Fitness Swellness: Introducing my Run for Women teammates

Simone, Anya and me

When Shoppers Drug Mart asked me to take part in the Run for Women, they asked me to round up two friends to also join me. You know the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants? Well, think of this as the sisterhood of the traveling running shoes (except we each have our own shoes…or how else would we all race at the same time, haha!)

At the Running Room with our new Brooks Running shoes for the Run for Women

I asked two amazing girls, Anya Georgijevic and Simone Olivero, to join me and they said yes! We met up at the Running Room several weeks ago and had our gait analyzed and got set up with Brooks Running shoes for the race. You should never try anything new on race day so we needed to get our shoes in advance to make sure they’re comfortable. While we’ve been training separately (busy schedules and living in different hoods makes it hard to get together to train), we’re excited to race together this Sunday, May 31st in Oakville. Have you registered yet? Online registration closes on May 26th so don’t miss out!

Anya, me and Simone

Since you know a bit about my running history and why this race is important to me, I wanted to share a bit about my awesome teammates, too:

I’ve known Anya Georgijevic (that’s her on the left in the grey sweatshirt) for about three years now through the industry (and we first met in real life over dinner in Vancouver when I was out west to run the Vancouver Marathon in 2013). She’s since moved to Toronto (yay for me!)  and we now regularly hang out and go for dinner or drinks and work out together weekly at the Nike Training Club classes and we’ve also traveled together (last fall, in Chicago, she was the best support, helping keep me calm as I prepared to run the Chicago marathon). Anya’s a freelance writer (you may know her work from Flare, the Globe and Mail and Nuvo Magazine, to name just a few), and she also keeps her loyal readers up to date on fashion and beauty on her site anyageorgijevic.com.

What’s your running history?

I’m not a serious runner. I ran a Seattle 1/2 Marathon in 2012 as an excuse to travel. I prefer doing charity runs. My favourites so far have been the Vancouver Salmon 14k Run and Granville Island 10k Turkey Trot.

The race is for women’s mental health, does that hold any personal meaning for you?

Most of the women in my family have been diagnosed with a mental illness, including myself. It’s a cause that’s very close to my heart and I’m grateful for the variety of treatments offered to my generation.

Do you have any specific goals for the Run for Women race on May 31st?

To finish and stay positive.

How has running improved your well being?

Running helped me quit a decade-long smoking habit. No other exercise keeps your lungs and heart in check like running does.

Now, Simone Olivero (she’s on the right in the black hoodie) and I met at a beauty event in Toronto, but we also go to Nike Training Club classes together on Thursday mornings (the same one Anya and I go to!). She, too, is a freelance writer, and you may know her byline from publications such as Toronto Life, Glow, the Toronto Star and many online publications as well.

What’s your running “history”?

I started running out of the blue six years ago with my first race being the Island Girl 10k on Toronto Island–I heard they were giving out free makeup! A couple months later, I ran a half-marathon with very little training, which was a humbling experience. I spent the next year preparing for my next half with slightly better results, but then a surgery in 2011 gave me an excuse to pack away my shoes for a couple years.

I have always trained for my races alone but this November I decided to change things up and started running with the Parkdale Roadrunners twice a week. I also run with the Nike Running Club, which means I spend a lot of time decked out in running gear.

The race is for women’s mental health, does that hold any personal meaning for you?

I’ve lived a block away from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) for almost 15 years and have witnessed too many times the stigma surrounding mental health. Mental illness affects more people than we realize and yet many of us are still afraid to talk about it. I hope races like this will help promote continued education and awareness.

Any particular goals for this Run for Women race on the 31st?

I think there’s always a desire to beat your last race time but I honestly just want to have fun running alongside you and Anya. I’ve also never run in Oakville so I’m excited to explore. Hopefully it’s a nice and sunny day :)

How has running improved your well being?

Physically, I can’t believe how much running has transformed my body. My legs are leaner, I feel stronger and every so often I can spot abs in the mirror! But mostly I run for the adrenaline rush. Even when it was -30 this winter and the last thing I wanted to do was lace up, I found myself getting hooked on the incredible feeling of accomplishment I got afterwards. It also helped being in really good company—shout out to the PDRR ladies!

And there you have it, my two awesome teammates for the Oakville Run for Women 10k (follow them on Instagram (@anyageo and @simoneolivero) as we ramp up for the race this Sunday! We can’t wait for the 31st—see you there! Oh, you haven’t registered yet? Hurry, registration closes Tuesday, May 26th!

Leave a Comment May 25, 2015

Travel Swellness: Exploring the hills of Headwaters, Ontario

Alton, Ontario

A couple of weeks ago, I went on a little road trip up north to the region of Headwaters. Never heard of it? Neither had I, but I learned on the trip (as I was invited and host by the tourism board) that it’s named after being the source of Ontario’s biggest rivers and encompasses the communities of Erin, Caledon, Dufferin County, Mono and Shelburne (most of which I had heard of, but had never had the chance to visit). It was great to get out of the city for a couple of days, and it’s incredible how it feels like a different world there, even though it’s just about an hour away by car from Toronto.

Headwaters, Ontario

Loads more people are going to discover the Headwaters region, though, soon, as it is hosting the jumping and dressage equestrian events for the Pan Am games. We got a chance to take a tour of the Caledon Pan Am Equestrian Park and although I haven’t watched many equestrian events, I think it’d be incredible to attend some of these events and witness in person the skills of the athletes and the power and beauty of the horses. While there, we also saw the Headwaters Parade of Horses in the works: more than 25 life-size fibreglass horse sculptures will be transformed by artisans and then displayed around the Headwaters region during the months of June, July and August. Hello, Instagram opportunities! Haha

Caledon Equestrian Park

Tied into the Pan Am games is the Pan Am Taste Trail from June 13 until August 15th. The 20 participating restaurants and producers will be offering signature food or drink items. You can find the list of participants here.

There’s delicious food all the time here, of course, not just tied into the Pan Am games. We had dinner at Cabin at Hockley Valley and I’m pretty sure my new friend beside me at dinner was tired of hearing me exclaim with every bite how delicious the meal was. Everything was just right, the only thing I would’ve changed would be doubling the number of ravioli on my plate (not because the portion was small by any means, but because the dish was that good). It was lobster ravioli with fiddleheads (local, of course), asparagus, ramps and peas (and there was some ramp crema on the plate). So seasonal and fresh, I was in heaven…only to then be served a  perfectly tender, juicy beef filet that I devoured with glee. I would make the trip to Headwaters just for dinner here.

lobster ravioli

While Cabin is quite upscale and chic in ambiance, for something casual but just as yummy, we enjoyed a lovely buffet lunch at Landman Gardens and Bakery. Charcuterie, salads, sandwiches, fresh veggies and fruit and cheese (including a phenomenal goat cheese Rebecca, our lovely host, had made) and with a dessert of raspberry crumble. All made even more delightful by enjoying it inside their charming blackhouse, where they host meals and events from May to October. I felt like I was in a fairytale.

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It’s hard to say, though, if the meal was the best part of this visit to Landman, however, because I have two words for you: baby goats.

baby goats

Yes, Landman Gardens and Bakery operates a goat farm and we got to get up close and personal with them, including some beyond adorable two-week-old goats. I had no idea baby goats were so affectionate but they were all vying for our attention and when I would pick one up, I could feel their heart beating so fast, but they’d soon calm down and just rest calmly in my arms, happy to be cuddled.

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I wanted to bring a baby goat home, but left instead with six of the Landman meat pies. Which I’ve since dug into and they are as fantastic as the lunch (I picked up a variety, from shepherd’s pie to steak and farmer’s pie and the crust is flaky and the fillings are savoury hearty deliciousness).

Over at The Friendly Chef Adventures, though, it was our turn to have a hand at cooking the food we were to eat. Our class was a quick one given our time constraints, so Chef Pam taught us how to make cold spring rolls and we prepped ingredients for a Thai stir-fry. Most useful tip I gleaned from class? How to quickly and easily seed a pepper. I’ve got a video Chef Pam’s technique on my Instagram feed if you want to learn (sorry, you’ll have to scroll back to early May!).

Last but not least, a visit to Glen Williams Glass is a must when you’re in the region so you can try your hand at glassblowing (register online for a class). Even with our very quick stop here, I had time to be carefully lead through the process of making my own cup, from initially turning the hot glass, to blowing to make the glass shape, and finally opening it up to make the top of the glass. I can’t wait to see the finished product (we had to leave our masterpieces there to be baked in the oven)!

glassblowing

It was a whirlwind two days and there’s so much I feel I didn’t get to explore in the Headwaters region that I think I should plan another road trip soon. Although even just revisiting the sweet goats would make it worth it…

into the woods at Plant Paradise

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a Comment May 21, 2015

Fitness Swellness: When is the best time to run?

run for women hashtag image

With the upcoming Run for Women races (I’m taking part in the 10k one in Oakville on May 31, 2015), I’m continuing to maintain a regular running schedule to make sure I get my training done. Have you registered yet? Online registration closes on May 26th! Don’t miss out!

If you’ve just started to run, you might be wondering, “when is the best time to run”? For me, a few factors play a role in planning my runs for the week:

  • When can I fit it into my schedule? I’m always juggling many commitments for work and play so this comes first. I look at the week ahead to see when I can carve out the time for my three to four runs a week. Since I usually try to run with my running buddy, I check in to see what coordinates with her schedule as well.
  • What’s the weather forecast? I try to avoid running in the rain, or in extremely hot or cold weather so I pencil in my runs after looking at the seven-day forecast.
  • When can I run during daylight hours? I prefer to run in daylight hours, for safety’s sake. So in the winter, I shift my runs to the afternoon, and in the summer, I’ll run in the evening or very early in the morning before it gets too hot and humid.
  • How can I avoid running in the morning? This is my personal preference, given that I am a night owl. I tend to try to avoid early morning runs if I can, but it’s sometimes a must if I’m trying to run with my running buddy or due to the weather, but for the most part, I lean towards afternoon or evening runs when I can.

When it comes down to it, the best time to run is when you are able to, wouldn’t you agree? If you can only run in the evenings, that’s way better than not running at all (and I know of many people who skip their workouts altogether because they feel they only have a half hour, so I’m sure some people use the excuse that they’ve heard mornings are better for running). In fact, here are a number of studies and reasons why various times of the day are beneficial. What’s most important to take away from this, though, is that you make your running regimen work for you.

Morning: Early morning, for some people, may be the only time they can fit in a workout while keeping up with their other responsibilities. Plus, it can be an energizing way to kick off your day. There is also research that shows that people who prefer to exercise in the morning tend to be more consistent with their exercise regimens, and there’s less chance of your run (which stimulates your body) interfering with how well you sleep at night. Another bonus of running in the morning? Most races start in the morning, so you’ll be more used to this schedule than someone who doesn’t run at dawn.

Middle of the day: If you’re juggling a million responsibilities, then your lunch break in the middle of the day might be the only time you can squeeze in a run. Plus, have you heard that extended periods of time sitting is bad for your health? A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that sedentary behaviours increases our chances of getting a disease or condition that will kill us prematurely even if we exercise. So breaking up long periods of sedentary behaviour (such as a run in the middle of your work day rather than sitting at your desk for eight hours straight) could help boost your life expectancy.

Evening: If you’re using running as stress relief, you may find that running in the evening helps you decompress from the stress and tension you’ve had built up through your hectic day. Also, when it comes to physiology, athletes perform better when body temperature is at its highest, and that is in the evening.

Excited to continue with your training? Me, too! Hope to see you at the Oakville Run for Women on the 31st, or to see your Run for Women tweets and Instagrams from other Run for Women events (don’t forget to hashtag #runforwomen). You can find out more at www.runforwomen.ca.

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Leave a Comment May 20, 2015

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