Book Review: Thrive

What kobo.com says:

In Thrive, Arianna Huffington makes an impassioned and compelling case for the need to redefine what it means to be successful in today’s world.
 
Arianna Huffington’s personal wake-up call came in the form of a broken cheekbone and a nasty gash over her eye — the result of a fall brought on by exhaustion and lack of sleep. As the cofounder and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group — one of the fastest growing media companies in the world — celebrated as one of the world’s most influential women, and gracing the covers of magazines, she was, by any traditional measure, extraordinarily successful. Yet as she found herself going from brain MRI to CAT scan to echocardiogram, to find out if there was any underlying medical problem beyond exhaustion, she wondered is this really what success feels like?
 
As more and more people are coming to realize, there is far more to living a truly successful life than just earning a bigger salary and capturing a corner office. Our relentless pursuit of the two traditional metrics of success — money and power — has led to an epidemic of burnout and stress-related illnesses, and an erosion in the quality of our relationships, family life, and, ironically, our careers. In being connected to the world 24/7, we’re losing our connection to what truly matters. Our current definition of success is, as Thrive shows, literally killing us. We need a new way forward.
 
In a commencement address Arianna gave at Smith College in the spring of 2013, she likened our drive for money and power to two legs of a three-legged stool. They may hold us up temporarily, but sooner or later we’re going to topple over. We need a third leg — a third metric for defining success — to truly thrive. That third metric, she writes in Thrive, includes our well-being, our ability to draw on our intuition and inner wisdom, our sense of wonder, and our capacity for compassion and giving. As Arianna points out, our eulogies celebrate our lives very differently from the way society defines success. They don’t commemorate our long hours in the office, our promotions, or our sterling PowerPoint presentations as we relentlessly raced to climb up the career ladder. They are not about our resumes — they are about cherished memories, shared adventures, small kindnesses and acts of generosity, lifelong passions, and the things that made us laugh.
 
In this deeply personal book, Arianna talks candidly about her own challenges with managing time and prioritizing the demands of a career and raising two daughters — of juggling business deadlines and family crises, a harried dance that led to her collapse and to her “aha moment.” Drawing on the latest groundbreaking research and scientific findings in the fields of psychology, sports, sleep, and physiology that show the profound and transformative effects of meditation, mindfulness, unplugging, and giving, Arianna shows us the way to a revolution in our culture, our thinking, our workplace, and our lives.

Thrive

What I Say: this is a great book for anyone at the beginning or middle of their career or even nearing the end and realizing you need a change. In my very first advertising job in Toronto I watched senior staff around me look burnt out, make unhealthy choices and spend countless hours away from their family. I learned how to be a work a holic. I was lucky/unlucky to witness a family tragedy with a senior executive at my first agency and from that moment on I vowed to myself to find work/life balance. That being said I know when to dig my heels in and put in the hours but I also learned how to make myself a priority while still being very productive in the office. Arianna Huffington is a big proponent of sleep. If you burn the candle at both ends then you need to remind yourself the value of the 8 hour sleep. The book is divided into only 4 chapters albeit long ones. Arianna covers Well-Being, Wisdom, Wonder & Giving. For me personally, I really loved reading the giving section as I adore doing things for others but don’t have a regular volunteer practice in my life. So this definitely got the wheels turning!

Tough Mudder 2014 Recap

This year’s Tough Mudder Toronto did not disappoint! It was an amazing event. Earlier in the year I had convinced a social media friend, Alan Ali, to fly up to Toronto to run this with me. He ran the event in Kentucky last year so this was going to be our second time doing the course just together. Alan is on a weight loss journey and is inspirational because he isn’t letting his weight stop him from living life. He’s tackling fitness goals and events now (triathlons & half marathons!) and that to me is humbling. He isn’t waiting for the ideal moment or weight and for that I was humbled and honoured to run this course with him.

Saturday we did not get the greatest weather. We drove up to Mount St. Louis Moonstoone with cloud cover and the rain started a few hours later. Registration was a bit of a gong show. The scanner technology was horrible and they had to keep writing down our names. Needless to say we got there nice and early for our start time and were stuck in line for over an hour. But a Mudder doesn’t whine. We registered, got numbers on our foreheads, bag checked and started dynamic stretching and tying our shoes on extra tight. We met up with the rest of our team and headed into warmup and the corral shute.

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Toronto Course Map

Continue reading “Tough Mudder 2014 Recap” »

Rock My Run App

As an Alpha Female balancing two careers; one in marketing and one in fitness I barely have any time to make playlists anymore. I luckily participated in a #fitblogchat contest and won a premium account (for a few months) with RockMyRun app! With a premium account I don’t see any ads, can adjust the BPM on mixes and I have access to more mixes than normal!

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I got up this morning at 5am well ahead of my 6am alarm so I decide to go for a run. I slept in Weds & Thurs morning, fending off a tickle in the back of my throat, but felt fine this morning. I decided to finally give this app a try. I’ve been running socially lately so no solo runs with music have been on the training plan. You can search by genre, BPM, length or lyrics. This morning I searched by track length and picked a 34 min playlist. I chose house, pop as the genrea and clicked on the first one that popped up in the options. I streamed it live in the app vs. downloading it.

IMG_3585.PNGAs you can see there is a MyBeat button. I didn’t use this option but if you click through on the link it will explain how you set a beat per minute for the music to match your pace. I left it at 128 bpm which was great for this morning. Other features of the app are that you can see a track listing, restart the playlist at any time, pause, skip to the next track in the playlist and finish it at anytime.

IMG_3586.PNGAfter the workout there is an option to rate the playlist. This app is definitely staying on my phone so that I can always choose some fresh mixes for my runs without having to make a playlist ahead of time.

IMG_3592.PNGHappy Running!

 

 

 

Chase the Coyote Trail Race

I’ve added another trail race to my schedule! Shocking I know! I’m really excited to tackle Chase The Coyote on September 27th. There are two distance option: a sprint & challenge. The Sprint is around 5.7km and the Challenge distance is around 14.4km. I am going to attempt to tackle the challenge option!

Chase The Coyote

This race has a cool time challenge for the longer 14.4km distance. Any male who can complete the course in under an hour and any female in under 70 minutes will receive a special Coyote prize (to be revealed on race day). Here are last year’s winners if you want to see a speedy set of people.

The Sprint distance is $35 and the Challenge distance is $40 right now. Early Bird Pricing ends on August 31st!

All runners get a sweet toque for winter running and this really cool medal! I can’t wait!

Coyote Toque Proof

photo (1)Who’s joining me?

5 Peaks Albion Hills

This weekend I spent my Saturday doing my fourth 5 Peaks race at Albion Hills Conservation Area. I had an amazing day. I rented a zipcar to get myself up there. They now have cars in my neighbourhood so I no longer have to take the subway one station over to grab one. This was epic for me.

I arrived with an hour of time to register, grab my bib and swag & say hi to a few fellow trail racers. The highlight of my morning was getting a high five from my friend Axel’s son Kian. His nickname on social media is the Lightning Kid and he steals my heart every time I see him. You can check out his Dad’s race recap here!

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I played paparazzi for their family and got some great shots of the kids finishing their 1K race. Lukas, Axel’s oldest son finished strong and Kian had to wave at all his fans on his way to the finish line.

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I absolutely loved this course. It was nicknamed a roller coaster and the twists and turns were perfect for the nickname. At the beginning of the course we were warned that the single track trail started fairly soon but it still created a backlog of walking for a bit. I breathed in patience and just told myself this would help me pace myself. I definitely could’ve had a faster time if I had seeded myself at the beginning of the wave but I’m still happy with how I felt during my race. I didn’t wear my Garmin so I could just enjoy the course and focus on my breathing.

I finished in 41:53 (7:21 avg page & 15th in my gender/age group). It’s neat to see how I’ve been improving over the summer at Terra Cotta (no avg time posted but I think it was around 7:11 (16th division place), at Heart Lake I had an avg pace of 6:55 (16th division place) and at Rattlesnake Point I had an avg pace of 7:38 (27th division place). After I chugged water I found my friend Michelle so we could re-enact epic race finish photos. I had to do my standard leaping & we grabbed pictures in front of the wall of sponsor logos.

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What I wore: Sunski sunglasses, Mizuno harmony tank, Lululemon run shorts, Mizuno BioGear compression socks & Mizuno Kazan trail runners. Finally, I taught Axel how to do a #theface photo and we headed off to start the rest of our day!

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The next Ontario race is Sept 6th at the Kortright Centre!

Workouts & Recovery

So it’s been almost a month that I’ve been back to what I feel is almost my old self in terms of training. The last three weeks things are starting to fall into place. I’m slowly ramping things back up. I’m not back to two a days every day as I have to be careful of overtraining but I’m pushing myself, strengthening what needs to be so I don’t re-injure body parts and doing my best to get my conditioning up for my summer obstacle races.

Here’s a recap of my workouts for the past few weeks:

w/o July 21

Monday: BlackToe Run Clinic (4K 10 and 1s)

Tuesday: Alpha Obstacle

Wednesday: Leg Day

Thursday: Wake Boarding & Wake Surfing

Friday: Rest Day

Saturday: Spartan Super

w/o July 28

Monday: BlackToe Run Clinic (3K slow run)

Tuesday: 5K Run

Wednesday: Leg Day

Thursday: Shoulder Day

Friday: Back Day

Saturday: Cottage Hike

w/o August 5

Monday: Trail Run

Tuesday: Alpha Obstacle

Wednesday: Leg Day & Moksha

Thursday: Back Day

Friday: Shoulders & Skipping

Saturday: 5 Peaks Albion Hills Sport Race

Continue reading “Workouts & Recovery” »

Monday Meal Prep

Since we had a long weekend up in Canada I did all my shopping on Sunday while visiting family in Kingston and then meal prepped on Monday. I always get comments when I post my finished prep on social media that I’m so organized. So yes it takes organization, a bit of planning but it becomes a lifestyle change that sets you up for success for the week. Today I’ll recap the steps I take during my meal prep and show you this really weird looking zucchini!

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No but in all seriousness here is what I did this week for my meal prep and how long it took me.

1. Turn frying pan on and cook lamb burgers.  5-10mins.

2. While lamb burgers are frying throw lamb steak in oven on broil (high). Cook for 12 mins.

3. Turn on a smaller frying pan, add coconut oil and cook asparagus. 5 mins.

4. Place a cup of quinoa in a pot to boil. 20 mins.

4. In the same frying pan as the lamb burgers I’m now cooking the flank steak. 10 mins. (During this time I’m eating the lamb steak & some asparagus for dinner.)

5. While flank steak is cooking wash and prep veggies (this includes green beans, snap peas, broccoli and kale). Place options in tupperware so I have variety with my protein options. 2 mins.

6. Make one salad for the week with kale, hemp seeds, quinoa, tempeh (cooked this last week) and cut cherry tomatoes in half. 5 mins.

7. Wash frying pan and start cooking ground chicken. In the asparagus frying pan I throw in cut up zucchini, green onions and yellow pepper. Combine once chicken in cooked through. 10-15 mins.

8. While the stir fry is cooking I wash and prep my veggies for my smoothie bags (pictured at the top). Kale, cucumber, apple, pear & blueberries this week! 5-10 mins.

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I started at 3 pm and was done by 4:30pm. Just one hour and a half. I also putter around and played with choosing different music playlists while I was cooking and texted people so I wasn’t focused the entire time. If I was on meal prep beast mode I could do it in an hour.

Book Review: One Plus One

What kobo.com says: One single mom. One chaotic family. One quirky stranger. One irresistible love story from the New York Times bestselling author ofMe Before You

American audiences have fallen in love with Jojo Moyes. Ever since she debuted Stateside she has captivated readers and reviewers alike, and hit the New York Times bestseller list with the word-of-mouth sensation Me Before You. Now, with One Plus One, she’s written another contemporary opposites-attract love story.

Suppose your life sucks. A lot. Your husband has done a vanishing act, your teenage stepson is being bullied, and your math whiz daughter has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you can’t afford to pay for. That’s Jess’s life in a nutshell—until an unexpected knight in shining armor offers to rescue them. Only Jess’s knight turns out to be Geeky Ed, the obnoxious tech millionaire whose vacation home she happens to clean. But Ed has big problems of his own, and driving the dysfunctional family to the Math Olympiad feels like his first unselfish act in ages . . . maybe ever.

One Plus One is Jojo Moyes at her astounding best. You’ll laugh, you’ll weep, and when you flip the last page, you’ll want to start all over again. One+Plus+One   What I say: While I still love Me Before You as one of my favourite books of 2013 this is hands down another great book by Jojo Moyes. I definitely giggled and devoured this book. This book didn’t have me balling on the subway in tears but it was so heartfelt and honest that I adored it. Perfect summer read for the last two long weekends of the summer or on any beach or cottage dock in your future.

Spartan Super 2014

I tackled the hardest, most challenging obstacle course race in my life to date on Saturday. I had heard great things about the Spartan Race in the past so this year I was going to tackle the Spartan Sprint in Toronto at the beginning of June. Due to my lovely shoulder injury post back injury I wasn’t able to compete in the shortest version of the Spartan races so of course I transferred my registration to the more intermediate course a month later in Ottawa. I had a month to train post injury and it was an excuse to go home to see my family.

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The Spartan Super is touted as 13+km and 21 obstacles. Here’s how my race went down. A month before the race I messaged my new real life/social media friend Annie and asked her if she’d like to run it with me. I knew she’d done a Mud Hero before so could hack a mud run, she’s a runner and a mom of three so really she’s a super hero. I picked her up bright and early and off we went. The drive to Mt. St. Marie was around an hour and a half from our neighbourhood so it was a bit of a hike. We arrived and went through registration seamlessly. They send you an email the week prior to the event to sign in online and print your event pass/waiver. They scan it upon arrival, hand you your headband (which I love more than a number being written on my forehead – that was a dig at Tough Mudder) and they write your number on your arm too (for pictures). During parking they hand you a plastic bag for your bag check. I wish they had written my headband number on the bag but they give you another wrist band and write that number on the bag. Just an additional thing on my body that is unnecessary.

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We arrived in plenty of time so we watched earlier heats complete the rope climb, the hercules hoist, a revolving monkey bar obstacle and then we decided to get into the coral. In the above picture you can see me wearing my hydration pack from MEC. That thing was a lifesaver. I had no clue how many water stations were on the course and I had watched a video the night before by the Spartan medic urging athletes completing the Super or Beast distances to wear hydration. Seeing as we were endlessly climbing ski hills I sucked back on that baby constantly and refilled it completely once.

The course was long and gruelling. We finished in 4 hours and 37 mins. Yes you read that correctly. I willingly chose to run up and down ski hills, tackle obstacles that were physically demanding and do 30 burpees when I couldn’t finish or complete an obstacle. Why? Because I love challenging myself, feeling alive, feeling strong, confident and tough.

Here is the list of obstacles that my brain can currently remember: Mud crawl under a net, rope climb, barbed wire crawl, hercules hoist, spinning monkey bars, monkey bars, cargo climb, two 8 ft wall climbs, inverted wall climb, sandbag carry, water can carry, tire flip, slippery wall rope climb with rope descent, wall climb – roll under – climb through wall, traverse wall, premium rig, spear throw and fire jump. We also had to make our way through a stream (which I would like to call an obstacle) and crawl through a rocky/sandy tunnel (which I would also like to call an obstacle as I ripped up my knees on this bad boy!)

I had to do burpees at the rope climb (made it half way up before my hip flexors cramped – lesson learned don’t pause just climb), monkey bars (ripped a callus off and slipped off), spinning monkey bars (no strength left in me), water can carry (no cans at bottom of the hill – opted to burpee as it was probably faster than waiting), premium rig (didn’t attempt just burpeed), traverse wall (slipped off) and spear throw (hit the hay but didn’t stick). So if I’m counting correctly I did 210 burpees. Am I proud of this fact? Not really. I actually got incredibly mad at myself at not sticking it out and climbing the rope and slipping off the monkey bars & traverse wall. These are obstacles I know I can achieve. I almost started crying. That’s because I’m incredibly tough on myself and demand the best. Have I only really been training for a month since injury? Yes. Is my strength and endurance back? No. Am I making excuses? No. But I need to set more realistic goals for my body and what it can do. So I had to yell at myself in my head and say you are finishing this race no matter how you get there. Just finish. It’s not always about being effortlessly strong but having the grit and determination to never quit, no matter what route. Do I want to kill these obstacles in the future? Yes. Do I want to train harder and smarter to beast them the next time I run a Spartan? Yes. And that at the end of the day and 4 hours and 37 mins later is all that matters to me.

Now to celebrate my achievements. I tackled the inverted wall by myself when someone asked if I needed a boost. I flipped the tire four times with ease and glute strength. I got up the slippery wall and pulled up the hercules hoist. I know my strength is growing and for those achievements I am so dang proud. I even had energy post race for a cheesy #theface picture with the Spartan himself. He was a tad creepy and totally said “Get Under Here” and held his cloak up.

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I even found my Alpha Obstacle friends near the end. They cheered me on when I missed the spear throw and had to do yet another 30 burpees. They gave me high fives and hugs afterwards and even smiling when I had an epic tumble post fire jump as I tried to do an epic jump and had no juice in my legs left to catch me. But boy did those finish line hugs of accomplishment feel amazing.

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I’m also slightly lucky I live in Ottawa and knew that after an epic race I’d need some self care. Sunday I woke up at 7 and arrived at Le Nordik when the doors opened to soak in the tubs and get a deep tissue massage before driving back to Ottawa. Now to foam roll this body back to normal this week so more training can commence.

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Will you attempt the Spartan Super?

Book Review: Conquering Shame and Codependency

What kobo.com says:

A nationally recognized author and codependency expert examines the roots of shame and its connection with codependent relationships. Learn how to heal from their destructive hold by implementing eight steps that will empower the real you, and lead to healthier relationships.

Shame: the torment you feel when you’re exposed, humiliated, or rejected; the feeling of not being good enough. It’s a deeply painful and universal emotion, yet is not frequently discussed. For some, shame lurks in the unconscious, undermining self-esteem, destroying confidence, and leading to codependency. These codependent relationships-where we overlook our own needs and desires as we try to care for, protect, or please another-often cover up abuse, addiction, or other harmful behaviors. Shame and codependency feed off one another, making us feel stuck, never able to let go, move on, and become the true self we were meant to be.

In Conquering Shame and Codependency, Darlene Lancer sheds new light on shame: how codependents’ feelings and beliefs about shame affect their identity, their behavior and how shame can corrode relationships, destroying trust and love. She then provides eight steps to heal from shame, learn to love yourself, and develop healthy relationships.

ConqueringShame-Cover-192x300What I say: This book made me a bit sad but helped me embrace the reality of our world. No matter what happens in life, how we are brought up, who we associate with, we are all dealing with shame in some form or another and will over the course of our lifetime. It got me a little depressed at the beginning but pulled me out with the 8 steps to overcome shame and deal with ways we become co-dependent on others.

I am a huge fan of self development books and so when I was asked to review this book I jumped at the chance. The topics & material found within the pages are quite heavy and I’m actually re-working my way through some chapters. I want to take the time to let the information sink in and do the writing exercises found within the pages. I’ve been doing work on myself to discover what I find shameful and to reframe it in a positive way. What I like about the 8 steps which I’ll share below:

1. Find Your True Self

2. Uncover Your Shame

3. Find Your Shame’s Roots

4. Disarm Your Shame

5. Confront Your Shame

6. Share Your Shame

7. Build Your Self-Esteem

8. Love Yourself

Is that I’ve been doing these unconsciously over the course of the last few years. I was of the mindset that if I announced I’m done healing then I am but moments, hurt trigger points, songs, words, memories will probably always surface and it’s great to be able to remind myself of how I can reframe hurt to love and learning.

I recommend this book if you are going through a trying time and are looking for answers.