Category: Mishmash (page 1 of 3)

If All My Long Runs Could Be So King-like

Like every good UFC Fan I was at the bar last Saturday night watching the fights. And like every good married couple myself and Brad were sitting across from each other in silence and scrolling through social media. Thanks to all the cool Toronto people I follow on Instagram I was alerted to the hashtag #OpenStreetsTO. Annnnnd thanks to the WiFi at the bar I downloaded some maps, spoke to Brad, and we made a plan of attack for last Sunday’s long run.

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From their website:

“Open Streets TO is the city’s largest free recreation program, unlike any other in Toronto or Canada. We’ve created a world-class program that connects our diverse neighbourhoods and people across the city.

Open Streets are programs where the streets are temporarily opened to people and closed to cars. People traffic replaces car traffic, and the streets become “paved parks” where people of all ages, abilities, and social, economic, and ethnic backgrounds can come out and improve their health.”

I was pretty darn excited to stumble upon this. All long runs from now until my half marathon will seem far less extravagant. I felt like a king … or I guess that would be like a queen in my case. I felt like a boss. And I felt so much pride seeing all the other Torontonians out there having a fantastic time.

The number one reason that this excited me is because we try to stay away from running on the sidewalk. That cement is just so tough on my joints. As often as I can I direct our training runs to the track, trails or asphalt. And c’mon, how often do you get the chance to run through the streets of Toronto and not have to pay for it via race fees?

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Thanks to our matching pink hats, two of our friends even spotted us from behind while they were riding their bikes. We stopped to chat for a bit (long runs are slow and steady so no harm done, right). I’m convinced that Brad texted them to say “save me … we’re in the pink hats at Yonge and Bloor.”

I’m sharing all this fun Open Streets info with you because it’s happening AGAAAAAIINNNNNN! On Sunday September 18th a section of Yonge street and Bloor street will be closed down again for some healthy fun and recreation. Unfortunately we won’t be able to go because we’ll be at the Famous Canadian Beer Run that day (also a fun choice for anyone in/near Toronto).

Check it out next month and tell your friends because we had a blast. As for this weekend’s long run … I’ll be back on my usual path but dreaming of the wide open asphalt 😉

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Eat A Healthy Breakfast Everyday This Week

Yes, I know that I said in my last post that I’m not “staying on track” this holiday. However, I’m not on an all Christmas cookie diet. I find that lunches, dinners and snacks are are where all the decadent foods come in this week. Between now and Christmas Eve I’ll be having the easiest, healthy breakfast of them all – SMOOTHIES!

For the last two weeks Brad and I have been drinking a smoothie every morning. As always, when I focus on a healthy breakfast I have more energy and less cravings during the day. The less cravings, the less I reach for the crappy junk food. You know, like store bought doughnuts and chips. I’d rather save my belly for all the amazing homemade food this time of year.

Morgan and Brad’s December Smoothie Mix:

  • banana
  • cranberries
  • frozen fruit mix (peaches, grapes, pineapple)
  • scoop of Vega One Nutritional Shake
  • water

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IT TASTES BETTER THAN IT LOOKS! I know, that’s what everyone says about weird looking smoothies. I love to throw spinach in smoothies too but sometimes the green can make it look really gnarly. Another fav smoothie ingredient is egg whites. Not gross, I promise! I work with Burnbrae Farms and their egg whites are pasteurized and completely safe to put in smoothies. It’s an awesome way to get clean protein. Check out my carrot cake smoothie recipe.

For as long as I’ve been making weird looking smoothies Brad has been complaining about them. Even though he knows that they taste better than they look he still prefers a good ol pink smoothie.

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Brad’s favourite smoothie recipe:

  • banana
  • orange juice
  • vanilla greek yogurt
  • frozen berries

Weird or gnarly looking smoothies – thumbs up or thumbs down?

 

Why I’m Not Staying “On Track” This Holiday Season

All. The. “Staying on Track.” Posts, right? And I’m not knocking them at all because I too have been there many Decembers. I too have offered December fitness challenges. This year, I’m giving a big F U to staying on track for the next few weeks and here’s why . . .

I’m tired. I’m incredibly tired from training, racing, recovering from injuries, teaching bootcamp, coaching clients, and well, life. I know I’m not the only person who’s spent the year deep and dedicated to my physical goals. Coming back from my back injury was emotionally and physically tough. Training for my first half marathon was so rewarding but I’m still feeling the effects. Although I’ve loved my trail running last month, even that is kicking my butt. (I went for an Xray yesterday because that uneven-ground-branches-all-over-the-place life screwed my ankle up a bit.)

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What if you skipped the weights and the treadmill and went for your yoga matt instead? Heck, yesterday I did yoga for couch potatoes. It’s a real thing, look that shiz up on Yoga with Adriene. What if you didn’t get up for an early morning run and slept in and ate a Clif bar + banana for breakfast.

If you, like myself, have been busting it all year, you’re good to relax for a bit. It would probably even be better for your well-being if you stop busting it for a few weeks. Self care is not just about maintaining weight. Self care is about doing what’s best for your soul. I’m not about to eat butter sticks and stop going to work but let’s just cut ourselves some slack. Agreed?

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Here’s what I’m going to focus on for the holidays:

  • Walking (let’s dig out that Polar Loop shall we?)
  • Yoga
  • Eating plants
  • Sleep
  • Meditation
  • Enjoying all the spirit of the holidays

Bootcamp will be waiting for me on January 4th. My 2016 running season will require cross training in the new year. And yes, I do have goals for how I want to look in my wedding dress next year. I’m looking forward to attacking all of those things after a few weeks of rest.

 

 

I Ran 20km and I’m My Own Hero

Twelve weeks ago today I was sitting my family doctor’s office listening to just how serious of a back injury I had sustained the day before. My back hurt, a lot, that’s all I knew and I desperately hoped that she would say it was just a small sprain and I’d be back to normal in a few days to a week. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case. “But I’m training for a half marathon” . . . her response, “you WERE training for a half marathon.” In addition to my half marathon training (that had started just a week before), I was also panicked about how I’d deal with my bootcamp classes. Tears followed, lots of them.

The doctor at my family clinic told me that the recovery time was 10-12 weeks. The workplace insurance board (the back injury happened at my daytime job) told me that I should expect the recover time to be 12 weeks. Believe me I didn’t like what I was hearing at all. But in the words of a 90s trashy talk show guest, “you don’t know me!”

Days later, my treatment plan was approved by the workplace insurance board and I went for my chiropractor appointment. Finally, someone who DID know my body. It was bad, he told me that. But based on my prior training base, the fact that I was a coach/trainer, and the treatment plan he was going to provide, he hoped that I could return to running in 8 weeks. I was back in five!

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So yeah, I am publishing this post to brag. I was insanely disciplined in my treatment and training plan. I really didn’t believe in myself at all when I signed up for this race. I certainly didn’t believe in myself when I injured my back.

Last week I ran over 20km. Usually during my long runs I visualize the finish line of this first half. I think about how exciting it will be and how proud I’ll be. But last week when I was out on my last long run, the 20km, all I could think about was how far I’ve come. It was emotional. It doesn’t matter that thousands and thousands of people have run a half marathon (and further) before me.

We spend so much time putting ourselves down, but this week I’m my own hero.

 

Ladies Choice Bootcamp Workout

I love my women’s only Toronto bootcamp class because these gals like to work hard. They are constantly asking to be challenged with harder workouts and new exercises. Every once in a while I put my boot camp class in the hands of the ladies who attend. On Monday we had our chicks choice workout in the Fit Chicks Fierce in 8 program.

Let me share their favourites with you so that you can build your own workout at home.


Or . . . looking to workout with some awesome females and live in Toronto? Consider joining my October bootcamp. We’re offering $60 off the October 10 week session (8 week and 4 week options available too!)

SIGN UP / MORE INFO HERE (scroll down to Forest Hill bootcamp location with Morgan): http://www.fitchicks.ca/locations/toronto-bootcamp

SAVE $60 OGG (1)


Here are the ladies favourite exercises broken down into three categories, cardio, strength and core. To make your own at home workout:

1 ROUND = 30 SECONDS EACH MOVE: CARDIO * STRENGTH * CORE

REPEAT ROUND 3X

CHOOSE A NEW EXERCISE FROM EACH CATEGORY FOR ROUND 2 (AND SO ON)

DO AS MANY ROUNDS AS YOU LIKE, 5 ROUNDS RECOMMENDED

Cardio:

  • standing mountain climbers
  • suicide runs
  • laps (if you’re at the track)
  • jump squats
  • butt kicks
  • jumping jacks
  • high knees march (opposite elbow to knee)
  • burpees

Strength:

  • wall sit (add bicep curl or lateral raise)
  • pivot pushups (side to side)
  • walking lunges
  • pliet squat with upright row
  • side lunge with bicep curl
  • crab walk / crab triceps dip
  • renegade row
  • donkey kicks

Core:

  • leg raises
  • scissor kicks
  • hundreds
  • around the world crunch
  • frog leg crunch
  • elbow plank to high plank
  • elbow plank with hip taps
  • side plank
  • bicycle
  • mountain climber crunch

Do you have a favourite bootcamp exercise? Share!

If you’re in Toronto and want a free trial class email me morgan@fitchicks.ca.

Building Mental Toughness: Why You Need A Tune Up Race

Earlier this month I ran the Toronto Zoo Run 10k for the second year in a row. Last year I ran it as my first 10k to celebrate my 30th birthday. I was using it as a tune up run this year. As you know my big goal race is the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon half marathon. A big goal to be sure, particularly since I sustained a seriously back injury in July. Part of the problem with my training plan right now is confidence in my body, I had to take many weeks off entirely and am still dealing with recovery. Never entirely confident in my ability to run 21 km (even before the injury), my brain turned “I hope I can” into “yeah friggin right.”

I know that I need a whole lot of “I can do it” on race day for my first half (4 weeks away if anyone is counting) so I decided that I needed to test my mental toughness. Even though I had signed up for the zoo run with Brad and another friend, and even though we were on track to all pace towards the same goal time, my plan was to run alone. My half marathon is going to be well over 2 hours of running alone, my brain and legs needed the solitude for the 10k race as practice.

So I had a plan, but as usual, the best laid plans can hit the fan, particularly on race morning. Here are all the things that tested my mental toughness during the zoo run:

  • Cold and rain

I have never raced in the rain and I have purposefully always ended my running season early in the year to avoid any cold weather. Race mornings at 18 degrees are freezing for me, so a very wet 10 degrees had me in the worst possible mood.

How I dealt: garbage bag ponchos.

  • Forgot my interval timer

The plan was for 2 minutes on and 1 minute off. Not only did I forget my own interval timer, but I also forgot Brad and Trev’s timer. Bad coach! I ran back to the baggage truck and begged the volunteers to look for our bag so we could grab the car keys. The bag was buried, no timers for us. Also no phone so no app option either.

How I dealt: made a plan to run for 1 km and then walk for 1 minute (approximately 5 and 1 for me). That didn’t work. Tried to switch to run 1 song and walk for 1 minute, also a no go. Brad gave me his stop watch so at kilometer 8 I decided to let the wrist watch be my guide and started gunning it at 2 and and 1 the best I could.

  • Running alone

This was just what I needed. With all the crap that was throwing me off I needed to deal with it myself. I let Brad and Trev run on without me after the first kilometer. My fuel belt was sliding up, the water station came later than expected, there was mud that I didn’t anticipate, lots of stuff for my brain to deal with.

The end result >>>> I had a HUGE 10k personal best.

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No idea what STWM is going to throw at me but at least I got some practice with less than ideal conditions. I’ve got two big long runs happening over the next two weekends. I’ve got a bunch of treatment dates lined up for my back. I’m as nervous as I am excited so I’m in the best shape I could be with 4 weeks to go.

Tell me about a race that tested your mental toughness . . .

Fight the Freshman 15: Healthy Study Snacks

Classes have resumed and students are officially back to school. For college and university students this is the time to try to find a routine, as hard as it is. This is also the time that first year students may start to put on the freshman 15lbs. Student weight gain, I know it well. I didn’t put on the freshman 15, I put on 25lbs in my first year. The number one culprit of my weight gain was unhealthy snacking. The biggest sin, late night snacking.

healthy hbe snacksMidterms will be here before you know it and staying up late to write papers or study for exams is not easy. I know that it often takes some fuel to stay awake and keep plugging through your work. Choosing healthy snacks will help you avoid the weight gain, but even more importantly, it will help you work harder.

Eggs are good for the brain because they contain a nutrient called choline.

 

Recognized as an essential nutrient by Health Canada, choline has been shown to play a strong role in brain development and function. One egg provides half your daily requirement of choline.

Luckily for all of us that are low on time, especially students, Burnbrae Farms has prepackaged hard boiled eggs. They’re already cooked and peeled and come in a snack pack of two. Here are FIVE delicious and really simple snacks you can make with hard boiled eggs.

  • Ham and egg cracker snacks

During my first year weight gain I used to eat cheese and crackers like my life depended on it. This is a much healthier version of that snack.

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  • Bagged salad + hard boiled eggs

You know how much I love bagged salad. This is a great snack or even a meal and it will take you 30 seconds to prepare. My current favourite bagged salad is shredded brussels sprouts and kale.

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  • Sweet and salty snack platter

Chop up some melon to satisfy your sweet tooth and grab a bag of roasted almonds to add to your hard boiled egg snack platter. A much better option than chips and candy.

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These are so easy to make. Just scoop out the centre of your hard boiled eggs and add some flavour. Check out this post on the Burnbrae Farms website for nine different variations of stuffed eggs. My personal favourite is dill.

  • Carb Free Egg Salad Snack

Want to enjoy your egg salad without the guilt? Instead of making a sandwich, spread your favourite egg salad recipe on to a few stalks of celery. Want to make it even healthier? Cut the mayonnaise in half and replace it with avocado.

Want to try some other healthy and student friendly recipes:


For more great recipes and information, please follow Burnbrae Farms here:

Disclosure: I am participating in the Burnbrae Farms campaign managed by SJ Consulting. I received compensation in exchange for my participation in this campaign. The opinions on this website are my own.

First Race of the Season: Toronto Women’s Run 5k

 

Ahhhhhhh the emotional side of injuries. I know so many of you have been through the same thing. It’s so frustrating. Truth talk – yes even trainers eat our feelings sometimes. I’ve been drowning my injury sorrows in cheesy bread and bagels. (Hey remember when I used to write a blog called Life After Bagels? There is no life after bagels silly Morgan!)

However, we can only wallow in our own self pity for too long before someone needs to feed us some kale and get us refocused on nutrition. Thankfully, I have two REALLY EXCITING (yes I did need capitals) things to tell you that are snapping me out of my bad attitude. Thing #1: I’m starting to shop for my wedding dress this month and I’d like to be approximately the same weight as I plan to be on my wedding day.

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Thing #2: I GET TO RACE THIS MONTH!!! My first planned race of the season is the Toronto Women’s 5k. I signed up for it months ago (early bird discount y’all) and I obviously had no idea if I would be able to cover the 5k distance when I injured my back last month. At my last appointment my doctor confirmed that I should be able to at least walk the distance. If I get to run at all, it’s a bonus.

I’ll be at this race in official Burnbrae Farms Fitness Ambassador capacity. Yesterday I got to task on straightening out my nutrition and got myself to the track for some core work and walking.

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Check out my latest training vlog, guest starring the man of the house. He is just so delighted that I signed him up for a 10k. Perhaps next vlog I should film him before we train.

*This is a sponsored post as part of a Burnbrae Farms Fitness Ambassador program. 

Half Marathon Training On Hold

Le sigh … this is not a happy post unfortunately. I recently injured my back at work. It’s a pretty serious injury which has sidelined me from running and training for any races for the time being. The injury runs from mid back to lower back and affects down to the glutes and hamstrings and up to the neck.

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Walking around gives me the most relief. Sitting is the most painful so working every day is pretty tough since I work a desk job. Sitting all day is not healthy for any of us. Even without a back injury we should be moving more during our work day.

Here’s the thing though. I’m not quitting on my race season yet. I am obviously having a lot of medical treatment right now. If you’ve followed my race seasons before (or even the last vlog) you’ll know that I have a wonderful chiropractor that always helps me through my sports related injuries. He’s thankfully taken on my treatment for this. We’re leaving my races, including the half marathon ON the table for now. I have never been more dedicated to my recovery and have promised to be the perfect patient. As you can imagine, I am taking this injury extremely seriously because I’ve clients suffer through back injuries in the past.

Since I’ve had to put my lunch time run club on hold, me and my friend Lyna started stretch club today. Check out vlog from this week:

I’ve already received so many kind words on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Thanks for your support my friends. I know I’m not alone in this and I know how many other friends have had some pretty rough injuries in the past. It’s so encouraging to know we’ve got each other’s backs (hehehe pun intended).

BBQ Fried Rice Recipe

How can something be both BBQ’d and fried? I know, right. So think of this recipe as a version of fried rice that you actually cook on the BBQ. You can be fancy at the cottage if you want to! Or the campfire!

Did you know that July 18th is National Parks Day? Every year it happens on the third Saturday of July. As an official ambassador for all things wildness (self appointed, obviously) I command you to take part and get yourself to a park. I’ll be at a super fabulous wedding that day but the bridal party will be taking some beautiful pictures at a park in Oakville.

Want to take your parks day up a notch? How about a workout in the park. Check out this post about the benefits of working out in nature.

Want to take your parks day up another notch? Have a cook out! Let me get back to this fancy recipe (well, about the fanciest that we get here on Wildly Fit).

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You’ll need to pack some liquid eggs which are super easy to take in a cooler and some foil. I recommend visiting the farmer’s market for fresh veggies like I did too. Oh, and a really great cut of steak!

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BBQ Fried Rice Recipe

  • 1/2 cup of cooked rice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onion
  • 10 cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup Naturegg Simply Eggs

Take a sheet of aluminum foil and spray the inside so your meal doesn’t stick. Put all the ingredients in the centre of your foil. Fold each side in, making a tight foil packet that won’t leak egg out the bottom. Cook on the top rack of the BBQ for 10 minutes or until eggs are cooked through. Half way through cooking make sure to take some tongs and give the package a gentle shake to distribute the egg through the whole package. Each package will serve one.

As promised, a special shout out to my Father in Law, Dave who was my sous chef on this recipe. Or he may say that I was the sous chef.


For more great recipes and information, please follow Burnbrae Farms here:

Disclosure: I am participating in the Burnbrae Farms campaign managed by SJ Consulting. I received compensation in exchange for my participation in this campaign. The opinions on this website are my own.


 

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