Saturday, November 29, 2014

This Runner's "LIST"

Do you ever notice the weirdly random thoughts you can get during a long run?  It's like my mind is grappling to think about anything at all to distract the fact that my body is still running when it clearly wants to stop.

During one of the longer runs I had this week, I had to step off the path to get around a slow walker who was hunched over their cellphone and it occurred to me that during this time of year, Santa is probably double-checking his list.  You know the one.  I figured if he gets a list, I could have one too!

Here's who is on this runner's "Naughty" list:

  • People standing around in groups on the sidewalk waiting for a bus and NO ONE moves to let the runner through
  • People who ask me why I pay money to run races when I could just run for free any time
  • People who ask me why I need another pair of running shoes
  • The guy walking in the MIDDLE of the sidewalk 
  • The couple who walks their dog off-leash - from one dog owner to another. No.
  • That girl running at night with no reflective gear and both earphones in. C'mon, now!
  • That guy who passes me walking...while I'm running. 
  • Ducks
  • That lady who picks the treadmill RIGHT BESIDE mine when there are 15 other free ones
  • That same lady who is clearly trying to race me or outrun me (Boom. I won.)
  • People who ask me why I don't just run faster (sorry, grandma, that's you!)
  • That guy who almost hit me with his pickup truck while I was wearing all my reflective and LED gear
  • That person who totally didn't wipe down their treadmill after sweating all over it. Gross. Yeah, I saw you
  • The people who don't shovel their sidewalks
  • The people who don't salt their sidewalks
  • The people who don't pick up their dog's crap - especially near the sidewalks
  • The people turning right on a red light right in front of me
  • The people pulling out in their cars and stopping right in front of me
  • Uncool running groups who leave people behind
  • People walking in the jog/run lane at the track
  • The huge groups of people who walk/chat together and block all the lanes on the track

Instead of lumps of coal, I mentally send you my old, stinky running shoes - pre-Skora Running. You don't even deserve my oldest pair of those. 

Anybody on your list?

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Random Insanity

Not exactly about me losing my mind...just the random things I think or notice or do before, during and after an Insanity workout.

▪️It pisses me off every time I see Adriana without a fricking hair tie.  Who does a workout with hair errywhere?! #tiethatshitup

▪️When Shaun T tells any one of the guys to go faster or asks for faster turnover and the speed doesn't change at all

▪️I die laughing every time Shanita says she wants to leave and it takes Shaun T a few minutes to register that and he's like, "You wanna leave?!"

▪️My OCD freaks out when Shaun T forgets to work one side after the other. Example: during the stretch after warmup, he doesn't do the knee to leg on the left hand side. I usually pause it and do them myself just to be even 

▪️I always play the day's workout DVD before I workout or while I'm putting the baby down for a nap and then getting ready. I just like to see what's in store for me and also watching everyone else go kind of psychs me up (on most days)

▪️The other day, my mind said I could probably try wearing shorts again for a workout.  Then my ears said: "That's not clapping, it's your baby pooch flapping errywhere." And my shorts were all sympathetic and like: "Too soon, junior...too soon."

▪️I get grossed out every. Single. Time Adriana haucks that loogey onto the gym floor. Not to hate on her more, but her legs are funny during power jumps. 

▪️Until I accidentally hit the closed captioning button, I always thought Shaun T was saying "It's all about speed and sexy, people!" as opposed to "speed and safety." 

Monday, November 10, 2014

{Race Recap} RememberRun

This past Saturday, I ran my first 8K race at the RememberRun that's part of the Waterloo Run series here in town.
Not only was it my first 8K race, it was actually my first race that's over the 5 km milestone.
It occurred to Tara and I that the Princess half-marathon weekend is fast approaching and nowhere did we schedule to run any longer distance races.  Of course, by the time this occurred to us, it's November and racing season is coming to a close. I happened upon RememberRun after checking with a local running store about their group runs and I saw they had an advertisement that registration was still open for the run that weekend.
I signed up on the last day of registration and just like that, I was registered to run an 8K by myself. Chip timed and everything! Gah!

Packet pickup was at the local running store and it was super quick and easy. Just told the crew my last name and they had my chipped bib and tech shirt ready for me in a bag.

Let me just talk about this race shirt for a minute.  I know I haven't done that many races, but I've already got my fair share of free tech shirts and they're not all that great.  Se of them, I've never even worn to actually run in.  But I love this shirt.  Seeing as the run was in November, I would have loved it more if it was long sleeved, but that's nit-picking. The shirt came to the first 600 registrants and by the time I registered, I think there was already 500+ confirmed so all participants probably got a shirt, and it also came in men's and women's cuts which I liked - which was a surprise because I usually don't like women's cut as they always fit too small.  This one was more loose-fitting and I could have fit comfortably in a medium as opposed to the large that I got.

First off, I liked how the run was scheduled for 10:02 am. No need to get up ridiculously early and rush around to gather gear, eat and then drive there.  The extra two minutes was on account of the special Remebrance Day ceremony right before the race started.

It was a 20 minute drive for me so a quick kiss from my favourite nunchkin and I was off!  I planned to get there half an hour early to take part in the warmup shenanigans (or at least get my own in) and to make sure I knew where I was going since the route was not at all familiar to me.  

Even though I've been at races, they've always felt more like "fun runs" to me but I'm not sure if it was me being nervous at my first time flying solo, or if it was really the case, but this race seemed more like an actual race. I get to the parking lot and start heading over to the start line and I see runners zoom-zooming up and down the street sprinting, skipping, doing high knees, karaokes and other warmups. It's only because of my running coach that I even KNOW that people were doing karaokes and it wasn't singing to Abba's Dancing Queen.

I kind of stand around in front of the booth that the local running store has set up inside and I think about using the washroom but see the line snaking out of the building and decide I won't need to go if I just don't think about it.  The run was hosted at the legion hall and I think there may have been two or three bathroom stalls and no port-a-potties. 

I finally get too nervous just standing around doing nothing but half-hearted place jogging, so I head out to jog around with those serious people and I realize the start line is around at the side and it's packed and I missed the group warmup.

I thought the guy in front of me was slightly silly for only wearing his T-shirt.  I'd remember and be jealous of him in about half an hour from when that photo was taken.

I always like to line up near the back of the pack so I don't get carried away with pack mentality and because, let's be honest, I wasn't exactly shooting for first place here or anything.

CONFESSION: Uuuumm, that's not exactly true.  So when I was registering, I noticed that they had place awards. You could either choose to race according to age group or weight group. I thought about how many people would be there in the 30-35 group and somehow got this awesome brainchild to register for weight group (170+).  I thought I was being sneaky and practically guaranteeing myself an award! BONUS CONFESSION: Okay, seriously, while I was running, I was kind of thinking that I hoped they wouldn't announce the weight group when they handed me my medal.

Bwahahaha, joke was totally on me, I came in dead last in that category! When I was telling Bart how my super awesome plan failed, he pointed out that I'm five foot nothing and anyone taller than me could easily be 170+ and fast.  Boo. I forgot about tall people.

Aaaanywho, #shityouthinkwhilerunning, huh?  Back to the race!  I was REALLY nervous at the start because everyone who knows me knows that I'm directionally challenged.  I was worried about getting lost and not being familiar with the route, but my worries were calmed almost right away.  There were so many awesome volunteers and the entire race also had police/traffic police presence.  

I think I got ahead myself a bit.  Right before the gun (it feels weird for me to say that considering the run is about Remembrance Day and veterans and all) we sang O Canada which was pretty moving because of the event but also in light of recent events and many people indicating that they were running for Nathan.  After that, bagpipes and then we were off!  Just kidding. Right as the bag pipes died down, we heard a train whistle and yep - a train was coming through. We didn't have to wait too long, but they delayed the gun time until the train had passed and it was still enough time for me to think of someone had thought to check the train schedule.  But quick as the thought came, it passed and we were really off.  One massive crowd bobbing up and down as one. Beep beep beep of hundreds of GPS watches being turned on - mine among them.

We head out and the street is lined up with veterans (?) bearing flags and I really wanted to take a picture, but besides the fact that I was gloved up, I don't take pictures during races so I kind of just mentally snapped a pic by the time we were through, we were heading up a small incline and I'm thinking I must be screwed for the race if I'm already huffing and puffing up that hill.

We had full use of the roads as traffic cops were lined up holding traffic and waving us through and I thought that was pretty cool (you know, since I was part of it. If I was behind the wheel, might be a different story).  Our first turn was into a local park/sports park where I play Ultimate Frisbee so it was familiar to me and I started to slow to an easy pace that I knew I could maintain while pushing it just ever so slightly.  Volunteers at every little bend or curve in the route making sure to direct us and I felt safe letting my legs go on autopilot and just enjoying the run.  

What I didn't know about the race that a majority of it - basically five out of the  eight kms was trail. I was pretty happy about it at first since the ground was soft and cushiony (I tend to heel strike more than I'd like during races) but it got muddy fast. Being near the back of the pack, everyone had already trampled through so it was extra mucky by the time I got there.  Slowing almost to a stop to squeal and tip toe around mud puddles is not conducive to PRs. Not sure if you knew that, but I'll go ahead and confirm that for you.  

I hadn't planned on these babies getting dirty let alone muddy, y'all!

Once on the trail it was pretty much just me and my head. After my painful finish with a stitch in Niagara, I was focused on keeping my breathing nice and even and didn't have any problems with cramps or stitches.  Just kept my gaze ahead and focused on whoever was in front of me  and worked on narrowing the distance between us.

Passed by a guy running the eight wearing this huge backpack. Everyone was murmuring how impressed they were but to be honest, I'm carrying around 50 lbs of extra weight that also jiggles up and down and he can take his off in two seconds and rest it on the ground or leave it behind if he wanted. Okay, so...I don't think the nicest thoughts while I'm racing. Outwardly (and inwardly though it was under the inner thoughts) I cheered him on as well because one of the best parts of running races and events is the comraderie and general friendliness because you're among your running peeps!

We finally hit a clearing in the trail and there's a water station - at about the 3.5 km mark and shortly after that, more volunteers.  They are standing at a fork in the bridge and one sign points to the right for the 5K runners and the other to the left for the 8K.  It's at this time that I'm mentally kicking myself for not signing up for the 5K instead, but I smile bravely and thank the volunteers while I whimper onwards to the left.

Do you ever drive somewhere all the time and you see a road or path and you always wonder where that road is and how to get there and where it leads?  I used to until this race.  I finally emerge from the trail out onto a road and at first I have no idea where I am until I see the highway in front of me.  I then realize that I am on the road that I always used to see from the highway while driving and used to wonder about. And now, here I am running it. 

As my watch beeps 4K, I start to up my pace a bit. Im halfway through and my mind is now starting to urge me on - it's only 4K left! Anyone can do 4K! I slowly and steadily pass three ladies and I'm now looking forward to being able done as I hear the 5K beep.   

Wait, what's this?  The drink table again. Same one as before.  Did I just do a loop?! Yup.  Bypass the table and pull my own water bottle and try to gulp a few sips while now huffing and puffing.  Hey, have you ever blown a snot bubble because you're trying to catch your breath and you're breathing through your mouth and your nose and then there goes the bubble and then pops? No? Yeah, me neither, I just heard about it from someone else once. I never did that during this race.

Come back to the same fork in the bridge but this time, the volunteers are telling me if I've done my first loop by going left, I can now head to the right for the home stretch.  I am officially out of the woods now. Literally. I start pushing a little harder because I don't want to play catch up with anyone I've already passed.  You know where at first you're in front of them and then they pass you and then you pass them, etc.? So awkward. 

Last 2K, anyone can do 2K, right?  My legs are going and I notice that they feel okay. Not heavy or dead or tired. Just doing their thang, putting one foot in front of the other.  The same can not be said of my lungs.  I am now grunting and I don't even care who's around to hear it.  Since we're back out on the road, it's traffick cops as opposed to volunteers and they're cheering me on.  

One stumble when I turn a corner and I see a police officer pointing behind me.  I come to a dead stop thinking I've made a wrong turn and start to turn when he calls me back.  Turns out there was a car trying to come through and he said he was making sure the car didn't come up behind me.  I thanked him but kiiiinda secretly wondered how much he affected my time. 

Take my last turn and there's the finish sign.  People are cheering and I know it's for me because I'm the only one coming down and I see a photographer and totally slow a little to flash a pose (#PRproblems) and then I go. Hammer down. Pedal to the metal. All of those other phrases that mean the same thing. I told my legs to go and it was almost like I couldn't feel them but they were moving me.  And then finally I was across and it was over.  

Had to walk around quite a bit to catch my breath and then I stayed to cheer on everyone else coming in.  The guy with the extra pack got a huge whoop of cheers and then it was over.  The last person was crossing the finish line and it was not escaping my notice that it was pretty soon after I crossed.

There's a line up back into the building and I almost skip it until someone asks if this was the line for the food and someone else says yes.  Standard post-race fare: bagels, cream cheese, bananas, electrolyte drink - totally blanking on which one it was - and water. On top of that, they also have hot dogs, hamburgers and chilli.  I see a crowd in the corner and it's people checking the results.  I wander over and wait until I realize it's also online. 

209th out of 222 8K runners and 94th out of 104 ladies.  Last in my chosen race category, but a new 8K PR for me as well as a 5K PR, beating out my Niagara time by seconds.  

Heading out, I realize it's raining and happy that we outran it.  

All jokes aside, I had a great time at the race as well as a great race for myself.  The race was well-organized, well volunteered and the route was awesome (minus the mud LOL).  I am already planning to PR next year though I don't think I'll be trying any sneaky weight shenanigans LOL

Friday, August 22, 2014

{Road to Disney} Here We Go...

I realize that I have been MIA for quite a while.  I have tried to jump back into blogging but again, with my tendency to overthink, I couldn't figure out a way to ease back in so I ran away and hid and now, it's just come to a point where I just need to skip dipping my big toe in the water and just cannonball straight in.
So here I am!  And with NEWS!

We REALLY did it!  It's no longer just a plan or some far away goal that Tara and I just say we're going to do but really have no intention of doing.  We are REGISTERED and going to Disney to be half-marathon running princesses (cuz #YOLO!)

Can I just tell you that I lost about three-years worth of my life trying to registering for that weekend?  Just goes to show you the power of Disney.  They've got me clamoring and freaking out just so I can give them $300+ dollars so I can run.  RUN.  The thing that I do multiple times a week for free.  I was refreshing the registration page right as it was about to open and about a second after the clock struck noon (should have been midnight so that it could have been more Disney-esque) my page just totally went blank!  It took FOR-EVERRRRRR to get the page to even load and then another few years to get it load each page.  Then when it came time to hit register and go to the payment portion, it would totally give me an error and I'd have to do it ALL. OVER. AGAIN!  Don't even get me started on the payment page and all the errors it gave me!  I was convinced that I had paid for the stupid registration 18 times.

So, 2010 Catherine can't figure out who this girl is that is having a conniption trying to register just so she can run twenty-one kilometers.  2010 Catherine also finds out later that year that she can't run for 60 seconds.  Crazy!

Anyways!  Before I get too chitty-chatty, I'm just going to keep this as the big news update and get going.  I actually have a 5K scheduled for today and as it's almost midnight and I'm watching ice bucket challenge fail compilation videos on YouTube, you can clearly see how much I'm procrastinating.  So I'm gonna get laced up!  Just another day on the Road to Disney!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Runners Tell All {Link-Up}: Training - Routines and Tips

"Runners Tell All" is a monthly link-up for runners of all ages, skill levels and experience hosted by Sunshine to the Square Inch and The Lady Okie.  Each month will feature a different topic.  This month, we're talking about our day-to-day running routines - do you like to train socially or solo?  Mornings or evenings?  and other training tips, so grab a button and link-up with us!

Helloooo!  YAY!  I am coming out of blogland hibernation just in time to participate in this month's tell-all!  My much-anticipated (by me *LOL*) comeback is brought to you by my course final that is scheduled for tomorrow #procrastinationatitsfinest people!

But besides that, I'm glad that I'm able to take part this month as I love this topic - especially since I actually have something to talk about because I'm still running!  All thanks to my running routine secret weapon: I have a running coach!

Kyle Kranz | Professional Runner | Coach | Social Media Director: Skora Running
Disclosure: Running skills and coaching style is equal to the epicness of the beard
He's almost kind of got me wishing I could grow a beard so I could be an awesome runner too. Almost.

There is no better way to establish an actual running routine than to have someone putting in the time and effort to design your personal running schedule.  I was a big fan of "training" using apps and general plans, but besides the Couch to 5K, I've never actually ever finished a plan.  A lot of it had to do with accountability.  Most of the plans just follow a set schedule and tells me what it is.  It doesn't care if I don't actually do it or put it off or move it or modify it.  It doesn't motivate me actually lace up and run on days when I have ZERO motivation (which seems to occur on a lot of days, unfortunately!)  Those training plans also don't care what I did the day before or how I felt during the run.  It doesn't take into consideration anything else going on with me and uses that to evaluate and adjust my schedule.  It also doesn't really care if or take the necessary precautions to make sure I avoid injury.  So, long run-on sentences = a running coach does the things that a computer generated training app does not. 

Knowing that my coach puts time and consideration into my schedule means that I really have someone to answer to besides myself.  I used to be able to justify missed runs on any level, but even thinking about what I would say to Kyle to excuse why I can't run or missed a run actually makes me sweat and also makes me feel like a liar because for the most part, when I start thinking of what I'm going to say to him, the excuses I want to tell him sound pretty weak.  Feeling like I need to measure up to a runner worthy of even having a coach is a good motivator to just go run.

Getting feedback is an awesome reward for getting out to run (ESPECIALLY when I didn't want to go in the first place) and motivation to keep going out the next day...and the next and the next.  What can I say, I'm a total gold star kind of person!  It also helps to know that there's someone who is really interested, invested and with me on my journey to my first half marathon at Disney in February!  Oooh, I think that would count as another tip to help keep the routine alive and going!  Sign up for some races!  Nothing keeps you motivated and focused on your training like knowing you've paid money (in terms of Disney - BIG MONEY) to show up and race (and get a shiny medal!)

In terms of the training itself, the beauty of having a coach is that it gets adjusted based on what's going on with me in real time.  Even though the runs and training is scheduled and what I need to do is laid out for me so I don't have to think about it or play it by ear (or worse, take it easy).  Prior to getting a coach, I used to just run several 5Ks a week and just kind of hope that my last run was faster than the one before.  I wasn't doing anything different and as the saying goes, you can't expect anything to change if you keep doing the same thing over and over again.  I was hoping for faster 5K times while running the same distance and basically running approximately the same pace day in and day out.  No speed-work - heck, I didn't even know what speed-work was!  Before I was a runner, my goal was just to be able to run 5K.  As a newbie, running felt hard but once I achieved my goal, that was it for me challenging myself.  I only wanted to run 5Ks and I wanted them to feel easier each time.  But I found out that that's not how you improve.

When I first started running, I started with a running buddy.  As we were starting out, we would both keep saying that there was no WAY we could run if we were doing it on our own and for a long time that was true.  Now that I have more motivation and feel more comfortable with running in general, I find that I can usually find it within myself to go on my own for farther distances than I had thought I ever could.  I think it's a good thing to change it up every now and again - the distance, the way you run and who you run with to avoid boredom, stagnation or just to keep things interesting.

I was always a lunch time runner when I was at work but with a baby, it's all pretty much up in the air since the boss gets to decide when I can go *LOL*  I do find that it's easier to just get out and go if I get myself together early enough, but of course that's not always possible and it just requires way more effort in the evening when everything else has piled up and it just feels easier to just go to bed and call it a day.  However, if I wasn't so afraid of the dark, if safety wasn't an issue or if I had a daily running buddy, I'm finding that I'm really enjoying night runs.  I think it goes back to the whole "changing" things up tip.  I don't get to do it often, so it feels new and fresh and fun when I do get to go out. 

So that's that for my routine and tips: if you're having a hard time getting into a routine, consider getting a coach to help out, sign up for some races, toss in a couple obstacle races too, and change things up every once in a while! Try new things - do speedwork, throw in a fartlek, run with a group, run alone, run at night, run in the rain!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Nailed it - My Broadway Nails imPRESS Press-on Manicure Review!

Coming back from the brink of blog oblivion for a REVIEW!
Weeee!!! Happy Mail Day!

I've been a member of Influenster for just about six months now and it's been pretty neat-o!  If you've never heard of Influenster, it's basically this online community of bloggers and other social media peeps who use their "influence" to talk about products and help get the word out!  As a member, you build up your Impact Score in order to qualify/be eligible for upcoming VoxBoxes.  VoxBoxes are basically packages of product(s) that companies want people to try out/test and review/promote!
I have the {unfortunate?} pleasure of being Canadian which means that as an Influenster member, I only qualify for Canadian boxes.  Which is still pretty neat, but super sad when you see all the other cool stuff that our friends south of the border are getting to try out and review!  If you're interested or if any of this totally sounds up your alley, you should definitely join! 
So, I know you're screeching at me to show what's inside the box already, right!? {As IF the title didn't already tip you off *LOL*}
Yes, I legit did that when I opened the box!  I don't wear too much makeup or jewelry or shop for fancy clothes {outside of athletic gear at Walmart?} but if there's one thing this girl appreciates, it's a nice, pretty set of fingertips! 
Right off the bat, three things stood out for me about these:
{1} Even before The Little Miss arrived, I never had much time or patience to go to a salon and get mah nails did - especially the extra fancy things like tips and designs and whatnot, so this was already right up my alley.  {2} Even more so, because I'm pretty low-key when it comes to getting my diva on, I don't like a lot of hoopla and I definitely don't like to have super long nails, so I was also really happy with the designs that I received.  They were fancy and not boring, but not super loud that screamed HEY LOOK AT MEEEE!  {3} Lastly, the only time I ever usually regret that I'm not a "get nails done on the regular" kind of girl is when a special occasion or event/party has snuck up on me and I all of a sudden decide that I want to get dolled up.  I usually have a last-minute case of regretsies when looking at my short, stubby, ripped-more-often-than-not nails and by the time I notice them, there's never enough time to do a quick manicure and dry time, let alone go and get them done.  
Sooo, enter these imPRESS nails!  
After getting over the initial excitement of getting a Happy Mail Day and seeing the pretty designs, I realized with dismay that the meaning of the product name is that they're press-on nails.  90s peeps - you're all with me when I say remember press-on nails, right?!  I also reference the 90s because I'm pretty sure that was the first and last time I'd ever tried press-on nails.  
BWAHAHAHA.  Yeah.  I think of that every time I think of fake nails!  So, obviously, I was a little bit skeptical about these ones.
I can't get a box of fun things without wanting to try them out right away, so when The Little Miss went down for her nap, I snapped up one of the samples and got down to business!
Design: Working Girl

This design is called Working Girl and it totally tells me that my dreams of getting a job as a nail polish namer is an actual reality, because if someone was allowed to name this Working Girl when there are a million other names, well... {sorry, whoever named it - but SRSLY.  How do you look at that and think, "oh yeah, that totally screams working girl"}
Weird, that paragraph totally took on a life of its own.  I clearly have unresolved issues regarding the naming of this.  Sorry, folks.  I thought I had moved on.  
So, unfortunately for this section of my review, that's the only photo I have for you because I didn't exactly follow directions - or at least, I thought I did.  I'm not exactly a "fine lines" kind of girl when it comes to press-on nails.  Like I said, I was working on a time crunch, so after I put on my set, I realized I needed to get in the shower and you know, make nice with good hygiene before The Little Miss woke up and I missed my window of opportunity.  
Apparently, there's a optimal time that you should have your nails on BEFORE you get them wet and I did not meet that.  While I was in the shower, some of the nails pretty much just slipped off while I was washing my hair and of course there was stickin' 'em back on.  #UserError  Perhaps they should put a little star beside that "Lasts up to a week"
I had to wait another week before I could try out the next set because I had purposely saved this pretty pattern for The Little Miss' baptism celebration.  True to form, I lost track of time and procrastinated on a whole bunch of stuff that I was of course taking care of day before and day of, so the last thing I thought about was how I was going to look.
Good news for me this time around was when I looked down at my ragged nails and wished that I could do something about them in the half hour I had left before it was time to leave, these babies came to my rescue!

Et voila!  I exaggerated not when I said it took me 10-15 minutes tops!  While the husband was loading up food, paper plates, cutlery and a baby into the truck, I got these on and was ready to go!
I already loved them when I tried them out earlier that week {even though they didn't make it through the shower - my bad}, so after the huge baptism celebration was over {we had almost 100 people, if not just a little over - what can I say, we have a BIG fam and baptisms are kind of a big deal} and my nails were still pretty, I was SOLD.
Writing that is kind of saying a lot because up until I received my imPRESS VoxBox, I was kind of a Jamberry girl.
So...on to the actual review part!
Not counting the user error where I legit stepped into the shower immediately after I pressed the nails on, here are my thoughts:
  • Designs and design options - ummm, a-maaah-zing!  I really liked the two designs that were sent to me and after stalking everyone else's #imPressmanicure on IG and seeing what designs they got, I was definitely imPRESSed.  Enh, see what I did there? 
  • Nail length - they come in what looks to be three different sizes, regular and medium length plus toes.  The length I received were pretty perfect for me as I don't like to have my nails too long.  These felt like they were just the right length without being super stubby or looking like talons
  • Natural look - not talking about the design but I mean how my nails actually look once they're on.  The nails are flexible and thin enough so that they are form fitting to your nail.  When applied properly (I pushed back the cuticles prior to applying) they have a really nice, natural nail look to them
  • Material - as I mentioned above, because of the material that allows the nails to be flexible, I was able to really choose the right nail size for me - or even push it and get a slightly smaller size (to keep the nails short).  The nails flexed and fitted my fingertips just right
  • Speed - these nails are easy to apply - just peel the back off, press and GO.  No drying time, no waiting in between for multiple coats and it's fingertip-mess-free.  No fiddling around with a Q-tip dipped in nail polish remover to clean up and little bits on the sides of nails.  
  • Cost effective - at least for me it was.  Since I don't usually like to have super fancy done up nails on the regular, the length of time for me to have these on were worth the retail price - especially since it's been known to happen on more than one occasion where I've gotten my nails down and I've messed them up BEFORE I've even left the salon or chipped them right after I got home while doing the dishes or whatever.  I usually just want them for a party or a special occasion and these lasted longer than that, so it was a WIN for me!
  • Availability - no waiting for the salon to open, no making appointments!  You can pick these up at Walmart and maybe get more than one set or design and you'll be ready to get your nails done anytime
  • Can't really say it was much of a con since it was probably my fault for not reading all the directions, but allow at least half an hour after application before getting them wet in order to make sure the nails stick.  The first time around, I didn't do that and my nails came off in the shower
  • If you're the type who wants your nails designs to last a super long time, then you might not like these as much since they're known to only last a week or less
Honestly, I'm actually trying to think of more cons and I really can't!  For what I needed them for and my usual nail type/preference, they met my needs and I got a lot of compliments about them at the baptism!
I would definitely try these again and will stock up on different designs {I've got my eye on: Shout, So, So Stellar and One Shine Day}.  I would also recommend them to a friend {which I already have} who is looking to try out something fun and isn't looking for a super long commitment.  
So there you have it!  My super fast, super quick {unlike this review} imPRESS manicure = NAILED IT!

DISCLAIMER: I received two design products of imPress Press-on Manicure complimentary of Broadway Nails and Influenster as part of their imPress Manicure Canada VoxBox.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

If getting products ahead of the pack to try out and talk about it sounds like your jam, membership to Influenster is free.  Visit to sign up and complete your profile to start earning badges and to up your Influenster score!

For more info on imPress Press-On nails and designs, visit

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

That one time I fell off the face of blogging earth...

You. Guys.
It feels like it's been a billion years since I've last posted!  Despite my best efforts and even with the help of an awesome paper planner on TOP of all my electronic gadgets, life caught up with me and then by-passed me and I was left trying to play catch-up!

I move to the beat of a totally different drum now and the drummer is a teeny, tiny little person who doesn't care that I have a scheduled run coming up or that I haven't blogged in over two weeks. #momproblems

So, here's a quick rundown:

Womp, womp, wooomp.

GAH! So yeah...that happened.  Perhaps I'm being too hard on myself - is it considered a fail if there were zero results?  As in I didn't gain and I didn't lose and I pretty much just ended up at the exact same weight I started with?

CONFESSION: I was a total smug bastard going into this bet too.  I really thought that breastfeeding was going to carry me home.  I even felt bad for everyone else and was all like, "this is going to be SO easy, it's like cheating."  Yeah, well...that didn't happen.  Apparently nursing doesn't help if you have chocolate bars for breakfast and snack times and the occasional green smoothie doesn't get you all that far either.  Go figure...

Since I just wanted to do a quick rundown, I will mention that when I've gotten myself together and not trying to escape drowning by breathing through a straw, I would like to revisit my DietBet attempt and really look into what happened and what I did (or didn't do) and what I learned from it, but for now...moving on!

Yes, that's a training schedule.  What's significant about it?  It's set for me by my running coach.

Say whaaaaat???

CONFESSION: Yes!  I totally got a running coach.  We're kind of frenemies.
CONFESSION: He doesn't know it yet.
CONFESSION: I suspect he'll figure it out soon if he keeps putting more hills in my training.  Ha. ha. ha. I'm joking!
CONFESSION: I'm kind of not...

This guy, if I'm going to get specific.

I know I get these "awesome" ideas - one of them being the Disney half-marathon and once I got cleared to start physical exercise aka running, I had one of those #shitjustgotreal moments and realized that 13.1 sounds nice and easy when you live in Canada and don't really grasp what a MILE means until you convert it into kilometers and then you're like, WTF, WHY WOULD I TELL PEOPLE THAT I PLAN TO RUN 21.1 KMs?!?!

So.  In a pretty whirlwind turn of events, I got a running coach and frenemies comment aside, I think it's one of the best decisions I've made in a while.

It's all easy peasy making all these goal blog posts while I was x many months pregnant, but once The Little Miss was out and I actually had to start lacing up, it was hard to do and all too easy to just not.  Now all of a sudden, I have someone nosing in on my training log and I'll have to answer to them if they message me and ask why I don't have any km's logged like the schedule says I should.  It's motivating knowing that someone's putting legit time and effort into this and it's for real.  It's not like an app that I can just cancel.  It's for real accountability and it's for real working.  No lie when I say EVERY. DAY. I have felt like I didn't want to go for a run.  Every day I want to use the "real life" card and say that The Little Miss threw a giant fit and I couldn't put her down.  Or the husband got home from work late and we ran out of time and it was The Little Miss' bed time.  That I was too tired.  I ran out of time.  That I just plain, old, frickin' didn't want to.  But every day, despite whatever's happening, I've managed to MAKE the time - eke it out one way or another - and get that log filled out.

I just remembered this is supposed to be a quick rundown, so I'll revisit life with a running coach again once I've gotten my crap together!

I'm a "strike while the iron is hot" or "while it's in my head" kind of girl and somewhere along the way, I decided it was time to go back to the world of academia.

CONFESSION: Getting real on you for a minute, one of the reasons why it took us 6 years after marriage to have a baby (besides the actual conceiving difficulties) is that I had a hard time leaving work and dealing with the fear of knowing/feeling that I was being left behind.  My work seems to be at a constant change with revolving doors and I didn't want to find myself on the other side of that door and leaving my position for a year seemed like a fast-track way to do that.  I want to make sure that I am not just pigeon-holed into one type of job where later on, I'll find myself not having the skills or education necessary to advance with evolving job needs/changes so I've registered in a course starting next month to get a feel of how I'll manage.

The course hasn't started yet and already I feel like I'm putting too much on my plate.  The Little Miss is like an entire LIFE let alone a full-time job.  Then there's not just deciding I want to run for fun, but getting a training coach and having to answer to a whole other schedule.  Then there's just other real life, every day stuff.  Like groceries, cleaning, living in the moment, bonding with The Little Miss, reminding myself what my husband looks like by actually SEEING him every once in a while, family moments, special occasions, plus taking cake orders on the side as well, blah blah blah #everyothermomintheworldproblems, I know. 

Diet/nutrition, fitness, running, training, education...those are the second most important things that have been happening lately and the first is that up there.  Because no matter what's happening, or what I'm undertaking or how much I try to stay in the moment, that up there keeps happening.

I feel like I blink and she looks different to me.  Perhaps I'm being melodramatic, but it's like every time I see her, she's changed.  Older.  Different.  I'm scared to miss anything.  I'm so freaked out about messing up.  That I'm trying to do too much and I'm doing it at The Little Miss' expense.  Yes, I can do things at night while she's sleeping, but then I wonder...if I stay up too late, am I crankier the next day and does that affect how I interact with her?  Am I less patient?  Am I less nurturing?  Am I less fun?

Because one day, I was drawing a 2 on that chalkboard and then I barely blinked and I realized that I am a day late in drawing a 3 on it.

I want to teach her so many things but I want her to know that above all else, family is the most important.  And I want to teach her by example.  Sometimes, even though she doesn't really understand yet, I catch myself telling her to hold on while I get a blog post started, or while I log a training run and I have to try really hard to remind myself that that's not her problem.  Perhaps I'm taking a drastic approach to all of this, but I also tell myself that in the blink of an eye it will be gone and I won't have any choice in the matter.  I won't be her whole world anymore and her day will not rise and set with my face and she'll be busy with her own things to do and then my time will be up.  I'll notice that not only will I have time to get a quick (bwahaha, my version of quick anyway) blog post up, I'll have time for MANY because she'll be hanging out with friends, not only will I have time to log a training run, I'll have time to actually RUN long training runs because she'll be going out on dates...etc. etc. insert more mushy, melodramatic thoughts here.  I know, I'm so extra and going overboard, but I'm just trying to find a balance.  Perhaps not a textbook, ideal balance.  But a balance that I can live with.  A balance that I can be happy with.

...aaaaand on that note, I will be scheduling this post to publish itself and I am off to bed to do some pre-bedtime, downtime French lessons via DuoLingo - because, oh yeah.  That's another thing on my plate! :)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Runners Tell All {Link-Up}: Learning from the bad

It's that time again!  "Runners Tell All" is a monthly link-up for runners of all ages, skill levels and experience. It's hosted by Sunshine to the Square Inch, The Lady Okie and SURPRIIIIISE! this month is also be co-hosted and sponsored by meeeeeee!  Each month, we chat about a particular running topic for a chance to reflect on our own running, expand our friends in the blogging community and to win PRIIIIIIIZES!

DISCLAIMER: Sorry, y'all. Oprah jumped the gun and got carried away. Buuuut one of you could win a prize, though!
This month, we're talking about any of our bad race/training experiences and how we learned from it, so grab a button and link-up with us!  Ready, set, GO!

My worst race experience would have to be my first one.  My friend Tara and I signed up for the Niagara Falls International Marathon's 5K race and to train for it, we started doing Couch to 5K.  At the time that we started, we were NOT runners.  Like, at all.  But it seemed easy enough since the first week called for 60 second run intervals.  I mean, who can't even run for 60 seconds?


I totally had to bail on the last interval in order to save my life.  It was bad.  From the looks of it, I was NOT going to make it through the program.  Soooo, cheater that I am, I started doing the rest of the program indoors on a treadmill.  My ego got totally boosted because I was breezing through the scheduled runs.  I was like, "OBVIOUSLY I was meant to be a runner.  I'm like...a natural."

Sooo, fast-forward to the end of the program and I "finished" it in August.  Did not run again until the actual day of the race which was at the end of October.  

I swear the asphalt came alive and kicked my butt.  First of all, I hadn't run in two months and the only running I'd ever done was on a treadmill - a moving belt that simulated NOTHING about what it was like to run outside.  I was DYING.  I remember crossing the finish line and someone throwing one of those silvery, foil blankets on me and some volunteer EMT actually coming up to me and watching me and then asking if I was okay.  I wheezed an "uh-huh" because I was pretty much incoherent and trying to walk by him and all the black spots dancing around him.  

And, CONFESSION: I walked most of that 5K.

So, yeah.  That would fall under both worst training and race experience.  Because I knew I was cheating by running on the treadmill and not EVER running outside and then going ahead and disappearing off the face of running earth for two months before the race.  #facepalm

Lesson learned.  I hated how I felt like I was almost dying, I hated my finish line pictures and I hated my time so I resolved that none of that would happen again!  It took a while, but I got back into running again and OUTSIDE and I haven't looked back since!  I can now run a full 5K outside and since I picked up running again post-pregnancy, I haven't gone more than a day or two without lacing up and going for a run!  In the hopes of getting a PR or two this year, I also picked up a running coach who is working with me on getting a faster 5K time and he'll also be helping me train for my first half-marathon in February!  Lesson = LEARNED!


You. Guys.

I'm kind of sad that I'm sponsoring this month because I totally want to win it instead.  Are you serious?  Paranoid, Criminal Minds-watching, cray-cray me LOVES me some RoadID!  I haven't pulled the trigger on getting one just yet, but I even designed the one I want and posted it on Facebook a few months ago:

So what're you waiting for!?  Run, don't walk your fingers over to the rafflecopter and get you some entries!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • You MUST leave a comment on the person’s blog who linked up directly before you. This is not a linkup for the sake of linking up. This is a linkup to build community and spread the love and encouragement to your fellow runners! Don't be lame.
  • Only link up posts related to our running prompt. Do not share links to unrelated running posts or to your blog’s homepage, or we will have to delete your link. (I've done it before too, so I'm not joking.)
  • Please link back to either Beka or Amanda in your post so others can come here and join in! Or grab the button below and add it to your post.
  • - See more at:
    1. You MUST leave a comment on the person's blog who linked up directly before you.  This is not a link-up for the sake of linking up.  This is a link-up to build community and spread the love and encouragement to your fellow runners.  Don't be lame.
    2. Only link up the post that is related to our running prompt.  Do not share links to unrelated running posts or to your blog's homepage, or we will have to delete your link. (Amanda's done it before, so she's not joking). 
    3. Please link back to either Beka or Amanda in your post so others can join in. 

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

    {Road to Niagara} Sights = SET!

    The Niagara Falls International Marathon has a special place in my heart in that it was my very first official race ever as a "runner."
    My co-worker Tara and I had started our Couch to 5K adventures and I think we knew ourselves enough that we had to sign up for something concrete for after the program to make sure that we actually finished it.  I'm not sure how we stumbled upon the NFIM, but it satisfied all our race must-haves: it had a 5K and we got medals just for crossing the finish line (fully conscious or otherwise).
    The first time we ran it was back in October of 2010 and we'd finished the C25K program in August.  Since then, I barely ran at all but I wasn't really all that worried.
    CONFESSION: I was too new to really care.  What did I know about race times or PRs.  I didn't even realize that we'd have our pictures taken at the finish line, as you can tell from this:

    BWAHAHA. I die laughing every time I see this.
    After a three year running hiatus, I was back in my {much smexier} running shoes and had learned a thing or two about running - okay, perhaps not about running, but about running times.  I felt like I had finally found my running groove and I knew I couldn't come back to that race and not beat my time!  I signed up knowing that I was going to smash my time and come out with a killer PR based on my training runs.  I was so much more confident in my running abilities that I had convinced Tara that we could totally run two races that day.  So we signed up for the 5K and a 2K.
    And then this happened:

    I knew I wanted to continue running through my pregnancy, so there was no question that I was going to run the races, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little disappointed in that through my training runs leading up to the race weekend, I could see that I wasn't going to beat my first NFIM race time.

    Yes, I was proud of myself for being able to get out there at 28 weeks pregnant, but Sports Stats doesn't deal with reasons and situations.  It just posts numbers and based on those numbers, it looks like I raced four years ago and then came back three years later and got S-L-O-W-E-RRRR.
    But this still happened:
    We ran the 2K for fun and were really surprised that they had place awards and even MORE surprised when we found out that we all placed in our age groups (Bart, Tara and I).

    This was what really lit my running fire.  At 28 weeks pregnant, I was able to place in my age group, so of course I started thinking what kind of time I could get if we came back after I was preggo.  I decided that 2014 would be my year to really come back to Niagara and see what I could do - this time with The Little Miss cheering me on. 

    Honestly, I could. Not. WAIT to sign up and get going.  I was already imagining first place in my age group and breaking the top 50 overall.  I had all these plans to actually TRAIN.  Not just get out and run randomly, but to consciously train - including having a training plan, speedwork, tempo runs, Fartleks, the whole nine yards, I was going to be all over it!

    Yeah.  Then The Little Miss came and I wanted to get back into running and my body was like:

    It took nine weeks (exactly, actually, now that I think about it) to get out and get a full 5K in.  Prior to taking off, I had given myself permission to take it easy and ease my way back in to running a further distance that I had gone up until that point and I told myself it was okay to do a run/walk.  I was surprised that I was able to go the full 5K without needing to stop for a walk (not counting the parts where I had to tip toe over sidewalk lakes and yucky mucky grass).  However, I was kind of disappointed when I finished and looked down at my watch and saw that I just BARELY subbed 40 min.  I FELT like I was running at a pretty good pace and running non-stop sure felt better than the pregnant run/walk that I did back in October.

    A couple days later, I was back out, but this time I was pretty pumped because I was going with my running buddy Tara #reuintedanditfeelssogood!  I always find that running with someone faster than me challenges me a bit more and helps me to go a little bit faster.

    Unfortunately, this time wasn't the case and I think all my whining and grumbling and huffing and puffing slowed Tara down because I demanded she go easy on me.  I know I'm nitpicking over a few seconds and meters and I know I had given myself permission to ease back into it but it just feels...odd.

    I'm looking at my previous times and can't help but compare them.  My first NFIM run time, I hadn't run since August and had never run a full 5K without stopping so more than ever, I was not in any kind of shape to run it in full two months later so I ran/walked it.  Last year's NFIM runs, I was pregnant and not in any kind of shape to go fast, so I ran/walked it.  And yet, the times seem so close to my time when I ran the full distance just a few days ago with no walking. What gives?!

    I know that Jeff Galloway has a whole run/walk system that basically says you should start walking before your legs get too tired to give them a chance to recover (or something like that, I may have only just skimmed the book I have so far) so using the results I already have, is it safe to assume that perhaps I would benefit more from a run/walk plan rather than running distances straight out considering that I seem to be running at a slower pace?

    Well, in any case, I'm 212 days out until Niagara and the good news is that I'm thinking of these things now and starting to train.  I know it's not for any significant amount of distance, but I'm really excited to see what kind of time I can achieve when I cross that awesome finish line this year.  

    I've got my sights set on a 1st place finishing medal this year {lezbehonest, for the 2K only}! Registration is already open and you've got up until March 31st to take advantage of early registration pricing before it goes up!  There's a lot of awesome things happening during RunFest weekend including the expo, a pasta party, free breakfast, mixers and a post-race party!  We always make a whole weekend out of it and always have a great time!  If you're looking to book a race for this year, I would definitely recommend this one!

    CONFESSION: That is unless you're in my age group.  In which case, the 2K's probably not for you.
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