I’m so excited because I can finally talk about this work I developed in partnership with Expedia.ca! If you know anything about me, it’s that I’m out and about quite a bit in my hometown of Toronto, and that includes working out and eating, and I travel a helluva lot, too, so I know what it’s like to want to fit in workouts while you’re away from home.
So I shared with Expedia a few of my favourite workouts in the 6ix in a one-day itinerary, should you find yourself here in Toronto and wanting to get your sweat on. There are, of course, way more workouts than I could include in a single day, but I made it a mix of running (cuz that’s my jam, plus it can be a great way to see any city), a workout to strengthen the core and overall conditioning, and finished off with something more zen. You can find my Toronto Fitness Break itinerary here!
Then, well, you know what goes hand in hand with working out? Fueling the body well. So for my roundup, I focused on more plant-based spots and narrowed it down to a handful of restaurants. It doesn’t include where I’m likely to go to carbload the week before racing a marathon, but rather places I frequent for a bowl filled with a rainbow of veggies loaded with nutrients and minerals, and yes, where you can get a good cold-pressed juice (because even though I don’t believe in juice cleanses, I think these juices, while they can put a dent in your budget, can be a wholesome complement to what you eat). Where to get healthy food that is tasty? Well, here’s my little healthy foodie favourites list over on the Expedia fitness breaks! I’m drooling right now just thinking of all the good-for-you tastiness.
The Expedia Fitness Breaks includes loads of other itineraries for you to check out as well. Like there’s one for Denver (where I’m dying to visit), Vancouver (love that city), Washington D.C., Rio de Janeiro, Montreal (my hometown, what what!), London, Barcelona, and more — so many cities and so many fun ways to be healthy! You can access them all on the homepage for Expedia Fitness Breaks.
Last Sunday, I ran the Barbados Half-marathon for the first time and I still haven’t looked up my official time. Well, that’s not entirely true. I did check that same day and they weren’t posted yet. I guess when I’m not aiming to PB the time isn’t so important for me to know, and I had a general sense of my finish time.
That lackadaisical approach, though, was very much troubling me in the hours before the race kicked off at 5 a.m. on Sunday, December 4th. I slept very little that night, awake til 1 a.m. and afraid to oversleep, I lay awake for much of those wee hours of the “morning” (really, it was nighttime). I’d always planned to do this race as a easy run. It’s in fact the least I’ve “trained” for a race, if you can even call the handful of runs I did training. I added this race to my schedule about a month ago, knowing my body is capable of running 21.1k but not racing it.
But as I lay there sleepless the morning of the race, I found myself feeling a little annoyed with myself. 21.1k is not a short distance, and to run it without a serious desire or passion or goal, it was dawning on me that I was going to have a rough time getting through 21.1k in 29 degree heat and humidity.
My vague plan: run it comfortably, walking as much as I wished, but trying to have fewer walk breaks than I did in the Cayman Half last December, and in the Bahamas Half in January, and given that, my rough goal time I set for myself given my lack of training and the weather conditions was 2:15.
I got to the start a good 45 minutes ahead of time, and had to switch my bib (I’d accidentally been given a 10k bib), sat around and then used the last 20 minutes to wait in line for the portapotties. The race kicked off at about 5 a.m. (I think it was a few minutes late) without much fanfare, in fact, for about a minute I wasn’t clear if it had officially started. I don’t recall crossing a mat at the start — so I’m unclear if it’s based on gun time, in which case I would’ve made more of an effort to not have started towards the back of the crowd.
The route features some moderate hills (which I was not expecting), and it ventures alongside some residences, some port land, which is not the most scenic but you are rewarded with plenty of ocean views, and it’s kind of fun to start the race in the dark and have the sky brighten after about an hour (even though you don’ t have a direct view of the sun rise), all of which is what I’m looking for in a Caribbean race. Given the early start time, there is little support along the route other than the volunteers, but the few people that did cheer, I made sure to thank (along with of course the volunteers marshalling the route and handing out hydration). Entertainment-wise, one truck blasting music was in front of the elites, along with a few steel-pan drummers. The road is not entirely closed, so for awhile I found myself trailing a city bus and desperately wishing I could run faster to get ahead of it so as to not be exposed to its exhaust; there was also the occasional car or two passing us runners. The route is an out and back, and the marathoners repeat it to get their full 42.2k distance, which I think must be draining mentally.
Thankfully and surprisingly, I felt good during my run. Despite the heat and humidity, I never felt miserable and needing extra walk breaks. I roughly took a drink of water every 10 minutes or so and would walk for about a minute to do so and regroup. And I could tell early on that it was going to be a pretty decent race for me that day, which is surprising given how rough the Scotiabank Half-marathon felt recently.
I just checked the results and I finished in 2:03:21. This is indeed gun time (which is disappointing, I’m all about chip time) because my NRC app shows 2:02 (and that’s not accurate given it took me awhile to get my sweaty screen to unlock to stop my app), but it is what it is. Faster than my Scotia half this year, despite being in even less racing form and the harsher weather. So I’m pretty pleased with my time, considering I’d been thinking I’d be done in 2:15. I’m calling this my Caribbean half-marathon PB. With this gun time of 2:03:21, I was 109th out of 344 runners in the half (the results don’t show break down by sex and age group, unfortunately) and I’m very happy with that.
After the race, I skipped going for a dip into the bay because I didn’t want to sit in cold, wet gear for the drive back to my resort, but some runners did, and it’s a beautiful bay to do so (and this was my fave aspect of the Bahamas Half-marathon, having the race finish by the water so you could refresh right away in the ocean).
Barbados is a lovely, low-key island, which I’ll be writing about shortly for VITA Daily, so stay tuned for that, and the Run Barbados race weekend should definitely be one to consider if you’re looking for a destination race where you can enjoy some great beach time and food.
And with that, my 2016 race season comes to an end! I find out in a few days whether I’ve been drawn in the Chicago Marathon lottery for next year. It’s where I have my marathon PB from two years ago, and it’s such a fantastic city, I’m hoping to run it again!
So a couple of months ago, when I got an email asking me if I’d like to audition to take part in a video for the College of Kinesiologists of Ontario, my gut reaction was “Nope!” Because being on camera is just not something I’m super comfortable with (I had one of my firs experiences on camera with this campaign I worked on with McDonald’s and found it awkward). But I know that I had to push myself out of my comfort zone and audition because it was a great project to be involved with.
And whaddyaknow, I got the part! And it was such a fun experience. The team on set made it super comfortable and we managed to get a lot done faster than the schedule. And I had a better idea of what was expected of me in this shoot versus the one with McD’s so it was a bit easier for me. Unfortunately I was under the weather that day (such bad timing!) but hopefully I managed to not look sniffly and congested on camera. I also got to fit in a great workout that day thanks to the exercises Alex Allan of the Kin Studio had me do (and I had to do many reps and hold the pose for the cameras, so my muscles were very sore the next day!). And in the process, I learned what a kinesiologist does and the College of Kinesiologists of Ontario is!
Full disclosure: I got the video a few days ago, but it took me a few days to watch it ‘cuz it’s so hard to watch yourself on camera, well, for me it is! But I’m so happy with the finished product, thanks to the team that day! Anyhow, here are the vids: