Fix You: A weird pump up song. No?

Okay, so this is going to seem a little weird, but any time I’m having a particularly hard work out or running session I switch on “Fix You” by Cold Play. I don’t know what it is, but as soon as it starts I get a jolt of energy and I can dig a little deeper.

With the following lyrics, it is a bit of a weird pump up song (I’ll admit):

When you try your best, but you don’t succeed
When you get what you want, but not what you need
When you feel so tired, but you can’t sleep
Stuck in reverse

And the tears come streaming down your face
When you lose something you can’t replace
When you love someone, but it goes to waste
Could it be worse?

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you

And high up above or down below
When you’re too in love to let it go
But if you never try you’ll never know
Just what you’re worth

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you

Tears stream down on your face
When you lose something you cannot replace
Tears stream down on your face
And I…

Tears stream down on your face
I promise you I will learn from my mistakes
Tears stream down on your face
And I…

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you

Several years ago when I was going through school in Halifax I volunteered at the Olympic Torch Run kick-off. It was a really cool event to attend (and volunteer at); it got everyone excited for the Vancouver Olympics. Kind of neat because it was a Coca-Cola event and I ended up working on the Coca-Cola account leading up to the Olympics and even got a taste of it! Any way, that’s totally off-topic. At the event, they dimmed the lights and a video came over the jumbo screen. It was Coldplays “Fix You” and a montage of Olympic highlights. At the time, I was still running (not as much as I once had) but I felt completely overwhelmed with pride for these athletes. I still get goosebumps.

I can’t find the original video, but I found this one.  What’s your weird pump up song?

Day 13: 3 mile run and the Good Morning Project

Today I had a pretty awesome run on the Glenmore Reservoir trail. I also initiated “Project Morning.” I am sure most of you are like, “What the heck is that?” Let me explain. You may know that recently P & I have been looking for a house and shopping around in new neighbourhoods. P does this thing we call the “wave” test. He’ll wave at random people and if they wave back, it’s the kind of neighbourhood we could live in. Please note: this does not apply to acreages; they generally go either way: (b) everyone is super friendly or (b) stuck-up. However, I’ve noticed that the further you go outside of the city the friendlier people become. Coincidence?
Anyway, today I vowed that I would say “Good morning” to literally every person I met on trail. And I did. I even said it to bikers. It was an interesting experiment. At times I thought certain people would for sure either acknowledge me or say it back…they didn’t. And of course vice versa. A true reminder that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. For the most part people smiled and said Good Morning or Hi back, except cyclists. Now, I can’t be sure if it was because they were going so fast but it did seem a little odd. There were also some looked at me like I was crazy and others who just stared straight through me. I find this so bizarre because I grew up in small village where everyone literally knows who you are and it would be weird not to at least wave if you saw them out. It’s different in the city and a little bit sad.
So from now on, I am going to smile and say hello to everyone, just because I can!  And people will probably know and refer to me as the weird girl who says hello to everyone. But I do not care! 🙂 It also turned my mood around completely. I wasn’t in run mode today, but once I got to the track (with the sun shining and a nice breeze) I just felt better and wanted to share it.
I felt like today was a good, strong run. And I enjoyed it – even saw     some Ladybugs on the way back as I cooled down – they are good luck, right?
Here are todays stats: 
  • Distance: 4.8 km
  • Time: 28:45
  • Pace/Km: 5:59
  • Best Pace: 5:41

Avoiding injury: good ankle stretches

Ankle injuries suck. 

And realistically, who wants to hobble around if they can avoid it? If you weren’t already aware, the ankle joint is one of the major weight bearing structures in the body; which is why it’s important to stretch it. A few days ago I mentioned that my ankle felt tight while running (even after stretching.) I’ve had many rolled ankles in my day and want to avoid it if at all possible. So in an effort to take all proper precautions, I came across these from the Livestrong website. Hope it helps someone out there!

Ankle Roll

An ankle roll is a basic ankle stretch that can help warm the ligaments both through the top of the foot and along the back of the ankle. It’s easy to do as part of your regular warm up. From a standing position, spread your feet shoulder-width apart. Plant your left toe into the ground while your right foot remains flat. Rotate your left ankle forward and back, as if you were drawing a circle with your heel. Repeat five to eight times before stretching your other ankle in the same manner.

Stair Stretch

A stair stretch makes for an ideal conditioning stretch for both the ankle and the calf muscles, but it is not recommended if you have poor balance. Stand at the edge of a bottom stair, with your body facing the flight of stairs. Move backward until your heels hang off of the stair. Carefully drop your heels downward while still supporting yourself on the stair with your toes. Hold for a count of 10, suggests the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society. Repeat 10 times if possible.

Ankle Alphabet

Try an alphabet stretch for the ankle, which is especially effective for children. Sit on the ground with your legs straight out in front of you. Using your big toe as the “pencil,” write out the alphabet in the air in front of you, suggests the American Academy of Family Physicians. To make the stretch a game for younger athletes, have participants stretch in pairs and write letters and words to each other while they take turns guessing what the words are.

Band Stretch

For a deep stretch before exercise, use a resistance band to direct your ankle gently and get a full, all-encompassing stretch in every direction. Sit on a weight bench with one leg straight in front of you and one leg supporting you on the ground. Leave your foot and ankle dangling off the front of the bench. Wrap a resistance band across your instep, gripping the ends in your hands. Very gently move the band to the left and the right, getting a good stretch in each direction, suggests “Stack” magazine. Hold each stretch for 20 to 30 seconds before repeating on your other leg.

If you have any stretches that will help, please send them along – I promise to post!

There is nothing you can’t do, if you set your mind to it. Anything is possible. – Rick Hansen

So far I’ve learned that blogging can make people feel uncomfortable, happy, relieved, bitter, elated and everything in between. I’ve learned that just because I’m confident in sharing my ups and downs, others just aren’t. And while there’s oodles of support out there, unfortunately there are just as many Debbie Downers.

So the primary focus of this blog is to chronicle my journey to half-marathon. If it helps inspire other people, that’s fantastic and a true honour. I share these details so that others know it’s alright if you can’t walk to the mailbox right now, lift 100 lbs weights or just feel crappy. There is light at the end of the tunnel. So I thought I would also share more details on where I was a little over a year ago.

I was only wearing yoga pants. And though I’m mortified to admit it, I was still wearing some of my maternity clothes (my son was born Feb 2011). I was busy worrying about how horrible I’d look at the gym, rather than just getting my arse into gear and going. I HATED having my picture taken, at least from the waist down; and for all those out there who like to take skinny-photos, talk to me I know all the angles! I never shared many photos like the one below because I was really ashamed of myself. I was worried about what others would think of me; how I had “let myself go”; “gained soooooo much weight.” etc. It’s always funny when word gets back to you or you hear whispers of what people think. Most of the time they’re totally off-base; and generally lack the life experience to pass any type of judgement. I have to laugh though, because it’s usually the same people who have something to say about everything. And never nice. But now I realize now how silly I was to feel that way. So what if people thought I got fat? I did!

A year ago I couldn’t do a push-up. Not one. Seriously. I couldn’t. I would’ve liked to blame it on just having a kid and having no..uhh..chest muscles, but that’s not the case. I could never do one. Ever. I also couldn’t do a side plank. At all (unless I cheated with one leg on the floor.) And I definitely couldn’t do a back bend. Are you kidding me? At my first yoga class I sat there in awe of everyone who could. And silently thought to myself, “There’s no way I’ll ever be able to do this.” Yet, being as stubborn as I am; watching others successfully complete the pose was the impetus I needed to get my arse in gear.

But now a year later I can do them all. I don’t look pretty whilst in the process, but it doesn’t matter. And I’m certainly not a pro. It’s sort of like running. If you run, you’re a runner. If you try to run, you’re a runner. These may seem like minor things to those of you ultra and elite athletes out there, but it’s been a huge deal to me. I’m healthy. I can run around with a kid and actually enjoy myself. I don’t sit on a bench, on my iPhone and watch him entertain himself. I actually get down in the dirt and play.

  There are lots of things I couldn’t do a year ago and still can’t – like a headstand, which is next on the list. But I plan on tackling my list of “cannot” and turning it on its arse. Hey -anything is possible!

 Finally, when I have days where I need some added inspiration or motivation, I always consult my absolute favourite collection of words. 

Oh & PS: I did a cartwheel at the park the other day. It was awesome. Haven’t done one in years.

Day 12: Glorious, glorious rest day!

Today is a rest day – THANK GOODNESS! I’m not too sore, but just need a break. I love rest days. However, they’re not to be confused with my cheat days. Yesterday I indulged and today I’ll get to put my feet up (well as much as you can put your feet up with an 18-month old running around.)

For the last several months, I’ve had cheat days. It’s one day of the week where I allow myself to eat a treat (or a few.) I feel like it’s a reward for the hard work I’ve put in. And let’s be serious, what the heck is the point of living if you’re constantly on a diet and always depriving yourself? I say, have a cheat day.Enjoy it and don’t feel guilty.

My cheat days consists of a couple of glasses of wine (or beer), maybe some chocolate and then something fun for supper or lunch. And for all you people out there who are thinking: “wow, that’s totally going to mess up her training and weight-loss!” I tell you this: I do not care. Let me reiterate: I DO NOT CARE. If I’m one of the lucky ones that live to the age of 80.4 (the age  Stats Canada says is average) do you really think reflections of my life will be not sticking to strict healthy eating EVERY day? That I’ll sit there and say, “Gee, I can’t believe I let myself have a chocolate bar. I know it was that damn chocolate bar that would finally did me in.” No. I won’t. In fact, I learned from a pretty cool lady that sometimes you should just do what YOU want to do (so long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else, that is.)

My grandmother (Mimi) was famous for eating an egg a day. Poached. Runny. (I know, sick right?) Now, when she had some cholesteral issues, the doctors suggested that she lay off the eggs. At this point, my grandmother was in her 80’s. She totally disregarded the advice and lived until 94.

Now, I’m not saying go crazy and have Wendy’s 3x that day; or eat a whole container of Häagen-Dazs.What I am saying is to live a little. Yes, yes – do so in moderation. And if you find yourself falling off the wagon after a cheat day it’s not the end of the world. It’s hard to keep cheats to one day, cause let’s be honest after a cheat day (e.g.: my birthday) it’s hard to resist that last piece of cake. Ask yourself “if I eat this cake, I’ll have to work just a little bit harder, am I willing to do that?” OR you can say “F— it.” And do it anyway. Whatever you decide, just be sure it makes YOU happy. Don’t worry about those people around you who think that because they resisted something that they’re somehow stronger. Or the elitist who will put you down because heaven-forbid you put REFINED sugar in your body. The actions and consequences are yours to own. Eg: you see this double chin, yep, that was McDonalds every day through uni. Oh the muffin top? Beers Thursday through Sunday around the same time… etc…

This is what I’m having for lunch today. I figure the veggies must cancel out the cheeseburger?! Whatever. It’s summer. 

Here is something I found on

For those of you who exercise regularly and eat a healthy balanced diet, have you ever considered giving yourself a “break” day? A day where you throw caution to the wind regarding your wellness regimen and allow yourself to cheat a bit? If you’re in the midst of trying to curb your sugar addiction or are on some sort of detox, I’m not talking to you. I’m talking to those who genuinely deserve a health-cation. You health-conscious individuals may want to give yourself a cheat day each week. Here’s why.

  1. Recovery: If your workout schedule includes lots of intense cardio or weight training, a rest day allows your muscles to recover and recuperate, setting you up for another week of workouts. Go for a massage, jump in the hot tub, or pay a visit to the sauna or steam room to help improve circulation.
  2. The Pleasure Principle: I’m all about everything in moderation, so if you’re eating healthy and exercising, indulging with a tiny sweet treat or a glass of wine here and there isn’t going to throw you off the wellness wagon. However, if you need to harness your cravings, take a page out of celeb-trainer Harley Pasternak’s playbook and schedule a cheat day. Pasternak thinks cheat days keep you from feeling deprived since they give you something to look forward to. Sandra Bullock is a fan of weekly cheat days, and Pasternak incorporated a cheat day into his 5-Factor Diet used byJessica Simpson and Eva Mendes.
  3. Dieters Gone Wild: The 4-Hour Body author Tim Ferris labels his Saturday cheat day “Dieters Gone Wild.” Taking the cheat day to the next level, Ferris gorges on all of his vices one day a week so for the other six he doesn’t even want to look at them. By dramatically spiking your caloric intake, Ferris says you can increase fat loss by ensuring your “metabolic rate doesn’t down-regulate from extended caloric restriction.” I’ll take his word for it (is it Saturday yet?!). But I do know how my body operates, and you know what’s happening with your body too; so if one day of total indulgence is too much for you, have some cake and eat it too — just don’t overdo it.
  4. R ‘n’ R: Sleeping in and staying in your pjs until noon once a week is good for the mind, body, and soul — I can’t stress enough how important sleep is. If your body just naturally wakes up early, try going to bed earlier on a Friday or Saturday night to clock some extra hours of snoozing on the weekend. It’s a great way to give yourself a kick start before the next week of work begins.

Enjoy your cheat days. You’ve earned them!