Tag: fitness

Fitness Swellness: 5 things I’ve learned training for the 2018 Chicago Marathon

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As I mentioned last week, this training season for Chicago Marathon has been rough. And I’m not feeling like it’ll be a strong race for me. I think I’ve run enough marathons to have a good sense of what I can expect from my body. While I don’t think I’ve gotten strong enough physically, I feel like my brain has been working against me, so I’ve been working on looking at the positive aspects of this upcoming race. Because otherwise, I fall into thinking, “Why bother?” with completing the race if I won’t PB. And that is not the right mindset when running 42.2 kilometres!

So, here’s what this Chicago Marathon and this training season has going for it when it comes to my running goals:

  1. Chicago Marathon is where I do well racing the 42.2k distance. I’ve run it twice before (in 2017 and 2014) and these are my two fastest marathons (and that’s even with the intense heat we had for 2017’s race). I remind myself of this all the time.
  2. I discovered NRC Guided Runs thanks to Nike Run Coach Brittany Moran adding a few to my training sched, and they’ve improved treadmill training by making them less boring. I avoid the treadmill as much as possible as I find it about as dull as Outlander (don’t @ me) but having the coach talk me through each interval in the NRC Guided Speed Runs helps to break up the workout nicely. The one with Kevin Hart and Coach Bennett (remember when he told me I needed psychiatric help for running two races one week apart, haha) had me laughing.
  3. I’m getting better at replacing dreading runs with being grateful. When Nike Run Coach Brittany Moran heard I dread each long run, she reminded me that a lot of people aren’t able to run, and I know how awful I feel when I’ve been told to lay off of running (due to issues like my formerly overactive thyroid, or not being able to wear contact lenses).While those long runs in nearly 40 Celsius weather this summer have been grueling, I am thankful to be injury-free and physically capable of completing runs short and long. “To be honest, I’m jealous,” said a friend who’s taken a break from running about me running Chicago.
  4. I now think “fun” not “fast.” In the NRC Guided Run Run with Mo, Mo Farah instructs you to think not about going fast, but having fun, I now make a deliberate effort to think that when I do speed work. Rather than repeating, “This is freakin’ brutal and my heart feels like it’s going to explode and I can’t possibly run harder or faster,” I think “Let’s have more FUN.” I can’t say it works entirely (it still hurts to push hard through a tough workout and I know I really just need to try my best to hit the pace I’m aiming for), but thinking “fun” helps to shift my focus into a more positive space.
  5. Running gives me quality time with Billie Jean. I’ve been mostly training solo, which can be draining. But with my work schedule and travel, and with me not being a morning person (which is when most run crews run), the flexibility of running solo is often what works best for me. To help me make it through long runs, I usually run 22k alone and then pick up my dog, Billie Jean, for the last portion of my run. She’s run as long as 14k in the past with me, but with the intense summer conditions, I limit her distance to be on the safe side.

A friend who’s completed Ironman gave me a little pep talk the other day, too. She reminded me that even if Chicago 2018 isn’t my best marathon, it’ll help me prepare for future marathons, I can use it as an opportunity to experiment (whether I want to use a pacer or not, for example, in future marathons when trying to BQ) and that even if it’s not my best time, I’ll know what my current marathon time is to gauge my fitness level going forward. And last but not least, she reminded me that I may just surprise myself and it’s possible that every element comes together (nutrition, rest, weather, gear, mental state and crowd support), and I may just BQ.

I may BQ. It could happen. After all, in 2014, I was less than two minutes from BQ-ing and I totally didn’t expect to finish with that time (I’d anticipated finishing about 13 minutes slower!).

Plus, I have an excuse to go get a killer manicure again.

It’s only a crazy dream until you do it, after all. That’s what I learned at the Just Do It HQ Chicago I visited last week. And besides, PB or BQ or not, there is some very rad Chicago Marathon Nike gear this year.

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Also, while at the Just Do It HQ last week, I got the chance to customize a Chicago Marathon tank, which I will wear proudly after the race (once I’ve earned it!).

Nike Chicago Marathon tank

Leave a Comment September 24, 2018

Fitness Swellness: Register now for the 2018 Global Energy Race by Dempster’s

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Stoked to run the Global Energy Race by Dempster’s 10k again this year. If you recall, I had a blast with my friends in last year’s race. I may bring Billie Jean this year (dogs can take part in the 3K family run/walk, btw). I’m hoping the weather is not as insanely hot and humid this year, and that I don’t have an awful cold again (check out my race recap from last year here)!

Need more incentive? If last year was an indication, there’ll be loads of snacks at the finish!

Hope to see you there! Register now to take part in a good cause (for every kilometre completed, Dempster’s is donating two slices of bread to the North York Harvest Food Bank). Also, be sure to use the code KAREN for $10 off of your registration!

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Leave a Comment August 28, 2018

Fitness Swellness: It’s Bike Month in Toronto!

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I’m always for making your commute into a way to keep active whenever possible. So I was super into helping to launch Bike Month with Bike to Work Day last Monday in partnership with CLIF Bar.

Bike Month, if you’re not familiar with it, is an annual event to promote cycling in Toronto and Hamilton running from May 28th until June 30th. It’s the 29th anniversary of this event, which brings together cyclists at events, races, tours and more through the month of June. In fact, have you heard that every Wednesday during the month of June Bike Share in Toronto is free!

I rode Bike Share for the first time this Monday for the launch event during which we rode from Yonge and Charles down to City Hall with Mayor John Tory. The police shut down traffic so we could do the ride there and it was a fun leisurely ride that, hello, ended with a CLIF-powered pancake breakfast, some speakers and photo opps (check out the cute CLIF Bar bike below, couldn’t resist getting a fun shot with Hawley Dunbar of Sidewalk Hustle and Gracie Carroll of Edit Seven).

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I don’t ride my bike to commute that often but I’ve been slowly trying to do more. Last summer, I rode my bike to a few dance classes and to get to an event or two (and then got a flat but I just got my tired fixed so I’m back on the road!). I will admit that I am a little afraid of riding my bike on the busy city streets but with careful planning using the Toronto cycling map, I can usually find a route with a bike lane or a quieter street i can take where I can confidently ride to get where I need to.

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As for CLIF Bar, did you know the company was born on a bike? Founder Gary Erickson was exhausted and craving a good tasting and nutritious energy bar dying a 175-mile bike ride in 1990. Talk about the perfect match, Bike Month and CLIF Bar. Their bars are what I pack in my bag when going on a hike or for a bike ride (or eat before I head out for one) so I can be sure I’ve got the energy I need for my adventures of the day. And whether you bike as a means to commute to work or just a fun ride on the trails or in the Leslie Spit (where I’ve ridden to view some epic sunsets) there’s a CLIF Bar variety that’ll tempt your palate. And by the way, if you need something new to tempt your tastebuds, just launched in Canada are two new CLIF Nut-Butter Filled energy bar varieties: Banana Chocolate Peanut Butter and Caramel Chocolate Peanut Butter. My fave of the two is the sweet and savoury Caramel Chocolate Peanut Butter.

Plus, a little hat tip to Canada: those oats in the Nut-Butter Filled energy bars? None other than organic Canadian oats and the Nut-Butter Filled Bars are made in Canada!

With a both a Bike Share membership and my bike, and a new helmet, I’m excited to bike more often during Bike Month and beyond! I’d love to see where your bike takes you, be sure to share with the hashtag #feedyouradventure and #bikemonthTO!

If you’d like to learn about more Bike Month events, be sure to check out the site!

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Leave a Comment June 4, 2018

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