Sheryl Jesin


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Why I LOVE Working Out at Home

For the past two years, I have been working out exclusively at home, with the very occasional spin class thrown in, and also with occasional outdoor runs.

It’s kind of funny, because when I first started working out at home out of necessity, I HATED IT!  I thought that I could only have a good workout if I left the house and either went to the gym or went for a run outdoors.  Those were my favorite ways of working out before having my third baby.  Once I had three kids,  it was pretty much impossible to get out of the house each day for a daily workout.

When Alex was 4 months old, I was feeling very frustrated as I was missing my daily workouts and a friend suggested that I join her in a home workout challenge ran by Bikini Body Mommy.  Not sure if you have heard of that program before, but it actually was pretty decent and I did it for about 60 days, and got some results.  However, I quickly realized that if I really wanted to lose the rest of the baby weight, I would need to incorporate healthy eating into my Bikini Body Mommy workouts.

That’s when I first heard of Beachbody and the 21 Day Fix. I was looking for a program that had short workouts you could do at home, and that included a simple and effective clean eating plan.   I did a few rounds of the 21 Day Fix, lost 15 pounds, decided to become a coach….and I’ve never looked back.

Yes you can get GREAT results at home!

OK…..back to my list!

Here are the reasons why I love to work out at home!

  1.  You don’t need to waste any travel time going to or from a gym – as a busy mom of three, I don’t have a lot of time to spare.  Even if the gym is just a 5 min drive from your house, it’s still 5 mins there and 5 mins back….and you have to walk from your car inside to the locker room….maybe change….definitely take off your boots and jacket if it is winter….that’s AT least another 5 mins on each end…..so that’s at least 20 mins wasted (probably much more).   That’s valuable time I’d rather spend elsewhere.
  2. You don’t need to worry about being late for a class – when you work out at home, your workouts start whenever you want them to.  You are never late for a class and you never have to rush to get somewhere on time.
  3. You can workout in whatever you want and never have to feel uncomfortable about other people looking at you – often I just workout in a sports bra and short shorts because that is the most comfortable!  I wouldn’t do that in a gym.
  4. There are no gross germy sweaty smelly people around you – if you’ve been to a gym before, you know what it’s like when a super sweaty smelly person gets on the treadmill beside you.  It’s even worse when they are hacking and sneezing and have a cold and should have stayed home instead of spreading their germs. Enough said.
  5. You never need to worry about childcare – these days I either work out bright and early before the kids wake up or sometimes in the morning when they are already up. Either way, I never have to worry about begging someone to watch them or about dragging them to childcare at the gym.   This was particularly useful when I was still nursing Alex and she wouldn’t take a bottle!
  6. Your kids get to see you work out and they learn from your example – I read something recently that said there are three ways that kids learn something:  by example, by example, by example.  If you want your kids to live active and healthy lives, be an example for them and show them how it is done!

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If you love to work out at the gym, and it’s working for you – keep doing it!

If you are struggling finding time for your gym workouts – consider working out at home!

If you aren’t currently working out, but wish you were – work out at home! It’s the best!  I started doing it out of necessity but now I truly prefer it over the gym.  I actually have time now to go to the gym or to go to classes if I wanted to, now that the kiddos are older and are in school….but I truly prefer my home workouts!

 

Want to try the 21 Day Fix?  I’ve gathered a great group of women who are all starting the program on Monday, June 20th and we’d love for YOU to join us!   Join our supportive community of women who help each other on their journeys towards better health.  Be a part of our group – work out everyday from the comfort of your home, learn about portion controlled clean eating and enrich your mind, body and spirit!  If you want more info, please shoot me an email at sheryl@ikor.com  or PM me via Facebook and I will get back to you ASAP with the details about the challenge. 

Follow me on Instagram – @sheryljesin

Follow me on Facebook – www.facebook.com/sheryjesinfitness

Find me on Snapchat – @sheryljesin


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Hammer and Chisel – My One Month Results

Recently I completed 4 out of the 8 weeks of the new home workout program I am doing called Hammer and Chisel.

My main goals for this program were to increase my strength, and lose a bit of fat in stubborn areas, such as my lower belly, upper arms and upper back.

Also, I wanted to clean up my eating a bit more…I’m usually a clean eater but over the winter break my sugar intake went up and my healthy food intake went down.

4 weeks into the program, I’m happy to report that I have made great progress towards all of the above mentioned goals!

I started the program at 132.8, and on day 30 I weighed 130.  At one point I had gotten down to 127, and when that happened I changed my nutrition plan a bit.  It’s been a goal of mine for a long time to actually build muscle instead of just losing weight, so I moved up in my daily calories.  This was tough for me mentally…as women we tend to want to lose weight, rather than gain weight.    It took me a couple days to get over the mental block, and now I am enjoying the extra food.

I always tell the women in my challenge groups that the scale is just one tool to measure progress…and that measurements, pictures and how our clothes feel are also really important things to consider.

As for my measurements, let’s compare day 1 and day 30

Chest – Day 1 – 33.5, Day 30 -33

Right arm – Day 1 – 10.75,  Day 30 – 11

Left arm – Day 1 – 10.75, Day 30 – 11

Waist – Day 1 – 28.5, Day 30 – 27.5

Bellybutton – Day 1 – 33, Day 30 -32

Hips – Day 1 – 34, Day 30 – 34.5

Right thigh – Day 1 – 21.25, Day 30 – 20.5

Left thigh – Day 1 – 21.25, Day 30 – 20.5

It is interesting to see that I lost inches all over, except for my arms where I gained a bit.  I feel like my arms actually look more toned and they definitely are stronger, so that increase was due to an increase in muscle mass, I believe.

I always find that pictures tell the truth….sometimes I don’t actually feel like my body is changing, but a picture shows me otherwise:

 It can get easy to get caught up in the numbers and the pictures…while I like the challenge of sculpting my body and building muscle mass….these aren’t the true reasons why I love working through a program.

My workouts are “me time”.  They are my mood boosters.  They make me happy and they give me energy, and they help me focus during the rest of the day.  They are the one thing I give to myself each and every day.  As a mom I’m always giving, giving, and giving and it feels good to give something back to myself!

I love the challenge of working through a program and the sense of completion I feel as I move towards the end.  It feels good to accomplish something and it makes me feel like I can tackle anything that comes my way!

Can’t wait to see what month 2 has in store for me!

I’m putting together my next 21 day health and fitness challenge.  We start February 29th.  If you have been wanting to start taking better care of yourself – this is the perfect opportunity!  Join my supportive community of women who help each other on their journies towards better health.  Be a part of our group – work out everyday for 30 mins from the comfort of your home, learn about portion controlled clean eating and enrich your mind, body and spirit!  If you want more info, please shoot me an email at sheryl@ikor.com  or PM me via Facebook and I will get back to you ASAP with the details about the challenge. 

Follow me on Instagram – @sheryljesin

Follow me on Facebook – www.facebook.com/sheryjesinfitness

Find me on Snapchat – @sheryljesin

 

 

 

 


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Hammer and Chisel – My Results 8 Days In

Back in December, I decided to do the new 60 day home workout program from  Beachbody called Hammer and Chisel.   This program is intense and includes a variety of different workouts, including cardio, weights, power lifting, agility and plyometric training.  Following this program means working out six days a week for 30-40 mins at a time, and eating according to a portion controlled clean eating nutrition plan with the goal of chiseling out an amazing physique!


I was pumped and ready to start on December 14th.

I weighed myself to establish a baseline, but I never took before pics or measurements.  Big no no!  I always tell my clients that they need to establish their baseline before starting a new program so that they can see how far they have come.  I sadly did not listen to my own advice.

Then winter break came…I kept working out at the gym at Deerhurst as we were up north for two weeks, but my nutrition went out the window.  Let’s just say there was some pizza, some Dairy Queen and a bunch of muffins and chocolate.   And then to top it off, I got sick for a few days and missed some workouts.

 

Giant ice cream cake we got for Benny’s Birthday – NOT Hammer and Chisel approved

I just wanted to be honest with all of you – even though I am a coach, I am also human and sometimes I veer off track…very far off track.

However, I have seen some fellow coaches acheive awesome results on this program so there was no way I was giving up on it.  The only way to fail is to quit, and I was not going to quit!

Last Monday was my fresh start.  I did things right this time.  I weighed myself, I measured myself and I took my before pics.  I’m sharing all of this here with you for accountability:

Starting weight – 132.8

Measurements:

Chest – 33.5

Arms – 10.75

Waist – 28.5

Hips – 35

Thighs – 21.25

Before pics:

 

 I was determined that this time I would give my workouts my all.  I would push myself.  I would lift heavy weights and challenge myself.  I would stick to my meal plan 100%.

I’m so proud to say that week 1 was a huge success!

For me – doing the workouts is a no brainer.  Working out 5-7 days a week for 30-45 mins is just part of my routine.  I don’t always want to work out before I start, but I crave the feeling that I get when I am done.  I am addicted to the endorphins and how amazing I feel after my workouts.  I love that I don’t have to go to a gym and be around other sweaty germy people.  I love that I don’t need to leave my house on cold mornings.  I just love my home workouts!

The part that is more of a struggle for me is following the meal plan.

I am going to be totally honest here and tell you that I love desserts.  I love chocolate.  I love cookies.  I love all baked goods.  I also love eating by myself when the kids go to sleep.  It unfortunately had become a bad habit over the past few years – on most nights I would eat something once the kids are in bed.  It was my way to unwind after a busy day.  Sometimes it was healthy stuff like nuts or dried fruit.  Sometimes it was unhealthy stuff like cake and ice cream.   Either way, my body did not need those calories.  I knew that this after dinner habit was the main thing that was preventing me from losing the last 5-15lbs that had took resisdence on my stomach and upper arm/back area. (I give a range of 5-15 lbs because at this point I’m not quite sure what my ideal weight is.  I weighed 115 lbs before I had Dylan…is that an appropriate weight for me now?  I’m not sure…but I do know that my abs and triceps are hiding under a layer of fat and I want them to come out and say HI!)

Anyways…I digress.  My point here is that I have struggled in the past with nutrition and I believe that was the one thing holding me back from seeing defined muscles throughout my body, and in particular in my abdominals.

So…..I decided I would go all in with the meal plan for one week and see what happens.  If I survived week one, I would give it a try for week two and so on and so forth, until I completed 8 weeks.  I find it hard to commit to 8 weeks upfront, that’s why I decided to take it one week at a time.

How did I fare with the nutrition plan?

It was challenging at times, but I pushed through.  Often we are tempted to take the easy way out, to not challenge ourselves or go beyond our comfort zone.  I pushed myself way out of my comfort zone with the nutrition plan.  I measured out and planned out every meal.  We went out for dinner a few times and I stayed far away from desserts and bread and ordered a salad with protein (chicken or fish) and salad dressing on the side.  I ate at least 4 servings of veggies and protein a day.  I had ZERO sugary treats.  For me, I do better when I have NONE rather than SOME dessert.  When I have one cookie I want more and more and more.  When I have none, I am OK.  I learned this week that carrots are delicious and so is jicima.  Your taste buds really start to change when you cut out processed food, and real food tastes AMAZING!  I still ate carbs, but in the right portion and the right kind – ie sprouted grains, steel cut oats, quinoa and sweet potatoes.  I was not hungry but I was definitely not stuffed.  Sometimes right after I finished a meal, I felt like I could have eaten more, but then 30 mins later that feeling had passed.  I have energy to power through my workouts, so to me that signals that I am eating the right amount.  I have substitued my after dinner snacks with some tea and lighting a scented candle.  I’m creating a new habit that is healthier…and it seems to be working!

So what happened in 8 days?

I lost almost 5 lbs!  I went from 132.8 to 127 pounds.  Since having Alex I see the 120s every once in a while…but it hasn’t been consistent.  I feel good in the 120s and my clothes are fitting better.  I want to stay in the 120s!

I don’t expect or want to lose 5 lbs every 8 days on this program.  I know that the first week was getting rid of all the holiday fluff I had accumulated over the winter break as a result of carb overload.  I’m curious to see what will happen as I keep going.   However, I am making a promise to myself not to be obsessed with the scale – it is just one tool to use to track my progress.

Pictures:


I’m happy that there is a visible change in my picture!  My goal was to chisel out my abs and it seems like it is working, and it’s just been 8 days.

I’m thrilled with my results, and the visible change is pushing me forward to be strong and keep going!

I’m putting together my next 21 day health and fitness challenge.  We start February 1st.  If you have been wanting to start taking better care of yourself – this is the perfect opportunity!  Join my supportive community of women who help each other on their journies towards better health.  Be a part of our group – work out everyday for 30 mins from the comfort of your home, learn about portion controlled clean eating and enrich your mind, body and spirit!  If you want more info, please shoot me an email at sheryl@ikor.com  or PM me via Facebook and I will get back to you ASAP with the details about the challenge. 

Follow me on Instagram – @sheryljesin

Follow me on Facebook – www.facebook.com/sheryjesinfitness

Find me on Snapchat – @sheryljesin

 

 

 


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My results from the 21 Day Fix

I realized I never shared my results from when I first did the 21 Day Fix back in the spring of 2014!  I thought I would write about them today, in honor of Transformation Tuesday.

I first did the 21 Day Fix when Alex was about 5 months old.  I had slowly eased into exercising again when she was 3 months old.  It felt great to be moving again, but the scale was barely budging.  I had 10-15 lbs that I wanted to get rid of.  They were mostly situated around my midsection and it made clothes fit really funny – especially jeans – they were SO uncomfortable!

I knew I had to get my eating under control to see results.  Through social media, I had heard of the 21 Day Fix – and the nutrition plan caught my attention!  It seemed so simple to follow – just calclulate how many containers a day you need of different types of foods, and then eat them.

I was worried about maintaining my milk supply as Alex was still exclusively nursing at that time.  So I added in 500 calories each day and jumped in!  It was really easy to fit in the workouts – they were just 30 mins a day and I could do them at home.  I did them while Alex was napping or sometimes she would sit in her bouncy chair and watch me.   I followed the modifier at first to keep things low impact.

I did three rounds of the 21 Day Fix.  I was so thrilled with my results.   After the first round I lost 5lbs, I lost another 4 lbs in the second round and 5 more lbs in the third round.  15 lbs in total in 63 days.

After the 21 Day Fix, I fell in love with Beachbody, the company that makes the program.  I used to enjoy going to the gym, but with three kids it was just too hard to make time for that.   I learned so much about portion control – I used to think nuts are healthy (they are!!) but it’s really easy to overeat them and be in a calorie surplus for the day – even with exercising.  I realized also that I was not eating enough veggies or protein – both of which are very filling, nutrient dense but low in calories – perfect for when you want to lean out around the midsection.

In addition to losing weight, I also gained so much energy.   The four o’clock slump that I had been experiencing almost daily was gone.  I was waking up in the morning excited to do my workouts and plan my meals.  I say now that my workouts are my therapy – the endorphins I get from them boost my mood and give me energy to make it through my busy day.

As you can probably tell…I really love the 21 Day Fix.  I think this program is perfect for busy moms who want to learn how to fit daily exercise and portion controlled clean eating into their lives.   Yes – it takes dedication and hard work if you want to see results – but if you follow the program – you will 100% see results!

I’m putting together my next 21 day health and fitness challenge.  We start January 4th.  If you have been wanting to start taking better care of yourself – this is the perfect opportunity!  Join my supportive community of women who help each other on their journies towards better health.  Be a part of our group – work out everyday for 30 mins from the comfort of your home, learn about portion controlled clean eating and enrich your mind, body and spirit!  If you want more info, please shoot me an email at sheryl@ikor.com  or PM me via Facebook and I will get back to you ASAP with the details about the challenge. 

Follow me on Instagram – @sheryljesin

Follow me on Facebook – www.facebook.com/sheryjesinfitness

Find me on Snapchat – @sheryljesin

 

 

 


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How do you wake up at 5am?

Yesterday I wrote a blog post on why I enjoy waking up at 5am, and what I do when I wake up early.

Today I am going to write about HOW to make it happen – it’s easy to say that you want to wake up early – but how do you actually force yourself to get out of a warm cozy bed…especially in the fall/winter when it is cold and dark?

Here’s what I do:

Just do it!

I cannot force myself to go to bed early.  I really just cannot.  I can’t make myself go to bed early just so I can wake up the next morning at 5.   When I did my five day 5 am challenge, before the first day I just went to bed at my usual time (around midnight).  And I set up alarm for 5am and just got up.  I knew I would be tired by the end of the day, but that was good thing!  I literally could not keep my eyes open past 10pm the first day.  And that made getting up the next day that much easier!  The second day I was asleep by 9pm – which to me is perfect as it gives me 8 hours of sleep.  So – don’t force yourself to go to sleep early.  Instead – force yourself to wake up early for the first few days, and you will then automatically start going to bed early.

Find accountability partners!

For me – this is KEY!  I posted on Facebook that I was doing a 5 day 5am challenge and was looking for some friends to support me.  A few responded, I got their cell phone numbers, and now I send out a text to them at 5:30am every morning and we tell each other what workout we will be doing.  I feel accountable to them – and I will not let them down!  It is much easier to talk myself out of an early wakeup if no one is counting on me.  But when my friends are counting on me – I get up and I get to it! If you need an accoutability partner – that is what I am here for!  Add me as a friend on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sheryjesin and we can exchange numbers – I would love to add you to our accountability group.

Get ready the night before!

I know I will be working out first thing when I wake up, so I get ready for that.  For me that means laying out my workout clothes and planning which workout I will be doing.  Picking out my outfit only takes a few minutes, but I would rather do it the night before to save time.  Also – I find when I wear a cute workout outfit, it motivated me to push a bit harder.  Does that happen to you too?  LOL.  I will also spend 10-20 mins before bed tidying up, emptying the dishwasher, picking out the kids’ clothes and making at least part of their lunches.  It feels good knowing these things are done and it means I have more time for ME first thing in the morning.

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Do you wake up early?  Do you have any tips to add on how you make it happen?


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Should you wake up at 5am? Yes!

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A couple weeks ago, I completed a 5 day early wakeup challenge.

I challenged myself to wake up five days in a row at 5am.

Why did I do this?

I have noticed that when I make an effort to wake up earlier than the kids, my day goes much more smoothly.

I feel relaxed.  I feel at peace.  I feel energized!  I feel like I can tackle anything.

Just having a few moments of silence before my very noisy household wakes up can make the difference between a good day and a bad day.

You might be wondering – what do I do when I wake up so early?

Here’s how it goes:

  1.  Read for 15 mins – Every day I set a goal for myself to read for at least 15 mins.  And I’m talking reading a book OR listening to an audiobook…scrolling Facebook or surfing the net does not count.  Lately I have been into non-fiction personal development books.  I like books that are motivational, inspiring and that can help me become a better parent, wife, coach and human being.  The book I am reading right now is called Rising Strong by Brene Brown.  I am actually listening to it on Audible as an audio book.  Brene Brown herself is the narrator and I love hearing it in her actual voice.  She is a social scientiest who has ignited a global conversation on courage, vulternability, shame and worthiness.  She shares stories of people being brave, failing and getting back up.  I highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn more cultivating wholeheartedness and rising up from struggles.
  2. Drink my pre-workout drink and then workout for 30 mins – Let’s be honest – it isn’t easy to get going at 5am…I am not going to lie.  But – when I drink my pre-workout drink it gives me a burst of energy so that I can power through my workout.  I workout for 30 mins in my living room.  It is dark at 5am and I am glad to not have to leave my nice warm house to go to a gym or a class.   It feels SO GOOD to move first thing in the morning and I like to workout then because my workouts are important to me, and I know I always have time for the things I do first.  Plus, it is nice to take a shower right after and get dressed instead of sitting in my pyjamas or sweaty workout clothes all morning/day.
  3. Make my to-do list for the day – 5 am is a great time to get organized for the day.  I write down my to-do list so that when pockets of free time arise during the day, I am ready to be productive.  I need to write things down to organize my brain, and plus it feels awesome to check things off!
  4. Take a few minutes to express gratitude and write down positive affirmations – Both of these things are daily habits that I have been working on.  I take a couple minutes when I wake up and also before I go to sleep to list out things that I am grateful for.  This can be as simple as having fresh food, a house to live in, and three healthy kids.  I am amazed by how this practice makes each and every day a little bit happier.  I also take a couple of minutes to write down positive affirmations.  A few affirmations that I have been enjoying lately are: ” I deserve and receive massive amounts of love every moment of every day”.  “I am one with the universe – the universe is awesome and so am I”.  “My heart is open and love pours in and out”.  And – “I respond with wisdom, love, firmness and self control when my children trigger me”.  I know these might sound cheesy – but try reciting these each morning and see how your day improves!

So what do you think?  Could your day improve by waking up a little bit earlier and making time for things that are important to you?

I truly belive that what you do first thing in the morning sets the tone for the rest of your day and even for the rest of your life.  Do you agree?


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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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Three week update

Today Alexandra is three weeks old!  Hard to believe just three short weeks ago I was pregnant and wondering when my sweet little baby would be joining us.  

Things are going well, all things considered.  I’m not going to lie – it has been exhausting with the boys home from school over winter break, and that is even with a lot of help from Jake and my parents.  The popular new mom saying “sleep when the baby sleeps” makes a lot of sense in theory, but in practice is quite hard to implement with a third child.  The boys are go go go all day long, and I’d love to catch a quick nap during the day, but it just isn’t happening even though Alex sleeps quite well during the day.  Nighttime is a different story.  3-5 am seems to be party time and at all hours of the day and night she is a noisy sleeper and her strange grunts, squeaks and snorts keep this mama awake.  With a third child, I have some perspective in that I know that she will sleep more at night EVENTUALLY and one day I will miss her newborn sounds. 

Adjusting to life with three kids is taking some time.  I’ve just now figured out how to manage during the day on my own with all three of them.  It involves a lot of organization, even more patience and a bit of humour.  Today was probably our best day so far.  I managed to make, serve and clean up breakfast, lunch and dinner for all of us, keep the house in decent order, do a few loads of laundry and  everyone was relatively happy.  This happened without the boys watching TV all day (just one movie), so I feel good about that.

I remember when Dylan was born I was afraid to be alone with him for the first few weeks.  If Jake had to go out, I would make my mom come over.  It seems so funny now, because when Jake takes the boys out and I am alone with Alex, it feels like a vacation!  

In terms of post partum exercise, I am quite anxious to get started again.  I’ve gone for a few walks, done a Nike Training Club workout, and done a few planks and push ups here and there.  I really miss spinning and running but will be waiting a bit to get back into both of those.  I know it is important that I rest now and let my body heal from birth.  Waiting a few more weeks won’t make a difference in the long run, but starting too early could lead to injury, and I want to avoid that.  It is humbling that just over a year ago I could run a half marathon (that’s 21km!!) no problem, and now I’m not sure I could even run 1km continuously.  I know that my body has been through a lot and giving birth is a huge physical accomplishment in itself, but I really miss my hard workouts!

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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.