How Running Became Therapeutic

Running started out as something I did to lose some weight, now, it’s become one of my biggest passions – and a huge stress reliever. Running is how I deal with difficult times, happy times, and everything in between. Running sparks my creativity, helps me make decisions, calms me down, and so, so much more.

I started running near the end of my first year of university, shortly before suddenly losing my grandmother. Running helped me clear my head, deal with the loss, and keep things in perspective. Running flat out puts me in a better mood. If I go a few days without running, I know that I get grouchy. If I have a big decision to make or am dealing with a difficult situation, it’s almost as though I need to take a time out, go for a run and then revisit the decision/issue and I end up having a new perspective or a sense of clarity that I’ve acquired while running. the secret to handling a toddler tantrum? Put him in the stroller, get outside and go for a run – it works for us both.

Running has a therapeutic effect on me.

In May, I suffered a miscarriage, and as backwards as it sounds, I got home from the hospital and went for a run. I felt lost and didn’t even know what to do, so I ran. I ran a little slow, but I ran long enough to help gain some perspective on the situation. This past weekend I was hit with a double whammy – suffering miscarriage number two, and my grandfather having a stroke. I was not – and still am not – prepared to deal with either of these events. One minute you are on cloud nine, the next you feel like you’re sinking in quicksand. After talking to my mom about the miscarriage, she asked me what I did, and she probably wasn’t surprised when I told her I went for a run. Probably not the best idea, but I came home after and rested for a very long time.

Running has been a constant in my life for the past eight years. I’ve often said that some of the best conversations are the ones between my many pairs of running shoes and the pavement. I can’t exactly figure out how running became such a therapeutic thing for me, but I do know that I am extremely thankful that I found it.

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Race Day Hangover

I don’t really know if race day hangovers are real, or maybe it’s a post-months-of-training hangover. Whatever it is, it kinds sucks. After running the Canada Army Run half marathon on Sunday, I took my runs easy this week, and was starting to think about the 10km race I’d registered for at the end of October, but now that race is cancelled. There are no other races on my schedule 😦

Now I’m back to running with no real purpose. No goal time to achieve. I’m running for the sake of running – which is totally alright too, because I seriously love running. I rarely feel like I have to run. I want to run. I feel better when I run. My mood is always better when I run.

Maybe now I should look at some spring races and register for those. That way I can train properly again and be completely prepared for a spring race like I was for the Army Run.

For those of you who run, how do you deal with post-race feelings? Do you register for a lot of races each year to avoid this? Do you stick to a couple of races a year and work really hard towards goals for a couple of specific events? I’d love to hear what you have to say, so feel free to leave a comment 🙂

Happy Friday!

Odin’s 22 Month Favourites/Update

It’s super hard to believe that in two short months, Odin will be turning 2! I feel like time has gone by even faster since he turned 1. Odin is at a stage where he is into everything – and has outsmarted our kitchen cabinet locks – and is constantly on the go. It’s a fun stage, but also exhausting, but I wouldn’t change a thing about it. I also feel like Odin is more fun for other people now. I have always found him fun, but now that he is capable of doing more and is talking, I feel like our family and friends are able to enjoy him that much more.

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I feel like this picture sums u Odin right now. He is a curious little explorer, learning new things about the world around him, and of course, he loves animals (there are chickens roaming under the apple tree).

Some of the things I want to remember about this stage are:

– Funny sayings – instead of saying ‘thank you’ when you do something or give something to Odin, he now says ‘I welcome’. When he closes a door or is moving backwards, he says ‘boop, boop, boop’ like a truck backing up.

– Odin loves trucks, tractors and any type of large moving vehicle. When we are driving he sits in his carseat and shouts “woah, look!” every time one of those types of vehicles drive by. There are a few farms near our house, so our daily walks usually include a few “woah, look”s when the tractors are out.

– Although Odin is going through a picky eater phase, when he likes a food, he really lets you know and it really comical when eating it. He will make really loud ‘mmmm yum!’ sounds and eats so quickly that if you blink, you’ll miss it 😉

– He always wants us to sit beside him when he is working on crafts or puzzles. He pats the ground beside him, looks at me and says ‘mama!’. So then we sit together a work on puzzles for hours 🙂

– He can still be snuggly. Mostly when he is tired or has just woken up, Odin is the snuggliest little guy and I love it, because I know that he won’t be snuggly forever.

– Odin doesn’t want to miss anything. He runs everywhere and constantly asks to be lifted up if he can’t see something. I love the little explorer side of him!

– Although he is super independent, he shows us he still misses us. He loves his daycare, but one of my favourite parts of the day is when we pick him up after work and he runs into my arms. It’s simply the best.

Canada Army Run Half Marathon Recap

On Sunday, I participated in the Canada Army Run Half Marathon. This was my first race since the Army Run in 2011, before I had Odin, so I was getting pretty excited to get back to racing,

Saturday night looked a lot like this:

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I packed dry clothes in my backpack, as the forecast for Sunday was pretty gloomy looking, and full of rain. I got my bib and race outfit ready – the Oiselle Winona tank and Scantron bra were a must. I made sure my Garmin and iPod were charged, and packed my race fuel – Nuun, Picky Bars and Jelly Belly Sport Beans.

Sunday morning I met up with Dawn, who was also running the half, and who happens to also be in the middle of training for the Marine Corps Marathon near the end of October.

My colleague and friend, Dawn Lomer and I before the Army Run

My colleague and friend, Dawn Lomer and I before the Army Run

Ryan and Odin came to the race to cheer everyone on:

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The Canada Army Run is so much more than just a race, it’s an experience. It’s such an inspiring event, and when you feel like you want to stop running, there are a million reasons around you to remind you to keep going. From military bands playing along the route, to the blackhawk style helicopters that flew overhead during the run, and getting to run through Rideau Hall this year, this race was top notch. I’m still trying to digest my race results:

  • 4th place F25-29.
  • 21st Female overall.
  • 268th out of 12 147 runners.
  • Time: 1:34:01

These results are beyond my wildest expectations. A number of years ago I was told that running wasn’t an option for me. And since that day, I have repeatedly surprised myself. This was my first run as part of the Oiselle Flock – my race kit is still in the mail, which is why I wasn’t wearing it. Instead of a typical finisher medal, the Army Run hands out military style dog tags, which are super cool, and I love the message on the back:

Canada Army Run 2014 Dog Tags

As another perk, my husband bought me a new pair of running shoes for setting a PR (that man knows the way to my heart 😉 ):

Mizuno Wave Hitomagi Running Shoes

If anyone is looking for a unique race with an indescribable atmosphere, I strongly recommend the Canada Army Run. I know I will be coming back for more in 2015! A huge thank you to all of the race organizers and volunteers – this run wouldn’t be what it is without all of you!

Pre-Race Jitters

Half marathons aren’t new to me. I’ve raced in a lot of them now. But for some reason, I’m starting to get nervous about the Canada Army Run half marathon I’m running in on Sunday. Perhaps it’s the 80% chance of rain in the forecast, or the fact that I have set some lofty race goals, but I’m starting to think that it might just be excitement. The last race I ran was pre-Odin.

When I got home from work last night, my bib number was waiting for me in my inbox – 2634 (a shipping notification from Oiselle for my new pair of Lux Track Pants was also waiting for me – score!). I’ve been so anxious to race, and I feel like I have truly put in the time and effort to prepare myself this time. I made a plan, I made adjustments to it as the weeks of training went on, I made sure I was fuelling myself properly, and I shattered some of my PRs in the process – something I’m hoping to once again do on Sunday. For the first time in my running life, I feel ready. I already have a routine set for the morning of race day. My Garmin and iPod are charged. Picky Bars and Nuun tabs are stashed in my running bag.

I caught a cold and was sick most of last week, and have a small injury, but I’m not letting those things get in the way (and I caught the injury early so I’m feeling pretty good, and the cold has run it’s course by now). I’ve been clocking some of the best paces and times I have ever run in my life the past few weeks and am interested to see how the added adrenaline and the energy of the crowd will affect my race. The Army Run is an amazing event with an indescribable atmosphere that you can only understand by being there, and even more so when running alongside some of the bravest men and women who fight for our country.

I know a lot of fellow runners can probably relate to some of these feelings. How do you deal with pre-race jitters? Also, I want to thank you all for reading my posts and following along on my running journey. It means so much 🙂 xo

 

Running with the Flock

I’m so, so excited to be writing this post write now! Two weeks ago, Oiselle, my favourite running apparel brand for women, announced that they would be opening up more spots in the Flock. Many of you who’ve read my blog before or follow me on Twitter or Instagram are likely already aware with my love for Oiselle’s products.

Once I read the email, I wrote the date and time down in my agenda, put alerts in my phone and did everything in my power to be at my computer to register. It was very similar to the intensity with which I ordered New England Patriots home game tickets. I wanted to be in the Flock so, so badly. After experiencing some heavy traffic to the site, I finally got in, and was fortunate enough to snap up a spot in the Flock.

The Oiselle Flock

A lot of people have asked me what the Flock is. Here is a breakdown pulled from the Oiselle site:

Introducing The Flock — a new level of our team that includes a club membership fee in return for a sweet set of benefits.

– free shipping on all orders (UPS ground, USA only)
– newly designed race singlet 
– spike bag 
– $20 off any running bottoms 
– $25 towards Emerging Athlete Fund  (this fund will mitigate the high cost of our emerging elite athletes)
– exclusive offers throughout the year 

I love this concept for so many reasons – and not just the perks listed above. Other than the limited number of spaces available, there are no limits to determine whether someone can join the Flock. Running times don’t play a factor. The Flock is a group of like-minded women that are all passionate about running, and now we can all connect thanks to social media, where we can share stories, running tips, register for races together, support each other, and be cheerleaders for our fellow Flock members. Kate Grace, elite Oiselle runner, is in charge of the Flock and has done an amazing job at providing opportunities for Flock members to connect with each other.

Thank you Sally, Kate and everyone else at Oiselle for investing time into the Flock and giving us such an amazing opportunity to connect with each other. This is one of the best ideas, and I’m so thankful for the opportunity to contribute. There is already a huge feeling of camaraderie within the Flock and I can’t wait to see where the Flock will take us all.

Apple Picking and Other Fall Activities

I love summer and the warm weather, but I have to admit, every year I welcome fall with open arms. It’s my absolute favourite season (is it a coincidence that it’s also football season?!). This fall Odin is much more mobile and into exploring. He loves being outside, as do we, and recently he took a liking to apples.

Our neighbourhood is surrounded by apple orchards and I had never been apple picking before. The three of us headed out to Cannamore Orchards (a 5 minute drive from our house) on a mission to pick a lot of apples. I have a list of fall treats I want to back this year and a lot of those recipes call for apples. Odin has also become an apple fiend, so the timing couldn’t be better. Odin helped us pick some apples, and made friends with three chickens that were wandering around. We also made a pit stop at the orchard to take this photo, which I see being an annual thing:

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A few other fall activities (aside from watching a lot of football!) on the agenda this year are:

  • Visiting a pumpkin patch to pick out a pumpkin for our front step
  • Selecting Odin’s Halloween costume
  • Watching Halloween movies (Hocus Pocus x 10)
  • Putting together  Halloween treats for the kids in our neighbourhood
  • Drinking warm apple cider
  • Lots of fall baking and soup making

What are some of your favourite fall activities to do with your little one(s)?

I’ve Joined the Picky Club!

In a post last week I mentioned that I had tried Picky Bars and absolutely loved them! I had read about Picky Bars in a number of blog posts, and also through Oiselle‘s social media feeds, as Lauren Fleshman, a pro runner for Oiselle, was one of the three co-founders of Picky Bars.

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I loved the story about the company and the thought that has been put into all of their products. You can read more about the science and nutrition behind Picky Bars here. I had gotten in the habit of running on an empty stomach, which isn’t ideal. I needed proper fuel if I was going to be able to run at my best. At the time, I was on the hunt for something that I could eat quickly, provided proper fuel for long runs, was natural and of course, something that tasted good. After perusing their site, I came across the Picky Club, which is a monthly membership program where you can choose the number and types of bars you want to receive each month (you can change these combinations up over time) and they will be mailed to you. Living in Canada, it means that I can’t have my Picky Bars shipped to my door, but I can have them shipped to the UPS store in Ogdensburg, which is roughly 45 minutes away.

For my first month, I ordered 12 bars and tried 3 different flavours – Lauren’s Mega Nuts (there’s an awesome story about how this bar got it’s name), Smooth Caffeinator and Cookie Doughpness. I really liked the taste of all three bars and I liked that I felt full but not heavy. After having a Picky Bar, I noticed I had more energy on long runs – and I wasn’t walking through the door and running straight for the snack cupboard. It was a win-win situation. It’s also the perfect pre or (and) post race snack for the half marathon I’m participating in in a few days.

Another bonus: I received a really awesome free t-shirt for joining the club 🙂

Fans of Football Sunday

In our house, Sunday’s are for football. Odin was born on a Thursday, and on the Sunday was already hooked on football (he may have only been a few days old, but it’s true). It was likely the vibrant green of the football field that caught his attention, but then we also noticed him sleeping with his arms up at the sides of his head in the ‘touchdown’ position. IMG_0277 Football season isn’t very long, so on Sunday’s you can find us watching the games, cheering on our Patriots and cooking up goodies from our ‘football menu’ – mostly very yummy, but not the healthiest snacks. Happy football Sunday everyone! Patriots Game

Staycations are Sometimes the Best Vacations

It’s been a great week-long staycation in our house – aside from all three of us catching colds that is! After our trip to NYC and our upcoming trip to Boston, we wanted to take some time to relax and enjoy some more local activities as a family. We had friends over to watch football, visited with family, I got a lot of running in (next Sunday is race day!) and enjoyed having some time at home. Our house is currently for sale, so we did some more cleaning and decluttering, and ran errands, went to appointments – you know, the usual stuff.

We took Odin to Cannamore Orchard to go apple picking, which was a ton of fun:

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And of course Odin spotted some new animals – chickens – to make friends with:

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Odin is infatuated with animals of all types. We kept seeing ads around town for a new special exhibit at the Canadian Museum of Nature here in Ottawa – Creatures of Light: Nature’s Bioluminescence. We had taken Odin to the Aquarium at the Bay in San Francisco earlier this year and he had a blast and loved looking at the jellyfish, so we knew we needed to take him to see this exhibit.

On Thursday’s from 5pm-8pm, the Museum of Nature exhibits (the regular, permanent ones) are free for the public, which meant we only had to pay $8.00 (plus tax) per adult to go, as Odin is still under the age of 2. Odin loved looking at all of the creatures glowing in the dark – especially the clownfish and the moon jellyfish. We ventured on to the bird exhibit and then to the dinosaurs, which were also a huge hit with Odin. Odin loved “driving” the bird rescue car:

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On Friday, my mom came over for a visit and Odin enjoyed showing grandma how he completes his puzzles, pulls his wagon and all of his other newfound skills. It’s so fun watching the two of them together.

The remainder of our staycation was spent relaxing and getting prepped for the week ahead. After being sick all week, the three of us just wanted to lay low and watch football. I baked apple crisp with our apples from the orchard, baked M&M blondie bars (recipe here) and made homemade soup using a recipe that my sister taught me last year – she is the soup queen!

Now it’s back to work and back to daycare for us!