Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Training Tuesday #3

So I think it is pretty safe to say if you have been checking in on my past few Training Tuesdays that I have been floundering. My natural tendency when I feel panicked about training is to train more and harder, not always smarter. This always sounds good in my head. Looks good when I put it down on paper. But I always end up burnt out, tired, and over-trained.

So this time I am accepting that if I want to do this right, than I am going to need some help. It is officially time to call in the big guns. Little Blog - Michelle. Michelle - Little Blog. Michelle Clark is my one woman Marathon Dream Team. She one of Canada's elite female distance runners. With a Marathon PB of 2:57:08 and a Half Marathon PB of 1:26:43 - I am thinking she could teach me a thing or two...or 7! Oh and she totally just won the Boston to Big Sur Challenge! (<----rockstar I tell you)

Michelle and I met through Clif Bar (**because you know I am totally badass enough to be sponsored athlete, right...shhhhh don't tell them they sponsored a girl with a robot heart and no boobs shhhh**) and she has agreed to train me for my Marathon!

The clouds part. The heavenly chours sings her praises. And Krysten does a Happy Dance. I am obviously over the moon excited. This is happening! This is for real! I have an elite runner coaching me. Me, Krysten, this Darwinian Fail is going legit this time around.

So 4:30 Marathon I am coming for you. I will see that number as I blissfully cross the finish line of the Hamilton Marathon. November 4th is gonna be my day, so mark your calendars. And the next 6 months of training is going to get me there. So it is time to buckle down, work hard, and trust the training.

This Week's Plan:
Sunday - 16km LSR
Monday - 6:30 Cycle Flow at Spynga
Tuesday - 5km (easy pace)
Wednesday - 7km Tempo Run
Thursday - Bootcamp 
Friday - 10km (easy pace)
Saturday - REST

First lesson: Apparently you don't run every run as fast you can..huh?! Facinating Stuff! Who knew?!

I think I am gonna like this whole plan thing.
Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Sunday, 28 April 2013

FITspirational Women Photoshoot

If you follow me on Instagram than you know I can take a cheeseball selfie like nobody's business. But do a "Real" Photoshoot? Nah! I spend most days in sweats and sans makeup alternating between studying my psychology textbooks and running laps around the neighbourhood. It is not a glamourous life I lead.

So when Alyssa Wodabek - a local, up-and-coming, Toronto photographer - contacted me about doing a shoot for her Fitspirational Women Series, I was skeptical. I am not a model. And I am definitely not a fitness model. So my initial reaction was to say "Thank you. But No".

Her concept struck a cord with me though. She wanted to show how fitness has inspired and empowered. And despite my reservations, that is a concept I have spent the last year living and trying to convey.

Running has become my outlet. When times got tough - and they did - I ran. When I needed something to look forward to, it was a race. When I needed something to drive my recovery, it was training. When I needed to prove to myself that I was stronger and badder than anything my body could throw at me - I ran.When I lost faith in myself and in my body - I reclaimed my power on a run.

Running has become an essential part of me. It is where I found self-acceptance, confidence, power, and health. It is where I feel most beautiful.

So off I went to meet Alyssa for Part One of our photoshoot. There was a studio, lighting, make-up, and dresses. We went glam. And then stripped down to bare my scars (well at least one of them). Here is a sneak peak at what we came up with.

It was out on a run that I learned real beauty is a woman who believes in herself and who knows she is capable of anything she puts her mind to. Beauty comes from strength, determination, a joyful heart and grateful spirit. Real beauty really does shine from within. And that is a story that I want to tell.

Fitness has taught me that nothing is impossible. That I am capable of more than I ever knew.  And despite my flaws, my scars, and my many medical misadventures - I love my body. Not for how it looks, but for what it can do. For its strength. For its stamina. And for its ability to endure. It is not perfect, but it is mine.

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

**Part Two will be coming soon! We are hoping to do an outdoor fitness-y shoot when the weather starts to cooperate**

Friday, 26 April 2013

Running Rockstar - Pam

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. It is hard to wake up early in the AM to squeeze in a workout. And sometimes it feels like there are simply not enough hours in the day to get it all done.

So Friday is a day to celebrate our accomplishments. These are my Running Rockstars. They are from all walks of life and are all at different stages in their running experience. But the one thing that they all have in common is that despite it all they are getting it done! They are Rockin' that Run! And that deserves to be celebrated!

One of the these AMAZING folks will be featured here each week. Answering some of my favourite Run related question.

This week's Rockstar is Pam from  www.werundisney.com

1. What is the next race on your calendar?
Quintiles Half Marathon in Wilmington, NC  March 17th  next up. And Diva Half Marathon Myrtle Beach April 28 <--- good luck girlie! 

2. Share your Never-Forget Running/Racing Moment?
Crossing the finish line with my daughter at our first big race, the Princess Half Marathon 2011

3. Running Must-Have?
 Ipod shuffle and Garmin

4. What is your favourite Pre-Race Fuel?
I have the same thing every time: English muffin with peanut butter and banana

5. Share your Running Mantra or Racing Ritual?
Every run will not be the perfect run and each race will not be the perfect race.  Enjoy your training and races and the PR's will come!
Way to Rock it Pam!
Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Thursday, 25 April 2013

@ONWomensTri Bike Maintenance Clinic

Last Tuesday was my second training clinic with the Ontario Women's Triathlon Series. The focus was bike maintenance and care. 

If I am being honest, the bike portion of the triathlon is probably the most foreign part of my training. The Run I am pretty familiar with. The swim is something I used to do competitively. But the bike...Yeah I know nothing.  
So I picked up my old mountain bike from my parents, bought myself a new helmet, and set off to the clinic. Lets just say the learning curve was steep. Here is what I learned

1. Mountain Bikes are not appropriate for triathlons
(*slaps forehead*) UGH! the truth is I kind of already knew this. But a proper triathlon bike with all of the bells and whistles is expensive - like thousands of dollars expensive. And as much as I would like to get all of the proper gear, my student budget says, "its not gonna happen".

So my new plan is to train with my mountain bike and spin classes at my favourite Spin Studio. And then race with the lovely Morgan's Hybrid on race day. (Thanks Morgs!!) It is slightly unconventional, but I think that make sense for my first triathlon attempt.

2. A lot technical things can go wrong with the bike portion of the race - so you need to be prepared.
We learned how do a proper safety check.
How to change a tire - front and back
And what we should carry with us on race day and on our training rides.

3. The course definitely has some hills so I need to be prepared.
I think hills are going to be my friend this summer while I prep for my marathon and my triathlon. If you are looking for me on Wednesdays I will be probably be out running or riding hill repeats.

4. A good time for a Sprint Triathlon is 1:30
So that is what I am shooting for. It is my first time out, but that is gonna be the bench mark.

5. Padded Bike shorts are a Must and your Friend - both on race day and during training!

Can't wait for the Next Clinic on May 21st. We will be going over Bike Skills and Safety. It is still early days but I feel like I have learned so much.

What do you guys think? Do you think my bike quick-fix will work?

Slowly but surely getting Triathlon Ready!
Love Your Favourite Darwinain Fail

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

#WIAW - Clean Cannelloni

It is WIAW over at Peas and Crayons. Wanna know my absolute FAVOURITE part of distance training?! Carbs!! I am a little carb-monster and I love all things pasta. When you start ramping up the distance you also start burning lots of calories. With long runs burning between 700-1500 calories! Eep! So that means I need to fuel and refuel properly.

Most pasta dish call for heavy sauces and lots of cheese - which is delicious! But not the best fuel for my body. So this weekend I experimented with a clean twist on classic cannelloni.

Clean Cannelloni 
I cooked a full tray - which was enough for dinner for 2 and lunches for 2! Or a family of 4! 
And according to my calculations each serving (4 cannelloni) is approximately 350 calories.

For my fellow BRCA gals this recipe does call for tofu. I know there is a lot of conflicting information about the link between breast cancer and soy products, so I usually try to steer clear. But I do use it sparingly throughout my diet - the odd bit of tofu and maybe some soy milk in my latte if they don't offer almond milk. Just use it mindfully.

Box of Prepare oven-ready Cannelloni Noodles (need 12)
Tomato Sauce (premade or homemade your choice)

1 bunch of spinach (stems trimmed)
2 cloves of garlic (diced)
2 sprigs of Basil (leaves removed and chopped)
2 sprigs of Rosemary (leaves removed and finely chopped)
2 tbsp of dried Oregano
2 tbsp of red chillies
1/2 red onion (diced)
1/2 a brick of firm tofu
1 container of ricotta cheese

1. Pre-heat oven to 350
2. Blend all of the Filling ingredients in a blender or food processor. I just have a magic bullet and it works wonders. Filling will be a little thin, but the excess water will cook off when the pasta bakes.
3. Place filling in Ziplock Bag and pipe the filling into the individual noodles.
4. Line the bottom of your baking dish with a thin layer of tomato sauce. Place the prepared noodles in the dish and top with remaining tomato sauce. You want all of cannelloni to be covered completely.
5. Cover the baking dish dish with tin foil and bake for 45-60 min. Or until noodles are tender. Serve and Enjoy!

Hope you all enjoy!
Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Training Tuesday #2

Sometimes - because I don't say it out loud - I can forget how critical that little voice inside my head can be.Well this week some of those critical thoughts started to slip out. And I realized that it might be time to refocus.

Training wise things did not seem to be clicking. I was busy - school, work, life. I missed spending time with my hubby. I was tired and feeling over extended. And I found myself feeling frustrated with myself, with my body, with my recovery. And then Jamie and I had this conversation...

Jamie: Are you okay?
Me: Yeah. I am just tired. This is what I mean - I am still not 100% since the surgery. It is so frustrating.
Jamie: It has been a busy week. I'm tired too. That is not a Krysten thing. That is a Human thing.

Hmmmm... Well that kind of stopped me in my tracks. Am I being too critical? Do I expect too much? To make up for my many Darwinian Failings do I push too hard to compensate for all the things I think I lack? The answer to all of the above is YES!

Not every week is perfect. Not every race will be a PR. And sometimes I need to take a step back and accept that this okay and that is enough. So that is how this week went...

The Plan:
Monday - 6:30am Cycle Flow at Spynga

Check and Check! Up Bright and early Spinning my little heart out on the bike. Singing girlie pop. Breathing deep. And starting the week off right.

Tuesday -17km Long Slow Run
Nope. Didn't happen. It ended up being a rest day. I spent most of Tuesday at the library instead.

Wednesday - 7am Pool Session
                    - Hill Repeats x5 (coaching my 10km clinic)
 Nope and Nope. I ended up having to work Wednesday night so that meant No Coaching. And since I missed my long run on Tuesday. I went for a long run Wednesday morning instead. I did 9.75 miles (aka 16km) at 9 min/mile pace. It felt good and the legs felt strong.

Thursday - 7:30am Core Flow Yoga Class
                 - 5km Run (coaching my 10km clinic)

Yes and Yes! Yoga was amazing! I found this little quirky studio downtown that offers several classes in the early AM, but no one ever goes...EXCEPT ME! It is perfect. I get a private session. And I start my day balanced, happy, and restored. Plus the weekly yoga session is really helping to balance out my tight hamstrings post-long-run.

My 10km clinic and I went out for a 5km run. Admittedly I was not feeling it on way over, but it ended up being a really great run. It was nice to run with the clinic and see their progress. I pushed their pace at the front of the pack, and there was some rain at the tail end of our route - but I felt great when all was said and done.
Friday - REST
Saturday - REST
Sunday - 10km Run
Again Nope. I had to work at 7am after a weekend of exams and a late night engagement party. So after work I opted for some time at home with my guys instead.

Like I said it wasn't my best week. 3 of my 7 planned training session didn't happen. But that is enough for this week. Some changes happened to help restore some balance, to listen to my body, and take some time for me. I am ready to get back it this week though. So let's do this.

This Week:
Monday - REST
Tuesday - 15km Long Slow Run
Wednesday -7am Swim
                     - Hill Repeats x6 (coaching my 10km clinic)
Thursday - 7am Yoga
                 - 5km Run (coaching my 10km clinic)
Friday -  6:30am Cycle Flow at Spynga
Saturday - REST
Sunday - 12km Run 

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Change Room Anxiety

Nothing like striping down in the airy community pool change room to remind you of all your insecurities, right?

Returning to the pool has meant that I have had to face my Change Room Anxiety. The truth is I have avoided changing in any sort of public setting since my double mastectomy last March. The very thought of baring all in front of a group of random strangers made me cringe. But I simply cannot ride the subway in a soaking wet bathing suit in the middle of Canadian winter, so Triathlon training meant it was time to face the music.

The change room is full of sideways glances, judgement, and that feeling of being exposed. Add to that a chest covered in fresh scars, a lack of nipples, and a couple of silicone implants where my breasts used to be and that takes things to a whole other level.

Its not the comments that I worry about. Most women won't say anything. It is the lack of response that I fear. The double-take at my scarred body. The pitying thoughts that accompanied those sad glances. The hushed whispers not quite out of ear-shot. It is the idea of pity that I fear. It is my inability to explain these scars and this situation that scares me.

My scars are raw. They are jagged. And they aren't pretty. This I know.

But they don't represent weakness or sadness. They represent an empowered decision I made for myself. They say I choose health - that health really does trump beauty. They represent strength - both physical and mental. They mean I won - I beat Breast Cancer and Heart Disease. They represent the long life I plan to live and that I am so grateful for. And I never want anyone to confuse the two.

It has taken time, some soul searching, and a whole lot of self-love but I realized that by showing those women my scars I was really showing them that I love this body. And by hiding, whether I knew it or not, meant that I was ashamed.

This is me - flaws, scars, and all. And being healthy is what is truly beautiful.
Just a friendly reminder - Never Let Anyone Dull your Sparkle. You are beautiful. Just as you are.

Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Friday, 19 April 2013

Running Rockstar - Kristen

Mini Luna Bar INSTAGRAM Winner is Tanya Sylvan @tlsylan! Your comment was randomly selected by the random number generator at Random.org. Good luck with your Ultra training! Badass! Please email me ksibabishop@yahoo.com and I will send out your prize!

These are my Running Rockstars. They are from all walks of life and are all at different stages in their running experience. But the one thing that they all have in common is that despite it all they are getting it done! They are Rockin' that Run! And that deserves to be celebrated!

One of the these AMAZING folks will be featured here each week. Answering some of my favourite Run related question.

This week's Rockstar is Kristen from www.befitwithkristen.com

1. What is the next race on your calendar?
The Freedom Run 5k over Memorial Day weekend though I hope to do 1 or 2 before then.

2. Share your Never-Forget Running/Racing Moment?
Crossing the finish line at my first 1/2 marathon last fall. It was both a mental and physical challenge for me. I am not a distance runner by any means but I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it. The course was nearly all hills. I wanted to quit at mile 10. My legs felt like lead. Though it was brutal, I'm glad I accomplished my goal.

3. Running Must-Have?
Music. Just can't do it without my beats.

4. What is your favourite Pre-Race Fuel?
Oatmeal with peanut butter and sometimes with a banana

5. Share your Running Mantra or Racing Ritual?
#BeUnstoppable because quitting is not an option. I like to give myself pep talks along the way. You have to get inside your own head to find the strength you need to keep on keeping on.

Way to Rock it Kristen!
Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

His and Her's @Saucony Virrata Review - HIS

Today my blog is being taking over by my adorable hubby. Over the past month we have been prepping for our first race of the season and testing out Saucony's new Virrata. So we have a His and Her's Review for you!

This is HIS Review...
It certainly is. Thanks Krysten and a big thank you to Saucony. For regular readers pardon for the interruption, bear with me; regular service will resume shortly. And now, to the business that brings us together...

I don’t know how you define a runner, but depending on your definition of said I may not be. However, I’ve always been active so am not unfamiliar with the running shoe.  I’ve also read enough running magazines to be aware of the minimalist trend in sneakers. 
It is however, one thing to be aware of something in principle and quite another to run in minimalist shoes. Or, in keeping with the start of that last sentence, let's consider quantum mechanics as an example.  Yes I know of the quantum - waves and particles etc., that things are both here and there and so on – but I'd never be sent out prospecting for bosons. It would just confound me.  Kind of like these shoes did at first.

Suffice it to say that armed with presuppositions regarding minimalist running, and a shortage of running nous, I set out swiftly tip-toeing down the street in the maiden voyage of my Virratas. In short: I’ve always run, but the idea of consciously trying to run was strange. However, once I stopped ti-ti-ing down the road and settled in to a reasonable stride I found these shoes to be cool, light, fast and very cushiony.

I really like the upper on these.  It is barely there in the best possible way: on warmer days they helped keep my feet dry; but I also wore them out in the snow and they dried in less than an hour at home.
I also appreciated the way these shoes fit, I found them to be snug but flexible.

When I took these shoes out of the box I thought they just looked super-comfortable with the thick Tempur-pedic-like foam bottoms. (I don’t know what the normal bottom bit to top bit ratio is for a running shoes but it seems to be quite high in these beauties). In a very light shoe there is a lot of cushioning. Standing in that picture up there I feel good.
Lastly, because these shoes are so light they are very fast. I thought they were at their best when I was picking up the pace.

First a disclaimer: I have flat feet and I pronate. As such, I've worn custom orthotics most of my life. After running in these shoes my arches and legs hurt. I said these shoes were at their best when I was moving; when I was jogging I found they made my feet hurt and messed with my head a little too much. I don’t really know if I run properly. Probably not. But I certainly spent a lot of time worrying about where my forefoot was, etc when I had these shoes on. 

These are really well-made shoes with a great snug, secure fit. I’m very excited to try other shoes in the Saucony stable.
If you enjoy the idea of working on form, of thinking through your stride in practice, or if you're already running in a zero-drop model and are looking to try something new, than I bet you could do much, much worse than the Virrata, a solid, solid effort from Saucony.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

#WIAW - The Weekend Celebration Trap

This happens every year around this time. The weekends slowly start to get booked up with Fun Stuff and Celebrations. Its Easter. Then its the hubby's birthday. Then we have an Engagement Party. Then there's another birthday. Then its my Dad's birthday. Then its a Race weekend. Then its the long weekend again... You can see how this goes... And it goes like this until September.
Pint of Cider

BBQ's. Wine. Dessert. Parties. Long Weekends. All of this celebrating is fantastic. It means I have an extra excuses to spend time with all of the people that I love. It also means that there is a ton of yummy food kicking around. And this is where Krysten's will power promptly flies out the window. (**especially if you place me next to a bowl of chips**)

I have been working really hard to clean up my diet for race season. And I have noticed a big difference in my energy levels, my recovery time, and the way my body has been performing. My hard work has been paying off. I have been tracking my EATS, prepping lots of healthy whole foods, and fueling my body well. There is definitely something to be said about this whole Clean Eating thing.

But then these weekends start to roll around. I am a sucker for good food and a celebration - so I enjoy. This weekend being a huge red flag for me. I had some drinks to celebrate birthdays, and then there was cake, and candy, and chips...And I didn't plan ahead. I was hungry and happy to eat it. It was delicious, but needless to say my tummy was not that happy when all was said and done.

I think celebrations are a MUST. Girl needs a glass of wine every once and a while. And a cookie is just good for the soul. But when these celebratory weekends start to line-up like this - treats aren't treats anymore - they start to become a diet staple. And all that sugary-goodness isn't exactly the best training fuel.

So as I start to get serious about my training season and face all of these fabulous summer celebrations I want to continue to put HEALTH first. I want the food I eat to help heal, fuel, and nourish my body. With a few treats in there to nourish my soul. It is all about balance!

I wanna cross that finish line Healthy and Triumphant!
Let's Do This!

PS I have a special What I Ate Wednesday GIVEAWAY on Instagram! Find the picture below on my Instagram Account give it some love and tell me how you would use these LUNA Bar minis to fuel! A winner will be chosen randomly on Friday!

(***please make sure you comment on the INSTAGRAM photo. That is where the entries will be collected***)

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Monday, 15 April 2013

Training Tuesday #1

** This post was already prepared before the events of yesterday. Today we Train. We Run. We stand together as a community. For so many Boston is the dream (myself included). So today's 17km run is for all of those affected yesterday. We are with you Boston**

Since sharing my Long Distance Lessons a few weeks back, I have had a number of requests for the specifics of my training plan. So I have decided to start a new feature on Tuesdays to share my training goals for the week and update you on last weeks progress.

Just keep in mind that I am a distance newbie, a triathlon virgin, and take my plan with a seriously hefty grain of salt. This is all a work in progress for me too.

This Week:
Monday - 6:30am Cycle Flow at Spynga
Tuesday -17km Long Slow Run
Wednesday - 7am Pool Session
                    - Hill Repeats x5 (coaching my 10km clinic)
Thursday - 7:30am Core Flow Yoga Class
                 - 5km Run (coaching my 10km clinic)
Friday - REST
Saturday - REST
Sunday - 10km Run

Would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions as well.
Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Friday, 12 April 2013

Running Rockstar - Ali

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. It is hard to wake up early in the AM to squeeze in a workout. And sometimes it feels like there are simply not enough hours in the day to get it all done.

So Friday is a day to celebrate our accomplishments. These are my Running Rockstars. They are from all walks of life and are all at different stages in their running experience. But the one thing that they all have in common is that despite it all they are getting it done! They are Rockin' that Run! And that deserves to be celebrated!

One of the these AMAZING folks will be featured here each week. Answering some of my favourite Run related question.

This week's Rockstar is Ali Jones from MSPRun.com

1. What is the next race on your calendar?
Next Race - NWM DC 1/2  Marathon- April 28th

2. Share your Never-Forget Running/Racing Moment?
Never forget moment - my never forget moment was running through Angels Stadium during my first half marathon last year, Disneyland Half. It was amazing having people cheering for you as you neared the finish, and seeing yourself on the big screen. I've been hooked on half marathons since!

3. Running Must-Have?
KT Tape. I primarily use it for my IT band, but when I ran Goofy Challenge this past January and started experiencing pain in my foot after the half. I taped it up with KT Tape, and ran pain free during the marathon.

4. What is your favourite Pre-Race Fuel?
I keep it simple; an everything bagel and black coffee

5. Share your Running Mantra or Racing Ritual?
Just keep going

Way to Rock it Ali!
Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

One EPIC #Fitfluential Weekend!!

Okay so have you guys heard the news?!?! 
The one and only Pavement Runner is coming to Canada!!

I have lured him here with talks of Tim Horton's, promises of Doughnuts, and plans to run the Goodlife Toronto Marathon together.

If you read Brian's Blog (and you should) then you already know why I love this guy. Pavey and I have become fast friends all thanks to our mutual love of Running, Fitfluential, and the blog-o-sphere. And I am super excited to finally get the chance to run with one of my favourite online training buddies!

Needless to say we have been chatting about this Fabulous Fitfluential Adventure for a while. The original plan was to run the Marathon together. Obviously that plan was before surgery #6. So instead, Brian will still running the full and I will be making my triumph post-op return to distance with the half instead. (<--- possibly in a tu-tu, because why not?!) And I have recruited some other Canadian Fitfluential Friends to run the 5km as well ( Kierston and SuperFit, Robyn, Morgan, and Jess just to name a few)

And with the help of social media this Race Weekend is quickly appears to be turning into one...

And the perfect excuse to make all of our "online friends" "in real life friends" with one big Pre-Race blogger/social media Meet-Up! Everybody is welcome! Come Run with Us! Come Eat with Us! Its gonna be awesome! So if you are local or plan to be in Toronto for the race come Carb-o-load with us!

When: Saturday May 4th @ 5pm

We will also be hanging out at the Pre-Race Expo before hand on Saturday as well. I will be making a reservation just to make sure they have enough space for all of us. So please RSVP to the Facebook Event for the dinner! (<---just follow the link to join the fun)

Can't wait to see you all there!
Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

WIAW - Race Day Eats

Its What I Ate Wednesday - or in today's case What I Ate Race Day! One of the BIG things I am working on this year - food and nutirition-wise - is fueling better for my runs. I have been tracking my meals like a champ on My FitnessPal. And I have been doing my best to incorporate some small changes to clean up my diet and focus on more plant-based whole healthy foods.

Saturday was my 1st Race of the season, so it was the perfect chance to put my fueling to the test.

The race had a late start time by most race day standards. Our start time was not until 11:15 AM. So I woke up at 8am, took the pup for a walk, and made Tosca Reno's Power Oatmeal Pancakes and a big cup of coffee. I also made sure to hydrate and prep with Vega's Preworkout Energizer as we drove down to the start line.

We found parking, stretched, hit the porta-potties, and then made our way down to the finish line. Even though it was only a 5km I always feel a little queasy before a race. As we lined up in our corrals I definitely had a fleeting thought that I should have eaten a little bit more before we got started.

It was a Great Day of Racing for the Bishop Fam, with shiny new PRs for everyone. But as I was coming up that last monster hill I definitely felt a gnawing in my stomach. I was starving! Between racing and my earlier upset stomach I had burned though all of the food I ate that morning - a fatal flaw in my fueling plan. I had purposely tried not to over-fuel because I wasn't running long distance, but I definitely should have eaten another small meal - a smoothie, some fruit, trail mix, etc.

We left the race an immediately went for brunch/lunch. My body always craves red meat after a race. I do not why, because almost never eat it any other time. But a Burger is almost always a MUST post-race. I know it is not "clean", but after a race the body gets what the body wants. And the body wanted a big, fat, juicy, burger! It was delicious and devoured in approximately 10 minutes flat.
We had a busy day ahead, because we were also celebrating my Hubby's Birthday (which is actually today! HAPPY BIRTHDAY HUNNY!!). So still dressed in our race clothes we met a group of friends at a local curling rink for some Birthday Curling Fun. I was a little skeptical about the whole curling thing, but it is actually a pretty serious workout and really fun. We had some laughs and I only managed to fall once.
Then it was back home to shower, walk the pup, and grab some dinner. Because the timeline was tight again, we ended up grabbing some sushi on our way home. I order a Spicy Tuna Roll and Edamame.

We had plans to meet a group of our friends for Birthday drinks, but I knew I had not eaten enough and the healthy options at the pub would be limited. So I mixed up a Fruit Smoothie - Spinach, Blueberries, Almond Milk, and Kombucha to take on the road. I also ordered a pot of green tea (I was DD) and greek salad while we were out.

Not perfect, but all-in-all a pretty balanced day. Fueling is still a work in progress, but I think this first race has taught me a lot. Hopefully over the next month I will find an even better balance, and be ready for my Half Marathon on May 5th!

Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

His and Her's @Saucony Virrata Reviews - HERS

CHEESEBALL ALERT: The Hubby and I spent the past month prepping for our first race of the season and testing out Saucony's new Virrata. So we have a His and Her's Review for you!

The Virratta Stats: 
  • The Virrata is a Neutral Shoe
  • It is Saucony's lightest and most flexible shoe. Men's 6.5oz and Women's 6.0 oz.
  • 0mm Offset - Heel 18mm and Forefoot 18mm
  • The Upper is constructed with Breathable Mono Mesh and HydraMAX Collar Lining
  • Midsole is High Abrasion EVA (EVA+) Foam
For more information about the tech involved in the Virrata check out the Saucony Virrata Tech sheet

So being the Run Nerd that I am, I have obviously read Born to Run. And regularly daydream of setting off barefoot as I run through a pastoral scene of mountains, rivers, flowers, and bliss. And since then I have tried several different shoes on the "minimalist" spectrum, all in hopes of making my running daydream a reality. I also have not had much luck. I always ended my run with sore feet, blisters, and very tight calves. Leaving me thinking that perhaps this whole barefoot thing isn't all it is cracked up to be...

So when the Virrata arrived I was skeptical. But excited to try them.

  • I immediately loved the colours! Hello Pink! 
  • They fit like a glove. The upper was snug and well suited for my narrow feet - an issue I often struggle with 
  • The cushioning the Virratta offered set them ahead of the other "minimalist" shoes I have tried in the past. The offset is 0mm, but there is still a good amount of cushioning to keep my feet happy and protected.
  • I normally wear a 12mm heel drop, so I knew that I needed to transition slowly when trying to jump down to 0mm. I could only use them on short runs and during speed work. 
  •  My stride and running style is not at a place yet where I think I can wear a 0mm drop shoe full-time. I know I lead with my heel. And because I have yet to perfect that forefoot strike I did experience tight calves after a longer run in the Virratta.

They were comfortable, light, and felt fast. I cannot say enough about The  EVA+ foam based cushioning - the Virrata is probably one of the most comfortable shoes I own. The cushioning kept my feet protected and happy while slugging it out during my Hill Repeats, Track Workouts, as well as on Race Day. And I am confident that any of the calve pain I experienced is more a comment on my running style than the shoes themselves. If you are a minimalist runner or looking to start transitioning into a 0mm shoe, I think you would be hard pressed to find a better option. I would definitely recommend trying the Virrata.

Have your tried Barefoot Running? Do you wear a Minimalist Shoe?

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Disclaimer: Saucony sent me a pair of Virrata's to try and review as part of a Fitfluential Campaign. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Race Recap: Harry's Spring Run Off

Way back (aka in 2011), when I decided to start this little blog, and begin my running evolution, I signed up for a 5km - Harry's Spring Run Off. Grandad had just beat Prostate Cancer and this seemed like a great way to raise some money and stick it to genetics while I was at it.

It was a challenging course, but incredibly well organized and full of energy. So this year, while plotting my comeback and the start of my race season, I decided to go back. I wanted to tackle that hill one more time and to see how far I had come.

I also convinced my Hubby and my Father In-law to sign up for their very first 5km and join me.

We all met at our place and drove down to High Park together. The park makes a great race location - paved roads, no traffic, and great scenery. But Parking is very much at a premium on race day - making carpooling a MUST. It was sunny, but not warm. And we were all shivering as we waited for our start time.

Jamie and Bruce were guaranteed an automatic PR with this run, but everyone had their ideal goal times in their heads as we made our way down to the start line. I knew my hope of a PR was not a sure thing, but decided I was going to go for it anyways. I wanted to run the race in an even 25 minutes, but also knew the hills would likely give me some trouble. It was an ambitious time for just 9 weeks post-op, but I had been running well, so I figured it might be worth a shot.

Jamie and I were both in the Red Corral to start the race. We lined up with the masses and got ready to run. Jamie was aiming for a faster time than me, so I knew we would not run together. We started out side by side, but he quickly pulled ahead and I found my happy pace.

The energy on the course was high. There were over 5000 people racing in one of the 3 race events offered that day - 8k, 5k, and the Children's Run. I know I spent much of the race smiling - taking in the crowds, bouncing along to one of the many bands along the route, and checking out the scenery - it all made for a great race.

The smiles stop during the last 400 meters though. That is where you meet "The Hill". Much of the race is dotted with rolling hills. But that last hill is "The Hill". It is 400 meters of steep horrible yuckiness, that spikes the heart rate, and kills the legs. I knew it was coming. I knew it sucked. So I put my head down and slowly chugged up that hill and across the finish line.

I finished at 28:08 - which meant a 3:21 min PR for me! 
Jamie finished in a speedy 22:11 placing 97th overall! 
And Bruce finished in 30:47 way faster than his projected time of 36 minutes!

I think it is pretty safe to say we were all over the moon happy with our results. It was a tough course. And we finished strong. You can't ask for anything better. We left smiling, enjoying our runner's high, and hungry for lunch.

I finished 451/1691 overall and 28/165 in my age category. Finishing with those numbers, in the top 25%, meant that all of the hard work I have been putting in is paying off. This little defective bod is getting stronger. Even with all the surgeries. Even with all the setbacks. And maybe because of all the struggles. I am making progress.

This is it. This is my year. This year I making Heart Disease, Breast Cancer, and Genetics my BITCH!
One run at a time of course.

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