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Health

Removing The Clutter

Although I am not much of a reader when I came across Becoming A Karma Yogi by Pat Sawhney on Amazon Kindle I decided to give it a try. Yoga has had such an impact on my running and mental health over the last few months I liked the idea of diving a little further into the practice. 

It’s been a fantastic read and so relevant to my life right now. What has been most inspiring is Pat’s idea of purging both the physical and mental clutter that can accumulate over the day. I was finding it impossible to turn my mind off at night and poor sleep quality left me sluggish and moody. It’s been a few weeks since I created an evening routine to help remove the clutter and I’ve already seen a difference in myself. 

Although it really depends on your needs I promised I would share what I have been doing!

after 8pm
We are lucky to be able to eat early so I try not to eat or drink anything with caffeine after 8. It helps tell my body it’s time to start unwinding.

I also try not to work out after 8 as well. It tends to get my excited and it’s hard to settle down afterwards.

removing the physical clutter
Keeping the space where I sleep clean and free from clutter has had a huge impact on my quality of sleep. This is really something I do in the morning but if I happen to hit the snooze one to many times it is the first thing I do in the evening. I make sure the dresser and my night stand are clutter free by throwing away any garbage, putting away any reading material, and removing any cups or empty pints of ice cream 🙂 I also try to make my bed everyday. My room is the last thing I see before I close my eyes and the first thing I see when I wake up  when everything is in its place I can feel myself relax.

wash the day off
Whether it’s a hot bath or just washing my face the symbolic nature of washing away whatever the day threw at me is calming. In the summer I will also wash my feet since they can get dirty chasing the kids around the yard. Getting into bed clean is a great way to finish the day.

yoga
As I mentioned earlier I’ve been practicing yoga for a few months now, primarily hot yoga. Giving myself 75 minutes a few times a week in a warm and quiet environment is exactly what this WAH momma needs. When I started creating my evening routine I knew I wanted to incorporate a few stretches before bed. It’s a great way to unwind and push out any negative energy I encountered over the day. If I don’t have much time I have found taking atleast few intentional breaths can make a difference.

sense of smell
It’s hard to look through Facebook or Instagram without seeing at least one post about Essential Oils. We have been using them in our home for a few years but I am very careful with what we use since we have pets and small children at home. Incorporating oils into your home and evening routine can do wonders if done properly. I highly recommend the Facebook group Scentsable Health whose focus is safety over sales.

For the bath I will often use Epsom salt and a mix of Essential oils like lavender, orange, and cedar wood. I also use a pillow spray made with lavendar for it’s calming effect.

write it down & rip it up
I have found that the most important part of my routine is removing all the drama from the day. I am a pretty sensitive person so things tend to bother me more than they should. Instead of putting the burden on the hubs or my close friends of venting about petty things I have started writing them down and then ripping it up. It’s a healthy and surprisingly effective way of letting go of the superficial and unimportant things that are bothering me. While it may seem silly I definitely recommend trying it for a week and seeing how you feel afterwards.


I’d love to hear what evening routines you have! I am always looking at improving and adding to mine.

2017 Running Recap

In 2016, I had this grandiose idea of signing up for a runDisney Fairy Tale Challenge with the intention of getting my act together and losing weight. Day after day I kept using my “mom” status as an excuse, always too busy taking care of the kids, and before I knew it February was here and it was race time. It was the hardest thing I have ever done physically but somehow I managed to finish both the 10k and 1/2 marathon. The energy from the runners, elaborate costumes, and cheers from spectators were amazing. However, nothing compared to the overwhelming feeling of accomplishment crossing that finish line. It left me wanting more. Within the month I had signed up for several local races and the 2018 runDisney Fairy Tale Challenge (plus the 5k).

This time, I made a promise to myself I would give it 100%, no more excuses. Looking back I am very happy with how far I have come in 9 months. I went from doing nothing to running, yoga, and cardio 3-5 days a week. Between training runs and races I clocked about 182 miles for the year which isn’t a lot but I managed to shave 10 minutes off my 5k and 22 minutes off my 10k.

I am and will probably always be a #backofthepackrunner but I am okay with that as long as I keep improving my time and crossing that finish line!

In case you noticed my 10 Mile time is much shorter than any of the other times. That’s because it was a race I did in 2010, before having kids, when I was 100 pounds lighter, and 7 years younger! I decided to keep it on there as a reminder of my ultimate pace goal.

Best race experience:
Hands down the Ottawa Fall Colours 1/2. It was a reasonable price and well organized. There were tons of water spots staffed with energetic volunteers and goodies to keep you going. Runners were so supportive, especially to us slower ones. Even though I was lapped by many completing the marathon I never felt defeated. At the end of the race there were massage students offering free 10 minute massages. They also had warm bowls of chili for all participants!

Other favorites this year were the Canadian Army 10k, Rattle Me Bones 5k, and Beat the Bridge 10k.

Best run: Rattle Me Bones
Although is was cold and pouring rain I was so happy with the way I felt at the end and my overall time. It was the first race where I ran 1/:30 intervals and couldn’t believe the difference it made. My pace improved and I maintained the same level of energy throughout. It was also the first time I actually liked a picture of myself in a long time.

Favorite piece of gear:
Since this was my first year I purchased quite a bit of gear but my favorite is definitely my Garmin 235. I love the shape, size, interval training function, and the “find my iPhone” function.

Most inspirational quote:
Definitely the words that I lived by this year were “forward is a pace”. As a #plussize #backofthepackrunner I often had to tell myself towards the end of each race to keep putting one foot in front of the other. As long as I kept moving forward I would finish.

Favorite running song:
I Write Sins Not Tragedies – Panic! At the Disco

February
Princess 10k 1:52:10
Princess 1/2 Marathon 4:06:51

May
Diefenbooker Classic 5k 49:06
Shoppers. Love. You. 10k 1:38:37
Tamarack 10k 1:41:36 RACE RECAP

July
Canada Day 10k 1:34:28 RECAP HERE
Foam Fest RECAP HERE
The Farm 5k 46:27 RECAP HERE

August
Disney Running Shorts Virtual 5k #1 46:00

September
Run 4 Texas Virtual 10k 1:35:28
Wiggle Waggle Family 1k
Canadian Army 10k 1:40:43
Disney Running Shorts Virtual 5k #2 50:00

October
Disney Running Shorts Virtual 5k #3 47:07
Ottawa Fall Colors 1/2 Marathon 3:58:32 RECAP HERE
Dashing Divas Virtual 5k 42:42
Rattle Me Bones 5k 41:44
Rattle Me Bones Family 1k

November
Beat The Bridge 10k 1:30:46
Gobble Till You Wobble Virtual 5k 43:40

December
Santa Shuffle Family 1k
Ugly Sweater Virtual 5k 49:00

Ottawa Fall Colours 1/2 Marathon

This past weekend I completed my second 1/2 marathon. This was my favorite race in Ottawa so far. I was really nervous leading up to the race. Although I have been staying active, most of my training runs have stayed between a 5k and 10k. Since there was a 5 hour time limit I decided to take it easy and enjoy the race so I stuck with mostly power walking.

The course was great although much hillier than I had anticipated. The other runners were amazing and so supportive cheering me on. Since the marathoners completed two laps of the course I crossed paths with all of them twice, and several a third time. I have to admit that was a little hard for me but I am use to being the last and always tell myself all that matter is I finish. My final time was 3:58:33, which was about 15 minutes faster than the Princess 1/2 back in February.

I had decided to stick with a 18:00 pace and try to sustain that the entire time. Between my watch acting up and getting caught up in all the excitement I reached the 1/2 way point about 1:30 in which was roughly a 14:75 pace. Not bad, and certainly what I strive for during my 10k runs. But the last 6 kilometers were rough and I had to slow down significantly, stopping a few times to stretch. At one point I did start running because it felt so much better on my muscles.

Rob and the kids were cheering me on at the end. I could hear Parker say, “run Mom! You’re suppose to be running! Dad why isn’t she running?” So I ended the race in a slow trot just to make him happy. A few Epsom salt baths and a massage later and I am feeling pretty good. I definitely find myself wondering what it will be like to run when I loose these 100lbs or so. I have a hard time even picking up a 20lb weight…

Registration was easy and there were several distances to choose from. Price was reasonable and included swag bag, shirt, medal, and free finish line photos. This was also a Boston & New York marathon qualifier so everything was very organized.

Packet pick up was available morning of which was nice being a little bit of a hike from us.

The event vendors were great. There were free massages available pre and post race, one of the perks of finishing towards the end I was able to get one right away! There were several vendors selling gear. McDonald’s was there providing free coffee and a food truck selling food. Runners of the 1/2 and full received a free bowl of chili as part of their race entry.

The course was well marked with volunteers every few kilometers. Water stations were every 2ish kilometers and had water, Gatorade, gels, and gummies. Each station was well stocked and full of volunteers cheering runners on. Several bikers rod along the race making sure everyone was doing all right and accompanying the lead runners.

This is definitely a race I will be doing next year and maybe I will try for the full marathon in 2 years or so.

Menu Favorites

Last week for the first time in awhile I sat down and created a full meal plan for the week. I used some of our classic go to meals and added in a few new recipes from the Weight Watchers Smartpoints Cookbook.

We wanted to keep it simple and stuck with a few easier crock-pot friendly recipes.

Grilled Chicken with Minty Melon-Feta Salad
We changed this up just a little and chose watermelon and cantaloupe. This recipe was absolutely delicious and totally screamed summer. I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about feta and fruit together but the salty sweet was a pleasant surprise.

Turkey BLTS on Ciabatta
These were great for a little change up at lunch time. We made the bacon the night before so they were a pretty quick meal to put together. I was able to feed the kids and then ate mine in peace after they went down for naps.

Grilled Port Wraps with Pineapple Slaw
I have to say this was probably the family favorite this week. Crock-pot approved, easy prep time, and absolutely delicious. We made extra pork and was able to have it for the next few days.

Foam Fest

 

This weekend I convinced Rob it would be fun to get up super early, drive to a paintball field, and run through 3 miles of foam, mud, and obstacles. He wasn’t thrilled at first but was all smiles as we crossed the finish line.

 

I never thought I would have so much fun getting so incredibly dirty.  We jogged for parts of it but after the first mud pit it was a little harder. I had never run a trail ___ which was a little challenging but fun.

Race Low Down: I was extremely impressed with this race from start to finish. The location, although it wasn’t their first choice, was amazing. Parking was $10 but everything was marked and the ride in was smooth. There were separate booths to sign waivers, pick up packets, and check your bags ($5 donation).

There were a ton of different booths and activities to keep you busy while you waited for your race to start. The DJ was very energetic, engaged the crowd, and the music was spot on. The course was a great mix of flat and rough terrain with different obstacles and inflatables full of foam throughout.

Waiting for us at the end of the race was bling, a beach towel, and sweet treats from Sparkling ICE and Chapman’s ice pops.  We rinsed off at the shower station and changed into some cleaner clothes at the changing tents.

 

We spent the rest of our kid free afternoon eating fancy hot dogs in Majors Hill Park and decedent treats from Sweet Jesus.

5/15k At The Farm

Earlier this week an add came through my FB feed about the upcoming 5/15k At The Farm. I always need some encouragement to run midweek and decided to sign up. 5/15k presents 5:15 when they let the cows out each evening. It was an absolutely beautiful night.

Race Low Down: It was a great race, very organized, well attended, and full of friendly energetic runners. The cost was low but we still got a shirt and bling! Parking was free and packet pick up was well organized. It’s a nice smooth coarse with slight elevation. The race was complete with water stations and sprinklers at the finish.