Category Archives: Blog

Book Review: Shopaholic To The Stars

What kobo.com says:

Sophie Kinsella returns to her beloved Shopaholic series with Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) newly arrived in Hollywood and starry-eyed. She and her two-year-old daughter, Minnie, have relocated to L.A. to join Becky’s husband, Luke, who is there to handle PR for famous actress Sage Seymour. Becky can’t wait to start living the A-list lifestyle, complete with celebrity sightings, yoga retreats, and shopping trips to Rodeo Drive. But she really hopes to become a personal stylist—Sage’s personal stylist—if only Luke would set up an introduction. Then, unexpectedly, Becky is offered the chance to dress Sage’s archrival, and though things become a bit more complicated, it’s a dream come true!

Red carpet premieres, velvet ropes, paparazzi clamoring for attention—suddenly Becky has everything she’s ever wanted.

Or does she?

Shopaholic to the Stars

What I say: This is the perfect book to offset anything that you’ve read recently that’s too serious. You can get lost in her books so easily and it was fun and frolicky. I do feel like I’m losing brain cells but that’s because I built them up with business books lately.

MS Drug Decision

My biggest stressor this past week was deciding whether or not to go on conventional medicine. My neurologist Dr. Baskind & I had originally discussed options in my first appointment after my diagnosis. We discussed the IV, self injections & oral treatments. I am not a candidate for the IV treatments & I immediately knew I didn’t want to take self injections so we discussed the oral options. I couldn’t make a decision until my insurance company approved me for any of the three oral treatments. We submitted drug prior authorization forms on Dec 17 and a month later finally got a decision from the company that I was approved for Tecfidera or Aubagio.

I wanted a second opinion on my diagnosis and treatment so I asked my family doctor to refer me to the MS Clinic at St. Michael’s Hospital. I received an appointment on January 20th with Dr. Selchen. I discussed drug options with his resident & himself at the clinic and was given a different viewpoint on Tecfidera & Aubagio than my primary neurologist. I was explained the drugs are both first line defence drugs for MS so that’s why I wasn’t approved for the third, Gilenya that is available. You can only get approval for that drug if one of the first two is not effective.

Continue reading “MS Drug Decision” »

Spartan Cruise!

Disclaimer: Spartan Race is comping a portion of the trip.

Ok so it’s official! I’m going on the first ever Spartan Race Cruise! I’ve wanted to go ever since it was announced. Why? Well I’ve never been on a cruise before, I get to do a Spartan Sprint (approx 5+ km / 3+ miles ) on a island & it will be awesome to be a part of the inaugural event.

Spartan Cruise

When: March 6-9th, 2015 (3 day Spartan Cruise from Miami to Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas)

There is going to be a full day of lounging and playing at the Great Stirrup Cay so I may come back with a bit of a tan after racing & playing in the sun :)

Great Stirrup Cay

There will be $50K prize pool money & $24K goes to the top 5 Men & Women Finishers. Spartan is also providing a whole bunch of activities such as SGX fueled Training Classes, Boat & Beach Yoga, Nutrition & Training seminars, Spartan Race training tips, guest speakers, standard cruise onboard entertainment, meals & more.

What else? Joe DeSena will be signing his Spartan UP! book & Kid’s Cruise Free (all the way up to 17 years old). If you’re an obstacle racing family this seems like a no brainer winter vacation.

I have the opportunity to bring a friend so I immediately told my friend Richard Lee Yuen. It was a bit of a no brainer to ask him (really hoping my other OCR friends don’t get mad ) as he currently holds the World Record Holder in Trifectas and is used to traveling all over the world for races. He did 15 Trifectas in total which means he ran 45 races (a Trifecta = running all three distances in one year) in 2014.

Richard Lee Yuen

Now you can’t think my 6 races in 2014 were a lot! I know he’ll be supportive as I attempt my first obstacle course race since my diagnosis with MS. I’m a bit scared to race my first Spartan of the year in the heat of the Bahamas. One of the downsides of this disease is that my body doesn’t do well with heat or overheating. As it’s the winter up in Canada I’ve only been able to see how my body handles overheating from a workout and it’s frustrating. If I get too hot my symptoms comes back like numb hands & limbs & shaking. Thankfully my new ice vest & cooling gear arrives this week so I’ll be able to test it out before race day! I think it will be a lifesaver to have that gear for the cruise.

Are you itching to come too!?

What kind of deal can you get?

If you can find your way to Miami easily… Rich & I found flights from Toronto to Miami for less than $500 CAD! Spartan is currently offering 50% off on the cruise portion!! Which is amazing! Use the promo code CRUISE50 to book! Click on the Spartan Cruise link at the top of the page for more information.

Mizuno Wave Rider 18 Product Review

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. I received product at no cost.

I really love being involved as a brand ambassador with Mizuno. They’ve been my go to shoe since I started taking running seriously in 2012 and I haven’t looked back since. They are generous to keep me well equipped for road & trail running in their shoes and I continue to be amazed by the quality of the products coming from this company!

I would like to introduce you to… The Wave Rider 18s! 

I trained & ran my first half marathon in the Mizuno Wave Rider 16s! I’ve also been doing long runs in the 17 model over the course of last year (product review here) so when the new 18 model came out in the Fall of 2014 I couldn’t wait to try them out because they are my favourite cushioned model! The purple & green colour is pretty snazzy too over the white 17 model I was running in last year.

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It’s kind of nice to be able to say I’ve run in 3 models of the shoe and actually see the difference in the new product design elements.

The visual look of the shoe was inspired by the word Hado which means to Mizuno:

The intrinsic vibrational energy that exists in all matter which can create powerful transformations. The shoe is designed to maximize and balance forward momentum, which can result in positive change both internally and in the world we run in.

I intend to be a positive change in this world and running just makes me that much better to bring the change needed in me and the world that surrounds me.

Winter Running

But back to the shoe… The main differences from the 17 to the 18 are:

  • Refined toe-spring delivers a smooth, effortless toe-off
  • Upgraded premium sock liner provides more rebound and resiliency at every foot strike
  • New outsole design with added durability and shock attenuation

I’ve definitely personally noticed the toe spring is much better than the 17 version which seemed to fall short of where the 16 left off. The heel cushion is still spectacular for absorbing the shock our body takes from road running. I’m a big fan of the Wave Rider and they’ve created a hit with the 18s to redeem themselves for the lacklustre 17.

I love these shoes so much that I will change out of cross trainers when I’m at Alpha Obstacle Training for a run portion of the Saturday morning Genesis class. I usually wear Nike cross trainers for the indoor warm up & circuit portion of the workout but for the run & bodyweight challenge I’m in my Wave Riders!

Wave Rider At Alpha

Have you ever worn Wave Riders by Mizuno? Do you like them?

Meal Prep with Purpose

This week I needed to add a couple more things into my weekly meal prep to ensure I’m getting certain vitamins & minerals.

I had a head of cauliflower that I hadn’t used yet. I opened my Tone It Up Frisky Fall nutrition plan edition & found an awesome soup recipe called Bowl of Sunshine (page 29) to make this Sunday night. It was super easy to make.

Cauliflower Soup

 

I’ll break down the nutritional content & why I made it.

Cauliflower: Vitamin C, Vitamin K – Since my immune system is a bit messed up right now I need to ensure I’m constantly boosting it with Vitamin C. Vitamin K aids in blood clotting, brain health & bone health (all good things to consider)

Onion: Sulfur or Sulphur is a mineral element essential to glutathione production in the body that boost the immune system. I’ve also found research that it aid’s in body electron transport, proper insulin function & detoxification in the body. The Wahls Protocol which I’m reading does a great job of explaining this and got me eating more onion & mushrooms.

Curry, Turmeric, Black Pepper & Cayenne Spices: Turmeric is imperative for me to get for anti-inflammatory properties & absorbion is made bio-available with black pepper!

Sources: Internet Research & Wahls Protocol

The soup was amazing. There is an option to top with Avocado which I may try tomorrow!

For the past two weeks I’ve been also buying a head of cabbage & stir-frying it with onions & mushrooms as one of my side dishes that I can add in a tupperware with chicken or steak or fish.

Cabbage, Onion & MushroomsCabbage also is high in Vitamin C & K & the onions & mushrooms give me the sulphur/sulfur I need.

Happy Meal Prepping!

 

January Training

It has been 4 weeks since I’ve returned to training from my ankle injury & MS diagnosis. I started really slowly during the holidays. While I was home in Ottawa I attempted two gym workouts. One leg day & one back workout. My body was having a hard time getting back into it and my heart rate was spiking and I was getting out of breath just from one set of squats. I experienced exhaustion post workout and would have to lie in bed for the rest of the day. Now that’s it’s week 4 of being back into training and I’ve even been able to do some 2 a days for the past two weeks which makes me fitness giddy!

Here’s a view of my last two weeks if you want to know how I’m challenging myself physically.

w/o January 5th

Monday: Morning – Leg Day, Evening – Hatha Yoga (I bought a 10 class pass from Yoga Tree so I’m starting slow with non heated classes to see how my nervous system can take them)

Tuesday: Morning – Back Day, Evening – 5K Run (just on a treadmill with lots of breaks but I felt great!)

Wednesday: Evening – Alpha Obstacle Training

Thursday: Morning – Shoulders

Friday: Rest Day

Saturday: 6K Winter Run & Skating (I went away to a cottage in the Kawarthas last weekend and did a great winter run on the cottage road. I brought my trail shoes and despite the cold I felt great post run)

Sunday: Rest Day

w/o January 12th

Monday: Morning – Leg Day, Evening – Bouldering (I haven’t gone in a year so this was so much fun. My forearms still kill!)

Bouldering

Tuesday: Afternoon – Back Day, Evening – Reduced Heat Yoga (This class was super easy for me. As I get back into yoga I’m slowly testing heat and class difficulty. I’m going to attempt something harder next week!)

Wednesday: Morning – Shoulders

Thursday: Evening – Alpha Obstacle Training

Friday: Rest Day

Saturday & Sunday: I’m off to Alpha Obstacle Training on Saturday morning and I’m puppy sitting this weekend so I’m going to attempt a 5-10K with her on Sunday morning!

How’s your training going?

People’s Reactions to a Public MS Diagnosis

When I decided to make my diagnosis public I didn’t realize how many people would reach out to me. To be honest, I was a bit shocked at the number of incoming public & private messages. No one wants to comment on my races or food prep as much LOL. Some of the messages warmed my heart, some upset me, some made me cry happy tears from the support and some made me really, really angry. I think a broad spectrum of reactions & feelings is ok due to the volume of sentiments I received. I know I’ve made my life quite public when I made the decision to share my health journey with others. My goal in being open was to gain support from my tribe & to hopefully help another newly diagnosed MS patient in the future as they navigate their journey.

After receiving something that can be perceived as bad news there are several different ways people react. I’ve been grouping them into buckets to process where to spend my time in responding. It’s been overwhelming to write back to everyone. I’m definitely the kind of person who wants to make sure I’m responding though since someone has taken the time to reach out. For me I’ve had to choose who to respond in depth to and who to just thank and file away.

First off you may have noticed that I called this perceived bad news. If you have been following my blog or social media for a while then you know I’m uber positive and optimistic at how I attack life. I think it’s apparent by how I call MS my new sidekick or a new obstacle to tackle or a new way of living and something that I just have to deal with. It is how I personally need to deal with my diagnosis. I flip things immediately to the positive because that is how I “get through” things. So keep that in mind as I categorize those who have reached out and my reactions as such.

The objective of this blog post is to make others aware of what they can potentially expect if they announce a diagnosis and also to those who hear a diagnosis and want to reach out. Just think about your audience whenever you say something towards someone “going through” something vs. what you would want to hear. Grief processes are very very different for everyone and we all deal with things differently. So please just keep in mind how you choose to react when you reach out to someone going through something in the future. Take cues form them. Overall I’m beyond grateful for the support, I’ve voiced my concern on what I don’t want to hear and have been thankful for every single message sent my way.

People Talking

Continue reading “People’s Reactions to a Public MS Diagnosis” »

ONDAMED® Technology at Soul 7

So I reported in my 1st week with MS blog post that I was also going to seek treatment at Soul 7 including all my other holistic practices. The healing technology facility in Toronto has the use of an Electromagnetic device called ONDAMED® that I’ve received 3 treatments on so far. If I had to explain what it does in 3 bullet points the easiest way would be:

1. The ONDAMED Biofeedback System applies electromagnetic impulses in rhythmic sequences.
2. The changing of the magnetic field structure of the impulse induces reactions in the body.
3. The impulses induce effects that stimulate the auto regulation of the body.

Source

And by auto regulation I understand it to mean my body starts to resonate at optimal levels of health to heal or keep itself healthy.

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Continue reading “ONDAMED® Technology at Soul 7” »

Meal Prep – First Week Back To Work

The start of a new year always brings excitement for me. Probably because of my goal getting attitude. Sunday I had so much fun food prepping for this week. I’m incorporating tips that I’m reading about in the Wahl’s Protocol (review to come) and from the dietician consultation I had.

Sunday Meal Prep

On the Menu This Week:

Continue reading “Meal Prep – First Week Back To Work” »

Spartan Race News & Giveaway!

So I got a little excited on Christmas Day and bought my Spartan Race Canada Season’s Pass for Eastern races & registered for the Vermont Beast in September 2015.

I posted on December 15 my 2015 race goals and my biggest race goal of the year will be to attempt a Double Spartan Race Trifecta ending with the Vermont Beast race in the US. I’ll be running 5 races in Canada but really want to attempt the craziness that is the VT course for the Beast. I will train all year for it and I’m committed to getting myself there by registering now.

There are so many amazing things coming out of the Spartan Headquarters that I wanted to share a bit of the news they have been posting lately.

1. Spartan Up! Podcast Launches This Week!

Joe Desena, founder & CEO of Spartan Race travels the globe seeking answers from experts like Sir Richard Branson, Steve Pressfield, Barbell Shrugged, and many more. Joe’s interviews with authors, academics, athletes, adventurers, CEOs and thought leaders will shift your thinking, make you laugh and and give you the tools you need. He’s on a mission to find the secrets to success in all aspects of life. Not only does Joe interview epic people, he has brought together an amazing panel to break down and analyze every aspect of these interviews. We give you the ultimate blueprint and action steps to assimilating these powerful conversations into your own life. I can’t wait to tune in.

2. US. Season Pass has some pretty sweet deals so if you want to travel south of the border for several races or are one of my US readers and are tackling more than one race definitely consider this especially if you want to go after a Trifecta goal.

Spartan US Season Pass

*Valid for events within one year of purchase date. US Pass valid for continental US events only. Annual Race Pass may not be used for certain special events such as (but not limited to): charity heats, Ultra Beast, Hurricane Heat, kids race or Spartan Cruise. Racer must still pay insurance and processing fee per race registration. Pass usage is strictly limited to pass owner.

3. New Location World Champtionship Race!

I’m signed up for the VT Beast which was the location of the championships for the past few years. This year however they are moving the World Championships to Lake Tahoe on Saturday, October 3rd. Mark your calendars!

worldchamp

4. And on top of all of that… I’m giving away a free race to any US Spartan Race!!!! Enter below in the rafflecopter! Contest open from January 5, 2014 (12:00am EST) – January 12, 2014 (12:00am EST). ***Note: Rafflecopter works on Desktop or mobile Safari browser. Chrome mobile seems to be problematic.***

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The code will work one time for any open heat (non-confirmed start time) in any Spartan Race in the continental US.

If you can’t wait to see if you’ve won you can use the code: SPARTANBLOGGER for 10% off any race.

AROO!