The 8 minute rule

If you read my inaugural entry last week, you’ll know that I ended with a reference to a “spark”. You know… that little feeling, that desire to get out the door and run your heart out.

But let’s face it. Some days, whatever spark you may have once had feels more like a tiny fizzle. The thought of merely putting shoes on to get out out the door is overwhelming not at all appealing.

Enter the 8-minute Rule.

You aren’t feeling it. You don’t want to go. There’s a laundry list of reasons why you can’t run. But here’s the thing, and I know you’ve heard it all before: you’ll feel so much better if you do. So give yourself 8 minutes. Do whatever it takes to get yourself out there, start your mission and make a deal with yourself: run for at least 8 minutes. There’s a very good chance that after 8 minutes, you’ll be ticking along, have mostly forgotten why you didn’t want to be out here in the first place.

However…

If, after those first 8 minutes, you still aren’t feeling it? Cut yourself some slack and give yourself permission to just call it quits. Listen to your body and to that little inner voice. Sometimes, it knows more than you do.

Take a deep breath, shake it off, walk it home.

There’s always tomorrow.

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Dual personality

March in Whistler means you never really know what sounds will greet you in the morning… will you wake to chirping birds or snowplows? Pounding rain on the roof or the sound of ski boots walking to the bus stop? Sometimes, it’s even a combination of all those things.

Such is the dual personality that is spring in a mountain town.  Embrace it! We are lucky to be offered such easy access to a multi-sport playground. Ski in the morning, bike in the afternoon? Check. Sunrise skate ski, sunset trail run? Done. See how easy that is? It’s a pretty neat feeling to get home and, if you’re like me, make sure your long underwear can double as run gear so that you can make a quick change and head back out for that post-ski run.

I have friends who make fun of me and my deeply ingrained need to continue these so-called “summer sports” all winter long. But why should I stop if, well, I don’t need to? Fill up those days, I say. Squeeze it all in!

As the days get longer and the dreaded daylight savings phenomenon comes and goes, the motivation to get out there is a little stronger, a little easier to embrace. In the back of my mind, goals and ideas start to form. I start to map out some plans for races I’d like to do… trails I want to tackle and adventures I want to talk people into. It doesn’t take much: one sunny spring day will do just fine to light that spark.

What’s got you sparked this spring?

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Spring in the valley, Winter on the mountain. It’s the best of both worlds.

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TWO UPCOMING TRAIL RACES TO TELL YOU ABOUT

Coming in hot, one week out from both events, to tell you all about some pretty incredible-looking trail races coming up in Whistler in the next week. Registration is still open for both, so if either of them pique your interest – GET IN THERE!

WHISTLER ROTARY BRANDYWINE BOOGIE 11.5km

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The scenery on the Sea to Sky Trail is just incredible

A point-to-point jaunt along the Sea to Sky Trail from Cheakamus to Brandywine Falls Provincial Park, the route for this race is mainly gravel with some single track and largely downhill (there are some minor climbs on the route) . If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at trail races, this might be one of the prettiest and most gentle to break into with.

Being that this is on one of my favourite trails to run in Whistler I’m likely to sign up for it myself. I love the Sea to Sky Trail south of Whistler. Check out their Facebook page for more photos and up to date information about the race.

When: Sat, Sept 5 at 9:00am (rain or shine)
Where: Cheakamus Crossing
Registration: $55 at http://www.raceonline.ca/events/details/972

SALOMON VALLEY TO PEAK RACE 19.5km

High Note Trail – the TOP of your journey will take you along this section (yes, that’s me).

Have you ever wanted to run UP a mountain? Here’s your chance! Whistler Blackcomb and the Salomon store are bringing one heck of a challenge to the trail running table. A “19.5 km and 1,609 m of elevation gain” kind of challenge.

There are timed cut-offs (check the race rules and regulations here), option to put in a 3-person relay team, and I promise you the views will be absolutely STUNNING.  High Note trail on a sunny day is absolute perfection.

Check out their Facebook page for more photos and up to date information about the race.

When: Sat, Sept 5, 8:30am
Where: Salomon store, Whistler village
Registration: $65 solo, $160 team http://www.whistlerblackcomb.com/valleytopeak

Never Stop Exploring ❤,
Aimee

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IN NEED OF NEW SHOES

True story

True story

The general rule of thumb is to get new shoes every 350-500 km. Or, if you’re just starting out and the shoes you currently own are a few years old, replace them even if you haven’t worn them for anything more than what would be considered “everyday use”.

Something I always recommend to anyone looking to get a new pair of runners is to get yourself fitted. Many stores out there offer free “fitting” services. This is where you go in, have your gait analyzed by the staff and are given a few options of shoes to choose from. It helps if you bring in your current pair of shoes so they can see where exactly the tread wears down when you run.

The one and only time I’ve had my gait analyzed was back in 2009 when my coach recommended I get new running shoes because the ones I was currently in were actually pushing my foot strike to the outside edge of my feet and likely were a small contributing factor to my ending up with a stress fracture in the fifth metatarsal of my left foot. I was checked out, and ended up in a brand of shoe that I have been loyal to ever since.

How do I keep track of the mileage on my shoes? Usually my knees tell me when my shoes are starting to get close to trade-in time. If my shoes are due, my knees ache after a run; sure enough, if I replace my running shoes with new ones the aches vanish. If I’m honest, though, for the most part I just guess at the number. I know when approximately I purchased my current shoes, and thanks to the magic of run-tracking programs like Garmin, Strava and Map My Run I can have a pretty accurate tally of the kms; some programs even have a place for you to record which shoes you ran in. I know some people who just write it on a piece of paper and keep that inside their shoe so they know, but to me that’s just a bit too tedious.

When it comes to dealing with my old running shoes, I donate them. Often, a quick search of the internet will turn up a list of shoe drives whereby individuals or charities are collecting used running shoes to send to countries where access to running shoes doesn’t exist. I’ll pack mine up and drop them off.

  I’m coming due for new running shoes, both for road and trail. The last pairs I purchased are about two years old now, and one of those pairs has the outside edges blown out for some reason. And I’m going to take my own advice and actually get my gait analyzed for the first time in six years. I may end up in a new brand of shoe, things have changed for me for sure so I’m keeping myself open to the possibility for change.

Never Stop Exploring ❤,
Aimee

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IT’S JUST A HILL; GET OVER IT!

  
Any seasoned runner knows, one of the best ways to get a) faster and b) stronger is to run hill repeats. 

I know, it sounds like torture just waiting to happen. And it totally is. The results, though, are so worth the work. 

To run hill repeats, you don’t really have to do anything special. You could find a set of hills and just try to run up them as quickly as possible with rest breaks between each hill. Or, you could find a beast of a hill and run up it and down it for a set number of reps. That’s what I like to do. 

As a mom, I often don’t have a lot of time to go out for a big workout so I need something that is close to home and helps get the job done effectively. Lucky (?) for me, I have a rather large hill leading to my house (plus a few other large hills within a 1-mile radius) and this is where I will go for a quick set of repeats. 

My go-to workout looks like this:

  • 1 mile warm up (or 10 mins)
  • A, B, C drills for 20 steps each/20 steps “jog it out”
  • I set my watch for 2:00min on, 3:00min recovery (my Garmin lets me program workouts and this might be one of my favourite features)
  • Run 6-8 repeats of 400m hill for 2:00 up/3:00 down/recovery 
  • I mark the distance reached on my first interval as this is usually my best one – because I’m terrible at pacing – and then try to at least get that far or past my mark on each consecutive interval
  • If I hit the bottom of the hill before 3:00 is up, I stand still and breathe to bring my heart rate back to normal
  • Cool down 1 mile (or 10 mins)

  
Once every 2-3 weeks of speed workouts I’ll make a hill repeat day. And the coolest part (in a total run-geek sense) is when I just run that hill on a normal day, it really is so much easier. Faster pace + hills get easier = winning. 

Never Stop Exploring ❤️, 

Aimee

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WHEN 80:20 BECOMES 20:80 – GETTING BACK ON TRACK IN THE KITCHEN

Screen Shot 2015-07-25 at 2.14.05 PMMy eating has taken a nosedive of late. I follow the 80:20 rule, which for me is a sustainable way of eating and fuelling myself for the role of wife/mother/runner/business owner/etc. What’s that? In short, 80 per cent of the time my meals are whole foods, largely plant-based, limited sugar; 20 per cent of the time wine and cake and chocolate happen.

Well, with the busy of Summer and road trips and late evenings at the lake, things have sort of flipped. I’m not a huge coffee drinker, but these last few months you would never know it. There have been many full-gluten, real cheese on top pizzas for dinner. And I love a good margarita quite frequently as it turns out.

And now my body is cursing me for it all, protesting loudly in the form of fatigue and moodiness, lack of motivation and just that brain fog feeling. Seriously, it has gotten to the point where I can feel it screaming at me for fresh juices from the juicer, salads at every meal and to knock it off with the Americano Mistos. For me, this is going to mean starting the rebuild with a detox week (stay tuned for that post), where basically I eliminate a lot of those “20 per cent” foods from my diet for seven days and focus on juices, smoothies and mindfully prepared whole foods dinners. Screen Shot 2015-07-25 at 2.15.33 PM

I’m looking forward to it.

One of my favourite meals for getting back on track in a big way is The Big Vegan Bowl from Oh She Glows. It packs a huge nutritional punch and always leaves me feeling very well-fuelled even into the following morning.

Another “bowl” style meal that is a huge hit in our house is the Buddha Bowl. Even my kids like it, they especially like it when we add sprouted tofu or tempeh to the mix.

Raw Walnut Taco Meat sprinkled on top of a bed of greens, with avocado and some fresh salsa is perfection on a hot Summer evening (heck, or even for lunch). Don’t skimp on the spices. This won’t taste like meat no matter what you add to the mixture, but if you get the spices in there I promise that you will not miss it.

For a filling, fibre-rich (seriously, don’t say I didn’t warn you) afternoon snack: Super Power Chia Bread, also from Oh She Glows, with avocado + nutritional yeast + pink salt + turmeric on top.

Sometimes you just want soup! And I’m a huge fan of being able to walk away from the cooking process to get other important household running tasks accomplished. Lemon Lentil Crockpot Soup does the trick.

And finally, it wouldn’t be Summer without burgers. The Vegan Eggplant Crunch Burger from onegreenplanet.org hits the spot. You can leave out the potato chips if you’re going for something a little healthier, but I figure that’s falling back into the 80:20 rule – you’re having a veggie burger, it’s okay to add chips!

Never Stop Exploring ❤,
Aimee

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SMOKE SHOW = NO RUNNING + WANING MOTIVATION

Last week Whistler was under what can only be summed up as an apocalyptic-esque cloud of smoke. Check out this blog post for some comparisons and to get an idea as to what we were living in.

Whistler and Blackcomb are in there somewhere , this shot was taken on Blueberry Hill

Whistler and Blackcomb are in there somewhere , this shot was taken on Blueberry Hill

Our Air Quality Health Index ratings were coming in at 35 when 10 is considered “bad”. Windows were shut. Kids were kept inside. Air purifiers and face masks were purchased. Athletic events were cancelled, erring on the side of caution and putting health in the seat of priority in the face of such dismal air quality. Whistler appeared, to one just passing through, to be a ghost town.

It was difficult to get a deep breath. And I think we all felt it. For me, someone who regularly connects with her breath and practices focused breath work on a daily basis, I felt stifled in so many ways. Add to that that there was no outdoor cardio happening, and well, I may have been a tad emotional and cranky.

This week I can feel the aftermath from lack of movement and fresh air. I move and think slower, I am exhausted, and I haven’t been able to motivate my butt out the door for a run (this morning I chose Hot yoga over a run because I needed the time on my mat). I did get to participate in the O2X Summit Challenge on Grouse Mountain this past weekend, thank goodness the air quality improved, and it was such a boost to my overall morale to get out there and MOVE again!

Our windows are open again. Fresh air is circulating. Unfortunately, the fires that brought in that smoke are still zero percent contained, and I am grateful every day that we have brave men and women from all over the world here fighting them and working so hard to get the upper hand.

Renewed GRATITUDE for the fresh air we live in and natural beauty that surrounds us

Renewed GRATITUDE for the fresh air we live in and natural beauty that surrounds us

I’m ready to start running again. I know that getting out there is the first step in building some momentum, making it a priority and sticking with a plan.

Never Stop Exploring ❤,
Aimee

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