Things I’m Loving Lately

I sometimes tend to dwell on the negatives. I’ve been working on it, though. To hold myself accountable, I thought it might be fun to start a monthly series on things I’m loving! Here’s the October edition.

Pumpkin Spice Everything: 

I never really understood the buzz around pumpkin spice until relatively recently. Now, I just can’t get enough. I had a few coconut milk pumpkin spice lattes from a local cafe last fall, but found them to be overly sweet. I went to the internet found a few PSL recipes online, including this one from Oh She Glows. It’s outta this world delicious, and I often have a jar of the syrup on hand in the fridge throughout the fall for whenever the craving strikes.

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Lately, though, I’ve really been loving this cashew pumpkin spice latte from Ashley at Fit Mitten Kitchen. On weekday mornings, it’s enough to lure me out of bed at 6 a.m. I’ll make one of these and enjoy it in the window seat as the sun rises. It’s the perfect “first breakfast” to hold you over until mid-morning. I also made Ashley’s Whole Grain Greek Yogurt Pumpkin Bundt Cake for Thanksgiving the other week and it received rave reviews all around- so moist and subtly spiced with notes of cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg.

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Breakfast

I fell into a bit of a breakfast rut for awhile, eating toast with peanut butter and banana for days weeks on end. Now, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that. I just knew that my morning meal needed a shake-up. I’ve long admired Robyn (also known as The Real Life RD) for her healthy and hearty breakfasts which often include eggs, toast with avocado and/or nut butter, so I decided to try it. Game changing, if I do say so myself. I’ve never considered myself to be a savoury breakfast gal, but I have found the combination of eggs, toast, avocado, and some greens to be so satisfying and energizing. My new favourite by far! We usually buy this amazing organic sourdough bread from the farmers’ market, but I use Silver Hills sprouted grain bread and bagels in a pinch.

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I also made these amazing spelt and sweet potato cinnamon rolls from the Blissful Basil cookbook on the weekend. I highly recommend. Unlike your average cinnamon roll, these are made healthy with whole spelt flour, sweet potato, maple syrup, and coconut sugar. They still taste indulgent enough, though. I ended up using organic ghee instead of the coconut oil that is called for and it made them so rich and satisfying. Ghee is basically butter with the milk solids strained out of it- so it’s pure fat and liquid gold. Perfect for high-heat cooking, too, as it remains stable at high temperatures!

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Fall Running

All of the hot summer runs that I suffered through make fall running so worthwhile and rewarding. Distances that seemed so challenging just a couple of months ago now feel (almost) effortless. I did a 19 km run commute yesterday to end off my marathon training on a high note and took it nice and slow. I stopped to take a few photos along the way. Pure bliss! It started raining partway through but I didn’t care; running in the rain is my favourite. Plus the pathways are much quieter now without many cyclists, so you can really just get into the zone. It’s so peaceful out on the pathways and I am often overcome with a sense of enorphin-induced gratitude for this form of movement that I’ve been fortunate enough to have fallen in love with. IMG_0160.JPG

Well, that’s all for today, folks! Marathon weekend is coming up and I’m getting a little bit worried over my lack of nervousness. I guess it comes along with running the distance for the first time- I have no baseline to compare myself to. Qualifying for Boston isn’t really a goal of mine this time (although I’m not going to lie- running under 3:30 is my sky-is-the-limit goal that I’d be elated to achieve on my first attempt). I just want to enjoy every step and soak up the experience of covering 42.2 km on my own two feet! We have plans to eat all of the food and drink all of the beer afterwards, which I am looking forward to just as much as running the race. I’ll probably do a post about my marathon experience next week, so stay tuned for that.

Until then, have a wonderful week. Hopefully you are enjoying lots of yummy food and moving your body in ways that feel good to you!

 

 

 

Lessons learned.

I raced a half-marathon the other weekend as a tune-up race for my upcoming marathon. I didn’t set any high expectations for myself- I really just wanted to treat it as a marathon-pace training run. That’s easier said than done! I tend to get caught up in the festive atmosphere and always end up pushing myself a little bit harder than I probably should. That being said, I really enjoyed the race, set a 2-minute 2018 PR of 1:35:00, and it taught me some lessons that I will take with me going into my first marathon later this month:

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  1. Don’t start too fast. Duh. I should know this by now. But it seems to happen every time that I race! I have so much pent-up adrenaline and energy that my first couple of kilometres always seem to be my fastest. In this race, I ended up passing the 1:35 pace bunny in the first 3 kilometres, only to be passed again in the final 2. Any seasoned distance runner knows that this is never a good idea- you end up using precious glycogen stores too early, leaving your legs feeling heavy in the final kilometres of the race. For the marathon, I plan to start very conservatively, gradually increasing the pace in the second half and (hopefully) running a negative split.
  2. Allow for ample recovery time. I was riding a post-race high in the days following the run, doing 8 km the day immediately following the race and 15 km the next day. I continued to push myself for the remainder of the week and ultimately came down with a flu virus this past weekend. Recovery is so easy to ignore, but it is so, so important- it’s something that I am becoming much more conscious of as I start running longer distances.
  3. Don’t get caught in the comparison trap. Social media makes it so easy for us to compare ourselves to other athletes. Remember that we are all on our own journeys in sport! We are all running for different reasons and each of us has varying amounts of time and energy to commit to it at this moment in time. The fact that we are healthy enough to run and race is something to celebrate in and of itself. I have been making a point of taking brief breaks from social media and I find that the lack of distraction helps me to focus more on my training. For some, social media is motivating and inspiring, but I recognize that I am prone to comparing myself to others. It’s been really refreshing to just run without that in the back of my mind. If you find yourself falling into the comparison trap, I encourage you to identify the things that are aggravating this and make an effort to cleanse yourself of them, even for a short period of time.

 

Let me know if you would like more running-themed posts, and stay tuned for a post-marathon update!

 

How to be proud of a slower race

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I recently ran my slowest half marathon, but I was actually quite proud of the result and it led me to reflect on why I feel that way and how you, too, might find ways to be proud of a slower race time.

I ran my first three half marathons progressively faster: 1:31 in 2011, 1:26 in 2013, and 1:25 in 2014. Unfortunately, a stress fracture forced me to take an extended break from running following my 2014 PR.

Continue reading “How to be proud of a slower race”