Sheryl Jesin


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2014 Running Goals

OK so I know it’s February already, and most goal setting is done in January.  But I have a newborn, so I’m cutting myself some slack.

It’s hard to even think of running races when it is a challenge right now to take a shower or get dinner on the table, but I am going to do it anyways! Having a race to look forward to always motivates me to get out there and go for a run. So here is what I am thinking.

Sunday, April 13, 2014 – Yonge St 10k

Sunday, September 7, 2014 – Yorkville Run 5k (the best 5k in the city!!)

Sunday, October 19, 2014 – Scotiabank Waterfront Half Marathon

Is it overly ambitious to think that I can run 10k in just over 2 months?

Is it crazy to think I can train for a half marathon with 3 kids to take care of?

Perhaps, but I’m going to give it a try.

After all, the only thing actually holding me back is myself!

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Joining a gym

I’ve recently discovered there is a place I can go to where I can do all my favorite activities such as running, spinning, yoga and strength training. For a nominal fee, there’s even someone who will happily watch my two kids while I partake in these activities.

Of course I’m talking about a gym. Why has it taken me so long to discover that I love going to the gym?

I’ve been seriously exercising for almost 2 years now. I’ve been doing it mainly at home, using exercise videos or an app on my phone. And then of course I run outside. In nice weather I bike outside too.

It has been great working out at home. It’s free. I can do when the kids are around, and I can do it whenever I want.

Lately I’ve been feeling that I need a change. It’s good to shake up your routine now and then. That’s where the gym comes into play.

I’ve always thought that if I join a gym, I’d never go. But I’ve proven to myself over the last two years that I really enjoy exercising consistently. It makes me feel amazing and working out is the best way for me to get out of a bad mood. Moms often spend so much time caring for their families and I think it’s crucial that we take time to do things for ourselves.

So I’ve decided to join a gym. I plan on going during the week super early in the morning while the kids are still asleep so that I’m home in time to get them ready and send them off to school. I will also occasionally go on the weekends and bring them along, as there is on site babysitting.

Instead of telling myself I’m not going to go, I’ve decided to replace that negative self talk with some positive thinking. I am going to go to the gym 3-4 times a week because I love it and because exercise makes me feel alive!

I’ve already gone a few times before 6am and it was so motivating to see all of the like minded people who were there at that time. It felt amazing sweating during a challenging spinning class before most people even roll out of bed.

Waking up early means I also have to go to bed early. I’ve wanted to go to bed early for a while now but I’ve always found ways to waste time at night (random Internet surfing? Facebook? TV?). These are things I will gladly cut out of my life to make time for the gym.

Do you go to the gym? How do you make time to stay active?


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Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon Race Recap

Back in October, I participated in my second half marathon, the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon.

Why has it taken me three months to write this race recap? I don’t have a good excuse. It has been a combination of procrastination, and wanting to write the “perfect” race recap. I’m letting perfection go, and here it is. Better late than never.

Pre Race Thoughts

My training leading up to the race felt strong. I found it a lot easier to train for this race than my first half marathon that I ran in May 2012. Each long run for my May race was really hard. It wiped me out for the rest of the day. I was sore for days after. This time, the long runs were no big deal. I knew how to properly prepare for them. I knew how to tackle them, and I knew how to recover.

I was feeling fairly confident in the weeks leading up to the race. But then the week before, as I checked the weather forecast, my confidence started to wane. They were predicting rain, and a lot of it for race day. I had run in the rain before, but never a long run. I started to psych myself out. I didn’t know what to wear. I was worried about being freezing cold and wet and soggy and chafed all over. I even thought about dropping out of the race. Then I remembered all of my friends and family who had generously sponsored me and helped me raise funds for La Leche League. There was no way I was going to drop out! Here’s a post explaining how I tackled the rain.

The Race

Morning of the race it was 10 degrees Celcius and pouring rain. I was not pleased! I sucked it up and headed down to the start line. It was quite well organized with properly marked starting corrals, and lots of available porta-potties. I wore a Lululemon Pacesetter run skirt and a Lululemon Swiftly v-neck short sleeve T-shirt. I covered myself in a makeshift raincoat made out of a garbage bag and brought along a throwaway umbrella. I wanted to stay as dry as possible before the race. In spite of my wish for dryness, my shoes and socks got soaked. But, my clothes and hair stayed dry before the race started, and this was quite nice. I saw lots of soaked runners at the start line, and they looked pretty cold and miserable.

When the race started at 8:30 am, the pouring rain had slowed down to a very light drizzle. This made me very happy. My feet stayed wet for the whole race (it was hard to avoid puddles) but my clothes never got wet.

The race started at University and Dundas. The route took us through many nice areas in Toronto. I ran past the hospital where I gave birth to both of my kids. I ran past the dorms I lived in at the University of Toronto when I did my undergrad. I ran past the corner of King and Bay, past a tall office tower in which I worked before I had kids. It felt awesome knowing that I am currently in the best shape of my life, better than I was as a student in my 20s, and better than I was before I had two kids.

My splits for the race were as follows:

Mile 1 – 11:39

Mile 2 – 11:07

Mile 3 – 10:26

Mile 4 – 10:50

Mile 5 – 10:50

Mile 6 – 10:59

Mile 7 – 11:06

Mile 8 – 11:07

Mile 9 – 10:58

Mile 10 – 10:54

Mile 11 – 10:52

Mile 12 – 10:43

Mile 13 – 10:11

Chip time – 13.1 miles – 2:26:25

Overall, I am quite pleased with my time. I kept my pace steady during most of the race and I love that my last mile was my fastest. During the race, I was trying to psych myself up and kept repeating positive thoughts to myself, such as: “I trained perfectly for this race. I am wearing the ideal outfit for these conditions. I love running. This is a great day to run! No one said this would be easy. It is a challenge and that is why I love it.” Perhaps these thoughts sound cheesy to you. They are a bit cheesy, but thinking positive thoughts helped me make it through the race. I believe that distance running is 90% mental, and 10% physical. You obviously have to put in the time training your body, but you also have to really use your mind to make it through a race, and you need to use your mind to push your body through the pain.

OK, back to the race. I didn’t want to start out too fast. I felt great through the first 6 miles. At around mile 6, my legs got a bit tired and my muscles started to ache a bit. Once I got to mile 10, I knew I only had 3 miles left (5k). My legs were hurting at this point, but I sped up a bit, knowing I was near the end. The crowd was quite large during the last mile, and it felt great to hear all the cheering. The last 500m or so were slightly up hill. That was not fun. But I pushed myself right until the finish line. I really wanted to finish under 2:30.

I crossed the finish line and felt amazing! I also felt freezing and was quite thankful for the mylar blankets they were giving out. The area after the finish line was quite crowded. It probably took a good 15 minutes to walk through the area where I collected my medal and some food before I could get to the post run party, which was held in Mel Lastman Square at City Hall. The area where they designated for us to walk was far too narrow for the amount of people. This was probably my only complaint about the logistics of the race. My parents and brother were there to greet me at the party and snap a few pics. My husband and kids stayed home because of the inclement weather. I missed them, but it was nice to have some time to recover and enjoy the party, rather than chasing around two little ones.

Happy!

Happy!

Post run thoughts

My second half marathon was a phenomenal experience. I was amazed how much easier it felt than my first half marathon, and I know that with more training and more miles under my belt, I can easily improve my time. I know that there is a 2:15 half marathon in my future, and maybe even a 2:00. I also know that there is definitely a marathon in my future, but probably not until my kids are a bit older.

Since my half, I have kept up my running. I try to run 2-3 times a week (which is not easy in the middle of winter!). I haven’t kept up my distances – I think the farthest I’ve gone has been 7km. I’m OK with that – it has been good for my body to recover from the distances and I’ve enjoyed some cross training, including spinning, cross country skiing and some weight training.

I’m planning on taking a break from racing for the next little while. I will stay active and run – not because I’m training for something, but because I truly love running. I love what it does for my body, mind and soul. While races are a lot of fun, every day that I run is a good day.


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Happy birthday to me

Another birthday has come and gone.

This year, the celebration began with an early morning run on a cold and crisp day.

We ended the day with some delicious, gluten free vegan cupcakes.

And what happened in between the beginning and the end? A lovely day spent with my husband and kids. Who could for anything more?

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A work of art

I have a love hate relationship with Yorkdale Mall. I hate it because it is hard to go there without buying something that I really don’t need. Malls truly are an example of excess consumption. Nevertheless, I also love Yorkdale it because it can be a good place to walk and entertain the kids on brutally cold winter days or scorching hot summer days.

Last week I found myself checking out the new expansion at Yorkdale. There are a number of brand new stores, including the North Face, Kate Spade and Ann Taylor. There are also a number of stores that moved to new space in the expansion, including two of my favourites, Club Monaco and Lululemon.

I was really struck by Lululemon’s new facade. There are no windows and no mannequins. Instead, the entire facade is a 3D mosaic made out of 35,000 small wooden blocks, that when viewed together look like a maple leaf.

These wooden blocks come from over 20 different species of trees. They are leftovers from the workshop of Brothers Dessler, two Toronto woodworkers.

It is really not often that the facade of a store is worth talking about, but I really feel like this is something special to see.

The Brothers Dessler hope their mosaic creates a moment of reflection, rather than consumption. That is difficult to achieve in a mall, especially during the holiday season. I hope that it works for the many people who walk by the store in the upcoming weeks.

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Runmute

Today I experienced my first commuting run, or as I like to call it, a runmute. What does this mean, you ask? I commuted somewhere via running. I had to be downtown this morning for a few hours, so I took the subway there, and ran home. The distance was only 5k, but it was all uphill, which made it a challenge.

To accomplish this, I wore my running capris, t-shirt and jacket, and running shoes downtown to my appointment. It was chilly in the morning so I wore my winter coat and brought a backpack with that contained some snacks, water, my wallet and my phone.

I know I talk a lot about Lululemon, but one reason I love their gear so much is that it is functional, but also fashionable. So it all easily translated from appointment to running, looking and feeling appropriate for both.

When I was done my appointment, I stuffed my winter coat into my backpack and off I went!

It was such an amazingly gorgeous day today that I had to stop 1k into my run to take my (light weight) running jacket off. Yes, I ran in capris and a t shirt at the end of November. What a treat!!

I remember when I used to work downtown, I had a colleague who ran to work, and I thought he was crazy! Now I think back to those days and wish that I had joined him. It must have felt amazing to start a day of work after a refreshing run (rather than a smelly subway ride).

I plan on continuing my rumute, even as we move into winter. Just add another layer or two, and I am set!

Have you ever runmuted? Or commuted on a bike?

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Things I’m loving right now

A few weeks ago I purchased a Brisk Run Headband from Lululemon. I wanted something to keep my ears warm while running as the cooler weather approached.

I am really surprised how much I love this product! It keeps my ears toasty, but still allows excess heat to escape from my head as I run. It looks stylish and also keeps flyaway hairs away from my face. I love the Rulu fabric it is made from – it is super soft and stretchy. It molds to my head so nicely and never feels tight but also doesn’t move at all while I run.

I’ve started wearing it outside of running because I just love it so much. It is a great fall transition piece and a wonderful hat alternative – an added bonus is that you don’t get hat head from it.

I purchased it in a really pretty royal blue, which I’ve discovered looks great with almost every color. It was $26 well spent.

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