Tag: marathon

Fitness Swellness: Nike’s new yoga workouts on the NTC app

Nike Brahaus x Sport Chek

Last weekend, Nike partnered with Sport Chek to bring the Brahaus pop-up to Yorkdale Mall in Toronto. I had a chance to learn about the new bras in the collection and learned that while the sport bras are divided into low-, medium- and high-impact categories (with sports slotted into each one — Pilates would be under light impact and running under high impact), your personal preference and the comfort and support you feel should be what ultimately determines the sport bra you wear. For example, if a medium or even light impact bra feels supportive enough for you for running, you can go ahead and rock that one. Besides actual construction and design elements of the sport bras, the level of elasticity of the fabric content also varies.

To more about the new Nike sports bras, check out my post over at iRun; this is the Nike Pro Indy Logo bra I have on here.

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Besides learning about the new bras and the other fun they had planned for the Brahaus, I also sat down with Master Trainer Eva Redpath to talk about my marathon training. To complement my training for Chicago, she recommended I take advantage of the new expanded yoga offering on the NTC app. There are currently nine yoga workouts (Nike consulted with both yogis and three Nike Master Trainers) with more to come and they range from ones that focus on mobility (concentrating on recharging the body), endurance (where the focus is strength and holding poses for a long time, and flows that will build heat and make you sweat) and restorative.

Eva knows I have no problem getting my miles in but that I slack on the restorative part of my training. She recommended two of the yoga workouts for me on my non-run days: Deep Restorative Yoga and Ultimate Strength Yoga (which was created by Traci Copeland, a runner herself). Like the other NTC workouts, you get a preview of each movement, and the app is designed so that you can follow along like you would with a yoga teacher in a class by having them lead you through without a visual.

One of Eva’s aspects of the yoga workouts is the diaphragmatic breathing (there is at least two minutes of breathing at the beginning of each workout), to help you tap into your central nervous system’s fight or flight response and help manage that; she noted that anxiety could happen mid-race and deep breaths can help me get that response under control.

This training season, I’ve upped the frequency of my training, so I’m finding timing pretty limited in my schedule but I hope to incorporate at least one yoga workout a week, so I’m looking forward to trying out these new NTC yoga workouts. Given my limited time in my schedule, I do appreciate the ease of working out at home, with zero commute-to-a-yoga-studio time , and I’ve always found the NTC app to be super well designed and motivating so will soon  namaste with Nike.

How ’bout you? How’s your training going?

Nike Brahaus and Sport Chek Yorkdale

 

 

 

Leave a Comment August 4, 2017

Travel Swellness: The Hip Guide to Las Vegas

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I’ve been to Vegas five times now. Which is possibly the most I’ve ever visited one destination other than my hometown of Montreal and New York City. And I’d had enough of walking the Las Vegas Strip after my first visit. So what a surprising treat to stay in Downtown Las Vegas (aka old Las Vegas) my last visit there in November to run the Rock n Roll Half-Marathon for the second time.

My story, which I think of as the Hipster’s Guide to Vegas (well, as hipster as Sin City can be) is live now on AmongMen and Huffington Post Canada. Here are some photos I snapped and you can get full deets over in the article. If you’re a first-time visitor to Vegas, then I’d say stay on the main Strip. But if you’re looking for something different than your usual visit here, I highly recommend Downtown Las Vegas (even if it means the occasional trek to the Strip if you’re seeing Britney or to eat at Giada’s).

We stayed at the Downtown Grand where, as you can see, the rooms are modern and there’s a very nice bar in the lobby.

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My favourite spot at this hotel, though, was the quiet rooftop pool. It was unexpectedly warm enough for the pool to be open (the last time I ran the half in Vegas, pools were closed for the season).

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One of my favourite meals was at Park on Fremont. Not so much for the food (too many fried dishes on our table quickly felt overwhelmingly greasy in my belly) but for the cocktails (yes, I drank before running a half, oops) and quaint back patio. Inside the restaurant, the vibe was more edgy and urban.

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Another beautiful patio is on the Strip at the Bellagio, at Lago, which is worth the visit for the #fromwhereistand photo opp alone.

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If you’re considering going to Vegas for the Rock n Roll Marathon, I hear the marathon route is dark and lonely (which is a big reason I chose to run the half). And the two years I’ve run it this race, it gets cold and terribly windy at night so plan your race outfit accordingly. It’s not always hot in Vegas.

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This trip, I finally got a chance to check out the Downtown Container Park, which is just really pleasant and charming (but hard to get a great photo of that captures its relaxed vibe). But I”m also a big fan of shopping at The LINQ, for people watching and and cute souvenirs at fun shops rather than clothes shopping. Next time, I”d love to go bowling at the Brooklyn Bowl that’s at The LINQ.

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One of my favourite parts of this trip by far was walking around downtown Vegas one morning by myself and checking out some of the fantastic murals, and finally going with to check out the stunning Red Rock Canyon.

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And while there are plenty of over the top buffets, which are top notch, one day I walked over to Grass Roots Juice Bar and grabbed a really big acai bowl. Delicious and very filling. And exactly what I was craving for breakfast. Endless mimosas and dozens of breakfast options at a buffet are best reserved for a Vegas visit that doesn’t include running 21.1k after all.

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I rounded out the trip with my foodie favourites of doughnuts (well, a homemade poptart, this time) and an affordable bowl of ramen, too, before catching my flight home to Toronto. Find out where to go for those nibbles in my Hip Guide to Las Vegas.

 

 

Leave a Comment January 8, 2016

Fitness Swellness: Cayman Half-Marathon race report

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On Sunday, December 6th, I raced the Intertrust Cayman Islands Half-Marathon. I’d briefly considered running the marathon, but after all the races I’ve done this year and not feeling in the greatest shape and having disappointing races all season, plus the fact that it’d be very hot in Grand Cayman, I decide to run the half instead.

Which is is perhaps the best running decision I’ve made this year. I landed in Grand Cayman on Thursday, which gave me plenty of time to settle in before the race. But it also meant I was eating  much richer food than usual. But I had decided weeks ago that I would not race this half but rather would just run it for fun. But because of this, I basically took a very relaxed approach (let’s call it that rather than being disorganized…!) to this race. I would usually pack something to eat for breakfast before the race, for example. And I completely forgot about this until the night before the race. Thankfully, at the Westin Grand Cayman (the HQ for the race) they opened the cafe at 3 a.m. for us runners. So I was able to buy a banana and a muffin. Otherwise I was fully prepared to eat a rum cake (the only food I had in my hotel room!) before the race. I also never looked at the race route…I assumed there’d be a map in the race kit but there wasn’t, and I forgot to check the website for it. That said, I’m not very familiar with Grand Cayman roads so it wouldn’t have meant much to me anyhow. I knew the island is very flat and that was enough info for me.

The race started at 5 a.m. downtown, so I went to bed by 10 p.m. and got up at 3:30 a.m. to eat and get dressed and catch the shuttle bus to the race start. The early start time was an adjustment in itself for racing but it truly was a blessing as it was a smidgen cooler and a tiny bit less humid than it was during the day. I heard the announcer say it was 77 degrees at start time, which is 25C, but it felt warmer given the humidity. That said, I have trained in much harsher humidity and temps here in Toronto and it was actually less grueling conditions than I anticipated for race day. The air was indeed thick

The route is very flat and mostly goes out on West Bay Rd for 10k and then you turn and take the same route back (I think, anynow, I got into run mode and it’s possible the end is slightly different). There were water and Gatorade stations practically at every kilometre and these were much needed given the hot conditions. I heard there were many people who were vomiting or who needed medical help, I spotted a few as I ran, too. I was very relieved I hadn’t opted for the marathon as I learned that mornings hat it is two loops of the half route, and I always find loops draining mentally.

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The first hour of the race we were running in the dark, but by 6 the sun started to rise. The most disappointing part of the race is that I was expecting gorgeous scenery. But the road is not that scenic. Basically a flat road with high trees on either side of you, or homes, and the occasional rooster walking around. In a handful of spots, you can view the ocean and that’s were I snapped the sunrise photo.

As much as most of the route was lacking in scenery, the locals at the many water stations more than made up for it. So many smiles and great encouragement. The occasional costume or theme, too, such as the one featuring a slew of people riding Spin bikes, or the Star Wars-themed water station. There was something really welcoming and charming in the crowd support her in Grand Cayman and it made a world of difference in the race experience.

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As I’d decided I was just running the race for fun, I stopped to take photos of the route whenever I saw anything photo-worthy. I took unflattering extremely sweaty selfies. And I pretty much stopped at every water station and walked whenever I felt like it! I enjoyed watching other runners and just taking in the scenery. In all honesty, it was a much more enjoyable race experience compared to being in pain and discomfort and driving myself bananas over whether I was going to finish with a PB.

As usual, my second half of the race was much slower than the first half. Making the many turns in the last kilometre or two of the race was a struggle. When I heard loud music, I assumed I was very close to the finish line…but it was nowhere to be seen and I quickly realized I still had at least another kilometre to go. Groan.

I finished in 2:15, which is 24 minutes slower than my half PB, but there’s nothing I’d change about my race. It wasn’t the hardest race I’ve ever run and that’s because I didn’t race it. Everyone I spoke to who’d pushed themselves in the race swear it’s the toughest one they’ve done, and, well, I spared myself two hours of agony this time around, haha. Even with this slow-for-me-easy-pace time, I finished 238th out of 721 half-marathoners, 84th out of 399 women, and 22nd out of 126 in my category, and I’m totally fine with that. Cuz sometimes it’s just nice to take a break :)

The finish area had some of the best snacks I’ve seen at a race. A ton of amazing fresh fruit of all kinds, Kit Kats, plantain chips, bottles of Gatorade, and Cayman Brewery was serving up beer, too. The sweaty runners at the finish were a happy, friendly group, too, congratulating everyone and there were lots of smiles all around.

After cheering a few runners in as we drank beer, we hopped onto the shuttle back to the Westin, celebrated on the beach by running into the ocean for a refreshing dip, then showered and ordered a lot of food at the beach bar. Followed by some spa time and serious R&R on the beach. Despite what the race lacked in scenery, I’d happily run this destination race as a half-marathon again.

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1 Comment December 11, 2015

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