Tag Archives: half-marathon

Twenty One Point FREAKIN’ One!

That’s how many kilometres I ran! I didn’t do it swiftly. And I didn’t do it elegantly. But I did it! I set my mind to it, did my research & training… and finished a FREAKIN’ Half Marathon; the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon, to be precise (which, incidentally, raised more than $3.5 million for 164 local charities – suck on that, Rob Ford.)

Yes, it's on a fuzzy robe background. Yes, I wore both for the entire day.

If you had told me, 10 years ago, that I  would ever accomplish that lofty a goal, I’m almost certain my response would have been colourful and would have involved inviting you to attempt some variation of sexual relation with yourself. I know – classy. But I’m a Martimer and an army brat;  it’s who I am.

But I did it. And I’m proud.  I won’t lie, though.  It wasn’t easy.

There’s an epithet that gets bandied about on fitness and running websites: Respect the Distance.

I’m here to  tell you that it’s not just a clichéd expression for Nike or New Balance to sell more shoes and running gear. 5K is a challenge. 10K even more so. But once you start logging past that distance, it’s no longer a matter of simple math. Each additional kilometre gets exponentially harder (especially if you’re packing more junk in your trunk than recommended.)

And self-imposed dry Saturdays are not my most favourite thing ever. But I learned the hard way that, if you have a 10k training run on a Sunday morning, wine the night before (even if it is to celebrate your first wedding anniversary) is not the wisest of decisions.

But, in the end, all the blood, sweat and jacked up toenails were completely worth it.

The folks at CNW had a MUCH better vantage point, not to mention camera (I only had my phone) than I did at starting time.

I’d run the risk (no pun intended) of sounding like a Hipster Emo Poet if I were to try describing the rush of being in a crowd of 22,000 people — everyone from Olympic qualifiers and World Record breakers to average shmoes like me — all with the same goal in their sights. So I won’t try. But I will say that the high experienced while running right down the middle of Lakeshore Blvd., rather than along the Martin Goodman Trail (which is my usual route) was a surreal and astoundingly profound experience. And one I’ll hold onto for a long time to come.

So many people take on the challenge of a Marathon or Half Marathon and it’s always incredible to hear all of the various reasons why. Some do it for glory. Some do it for charity. Some do it in memory of lost loved ones. Some do it in celebration of overcoming adversity. Some do it in honour of their own reclamation of health.

I did it for that girl right there with the bad blonde dye job and the drink in her hand. She was a helluva chick. But she didn’t love herself very much.  I did, though. So I changed her. I gave her back her health. And yesterday, I gave her a giant helping of pride.

Also? I wasn’t last. But you know what? I hope whomever was, is feeling as proud as I am right now.

Missing PhotoSmash gallery: 7



Muffins and (Half) Marathon Training

I’ve been MIA for far too long and it’s high time for a bit of an update. So what’s new, you ask? And I’m sure you were. Asking, that is.

Well, honestly, pretty much the same ol’, same ol’… I’ve just been failing a wee bit with my time management skills. In fact, as I type, I’m still snuggled cozily in my fuzzy robe with a coffee to my left and a fat, sleeping kitteh to my right.

But what I should be doing is getting off my arse, lacing on my sneakers and heading out for my 15k training run. I know, I know – why procrastinate this far along in the game?  I’m not. Not really. I just need to be well and truly awake before I head out to abuse my body for that length of time. I’m almost there. One more cup of coffee and a bit of peanut butter and carby goodness and I should be good to go.

In the meantime, let me share with you my latest creation:

Oatmeal Apple Blueberry Muffins

1 cup old fashion rolled oats (not instant)
1 cup unsweetened chocolate almond milk
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup brown sugar Splenda
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 egg whites (1/4 cup liquid egg whites)
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup blueberries


  • Preheat oven to 400°
  • Soak the oats in milk for about an hour
  • Spray muffin pan with cooking spray (I like Butter-flavoured Pam)
  • Combine the oat mixture with applesauce and egg whites & mix until just combined
  • In a separate bowl measure and whisk the dry ingredients together
  • Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until just combined
  • Fold in blueberries.
    (NOTE:  You reallly do have to be careful that you don’t over-mix this batter or your muffins will end up the consistency of tiny tennis balls )
  • Spoon muffin mixture into muffin pan
  • Bake for 20 minutes
  • Remove from pan, cool and enjoy!

Okay! My artfully-honed procrastination skills are now sated for today. I’m off to run. Enjoy your Sunday!


A Pound is a Pound is a Pound

(For the record I’m neither a fitness nor a medical expert; but I do know a wee bit about shedding a pound or two*)

I just need to do this twice... in a row...

I have aspirations of running a marathon. There. I’ve said it. It’s out in the open. It’s not going to happen this year. But I think a half-marathon might. I know that it’s within me to accomplish. But I also know that I have a lot of work to do in order to get there.

I’ve run 5 km distances countless times. I’ve even done two 10 km runs (one the weekend before my wedding, no less; yeah, I didn’t think that one through very well.) But I respect the challenge enough to know that dragging my arse across a finish line that’s a full 21 kilometres from the start line is NOT in the same category. At all.

As someone who spent a lifetime being unfit & out of shape, my battle toward fitness has proven to be a more attainable goal by gleaning advice & inspiration from outside sources; Weight Watchers was a fantastic resource that gave me the support & knowledge I needed, at the time, to shed an enormous amount of weight. Now that my aspirations are more toward fitness, however, I’ve looked elsewhere. The world of running, for one, has proven to be outstanding means to an end.

As a result of my focus shifting gears, I now spend a lot (I mean, a lot) of time surfing around various health & fitness websites and personal blogs looking for success stories, workout routines or recipes.

I’ve learned to take in the information that’s helpful and toss aside the garbage. Unfortunately, though, not everyone has a knowledge base that will allow them to filter through what’s valid and what’s not.

And, while there is a tremendous amount of correct & proven information out there from people with varying levels of experience & expertise – it never ceases to amaze me the number of times I see (in print!) “a pound of fat weighs more than a pound of muscle.”

First of all, let’s look at that sentence. Semantics aside, that statement is such a flagrant violation of the laws of physics that it makes my teeth itch. How can one pound of one substance POSSIBLY weigh more than one pound of another substance?

Remember that riddle we used to love to tell when we were kids? “What weighs more – a pound of bricks or a pound of feathers?” Didn’t we all just think we were sooooo clever? Well, this is the same thing. One pound (of anything) weighs exactly the same amount as one pound (of any OTHER thing.)

A pound of fat does NOT weigh more than a pound of muscle. A pound of fat takes up more space than a pound of muscle – yes, this is true. But volume and weight are two separate measurements.

And that’s one of the reasons women are encouraged to add strength training and exercise with weights to their cardio routines. Trust me… you’re not going to end up looking like Ah-nold. It’s not in our genetic makeup. Those female bodybuilders you see on TV? They had to work way harder than their male counterparts to get that bulked-up and ripped.

It’s also one of the reasons you’ll hear fitness experts say things like, “get rid of your scale,” or, “don’t base your success solely on the number your scale gives you.”

If you base your success (or failure) on just the number on your scale, you’re missing the big picture. Because, while you work out and feed your body natural foods within your daily caloric range, that number may change very little… and sometimes, not at all. This is because, while you’re burning away that pesky body fat, you’re building lean muscle mass at the same time.

And, while one pound of muscle still weighs as much as one pound of fat, it’s going to take up a LOT less space in your Calvins.

So do yourself a favour: invest in a tape measure & use it. If you’re trying to affect a change in your body composition you need to look at more than just your scale. Can you climb a flight of stairs now without getting winded? Does jogging around the block seem slightly less daunting than it used to? Is that mark where your bra strap used to dig into your flesh now gone? Then you’re doing something right. Keep it up. The number on the scale will move in its own good time. But, with all these other points of reference, it won’t seem like the end of the world when it doesn’t do it instantly.

And can we please (for the love of jebus!) STOP perpetuating the adage that “a pound of fat weighs more than a pound of muscle”?


*Slow & Steady (or: What a Difference a Decade Makes)