Compassionate Running

What if I told you that there was a different side to running races; one that didn’t consist of following the pace rabbit or smashing a personal best, but rather running for a cause or charity that you’re passionate about. I like to call this: Compassionate Running. To be quite honest, I never thought about Compassionate Running until I ran my first 10k race last August. So here’s a debrief on how that 10k race helped shape the concept of Compassionate Running.

At the beginning of last summer, I decided that it was time to put all my running to use and run my first 10k. Living in Toronto is a blessing, because there’s always TONS of races in the city and surrounding areas. After seeing a flyer for 2XU Toronto Women’s Run Series at work, I decided to give it a try. Not only was it a series of runs that promoted women participating in the sport, the proceeds went to the Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario, (POGO) – this is definitely something I can get behind. Fast forward to August: I ran an amazing 10k at the scenic Sunnybrook Park in Toronto, made amazing memories, and raised money for a great cause. The perfect end to my summer.

Eventbrite Photo

Post 2XU Toronto Women’s 10k. All smiles!

What if you feel like running for a charity or cause that currently has no race scheduled? This can leave some runners in a bit of a pickle. I recently came across a website called Eventbrite, that has listings for events both in the States and Canada.

Everything from races to concerts is on their website. What really caught my eye is their non-profit fundraising page.

Eventbrite Photo 1This page is really cool, because it helps people who are creating events, (a stroll for pediatric cancers for example), big or small, in coordinating their fundraising efforts. I encourage you to check out their website if you’re looking for a race or thinking about starting your own initiative!

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

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Product Review: Insane Labz Alien Recovery

 

Alien Recovery

Price $39.95 (without my “runlift20” coupon code).

As you guys may or may not know, I became an Insane Labz athlete about a month and a half ago and am IN LOVE with their products. When I made the decision to start training for a half-marathon, I knew that I would need extra help when it came to recovery, especially since I strength train three days a week. Insane Labz has both Alien Recovery and Alien Energy as part of their “recovery line”, however I decided to go with Alien Recovery since Alien Energy has caffeine. This is what I thought of it:

-There’s 35 scoops per container, however since the instructions for use call for only half a scoop, the container can go a long way

-5 Different flavours, (UFO Grape, Area 51 Punch, Alien Blood, Watermelon, and Blue Raspberry). I got Alien Blood based on the website’s reviews and it tastes really good! It reminds me of Blue Raspberry Kool-Aid. Though if the Alien Blood flavour tastes like Blue Raspberry Kool-Aid, I wonder what the Blue Raspberry flavour tastes like? I’ll try it and report back.

-Loaded with l-leucine, iso-leucine, and l-valine, (bcaas)

-Doesn’t have a bad after taste

I know that doing a product review for a sponsor is always a little dicey since you never know if the review is authentic or not, but I’d hope that you guys know by now that I give honest reviews on all products. While this is the first BCAA product I’ve tried, I’d 100% buy it again. I definitely notice an improvement in recovery time/soreness and it also gives me a little boost during my workouts since my muscles are in better shape than normal. Want to give it a try? If you use the code “runlift20” at checkout, you’ll save 20% off your order!

Running Fast, Lifting Heavy Approved: Heck yeah.

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

Checking In – 5k Race/End of Six Week Cycle

A lot has happened since my last post, and not all of it has been good. Since this post encompasses a few different points, I’ll start with the 5k that I had planned.

Achilles St. Patrick’s Day 5k

This is the first race that I signed up for and didn’t run…ever. It sucked. Why didn’t I run? Two reasons: one, I’m just getting over a stomach bug in which the onset started Saturday night and two, I went to see Cirque Éloize – Cirkopolis with my parents/boyfriend which resulted in a late night. The two of those together made for a bad combination, causing me to feel pretty crappy by the time I woke up on Sunday. I feel pretty bad…almost like I just gave up. That being said, I probably would’ve been in a lot worst shape after the race if I’d showed up and ran it, so it was probably best that I stayed home.

End of Six Week Cycle

I said in a previous post that I would show you guys how far I’ve come in my strength training, (I do the same exercises for six weeks and then change it up), so here it is!

Exercise Starting Weight/Reps Ending Weight/Reps
Dumbell External Rotation (shoulders) 10lbs @ 25 reps total 30lbs @ 25 reps total
Shoulder Press (shoulders) 40lbs @ 25 reps total 65lbs @ 22 reps total
Rear Deltoid (shoulders) 60lbs @ 25 reps total 120lbs @ 25 reps total
One Arm Bicep Curls (bicep) 25lbs @ 25 reps total 40lbs @ 23 reps total
Back Extension (back) 135lbs @ 25 reps total 205lbs @ 25 reps total
Standing Barbell Curl (bicep) 40lbs @ 25 reps total 60lbs @ 20 reps total
Roman Chair (back) 25lbs @ 25 reps total 65lbs @ 25 reps total
Hammer Curls (bicep) 20lbs @ 25 reps total 35lbs @ 25 reps total
Lat Pulldown (back) 35lbs @ 25 reps total 85lbs @ 25 reps total
Calf Press (legs) 160lbs @ 25 reps total 215lbs @ 25 reps total
Barbell Squats (legs) 90lbs @ 25 reps total 120lbs @ 25 reps total
Hip Adductor (legs) 135lbs @ 25 reps total 205lbs @ 25 reps total
Hip Abductor (legs) 145lbs @ 25 reps total 190lbs @ 25 reps total
Assisted Dips (triceps) 100lbs @ 25 reps total 70lbs @ 25 reps total
Bench Press (chest) 20lbs @ 25 reps total 50lbs @ 17 reps total
Tricep Press (triceps) 60lbs @ 25 reps total 120lbs @ 25 reps total
Pec Fly (chest) 80lbs @ 25 reps total 90lbs @ 25 reps total
Dumbbell Tricep Extension (Triceps) 35lbs @ 25 reps total 45lbs @ 25 reps total
Chest Press (chest) 65lbs @ 25 reps total 95lbs @ 23 reps total

I’m pretty happy with this! I think my chest could’ve used a little more work, but it is what it is. I’m starting to feel like my normal self again, so I’m hoping in a day or two I’ll be able to hit up the gym.

Have you guys ever had to drop out of a race? If so, what was the context?

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

Mid-Week Check In (Week 6 of Half-Marathon Training)

This week has probably been one of the laziest starts ever! A mixture of homework and scheduling issues has caused me to push my two rest days to the front of the week. Is it just me, or am I the only one that hates starting the week on a rest day? I feel like it gets me off to a lazy start for the week. Seeing as I really have only done one workout thus far this week, I’ll just outline it below:

Monday

Rest Day

Tuesday

Rest Day

 Wednesday

Legs/Shoulders:

-5 min warm up

-Dumbbell External Rotation: 30lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between reps)

-Calf Press: 215lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between reps)

-Shoulder Press: 65lbs @ 22 reps total (1 min rest between reps)

-Barbell Squats: 120lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between reps)*

-Hip Adductor: 205lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between reps)

-Rear Deltoid: 90lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between reps)

-Hip Abductor: 190lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between reps)

*I should note (as per usual) that the weight of my barbell squats doesn’t include the bar.

Shoulder Press is probably THE MOST frustrating exercise this cycle next to bench press. I’ve been doing a machine shoulder press, but I feel like I haven’t made huge strides and I just find it an overall difficult exercise to execute. Maybe I have weak shoulders? Maybe my form’s not great? I’m not too sure. I plan doing a comparison post so you can see how far I’ve come from week one to now. I change up my workouts to keep my muscles guessing, so next week is the start of a new cycle. Stay tuned!

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

 

Chicopee Ski & Summer Resort

 

On Sunday, Daniel and I went to Chicopee Ski and Summer Resort in Kitchener, (about an hour and a half southwest of Toronto). Like I’ve said before, Daniel and I like to pick a different activity each month that we wouldn’t normally do. They don’t necessarily have to be something active, but it just turns out that way. We actually settled on Chicopee because Daniel did his bachelor degree 15 minutes away and it’s fairly close to home. Skiing is one of those things that I wish I did more often, but time never seems to permit.

The Weather

The weather was perfect for skiing, (-120C/100F). There hasn’t been a huge snowfall recently so there wasn’t any fresh powder, but the hills were still in great condition. Daniel and I both over-layered which worked to our detriment during the day, but to our benefit at night when the sun went down.

Parking

The parking lot was virtually empty which came in handy since I had to take some layers off in the car as the weather warmed up. My only complaint about parking is that there weren’t any lines to define the spots, so you just have to park accordingly. It wasn’t a huge deal on Sunday since it wasn’t crazy busy, but I could imagine it would be a problem on a holiday or something like that. Parking was also free which is always nice.

Lift Tickets/Rentals

This area is where costs can add up when you’re skiing/snowboarding. An all access lift ticket, (which gets you access to all lifts, runs and terrain park), was $70+tax for the two of us, and rentals were only $66+tax for the two of us! Amazing! At different hills that we’ve been to, a full ski rental tends to cost more since there’s more pieces to rent relative to a full snowboard rental. The efficiency of the rental shop was great as well! The employees were super friendly and even helped me strap my boots up when they saw I was having a little trouble.

The Hill Itself

I guess there are a few aspects to this portion of the post, so I’ll start with the individual runs. There are 12 runs (if you include the terrain park), so it’s a fairly moderate sized hill. The green circle hills seemed to be geared towards families with younger children and there weren’t very many of these hills. For that reason, I’d say that Chicopee is probably for skiers of intermediate-advanced ability.

Each run was relatively wide, however there was one in particular that I found to be pretty narrow despite it being next to trees and also being a black diamond. That being said, it was probably my favourite since it has a fairly steep drop in the beginning and then merges with a blue square.

Chicopee Ski & Summer Resort

This run was the narrow one that I was talking about. Still a blast though!

Chicopee Ski & Summer Resort1

This run was my favourite…I loved being able to weave around the chairlift.

Grub

The chalet/cafeteria area is actually really quant! There’s a little terrace that you can enjoy hot/cold beverages on which gets a really nice view of the hill. The menu is mainly hot dogs/burgers/fries…that kind of thing, however there is a restaurant with a full-fledge menu and alcoholic beverages. I got the poutine and a Cherry Slush Puppy, and Daniel got chicken fingers, a burger, and chilli. All were pretty good.

Overall, I had a great time. Affordable, food tastes good, and close to home! Win, win, win! Thanks Chicopee for a great time! We’ll definitely be back.

February in Review

February is done!!! That means warmer weather and less snow (hopefully)! This past months saw a few different changes, and some new changes on the horizon!

 

Total Miles: 36.1

I’m totally cool with this! It puts me on track to beat last year’s mileage, (my goal), and puts me in a good position for half marathon training. That number actually had the potential to be higher but I missed a few workouts.

Total Treadmill Miles: 17.8

A little less than half my runs were on the treadmill…yikes. It’s a convenient option for sure, but I actually hate running on the treadmill. It’s pretty monotonous. I’m hoping that better weather will allow me to run outside a little more.

Favourite Strength Training Exercise:

I’m going to have to go with Assisted Dips. I used to HATE this exercise since my upper-body strength is nowhere near my lower body strength. But since I started my current strength training program four weeks ago, I’ve noticed that I can do the exercise with less and less weight – I started at 100lbs for 20 reps total, and now I’m at 70lbs for 25 reps total. I’d call that success!

Races: I kept it light in February and didn’t do any races. This month has a 5k on tap, so watch out for a review!

Cool Stuff That Happened:

I finally joined the gym that I was talking about and I love it! It’s not too busy, and it has everything you need. It also has an indoor track and an Olympic-size swimming pool.

I also became an ambassador for Insane Labz and American Metabolix! They’re both amazing companies that I love, so I’m glad I get to represent them. Don’t forget to check out my discount codes page to get some serious discounts!

Lastly…I reached 100 followers on the blog! Like I’ve said before, this is pretty cool because I never thought 100 people would care about what I have to say. So thanks guys!

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

End of Week Check-In (a month into half-marathon training)!

As the weeks go by, one thing that I notice is that my interval days feel 10x harder than they did when I was training for a 10k. Obviously, that’s because the difficulty scales with the distance, but it can get really challenging some days! That being said, I had a pretty good week and was able to complete all my workouts despite having some pretty sore legs towards the end of the week. Here’s what I was up to:

Monday

6mi Run – 10:57/mi avg pace with a moving time of 1:05:50.

end-of-week-check-in-week-4-1

Tuesday

Shoulders:

-5 min warm up

-Dumbbell External Rotation: 20lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Shoulder Press: 65lbs @ 16 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Rear Deltoid: 90lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

Back & Biceps:

-5 min warm up

-One Arm Bicep Curls: 35lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Back Extension: 190lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Standing Barbell Curl: 60lbs @ 20 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Roman Chair: 55lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Hammer Curls: 35lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Lat Pulldown: 85lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

end-of-week-check-in-week-4-2

Wednesday

Intervals (Tempo) – 3.7 mi with an average pace of 10:54/mi and a moving time of 40:22.

Thursday

Legs:

-5 min warm up

-Calf Press: 200lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Squats: 120lbs @ 21 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Hip Adductor: 175lbs @ 25 reps (1 min rest between sets)

-Hip Abductor: 175lbs @ 25 reps (1 min rest between sets)

*this workout was probably the hardest leg day I’ve ever had. My legs just felt like spaghetti…it was brutal.

Chest & Triceps:

-5min warm up

-Assisted Dips: 70lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Bench Press: 50lbs @ 17 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Tricep Press: 120lbs @ 25 reps (1 min rest between sets)

-Pec Fly: N/A

-Dumbbell Tricep Extension: 45lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Chest Press: 95lbs @ 23 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

Friday

Rest Day.

Saturday

Rest Day.

Sunday

Intervals – 2.3 mi with an average pace of 10:11/mi and a moving time of 23:25.

*I got to try out the indoor track at my new gym! I love it. It’s rubberized, so it reduces some of the impact. It wasn’t too busy either since I went just after 11:00pm. It was perfect!

I have a lot going on this week, so I’m really hoping that I can maintain my schedule, however it might be a challenge. Stay tuned!

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

 

 

 

Race Season is Starting…

Seeing as my first race of 2017 is less than a month, (March 24th), I figured I should layout all the races I have planned for the year. I’ve talked about the Mississauga Half that I have planned in May and my team race in two weeks, but that’s it.

March

What: Achilles St. Patrick’s Day 5k

Where: Toronto, ON

Swag/Race Features: Scenic route through Toronto’s High Park, technical race shirt, free Irish chili and a pint of Steam Whistle Beer, (I don’t like chili or beer, so the shirt is pretty much the bulk of the swag for me)

*I’m aiming for a pr in this race, (a sub 32:00 minute time), and I’m REALLY hoping I can crack it. I’m feeling at the moment that it’s a little out of my reach, but we’ll see.

April

April’s pretty up in the air since I’ll have exams and the date that I leave for Europe may fall during this month. I’m thinking I may just leave this month empty in preparation for my half.

May

What: Mississauga Half-Marathon

Where: Mississauga, ON

Swag/Race Features: Net downhill, (yay!), technical race shirt and finisher’s medal

*Since this is my first half, just finishing it would be amazing. That being said, 2:20 or lower would be AMAZING.

June

What: Rugged Maniac

Where: Kitchener, ON

Swag/Race Features: Cotton T-Shirt, Finisher’s Medal, and a free beer, (again, not a beer fan, haha).

*This is a mud run that I’m doing with my mom and my boyfriend. My boyfriend and I have both done mud runs together in the past, but this is my mom’s first time running EVER. She’s a beast, so I know she can hack it.

What: Goodlife Fitness City Chase

Where: Toronto, ON

Swag/Race Features: I wrote a post on this race seeing as I did it two years ago. Check it out!

July 

I think I’m going to take July off. Two races in the same month is more than I’ve ever done and I don’t want to over-commit.

August

I think I’m taking this month off too. I might be taking a couple of credits during the summer to graduate early, in which case my final exams would be this month.

September

What: Oakville Half

Where: Oakville, ON

Swag/Race Features: Technical Race Shirt and Finisher’s Medal

*Halves are my focus for 2017; I really want to master them.

October

I’m taking this month off since I’m not sure how I’ll feel after the half.

November

What: Angus Glen 10k

Where: Markham, ON

Swag/Race Features: It doesn’t seem like they’ve posted this yet since it’s so far in advance, but from what I’ve seen from their past races, their swag bag has been on point.

December

This month is a toss-up. My boyfriend and I are supposed to be in Florida for the holidays, so I may do a race down there…who knows!

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

 

Product Review: Vega Sport Performance Protein

Remember when I said that I went to GNC and they had a BOGO sale? This is what I went to purchase. As you can tell from some of my other product reviews/my Instagram, I’m definitely a fan of Vega and use their products often. While I’ve had their all-in-one shakes before, I’ve never tried their Performance Protein. My usual criteria when purchasing a protein powder are flavour, (I usually buy chocolate or vanilla, I never get too fancy), calories/serving and what’s actually in the powder itself. If you’ve ever used Vega before, I’m sure you can attest to the fact that they always load their products up with a variety of beneficial things. The Performance Protein is no different. Here’s what I thought of it:

-I got the chocolate flavour and the container says that the protein powder has tart cherries in it so I expected more of a dark chocolate flavour, however it resembles milk chocolate more so (not a complaint, just an observation).

-It has 6g of BCAAs per serving which is AMAZING for runners and weightlifters alike.

-It tastes good in shakes, milk, and water as well. This is important to me, because I wouldn’t want to buy a protein powder if I can only mix it in one thing.

-Mixes really well, (no clumps).

Verdict? Another pat on the back for Vega. This stuff is delicious. I never would’ve thought that I would love a vegan protein powder as much as I love Vega’s.

 

Running Fast, Lifting Heavy Approved: Yes

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy

 

P.S. Have something you want me to review? Write it in the comments!

End of Week Check-In (Week 3 of Mississauga Half-Marathon training)

I got some pretty exciting news as a logged into my WordPress account earlier…I have 100 followers! I never would’ve thought that when I started this blog last October that 100 people would care about what I have to say. So thank you guys!

Training this week definitely wasn’t as great as the previous two weeks, but still not too shabby. I missed both of my interval workouts which bums me out, but I still got my long run in, so I’m happy about that. I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m using the Nike Half-Marathon Training Plan to train for my half. I’ve used it for my last two races and have had great results. Here’s what I did this past week:

Monday

Rest Day.

Tuesday

4mi run – 10:37/mi avg pace and a moving time of 42:42. My average pace was three seconds slower this week than it was last week, but I’m not sweating it.

mississauga-half-week-3

Shoulders:

-5 min warm up

-Dumbbell External Rotation: 15lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Shoulder Press: 55lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Rear Deltoid: 75lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

shoulder-day

Wednesday

Back & Biceps:

-5 min warm up

-One Arm Bicep Curls: 30lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Back Extension: 170lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Standing Barbell Curl: 60lbs @ 15 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Roman Chair: 45lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Hammer Curls: 30lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Lat Pulldown: 70lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

Legs:

-5 min warm up

-Calf Press: 185lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Barbell Squats: 110lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Hip Adductor: 160lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Hip Abductor: 160lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

I should probably note that for my barbell squats, the weight that I have listed here is the weight not including the bar.

Thursday

Rest Day.

Friday

Rest Day.

Saturday

Chest & Triceps:

-5 min warm up

-Assisted Dips: 85lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Bench Press: 50lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Tricep Press: 105lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Pec Fly: N/A

-Dumbbell Tricep Extension: 40lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

-Chest Press: 80lbs @ 25 reps total (1 min rest between sets)

Similar to the barbell squats, the weight for my bench is the weight without the bar.

Sunday

Rest Day.

Towards the end of my week, I just got super swamped and hence why the intervals didn’t happen. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this week is a little different.

 

-Running Fast, Lifting Heavy