probably a lot harder than I have let on. I try to find the silver lining always, but that was difficult this time. I found myself questioning everything. I felt lost. And more than anything I was just so very very sad. So I cried. I cried with every fiber of my being. I cried until there was nothing left. I had lost the faith. I had lost the fight. I needed the strength and positivity of others to pick me up and put me back together.

Thank You - to all of you. To all of you who kept the faith and believed in me when I had stopped believing in myself.

 I hate to see you cry. Lying there in that position. There's things you need to hear. So turn off your tears. And listen.
More tears were shed this time around than any other. I cried because I hated my body. I HATED IT! I cried because this wasn't suppose to happen - not this year. I cried for the year I dreamed of and lost. I cried for all of the stress and sadness this caused my family. I cried for the burden I knew I put on my amazing husband shoulders. I cried because I couldn't run away from this. I cried because I felt hopeless. I cried because I just wanted things to be different this time. I wanted things to be easy - just once. I cried because I was tired. I cried because I didn't have it in me to be strong this time.

You know, it's nothing new. Bad news never had good timing. Then, circle of your friends. Will defend the silver lining.
This has long been the reality of my life. I know that. And I do my best to accept and embrace the challenges this life had given me. But surgery, setbacks, whatever they may be, has never had good timing. It is always hard to face no matter how you slice it. And this time more than any other time in my life, I very much needed the love and support of others to keep my head above water.

So Thank You. First and foremost to my amazing husband, who has long been my source of strength and positivity. His strength has carried me through the darkest days of my life. And for that I feel a gratitude I could never express, and I will spend the rest of my life repaying with all of my love always.

Thank You to my ever supportive friends and family. Your visits, phone-calls, and love helped keep me going. You kept me smiling and you made recovery much easier to face.

And finally, Thank You to all of you - to all of my virtual friends. To all of you that sent me hearts, took time to pray, send positive vibes, and continued to believe that I could be bigger and stronger than all of this. You all helped me believe too.

Pain throws your heart to the ground. Love turns the whole thing around. No it won't all go the way it should. But I know the heart of life is good.

This was not how I imagined starting this year. But as always the struggle is part of the story, and it is very much a part of my story. And this struggle has reminded me how powerful LOVE is. It has shown me that through it all - the heart of life is good. It is positive. It is beautiful. And I can see how blessed I truly am to have all of you to share this crazy life with.

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

WIAW - Bean Tart

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 veggie-friendly recipes.

I used the Minnesota Winter Chili Recipe from Scott Jurek's Eat and Run. It is packed with a ton of veggies, and it is delicious! It also makes a huge portion so you have enough for this recipe and enough to freeze for another dinner. That being said if you are keen to cut down on prep time - you can use a pre-made chili. I personal love the products from Amy's - they are organic and packed with delicious veggies, and they are both veggie and vegan friendly. 

Bean Tart

Minnesota Winter Chili
2 tbsp of coconut oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
8-10 mushrooms
1 cup of green bell pepper, chopped
1 jalopeno pepper (optional)
1 cup of frozen corn kernels
1 tsp group cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
2 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp of sea salt
1/2 tsp of black powder
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 15-ounce can tomato puree
1 15-ounc can of kidney beans, drained
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained
1 15-ounce can red beans, drained
21/2 cups water

3x 1inch rectangles of cheddar cheese
6 sheets of phylo dough
3 tbsp of coconut oil
2 tbsp red chili flakes
2 tbsp of cumin
2 tbsp of garlic power
2 handful of raw spinach

  1. Add oil to a large pot. Saute the raw veggies and spices in the oil over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add all additional ingredients to the pot and simmer over medium-heat, covered, for 50 minutes until the veggies are cooked through. 
  2. Use 1/3 of the chili recipe (or 1 can of prepared chili) and set aside for the tart.
  3. Layer 3 sheets of phylo, with 2 inches over lapping. Brush with oil. And then sprinkle with spices.
  4. Layer a second layer of phylo over-top of the first spiced layer, and then cover with spinach and a thin layer of chili.
  5. Create a thin line of cheddar cheese down one side of the tart, and then slowly and gently roll the tart up into a log. Folding the open end under and tucking everything in. 
  6. Give the log one last brush with oil. It make flake and crack slightly, but that is okay. sprinkle with salt and cumin.
  7. Bake in the oven at 350 for 30 min.
  8. Finish with a 5 min Broil. Slice and Serve!
Hope you enjoy!
Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Sunday, 3 March 2013

My Boobie-versary - An Ode to Silicone

One year ago I began one of the wildest, most profound, painful, and amazing adventures of my life.

One year ago I said in the most rudimentary sense that "health really does trump beauty".
And I set out to learn how to love my body for what it can do rather than for what it looks likes. One year ago I ran my very first half marathon and then the very next day I Toasted the Tatas with a prophylactic double mastectomy.

Today is my Boobie-versary!
And Today I celebrate with an Ode to Silicone!

Well Tatas... It has been a rocky start.
Here we are 5 races, a marathon, and 3 surgeries later. And it seems we are back in the recovery stage all over again - what a year it has been. To say that our latest adventure has been frustrating, is an understatement. The last few months have been hard - but never have I questioned my decisions to make you a part of my life.

You have taught me more about myself than I could have ever imagined. But more than anything this past year with you has taught me my greatest lesson in self-love. You have taught me how to honor my body and to be grateful for my health. And you have taught me how to find strength in the struggle and to see the beauty that surrounds us. I have learned to be grateful for this life - the good days and the bad - because I have been blessed with the chance to live another day. And I have learned to live every single day with passion, a grateful heart, and to the fullest.

So today I wanted to thank you for this bumpy road we are on together.

One year ago today I woke up with new fake Tatas and two 4 inch scars where my nipples used to be. One year ago today I woke up without breasts, but knowing I was no longer at risk for the Breast Cancer I was predisposed to. I woke up in an extreme amount of pain, but Happy and Healthy. And I wouldn't change a thing.

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail

Friday, 1 March 2013

Week 3 Winner of the Happy Heart Project!

Alright guys, so this is it!

This is my last pair of shoes and the final week of the Happy Heart Project. You all have been so AMAZING both this week and all month long! I have absolutely LOVED watching your progress. And being part of your Happy Healthy Heart Journey! 

I also wanted to just take a second and THANK Mizuno. Thank you for putting health and wellness first. Your dedication to Sport and a Healthy Lifestyle is clear in all of the work that you do and the products you create. Thank you for helping to make the Happy Heart Project such a success! You guys have been AMAZING from start to finish! 

 And so without further adieu,  
Winner of this week's Happy Heart Mizunos is...
comment #73 was Randomly Selected
I have sent you an email, please respond within 48 hours to claim your prize, otherwise another name will be drawn. Congrats girlie!!!

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,