Book Review: Obstacle Race Training & Off Course

This week I’m featuring two books at once because they are very similar and in the same genre that focus on Obstacle Races.

Obstacle Race Training

What says: The beauty of obstacle course racing is that it gets you out of your everyday routine and lets you experience life. If you are stuck in a cubicle or trapped in an urban jungle-congested traffic and crowds are your daily obstacles. Running an obstacle course race gives you the chance to get back to nature-to roll in it, get dirty, and tap into your primal self so you can experience life-in the raw, unedited and real.

Margaret Schlachter is one the foremost competitors in obstacle course racing today. She put together this simple guide to make your obstacle race experience everything it’s supposed to be-a test of your true self. She describes first-hand her personal training methods in learning to climb a rope, scale a wall, flip a tire, throw a spear, and carry a sandbag. More importantly, she provides guidance on how to get yourself mentally and spiritually prepared for the big day-and how to dig deep within yourself during a race to find the last ounce of strength to carry you across that finish line.

Every weekend thousands of competitors run obstacle races all over the world. Winning or losing is secondary. More important for them is the ability to meet the physical and mental challenges and achieve personal success by completing the race. Obstacle Race Training is an invaluable resource that enables each and every competitor to experience the maximum level of success that they are capable of.


What I say: If you’ve been reading my race recaps from 2014 then you know I’m obsessed with Obstacle Course Races (otherwise known as OCRs). I wanted to read a few of the books that are now out there about the sport so I could be able to recommend to newbies or see if I could even get new things out of them. While I enjoyed Margaret’s book I didn’t learn anything myself but definitely recommend anyone new to the sport to read as a great introduction on what to expect and how to properly prepare. I’m especially excited to try her Chocolate Protein Mug Cake recipe which she shares in her book.

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2014 Holiday Fitness Wish List

It’s that time of the year when my mother asks for my Christmas wish list so I make a blog post with handy dandy links to the product pages for easy online shopping :) Some of these things I already have as I’ve been truly blessed this year but hopefully this inspires you to maybe place them on your wish list this year!


Pro Compression Socks – these are instrumental in keeping me running (literally). I wore compression socks all summer for my races & I wear them at night while recovering. They decrease inflammation and keep me functioning. I’m putting the blue ones on my wish list!

Polar M400 – I’m testing out this device at the moment and if I love it I’ll be buying it for myself this Christmas!

2XU Compression Tights – If you’re looking for a pair of running tights these are my favourite and are actually made for women. Get them on your list for all your winter and spring training.

Mizuno Wave Rider 18 – I love a cushioning shoe. After I finish healing my ankle I’m going to start attacking more road running and I’m going to need these bad boys to get me going. I’ve done one run in them so far and adore them. Get them on your list fast for winter training or spring runs!

Fluffed Up Pullover – I love my yellow Lululemon pullover jacket but it’s definitely getting a bit grimy from two seasons of running. Although not the best for visibility I love the new black fluffed up version Lululemon has out this season!

Original Buff – I received my first buff this year at the 5 Peaks Race Series and then I picked up my own at the last X Man race of the year. A Buff can be worn so many different ways. I am going to wear mine as a neck warmer this winter & I’ve worn it as a head band a couple of times (below is my X Man one)! This is a great stocking stuffer!

Brisk Run Gloves – although I do wear these running these are actually my staple everyday gloves with the phone touch pads. No need to remove mittens on and off while updating social media.

Running Gifts

Fitness & Obstacle Race Training

Roots Onesie – after a hard workout or run all I want to do is curl up on the couch. Who wouldn’t want to curl up in this onesie?!

Dirt in Your Skirt Spear Kit – if you’ve ever done a Spartan race you know the spear throw is a killer. Since I would really like to avoid doing burpees in 2015 I want to build a spear throwing station. Maybe my condo will allow me a spot out back?

Titan Weighted Compression Shirt – ok so in my quest to become more hardcore I want to train with more weight. Although a weighted vest is great for some movements it’s not the best to run in. Cue hardcore music and feast your eyes upon the Titan weighted compression shirt. They only make men’s so I’m hoping the small would fit :)

Spartan Race Season Pass or X Man Season Pass – a season pass will allow me to do as many Eastern Canada Spartan races as possible and the X Man pass will allow me to do all three in Quebec next summer!

Pedicure Gift Certificate – let’s face it athletes don’t have the nicest feet and we rarely treat ourselves because we usually don’t know when is the best time for pretty feet based on all we do. But it’s nice to spoil ourselves once in a while.

Fitness Gifts

New Addition: I almost forgot I’ve been crushing on the purse collection by 6 Pack Fitness. I must have the Renee Tote to my wish list! The purse looks better for me carting it to the office & it holds 4 containers vs. 3 in the original small version. They still don’t ship to Canada so I’ll have to patiently wait for this bad boy to arrive to our wonderful country.

Renee Tote

What’s on your wish list?


Give Presence

Lululemon launched a video this week on it’s blog, via email & social media that made me stop. I watched it, took a deep breath and made a promise to myself, my friends, my family & new connections that could come into my life at any moment that this holiday season I will focus on giving presence. I won’t glorify busy. I will enjoy and savour every action in my Christmas Bucket List but I will do so in the joy of connecting with others around me.

Take a moment to watch…

Why did this strike a chord with me? Because so many times I am interacting with people and they pause to check their phones and I feel alone. If I feel this way then I’m sure I’ve made others feel this way around me. I know that my phone is an extension of my arm most times. I am deeply connected to it because in a world where I have a fear of being alone it’s my lifeline to others that support and love me.

How many times do I say to myself that I’m just going to quickly check how many likes on Instagram I have. But that 1 minute action could be spent connecting with another human instead and creating and celebrating real happiness and love.

So as we enter into a holiday season I make this promise. At meals & during conversations where I am face to face with you. I am going to keep my phone in my pocket or my purse and be fully present in the moment.

I Mustache You Some Questions

Ok so this lovely play on words questionnaire called “I Mustache You Some Questions” is making it’s way around the blogosphere. I was tagged by my boo Alan from Sweating Until Happy so here goes nothing.


1. Four names that people call me, other than my real name:

  • Baldwin – it’s my last name so ok this one makes sense
  • Decoy (Summer Camp Name at Ontario Pioneer Camp) – I took pictures and cooed over a bunch of plastic decoy ducks thinking they were real on a canoe trip so I inherited this name.
  • Roby – which I hate
  • Robin Hood – which I also hate
2. Four jobs I have had: – I’m going to share all the part time gigs from high school through university
  • Lifeguard & Swimming Instructor
  • Hostess/Waitress/Bartender – if you’re close to me you know what fine establishments I worked at in University :)
  • CFL Cheerleader
  • Summer Camp Counselor
3. Four movies I have watched more than once:

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Book Review: The Alpha Woman Meets Her Match

What says:

For the first time ever: a liberating guide to life and love that tells successful women that they can find the right partner without having to change or settle—and then shows them how to do it.

Don’t believe the alarmist, negative hype, advises top relationship therapist Dr. Sonya Rhodes. Data show that today’s Alpha women—ambitious, self-assured, and hardworking—are hardly fated to be spinsters. On the contrary, by rethinking outmoded gender roles, women can have better relationships than ever before. A clinical psychologist with more than thirty years’ experience, Dr. Rhodes shares her secrets to helping women triumph in love by finding men who will appreciate and complement their strengths.

Challenging gender stereotypes associated with the terms Alpha and Beta, she advises the Alpha woman to look past the overly competitive, domineering Alpha male for a man who is not threatened by her strengths but is communicative, responsible, and collaborative. Just as Alpha women aren’t demanding bitches, Beta men aren’t passive wimps. Demonstrating that nearly everyone is a combination of both qualities, Dr. Rhodes includes a comprehensive test to help readers define where they (and their partners) are on the Alpha-Beta spectrum. This tool will give women more options and help them make better choices.

More than just offering advice about romance, The Alpha Woman Meets Her Match explores the dramatic shifts in our culture, and how these can bring women greater empowerment in both their love lives and their careers.


What I say: As I work on my own personal book in the self-development category I need to research what else is out there. Since I’ve branded myself as an Alpha Female I wanted to see if any of the advice in this book was something I’ve already learned or could learn from. I didn’t like this book at all. Other than discovering that I score high on the Alpha and the Beta scale (which I already knew) I thought this was a self serving book of a therapist sharing story after story about her clients. Although each story had a lesson learned by each client none of the advice was practical or written in a way that someone reading could apply to their life. This gets a resounding don’t read it recommendation.

2014 Christmas Bucket List

So my love of bucket lists continues. I’ve gone from seasonal (I usually create summer & winter bucket lists) to holiday this time and created a Christmas Bucket List so I can enjoy everything this holiday has to offer. It’s also my favourite so I can’t wait to indulge my Christmas Holiday Spirit.

Here is an image I made for Instagram with some of the initial things that I know I want to do.

Christmas Bucket List

I’ve also gotten suggestions from friends to add the following:

1. Winter Drive Blasting Christmas Music on the Radio

2. Buy Toys for a Christmas Toy Drive

3. Bake Christmas Cookies

4. Make Homemade Christmas Cards

5. Kiss Santa on the Cheek

6. Starbucks Red Cup Date

What else would you add? Comment on the blog and share your ideas with me!

Book Review: The Confidence Code

What says:

Confidence. We want it. We need it. But it can be maddeningly enigmatic and out of reach. The authors of the New York Times bestsellerWomenomics deconstruct this essential, elusive, and misunderstood quality and offer a blueprint for bringing more of it into our lives.

Is confidence hardwired into the DNA of a lucky few—or can anyone learn it? Is it best expressed by bravado, or is there another way to show confidence? Which is more important: confidence or competence? Why do so many women, even the most successful, struggle with feelings of self-doubt? Is there a secret to channeling our inner confidence?

In The Confidence Code, journalists Katty Kay and Claire Shipman travel to the frontiers of neuroscience on a hunt for the confidence gene and reveal surprising new research on its roots in our brains. They visit the world’s leading psychologists who explain how we can all chose to become more confident simply by taking action and courting risk, and how those actions change our physical wiring. They interview women leaders from the worlds of politics, sports, the military, and the arts to learn how they have tapped into this elemental resource. They examine how a lack of confidence impacts our leadership, success, and fulfillment.

Ultimately, they argue, while confidence is partly influenced by genetics, it is not a fixed psychological state. That’s the good news. You won’t discover it by thinking positive thoughts or by telling yourself (or your children) that you are perfect as you are. You also won’t find it by simply squaring your shoulders and faking it. But it does require a choice: less people pleasing and perfectionism and more action, risk taking, and fast failure.

Inspiring, insightful, and persuasive, The Confidence Code shows that by acting on our best instincts and by daring to be authentic, women can feel the transformative power of a life on confidence.

The Confidence CodeWhat I say: One of my fitness friends recommended this book to me after reading my post about Mingling with Elites and my confession that my inner critic is a jerk at times. I was curious to dive into this book and to see where the authors would take their study of confidence from a science and art perspective. Is confidence genetic or is confidence created in individuals based on nurture from their family & environment?

I loved reading about the genetic study of confidence in Chapter 3: Wired for Confidence. The primate study makes perfect sense and explains why some individuals are born with personalities that are more risk adverse than others and therefore show more confidence in tackling life. The following chapter delves into how men & women are raised in most traditional societies and how they are nurtured. It shows how letting little boys are allowed to be rambunctious and wild and how that can affect the growth of confidence in an individual. While may girls are taught to be prim and proper and perfect and how that can inhibit the skills it takes to survive in the corporate world or in athletic endeavours. I can draw potential conclusions on why I’m not as confident in my athletic endeavours to my childhood. I didn’t want to play ball sports or participate in gym class and I wanted to spend all my days in the dance studio or pool. I wonder if I was forced to stick it out a little longer in little league or soccer would my confidence in athletic sports be much higher than it is today? I learned confidence standing in the spotlight on stage so I can adapt in a public speaking world but I didn’t push through athletic struggles that scared me or frustrated me as a kid. I was allowed to quit and do only the things I wanted to. I’m not blaming my parents but I can see why I question my abilities as I learn to tackle obstacle races now in my adult life.

Chapter 6 on failing fast explains why I’ve been able to develop confidence in the workplace. I delved into a breakthrough moment on being fired in this blog post that explains why I was able to teach myself to be more assertive and confident in the boardroom. I watch how I talk to coworkers and always act with confidence and a self assuredness because of past failure. I sit at the table when I need to be heard and I lean in to my career. I even noticed recently something I can work on when my boss told me that my coworkers respond to me better when I use a calm, cool and collected voice vs an excited one (the authors talk about how women use high pitched intonation to make statements sound like questions vs facts and how it doesn’t go over well in a male corporate world). I thought I was using a positive tone to show my motivation towards a project but I realize that in a male dominated world a lower calm voice is better received. Just simple little things one can do to be successful in this crazy concrete jungle.

Overall this is a great book that gives a new perspective on confidence. It can be a great tool for parents looking for tips in raising confident daughters (& sons) and adults learning to nurture confidence within themselves.

Why Being Let Go Can Be Good For Your Career

I believe that being let go can be a good thing with proper hindsight. It taught me to be stronger. It taught me what kind of employee and coworker I need and should be. It taught me resilience and it taught me to use my network, to stay positive and hustle. Today’s blog is a letter to my former boss who “fired/downsized/let me go” from one of my previous roles.

I was 29. I was a media supervisor in a mid sized advertising agency. I was stressed. I was overworked. I was depressed and I was blunt and at times very short to coworkers. I was scared. I was struggling through life. I was focused. I was ambitious. I was efficient and well liked by clients. I was many different things and I believed I could never be fired. I believed I was indispensable. After I was let go I spent days questioning everything from my role, to conversations with coworkers, my work output, etc but in the end and 3 years later I can objectively look at the positive lessons I learned from the experience and be grateful for having gone through the experience.

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Online Dating Profile of an OCR Racer

This post is inspired by a hilarious text conversation with one of my friends of what an online dating profile would look like for an Obstacle Course Racer. So all in good fun if I were to start online dating this is what my profile would look like :)


Name: Robyn B

Sex: Female

Looking For: Spartan Alpha Male

Must Haves: 

Must be willing to rub Traumeel (muscle pain rub) on hard to reach areas at night

Must still love me when I’m injured and I can’t train and I’m pouting

If you don’t run OCRs you must be ok being my race Sherpa so you can see me on race weekends

Buying rope & hanging rope from tree branches for rope climbs are normal weekend chores

Foam rolling on a Friday night is as wild as I get

Sleeping in on weekends is not an option. I’m either training or running a race.

I will probably give you trail shoes as Birthday or Christmas presents

Our laundry room will always be muddy.

If we go for a walk I will climb anything I see.

If we’re driving in the country and I yell stop and flip a Tractor tire and do 30 burpees on the side of the road you cannot look at me funny


Nicaragua Memories

Monday, I reviewed Surf Tours Nicaragua and Wednesday I covered what I learned about Nicaragua and about myself in this post. Without further ado here are my favourite memories (lots of pictures) from my trip.

1. Sunset Board Meetings. Paddling out while the sun is setting and sitting on your board is an indescribable feeling.


View from my Go Pro

Sunset Board Meeting

View from the surf guide’s Go Pro (I’m on the left!)

2. Morning Yoga with Kayla: I got the chance for a private session with Kayla (the in house yoga expert). We commandeered the Rancho, laid out our mats and stretched and flowed. It was amazing to practice with her. I kinda of really love her soul. Plus she did adjustments on me that were amazeballs. I love hands on yoga :)


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