Soggy Weather Running – how to make it tolerable!

I remember my first run in the rain, it started as a delightful drizzle but soon became a torrential rain poor and I was SOAKED through and through. My glasses were covered in rain drops and I struggled to see where I was going. After years of trial and error, I think I’ve figured out a few tricks to make it a little better and thought I’d share with you!

There is nothing worse then starting out on a run when it’s already pouring, let me tell you, dark wet mornings are the worst for getting out of bed. It somehow feels “easier” when the sky’s start off dry and the rain comes later.

Honestly, the weather app is my most used app, knowing my local forecast is so key to dressing appropriately and avoiding a more dangerous storm. You do not want to be miles from home when lightening starts.

The trick to keeping the rain out of my eyes is as simple as wearing a brimmed hat. Depending on the temperature outside I’ll either wear a visor or full cap. If you’re super lucky and it’s cold, windy AND raining, I’ll wear a Buff over my brimmed hat and ears to keep my ears warm and the wind out.

Let’s face it, running in the rain kinda sucks, you are going to get wet no matter what but if you wear gear that is water resistant, you’ll be better off. Sometimes I find running in the rain a little refreshing and almost cleansing.

If you wait for perfect conditions, you’ll never get anything done.”

-Unknown

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, just soft people.”

-Bill Bowerman, co-founder of Nike

I found a great NorthFace rain shell at Marshall’s .. very similar to this Nike rain shell on Amazon but way waaaaay cheaper.

There is no way to stay completely dry, your feet will get wet. I’ve heard of people duck taping their running shoes to try and keep them dry or slipping a plastic bag over their feet before the shoe but I’ve never tried. I just try and avoid the puddles the best I can.

Truth be told, you’ve got to have a little bad ass in you or better yet an amazing running squad to get you out the door.

3 Healthy Carb Loading Meals

You all know the term carb loading and we all take advantage of this before race day. Let’s be honest, race day eve is normally our excuse to eat all the things but all the things could really hurt your performance. I’ll tell you what works for me and maybe this will work for you too.

Remember everyone’s bodies are different and react to foods differently so you really need figure things out as you go. I would test out certain meals the evening before a long run and see how my body handles it.

One thing I’ve learned (the hard way) is to not eat anything out of the ordinary before a race, stick to what your body knows or you may pay for it. Once I ate Thai food the night before a planned 20km run with my group and had to visit every corner stores toilet, it wasn’t fun at all.

The week before a big race, I really try and keep my meals bland and basic. I stay away from fibrous complex carbs such as veggies, fruits and beans and stick to the more starchy complex carbs like whole wheat pasta, brown rice, white and sweet potato’s.

A bowl of spaghetti, chicken and rice, home fries and meatballs or even a baked sweet potato and a juicy steak are on my menu. I like a carb with a meat protein, that’s just me.

Once your race is over you can eat all the things if you wish but you also need to be careful because after a really long run like a marathon distance your stomach tends to shut down a little to allow your body to repair other parts of you, your stomach may not digest foods very well. A more liquid or soft foods is normally recommended for a couple days after a big race.

But I’m a bit of a rebel and go straight for the pizza pie!

Home Gym Basics

When I started working out at home, the first year all I had was a set of 5 and 10 pound weights and that was more then enough. Once I felt stronger I slowly upgraded my set. I accumulated my weights from garage sales, friends and Costco. I now have an amazing set of weights that range from 2 pounds to 35. I also bought a set of kettlebells from a friend that are 20-45 pounds.

I have a good open space, a length sized mirror, yoga mat, my free weights and a large exercise ball for stability.


Currently everything I have is enough but I do have my eyes on a few other peices.  I don’t have a lot of space so I try to stick with the basics and the basics seem to be doing the trick!

Honestly, one of my favourite workouts is a good HIIT that requires no equipment. No excuses, you can just have an open space and get it done.

I love home workouts because I can easily fit it into my day and it doesn’t cost me anything.

I would love to hear about your workout space.

Winter Running – be prepared


It took me a good while to wrap my head around winter running. Here in Southern Ontario we get some deep freeze temps, snow and ice that make running dangerous and really uncomfortable. What I’ve found is if you’re prepared for the elements, you can run safely and comfortably.  With a lot of trial and error I finally figured out what gear and clothing works best for me and I want to share them with you.

Please keep in mind that my winter gear has been collected over a few years and not all at once. It’s expensive so I tend to buy just one or two quality items a year or slowly upgrade to higher quality.

Let’s start from the head and work our way to the toes.

Headgear


To keep my head and ears warm I use the the famous Buff on all my runs. This tube like head gear (the ones that the TV show Survivor uses) can be worn so many ways. I normally wear it folded once and worn over my ears like a thick headband and sometimes I wear it over my ears and face to keep the wind chill off.

Check out their website but be careful because you’ll want them ALL. They also make them with merino wool 😍

Of course any cozy wool hat is sometimes needed too.

Noxgear!!! Light Vest. < strong><<<<<<<<<
ssential for all my dark runs. This vest is pretty incredible, so light weight that you forget you have it on, fits snug so it never moves, easily worn over a hydration vest or running jacket AND you can choose a different colour every time you wear it, make them flash with an easy press of a button. It takes 3 AAA batteries and they last forever.

Join my Noxgear group "My Fitness Hobby" and get a 30% off coupon code. http://www.noxgear.com/noxgearnation/ always see runners and cyclists out wearing these, I’ve been told I look like a running alien!

Leggings and Pants When shopping for winter legging you want them to have a brushed interior that’s extremely warm and comfortable. Made from stretchy, durable high tech materials that won’t stink up your closet. A great material to look for is Merino Wool!!

Most of the big box stores like Sports Check, The Gap, MEC , REI and The Running Room all offer a good selection. Although expensive,  I buy most of mine through LuLuLemon, I find the quality is very high and the items just last me for years. When I’m putting in some serious miles, I need my gear to work and not fail. I also don’t want to replace them very year so buying quality is key.

When the wind is high and it’s pressing -20c I use an outer shell over my leggings. MEC has a great selection, my go to by MEC are the Pearl Izumi Thermal Barrier Pant.

This outer layer will keep your thighs and bum from freezing as you run through the wind and wet snow.

Base Layer and Jacket! always lean towards a Merino Wool blend long sleeved shirt. Believe it or not I’ve found all my base layer Merino Wools at COSTCO!  For more information on this material check out https://www.smartwool.com/discover/why-merino-wool/merino-wool-101.html<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
ade winter running jacket by New Balance. Mine is 2 years old but much like this jacket I found online. https://ca.shop.runningroom.com/collections/reflective-jackets/running-room-unisex-printed-reflective-jacket-156560.html<<

Most big brands sell amazing jackets that will block the wind, offer reflective elements and breathable. Also, buy a size that will allow layers underneath!

Feet and Footing!If your feet are cold and wet and your falling all over the place, you’re going to be super uncomfortable, ya?

My feet don’t tend to get cold unless they get wet so I avoid the slush as much as possible. I have yet to master the dry feet.

My go to socks is the Woman’s Ankle Copper Sole Sock found at Marks Work Warehouse.

When I’m out running in the winter and the roads and trails are ice, I want traction so I feel confident, I bought a cheap pair of tracks from Costco for $14 very similar to these found on Amazon.

They come in size small, medium and large, depending on your shoe size. They just slip right over your running shoe. They take a bit to get used to but they’ll give you all the confidence you need on icy roads or trails.

My best advise is to follow this chart based on temperature.

Dress for it and you’ll love it!!

Simple Butternut Squash Soup

This is a thick, rich fall feels soup has tons of flavour. Something I put together with things I had on hand. Super easy and quick to make. My kids enjoy this soup with a nice crusty loaf of bread for dipping. 


Prep time 25 minutes

Cooking time 45 minutes


What you will need:

I tbs butter, ghee or olive oil 

1 medium sized carrot diced

1 medium sized onion diced 

1 medium sized butternut squash, peeled and seeds removed. 

3-4 cups of broth (900ml) (veggie, chicken or beef) use what you have or prefer. 

Salt and pepper to taste 
▫️Preheat oven to 400F, place squash cut side down on a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil (or oil of your choice). Roast till tender, approx 40 minutes. 

(If you are tight for time, you can skip the above and just cube the squash and add it directly into the pot to cook down with the carrot and onion)

▫️ On medium heat, melt butter in a large pot, cook onion and carrot for 5 minutes. 

▫️Add broth, roasted squash, salt and pepper, simmer on medium to low heat for 30-40 minutes (once carrots are soft)

▫️Transfer the soup to a blender, and blend until smooth. Return to pot, and mix in any remaining stock to get your desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.

DELICIOUS !!

Summer Break!


It’s the last week of school and I’m trying to get mentally prepared to have the kids back home full time for the summer. I love having them home but also get stressy about not having my personal time and space to exercise and sit quietly. 

I’m a big exercise home body, I like to be alone to be focused and not to be interrupted by anything. 

The trick I learned last year is pretty simple, but it takes me some time to adjust. The one big lesson I learned was to not have any expectations of how our day will play out. Kids are home and they need their mommy, and it’s our time to reconnect after a busy school year. I need to be ok with “winging” my workout time and not be so stubborn about my schedule because “my” schedule will become “our” schedule.  I know I’ll always get my workout done when the opportunity appears. Some days the kids settle into a movie or craft buying me an hour to get sweaty, or I may set my alarm for 5:30 in the morning and lace up for a early run or in the evenings when my husband is home and the kids are in bed. I need to be ok that my workout may include my kids joining in or having my workout broken up through out the day. We plan to be out and active a lot, so that all counts for exercise too. 


I find having high expectations just sets me up for disappointment and puts me in a grumpy mood. Having more flexibility with my time is healthier for me and I tend to move through the day with ease. 

My kids tend to give me my space but there are times when they just want my attention and challenge me for it and that’s ok! 

Another thing I learned last summer was to have a calm morning routine of breakfast making and talking about what we feel like doing and making our daily plan. My kids LOVE being a part of making the plan so they know what to expect each day and are mentally prepared for it. They love being home and sometimes it’s a challenge to get them to leave the house! Hopefully the calm morning routine and plan making will give me a sense of where I can fit in my personal time and give my kids what they need for the day. 

Being in the moment with my kids is  a huge goal of mine this this year. Living a little more spontaneously and freely. 

So, I’m currently preparing myself for the change our summer breaks bring and really looking forward to it. 

Excercise has become a big part of my life, I will make it all happen just not on the rigid schedule I’ve become accustomed to during the kid’s school year. In turn, I am giving my kids a fun, calm and fullfilling summer. 

Happy summer everyone !!

Breakfast Sausage 

There is something empowering in making your own food, knowing what’s in it! 

This recipe has become a family favourite. We can eat these at every meal and great for breakfast on the go and school lunches. 

You can play with the spices to fine tune it to your liking but below is what my family likes. 

When I make this recipe, I always double it and put 1/2 of the cooked sausage rounds in the freezer. 


What you will need;

2 pounds of ground pork

Mix in:

2 tsp salt 

2 tsp black pepper 

1 1/2 tsp dried sage

1/2 tsp dried ground oregano 

1/4 tsp dried savory 

1/8 tsp ground ginger

Pinch of cloves

Pinch of cayenne pepper

1/4 cup cold water 

2 tbs of olive oil

⚪️Using my hands, I get in there and knead and squeeze the mixture until it’s all well blended. 

⚪️⚪️Once blended, I make about 2oz balls, flattened into sausage rounds. 

⚪️⚪️Heat a large frying pan on medium to high heat with approx. 2 tbs of olive oil and pan fry both sides till cooked through. About 5-6 minutes each side. I like to cut one open to make sure it’s cooked. (No pink) *You can also make ground sausage and skip the whole making sausage rounds step. 


If you’re not using all the mixture at once, you can freeze it in a freezer bag up to 2 months. 

Enjoy!!

Spring Roll Stir-fry Bowl! 

I always seem to have left over meat that I need to get eaten! Whether it is chicken, a roast beef pork chop or eggs.  It can be tossed in with this vegetable combo and be very satisfying and healthy! 

What you need – 

1 cup of shredded cabbage 

1/4 cup shredded carrot

1-2 cups baby spinach 

(1-2 cups of Bok choy would be fabulous too) 

1 cup steamed broccoli cut into bite sizes

2 tbs of fresh cilantro cilantro

1 tbs olive oil 

1/4 cup cashews 

Salt and pepper 

Add 3oz protein, I use whatever left overs I have, chicken diced up or use pork, steak or bacon!

Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add all the ingredients, stirring frequently. It doesn’t take long, maybe 3 -5 minutes till everything is heated through. 

Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper or your favourite seasoning and voila! 

Serves 2 or one of me 😉

Enjoy. 

▪️▪️▪️▪️▪️▪️▪️▪️▪️

I found this Asian inspired salad kit at Costco that consists of cabbage, carrot and cilantro if you are feeling a tad lazy like me. (I just didn’t use the dressing kit for this meal)

Thinking about doing a Whole30? …here is my take on it. 

Before I did my first Whole30, I was terrified! All the stories I had read online and with friends made me question if it was all worth it. The list of detox symptoms and crazy feelings didn’t leave me excited and jumping for joy to start. But I knew I needed to jump in with both feet, because I needed to get a grip on my health, needed a better understanding of food and what food was doing to me, and to discover how it was making me feel. Of course I wanted to lose some weight and to figure out a healthy food balance, too.

I knew there was something in my diet that was giving me bloat, mood swings and weight gain. Obviously the candy and chips was a big part of it, but I needed to learn what MY body wanted and what would make it run better. I figured, it’s only 30 days, I can do ANYTHING for 30 days.

I Instagrammed the shit out of the subject and joined a Facebook Whole30 group. I learned the hard way that there are some tough Whole30 divas that don’t want to hear about your banana and egg concoction because it breaks the rules. BEWARE: not everyone is on the same journey. I don’t follow all the rules of life so why would I doing this! 🤷🏻‍♀️

Everything was compliant in my books, and I left that group soon after to join another W30 Facebook group that had kind gentle souls who didn’t pass judgment. 

The weekend before my Monday Whole30 Day 1, I prepped and cleaned and prepped and cleaned, I listed and made a menu. Got my hubby in on it too! Gahhh, it’s a lot of work, but being prepared brings you peace when that sugar dragon appears. 


Day 1, 2, 3 and 4 were surprisingly easy and exciting. I felt in control and had all my meals ready; I had the plan! Well, Day 5 rolled around, and look the fook out! I woke up with a raging headache and attitude! I would have eaten anything sugary to make my dragon go back to sleep. Sugar is a crazy drug and I definitely felt the urge of it, so scary! 


I had a few days of fighting the demands. I had a lot of alone time, walks, hot baths. I went to bed super early every night. By day 15 I was on track, super bored of food and wanted my life back. I made no plans with friends, I didn’t want to be put in any situation that would lead me to “failing”. 

When I reached Day 30, I felt pretty bad ass. I felt so good and people noticed the difference. My skin felt better, I slept better, my insides functioned better, I was nice to my kids! I told EVERYBODY that would listen to read Whole30 and to give it a try. I just felt amazing. 

Whole30 is not a forever thing and I don’t recommend you do many full rounds but a 5-10 day reset every couple months is very helpful to clean it up if you’ve fallen. It always reminds me how great I feel when my body has the right ingredients to work. 

Whole30 was a life changer and I will forever cook this way and lean towards the foods my body craves. 

So, if you are planning your first Whole30, keep it simple!, plan to be bored and miserable for many days of it but keep in mind that it is ONLY 30 days and it’s only food. 

My simple menu consisted mostly of the below. I would stir fry it or make it into a salads. I would purchase fresh herbs to make it flavourful. 

▪️coconut milk and cream (in my tea, coffee, curry, soups)

▪️shredded chicken 

▪️flank steaks 

▪️cut up raw veggies, steamed and or roasted veggies

▪️ sweet potato hash or just noodles sweet potato 

▪️avocado/guacamole 

▪️ Nuts. Lots of nuts!! 

▪️hard boiled eggs (so many eggs in all forms)

▪️baby spinach was added to EVERYTHING

▪️chunky tuna salad with all the veggies was a winner at least 3x a week.

▪️pickles!!! 


I had the Whole30 shopping list on my refrigerator to remind myself what I could have.  I felt like if I just ate whole foods, I was safe with no added crappy ingredients, but I always read the labels of canned or boxed items. Also, when it came to meats, even though I couldn’t afford to buy all organic and free-range this and that, I bought the best that I could afford. 

Don’t overthink it, keep it simple, and remember to be kind. 🤗😂

Good luck 😉 

Running Tips – getting started. 


If you are gearing up for your first 5k or half marathon there are a few  things that I need to share with you. If I knew these things before I started running it would of made my journey a whole lot easier. 

First, let’s talk shoes! 


Please please pleeeease get fitted for a proper pair of running shoes, non of these Walmart trainers. Go to a running store and they’ll narrow it down to the right shoe that’s best for you. They’ll analyze your running style and foot strike.  To be honest, it is trial and error to find the perfect shoe and that will happen over time but start with a recommendation from a pro. All shoes will feel amazing in the store but the true test is after you’ve run a few miles in them.  Use a treadmill, so if the shoes don’t cut it, you can rerun them. Most stores will not return them if worn outdoors. After a few years I’ve figured out that I’m a Saucony girl all the way. 

Training schedule 

Find a training schedule or join a clinic that fits with your needs and goals. If you’re not new at this running thing but want to train for a race, you can get print one off from google! Most training programs for any distance are 12 weeks long. Read the entire schedule and look at your life and see how this fits in. Plan it, schedule it and get pumped to start. Realistically there WILL be interruptions during this 12 week period. People get sick, other obligations need to fit in too. Life happens! Also, don’t over do it. The training schedule is designed to build your strength and endurance. Trust the training and don’t do more then it suggests or your setting yourself up for injury.

Find a buddy system

These buddies will be your lifeline. They’ll push you and encourage you, they’ll set their alarms and meet you on those cold early mornings, they’ll hold your water belt when you need to pee.  If people are depending on you, you won’t let them down and vise versa. The buddy system saved me during our cold winter training mornings. Accountability is a must! 


Let’s talk about chafing, shall we!!!!


Chaffing is a serious pain in the ass…. literally. There is nothing worse then coming home from a run, peeling off your schweddy clothes and stepping into a warm shower and get hit with that sting, it’s like a jelly fish wrapped itself around you and stung you in all the privates. I learned quickly that Vaseline was my best friend. I put that jelly on all my lady bits. I’ve narrowed it down, for me anything over 12k requires Vaseline. The chafe heals quickly but if you keep chafing in the same spot, over time you’ll have a nice red scar. So, Glide or good old fashion Vaseline in all those tender areas. You’ll figure it out 😉 

Spend your money on good quality gear. If you buy good quality it will last and you won’t need to replace it for along time Every year I invest in one good peice, I now own a good pair of winter weight leggings, lighter spring fall leggings, one good pair of capris and shorts. I can’t stand clothing that bunches(chafing) or always needing pulling up. You want your clothing to work as it should. My once a year big spending goes to LuLu Lemon for all my leggings. My tops are off the sales racks at the running stores, The GapFit or Joe Fresh here in Canada. Always always get it on sale because I find running clothing is very over priced. 
At first you’ll find yourself very tired after your training runs, take a power nap. This tired feeling does go away as your body gets stronger.  Listen to your body and rest after each run and be sure to fuel your body with what it needs. I like a nice carb and high protein meal after each run. I’m also 42 years young so naps are a daily business around here. 

Lastly, don’t forget to have fun. Running is supposed to be joyful, it’s active meditation, therapy and an amazing calorie burner. It’s not easy out there but once you find your rhythm you’ll feel so good. Just don’t give up, trust your training. You’ll get stronger and most runs will feel amazing. I say that because some really suck but the hard runs are what gets you stronger physically and mostly mentally. You are training your body but always training your mind to tolerate the “pain”. 

Your body is capable of amazing things and you are stronger then you think. Your mind will try talk you down and tell you to stop, but just keep going, if only for one more minute. Mind over matter sista. 


Let’s go!! 

Chicken Stew

This is a family favourite and it’s full of clean ingredients. No artificial flavours and chemicals like the canned or store bought. It’s so easy to make, so why wouldn’t you?

What you’ll need-

(Cut all ingredients to bite size)  

6 small yellow potatoes 

4 chicken breasts (about 3 cups)

4 celery stalks

3 large carrots (about 3 cups)

2 small onions 

1 cup green beans

1 cup corn (optional)

2 boxes of chicken broth (946 ml box)

2ish tbs olive oil for sautéing the veggies 

2ish tbs olive oil for browning the chicken 

4 tbs flour of your choice I used all purpose flour  (making a slurry at the end to thicken )

1-2 tbs Basil

2-3 tsp Sage

2-3 tsp Garlic salt

2-3 tbs Dry Parsley 

Sea salt (add for taste)

⚪️ First, heat olive oil in a deep large pot, sauté all veggies  (except  green beans)

⚪️⚪️ In a separate pan, heat olive oil and brown the chicken. Sprinkle with salt while cooking. 

⚪️⚪️⚪️ Add the browned chicken to the large pot along with the chicken broth and all the spices and simmer for 60 minutes or till all the veggies are soft. Add the green beans to the pot for the last 10 minutes (green beans can get mushy  if over cooked) 

⚪️⚪️⚪️⚪️ Make your slurry and add to the pot and stir till thickened. 

Add the flour of your choice to a bowl and measure 1 cup of the simmered broth to the flour and whisk till blended. Add to the large pot and stir, the broth should thicken. You may add more flour to the pot of you feel it needs more thickening. (You could also use corn starch)

⚪️⚪️⚪️⚪️⚪️ Give your stew a taste, if you feel it needs more of the above spices, add and store at this point. 

Tip:

(Make a slurry- Measure out the flour into a small bowl – use one tablespoon to thicken a small amount of sauce or up to four tablespoons for a big bowl of soup. Add a cup or so of the hot cooking broth to the flour and whisk until they’re completely combined. This is your slurry)

Enjoy!