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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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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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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A busy fall day

I know that winter and cold, dark days are on the way. So, when today presented itself as sunny, mild and lovely, I decided to spend the day outside with the boys.

We began with a run. I ran 4 glorious miles while pushing 75 lbs of kids and 30 lbs of stroller. It’s been a while since I’ve pushed both boys in the Chariot, and wow – it is a workout!!!

We then made our way over to the Brick Works farmers market. We had a bit of time to buy some delicious produce, and then spent some time playing outside. They have an amazing outdoor kids area, with little huts made out of branches, hills to run up and down, and even a campfire where they were cooking some yummy food. We had some chickpea rotis that were great.

Our last stop of the day was the park. The boys ran around for a couple of hours, and enjoyed the sunshine.

It was such a fun day. I hope to keep spending time outside, even during winter.

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Running in the Rain

Today’s contribution to Marathon Week will be about running in the rain.  For two weeks prior to my half marathon, I obsessively checked the weather app on my iPhone many, many times each day.  Each time I checked, the forecast remained the same – RAIN!  The good news was that the prediction was that the day would be warm (high of 18 degrees Celsius, starting out at 10 degrees at 8:30 am, when the race began).

I have run many times in the rain, and I actually find it quite enjoyable.  The rain keeps you cool when running.  You feel like a real runner when you run in the rain, not just someone who jogs occasionally on the weekend if the weather is nice.  So, I had some experience with inclement weather, but I had never completed a long run in the rain.   21km in the rain terrified me.  I worried about blisters on my feet, staying warm enough (it was expected to be a windy day), and I worried about chafing from my wet clothing.

In the end, the rain was not a problem at all.  It was pouring when I left my house, and it continued to rain while I waited in my corral.  The rain slowed down to a drizzle as the race started and luckily pretty much stopped after the first 15 minutes of the race.

Here’s what I did to tackle the rain:

  • I slathered my feet with vaseline in the morning before I put on my socks.  My shoes were soaked within minutes of getting out of my car before the race.   They stayed wet for the next 3.5 hours, but I didn’t get one single blister.
  • I put coconut oil on my body in areas where I was worried about chafing.  This included my arm pits, and a number of areas under the edges of my sports bra.  I didn’t chafe at all!
  • I kept warm and dry before the start of a race by bringing a large throwaway umbrella with me, and by wearing a garbage bag, which I took off just before I crossed the start line.  My clothes barely got wet and I stayed warm.
  • I didn’t worry about puddles.  My feet got soaked as soon as I stepped out of my car.  It would have been very hard to try and run around puddles, and it likely would have wasted a lot of energy.  My feet were wet, and I just accepted it, and enjoyed splashing through puddles.
  • I wore a running hat with a brim, which kept the rain off my face during the first part of the race when it was drizzling a bit.
  • I wore a running technical t-shirt and a running skirt.  I did not wear a waterproof running jacket, and I did not wear pants or capris.  The fabric of my clothes was wicking and quick- drying (gotta love Lululemon!)  I knew that the high of the day would be 18 degrees and any extra layers would have overheated me.  I saw a lot of people with jackets on at the start, and pretty much everyone took them off.  I saw a lot of people wearing long sleeves and long pants and they were sweating profusely.  They were really overdressed.

Have you ever run a race in the rain?  Do you have any tips to add?


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Half Marathon Nutrition

As part of marathon week, today I will be writing about how I tackle the half marathon from a nutrition standpoint. I remember when I first started running, I was very confused about what to eat before and after a run. The night before my first 5k, I ate a huge salad and the morning of I had a big green smoothie. While healthy,this combination led to a very upset tummy before the race. That being said, some runners might find that the above mentioned foods are fine before a race. The key with race nutrition is to try everything out many, many times during training – especially before long runs. Through trial and error, I’ve learned a lot about what agrees with my stomach and what does not.

The day before the race

Before my half marathon, I ate lot throughout the whole day. I focused on carbs, and tried to avoid greasy foods. Breakfast was a big bowl of oatmeal with fruit. Lunch was hummus on rice cakes with cut up veggies. Dinner was a big bowl of gluten free pasta with tomato sauce and beans. Snacks were fruits such as apples and bananas, and some gluten free dairy free muffins. I was sure to drink a lot of water the day before. In fact, I drank lot of water the whole week before the race so that I was adequately hydrated.

Morning of the race

My breakfast on race day was Oh She Glow’s overnight oats. I ate this two hours before the start of the race, so that it had time to properly digest. I also drank 500mL of Vega Sport Electrolyte hydrator when I woke up, and tried to finish it one hour before the race. I was feeling a bit hungry before the start of the race and ate two medjool dates.

During the race

I carried a fuel belt with me during the race. In it were three 8oz bottles. Two of these bottles contained Vega Sport Electrolyte Hydrator and one contained water. I also carried with me two Vega Sport Gels.

My plan was to drink one bottle of the hydrator at 5k and one at 10k. My plan was to eat one gel at 8k and the other at 16k. I followed this plan, but found that I didn’t really want the second gel at 16k. I had about half of it and then threw the rest on the ground. I also had sips of water at each water station along the way.

I know that a lot of people don’t like to be weighed down by a fuel belt in a race. For me, it is comforting to know that I have my own electrolyte drinks and gels, and water, so that I can drink when I am thirsty and refuel with gel when I’m feeling like I need a boost of energy. Gatorade, which is provided at aid stations along the way – grosses me out. It is full of artificial coloring and flavors and sugar, and is not something I want to put in my body. I love the Vega Sport products – they were developed by a vegan triathlete, Brendan Brazier. They are plant based, all natural and made with whole foods. I find them very easy to digest. I’ve practiced with them all through my training and I know that my body reacts well to them.

After the race

After my first half marathon in the spring, I did not eat or drink adequately and ended up with a horrible headache for the rest of the day. I was determined not to let this happen again. I had a banana and apple right after I crossed the finish line. I had a Vega Smoothie Infusion (chocolate flavoured, yum!) during the car ride home. I sipped on water for the whole day. I also ate a lot of food, starting with a huge smoothie as soon as I got home. I managed to avoid the-post race headache and actually felt quite good for the remainder of the day.


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Marathon week

Just three short weeks ago, I completed my second half marathon, the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon.  I had tons of fun,  and shaved a cool 10 minutes off my first half, finishing in 2 hrs and 25 minutes.  I am extremely proud of my time, especially since the conditions were tough that day – wet and windy – and even the pros felt their times suffered as a result of the weather.

I’ve been meaning to write my race recap, but I’ve been having a hard time gathering my thoughts.  So, I am going to spend this week writing about my half marathon experience.   Here is my planned schedule:

Monday – Race nutrition

Tuesday – How to run a race in the rain

Wednesday – Mind over matter – how to tame the mental demons

Thursday – Race Recap – My experiences during the race

Friday – Final thoughts, lessons learned, what’s in my running future

I can’t think about running today without my thoughts going to the cancelled New York Marathon and the recovery efforts in New York, New Jersey, and the surrounding states after Hurricane Sandy.  I can’t even imagine what the survivors of the hurricane have been experiencing over the last week.  So many people lost everything – they are cold and hungry, and it’s hard to fathom that things like are even possible in the United States.  My heart goes out to everyone who was been touched by the hurricane.

My thoughts also go to all those who trained for months and who were really looking forward to the New York Marathon.  So many runners raised money for important charities and spent countless hours pounding the pavement over the hot summer, taking time to improve their physical and mental health through running.

There was so much animosity this week towards the marathon and towards the runners when Mayor Bloomberg first announced that the marathon would continue.  I can understand that to those who lost their houses, their belongings, their electricity and their heat, that the marathon seemed like nothing more than a frivolous parade of fit people drinking Gatorade.  I believe Mayor Bloomberg made the right decision to cancel the marathon.  The timing just wasn’t right this year.  New York City needs to recover from Sandy right now.

I do feel, however, that the marathon became a bit of a scapegoat for everyone’s anger.  People were mad that the marathon had generators, food, and water.  They thought these resources would be better allocated to victims of the hurricane.  While this is all true, I can’t help but think that there were many other things in New York that could have been reallocated.   Should people have been allowed to eat in a restaurant in the days after Sandy?  Perhaps their meals could have been given to a hurricane victim.  Was it OK for shoppers on Fifth Avenue to buy clothes after the storm?  Perhaps money they spent on yet another pair of jeans or a designer purse could have been donated to the Red Cross.  Should businesses have been allowed to use generators to keep going after Sandy cut off their power?  Maybe their generators should have been plugged in to houses on Staten Island.   My list can go on and on.

It was a beautiful day in New York City today, and many runners headed off to Staten Island and volunteered their time to help people rebuild.  Lots of money from the marathon was donated to relief efforts, and the generators, the water and the food was given to hurricane victims.  So, some good has come out of the whole marathon debacle.  I choose to focus on that.