Fitness Swellness: Shoppers Love You Run for Women 2017 race recap

Run for Women 2017

A few months ago, Shoppers Drug Mart asked if I’d like to run the Shoppers Love You Run for Women 2017

, which took place on June 10th, and given that it’s in support of a cause I think is important — women’s mental health programs — I agreed right away. I had missed running the race last year as I was out of town, but I did run it the year prior and had a lot of fun.

I wasn’t planning on racing it, but to run it for fun. I’d taken a long break after running the Barbados Half-Marathon in December, and was only running about once or twice a week for several months, so my pace has gotten much, much slower. Although I have been training more consistently for the past month or so, it’ll take awhile til I get close to the running shape I have been in before.

So my approach to this Run for Women 10k was very relaxed. I didn’t stress leading up to it. I wasn’t even quite sure where the race start was when I looked it up at 9 p.m. the night before. I also didn’t get my nails done for it. I KNOW. I never race without my nails done!

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My friend and fellow iRun colleague Anna Lee agreed to do the race as well and we met up before the race started. Saturday turned out to be a sunny, hot day, I believe it was about 18 degrees when I stepped out to head to the race. We started the race together and my plan was to run it as a tempo, that is for it to feel comfortably hard. Anna Lee was faster and I knew I had to dial back my pace or I’d be miserable and hurting the entire race (and I had zero desire to feel that way) so she went ahead and I could see her about half a block ahead of me most of the race.

There is little support along the route. Much thanks to the cheerful volunteers smiling and encouraging runners, and thank you to the man standing at Queen’s Park with a neon bristle board sign that read “You are a life-changer.” Because it’s always nice to have a reminder that this is about furthering such an important cause.

As for the route, it was flat and interesting enough as it was through midtown Toronto so stores and buildings for scenery. Because I’d only glanced at the map, I didn’t realize until during the race that the 10k is the 5k route done twice. I spent much of my time behind one runner, who each time I’d catch up to her, she would speed up. In fact, after the race, she found me and thanked me for helping to pace her, haha! That’s another favourite aspect of this race, it’s a pretty friendly, feel-good kind of race. Oh, and the medal is a cute bracelet that reads Love You.

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Because I had zero plans to aim for a PB, I didn’t work my way to the front of the corral for the race start. But I wish I had, because when I looked up the results, the results are based on gun time, not chip time! Doh! Oh well. In any case, I finished in 54:01 gun time (which is about 30 seconds longer than the time I recorded on my Nikeplus, which is 52nd out of 291 runners, and 29th out of 229 women. Which I’m fine with, I actually expected to be slower, and there was the hot temperatures that day, too. How I’ve run the same distance about 7 minutes faster boggles my mind…but it’s helping to inspire me as I have to kickstart my Chicago Marathon training soon and it’s nice to remember that it is possible for me to run a much faster pace. I just have to put in the training.

I’d be remiss if I did not mention the very generous swag bag. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a swag bag like this before. I stuffed it into my backpack for the 4k walk home from the race, and it legit started to hurt by back, it was that heavy! If swag is a motivator, ladies, you need to get in on this race next year. We’re talking full-size hair products and chocolate and more. This photo doesn’t even feature every item from the bag.

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Congrats to everyone who ran the Toronto edition (and all of the other cities, too!) of the Run for Women, and good luck to you in St. John’s running it on June 25th!

Leave a Comment June 13, 2017

Beauty Swellness: My At-home Aveeno® essentials

Aveeno at home essentials

I spend a fair bit of time away from home (and I talk about some of my travel must-haves here), and being away so often makes my time at home that much more precious to me. I struggle sometimes at making it a haven where I can kick back and relax (between what seems of endless loads of laundry–I’m just one person but between delicates, regular clothes and workout clothes, it piles up!–and constantly unpacking and repacking luggage, gah!).

But the one thing I know I don’t have to worry about is my stash of skincare essentials. As an Aveeno® Active Naturals® ambassador and a lifestyle writer, I get to try out a slew of products regularly, and these are the Aveeno products I turn to time and time again, and what helps me keep a healthy balance to my on-the-go lifestyle:

Because I’m working out regularly, I shampoo my hair often. Which can dry out hair, but I use Aveeno® Positively Nourishing Moisturize Shampoo and Conditioner so that my hair doesn’t get stripped. These two products are made with a formula of gentle moisturizers and includes a nourishing Wheat Complex and Oat Protein so my often over-shampooed hair maintains shine and strength. I usually don’t travel with these products (in order to save space in my luggage — carry-on only whenever possible!) and I notice the difference in how much more manageable my hair is once I return home and use these products instead of whatever was in my hotel room.

While I typically wear a higher SPF, during cooler months where I’m typically indoors for more time, I love to use Aveeno® Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer SPF 15. With its Total Soy Complex and natural light diffusers, it helps with my uneven skin tone and dark spots, and I like that it’s hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic. It is lightweight, though, so in the winter, I use a heavier night cream or an oil to give my dry skin (which gets exposed to harsh winter elements since I run outside all winter) more of rich dose of hydration.

As for my body, I’ve always been prone to dry skin, so with my skin recovering from winter and my frequent showering (often twice a day because of (1) life and (2) regular workouts), hydrating my skin well is actually the thing I’m most diligent about when it comes to my beauty routine. If I were to skip this step, I’d be scaly as a snake and itchy AF. So, in order to NOT be in such a state, I slather on the new Aveeno® Eczema Care Itch Relief Balm, which helps strengthen the skin’s natural moisture barrier and moisturizes skin well. It’s not greasy, and is gentle enough for daily use. Plus, I love that it’s in a large pot (it drives me crazy when pump dispenser’s stop pumping out lotion when there’s so much left in the bottle!).

Where I can slack off with my moisturizing routine is when it comes to my hands. Did you know–your hands are the first part of your body to show serious signs of aging?! So, I keep a tube of Aveeno® Daily Moisturizing Hand Cream on my office desk so I can apply it when I’m working on my computer.

I remember Aveeno® being on the bathroom shelf when I was growing up, actually, so it’s been a trusted staple on my bathroom shelf for practically my whole life, come to think about it.

(sponsored)

 

Leave a Comment June 12, 2017

Travel Swellness: Day tripping to Big Bear, California

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So back to catching the winter wave in California! After a few busy days in Santa Monica, Marina Del Rey and LA, we got up very early to drive to Big Bear. From what I’ve gathered, Big Bear is where a lot of Angelenos go to ski locally (it’s about a three-hour drive, well, at least that’s how long it took us).

I will say that I can’t give you a really well-rounded view of what it’s like there as we had little time to explore. The town looks super cute, and we spent most of our time first at Magic Mountain tubing on a small hill. Not a big hill by any means, so it’s a great activity for little kids.

Done with the tubing, we went onto the alpine slide, which will definitely give you more of an adrenaline rush. I did plan to go all out each time but there are certain turns you definitely feel like you might swoop up and off the track, so I didn’t quite go pedal to the medal each time. But here I am beating Nick in our unofficial race!

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From there, we moved onto fat tire snow biking with Bear Valley Bikes. And while I think I can mostly be pretty brave with the adventures on my travels, mountain biking of any sort really terrifies me. I rode the bike fine through the streets to get to the park, but once we reached the hills and trees, that was way too advanced for me and I gave up the bike and just hiked instead along with some of the others in my group. I just envision myself really hurting myself, and falling headfirst off my bike into a tree. It is a shame as there seemed to be some nice terrain and great views to be had at this park!

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Outdoor fun done, we went for lunch at Big Bear Lake Brewing Company. It’s a comfortable pub atmosphere, and they’re known for the avocado bomb appetizer, which includes tempura avocado and other elements, but I was more impressed with the variety of burgers everyone got (which the server happily changed toppings if you weren’t so crazy about something on one of the specialty burgers). I went with fish & chips, which was good (fries could’ve been more crisp on outside and soft on the inside — that’s my preference) and extremely substantial.

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(I’ll admit that I didn’t have a beer here, I usually try to for story research, but it’d just been a long day — I’ll be the first to admit I was exhausted and pretty cranky because of that — I simply wasn’t in the mood for one. But I can say that everyone who did have a house brew seemed quite impressed.)

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After lunch, we made the long drive back to LA straight to LAX to catch out flight to Tahoe. But not before making a pit stop to take some photos of beautiful Big Bear Lake. I wish we had had more time to poke around here! Oh well, I guess this just means I have to head back soon on my own. I think it’s a bit long of a drive for a one day outing; I’d reco it as at least an overnighter (to me three hours drive each way is significant, but I know others would think that’s just fine!).

Next stop: Lake Tahoe! Stay tuned for the third installment of catching the winter wave in Cali!

Photo credit (tubing, alpine slide, fat biking, beer): Max Whittaker/Visit California

Leave a Comment June 1, 2017

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