Fitness Swellness: My Fall 2019 Running Goals


So…I planned on running one marathon this fall…and now I’m running TWO, and just two weeks apart.

I’m swear I’m not crazy. OK, maybe a little… This wasn’t my plan, tbh. I planned on one and for many years I’ve wanted to run the Detroit Marathon. I’ve never been and it looks like there’s great art and food to discover there, plus I love that the marathon crosses the border!

Then, although I’d been invited  months ago to participate in the Istanbul Marathon in November, I didn’t think the trip would happen. And then it was just confirmed last week!

So why not just run Istanbul? I don’t think I can plan on Istanbul being a great goal race for time. I’ll be jetlagged. I’ll want to take photos along the route. I want to enjoy running in such an amazing city, not focus solely on my race time.

And with that, I’ve added Detroit as my goal race. I’m not thrilled that it’s just two weeks prior to Istanbul. I’ve run two marathons a month apart. I’ve run a marathon and half-marathon one week later. And a marathon and a 10k raee one week later. But two marathons just two weeks apart is new for me, and I will admit even I think I’ve taken on a bit much…

But I got tips from Nike running coach Brittany Moran on how to plan for those two weeks (I’ll post about that soon).  And as I mentioned, my plan is to run Istanbul just to complete it and enjoy it (as much as one can enjoy running for 42.2 kilometres….).

Anyhoo! Right now I’m focused on getting into shape for Detroit! Summer’s flying by and now I feel like I started training last week a tad too late! I’ve been pretty relaxed with running this year, so it’s time to get serious. I’d love to PB in Detroit…

We are now just shy of 13 weeks until Detroit Marathon, which crosses country borders, and 15 weeks until I run the world’s only transcontinental marathon, Istanbul Marathon!

1 Comment July 22, 2019

Fitness Swellness: Sporting Life 10k Calgary in support of Starlight Children’s Foundation race recap


This Saturday was the Sporting Life 10k Calgary race (aka #calgarysfastestroad race). It was my first time running it and I was honoured to run it on behalf of Starlight Children’s Foundation.

I haven’t been training consistently nor done much of any speed or hill training, and with my focus on taking in this race for such a great cause, I intended to run it as a tempo, that is, comfortably hard. Which is just fine by me because for a 10k race you can push yourself to go a lot harder than the distances I usually race (I tend to gravitate to halfs and marathons), and I don’t especially love that feeling that comes with running at a fast pace (as though my heart’s about to explode!).

The weather Saturday morning was just about perfect for a race: about 12 Celsius, which made it a tiny bit brisk to be waiting for the race to start, but thankfully the race started at a transit station so runners were able to wait for the 8 am start in the station or wait in the bus shelters to keep out of the slight breeze.


The race is smaller in size than ones I have run recently, so the start was quite relaxed; normally you’re shoulder to shoulder in the start chute, but this morning I found myself with plenty of personal space, and instead of being herded toward the start line by being in the  thick of a crowd, I was able to pause and get my music and NRC app started just in time as I crossed the start line.

As with most races, I found myself swept up in the excitement of the race and ran the first two kilometres at a very fast pace for me, but for the remainder my pace fluctuated a lot, partly due to the change in elevation (the race is net downhill, which I prefer, although I know many runners find downhill to be hard on the body). Being a small race, I found it motivating that I felt I could always more or less see the front of the pack.

In terms of race organization, there were two water stations, and kilometre markers at every kilometre (although I admit I did not notice the markers until I got to the 6k marker; I think the flags for all the previous markers must’ve been blowing in a such as a way that I didn’t realize they were the distance markers). There is virtually no entertainment along the route, and very little in terms of spectator support (which made the smiling cop directing traffic and the few cheerers especially appreciated!), so I was happy I had decided to listen to music (however, I always just use one earbud for races so that I can be aware of traffic and runners around me).


Crossing the finish line as always is a great feeling, and an adorable little girl handed me my medal. In the post-race area, there was a nice variety of fuel (Kind bars, watermelon, Old Dutch chips, Clif Bars) and it’s the first time I’ve seen a PG gong, so fun!


I ran a 51:32, which is far from a PB for me so I didn’t get to hit that gong but love the concept and wish there were one in some of  races in Toronto! I finished in 232nd place out of 717, 91st out of 431 women, and 19 out of 68 in my category.

I don’t have the final numbers yet, but I believe upward of $15,000 has been raised thus far for Starlight Children’s Foundation. And that’s what’s really important here: raising funds so they can help bring some lightness and joy to the many sick kids they work with.

I was reminded of this at dinner that night after the race, when I checked my Instagram inbox, and saw a message from Heather, the mom of the ambassador family for this race (you can find her with all of her truly inspiring positivity on Instagram @happilyheath). I unfortunately saw Heather’s message well after the race (or else I’d have made plans to meet IRL that morning), but I got to reading about her daughter Evelyn on her Instagram, and Evelyn’s recently just had a shift in her cancer treatment plan. Looking at her smiling photo, well, it certainly puts life into perspective and I’m inspired by how courageous she is. She’s been through much too much for her age, and I’m grateful that Starlight Children’s Foundation exists to provide experiences that allow her to be a kid, in the middle of so many tests at the hospital and the endless series of treatments.

If that sounds like a cause you’d like to support, consider sponsoring a runner (you can still do so now even though the race is over; this is my fundraising page but there are also several hundred runners you can support!).

Thank you Starlight for asking me to take part in this race and for the work that you do!



Leave a Comment June 21, 2019

Culture Swellness: Power Ball 2019 recap

Power Ball_bestoftorontonet

Believe the hype: Power Ball is the fundraiser gala you want to go to.

A couple of nights ago, I attended Power Ball for the first time and I have to say; as someone who goes to my fair share of events, and seeing friends there who are in the same circle–and I know it sounds a bit awful, but you can get a bit spoiled and jaded when you regularly go to events where tablescapes are decked out as though for a wedding and you get spoiled by fantastic food and open-bar cocktails–and everyone around you is genuinely having a good time? You’re at a pretty special night out.


Starting with the art: loved Max Streicher’s inflatable sculptures, Sleeping Giants, Chelsea Culprit’s neon installation, Tri Braja and Bruno Billio’s Tron209. And there was Sarah Zanchetta’s installation, Sweet Digs, which was inspired by Bumble‘s mission to change gender norms, encouraging women to make the first move. It was an adventure entering the space and discovering art in all of the spaces. Even the food was presented in a way that encouraged you to explore, such as Arthur’s Restaurant small plates served up in compartments. And there were 2,000 Krispy Kremes! Boxes upon boxes of original glazed!


When things got too busy and warm inside watching the performances from the city’s LGBTQ community (we caught a bit of one of Gay Jesus’s performances), we escaped to the patio (and were grateful for the night’s perfect weather!) and enjoyed a couple of glasses from Chateau des Charmes and desserts from Ricarda’s. Best of all, there was never a wait for anything, except for a short wait at the Toronto Life photo booth.


And the fashion! A fantastic crowd and so many great outfits. I feel like there were a handful of guests who dressed to the speakeasy theme of 21 Club (I did not dress to the theme — I ended up with a sequined jumpsuit from Fitzroy Boutique thanks to a giftcard I received about a month ago from Socialite Vodka) but people, whether on theme or not, had all put in the effort into their look of the night. In the pic above, I’m with my friends Megan Munro, Anya Georgijevic and Nelia Bekbulatova.


Thank you for a fun night out Power Ball: 21 Club (which this  year was in partnership with presenting sponsor Holt Renfrew)! If you have the opportunity to attend, do it! And ICYMI, I had a Q&A with Gaetane Verna, director of the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery here. Can’t wait to see what’s in store in the coming years for Power Ball!

Photos: (group photo), George Pimentel (art installations).

Leave a Comment June 8, 2019

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