Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Race Fueling with @BurnbraeFarms

It's WIAW and today I am talking about Eggs. Eggs are a major staple in my diet. And when I say major, I mean I eat approximately half a dozen eggs a week. Yep, it is a little excessive...

My love affair with eggs all began a couple summers back when I was battling tummy troubles and on an elimination diet. Eggs were an easily digestible form of protein, and on the approved food list. So I began eating them almost daily. From then on I have found myself continuing to reach for my trusty eggs as my go-to training fuel.

4-6 days a week I eat 2 eggs scrambled with a roasted potato. I confess I can be a boring eater, but it works for me. It gives me the energy I need and it keep my sensitive acid-prone stomach in check. So when Burnbrae Farms asked if I wanted to train and fuel with them for the Mississauga Half this weekend - I obviously said "Yes". (I mean realistically I kind of was anyways)

And while my scrambled eggs and roasted potato are nutritious, that doesn't exactly make for the most glamorous of recipe posts. So I busted out my baking skills on Sunday and perfected these epic cornmeal muffins!

Gluten-Free Cornmeal Berry Explosion Muffins

Prep Time: 60 minutes
Makes: 24 good size muffins

3 Omega 3 Burnbrae Farms Eggs
Juice from half an Orange
12 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup Coconut Oil
2 cups Almond Milk
1/2 cup water
3 cups cornmeal
3 cups Gluten-Free Biscuit Mix
1/4 cup Agave Nectar
1/4 cup Maple Syrup
4 tps baking powder
1 tps baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup Giddy Yoyo Golden Berries
1 cup dried Cranberries

1. Preheat Oven to 350
2. Mix together all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl - cornmeal, biscuit mix, baking powder, baking soda, salt, berries, and cranberries.
3. Add wet ingredients and mix thoroughly - 3 eggs, orange juice, butter, coconut oil, almond milk, water, agave nectar, maple syrup
4. Spoon into muffin cups and bake on the middle rack for 30-35 minutes.

Hope you all enjoy!
Love Your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Sunday, 26 April 2015

5Peaks Race Recap

Saturday did not exactly go the way I hoped and planned.

Since my Surgery in November I have been feeling nervous about getting back into racing.

I was hoping that signing up for this trail race would be a good way to shake out my nerves and rebuild some confidence.

I planned on running the enduro course. But as soon as I started, I knew things were not going to well. I had a high stress 15 hour day the day before. And while I knew I was exhausted, I thought that because I didn't have any serious expectations I could just push through.

Instead I peeled off course at kilometer 2 to find a place in the woods to be sick. I was sick again after another couple minutes of running. And pretty soon after I decided to call it a day. The course was a double loop, so rather than pushing through for the sake of it, I dropped down and finished the Sport course.

I admit I left feeling pretty dejected.
(I may have even shed a couple of tears - ridiculous as that sounds)

I know yesterday was the result of a tired body after a long week. But I would be lying if I said I didn't need a bit of a running boost.

Now generally I like to think I take my lumps, rebuild, and keep on trucking. But the last few years have been frustrating. And I have been struggling with a certain amount of performance anxiety over the past few weeks.

Each time I make progress, get my health and body back on track - there has been another surgery, another setback. And so I start again. The arduous task of regaining fitness, rebuilding muscle, and getting race ready.

It all requires a lot of hard work. And sometimes I wish my hard work actually translated into the kind of fast times and race results I dream about.

I felt all kinds of pressure (albeit in my own head) to make those results a reality during my Spring race season. To make this season count. To get that personal best. To actually get that result I feel in within me. So May has become this big Make-or-Break Moment in my mind

I wanted to run yesterday, and feel strong. I wanted to prove to myself that I was ready to fiercely tackle  the Mississauga Half  next weekend.

Yesterday didn't give me the boost I was hoping for.
But I still believe that race result I long for is in within me.

I will push hard for it next Sunday. And if I am not there yet, then I know I will keep striving.

Each run, no matter the result, is a victory.
I know this.

I know running, let alone racing, is something I need to be grateful for each and every day I have the opportunity to do so.

But I wouldn't be opposed to a strong finish and a fast time one of these days too.
Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Monday, 20 April 2015

Wishing, Hoping, Thinking, and Praying

Saturday is going too be my first race of 2015, and it also marks almost exactly 5 months post-op.

My race schedule ramps up pretty quickly from here on out - with 3 races planned in the next 4 weeks. My primary goal race being the Mississauga Half Marathon on May 3rd.

My running and overall strength have improved dramatically from where I was just a few months ago. And I have generally been feeling happy about my training and progress.

One of the perks (*admittedly there are not many..) of having 4 surgeries in the last 3 years, is that I am no stranger to art of rebuilding. I have done it every season since I started seriously getting into distance running in 2012. Each season I have a surgery. Each season I rebuild. I know it is possible. I know what it takes. I have made mistakes. I have gotten frustrated. But in the end, I have learned to listen to and respect my body and the process along the way.

In this case, I think the 4th time is the charm. I think my surgeons finally got it right. And I think I rehabbed in the best possible way.

But as I creep closer to race day a little bit of doubt and race day anxiety creeps in.

I think every runner kind of panics as they creep closer and closer to their goal race. You start to question if you have trained enough. If you body will hold up at that pace for the full distance. If you are ready to go to that dark place and dig deep.

I think I have done the best I could with these last 5 months.
And Race Day will tell me if my body is ready.

The Mississauga Half Marathon is a net downhill course, so if ever the conditions were there to get that Personal Best, this one just might be it.

My goal is to run a solid 5:40/km pace (which is a 9:07/mile) for the first 16km. And then kick down to a 5:35-5:30/km pace (a 8:59-8:51/mile) for the final 5.1km. If everything comes together, and I can actually race the way I hope that should get me my sub-2 half and a brand spanking personal best.

But in the interest of Dreaming Big, but Respecting the Process. I understand I might not be there yet. So while I know what I wish, and hope, and think, and pray to do. I am also okay which just racing hard and finishing strong.

I have talked it over with Coach Michelle and she agrees, I will race hard over the next few weeks. And while a shiny Personal Best is always awesome, so much about the next few weeks is just about finding my confidence again and embracing racing post-op.

So heres hoping for Fast Legs and a Happy Heart!
Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Behind the Scenes...

Things have been a little helter-skelter behind the scenes here lately (a sentiment I am pretty sure I write at least 5x a year. But it is true). I can't reveal all of the mischief I have been up to lately just yet... But I definitely do have some new stuff to share with you.

5Peaks Trail Race:
I signed up for my first trail race of the season! I am going to run the Terra Cotta 5Peaks Enduro Course next weekend. I had such a great time trying out trail racing last year, that I wanted to make getting off the road a priority this season. This is actually going to be my first race back post-op, and I think trail racing is the perfect environment to get back into the racing spirit.

Because of the unpredictable terrain you can't fuss too much about pace. So my goal next weekend is to target effort. I will running to heart rate - I am planning to run the first 6km in Zone 4 and then kick it into Zone 5 for the final 3.8km. It is up in the Halton Hills Conservation area, so I suspect it is going to be hilly. But I think it is going to be fun!

I was contacted in January by Christa from iRun Magazine asking if I would be willing to chat about running and some of the charity work I had done. I was in the middle of moving, so I admit I didn't ask many questions, said "Sure", and carried on. So when Christa sent me the link to the actual article (<--- Click here to read it) I was stunned, humbled, and admittedly a little overwhelmed.

The whole issue was a tribute to Terry Fox - basically the most beloved and inspiring Canadians of all time - and I was included in an article title "A tribute to the next generation of heroes". Ummmm, What the What?! That is a pretty prestigious comparison, and I really don't think it is warranted.

I would obviously love to make a contribution like that, but I am just not on that level. I am going to do my darnest to live up to these lofty expectations though. This year my focus is going to continue to be The Heart and Stroke Foundation and I will running and racing in support of them and their lifesaving research. You can check out my fundraising page here (or just click the Happy Heart Project Button in the sidebar).

iRun and Saucony's #FindYourStrong campaign are going to be following our adventure for the next year! So my wheels are spinning as I try to come up with my next great adventure.

Get Out There Girls Podcast:
This is something that we have been chatting about for a while, but it is now finally being executed! I have teamed up with some of my favourite girls - Jess, Michelle, and Clare - to talk about all things Girlie and Sports related.

Our website is now up and running and you can subscribe to us on iTunes. Our first podcast is up and running so we would love to hear what you think. And what you would like to hear us talk about? So send all your questions and ideas our way!

So tell me:
  • Have you ever tried trail racing?
  • What do you think my next adventure should be?
  • What would you like to hear on our next podcast?
Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Sunday, 12 April 2015

We all have those bad Body Image days...

In the last 3 years of my life I have had 4 surgeries. 2 of which were for my double mastectomy and reconstruction. I was left with a body very different from the one I started out with.

My body altered significantly - I now have implants and a chest lined with two 3 inch scars, where my nipples used to be. My left side has an extra deep red scar an inch below my collarbone, that my cardio team uses as a revolving door to access my pacemaker/defibrillator.

Many things have changed over the past few years, not the least of which has been my attitude about my body.

Instead of worrying about the number on the scale, or comparing myself to some unattainable image in a magazine - I learned how to prioritize my health. I went through all of the above to be healthy. I crawled my way back to fitness time and time again to be strong. And I suddenly realized how grateful I was for everything that I had and everything my body was capable of.

It has been a change that has left a deeper impression on me, than my scars.

But over the past couple of weeks I have started to lose that strength and conviction.

I have been working on some things behind the scenes that have started to bring image to the forefront. And I have found myself scrutinizing the size of my thighs. Pinching my love handles and sighing with disgust. Berating myself for that Easter Chocolate I ate. And silently questioning, "am I enough as I am?".

We all have these days. Those days where that mean, negative voice inside your head starts to win. We all have that voice. We all have those days.

It is okay to have those days. But those days can't define us. That little voice is liar. That little voice is a bully. And that little voice needs to be silenced.

Today, despite my flaws, I can see the beautiful life I have been blessed to lead. The scars that mark my skin signify the hard battle I have fought and the strength this body possesses. It has been a tough few years, but I have learned how to love my body better now.

Today I thank my body for all that it is and all that does for me each and every day.
Never forget all that you are, or question what you are capable of.

Sending you all Body Love today!
Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,

Thursday, 2 April 2015

On to Happier Things

I wanted to Thank You all so much for all your support and advice on my last post. I never did hear anything more, but I have decided to start watermarking all of my pictures and will keep my fingers crossed that, that is the end of it.

So let's move on to happier things shall we.

I mentioned a few weeks back that one of my goals for 2015 is to finally run a Sub-2 hour Half Marathon. But the only one I had signed up for was the very hilly Bluenose Half which I will be running after several crazy busy work days. I knew this race wasn't going to be my goal race, the conditions are just not right to strive for a PR.

So when I was contacted by Burnbrae Farms to find out if I would interested in running the Mississauga Half Marathon on May 3rd with them, I said "Heck Yes!". I have not done this course before, so I am looking forward to tackling something new. And soon after agreeing - an adorable package filled with chocolate and eggs arrived at my door.

Any time I get a chocolate delivery is a good day!

My fuelling is taken care of, but there is still that pesky business of training... so I talked to Coach Michelle, and we have been working on our game plan.

I have obviously not had ideal half marathon training, since I spent the first few months of year rehabbing and rebuilding my endurance. But my body has adapting really well and is feeling stronger than it has in a really long time.

So Michelle has been kicking my butt the last few weeks with some tough speed workouts and tempo runs, and we are going to give it our best shot to make it happen over the next 29 days.

I am never properly prepared - it is kind of my thing - I am always rehabbing or battling something. So that is nothing new, but I want to do my best and train hard this April. All while keeping my fingers crossed I can make the gains I need to get that elusive PR.

Making my Pro Compression Gear my BFF right now!

Which brings me to my next bit of happy news, Congrats to Ken Christensen! You were randomly selected as the winner of last week's Pro Compression Giveaway! I have sent you an email requesting the info I need to get your prize shipped out to you, so please send me an email ( and we can coordinate!

So that's what's going on around here these days. How are you guys doing?
Hope you all are having a good week!
Love your favourite Darwinian Fail,