Sheryl Jesin


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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.


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Training for Half-Marathon #2

It’s official! Training for my second half marathon, the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, began last week. Only 14 weeks til the big day – Sunday, October 14, 2012.

I’ve been running, biking and dabbling in some yoga since my first half marathon, which was almost 2 months ago. I’m excited to get back into some serious training. I had some fun working out my training plan. It is a bit more intense than my first plan as it involves more mileage, and more cross training. I plan on running 3 days a week, biking 3 days a week and resting 1 day a week. I know I need to do some upper body strength training and core work too – haven’t quite figured out when I will do that…maybe on my rest day and one of my bike days?

I want to improve upon the time I achieved in my first race, 2 hrs and 36 mins. However, I worry about pushing myself too much and getting an injury. Then I remind myself that there are athletes out there training for marathons and even Ironmans, and a half marathon is really not such a crazy endevour. So I’m going to throw it out there. I want to finish in 2 hrs and 15 minutes. I will re-visit this goal as I work my way through my training plan and adjust as necessary.

I will update you, dear readers, as my training progresses. It’s hard to believe that just around this time last year I was just starting to run, training for my first 5k. So much has changed in a year.

Are you training for any fall races?


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My second Bikram Yoga Class

No, I won’t be writing a post about each yoga class that I attend.  However, I felt the need to write this one, because my second Bikram Yoga class kicked my ass!  For some reason it felt much hotter, much longer and much harder than my first class.  Maybe it was because I was getting further into the poses?  Maybe I hadn’t drank enough water the day before?  Maybe I was tired because I woke up at 5:45 am (ON A SATURDAY!!) so that I could eat two hours before the 8 am class?  Maybe it was because my body was detoxing?  (Whatever that means…that is what the owner of the studio told me…I’m not sure if I believe in the whole detox your body through sweaty yoga…plus I already eat healthy and workout often…is there really a lot to detox??)  Whatever it was, I survived my second class. Just had to lie down a few times during the standing poses because I felt a bit dizzy and nauseous.  I’m not giving up though…I will be going back again Wednesday morning!

There are some benefits of the extreme heat in the class – today when I went for my run it felt positively breezy and balmy even though it was quite a hot day.  I think I will withstand the heat of the summer better this year because of my body acclimatizing to the heat from the class.

Another benefit – at the end of the class, our teacher told us to thank ourselves for coming out early on a Saturday morning.  She told us to take the feelings we get from yoga and use them in the rest of the day – the concentration, the self-control, the determination, the gratitude!  I’m definitely trying to do this.  Especially the self-control.  It’s so easy to blow up at our kids and our spouse over little things.  It takes a lot of self-control to remain calm in stressful situations, and I know it is something I have to work on.  I tried to exercise my self control yesterday when the kids were driving me batty, doing things that all kids do (making a mess, dawdling when we needed to get out of the house, running away when I tried to get them in their pajamas, etc).   It is HARD not to get annoyed and frustrated with these behaviours.  However, if I can do yoga in a 40 degree room for 90 minutes, I know I can face any situation that the kids throw at me.

So, in spite of a hard yoga class yesterday, I am still so glad that I went.  I can see why people get addicted to these classes, as their benefits stretch far beyond the yoga studio walls.  Can’t wait until my next class!


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Impressions of my first Bikram Yoga Class

I’ve been meaning to get back into yoga for quite some time now.  I keep reading how yoga complements running and how important it is to stretch out your muscles and build up core strength in order to avoid common running injuries.

I’ve dabbled in yoga in the past.  I adored it during both of my pregnancies – it was a wonderful way to relax and stretch out my sore pregnant body.   It was a great way to practice breathing and meditating – both of which were useful during my labours.

Last week I noticed that a local Bikram Yoga studio was offering one of those Groupon-type deals – $30 for one month of unlimited yoga.  I had to give it a try.  I figured even if I only went two times in the month, it was worth it.  So I bought the coupon, and yesterday I went to my first class.

What is Bikram Yoga?

Bikram Yoga is a series of 26 yoga postures done in a certain sequence, practiced in a room heated to 40 degrees Celcius.  Each class is 90 minutes.

Benefits of Bikram Yoga

There are many benefits to practicing yoga in a heated room.  The heat allows your body  to stretch more easily and this can increase flexibility.  You will sweat a lot, which helps to flush out toxins from your body.  You will get a cardiovascular workout without putting stress on your joints.  You will challenge your mind and your body.  You will increase your concentration.

Preparation before your first class

I was nervous before my first class and I did not know what to expect.  I did some reading online and learned that it is essential to come to the class well hydrated.  I drank a lot of water the day before the class and about a litre of water in the morning before the class.  I also brought half a litre of water with me and filled it with ice cubes so that it would stay cool during the class.  You also need to bring a mat and a large towel to go on top of the mat to catch all the dripping sweat.  I ate a small breakfast about two hours before the class – my staple before workout breakfast – vegan overnight oats.

The class

As mentioned above, the class is 90 minutes and is held in a room heated to 40 degrees Celcius.  As soon as I walked into the room, the wall of heat hit me.  40 degrees feels hot. It feels like the hottest summer day with no breeze, the kind of day where you sit in the shade and don’t move, and you are still sweating.  I set up my mat and towel quietly and waited for the class to start.  Silence was observed as soon as you walk into the room – no one was chit chatting.  Everyone was on their mat stretching a bit or lying down in shivasana.

I was quite surprised that the class was full on a Wednesday morning at 9:30 am.  I honestly thought there would be 3 or 4 people there and there were probably over 25.  I expected everyone to be super fit, but there were people there in all shapes and sizes.  Men, women, young, and old!  Most women were wearing tanktops and shorts, or a sports bra and shorts.  I wore my Lululemon Groove Shorts and a Moving Comfort Juno Sports Bra.   I had a Lululemon Swiftly Tank on also but I took that off as soon as I got into the room and realized how hot it was and how soon it would be covered in sweat.

The teacher walked into the room and welcomed everyone, including all the new students to the class.  He said that he would not be doing the poses, but he would be describing them to us, and that the new students could watch the experienced students if we needed to see a pose.

He led us through the series of 26 poses.  Each pose is done twice.  The first half of the poses are standing poses and the second half are lying down poses.  The teacher spoke A LOT.  It almost felt like yoga boot camp!  He kept telling us to bend further, go lower, try harder.

The stretching felt so good.  I loved being in the heated room.  I loved dripping in sweat.  I was sweating in places I’ve never sweat before – I was surprised when I saw sweat on my shins.  My heart was racing when I held the poses and I was shocked at what a great cardiovascular workout it was.

Apparently it is very common for beginners to feel dizzy or nauseous during the class.  However, at no point did I feel dizzy, nauseous or sick.  I credit this to being well hydrated, and also to being in good shape from running.  I was surprised how quickly the 90 minutes passed.

After the class

I felt amazing after the class.  I felt calm, relaxed, and invigorated.  This feeling lasted throughout the day.  I felt a tinge of a dehydration headache coming on after the class, and I made the headache go away by drinking a lot.  I drank coconut water right after the class, followed by water mixed with Vega Electrolyte hydrator.  Then I drank water throughout the day.  I have had a sore back for the past few weeks, which I believe is from carrying Benjamin.  He is 30 pounds now and it’s a workout just getting him in and out of his carseat.  The poses from the class stretched out my back and made it feel so much better.

I loved the mental challenge of the class.  When you are in a room that is 40 degrees, your body is telling you to get out of there and find somewhere cooler to go.  It takes extreme mental concentration to not only stay in the room, but to complete all of the yoga poses.  I loved the intensity of the class and I was impressed by how hard the other students were working on the poses and concentrating.  I was proud of myself for doing the class and really challenging my body and mind.  I also loved that there were no distractions during the class – no clock, no iPhone, no music – just 90 minutes to test your mental and physical strength, 90 minutes of sweating, 90 minutes of intense concentration.  When was the last time that I didn’t look at my iPhone or another screen for 90 minutes (other than when I am sleeping of course)?

I can’t wait to go back!  My goal is to go twice a week for the next 30 days.

Have you tried Bikram Yoga or another version of hot yoga?  What did you think about it?