Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Time to get back on track

It's time for me to get back on track. I feel like my life has been in complete ciaos the last couple of weeks with gearing up for my trip and run in Chicago, to coming home to a crazy work week and getting sick on top of things.

Since returning home from Fitness Ridge on August 15th I have put a lot of effort into planning my weeks and being prepared. Ensuring I have healthly foods in the house so I can pack healthy lunches and snacks when I know I have to work late or have to run after work. I've felt amazing and so happy with the progress I've been able to make. The last 2 weeks however I feel like everything has I've worked so hard for has gone out with window. I've found myself falling back into old routines.

The week leading up to my marathon I was carb loading. I enjoyed every minute of it as I was eating lots of yummy food but as the week went on I stopped tracking my food. I know I needed to carb load to be prepared for my run but I wished I would have tracked what I was still putting into my body. I continued not to track as I travelled to Chicago. It was such an amazing weekend filled with a lot of eating out and not so healthy food choices. I was treating myself for all the hard work I had put into my running but my body was craving healthy choices.

Once home I was faced with a very busy work week and I was not prepared for it at all. We had not food in the house and since I was so busy I found myself skipping meals and eating late at night when I got home from an event. Those late night choices as well were not healthy choices. I ended up getting sick and frankly just worn out. I spent the past weekend resting and trying to get better. I didn't exercise at all last week because I needed to rest my body after running my marathon.

My plan for this week was not to beat myself up for my actions last week but to focus on today and get back on track. I've stocked my fridge with healthy foods and have made sure I'm tracking what I'm consuming and what I'm burning. I feel so much better when I'm getting the fuel my body requires and exercising regularly. My next running clinic doesn't start until January so until then I'm going to have to be accountable to myself to get out there and get my runs in on my own.

We all fall off track sometimes but we can't dwell on the past but focus on what we are going to do today to keep moving forward. For me I need to have some goals set so I've already got some new running races planed for 2011 that I can look forward to.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I'm a Marathoner Once Again - Chicago Marathon

One week ago today I was in Chicago running in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. When I woke up this morning and remembered what I was doing last week at this time it still seem surreal that I ran in the Chicago Marathon.

Last year at this time I got back into running. I had taken about a year off of not running at all because life got in the way and I had lost my running partner Alicia because she had gotten a new job working nights. I realized last October I needed to get moving again as I wasn't doing any form of physical activity. Alicia was still working nights but I new this was something I needed to do. I signed up for the 10km running clinic at the running room since I was starting from square one again. My husband's friends wife Catherine had just returned home from her time at Fitness Ridge and at one of our husband's hockey games I ran into her and she shared all the wonderful stories about her time at FR. I told her I was joining the 10km running clinic and that she should join with me. The rest is history really. Catherine and I completed the 10km clinic and continued on with the 1/2 marathon clinic along with Alicia since she got a new job and wasn't working nights anymore. After the 1/2 we all moved on to the marathon clinic.

I have spent the last year running and training for 3 1/2 marathons and 1 full marathon. The Chicago marathon was our main goal and after a year of training and 2 weeks at Fitness Ridge I new I was ready for this race. The run took place on 10-10-10.....this was also Alicia's birthday so it was going to be an extra fun weekend. The four of us (me, my husband Jamie, Alicia and her husband Conor) drove down to Chicago on the Friday morning. We left London around 7:00 a.m. because we wanted to arrive in Chicago in the early afternoon so we could hit up the expo. Catherine was traveling down with her husband Lennie and her mom. They had family in Chicago so they were staying with them for the weekend. Once we arrived in Chicago we checked into our hotel room and grab some food at Subway. We headed over to Nike town to find our name on the giant wall they put up with all the names of the participants who have registered for the race. I wasn't able to find my name as it was too high up on the wall to see. There was a free shuttle to the expo from Nike town so we all hooped on.

The wall at Nike with all the names of the participants of the 2010 Chicago Marathon

We took lots of pictures at the expo with the wonderful 10-10-10 signage. They also had another wall with all of our names on it and this time I was able to find my name.

Me at the entrance of the expo

Happy I found my name

The expo was ok but nothing great. We spent a couple hours there checking out all the vendors but we spent most of our time trying to find clothes at the Nike booth since there were very slim pickings on the women's clothing in sizes once we arrived. I ended up buying a men's long sleeve shirt and a hat that say Chicago Marathon 10-10-10.

On Saturday we wanted to make sure we didn't do too much walking around so we decided to do one of the boat tours that take you down the river and out into Lake Michigan. The weather was amazing......nice and sunny and hot for a boat tour. It was great to learn more about the city and get to see all the beautiful buildings.

Jamie, me, Conor & Lish on our boat tour

After the tour we did some more shopping and then it was time to have our carb loading dinner. Alicia had made us reservations at a restaurant one of her friends recommended for great pasta. Catherine and her family joined us and we ate, ate and ate lots of pasta. After dinner we headed back to our room and got our outfits ready since we were only hours away from the big race.

All of us at dinner

My race outfit....most important thing

Race Day
I knew right away that it was going to be a warm run. When I didn't need a throw away sweater to wear because it was warm at 6:00 a.m. I was a little worried.

Jamie and me right before I left for the race

Catherine, Lish and I got dropped off down by the start line. We arrived with enough time to check everything out, get in line to use washroom one last time and then find our spots and wait for the race to start. Once the race started it took me 20 minutes from where I was standing to cross the start line. Once I crossed that start line I was off. It was crazy the amount of people I was running with and the number of people who were on the street cheering us on. I had a really good first half of the race. I really wanted to run this marathon in 4:45 minutes so I had a pace band that I was wearing so I could make sure I was staying on pace throughout the race. At the half way mark I was ahead by 2 minutes and was feeling great.

Still looking good & happy to see my cheering squad

It was really warm out but since the first half of the race was mostly downtown it was shady and there was bit of a breeze. The 2nd half of the race was not as covered and at this point it was getting very hot out. I couldn't believe how much water and Gatorade I was drinking. At every aid station I was filling up like crazy. At about mile 14 I developed really bad stomach cramps. I took some extra time on my walk break to try and make it go away but when I started to run again the pain was too much. I was forced to walk for about 10 minutes and then tired running again. The pain was still there. At this point I had my first melt down......I was in tears because I new I could do this as I had done it many times in training already and was so frustrated because my goal time of 4:45 was slipping away. I had my little pity party for a couple of minutes and then pulled myself together. I decided that I would do what I could. I started to run for 5 minutes and then walk for 5 minutes or what ever combination work for me. I was over heating and thank goodness for the hoses at every aid station because I would just go and stand in front of them and cool myself down. I struggled from mile 14-17 with my cramps but they finally went away. Then I developed a really bad sharp pain in my left shoulder that caused so much pain when I ran. At this point I had my second pity party for myself. I was in complete tears on again on the course. My 2nd goal of completing this race in under 5 hours was slipping away as well. I pulled myself together agin and decided it doesn't matter what my time is I'm going to finish this race. It was around this point as well that I noticed that they changed the caution alert system for the race low to a high. Temperatures at this point were above 90 degrees.

Before I new it I was approaching the 25 mile marker. With only 1.2 miles to go I was almost there. I finished strong and crossed that finish line at 5:20:03 a PB for me since my first marathon I completed in 5:39 back in 2007.

We did it once again
Catherine is now a marathoner proud of these ladies

Although I didn't get the results I wanted with this race it still was such a wonderful experience. I still can't believe the number of people who cheer you on throughout the whole race. People offering you food, drinks, hooking their garden hoses up to cool you name it there were doing it. I want to thank Jamie, Conor, Lennie and Catherine's mom for being our cheering squad. It as so wonderful to see all of you through the race.

We all finished the race and can't wait to run Chicago again. We have already booked our hotel rooms for the 30km Around the Bay race in March and the Flying Pig 1/2 marathon in May. We all plan on running another marathon in the spring as well. This running thing really does become addicting when you get to run with such amazing people.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

One week until 10-10-10

I can't believe that in 5 more sleeps I will be heading to Chicago to run the Chicago Marathon on 10-10-10. I signed up for this race back in February (9 months ago) when my friends (Alicia & Catherine) and I decided that we wanted to run in a big race. I remember staying up until midnight the night when registration opened for this race. We were told this race always sells out early so we wanted to make sure that we all got registered. We are now 3 individuals who will be making up the over 40,000 runners that will be participating in this run.

After 21 weeks of training, 2 amazing weeks at Fitness Ridge I know I'm ready for this run. I ran my first marathon in 2007 and even having completing one previously I know that this race will be a challenge but I know I can do this. I've improved so much since 2007 and I can't wait to so what I'm able to accomplish. I set some goals for myself with this run both a time I want to achieve and a weight goal I wanted to reach by the time this race arrived. I'be been home from FR for almost 2 months and I'm so happy to say that I'm only 2 pounds away from my goal I set out for myself for Chicago. In total I've lost 15 pounds since August 1, 2010 and I'm so proud of what I have been able to accomplish in this short period of time.
Last weekend I ran the Scotiabank Waterfront 1/2 marathon in Toronto. This was the goal race for my marathon group and since the majority of the people I have trained with over the past 21 weeks were running in this race I wanted to make sure I was there to cheer everyone on. I was scheduled to run 23km that day anyways so the 1/2 worked right into the schedule. I had a great run and it was so nice to be relaxed and just enjoy the race. I made sure I slowed it down because this was still a training run which was suppose to be long and slow. Once I finished I found at spot at the 100m mark to the finish line and cheered all my friends on. I'm so proud of every........they all completed the race and did an amazing job.

Megan, Catherine and me at the start line

Catherine, Lish and I also found our shirts we are going to wear in Chicago a the expo in Toronto. We really wanted to represent our country and wear Canada gear but was having trouble finding anything we liked and in the right sizing for all of us. Catherine found these amazing shirts at One More Mile and they had all the right sizing for all of us. Yesterday, we did some minor modifications to the shirts and ironed on our names and a nice little slogan on the back. We've been told our bib numbers don't have our names printed on them so we wanted to make sure we had a way for people to cheer us on. I'm so happy with how they turned out and I know all of us are going to look amazing on race day.

The past two days the weather has been horrible with lots of ran in much colder temperatures. Yesterday morning I was scheduled to run 16km. When I woke up and saw the rain and felt how cold it was I really was tempted not to run but I need once I got out there it would be that bad. I put my gear on and headed out to get my last longer run done before the big day. I printed off a pace band for my marathon race pace and followed it and was able to stick to it throughout my run. This morning I participated in the CIBC Run for the was a fun 5km run in yet again very wet cold weather. I was part of team In It For ING! Our team did such an amazing job raising over $20,000 for the cause and it was so wonderful to see everyone out their supporting our good friend Ingrid who is living with this disease.

Myself, Ingrid and Rita

I have a busy week of work ahead of my with our new Win A Million Lottery program launching on Thursday. I need to make sure I stay hydrated, carb load and get lots of sleep.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Only 31 days until Chicago!

I can't believe I'm only 32 days away from running the Chicago marathon. I have been busy with my training and increasing my distance on my long Sunday runs. This past Sunday Catherine, Lish and I ran all the way from Lambeth to Port Stanley for a total of 32 km. Lish and I really wanted to focus on slowing down our pace as we always seem to run a little too fast on our Sunday runs which are meant to be long and slow. The weather was amazing! It seemed cold when I woke up and I wasn't sure what to wear. We've had such hot humid weather here this summer so the cool morning totally threw me off on what to wear. I decided on carpi's and a t-shirt which was perfect. The run was organized through Runners Choice which is a running organization in London. I was so impressed by the run as they had amazing water stops along the route. There was fruit, water, goodies and such wonderful volunteers cheering us on. The time seemed to fly by and before you knew it we had reached the beach. Catherine had finished before us on this run so it was so wonderful to have her cheering us on at the finish line. About 200 runners participated in the run so it was so much fun to have all the support along the way.

Lish, myself & Catherine at the finish line :)

Since it was a long weekend I had an extra day off work. I wanted to spend some time with my family but do something active and fun. I miss the hikes at FR so I told Jamie (my husband) that I wanted to go on a hike. We live really close to a conservation area that has some trails that we can walk to from our house. We ventured out just after noon from our house with Tonka our fur baby and spent the next 2 hours hiking through the trails at Dalewood Conservation area. It really doesn't compair at all to what I hiked at FR but it was nice to be spending time with my boys and doing something active. Our hike ended up being 8km long and when we got home both the dog & Jamie were wiped out. I look forward to doing that hike again once the leaves start turning because it will be just beautiful.

Tonka & I after our hike

My husband Jamie and my fur baby Tonka

On Tuesday night at my running group one of our group leaders did a presentation on his experiences from some of the marathons he has run in the past. He has run Chicago a few times and he had some pictures to share with the group. I know there is 40,000 people who will be participating in this race but when I saw those pictures he shared with us it was a little overwhelming and exciting at the same time. I have 4 weeks of training left before the big event.

Stay tuned for more updates as my training continues for Chicago 2010!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

2 week at home update

I can't believe I've been home for over 2 weeks already. I have to admit I miss Fitness Ridge so much and all the wonderful people I met during my stay there. I've been able to stay in touch with most of the people I met there through email or facebook so we can keep up to date on everyones progress.

My first day home I spent grocery shopping for all the wonderful foods I ate during my stay at FR. I spent a lot time going through the cookbooks I bought while I was there and planning my week with what food I was going to eat. I spent a lot of time cooking up a storm so I would have meals ready to eat for the week. With my marathon training schedule I run 2 nights a week with my running group and normally don't get home until after 8:00 p.m. at which time I normally would just eat whatever was in sight but the new me has meals ready for me to eat when I get home. My husband Jamie has been great with trying the food I've been making. He's not 100% sold on the ground turkey but he is coming around. I've been very good at tracking all of my calories which is the key for me. I don't have a gym membership but I have been doing my free weights at home and have even been trying to get up in the morning at least once a week to get a morning exercise in. I much prefer to exercise at night as I like my sleep in the morning and exercising in my basement by myself isn't as exciting as those breathtaking hikes we started every early morning off with at FR.

I completed the Mid Summers Night 30km run in Toronto last weekend and I was so happy to have had a great run. I got all my long training runs in while I was at FR but I have to admit they were very painful. After working out for as many hours I did and then have to do a 30km run on a Saturday morning just wiped me out. I completed the run in Toronto in 3 hours and 15 minutes. I felt amazing and had more in me to keep going. After this run I was confident that I should have no problem completing my marathon in 4 hours and 45 minutes.

One of my biggest fears of coming home was dealing with all the junk food at work but to be honest I don't even desire that type of food anymore. My body craves whole foods that will help fuel my body and I have noticed a major difference in how I feel, my energy level and my skin has even cleared up. My co-workers have been amazing as well and there has been no junk in the office since I've returned. Halloween is fast approaching so I'm sure the candy bars will be making an appearance sometime.

It's amazing how truly simple calories in vs calories out truly is and how so many struggle with this basic math. I used to be one of those girls who would weigh herself every morning to see if I had lost or gain a pound. Since returning home I no longer step on the scale on a daily basis because I know how many calories I'm putting into my body and how many I'm burning. I did jump on the scale today so see if my math was correct and it was......another 2 pounds lost since returning home for at total weight lost of 13 pounds. I put a pair of pants on today and was reminded again the change in my body. I think a shopping trip is in order soon for some smaller pants which is always exciting.

My advice for all of you is to start tracking your will be surprised how many calories your actually consuming when you don't keep track. Also when eating out check out the nutritional info before eating out. You will be surprised to see how some of the foods you think are healthy choices are not at all. Plan your food for the week and track and you will be on your way!

Monday, August 16, 2010


Yesterday was a very long day for me as it was my day to travel back home. The shuttle was scheduled to pick me up at 7:20 a.m. at Fitness Ridge so I booked myself for my test out appointment at 7:00 a.m. I could tell I had lost some weight and toned up as my clothes were fitting a little big but I was really shocked and so happy with what I was able to accomplish in my 2 weeks at Fitness Ridge.

Here is a breakdown of my results:

Total weight loss: 11 Lbs

Chest: Lost 1.5 inches

Belly: Lost 3.5 inches

Hips: Lost 1.75 inches

Body Fat: Lost 3.2% body fat

Now my journey continues at home. I have spent today grocery shopping picking up all the foods I require to plan my meals for the week. I have spent most of the night making some of the amazing meals I ate while at Fitness far I have made the turkey chili, the granola and the stuffed peppers. I have tracked all my calories in and have a plan of the meals I will be eating this week and my exercise schedule. I have worked so hard to get where I am and I want to continue improving my health and getting stronger. Tomorrow is my first night back at run club and I'm so excited to start running with the group again. My friend Alicia and I have signed up for a 30km taking place in Toronto this Saturday so I'm looking forward to it.

I miss all my friends at Fitness Ridge who are still there this week and I found myself looking at my watch a lot today thinking of them and what class they would be doing at that moment. This has been such an amazing experience and I hope to return to Fitness Ridge again at some point in my life. If you haven't checked out their website for more information here is the link.

I would highly recommend this experience to everyone as it has changed my life and so many others already!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Day 14 - My Final Day

I still can't believe today is my final day here. Catherine and I had to get our long 29km run in this morning so that's what we did. We had mapped out a 6 mile route the other night that we were just going to repeat 3 times. We both finished our run but I have to be honest it was painful for me. I mentally wasn't into the run and my body was worn out from the week. I took my time and completed it but I know I will be much stronger with a couple days rest and I will be as good as new.


After my run I opted for stretch class. I was already stiffing up so it was great to spend 45 minutes on just stretching my whole body out.

After stretch class it was time for lunch.


Since Saturday's are only a 1/2 day Catherine, Daniel, Robert & I took a little trip to Zion National Park. It's about an hour away from Fitness Ridge so we had the afternoon to spend there. Here are a few pictures of the was absolutely beautiful.

We made it back just in time for dinner and graduation. A lot of people are leaving this week so we all got to say our goodbyes. They produced another video of a bunch different clips form over the week that we watched and it was a wonderful reminder of all the accomplishments that have been made by everyone here.

I know I'm going to miss this place and I know next week when I'm back at work in the office I will be thinking of all the guests at Fitness Ridge and saying to myself I should be in a cardio interval class right now. I'm exciting to get home and continue living this healthy lifestyle. I feel amazing and I'm so happy that I decided to do this for myself. I believe in myself more and know that I'm capable of great things if I put my mind to it.

My bags are packed and I'm ready to continue this journey at home. I have my test out tomorrow morning at 7:00 a.m. where I will get my results. Once thing I have learned here is the number on the scale doesn't matter.......what matters is how you feel and I feel amazing.

I have a long travel day tomorrow and I will be put to the test when I'm forced to make good food choices in the Vegas airport!

Thanks everyone for following me on this journey. I will post my results when I get back home so probably not until sometime Monday as I have a feeling I have some sleep to catch up on.