Sun Run

Oh. My. Goodness.

It is currently 8 degrees outside (as opposed to my -15 run on the weekend). I have been waiting for this weather for the last 2 months! Unfortunately, the last few weeks has left us with SO much snow, that this sunny day has made for a nice large puddle of slush basically everywhere. But whatever, it’s stunning out there, so I’m throwing my excuses out the window, putting on my shorts, shades and going for a (presumably very wet) run!

Not being able to (safely) run as much as I would like to, so close to a race, has left me a little frustrated, so actually getting out today was beneficial in more than one way: I got a 12km run in, in pretty tough terrain – hard ice, giant puddles, uneven snow. I got an hour of me-time. And also, I got to finish my latest audiobook! It’s an oldy, but a goody: The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne. I have been intrigued by this book since Oprah talked about it on her show about a decade ago, but never got around to reading it. I’m happy I finished it and feel empowered to continue building on my year of HAPPY. 🙂 Self-help and memoirs have been my favourite genre lately, and I enjoy learning something new: a new way of looking at an old way of doing things. Push your limits! Get out of your box! That’s where growth happens.

 

Pain in the Calve

My calves have been giving me trouble this year. I’m still not sure why, but I have found a few things that help!

You can’t go wrong with the age-old tried and tested R.I.C.E.

REST

If you are like me, the “R” part, is quite hard. But seriously, muscles are torn during exercise and built during rest (with adequate nutrition). Taking ample rest days, especially when you are in pain, is actually beneficial.

ICE/HEAT

After an actual injury or strain, ice is important in the first 48 hours, and after that, you can switch to heat packs or hot tubs. Ice is great for treating inflammation and also speeds up recovery after intense performance.

COMPRESSION

I run with compression socks! Mine are from Crazy Compression, but after shipping from the US, it worked out a little steep. The Amazon ones are a great deal for 4 pairs!  Sometimes I don’t run with them, but rather put them on after my post-run shower. I’m a believer for sure. They also keep my warm’ish on cold runs.

ELEVATION

Put those feet up. UP UP! Like up against the wall with your butt on the floor. Viparita Karani is not just relaxing, but actually a really beneficial stretch to help with swelling, pain and recovery in life and in running. While you’re at it, massage is a good idea too. Try a foam roller and do it yourself at home.

Pinterest Mom

On Valentine’s Day, or so I have learned, children give each other cards and treats. There comes an age where they can figure out their own social life, but at my kids’ ages, Valentine’s day means that I get to make a cute little craft for 24 other preschoolers. And while I do aspire to that Pinterest level of momhood, and I think it’s good to have goals, I really don’t have the time, skill or energy to do something that extravagant.

In an attempt to limit the amount of sugar my kids (and their classmates) consume, I thought about ordering something cute and not edible on Amazon, but since this brilliant thought only dawned on me yesterday and Valentine’s day is tomorrow, I was off to Walmart to go find something I can pass off as homemade. Cookies for the win!

It’s not particularly healthy, vegan, GMO-free, keto or eggless, but hey, who cares. Throw a cookie in a baggie, staple a personalised Valentine’s card to it and there you go. The cards did take me a little while to make, but I did it on my computer, so at least no glitter or glue to clean up. Just print and go! And how did I get my children to leave me alone for long enough so I can complete this, you might ask… Well, I painted their toe- and fingernails and convinced them to sit down frozen and wait for it to dry. You’re welcome.

Bringing Sexy Back

Disclaimer: I am actually NOT bringing sexy back. Like NOT AT ALL! But sex sells, and functionality, not so much.

I had a chat with my friend Ashley yesterday. We were laughing about 90’s style and 80’s hair, and she mentioned that in 30 years when our kids dress up as the 2010’s and hop on their hoverboards to head to a party, they won’t really have a specific style to define us by. Thing is, in 2018, everybody is pretty much free to dress how they please without the firm “hot or not” style columns of the years past. Think about it… The 20’s, the 60’s the 80’s – all pretty distinguishable on a photo. But now, we have hipsters who confuse us with their suspenders and briefcases, we have moms doing grocery shopping in active wear and accountants at work who look like a 50’s pin-up. Anything goes! So this made me think…

What style faux pas have I been avoiding because it’s not “in” anymore? I occasionally wear scrunchies in my hair, so it’s not that. But there has to be something AWESOME that society told us not to wear. And then it clicked.

So this year, when I’m in Vancouver enjoying a weekend of running, funning and yoga during the Lululemon SeaWheeze, I will be rocking a fanny pack! Dude, I’m putting the fun in functionality and strapping on one of these bad boys. Laugh all you want, but I won’t have my kids with me, so I have no need for a purse that doubles as a playroom, kitchen, bathroom or bar. I’ll be downward facing dog without any extra baggage.

Go on! Get yourself one. And maybe a bright hat, jelly bracelets and those butterfly hairclips we all wore in the 90’s. Heck, why not get a perm and shoulder pads?! It’s quite freeing to not care what people think. Trust me! 🙂

Multitasking and Mom Guilt

This morning, I had an appointment with my favourite m̶i̶r̶a̶c̶l̶e̶ ̶w̶o̶r̶k̶e̶r̶ hair stylist. This is officially the second time since having kids, that I went to have my hair done during office hours. I’ve always been opting for the 7pm appointments, after bedtime just because babysitters are often in school during the day and I’ve always felt like I’m imposing on friends to ask them to look after two kids at the same time. And also, because I’m not usually one to ask for help. Much like my two-year-old, I like doing things “SELF?”.  But today, I left the kids for almost 4 hours with an amazing friend who has two of her own littles. Everybody had a great morning. My hair looks great and my kids had so much fun (and food) they almost didn’t want to come home.

Then I came home and had to work. And since I haven’t seen them all morning, they wanted to be with me and I didn’t really object. So what do we do? Dora on my second monitor while I work on the other…

And when that got old, drawing, colouring and activity sheets. Amazon has some awesome books for girls and boys of different ages. These are great for entertaining your kids while keeping them close and since (at least at my children’s’ ages) parental involvement is required, all you need is some basic multitasking ability, and you can get work done too! Everybody wins!

I managed to get a blog post up, design three logos, schedule photo shoots, reply to emails and my kids look pretty happy.

 

End-of-the-Month Recipe

I jokingly asked for meal suggestions on my Facebook page yesterday, because I found myself with a basically empty fridge at the end of the week, due to severe snowfall and my severe unwillingness to push a shopping cart through an unploughed parking lot. Anyway, there I was, not having done any shopping in about a week, and needing to feed my family. Oops. But my tendency to be a fair weather shopper has landed me in this predicament before. Not my first rodeo! Here is a super easy, delicious recipe I’ve made before with a few staple ingredients I usually have in the house:

My sister Helen introduced me to this. She is an amazing chef, a great mom and an avid world traveller, so she started a tradition with her kids where they get to pick a different country every Wednesday, and she would make traditional dishes from there. (And I’m not talking Italian night with take-out pizza either. They did places like Bangladesh, Turkey, Istanbul, Chile and Tunisia.)

Shakshuka

(This isn’t the official recipe Helen made, but it’s my version of it. I think this was from Tunisia, or maybe Israel.) Preheat the oven to 380 F.

  • Chopped and browned onions and garlic
  • Bell peppers – green, red, orange, whatever
  • A can of tomato sauce (always in my pantry)
  • Cumin
  • Chili Powder
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Feta
  • 6 Eggs (Since I have chickens, I always have eggs)

In a large, ovenproof skillet, fry onions in olive oil. Add the chopped peppers and fry for a bit. Then add the can of tomato sauce and the spices. Crumble the feta over top and with the back of a spoon, make little holes for the eggs. Break the eggs into their little spots and bake for 8’ish minutes. Garnish with some chopped parsley.

Pro Tip: Dish the kids’ plates a day and a half before you plan on eating because the tomatoes take an eternity to cool down. If you don’t have a day and a half, 20 minutes should do the trick.

Your Tribe

There’s a cool quote that goes: “Your vibe attracts your tribe.” I love that saying so much. And never has that rang more true for me than in the last year. At 32, I have learned and grown more in the last year than in the rest of my adulthood put together. Unfortunately, growth often stems from disappointment or hurt, so yes, there was some of that in there BUT, as I am sitting here now, typing away, I can truly say that I am HAPPY.

My vibe has changed, largely because of cutting toxic relationships out of my life, and rather focussing on the good ones. The real ones. The easy ones. The honest ones. Something else I did differently, was actively focusing on who my role models in life are. My idols. My mentors.

I did a meditation exercise a while back that goes something like this: With your eyes closed, in a comfortable position, imagine you are walking through a long corridor with a single door at the end. Focus on the door as you breathe deeply while getting closer. The corridor represents your life. The journeys you have taken, the paths you have been on, the experiences that shaped you. When you open the door, there is someone (or more than one) sitting by a fireplace. As he/she turns around to face you, you see that it is the person (or people) you most look up to and admire.

I did this exercise and 4 people turned around to face me. I have categorized them into 3 groups.

 

My Peers: K and C. They are both strong, fit, amazing woman! Business owners, mothers and wives, but most of all, friends. They never hurt, never lie, never gossip. They are kind, real, flawed and loving. They make me want to be better, be smarter, run faster, lift higher. Who are your hero-friends, and why?

My Guru: L has taught me SO much about myself and about life. Our talks about spirituality, organized religion, kombucha, natural medicines and positivity have ALWAYS left my soul fed. I think of her often when I reflect on how I’ve grown and changed personally in the last few years. Thing is, when I just met L, we were polar opposites and her hippie views made me roll my eyes. But here we are, 9 years after we first met, and her hippie views give me inner peace! Be the hippie you want to see in the world! 😉 Do you have a wise teacher who you can turn to for advice on life?

My Idol: The celebrity/athlete/YouTube personality whose opinion, athletic capability, makeup tutorials, style or bootie you value and respect. Mine is N. When I grow up, I want to be like N. I randomly stumbled on her profile on Instagram, started following her and haven’t regretted it for a second. She is an amazingly strong athlete with beautiful hair and a ROCKING body she works damn hard at building. Her nutritional tips, workouts and hair – oh the hair – are awesome, but most of all, she introduced me to Deepak Chopra’s books. I have grown through reading them and aspired to reach a higher level of mindfulness and self-awareness.

Those are my champions for whom I feel only love, admiration and respect. And when I think of them, I have peace and happiness in my heart. Cut out the people who drag you down and make you question yourself and replace them with a tribe you can be proud of! <3

Snowday

While I absolutely FULLY intend on going out and enjoying this amazing snowfall, zero wind and mild temperatures today, Tuesday is my day off, which means my day that I do food prep, housework and laundry – always laundry – in the morning. Having a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old “helping” isn’t always the most efficient way of cleaning house though, and I like having alternatives to Paw Patrol and Dora for when I need to entertain them so I can finish my chores.

SNOW! It’s free, it’s not messy or sticky, and because it’s not every day that we have fresh, amazing snow, it’s a novelty. It’s cold, wet and fluffy which makes it a great sensory experience for little kids. And it also kept my kids busy for exactly how long it took me to make a marinade and prepare veggies for tonight’s roast while drinking my coffee!

What you need:

  • A Towel you don’t care about TOO much
  • A mixing bowl or two
  • Spoons
  • Fresh snow
  • MiO drops or any water flavour enhancer
  • A warm cup of coffee

Step 1: Fill the bowl with snow.

Step 2: Place bowl in the middle of towel on the floor.

Step 3: Add spoons, kids and MiO (sparingly, since aspartame isn’t the most nutritious breakfast choice).

Step 4: Sit down and enjoy your coffee, make food, enjoy a solo bathroom trip or scrub a toilet – whatever your heart desires!

 

Winter Running Gear on a Budget

Even dollar store purchases, if all bought on the same day, doesn’t fit into a budget. I slowly accumulated my stash (and also have a closet in the basement dedicated to active wear and running things).

I have bought cheap and regretted it, so I’ll spare you the trouble and only post the gear I love and use, right from my orders list on Amazon. It’s also worth a mention that I have an Amazon Prime account which REALLY paid for itself when I ordered (literally) tons of weights for my home-gym and got it all shipped for free!

Okay, here goes:

FOOTWEAR

I have two different types of grips for winter. Both fit over my runners. My black ones are great for road running when there is a layer of snow or ice, and my red ones are beefy and perfect for winter trails.

SAFETY

Because it’s mostly dark in the winter running hours, I need to be sure I am seen AND I can see! My headlamp is awesome. I can see the potholes and ice patches, and the cars can see me. SUPER bright, stays in place and has a red light on the back of your head so you are more visible. I also run with a regular old high visibility vest that my neighbour gifted me. My most recent piece of safety gear is a LED vest/strap thingy that comes in a few different colours and can be flashing or solid light.

WARMTH

I do have great fleece lined tights that I got from Winners, but personally, when my hands and ears are warm, I can probably run nearly naked and still be okay. (I don’t recommend it though.) So for my hands, I use gloves that allow me to still use my touchscreen smartwatch. My hands stay fairly warm on regular old winter days, but I have had to put a second pair overtop when running in -25. I also wear these cute and cheap buffs as headbands, ear warmers, scarves and cheek covers.

Starting from Scratch

When the idea was hatched for me to start a blog, “Starting from Scratch” was a title that I kept coming back to. I ended up deciding on Eat. Live. Run. because it was a bit more clear what my blog would be about (and also, startingfromscratch.com was already taken by some DJ competition).

But Starting from Scratch still resonates with me. I feel like that is something I’ve done a few times in my life. Yes, the obvious new beginnings as a child; starting school, making friends, learning new skills, BUT for me, it has been more than that.

As an adult, I emigrated halfway around the globe and managed to start a career, make friends and lock down a husband in a new country. And let me tell you, being the “new kid” in your 20’s in a town where SO many people are still friends with their kindergarten posse, is a tough nut to crack. But hey, here I am. I did it. 😉

For me, the biggest “Starting from Scratch” moment, was starting to run. I literally NEVER ran, until my second daughter was 5 weeks old. Those Couch to 5k training programs even intimidated me. In my mind, I was thinking: “What is lower than the couch? Maybe there is a “Bottom-of-the-foam-pit to 5k program for me?” But alas, I was stuck with just the regular old C25K app on my phone. So I did it. I did the program, did some races, did a LOT of training, and a year later, I ran a half marathon. But for me, THAT wasn’t the hard part. The hard part came after that.

After the half marathon, I took a week off to recover. And then two weeks. And then a month. And then it was snowing. And then by the spring, I had gained back the 30lb (yes, THIRTY) I lost the previous year. And then “just going for a quick 5k” was SO hard, my spirit was broken. I felt defeated, unfit, and worst of all, disappointed in myself. It wasn’t until the fall that I was actually able to overcome my negative self-talk, dust off my runners, put my previous expectations on hold, and GO. (More about this at a later time.)

That brings me to this winter. I problem solved every single barrier that prevented me from running last winter. I bought some awesome gear on Amazon and I went. And I’m telling you if I can, SO CAN YOU!

I’ll share some links to my running purchases in a post specifically for Winter Running Gear on a Budget.