My current {running} plan.

It was so spring-like on the weekend, I nearly cried tears of joy when I stepped outside without a jacket and felt… warm?  Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to live in a place where I wouldn’t have to worry about the weather ruining my plans (or life). A land where year-round outdoor running is possible. A life without vitamin d deficiency and bone de-mineralization. It’s what my dreams are made of, friends.

I have a feeling only Canadians can relate to my (non-existent) problems. We have two seasons: summer and winter and we either complain about being too cold or too hot. There is no in between.

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To celebrate, I drank a marg because margaritas = summer. (I actually drank 3)

How’s your day going so far?  Did you have a good weekend?

After this weekend’s long run, I’m feeling much more confident about my running progression. Fortunately, I was able to get a head-start on my training this year.  Since January, I’ve committed myself to building up a solid base of  around 10-15 outdoor miles per week before proceeding with a more structured schedule.  So far, three ‘run days’ is working well  and it leaves me with enough room to pursue my other fitness passions: Bodypump, strength training, hiking or long walks to the fridge.

Last week’s training looked like this:

Monday: 3.1 treadmill miles @ 8:16 avg

Tuesday: Upper body strength + 30 mins elliptical

Wednesday: Lower body strength & core. Strong bum = strong runs! (I’m going to do a piece on the best moves for runners soon!)

Thursday: 4.25 miles @ 8:07 avg

Friday: Off

Saturday: Bodypump @ GoodLife Fitness

Sunday: 10 easy miles @ 9:45 avg

The boy woke me up at 9am on Sunday morning by poking me and saying, “Wake up, you gotta run”
Me: “No. I don’t feel good. I’m going to cancel” (I wanted to keep sleeping)
Him: “No you’re not”
Me: “Okay I’ll aim for 5 miles and if I feel horrible, I’ll quit”
My original plan was 8, but you know the old runners logic: I’ve already run 8 and feel good, might as well make it 10. And even after 10, I wanted to add another 3 just for fun. I’m so glad I decided to not be lazy and lace up instead! It was such a fun afternoon.

I ran with friends during my “easy” 10 miler.  We stayed in zones 2 & 3 (70-80% & 80-90% of  max heart rate) until the last mile when I  began sprinting because I was thirsty, hungry and had to go to the bathroom.  I think the trick to enduring long “Z-2″ runs is to round up friends to train with. We chatted and laughed the entire time and the miles flew by in no time!   These types of runs are the ultimate patience test for me.  My instinct is to run faster because it feels too easy, but some experts suggest it’s an essential piece to getting faster and building endurance in the long run. Ha! The long run.  (Want more info on heart rate zone training? Here’s a Runners World article that breaks it down.)  I’m on the fence with Z2/Z3 training. I feel like there’s a high probability that long distance, easy runs are ‘junk miles’ which focus more on quantity instead of quality. How do you expect to run fast if you don’t practice running fast? On the other hand, how can you endure long distances if you don’t practice running long distances?    I guess that’s why it’s important to do both. High intensity intervals on some days, long, easy “safe” runs on others.  Sorry, I’m thinking out loud and rambling here.

In other news, I ordered a running day-planner from Amazon to keep me organized and accountable. Cassie recommended it and I believe everything she says.  For me to be successful, I need to put pen to paper and plan my schedule. That said, I still leave room for flexibility and anticipate to adapt to life as needed. Sometimes a training run won’t happen due to work, illness, injury, plans with friends, Netflix marathons, etc.  A few years ago, I’d feel really disappointed in myself if a training run didn’t go as planned or I skipped one.  My attitude is so much more relaxed, and wouldn’t ya know it – I’m a better athlete (and human being) because of it!

I’m doing the best I can with my current ability – I’m challenged, but not pushing myself to extremes in order to “keep up”  with my perception of what ‘I think other people are doing’. THAT, right there is the key to being a happy and healthy runner (or human being) – just focus on you, and don’t worry about what other people are doing. Self-imposed expectations of how you “think” you should perform and then feeling angry or defeated when you don’t live up to your “standards”? That’s such a yucky feeling.  Been there, done that, it didn’t work, so I stopped.

 

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The only thing I need to make a habit of again is yoga. I fell of the wagon around Christmas when my schedule was disrupted and busied myself with running instead. I don’t know why it’s so hard for me to commit to my practice! This pattern is cyclical:  I love it, but don’t feel like going. Not only that, my feet are covered in blisters and calluses and I’m scared to reveal how gross I am.

However, once I start practicing again, I say, “I forgot I’m such a better person when I’m doing yoga! Why did I stop?”   Ugh. Someone yell at me, please.

Here’s to a great week ahead – if I don’t chat with you again before Easter, I hope you have a wonderful holiday and spring break! <3

What kinds of foods do you crave while immersed in training? SALT. ALL THE SALT. I’m craving orange juice and pretzels in particular today.

How do you approach planning workouts? Do you create a schedule or just wing it?

What’s the last workout you did? 

Thinking Out Loud: (I just wrote ‘Running Out Loud’)

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Thanks for your sweet words on my latest running recap.  Have you ever noticed running forces you to confront your self-doubt, fears and uncertainty?    I’m confident it’s one of the reasons why people fall in love with the sport –  it will show you things about yourself you weren’t consciously aware of.  We can absolutely do challenging things despite ‘that voice’ that tries to tell us otherwise.

One of the books I’m currently reading is ‘The Untethered Soul‘ and there’s a piece on fear that I loved so much:

“We think we’re supposed to figure out how life should be, and then make it that way. Only someone who looks deeper and questions why we need the events of life to be a particular way, will question this assumption. How did we come up with the notion that life is not okay just the way it is, or that it won’t be okay the way it will be? Who said that the way life naturally unfolds is not right?  The answer is, fear says so….

You’re either trying tho figure out how to keep things from happening, or you’re trying to figure out what to do because they did happen. When you have fear inside you, the events of life invariably stimulate it. Life creates situations that push you to your edges all with the effect of removing what is blocked inside of you… 

If you truly want to grow, you’ll realize that keeping your stuff (holding onto fear and trying to avoid it) is keeping you trapped. Eventually you’ll want out and you’ll realize LIFE IS TRYING TO HELP YOU. Life is surrounding you with people and situations that stimulate growth. You don’t have to decide who’s right or who’s wrong. You don’t have to worry about other people’s issues. You only have to be willing to open your heart in the face of anything and everything and permit the process to take place. When you do this, the first thing you’ll see is situations will unfold that hit your stuff (fear). But, in truth, that’s exactly what has been happening your entire life. The only difference is now you see it as a good thing, because it’s an opportunity to let go….”

That blurb is from the chapter, “Let go now or fall”.  Let go now. I’m going to keep that one in my back pocket!

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I experienced a zero-gravity float tank for the first time. The boy arranged it at Float Life  as a post-race surprise for us – a way to relax, unwind and soothe our sore muscles.

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I had no idea what to expect. The boy described it as  “complete sensory deprivation”; “laying inside a small pod for 90 minutes” ; “feeling restless” and “awesome”. So yeah, he really sold it to me.  It made much more sense when he pulled up the website to explain the health benefits of floating:

“The Float Pod creates an environment that cannot be found anywhere else on earth. During your session you are floating effortlessly in 1200Lbs. of epsom salt dissolved into 11-inch of water within a lightproof and soundproof environment. The water is maintained at the same temperature as your skin and after a few minutes you lose the awareness of where your body ends and the water begins. After you feel the effects of your first float you may wonder how something so simple can have such a profound effect on your overall well-being. However, the benefits of floating are backed by over thirty years of mainstream scientific research in human performance.”

Magnesium is known to be ‘the calming mineral’ and epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) are thought to be easily absorbed through the skin, soothing aches, pains and calming the nervous system. Unfortunately, there isn’t much solid research or data to back up the claim – it’s one of those ‘folk remedies’ that seems to work. As a kid, my mom used to draw epsom salt baths for me when I was experiencing ‘growing pains’ in my legs.

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Here’s how it went down:

Each room is equipped with a pod and shower. After stripping down naked and showering, you climb inside the pod, close the lid turn the light off. And then… you just let your body relax. Because of the high salt content, floating is effortless and you essentially feel…. nothing. The hardest part for me was silencing my mind. I truly wanted to relax enough into slip into a deep meditation or  sleep, but it didn’t happen.

At times, I experienced a ‘spinning’ sensation, or as though I was swaying from side to side. But for the most part, nothing.

In a nutshell, it was like this, just minus the Hawaii aspect. Ha!

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The 90 minutes flew by in no time, and the end of the session was signaled by music filling the pod. I showered again, then chugged a ton of water.  Post-float, I felt as though I’d spent the day at the beach. Blissed out, relaxed and ready for bed. (But really, when am I not ready for bed?) I’d definitely do it again!

I’ve been researching GPS watches help with my training and I need your insight, friends. Here’s the thing: I’m looking for simplicity and a lower-mid range price point. All I  need is something that will track my mileage and pace.  I don’t want the watch to be smarter than me or tell me I’ve been sitting still for too long. I’m already aware I sit too much during the day and don’t need some smart ass gadget making me feel shitty about myself.

Here’s two options I’m interested in:

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Garmin Forerunner 10  – $129

 

  • Tracks distance, pace and calories
  • Start running with the press of a button
  • Identifies personal records
  • Virtual Pacer™ compares current pace to target
  • Plan, review and share runs at Garmin Connect™

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Garmin Forerunner 15 $179

 

  • Tracks distance, pace, heart rate¹ and calories
  • Activity tracking counts steps and calories and reminds you when it’s time to move
  • Compatible with foot pod² for recording distance indoors
  • Up to 8 hours of battery life with GPS on or 5 weeks in watch/activity tracking mode
  • Save, plan and share your activities at Garmin Connect™

So… what do you think? What kind of watch do you wear? Do you use it for tracking all of your activities or primarily running?

Lastly, I love this link for 13 snacks for clean plant-based protein via Mind Body Green. I’ve added the coconut yogurt bark to my weekend food prep list.

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I’m in such a food rut right now. All I eat are snack plates, hummus, avocado toast, PB toast, oatmeal, protein/oat balls (similar to the cookie dough bites featured in that link up) and chia pudding.  The most exciting thing I’ve eaten this week is a veggie pizza with green beans and carrots on the side.

Have you tried putting avocado on your pizza? Oh goodness, you must! Pre or post baking, it doesn’t matter.

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Head over to Spoons to join the link up/read more randomness!

Are you in a current food rut? What’s the most interesting thing you’ve eaten this week?

Have you ever tried a float tank? What kinds of ‘holistic health’ treatments are you into? I love Raindrop Therapy massages!

Lets talk about GPS watches. Thoughts? And go: 

The running & the food.

Hiyah, friends!

How do you do? Did you have a good weekend?

A couple weeks ago, I signed up for the Rogers Insurance Run for L’Arche – an annual 5 mile & half marathon in downtown Calgary. Kaella wasn’t able to make the race so I took her spot. (I love our healthy living community so very much!) She was going to run the half and I seriously considered doing the same, but after recovering from last years stress fracture I’m  paranoid about upping my mileage too quickly. Currently, I’m maintaining three run days per week: predominantly 3, 5 & 8 milers and feeling really good.  I don’t want to risk messing up my progress so early in the season.

I decided to  register for the 5 mile race, consider it a training run and asked the boy to join me. I was so excited when he said yes! Although he’s not a runner, he shows a genuine interest in my passions which means the world to me. I couldn’t care less if he doesn’t end up sharing the same enthusiasm for my hobbies – what matters most is he *actually* tries before deciding.  (This is such a rare quality in a human being.) And I do the same for him. During our time together, we’ve run a few easy 5k’s here and there, but that was the extent of our running adventures together.

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{Our swag bags were decent – especially considering how small the race was – there were just under 200 people in  both the 5 mile & half. We received long sleeved moisture-wicking shirts (Yes!!! Can we please stop with cotton tshirts, race sponsors?), Clif bar, chocolate bar, water and Jugo Juice coupons.}

I had no doubt the boy would be able to knock out 5 miles, however, I was concerned he’d start out too fast and burn out really quickly. My advice to him beforehand was, “Please don’t let your over-confident man ego tell you to blaze past everyone. Here’s the plan: we’re going to start out running at a comfortable pace and slowly gain speed so we can finish strong. DO NOT DEFY ME.” …. or something like that.

Since the race started at 10:15, we had more than enough time to make our way out of bed and enjoy our morning coffee… although, looking back, a Venti wasn’t the best choice. Haha! My poor bladder. For breakfast, I made us each a slice of peanut butter banana toast. Normally I’d eat two PB+B rice cakes, but we didn’t have any.

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Pre-race, we spotted Jen and Ange heading to the bathrooms and was hoping to catch them for a blogger photo op before their half marathon began, but I didn’t see them again! :(   Even though they were doing the half, it was nice knowing we were running together in spirit. I considered going back to find them after my race and finishing the last couple miles with them, but wasn’t feeling so hot.

Back to the race! 

The annoying thing about running in Canada is you never really know how many layers to wear. The rule of thumb is to dress as though it’s 10 degrees warmer, but even then, I generally end up overheating, freezing, or in my case, experiencing both sensations. During the first mile of the race, my face, lungs and hands were numb, but my core was on fire. I turned Runkeeper on, but kept my phone in my pocket for the duration of the run. My goal was to focus on the moment with the boy and get him across the finish line strong and in one piece.  I secretly wanted us to finish in 45 minutes or less, but figured it was probably a long shot. I didn’t say anything to the boy beforehand because I didn’t want him stressing out or thinking he had to maintain a certain speed. I also didn’t want to be worrying about the time, our pace or constantly be checking to see if we were running too fast or slow.

At 10:15 sharp, we were off! 

I actually really struggled with this run. Nausea crept up on me fairly quickly and I began  brainstorming a “if I have to throw up” plan. My stomach was doing flips, my mouth was watering and I felt like we were running really slow. I  couldn’t wait for it to be over.  (Although, looking back now, I want to relive it!) There were moments when I thought I was going to throw up off the side of the bridge into the Bow river. Ah, running. You never cease to surprise me with your constant curve balls.

Knowing that I wasn’t in it alone motivated me to push forward and hold it together. During the last 1.5 miles, I noticed the boy starting to fade a bit. I took the lead while he slowed his pace. I knew he was hitting that inevitable moment where he was questioning his sanity, my sanity (ha!) and his ability to finish. My hope was if he could focus his awareness and attention on me leading the way, he’d be okay.

At one point, I momentarily lost him. After catching up, he said, “I need to stop.” He looked  pale and nervous.

I took his hand and coaxed him along the path. “No you don’t. We’re almost there. We can see the finish line. Keep looking at it. Now push and don’t be afraid.”

… and then he took off sprinting, finishing three seconds ahead of me.

Our official chip/net times:

His: 36:31 and 29th place overall  
Mine: 36:34 and 31st place overall 

Average paces:  7:22 & 7:23 per mile

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I’m really proud of us! I wasn’t expecting us to finish so quickly – when I looked at Runkeeper (which stopped working at 4.5 miles – ugh. I really need a watch) followed by our official chip times I thought it was a mistake. During the run, my body and mind perceived 10 minute miles.  That, combined with us both kinda falling apart at the end? Whoa.

Post-race food offerings included bananas, oranges, granola bars… but we saved ourselves for a homemade feast of Flapjacked protein pancakes. FYI Canadian friends: it’s now sold at Bulk Barn!

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The best thing I ate all weekend, though? Ramen burgers at Goro + Gun. OMG. The bun = fried ramen noodles. #yes

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I dined with my new friend Jess at my current favourite Japanese restaurant. Get this: Jess and I “met” through Instagram several months ago and when she announced she was coming to Calgary/The Rockies for spring break, I offered up my house for her to use while I was away in the city. The boy worries I’m too trusting and maybe he’s right… but I can’t help it! I like helping people. I have no shame in admitting 90% of the friends I’ve made in the last year have been via social media: Instagram, Twitter and blogging.  Even the boy and I met online. The internet said we were a 93% match and so far it seems to be working out pretty well between us.  I remind him of this whenever he freaks out about me heading off to meet another cyber-turned real-life friend.

Sunday was fairly productive. I baked cookies. The boy made falafel. We went to  GoodLife Fitness for a quick 3 mile run. Something bizarre happened to me while I was at the gym. I discovered a treadmill that didn’t make me want to cry.

The conveyor belt was a series of thick rubber slats instead of one solid sheet. Does that make sense? It felt so much easier to run on! I couldn’t believe it. Treadmills are #1 on my list of things I hate so this is… HUGE. Life changing, really. I’m going to Google why they’re so awesome. BRB.

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Here’s what I discovered. Photo and text is from their website:

“Slat Belt Treadmills by WOODWAY USA feature an original (internationally-patented) design that was developed in response to conventional treadmill designs.

Our Engineers set out to develop a safe and comfortable running surface for humans that also reduced the friction and wear associated with the conventional conveyor belt style. To do this they started with a ball-bearing transportation system and then created an entirely new slat style running surface. This combined system provides a running surface of 38-43 type A shore hardness, which was found by the Deutsche Sporthochschule in Cologne, Germany to be the ideal softness to eliminate the harmful shock to connective tissue, while not changing proper biomechanics.”

I WANT ONE.

I was going to tell you about my  adventure in a float tank but since this post is getting long, I’ll save the story for later this week.

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Have you ever raced with your partner?

How do you feel about treadmills? Which piece of cardio equipment do you dislike the least? I actually really love the stair climber!

What’s the last indulgent thing you ate?

Thinking Out Loud: the language of my heart

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I forgot to tell you guys about something interesting I ate recently. Frog legs and onion rings!

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I was under the impression they’d taste  like chicken and yes, society is correct. Greasy chicken wings, to be precise. The boy was a good sport with this one. Like me, he’s a pretty open-minded eater but I could tell he felt a little pukey beforehand.  He’s still warming up to things like seafood, sashimi (and amphibians in this case).

He declined my invitation to eat octopus sunomono salad last weekend. Our conversation went something like this,

Me: “Here, try one bite”
Him: “No thank you”
Me: “EAT IT AND LIKE IT”
Him: “No thank you”
Me: “If you don’t take a tiny bite, I’m going to make you eat this entire arm of tentacles”
Him: “No thank you”

…. I feel like we really broke some ground. Oh well. You win some and you lose some.  To make up for his piss poor attitude (I KID. HI, BABE!) he had something special delivered to me at work yesterday.

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He speaks the language of my heart.  <3

In fact, yesterday was a good food day all around. One of my coworkers delivered a treat to my desk after they noticed me saying, “Hi I want to you eat you!” to a cream puff in the cafe.   Complete with colorful toothpicks for decoration. Fancy!

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Yesterday afternoon, I needed to release building tension in my shoulder/neck/head  so I headed out for a quick power walk. Some fresh air, sunshine and movement usually does the trick. I’m really trying to break my chronic jaw-clenching habit. The left side of my face, neck and shoulder is incredibly tense and it’s gotten so bad I’ve completely worn down the enamel on one of my molars to the point where I have to get a filling next week. Yikes!! How’s that for a wake up call to smarten up?

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Healing mountain vibes.

After reading rave reviews about The Girl on the Train, I couldn’t wait to dive into an exciting thriller. Have you read it? What do you think? I’m 3/4 of the way through and feel as though I’m continuously reading the same chapter. The main character rides on a train everyday, drinks a lot and can’t remember anything. That’s it. That’s the book.  Okay, maybe a slight exaggeration but I’m hoping something exciting happens soon because I’m losing patience.

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Have you seen this healthy eating diagram floating around the internet? It has almost everything you could possibly need: smoothie & salad combinations, a million hummus variations, how to cook grains, vegetarian protein sources,  baking substitutes, EVERYTHING.  I’ve been feeling a bit uninspired in the kitchen lately and sometimes all I need is some simple inspiration to get those creative juices flowing again.

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Last night’s dinner came together in about 5 minutes after some simple prep work the night before.

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Baby beet greens & kale, alfalfa sprouts, orange cauliflower, roasted turmeric sweet potatoes, lemon & thyme chickpeas, avocado, hemp seeds and hummus.

Over to you!

What did you eat for dinner last night?

What’s something sweet your significant other has done for you recently?

What are some of your bad habits? If any of you are jaw-clenchers and cheek biters I’d love to hear some tips on how to break the habit!

Thanks to Spoons for hosting todays link up!

Mountain Girl + City Boy

Last Friday, I sent an email to ‘the boy’ with a weekend bucket list.

-Go shopping for running shoes (for him – we’re running a race together this weekend!)
-Run
-Hold hands
-Eat a healthy dinner and go to bed early
-Bodypump
-East Fiasco’s carrot cake & mini egg gelato
-Drink adult beverages on a patio
-Dinner with Reva
-Hold hands & make googly eyes at each other
-Sleep in
-Run along the river
-Go to Cob’s Bread, eat their samples, buy olive bread

We’re doing ‘the long distance thing’ so we make sure to pack our weekends with as many activities as possible since our time together is brief.

Props to you folks who are maintaining your long distance connections while going weeks or months without seeing your partner.   I’m fortunate that we still see each other weekly. Long distance definitely has it’s challenges: besides missing them, there isn’t much room for spontaneity. You have to plan everything well in advance.  But it’s worth it. Especially when they’re your best friend. :)  In any event, it makes you appreciate your partner and time together even more.

I met up with the girls on Saturday morning for a 9am Bodypump class at the new GoodLife Fitness on Stephen Avenue in downtown Calgary. It’s SO NICE!!! It feels more like a fancy hotel than a gym and I can’t wait to workout here again when I’m back in the city.

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Our instructor was so fun and the hour flew by in no time – I’m always a little sad when class is over. And a little sad that it’s two days post-pump and I still can’t walk without wincing in pain. My groin!

Call me crazy, but after class, I headed out for a quick 3.1 mile run with the boy. It was so warm outside that we needed to take advantage of the spring-like temperatures.  We finished in 23:29 with an average pace of 7:40.  Having a running buddy to motivate you is so much better than going at it alone.

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After refueling with healthy meals at The Coup, we needed a lil somethin’ to satisfy our sweet tooth.

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We shared a carrot cake donut from Jelly Modern (my favourite thing in the world), then went on a search for Fiasco‘s easter-themed gelato. BEHOLD:

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The remainder of the weekend included napping, eating tacos and pizza and watching House of Cards. <— I like it now. I started season 2 this morning and I kinda want to call into work sick for the next couple days so I can power through it.

Have you been indulging in Easter treats yet? 

Any races coming up? Do you prefer running solo or with a partner?

What do your friend dates look like? Something active followed by food, usually.

Are we still friends?

I’m so glad we’re still friends after our running/poop talk the other day. I know it happens to all of us runners, yet no one talks about it as candidly as I’m willing to.

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#science #yourewelcome

I tested out the fibre-reduction suggestion yesterday at lunch. Instead of a huge salad, I ate some cucumber slices and a piece of toast topped with basil aioli, cheese and proscuitto. (It was either that, or Indian food. I didn’t want to take any chances on potential curry-intestinal-mishaps.)

My gut felt mostly fine during my run, although later in the evening it started cramping a bit. As long as nothing weird happens to me while I’m out, I consider it a win.

I hope I don’t end up eating my words, but I *think* Spring has arrived in the Rockies! We’ve enjoyed unseasonably warm temperatures all winter long (sorry, east coast friends). Not only are the buds on the trees beginning to swell, I spotted a butterfly AND I’ve been running in shorts. Doesn’t get much more spring-y than that, hey?

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I have a pretty sweet daily gym/run schedule mapped out. I carpool to work and some days, instead of taking my breaks,  I leave 30-45 minutes early to start running home. (My coworkers pick me up along the way.)   Knowing that my ride is coming way makes it easier to push myself and not hold back.

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(I uses the Fitsnap app for this one! It’s a great way to photo document your training.)

Other times, I’ll hit the gym for a quick 20 minute strength training or a treadmill run on my lunch break.  An early afternoon gym session always makes me feel so much more energized and productive.  I make sure to bring my gym bag with me so I’m always prepared to do something active!

My gym bag essentials:

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-Batiste dry shampoo
-Mini toothbrush & toothpaste
-Burts Bees wipes

Other random things I tend to have kicking around in my bag:  lemons, an avocado, chocolate eggs….it’s a black hole of surprises.

I’m trying to get into House of Cards. At six episodes in, I’m still waiting for ‘something’ to happen. Do you watch it? I’m on the fence if I like it or not. I tend to do most of my Netflixing while making dinner or cleaning. On this particular night, I made a massive clean-out-the-fridge salad and Skinny Pop.

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I’ve been eating a lot of salads, snack plates and wraps for dinner lately. Cooking for one is no fun! Nowadays, if I turn the oven or stove on, it’s to cook quinoa or roast sweet potato wedges. Remember when this used to be a food blog? I unpublished my recipe page after LMG became centered on lifestyle. I’m just over reading and writing about how to make food. Yawn.

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 Ezekiel wrap, hummus, romaine, spinach, sprouts, avocado, cheese, smoked tofu & hemp seeds

Last night, I was feeling PMS-y so I took myself out to dinner at a gluten-free Thai/Japanese fusion restaurant in Canmore. (Wild Orchid)

I was blown away by how fresh and non-greasy everything was! They had a special where you could choose three menu items for $25 so I went with two rolls and vegetable tempura.

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The Bodhi roll – roasted red peppers, asparagus, pea tendrils, shiso leaf, portabella mushroom, sundried tomato and mango-lime drizzle

Once I got home, my night ended on a sweet note…

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SO GOOD. I love this flavour, except it needs chunks of chocolate chips, pecans or cookie dough in it for texture.  For some reason, I always crave ice cream after sushi.

I’m off to the city later today for fitness adventures and food! Have a great weekend!

Are you binge watching anything on Netflix right now?

How many times have you ACTUALLY made a recipe a blogger posted?

What kinds of weird things are inside your gym bag?

You weren’t ready!

I’m recovering from such a great weekend. Currently, I’m wrapped up in a blanket like a burrito, writing this post and eating “dinner”.

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Spinach, frozen banana & cherries, peanut butter, cinnamon, half a scoop of plain whey protein, unsweetened almond milk, ice. Topped with Love Grown Foods cereal. 

My stomach is feeling unstable after today’s run. I’m not hungry in the slightest, but don’t want to wake up at 3am with a rumbling tummy.  Warning/TMI ahead: lately, whenever I run, my gut starts cramping and I kinda feel like I might poop in my pants?  I’ve had this happen to me before, and I’m well aware of “Runners GI Distress” (is that the official term? It should be.) but it’s strange that it’s been happening every.single.time I head out.  For me, sugar is a huge trigger for the pants-pooping-feeling so I try to stay far away from it… but maybe I should stop eating massive salads for lunch then trying to run with a gut full of fibre.

Oh my goodness, I am so sorry. You weren’t ready.

Can we talk about my weekend instead, now? 

“I love how tired we are! It means we did our weekend right!” I said to the boy on Sunday night as we were soothing our achy muscles in the hot tub. An hour later, I was passed out cold. The last thing I remember him saying was, “It’s only 9pm…?”

…. AND WHAT? So I like going to bed early!  (Says the guy who made us go to sleep at 9:30pm on Saturday night.)

I had an interesting event on Friday night. If you’re into wilderness/adventure photography, you’re probably familiar with high-profile photographers/well known Instagrammers: (@calsnape @taylormichaelburk @mikeseehagel @davidguenther @christopheramat) <– Follow them!

The group was out shooting in Kananaskis and we invited them to join us on a night-time snowshoeing trek under the new moon.

But first, I met up with my BFFs for post-work appetizers. Look Ma, no sweatpants!

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…. I changed into my regular North Face hoodie + snowpants uniform five seconds after this was taken.  

Anyhow, my DSLR isn’t fancy enough to take nighttime shots, so I’m excited to see what the group captured. This was the only photo I took.  With my iphone. Amazing, right? (Why did I even post this?)

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I was thrilled to hang out with group of fellow adventurers who love the mountains and nature as much as I do!

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Here I am, waiting for them. In my #mountaingirl uniform. Followed by a group shot.

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Despite the less-than-ideal snow conditions (aka WHAT SNOW? When does winter start, again?) it was a great way to spend a Friday night in the Rockies. At one point, we climbed into an open meadow to watch the moon rise from behind the mountains.

Saturday

Having a lust-for-life mindset is a double edged sword. The thirst for exploration and experience is impossible to quench. I WANT TO DO EVERYTHING! But it makes me so tired. (It’s totally worth it, though. Life’s too short to sit around being comfortably numb.)

My ideas for the day included:

-Enjoying a picnic near a lake & exploring glacial ice caves on the Icefields Parkway
-Road trip to Inveremere, BC
-Not wearing pants/sitting in bed/eating snacks

… in the end, we ate a late breakfast in Banff, then took a backcountry roadtrip to Lake Louise before realizing we were really freaking tired and just wanted to go home and nap/watch movies/be lazy.

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My breakfast was so good! Smoked salmon, cream cheese, capers and onion on a doughy multi-grain bagel. The boy had pancakes, eggs, toast and corned beef hash. Sometimes you just need a good carb load, hey?

A few scenes from our mini road trip:

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A kind-of lazy Saturday was juuuust what I needed to feel refreshed.

Sunday

I headed back to the slopes to continue snowboarding (reason #5929 why blog friends make the best friends: Jen let me borrow her board and boots for the day! I want to ensure I’m going to stick with the sport before making any big purchases)

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This hasn’t been a good season for winter sports. I’ve essentially been learning to ride on hard, packed snow and ice, so my hope is that it’ll benefit me in the long run, when conditions are favorable.

My favourite aspects of snowboarding are as follows:

-How hungry it makes me
-Not falling off the chair lift when it’s time to unload
-When I make it down a run without crying (I think I’m past this hurdle)
-Taking my boots and pants off at the end of the day (every day, really)
-How sore it makes me (I know this is weird, but it’s such a good strength workout – and then I don’t have to lift weights for four days afterwards!)
-When I don’t get stuck

… that’s all I can think of right now.

Is anyone else excited by the Daylight Savings time change? What a giant sigh of relief. The dark night of winter is over, and spring is just around the corner! Hooray for elevated vitamin D levels and so long to my winter-rickets.

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… I am convinced I develop rickets every year.  Being Canadian is so very hard.

I’m off to bed. I hurt. Have a fantastic week, friends! :)

Do you snowboard or ski?

What’s the last thing you ordered in a restaurant?

Have you ever met anyone ‘fancy’ from Instagram? Lol. 

Thinking Out Loud: Pretend you’re a healthy living blogger

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Happy TOL Thursday! This is my favourite day of the blog week, because it allows me to list off and rant about the first things that come to mind without seeming like a lunatic. (Even though it’s my everyday reality.)

I got my hair fixed! After sharing my dilemma with ya’ll, I decided to call the salon to book a correction appointment. When I explained I wasn’t happy with the result, they ended up being pretty rude and unhelpful – at one point they said, “Well when you left your initial appointment, you said you loved it.” No. I definitely did not say anything like that.  I was so disappointed by the lack of service and unwillingness to make things right that I booked an emergency appointment with a different salon. After three hours in the chair, I left with new locks that I love AND a new stylist. Yay!

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I kinda love ‘living alone’. It means I get to buy groceries JUST FOR ME. Granted, a single income household doesn’t allow me to go crazy with specialty/fancy items and I gravitate towards sales. But still. Exciting times, nonetheless. 

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Love Grown Foods Power O’s (I love adding cereal to my yogurt bowls), unsweetened almond milk, Snapea Crisps (the food equivalent of crack-cocaine- oh man, I CANNOT keep my hand out of the bag), Garden Chips, Rise kombucha (they make the best flavours!) rice cakes, bananas, kale, Clif & Larabars, Braggs all purpose seasoning. 

People frequently ask me what I carry with me for food on my adventures. I try to keep it relatively healthy and simple- peanut butter & banana or hummus, avocado & turkey sandwiches, raw veggies, apple slices, grapes, cheese, homemade trail mix (raw nuts & seeds, dates, cereal).

Although I prefer eating whole, unprocessed foods, bars are great for convenience (or food emergencies).  Quest & Simply Bars have a decent amount of protein and increase satiety. Otherwise, Vega, Clif, Luna and Larabars are my second picks. (Remember back in 2010 when Larabars were all the rage in the healthy living blog land? Or the time I tried one and said, “I thought this was supposed to taste like key lime pie?” <– that was a dark time.)

I’ve also learned  to pack more food than I *think* I’ll need.  The best way to determine how much food you’ll require for an adventure is to pretend you’re a healthy living blogger traveling on an hour long plane ride. HLB’ers are always prepared for the possibility of even the slightest hunger pang apocalypse.

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Last summer, while on a 22km hike, my BF and I  underestimated how much food we needed. Between the two of us, we finished off four sandwiches, a few Quest bars, a big bag of trail mix and were STARVING during the final two hour descent off the mountain. #NeverAgain

 

I registered for my first race of the season!

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… except I’m doing the half. I’m nowhere near ready for a full marathon yet. It’s going down May 31! One of the reasons why I’ve selected this race is because a coworker and I want to annihilate his boss/my old boss. He’s always making snarky remarks that we’ll never be as elite  as him, so we’re hoping to make him eat our dust. Or perhaps prove ourselves to him. He’s like an unimpressed stepfather. “Dad, I got 89% on my test!” Him: “…. Why didn’t you get 100%?”

I’m not following a structured training plan (as of yet) and to be honest – I’m kind of freaked out about a formal plan.  Anytime I’ve pulled a standard ‘half marathon training plan’ from the internet, I’ve either gotten injured or mentally burnt out and cranky. Five run days per week does NOT work for me. I run because I truly love it, and when I’m overdoing it, I start feeling annoyed, stressed, burdened and have a tendency to develop overuse injuries and hormonal imbalances. I can deal with runger, black and busted toenails, calluses and post-run soreness.  But,  IT band syndrome, stress fractures, heart palpitations, irregular periods and insomnia? No thanks, I’d rather not run.

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For the past couple months, I’ve been heading out on 2-3 runs per week: usually 1 shorter distance trail or treadmill run (3 miles or so) and 2 longer pavement distances: 5-8 miles. It seems to be working  fine for right now.  My sleep, mood and energy levels are good, I’m not sore or in pain and I’m still in love with running.  That’s what’s most important to me: I want to feel as though my sport is building me up physically, spiritually and mentally, not draining my good vibes or sucking up ALL of my free time.  I like to think “the happiness gauge” is the best wellness indicator: if you’re content with what you’re doing, you should keep on doing it. Not happy: FREAKING STOP IT. (If we were chatting in real life, I would’ve said the legit F word.)

Our time is too precious to force ourselves to do absolutely anything that doesn’t make us feel natural, vibrant and uplifted.

Has anyone else fallen into the black hole of Easter candy yet? This is the best time of year for candy, IMHO. Mini Eggs, mini Reese’s peanut butter cups, Robin Eggs, Dairy Milk bunnies, Cadbury Creme eggs… I made the mistake of eating a handful of mini creme eggs as a pre-run snack the other night and 5km into my run, my stomach said no. I hate it when that happens! All I can say is, thank goodness it was a treadmill run and had access to a bathroom.

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I can’t get enough of this breakfast combo lately:

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Peanut butter, chia seed, banana // Mashed avocado, salt, pepper, turmeric, nutritional yeast & hemp seeds. Try it! {Lauren, if you are reading this, things haven’t changed since you left}

I have a pretty fantastic weekend lined up. On Friday night, I’ll be heading out on a moonlit nighttime snowshoeing tour with a group of people… some of which are fancy Instagrammers (more on that later.) Saturday: I’m thinking a run, yoga, brunching at Communitea and cooking with Bae (hahaha I HATE that word) and Sunday, I’m heading to Lake Louise to continue learning how to snowboard.

What have you been eating for breakfast or snacks lately?

What’s on the agenda for your weekend?

Fav Easter candy? 

Only you guys understand…

I HURT.

Friends, remember last summer when all of my start-of-the-week blog posts began with how much pain I was in from adventuring?

Yep, that old familiar feeling is back.  Last weekend, I was so sore that I couldn’t walk straight for three days post-Bodypump. This week it’s due to a winter hike and snowboarding.

Rewinding to Friday night…

I hit the gym, then stopped by the natural  foods store to pick up some snacks and ingredients for a healthy dinner.  Uh… does anyone else get overly excited in speciality food shops? Part of the thrill is discovering  new products or flavours companies come out with. I had a heart palpitation/almost peed my pants when I discovered PINEAPPLE kombucha… then cried at the $10 price tag. (NO I DIDN’T BUY IT, DAD/BF. Calm down) The men in my life have a tendency to question and scold me for some of my food purchases.

They just don’t understand the importance of good gut-health and a balanced intestinal microflora!  My argument usually falls on deaf ears. But I know you guys feel me!  ;) :)

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Pre-adventure breakfast: 2% plain greek yogurt parfaits with layers of raspberries, blueberries, Cascadian Farms organic granola and hemp seeds. On the side: Vans + Natures Path waffles, peanut butter and more hemp seeds. 

For example, the BF becomes furious when I buy anything from a local Calgary health food store. He thinks they overcharge for everything (he’s kinda right), and the fact that there’s a $10 price tag on a small container of overripe, out of season strawberries is unethical and insane (he’s definitely right about that one.)
One upon a  time, after  being away for two weeks in the Middle East, the first text message I received upon his  arrival back to Calgary was:

“YOU WENT TO ___?!?!?!” with a bunch of angry emoji faces.
Me: “What?! How did you know?”
Him: “I SAW TODAY’S INSTAGRAM PICTURE!”

It gets better. My dad was recently in the hospital and I thought, “I’m going to bring him a green juice or smoothie from __”

On his (near) death bed, the first thing my Dad said:

“YOU PAID $8 FOR THIS?!”

Me: “I don’t want you eating the food here! Isn’t it bizarre that a hospital is supposed to be a place of healing and their food is comparable to what they feed prisoners? Ummm… what is this? *picks up a container of goo* Pudding or oatmeal, perhaps? No, really. What is this s$&t?””Someone tell me what this is! Anyone?”

Dad: “I have accepted the fact that I’m part of the health care system.”

… we didn’t know if we should laugh or cry.

Sorry for getting all rant-y. My intention was to chat about my weekend, so lets get back on track. Still with me? Good!

Saturday

I decided to ombre my hair (because I’m tired of getting my roots done every 6-8 weeks) and  wanted more of natural look with less color maintenance.  It didn’t turn out how I expected and I don’t know if I should go back to the salon ASAP to correct it OR wait it out for a couple weeks to see if I change my mind.  Even though my hairdresser warned me I’d probably hate it for a few days and that the dark would fade really quickly, I don’t feel confident about my appearance.

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I feel like the color looks ashy, dull and unnaturally streaky in some parts. I cried a lot. The BF probably thinks I’m crazy and emotionally unstable. I kept accusing him of being a compulsive liar when he said it looks good.  I’m a dream woman.

When I asked my best friends via Facetime what they thought, their reaction can be summed up by this:

So there’s that. Thanks friends. :) Have you ever immediately regretted a hair decision?

Aside from my meltdown and craziness over my hair, I enjoyed an afternoon hike  to the “Prairie View”/  Barrier Lake fire lookout in Kananaskis.

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This is a fantastic day hike for any season. In the winter months, you can snowshoe on powder days, or, if you visit on a weekend, the snow is packed down enough that you’ll be fine in hiking boots with  good tread. There were some icy spots near the top, but other than that, it was a moderate climb.  I’d been wanting to do this hike ever since I toured the area in a helicopter!

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I’ll always remember this day as the time we went to bed at 9:45pm on a Saturday night.

Sunday

The boy and I were up and at ‘em at 6:30am on Sunday morning. For snowboarding! One of my life goals is to learn to board (you can’t live in the Rockies and NOT snowboard/ski) and as luck would have it, he’s already well versed in the sport.

I’ve only been twice and without a doubt, this is the hardest thing I’ve EVER tried to learn and master. It’s such a mental and physical battle. Boarding*seems* like it would be pretty straightforward, but one of my challenges is that I’m used to riding a skateboard and my natural instinct is to kick-push and use my feet like I’m on pavement… hahahaha. It’s NOT THE SAME CONCEPT. AT ALL.

I’m convinced it’s the only sport that makes you feel completely helpless! One slight shift of your body weight will either make or break your ride. It’s a good thing I have a voluptuous bum with lots of padding to break my falls.

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I think our first day out together went fairly well. Despite getting stuck in a 4″ pile of snow and flailing around like an upside down turtle, falling 38492 times and crying twice, we made it out alive, with our relationship in tact. Even though I’m at the phase where I hate snowboarding, I’m excited to head to the slopes again next weekend!

Our day was rounded out with a cajun feast in Banff (Tooloulous!) and an early bedtime.

Oh! Another major highlight of the day was when a heard of mountain goats surrounded my SUV and began licking it.  Look at the babe! So, so cute.

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So there we have it. Another weekend, another mountain girl adventure. Here’s to a great week!!!

What did you get up to? What’s the hardest sport or skill you’ve  learned?

Tell me about a hair-catastrophe you’ve had. Did you nearly have a full-blown panic attack?

What are the last 5 things you’ve bought from the health-food store?

Friend Dates: Bodypump AND Brunch!

Hi there!

What’s new? How ya been?

I’ve spent the last few days in the big city and I can’t wait to go home tonight! I miss the mountains, trail running and my Blendtec.

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The upside to spending so much time in Calgary lately is that I’ve been able to see my family AND take Bodypump classes at Goodlife Fitness.

Ange, Jen and I  enjoyed a Saturday morning class together in McKenzie Towne. It was Jen’s first ‘Pump class and I’m thrilled to report she liked it!  Woohoo!!!

Next stop on our fitness destination list: the new Stephen Ave location. I haven’t experienced it yet, but the girls have been raving about how gorgeous it is.  New life goal: visit every Goodlife in Calgary until I find a favourite.

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I’m OBSESSED with Bodypump and confident I’m it’s #1 fan.  I never used to get overly excited about strength training until I started attending Pump classes in the fall of 2013. I was instantly hooked on the music, uncomplicated choreography and moves I was already familiar with: squats, lunges, bicep curls, tricep dips, push ups, etc. Not to mention how great (and hungry!) I felt afterwards. There was a time in my life when I attended at least three classes a  week and began growing lady muscles and definition I didn’t even know I had.  Thank you, Les Mills for the sculpted shoulders and strong back.

Since then, I find myself incorporating a lot of ‘Bodypump moves’ in my own workouts and focus on synching my reps with the rhythm of the music instead of counting.

Post workout, I brunched at Blue Star Diner.  I ordered the Vegan Scramble: maple coconut curry tofu, sautéed veggies, corn tortillas and berries. I loved every bite and when my plate was finished, went to town on my friends hash browns.

Tale of heartbreak: I’m not vegan,  just intolerant/probably allergic to eggs. Big sigh.

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 Hey, what do you typically eat before a workout? Justin’s PB cups?

….. just me?

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I love Justin’s.

Justin, If you are reading this, can we be married or become life partners? I just googled you and I’ve determined you look like Justin Trudeau. But I prefer your last name: Gold.

Joanna Gold has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? 

I have a boyfriend but he’s already accepted that he probably doesn’t stand a chance against a man who owns a nut butter company. (Hi, boyfriend! You mad, bro?)  I think the three of us could be really happy together, though. THINK ABOUT IT.

Okay…. this is getting bizarre.  I’m probably single now. I’ll be sure to report back on THE TALK we have later. To be completely honest, the BF is likely  lol’ing a little bit while reading this and thinking, “I am not going to give her the satisfaction of even acknowledging I read this garbage.”  Then, later, after a change of heart,  he’s going to say, “So I read your blog post. And you’re right. I’m not going to comment on what I read.”  Yes.

Have you seen 50 Shades? Are you going to? Fun game: using this line on your significant other. Mine laughed like I was kidding.

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In other news, MEC is  following me on Instagram (find me here!) and now I can die happy. MEC! This, my friends, is what Mountain Girl Dreams are made of.

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Also….

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Ha!!! No truer words have ever been written.

Where is your favourite brunch spot?

Of all the Justin’s in the land, which one would you choose? MAPLE ALMOND BUTTER. <3

Do you work out with your girlfriends? What do you usually do?

Disclosure: Written as part of the GoodLife Fitness Blogger Ambassador Program.