Thursday, 27 February 2014

Zico Yoga Toronto

I got an email inviting me to a media event for Zico Canada. It promised an Olympian, Jock Yoga, and Coconutty Goodness - I would be crazy to say no right?!

I met up with the adorable Morgan and the lovely Jess as the event kicked off. We all got cute motivational tanks to wear for our Jock Yoga session. I picked the quote "All it takes is all you got" - which I thought was apt for my Ironman Journey.

We met up with Canadian Silver Medalist Kelsey Serwa. She had just flown in from Sochi the night before. She was extremely gracious and inspiring. She has overcome a laundry list of injuries to come back and triumph at this year's Olympics. I just want to bottle up her determination and dedication so I can sip it when I am feeling lazy.

Super Embarrassing Confession for the Week: while experiencing Olympic fever I may have spent way to much time on the Internet to see if my heart condition qualifies me to be a Paralympian... It doesn't... I will just have settle for being an average runner with a robot heart (*decidedly less glamorous*). And this will be the closest I get to a Silver Medal. (*Sigh...Sad Panda*)

Micheal DeCorte aka Jock Yoga Guy put us through our paces. He gave my arms a serious workout and his running commentary had me in stitches for the entire class. I also conquered Crane Pose for the first time. This is a pose that I have been working on for awhile, but something about the way Micheal explained it made it click for me. I can't hold it for very long, but progress is progress, right?!

After getting our butt kicked, we rehydrated with some seriously delicious coconut based smoothies. I had the mint line detox, which was really fresh and yummy.

Mint Lime Detox:
1/2 cup Zico Original Coconut Water
1/2 cup ice
1.5 Banana
1 orange, peeled
3 mint sprigs (just leaves)
1/2 lime, peeled
1/2 cup spinach

The recipe makes 2 cups. And it definitely hit the spot after my workout, so I will be trying to recreate it.
All in all I would say it was a pretty AWESOME way to spend my Wednesday night!

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

The Power of Yoga

I started practicing yoga about 9 years ago now. I walked in Tanya's Hot Yoga studio that fateful day hoping to shed some pounds and get that cute Lululemon butt all the girls were rocking around campus. But as it turned out, I left with so much more. 

Over the years yoga has always been in my life – sometime just on the peripheries and at others it takes on a greater role. But it always seems to take on that greater role in times of turmoil. So after losing my Dad this past summer, I found myself searching for a place to heal, and I found myself in a hot yoga class. Yoga has long helped me find balance, restore my spirit, and heal my broken heart (both physically and metaphorically). 

On the last day of 2013 I found myself in a packed class at my local Moksha Studio. We set our intention for the year ahead. We sought healing for the year that had past. And I reflected on the invaluable lessons I have learned from my practice.

  1. You only have one body, one heart, one mind, and one soul – Choose to Honor Yourself.
  2. The Breath is Powerful and Restorative.
  3. You can breathe in what you need, and breathe out what you don’t. 
  4. It is okay to surrender your fear.
  5. Having a flexible body is good for your health, and having a flexible mind is good for your soul.
  6. A grateful heart and joyful spirit shine from within.
  7. The physical expression of strength is a reminder of your spiritual progress.
  8. Be Present and Thankful for where you are today. 
  9. Find the Joy in your Journey
  10. Life filled with Love and Light is a better life.
      For these reasons and many others I choose to honour myself once a week with yoga. No matter what I need physically, mentally, spiritually - I always seem to find it within confines of the four corners of my yoga mat. And while yoga is a great way to balance my body, I know it is even better for my soul.

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Monday, 24 February 2014

#Bestfoot - Travel Training Sabotage

I was in Montreal last week for work. And despite my best intentions, travel is kind of Training Sabotage. There were a few things I did wrong, but I definitely learned some good lessons.

Meal Planning...
This probably the most difficult part of being away. We were really spoiled - catered breakfasts, buffet lunches, and then a delicious 4 course dinner out. It was all extremely yummy, but I ate a lot of things that I would normally avoid. Lately my stomach has been on point, so I have gotten fairly lax about my diet. But after a week away with sugar, diary, and red meat - I remember why I generally chose to avoid those things and why I can't eat like that anymore. My acid reflux was out of control by the end of my visit (and of course I forgot to pack my antacids). And with my tummy in turmoil the rest of my training suffered.

Schedule Training...
By the end of the week I was tired and feeling sick to my stomach, so my training was not exactly on point. I missed my scheduled workout Friday. And I opted for a rest day when I got back to Toronto Saturday. So my mileage suffered, but I feel rested and ready to tackle the week ahead. I did have a great run Sunday, so I am hoping my less than stellar week won't end up effecting my upcoming race.

My Training this Week...
Monday - 60 minutes on the Indoor Trainer in the Big Gears
Tuesday - 10km speed session on the treadmill
Wednesday - 90 minutes on the Indoor Trainer in the Big Gears
Thursday - 5km run and 30 minutes of Tamara's Ultimate Booty Workout
Friday - Rest
Saturday - Rest
Sunday - 10km Run at Race Pace

How was your week?

Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Long Weekend Loving

This past weekend was Valentines Day, and we had a long weekend here in Toronto. I have had a very busy start to 2014, so an extra day off was exactly what I needed. As always slowing down and being present is a work in progress. Finding a balance while being back at work full-time, finishing school, and training for Muskoka 70.3, has been a struggle. So this weekend was exactly what my little soul needed.

I kicked off my weekend with my hubby. Jamie had agreed to take his first yoga class and join my Happy Heart Project for Valentine’s Day this year. So we met up at Imprint Pilates after work, and set out on a quick 5km run with the group. We had a good pace going and it was nice to catch up this way after a long week. My body was feeling this week’s training though, so I was ready for a good stretch.  I think it is safe to say that yoga isn’t exactly Jamie’s things, but I think we had fun anyways.
 And then we capped off our Valentine’s Day at home with Pizza and Beer. It is all about balance, right?!

Saturday was a full on rest day. I snuggled with my puppy. I watched the Olympics. I read Hemingway. We went to the dog park. We played board games and watched Sherlock. And we just generally had a nice quiet day at home. I must confess it was PERFECT. I needed a quiet guilt-free day like this in the worst way!

It was all about the Long Run today – 29km to be exact. I woke up, looked at the weather, and was immediately not thrilled at the prospect. But I tried my best to suck it up anyways. Despite my reservations the hubby and I ended up having a GREAT run together. I have been a bit of a cranky-pants on my long runs lately - the cold, the crappy footing, and the gross weather - has all made me pretty miserable. But we did a new route down by the waterfront, and the route was nice and clear. Plus we decided to end at St Lawrence Market. The promise of bacon sandwiches helped keep me going, and it was delicious as advertised! All long runs should end with something delicious I think.

We met up for a Family Day dinner with the Bishop clan later that night. And I was totally shocked when my future sister-in-law popped this question.(**how cute is this proposal?!**)
(*swoon*) I am so excited for wedding! And incredibly honoured to be a Bridesmaid!

All and all I would say it was pretty spectacular weekend. Spending time with the people you love definitely helps rejuvenate the soul. And slowing down a little bit is good thing - sometimes I need the reminder.

How did you spend the weekend? Was it a long weekend in your neck of the woods too?

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

#ThriveEnergy Cookbook Launch

So it is a well known running joke around my house that I have notoriously bad taste in Sports Heroes... Lance...Oscar Pistorius...(*face to palm*). I am kind of 0/2 in this department. So when I got invited to the Thrive Energy Cookbook  launch I was kind of nervous - would my Triathlon Hero live up to the hype?

I have been reading Brendan's books for years, and have long been on the Vega , plant-based eating, bandwagon. In truth, even my January Vegan Challenge was inspired by his philosophies and triathlon training results. Admittedly, the expectations were high. (*No Pressure Brendan*)

I met up with Christina and Angela at the new YYoga Studio and commenced our crazy blogger social media fest! The event was catered by Thrive Juice Bar and the owner Johnnie who helped create the amazing recipes in the new cookbook. Eating was probably the part I was most looking forward to, because with my new Ironman 70.3 training schedule my hunger just won't quit. So I have got a sneak peak of this yummy-ness for WIAW. Johnny made 2 main dishes - vegan pad thai and falafel with quinoa salad. (*I may have had both!*).

They were also serving 2 different kind of fresh juices, shots of wheatgrass, veggie spring rolls, almond butter chocolate cups, and Vega hydrator. My tastebuds and tummy were really happy. And I have already marked the Pad Thai Sauce for my Sunday Meal Prep - I am probably going to put it on everything next week.

We did our typical social media thing - chatted, took photos, laughed our faces off, and waited around like little stalkers to the bitter end of the event to have our books signed and to take photos with the man of the hour.
Brendan was incredibly nice and managed to handle our sass and crazy antics with grace. It was very cool to be able to finally meet the person whose books I have been reading for so long.  His new book has some seriously stunning food photos and the recipes look amazing. I also like how it includes a mock up of an Athletic Meal Plan for all of us budding triathletes. My faith in my Sports Heroes has been restored! Now I just need to convince Brendan to teach me all of his triathlon training tricks and we will be all set.

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

1 year and Life Lessons

We made it friends! I am officially 1 year post-op. And for the first time in a long time my body has been given the all clear. 

When I started this little blog a few years back I never really imagined that anyone would read it. And I certainly never imagined that I would then proceed to document 2 of the most painful years of my life. But here we are friends - 3 surgeries, 2 marathons, a devastating  loss, and a whole lots of tears later - here we are. I am a little bruised. My spirit has taken a bit of a beating. I certainly have more scars and bionic parts than we started. But I am still standing.

My soon-to-be sister-in-law gave me Malcolm Gladwell's David and Goliath for my birthday this year. And after the year I had had, and for the place I was in, I must say it was a very apt choice. Because as much as I would never wish the last few years of my life on anyone, there is also very little that I would change. I have learned some of life's greatest lessons from this pain and these struggles. Life has undoubtedly been hard,  but there is part of me that is also incredibly grateful. Sometimes beautiful and important life lessons arise from what looks like suffering and adversity.

Life is incredibly precious

It should be cherished and lived to its fullest. The past few years have taught me that you never know where you are going, where you will end up, and what will suddenly stop you in your tracks. But the life you are given is a gift - so Struggle, Fight, Believe, and Persevere. That fight will take you somewhere beautiful if you let it.

Live you priorities
Life is too short and too precious to be anything, but happy. It easy to get wrapped up in the little things - to use up too much energy on the little every day stresses. It is those truly life changing moments that make you see what is really important. And generally those little things aren't, so chose to let them go. And focus on putting your whole heart into creating the life that you want. Do what makes you happy and focus on the things you truly value.

Love is always the answer
Nothing good has ever been accomplished with negativity or hate. So love others, love yourself, believe in the kindness of strangers, and see the love that surrounds you - wonderful things will happen.

You do not always get to choose the life you get, but you can chose how you handle the life you are dealt
There is not much that has happened over the past few year that I would have chosen. In fact, if I could there are certainly things I would change. But you only get one life, so you need to live the one you want. Life will not always be perfect. There will be hardship and sadness. But you need to believe that you are bigger than those obstacles, get back up, and keep trying. (*and sometimes trying means crying, eating your feelings, but being willing to try again the next day*)

Anything is Possible
If I have learned nothing else, this definitely rings true. You are stronger, braver, and better than you know. Never doubt that. So no matter where you are today, know that you are worth the fight, it will get better, and you are going to go somewhere beautiful. Just believe in yourself, persevere, and keep dreaming. You will get there. Anything is possible.

Love Your (grateful) Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Monday, 17 February 2014

#Bestfoot - Loving the Burn

You know THAT feeling - the one where when your muscles ache, you cringe when you have to climb the stairs, and you fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow? Yeah that feeling. That feeling is how you know you rocked your training. And that is the feeling I have been relishing this week!

I kicked my own ass this week. Every training session clicked, my muscles ached, my legs burned, and I loved every second of it! It is that good burn - that burn that tells you are getting stronger, that you are making progress, and that you are putting your BESTFOOT forward.

That burn is part of your training. It hurts, but in a good way. And you have to learn how to embrace it and love it if you are really going to push yourself. I still remember the first time I felt the burn. It was during dance class when I was in the 9th grade. Our dance studio had added 1 hour of body conditioning into our musical theater class. We would lift weights, do crunches, and sweat it out for 60 minutes before we started dancing. The next day I would waddle around the halls at school - so stiff and so sore - but I love it! I loved knowing that I was pushing my body and working hard. Those sore muscles were a sure sign that I left it all out there, and I became addicted to the burn.

This week I groaned when I had to climb the stairs, I spent a lot of time with my foam roller and massage stick, I liberally applied the A535 before I climbed into bed, and I relished in that satisfying, magical, burn.

This Week's Training...
Monday - 60 minutes on my indoor trainer in the big gears
Tuesday - 8km Speed Workout with 2x 1 mile repeats at 5km race pace
              - Phase 1 of Tamara's Ultimate Booty Workout
Wednesday - 2km endurance swim
Thursday - 9km easy pace on the treadmill
Friday - 12km speed workout on the treadmill
           - 5 km followed by 45 minute Happy Heart Yoga/Pilates Fusion Class
Saturday - REST - and I needed it this week
Sunday - 29km long slow run

I also noticed that Phaedra was tracking her weekly mileage so I thought I would include all that too!
Run - 63 km or 40 miles
Bike - 60 min indoor session
Swim - 2000 m or 1 mile
Strength - 2 sessions

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Goal #8 - The Vacation

So last month I published a list of my top 14 goals for 2014 - #8 was a much needed and long overdue vacation with my hubby. We have been going back and forth about possible locations and itineraries for months now. But after much debate and research on my husband's part, I think we have finally settled on our dream destination...

We are jetting of to France for 16 days in June.

(*swoon*) I am over the moon excited, and it is just 124 days away. Spring cannot come soon enough!

We are flying into Paris and heading west to Dinan in Brittnay to start off the trip. Then we will head back to Paris to absorb as much art and culture as possible, before we head to beautiful Lake Annecy to round out our trip. I plan to relish in every moment! I want to eat cheese and escargot. I want to drink wine. I want to absorb art like a sponge. I want to run through the alps. And more than anything I want to just enjoy spending some quality time with my husband - because we made it!

Our world has been on pause for the last couple of years. So much has happened, and I have just been barely hanging on. When I find myself thinking back on all that has happened, the weight of it overwhelms me. I have been muddling my way through waves of stress and grief, just struggling to keep it all together. So it is no surprise that we have been existing in survival-mode - focused on trying to make it over the next big hurtle - without being able to imagine moving forward.

I cannot the remember the last time I was giddy with excitement, the way I am for this trip. It has been a long time since we last talked about our future and were able to see the light. But today I see it. Today we get to move forward. And I could not be more grateful.

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

70.3 Ironman Starting Stats

Last Friday, despite my long day Thursday, I got up early and made my way over to Goodlife for a Body Composition Assessment. This is generally outside my comfort zone - since I gave up giving much clout to the scale a few years back. But with 8 long month of training ahead of me, the daunting task of covering 70.3 miles, and the hope (prayer/wish/desire with every fiber of my being) that I am going to remain healthy for the entirety of 2014 - I decided I wanted to see how Ironman and a Healthy year of training would change my body and my performance.

So I have decided to do a monthly check-in and see what happens as I train my booty off this year and tackle the Muskoka 70.3 in September. Sometimes you need to know where you started to see how far you have come - so this year I am keeping track.

*Cringe* Here we go. My Starting Stats for operation #make2014myBITCH are...

Body Stats...
Weight: 116 lbs
Body Fat: 20%

Goals for February:
So I am not really expecting huge changes in terms of body composition this month. Overall I would like to increase my muscle mass and strength, which in the long run would ideally decrease my body fat percentage. But I kind of doubt I will see much change in the early months of my training. Coach has stressed that I need to "Eat All the Carbs" and not drop weight early on. So I will generally continue to ignore the scale.

Conditioning Stats...
Strength: Cardio Endurance
Weakness: Chest and Glutes

Goals for February:
My cardiovascular endurance really improved with my marathon training last year, so I want to continue to maintain the gains I made here. But strength training is going to be a bigger focus this month. My assessment showed that my chest and glutes were both weak. The chest was no surprise - it has taken a serious beating over the last couple of years. But the glutes were not even on my radar, and they are the main power source for my runs. So I want to add 2x Strength Sessions per week to really start improving these muscles and gain more overall strength and power.

Performance Stats...  
Half Marathon: 2:10:16

Goals for February:
There is not much happening in terms of triathlons at this point in the year. But one of my goals is to seriously improve my half marathon time. I have a half marathon scheduled on March 2nd and I am hoping for a PR. My last half marathon was a training run, not a race, so I am hoping I can pull off a faster time. I would love to get my time down to 2 hours (or in an ideal world sub-2). But the weather has been crazy this winter, and I am not sure what race day will hold, so time will tell. The goal is just to keep training hard for the next 3 weeks, grind it out on race day, and see what happens.

Do you track your progress? What sort of stats do you use?

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Sunday, 9 February 2014

#Bestfoot - Winter, Winter, and more Winter!

Okay, so I know I am Canadian. And winter is winter. But I think this latest blast of winter weather broke me. We got another foot of snow this past Wednesday and my initial reaction was to put on my PJs, stock up on the carbs, and hibernate until Spring. I mean, seriously?! (**puppy snuggles look much more appealing, right?!**)

I am so over the snow and the cold it is not even funny. I have decided that I should probably move to Hawaii, or Spain, or something - because this is just crazy. I am 4 weeks away from next Half Marathon, and I am not sure that my training has been strong enough to get the time I am hoping for (*sub-2 hrs*). My legs have been taking a serious beating, and I had shin-splints for the first time ever during my treadmill run on Thursday night. The run itself - SUCKED! But I am trying to remember that consistency is key, so some days you just gotta get it done. Which means despite the snow messing with my feng-shui, I need to stick to my training plan. This week was less than stellar. But I know I need to get serious over the next few weeks if I want to make this happen.

#BESTFOOT things I am going to do differently over the next 4 weeks...
1. Embrace the treadmill! 
So I have always been the type to want to tough it out in any kind of weather, but this winter has really put me to the test. With the treacherous footing and less than stellar roads conditions, speed work is only going to happen on the treadmill or indoor track. So I must find my treadmill zen, and get those speed sessions done.

2. Stretch More!
My calves have been on fire all week. And my hamstrings are crazy tight (even tighter than usual). So I need to spend more time stretching. I always rush through this part of my cool-down. Or in truth, often skip it all together because I am running behind or just being lazy. But after last week's Happy Heart Yoga Session I realized how much my body needs the chance the stretch and balance back out.

4. Incorporate Strength
Okay so it is no secret that I am a Cardio Queen. I spend pretty  much all of my time focusing on the 3 triathlon disciplines - swim, bike, run. Which means I am almost never hit the weights. But I had a full body composition done on Friday to assess my strengths and weakness, and to get a sense of my starting stats. It turns out my chest and glutes need work. The chest was no surprise - it has taken a serious beating over the last couple of years. But the glutes were not even on my radar. So my goal is to incorporate 2x strength session per week for the next 4 weeks.

This Week's Training...
Monday - Rest Day
Tuesday - 7.25km run with 5x 650m Hill Repeats
Wednesday - Snow-apocalypse
Thursday - 10km Treadmill Run (it sucked)
Friday - 5km Treadmill Run and Body Composition Assessment in the AM
           - 4.5km run followed by 45min yoga-pilates class in the PM
Saturday - 45 min on the indoor trainer
Sunday - 24km long slow run

How are you all surviving winter training? 
Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Happy Heart Yoga Event Details

You will notice that there is a new button the the right side of my blog. The Happy Heart Project has officially launched. And that new button will take you to my donation page. Thank you so much for all of your support so far. It really means more than I can ever express.

For all of my local friends and readers...
 I am teaming up with Imprint Pilates for a February Friday night Karma Series. We will be meeting at the upstairs studio at 101 Spadina for Run-Yoga-Pilates Fusion workout. We are asking that you make a $10 donation to the Heart Stroke Foundation and then come make your heart happy with this fantastic workout. (Check out the Imprint Pilates website for all the details and to reserve your spot)
We launched the first class last week with the help of some of my favourite and truly amazing blogging peeps! And the session was amazing. We had an optional 30 minute run session at 5:30pm for those who could make it and were interested. And then we had a 45 minute Yoga-Pilates fusion class at 6:15pm lead by Aniela. It was the perfect combination of strength, stretch, balance, and breath.

The whole night was bitter sweet. My heart-ached and the tears flowed when I had to talk about losing my Dad. But it meant to world to have these amazing people in my life helping to support the Happy Heart Project.

This week, and for the rest of the month of February the event is open to the public. The studio can fit 15 yogis comfortably so please email the studio and reserve your spot ahead of time. It is an awesome workout and a great way to honour your body and take care of your heart this month! I would obviously love to pack every class and get the chance to meet a lot of you in person. So you can sign up for one class with a $10 donation or you can take part in the whole series for a $40 donation. You can make your donation online through my donation page or with cash at the beginning of class.

Event Details:
When: Every Friday Evening for the Month of February
Time: (optional) 30 minute Run at 5:30pm followed by
          Yoga-Pilates Fusion Class at 6:15pm
Where: The Upstairs Studio at 101 Spadina 
(just north of King street on the east side of Spadina)
Cost: $10 donation per class or $40 for the whole series 
What you need: comfy clothes and some water 
(the studio has the mats, cushions, and blocks necessary for the class) 

I hope to see you all there!
Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

#WIAW - Udon Stirfry

It is #WIAW, which means I have got a winner for last week's Plant Fusion Giveaway. Congrats Kayla Gillman! Please email me so I can coordinate your prize and it's shipment!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I saw my coach last Friday at Imprint Pilates, and she informed me that I was looking a little gaunt in the face (*haha thanks coach! Don't sugar-coat it or anything*). So Carbs and Carbs Galore are on the menu. My ironman training has increased in mileage and intensity, so I need to make sure that I am fueling my body properly to get me through this long training cycle. So I am experimenting with some new recipes to ensure I am getting enough calories to keep up with my training and to keep my taste buds happy. This is one of my new favourite recipes.

 Udon Stirfry
Serves: 2-4 people
Cook Time: >20 minutes

Udon Noodles - one pack per person
1 pepper, chopped
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 cup of cremini mushrooms, chopped
1 leek, chopped
1 cup of spinach
2 tbsp fresh chopped parsely
2 green onions, diced

2 tbsp water
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp Scriacha Hot Sauce
1 tbsp fresh ginger, finely grated

1. Add 2 tbsp of EVO, onion, leek, and garlic to a large pan. Cook down, and then add the mushrooms. Cook on medium-high heat for 5-10 minutes, or until the mushrooms soften. Reduce heat.
2. Bring water to a boil in a separate pot, and add the udon noodles. The brand I use has the noodles per-portioned, so I use one package person. Typically only takes between 5-10 minutes to cook.
3. Mix together all of the sauce ingredients and add to the mushroom mixture. Bring sauce to a boil and add the spinach, parsley, and green onions.
4. Top noodles with sauce and serve.

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Sunday, 2 February 2014

#Bestfoot Link Up + Happy Heart Project

I have started and restarted this post about 20 times in the last month. In fact there are 3 very different versions saved in my drafts. I have struggled to put my feeling into words on this topic. How can I possibly adequately express the impact Heart Disease has had on me and my life?

Those two words have been in my life for the last 20 years. They shaped me, changed me, and they have destroyed me. So trying to summarize their impact in some kind of conscience vaguely well written post seems almost impossible. But bear with me, I am going to try. 

Heart Disease has broken my heart both literally and figuratively. Literally with my own diagnosis. And figuratively with the loss of my father. The impact of both - profound, devastating, and life-changing.

I was diagnosed with my arrhythmia at 17, and fitted with my first pacemaker/defibrillator at 18. Who I was and who I was going to be was forever changed. I know how lucky I am that I woke up on that fateful day the summer before my senior year – many people do not. Arrhythmias often strike only once, and once is often fatal. And I know how blessed I am to live in age where an ICD is option. But my health is no longer a given, it is something I have to work for and cherish every single day. I know all too well how quickly it can be taken away. There is still no cure for Long QT syndrome, and because of that, I will spend the rest of my life trying to mend this broken heart of mine.

Losing my Dad this summer broke my heart in a new and horrible way. In an instant he was ripped from my life in a way that reinforced the precarious edge between life and death on which we dwell. The pain I felt still overwhelms me. It is raw. It is real. And it is all consuming in a way that I have never experienced. My heart continues to break every time I am forced to face this new reality.

I was unprepared for all that 2013 had in store me, and I have yet to process all that has happened. But I know I need to do something positive with my pain in order to heal. And healing is what 2014 is all about. My struggles have become part of my story. Every struggle and every setback has led to something greater. I have grown, learned lessons, come out stronger, and more often than not happier because of the things I have faced. 2013 broke me, so in 2014 I want to heal and rebuild. So I am asking you to join me in finding my Happy Heart again.

I am training for the Muskoka Ironman 70.3  in honour of my Dad. I will swim, ride, and run 70.3 miles to commemorate both the joy and tenacity that defined him and his life. And I will be working closely with the Heart and Stroke Foundation to raise money to fund new research and awareness about Heart Health. February is Heart Health Awareness month, and the start of my Happy Heart Project.

You will notice that there is a new button the the right side of my blog. The Happy Heart Project button takes you to my donation page. I am also teaming up with Imprint Pilates for a local Friday night Karma Series. We will be meeting at the Upstairs Studio at 101 Spadina for Run-Yoga-Pilates Fusion Workout. There will be an optional 30 minute run at 5:30pm for those who are interested, followed by a Yoga-Pilates Fusion Class at 6:15pm. We are asking that you make a $10 donation to the Heart Stroke Foundation and then come make your heart happy with this fantastic workout. (Check out the Imprint Pilates website for all the details and email to reserve your spot)

This year I will be putting my #BESTFOOT forward and training my butt off to keep my heart healthy and to help it heal.

This Week's Training...
Monday - Easy 30 minute ride on the indoor trainer
Tuesday -  Easy 10km on the treadmill
Wednesday - 60 minute ride on the indoor trainer in the AM. Followed by an 8km Run in the PM
Thursday - 30 minute swim
Friday - 10km Speed Workout on the treadmill in the AM. Followed by 45 min of Happy Heart Yoga-Pilates Fusion with Imprint Pilates
Saturday - Rest
Sunday - 18km long run at 6:40km/pace

What drives your training? 
Will you join my Happy Heart Project?

Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,