Tag: running

Healthy Swellness: My Goals for 2022

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I fared pretty poorly at working on my goals for 2021. Last year, I was exhausted and had little free time. It’s difficult to make certain things like reading a priority when working seven days a week and typically 16-18 hour days. So my goals for this year are all about moving onward and upward! A better and healthier balance to how I spend my time.

I will read a minimum of 12 books this year. And I have a new strategy to motivate me: I set up a challenge with two of my best friends on the Goodreads app. First person to complete 12 books wins a prize, and the person who reads the most books wins a second prize. This taps into my competitive nature so it’ll keep me reading (I’ve already finished one book!).

I will get my running back on track. I usually run at least three times a week. In 2020, I ran the most ever in one year (thanks to completing the Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee), and in 2021? The least I’ve run, I think, since I started running. I ran regularly at the beginning of the year because I had the Peloton Tread to test out. Having the Tread meant I was able to squeeze in a run at about midnight (the only time I could make for working out before falling into bed). But once I returned the Tread after my three-month trial, I barely ran at all. some months, I ran twice. All month. I completed only 307.7 kilometres all year long in 2021. As a result, while I have been working out, I haven’t been running and my pace is about as slow as it was when I first did the Learn to Run clinic. To get my runs done regularly, I will run-commute more (which has the bonus of saving on transit costs and avoiding the TTC, which has become an unsafe place with encounters with maskless, unhinged people every single ride). To also motivate me, I’ll register for an in-person race if I can find one that’s happening (i just find virtual races much tougher to be motivated for).

I will cook at least twice a week. Cooking regularly has never been an issue for me, until last year and I ended up eating much more instant foods and frozen stuff. So this year I will cook at least two meals a week. I’m doing more research for recipes online, and I just scored an Instant Pot at a thrift store so I’m excited to have this new gadget to play with this year. And when I need to I’ll make it easier to prepare my meals, whether that’s using a meal delivery plan like Chef’s Plate or Evive smoothies (pictured above).

I will blog at least twice a month. After only posting a handful of times last year, this year I’m committing to creating more content both for Instagram and the blog. Since I’m not traveling much or eating out much (what with the ongoing restrictions in Toronto, I’ll likely be covering more cooking and fitness and sharing favourite products.

Every day is a new day. I think one of the chefs on Top Chef said this in an episode I watched recently, and that’s how I’m approaching every day n 2022, as an opportunity to crush your goals and make your life better. I’d love to hear about any goals you’ve set for yourself this year!

Oh, and if you’ve got favourite Instant Pot recipes, please do share! And if you’re interested in a certain type of content from me, slide into my DMs!

Leave a Comment January 16, 2022

Fitness Swellness: My review of the Peloton Tread

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I planned to post this a few months ago, but then the Peloton Tread was recalled. Now that it’s back on the market, well, here you go! My experience trying out the Peloton Tread for 3+ months.

If you’ve following my running journey, you know that I really dislike treadmill running. I need the stimulation of different scenery, having to pay attention to where I’m going, the terrain, everything. To go step after step on a treadmill has always been terribly boring to me. I’ve mostly done treadmill workouts begrudgingly while on a press trip when a treadmill run is the easiest or safest option in my destination.

So when Peloton offered a trial of the new Peloton Tread back in early February when it launched in Canada, I considered turning down the opportunity for two reasons; would I even use it, given how boring I find treadmill running? And also, I just don’t have room for a treadmill in my downtown condo. 

But my curiosity got the better of me. And the most shocking thing happened.

I enjoyed running on the Peloton Tread.

I know, I couldn’t believe it either. 

A 20-minute class (most of the ones I did over the three months were 20-minutes long) flies by. The instructors are a super fit, attractive bunch (hello, Adrian!) and their banter keeps it entertaining and motivating (take a class with Chase, and it feels like he’s your personal hype man). I took a few longer classes, but never made it to taking a 60-minute class because my trial was unexpectedly cut short when the Tread was recalled (more on that later. Note that I tested out the Peloton Tread, which was launched in Canada and the U.K., not the higher-end Tread+).

My favourite classes were the ones with speed intervals; I definitely need the distraction of changing up my pace and having breaks to keep me focused. The one tempo run I completed dragged on—just maintaining the same pace, I felt that familiar treadmill boredom settle in.

The treadmill itself is beautiful. Streamlined, with a huge, crisp screen. It takes up a massive amount of space, and given that it needs a significant amount of clearance on all four sides of it I had them place it right in the middle of my living room and it was truly in the way the whole time I had it. How much space does it need? According to Peloton, “173cm L x 84cm W x 157cm H. Additionally, you will need at least 2 m of clearance directly behind the Tread and 60 cm of clearance on either side.” That’s a lot of space when you have a small Toronto condo.

And still, I enjoyed having it to work out on even though it took up so much room.

So much so, I ended up using the Peloton Tread every single day. Why? For one, I figured I’d try to make the most out of it while I had it, and also, I found it really pleasing that the app’s calendar showed a workout every day. Sure, I could’ve also tried other classes on the app to have the calendar colour-blocked with a workout, but running is the only workout that is a habit for me so it just comes more naturally to me; doing a different type of workout takes more out of me, I need to motivate myself more to wrap my head around getting up and actually doing it.

Also, another reason I ran daily on it? I remembered that if I completed 100 Tread workouts, I’d get into the Century Club (the little club you get into when you complete 100 of the same workout on Peloton).

Three main reasons I liked the Peloton Tread:

  1. I could run late at night on the Tread. My schedule has been unbearable for months. And even though last year I often ran at night through the spring and summer so I could complete the Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee early, I know it’s not the safest thing to do. During the time I was trialing the Tread, I would get home at 11 p.m. and that’s the only time I could carve out time to work out, so it was great to use with my schedule at the time.
  2. The Tread’s design. It’s sleeker than any treadmill I’ve ever seen. The dials to change the pace and incline are easy to use. The large, bright screen is beautiful. I like how you could either emphasize the volume of the instructor or the music. It runs pretty quietly; I never had any neighbours complaining. I didn’t get too involved with the community aspect of it; while I did high-five other runners during classes, I never did get to try the Session function as I don’t know any other Tread users.
  3. The Peloton classes. I already mentioned Adrian and Chase. But let’s talk about the powerhouse female instructors. My favourites included Selena Samuela and Olivia Amato—I found they kept me focused without veering too heavily into motivational talk that’s eyeball-roll worthy territory. And classes with Becs Gentry? As a marathon runner, I couldn’t help but be inspired by working out out with this elite runner. I see there are a lot of new Tread instructors, too, which is great, I liked being able to switch up whose class I would take, and now there’s more to choose from. Aside from the instructors, I also enjoyed taking part in live classes and seeing my rank within everyone taking part; I expected the average Peloton user to be an elite runner, but I was pretty satisfied with my ranking and it was like getting a little pat on the back.

As you may have heard, the Peloton Tread was recalled a couple of months ago. There’d been some incidents of the screen falling off. While I at first intended to continue using it, when I got a pretty stern email to stop using it immediately, I realized I didn’t want to have to potentially deal with a broken screen and any damage or injury it could cause to me, my condo floor or my pets, so I quit using it promptly and the Tread was picked up a couple of weeks after that.

The Tread has since been relaunched (as of August 30, 2021) and has been updated with regards to safety:

  • There’s now Peloton Tread Lock. So you have to enter your passcode to unlock it in order to use it.
  • The instructors talk you through the safety features before each workout.
  • There’s a safety key you should clip on as you run (but this was always an existing feature).

I haven’t tried the Tread since its relaunch, but I will say I miss having the Tread for workouts; ever since I stopped using it, I barely ran all summer and I’m only now starting again with a few runs outdoors. While the timing of my Peloton Tread trial was great because I ran indoors for the last part of the dreary winter, I wish I’d gotten to try it out when actual races were taking place so that I’d be in the middle of marathon-training season. I know I found myself pushing harder during speed work on the Tread compared to my speedwork outdoors  so it’d be a great tool to have while in training for a race.

My best friend misses me having it, too. She uses the Peloton app for workouts and liked having me to talk about Peloton with (yes, there’s totally a cultish side to it! I even tuned in to watch Cody on Dancing With the Stars and even never even taken a Cody Rigsby class ever!)

I’ve gotten a few DMs asking about my thoughts on the Tread. So here you go. Could you get a similar experience using the Peloton app for its workouts, but running on a different brand of treadmill? Yes, probably. I should mention that the Tread has a traditional running belt, compare to a shock-absorbing slat belt; I personally don’t have a lot of experience running on a slat belt but the slat-style is said to be more cushioning and result in less impact on your joints. If you’re a serious runner, you might want to opt for the slat-belt style (which is on the Tread+, which has not yet been re-released yet).

If you appreciate great design and the 23.8-inch screen of the Tread (it truly is a fantastic display)… well, if you’re in the market for a treadmill, then you might find it worth the investment to go for the Tread; if you’re wondering about the cost, it’s $3,295 (plus the all-access membership fee of $49/month). If you’ve already got a ‘mill, then maybe just subscribe to the app to try out the workouts first.

If you have any specific questions about my experience with the Tread, slide into my DMs or comment here!

 How are you keeping fit nowadays?

 

3 Comments October 4, 2021

Fitness Swellness: GVRAT Back Across Tennessee race recap

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108 days into the Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee, I made it BACK ACROSS TENNESSEE!

That’s a total distance of 2,043.36 kilometres. If you recall, at the beginning of May I wasn’t sure how difficult it’d be to complete the Race Across Tennessee (RAT) distance in the four months for the race, so to have completed double the distance with just under two weeks to spare, I’m shocked, and proud.

It’s 107 days if you’re looking at “chip time” as I only registered for the race on May 2nd, but the race goes by gun time. This race most definitely tapped into my competitiveness. Once I finished RAT, I knew I could complete 1,000 miles. Especially since for the BAT race, I was including walking miles.

I completed 1,000 miles in 91 days, ahead of the “end of July” goal I’d set for myself. And on August 5th, I thought “It’d be a nice even date to complete the BAT distance by August 15th.” For no other reason than it being the halfway mark of August. Out came my calculator and it called for doing just over 30 kilometres a day for 10 days straight. And even I knew that was unrealistic; my schedule is a lot busier now and I was struggling on the days I managed to log 21k. It included often sacrificing sleep to get at least 6k done in the early morning, and then walking at least 3k late at night (sometimes as late as 1 a.m.).

But I’d become a bit nervous about those late night walks and runs. I realized I was going through some dark and pretty deserted areas, which wasn’t the safest idea, then to add to it, there have been a slew of harassment incidents in the area so as I closed in on the last 200 or so kilometres of the race, I didn’t think it was wise to do the late walks and so I lost some precious time chipping away at the distance.

I realized on Friday, August 14th, that I had that day and the entire weekend I could devote to logging distance for BAT. And with 120 kilometres left, if I did 40k each day, I’d be done by Sunday, August 16th (just one day more than the goal I’d chosen as an ideal end date). So, I went for it. I already knew I had to run 21.1k on the weekend for the Lululemon Virtual SeaWheeze Half Marathon, so it meant “only” walking another 21k that same day as well, so that covered off one day. For my final 35k on Sunday, I took a very long (and rather boring) 12k walk across the city with my dog, visited the beach, stopped for pizza and then made the 12k walk back across the city and finished off the BAT race with a 3k run at night.

I walked much more of the BAT than I expected to. I think the RAT’s very intense 1,021.68k, for which I decided to only count running miles, was really hard on my body. My pace is terrible and I now even walk slowly, just out of pure exhaustion.

My BAT by the numbers

  • 766.86 walking
  • 267.3 running
  • zero 0 days (meaning I logged distance every single day)
  • a negative split of 10 days (I completed RAT in 59 days and BAT in 49 days)

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Billie Jean and her GVRAT and BAT journey?

She completed 76 percent (or 1,554k) of the 2,043.36 RAT + BAT with me:

  • 1,071.3k running
  • 483.32 walking

And I’d have registered her as a dog completing the race but I knew the city’s heat and humidity would make it dangerous for her to complete every run with me, so I didn’t commit to making it race official for her, but to me she completed the race and I’m so proud of her.

And in the final standings, when I checked on Monday to confirm I’d officially completed the BAT, I finished 276th out of 11,063 women in this global virtual race, and in 622nd place (out of 19,612 participants).

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So many firsts for me with this race, including my very first buckle! Now just need a belt to sport this huge, gaudy piece of bling on, haha!

This race has helped so many of us around the world cope in this crazy time. It became a huge thing to fixate on, distracting me from the stresses of  living through quarantine, which would’ve otherwise swallowed me whole. And the Facebook group for the GVRAT was a joy to be a part of (other than people asking every single day what the actual distance of the race is… people, get your act together, it’s clearly stated in the race FAQ). From the gorgeous photos from around the world, to so many shots of snakes (I’m so glad that’s not something I encounter on my runs!), along with Lazarus Lake’s often hilarious posts, plus all of the personal stories; there have been pregnancy announcements, breakups, deaths, pets, so many injuries, and with it, just the whole gamut of human emotions; the camaraderie that developed as we all pushed through living under lockdown and making it through this continuing pandemic–I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed being part of a Facebook group more. We are all in this together: the pandemic, this crazy race, interpreting “Laz miles”, all of it.

Thank you to Lazarus Lake and the entire GVRAT team for putting up with so many of the same questions and continually working on improving the virtual race experience for all of us and creating this crazy race that none of us will ever forget.

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Leave a Comment August 18, 2020

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