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Posts Tagged ‘#TYS10K’

I have never been so happy to have put a year in the rear-view mirror as I have been with 2014. What a year! It started out with broken toes that weren’t quite healed and the roller coaster continued from there with the heart issues, bronchitis verging on pneumonia, and this last few weeks… the bloody flu. On top of that I was still grieving the loss of my Mom and there was quite a bit of anxiety that came to light after the heart procedure. Despite all of this, it was a good year with many firsts including my daughter’s first time at school and joining a gym.

As I have mentioned in years past, I don’t believe in doing the whole New Year’s resolution bit. I came to this conclusion several years ago. I feel that it sets me up for failure and when something I had resolved to do wasn’t realized I would beat myself up emotionally. Instead I like to look at the year as a book consisting of 365 blank pages for me to fill with the things that keep me healthy, happy, and fulfilled.  I prefer to choose milestones and make general plans with no set timelines punctuated with events such as running and camping trips. This year is no different and here are some of the things I’d like to accomplish throughout the year.

I’m committed to  spending less time online, plugged in and on the phone especially with social media. Those of you who follow me here and on twitter may have noticed that I’ve been pretty quiet since October and lately I’ve been less active on Facebook as well. Yes, I am ignoring you.  Instead of being consumed with social media, I’m spending more time with my children, husband and friends. I have been teaching my four year old little girl how to knit, sew, and cook. Next up… snowshoeing (if we ever get any snow). I will continue to walk back and forth to the school twice a day with the children. I could simply let my son walk his little sister as he is very responsible, but I choose to add the 15K to my fitness every week. I’m fortunate that being a writer allows that freedom and it is a great time to chat with my teenage boy. In the Fall he is off to high school and walking with Mom would just be uncool.

I mentioned in earlier posts that I am rebuilding my running base. I’m still working on that although I’ve been slightly sidelined by the flu. While progress has been slow, I’m still moving forward. My goal race is the Toronto Yonge Street 10K on April 19th. I’m very excited and I’m hoping to make it a personal record for 10K. Of course, I’ll be training smart and coupling that with workouts at the gym. The goal is to run another half marathon too. I’m not sure which one yet but I’m leaning towards the Niagara Falls Women’s Half Marathon in June or the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in the Fall… or both. I would like to do another trail race too. That reminds me, I need to do some running shoe shopping.

I hope to cross a few things off my list this year such as the climbing lesson and belay certification that was put on the back burner when I first broke my toes. It didn’t end up being in the cards for 2014 but perhaps I’ll tackle it in 2015. And… I still want to try zip lining. Did I mention I am terrified of gravity? Boxing is still on my milestone list, as are many other things. What I tackle will depend on time. Our family plans to return to Le P’tit Train du Nord for a cycling and camping trip. Unfortunately between what was going on with me and Bryan’s travel with work, we didn’t make it back to the trail in 2014 but I’d love to revisit the area this year… without the rain.

Over the holidays I had the chance to spend some time with one of my dearest friends, Sandi. It’s hard to believe we’ve been friends for over 25 years (where did the time go?) and the last few years we haven’t been able to see each other as much as we would have liked. The weekend before Christmas we talked about making a point of seeing each other more often. Our boys (and husbands) get along famously plus we have similar interests which is great. We both love cycling so there will likely be some bike rides together in the Spring and Summer. Who knows, maybe I can even talk her into running a race with me or maybe not… lol.

While I still want to lose a bit more weight, I haven’t set an actual number because I’m more about the complete picture… body, mind, and spirit. I haven’t let the scale define me in years and will continue with that mindset. I’m more focused on being active, hydrating properly, and eating healthy. Speaking of food… my goals with nutrition remain the same as in previous years— I will continue to eat foods that are kind to my body in order to keep the side effects of diabetes and heart issues at bay. I appreciate being able to use nutrition and fitness in place of diabetes medications. I don’t diet, I simply eat according to my goals and to ensure I have balanced intake of nutrients. This is important for our whole family. Children, as you know, learn by example.

Eating fresh and local whenever possible is something I strive to continue although it’s nearly impossible at this time of year. In 2014 I started relying on our local farmers’ market and farm stands for produce. I would venture out on Friday and our menu for the week would revolve around what I came home with that afternoon. I plan to continue that throughout 2015 as I found the quality was often better than the grocery store and the produce seemed to last longer before spoiling. It’s a great for the children to learn more about where our food comes from and I like to support our local farms. I’m going to get back into growing sprouts and making my own yogurt. Both are really easy to do and will be good skills to pass onto the children. I have even done both on wilderness camping trips. I also love that this way of eating means avoiding some of the unnecessary things that are added to our food. Sure, it takes a bit more effort but that is nominal in comparison to the benefits.

Hobbies have come to the forefront lately. I’ve been teaching myself to knit plus I’ve started to do needlework and sketching again. I find that activities like this help me reduce stress and give me a way to unwind. Hobbies are much like running or the gym in that regard—being immersed in the task at hand takes the focus off whatever stress there is.

Work-wise, I completed my last client website and redefined my business. I’m still in the process of finishing my third cookbook manuscript. It’s due in March but I’m in good shape with it other than needing to take some more photos. My fourth cookbook proposal is on the table too. I’ll tell you more about that once I sign a publishing contract. I can tell you that it is going to be an amazing project and I am very excited about it. I’m also working on telling the story of my personal journey and, although I feel somewhat vulnerable, look forward to sharing that with my readers. Once again, I’ll be writing some freelance articles for a variety of publications. The outdoorsy project for families and kids that was to launch in 2014 should come to fruition later in the year.

2015 is all about forward momentum. It will be interesting to see how this year unfolds and what adventures my family and I get up to. I’ll keep you posted.

Happy New Year!

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In December, when I shared the news that I was invited to be a Digital Champion with Canada Running Series for the Toronto Yonge Street 10K, I had no idea what was in store for me. What transpired next was a fairly difficult time in my life.

I had returned to training after my broken toes healed but my heart had other ideas. I was unable to cross the start line on Yonge Street because I had to have a heart procedure mere weeks before race day.  Having to back out of something I had whole-heartedly committed to was devastating but my fellow Digital Champions never wavered—I was embraced by a circle of support that I hadn’t expected. Being a Digital Champion taught me that sometimes our connection goes far beyond training and encouraging one another. It was deeper than I ever expected… a kindred relationship that began with our love of the run and then transcended it. At that point I decided that I would be the best cheerleader I could be in the days leading up to the event.  As difficult as it was for me, I chose to be at the start line to see the other runners head out when the horn went off.  I choked back tears while cheering as loud and exuberantly as I could. A few weeks later I happily returned to running again.

Now that I’ve recapped things, I’ll share this secret I’ve been keeping…

I have been invited, once again, to be a Digital Champion. Of course I accepted and this time I will be representing the 25th Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (STWM) alongside 49 other runners marathoners who inspire me beyond words. You can find out more about this diverse group on the Canada Running Series blog.

I hadn’t intended that my decision to run a full marathon would actually be a comeback story, but it seems life has taken me in that direction.  As training progresses I will share more about my journey to the start line of my first marathon.  Please feel free to send me a message if you have any questions or comments. I’m @innerpossible on twitter or you can connect with all of the Digital Champions using #STWM.

 

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I’ve been under the weather with a nasty cold-flu-like bug for a week so this is a bit late in coming.  Here is what has been going on with my heart…

My Healthy Heart

Friday April 11th finally arrived. A mere two weeks after my heart procedure I sat in the office of the cardiology lab anxiously awaiting a consult with my cardiologist. While I had tests and had been in the hospital, Dr. J. and I actually hadn’t seen each other since August. There was a lump in my throat and I was feeling very stressed about the whole thing, yet I desperately wanted answers. I reminded myself that I could handle any news, good or bad, and took a deep breath.

The nurse came out and escorted me to the back so that she could check my vitals, weight, abdominal measurement, and run an EKG. Shortly after, I went to the consult room and Dr. J. joined me. He asked me how I felt about my family genetics catching up with me. I half-joked and said, “I wish I could punch my family genetics in the nose!”

A tear rolled down my cheek and I braced myself for the worst.  Dr. J. looked at me and said. “Your heart is strong and healthy. The two overlapping stents you’ve got are not going to be an issue. Given the condition of your heart from the running and cycling you could have ten stents and it would still be better than a single stent in a damaged heart. The valve issues are mild at this point and nothing should deter you from being active. In fact, I’d would like to have you back to running by the end of the month but first I’d like to do a myocardial perfusion so we know where you are at with blood flow. Oh and you can take that nitroglycerin patch off. You don’t need it.” He also decided against sending me for Cardiac Rehab because I had already walked more than 42K since being released from the hospital.

The word “shock” just doesn’t encompass the surprise I felt when I heard him say that I would be running again in mere weeks. I looked at him, somewhat puzzled, and said “I should probably rethink running the marathon in the Fall. Right?” His reply was, “if you want to run a marathon there is no reason that you can’t fulfill that dream. Which race?” So I told him about the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon and about my recent social media role with Canada Running Series for the Toronto Yonge Street 10K.

Speaking of which…

The Un-Race Report

a little warm-up run

a little warm-up run

Fast forward to Sunday April 13th. I don’t think I have ever been as excited about a race I wasn’t able to run. I made so many great running connections during my time as Digital Champion and I had decided that no matter what Friday’s outcome was with my heart, I was going to be there Sunday to cheer everyone on. My fellow Digital Champions had been an amazing support during all the health issues and I wanted to show them that I appreciated that.

We awoke uber-early on Sunday morning. Our friend Carla met us at the house, with coffee in hand, we strapped Kaia into her car seat and off we went. The horrible forecast had changed for the better and it looked like it would be a dry but windy race. The drive was pretty uneventful and parking was plentiful near the start line because we were a bit early.

A few days before I had exchanged messages with Krista Duchene and we were able to meet briefly before the race. I also met Robbie Watson. They were doing an East-West challenge so I wished them both a great race. It was great to meet both of them.  One day I will have to share a funny story about my first encounter with Krista about a year and a half ago. Meanwhile, Kaia and Bryan were running around near the start. This was going to be her last race in the stroller and she was raring to go. I’ve never seen a little girl so charged up about running as Kaia is and it isn’t every day I can let my child play in the middle of Yonge Street.

The Justice League

The Justice League

I waited at the start line and took photos of runners leaving the gate. I was using my Android and there was a glare on the screen so some of the shots were rather accidental. I did get a shot of The Justice League taking off which was great. I screamed loud encouragements to other friends as they started. I won’t sugar coat it, this was very hard for me. When I heard the gun go off and the announcer building up the excitement, I had to hold back a few tears. It was emotional for me on many levels but knowing that running is still possible for me, kept it from being anything more than damp lashes.

Then, after the last competitor was out of the gate, my friend Sheryl and I headed to the finish line. That didn’t exactly go as planned and her husband Ric had already finished by the time we got there. Oops. In hindsight we should have headed to the finish much earlier. We found a good spot and waited for Bryan, Carla, and Kaia. Sheryl and Ric drove Bryan back to our Jeep while Carla, Kaia, and I hung out at the awards ceremony. I met up with Andrew Chak, Jodi Lewchuck, and Mahnaz. Hugs all around. Then later I met Batman aka JP Hernandez and Spiderman aka Mark Sawh. Oh… and I met Alan Brookes as well. Can’t forget Alan! Everyone had hugs and it felt really great being there. I forgot how much I missed that beloved sense of community among runners.

It was a great day for a race. Rest assured that I WILL be crossing the Toronto Yonge Street 10K finish line next year. Maybe even as a Digital Champion! What do you think Mr. Brookes?

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breathe

breathe

It has been very quiet on my blog for a while and with good reason. Everything has changed for me and running is on hiatus for the time being.

In early February my training took me to 12K. I had a decent run on the weekend of February 8th. I went out a little too fast for the 12K but I felt good. The next day I went snowshoeing with Carla. It was a gentle 5K or so through the woods. Later in the week I did one of my fastest speed work sessions. I felt strong and well. I was on top of my game. Then it all went to hell.

The next weekend I attempted another 12K and at the 2K mark I was having trouble. I was white as a sheet, I had a warmth on the back of my shoulders, and I felt like I was going to toss my cookies. My lungs felt like they couldn’t get air yet I wasn’t gasping. It was almost as if something heavy was sitting on my chest. Bryan pleaded with me to go home and I agreed. At first I thought I was getting the flu. I took some ASA and had a nap. I continued to do yoga as well as my little speed work and hill training sessions during the following weeks but every weekend when I attempted my long run the same thing would happen.

My first thoughts were a combination of anxiety and anaemia. I worked through those issues and then I thought that perhaps it was something environmental at the indoor track. It didn’t seem to be happening at home. Eventually it got to the point where any exertion was giving me the symptoms and I started to have a very dull ache in the jaw. I did the thing you should never do… consulted Dr. Google. After reading an article entitled Elite Marathoner Runs After a Heart Attack, I thought it prudent to get checked out. Of course, I am not an elite but her symptoms sounded a little like mine.

I immediately called my cardiologist’s office and went in for a stress test. I was pulled shortly after 6 minutes. I didn’t even get up to a run. I was devastated. A few days later I got that news that Dr. J. wanted to investigate further and that I was not to exert myself in any way whatsoever. I knew at that moment that my plans to run the Toronto Yonge Street 10K and every other Spring race I had planned were squashed. This included my half marathon and Sulphur Springs 25K. This time off from training meant I couldn’t get the distance in. My intuition since that aborted 12K in February was that something was seriously wrong and I was right.

A week ago, on the evening of March 23rd, I was rushed to the emergency room. I had lifted my daughter Kaia up to comfort her after she fell. I was rocking her. At that moment I almost collapsed. When I got to triage at Brantford General Hospital I was taken in immediately. I was so frightened and worried that I would never see my children again. I had forgotten to kiss Kaia goodbye and Tobias looked so scared when I left the house. My jaw was hurting and the warmth on my shoulders and arm was incredible. Once again it was like someone snatched away all my air. I had never felt so awful.

Over the next 22 hours I was stabilized enough to be admitted to the cardiac floor. The good news was that I didn’t have a heart attack and we know this because my Troponin I level was not indicative of that. However, there is uncertainty about what happened the day I tried to run the 12K and had to stop and there really is no way to tell for sure.  After examining me and chatting the doctor suspected that I had a blockage so he ordered a series of tests, blood thinner injections, and other medications to reduce my symptoms. A few days later I was transported to Hamilton General Hospital to undergo further investigation. During the angiogram it was discovered that I had more than 70% blockage in a branch off the left circumflex artery. This little artery loops around and mine is apparently abnormally tiny and curvy. It was determined that I needed a Percutaneous Transluminal Coronary Angioplasty (PTCA) which they did on the spot via my right wrist. I had a significant allergic reaction to the dye which was a little unsettling but other than that the procedure went well. The doctor had to use two stents to get around the bend and deal with the full length of the blockage. I was transported back to Brantford and released on Friday.

What frightens me is what a close call this was.  Dr. T., who performed the procedure said that I likely had the beginnings of this blockage for a considerable time maybe even years and that it wouldn’t have been easily seen, if at all, on any of the other tests that were performed back when I requested to have my heart checked in 2012.  Dr. T. said it was even difficult for him to see and that he had to look at it from several angles to be sure. I shared with him how frustrated I was that all of this healthy lifestyle was for naught. I was in a really negative place and disappointed because I had worked so hard to prevent this. He reminded me that this lifestyle is what saved me from a major coronary event and possibly a very grim outcome. He is right, of course.

The other side of this is that running has helped me become in-tune with my body. I don’t think I would have realized there was anything wrong if I was sedentary. Plus running improved my cardiovascular health and has made me stronger so that I will recover more easily from this. Normally PTCA patients are put on a beta blocker but running has reduced my heart rate enough that I don’t need to take it. I will have to take a blood thinner for about a year though.  I also need to move… a lot. One would think that I would need bed rest after such a procedure but the opposite is true. I need to walk as much and as far as I can because the risk of blood clots is great. I managed to walk around about three hours after the PTCA was performed. I was exhausted and sore so I didn’t go much further than a dozen laps around the unit. On Friday I walked around the hospital and then yesterday I hit the treadmill. Yesterday was just under 1.5K. While it doesn’t seem like much, after close to a week in a hospital with what has transpired, it feels monumental. Today I’ve already done a 20-minute walk and I will do two more. I’m faster and can go further than I could yesterday. It’s a start.

There are risks for me as diabetic with heart issues when it comes to being physically active however there is greater risk if I just sit on my posterior.  Dr. T. agreed and said that he didn’t see any reason that I would not be able to return to running and cycling as long as I stay on the path I’ve been on the past few years when it comes to lifestyle choices. Each day I feel a little stronger and in a few weeks I will see my cardiologist, Dr. J. and, hopefully, I will be told what steps need to be taken so I can start running again.

Carrie Woodard, the elite from the article I mentioned earlier, deserves a great deal of credit. It’s not easy putting your story out there and in her doing so she helped me tremendously. Not only did it make me think twice about writing this off as fatigue or anxiety, her story gave me hope about being able to return to an active lifestyle. Maybe some day she will read this and know the difference she has made.

 

 

 

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The other day I was chatting with a friend and we were discussing what our goals are. We chatted about the races we’ve chosen for 2014 and what motivates us. She and I have been on somewhat parallel journeys so it was great to talk with someone who gets the struggles I deal with.  And… we talked about the setbacks we have both experienced lately. Our conversation made me sit back and take pause. That’s not always a bad thing and I feel that it is good to re-evaluate my goals from time to time so I don’t lose sight of the bigger picture—a healthy life.

Setbacks happen and it is very important that I don’t beat myself up about a few steps backwards. It happens to all of us at one time or another. On November 9th, 2013, as many of you know, I broke two of the toes on my left foot when I accidentally kicked a dumbbell that was sitting against the big oak desk in my office. This meant that running, and pretty much any other exercise that involved my toes, came to a screeching halt. This time off from running hit me like a ton of bricks and I took it really hard. It wasn’t just that I couldn’t exercise or that I was concerned about diabetes. You see, I use running as my way of thinking things through and dealing with the negatives in my life. 2013 started with the death of my Mom and the time off finally forced me to work through some of the grief. I gained a little weight and started to self-deprecate. I had worked so hard. I was within 15 lbs of my goal and then I lost momentum. How could I let this happen? I could make all sorts of excuses but the bottom line is that I just gave up caring about myself because I was wallowing. The good thing is that it was a short-lived hiccup and I am back on track.

My motivation for running hasn’t changed very much. It’s still about having fun while working on fitness and enjoying activities that we can do as a family. Running is my insulin and my way to keep ill effects of living with diabetes at bay. It’s also a social outlet for me which caught me somewhat by surprise. I have met so many wonderful runners who encourage and inspire. This is something I try to pay forward. Being a Digital Champion for the Toronto Yonge Street 10K is just one way I am doing that. Giving back in other ways is important to me as well and I love fundraising for a good cause.

I also thought about the commitment and drive to improve. I like to dream big and sometimes I will chose a distance and think that I’ve bitten off more than I can chew. That was certainly how it felt when I started training for my first half. During that time I discovered something… training isn’t a chore to me but rather something I embrace. I enjoy the process immensely—I love a long run on a Saturday morning and the way it makes me feel. It also makes me happy to see how I progress week after week and month after month. Being off with the broken toes reinforced how much I missed being in training for a long distance event. Every long run last winter and spring was a new milestone and on those runs I was able to gain clarity or perspective about things other than running. Accomplishing those goals gave me courage to make some wonderful changes in my life. My feelings about being a distance runner remain the same… I enjoy the process and it helps me grow as a runner and as a person. It’s a win win for me.

This year I plan to tackle the full marathon. It scares me because being diabetic adds some other challenges especially when it comes to things like fuelling, hypoglycaemia, and foot injuries. This adventure brings a good kind of fear too. It’s the kind of apprehension that gives me the butterflies but makes me feel really alive. This distance will be a huge challenge for me and the fact I am even going to try is very exciting. Training will be tough and time consuming but there is something about it that simply calls to me. I have an amazing circle of support and hold onto the belief that I can realize my dream of crossing the finish line after running 42.2K. I may not be speedy but I have spirit and I will cross a finish line in the footsteps of so many people that have inspired me to try.

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This is my guest post as it appeared today on the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (Canada Running Series) blog.

TORONTO. January 11th 2014. Digital Champion Laurie Ann March works hard to balance her hectic life with her love of running. She will tell you that she treats being active as a priority and with good reason. Laurie changed her lifestyle drastically in order to successfully lose 180 lbs. Laurie’s family has joined her on her running journey and she believes that being active is a great way to spend quality time together. Connect with Laurie on Twitter @innerpossible.

Running: A Family Affair
By Laurie Ann March

after the race

family & friends

When I made the decision that I was going to train and run my first 5K race I expected that I’d be doing this on my own. My husband Bryan and I bought a treadmill in late 2011 so I could work towards becoming a runner. What happened surprised me. Bryan, who for years insisted that runners never smile and running fun did not belong in the same conversation, announced that he would run the race as well. I almost fell off the treadmill in shock. What happened to “over my dead body” or “when hell freezes over”? Our eleven year old son, Tobias, voiced that he wanted to run the race too and the next thing I knew we were a family of runners. The whole family was outfitted with good quality footwear and training began. As the weather improved we purchased a running stroller for Kaia, our eighteen month old little girl, and started running outside.

You are probably wondering about the stroller—it has been a wonderful thing and Kaia loves to ride in it. The key, as we quickly learned, is to make sure she had a few toys, a snack, and something to drink. Making sure she is comfortably dressed for the conditions is important too. It is adorable to hear her cheering Bryan on. “Faster Daddy! Faster!” she often exclaims. After a run we take a detour to the park. This allows us some time to stretch while she has fun on the playground. One can’t put on running clothes in our house without her getting excited and she gets a little bit upset if one of us is merely going for a jaunt on the treadmill. Well, downright grumpy might be more accurate. If the weather is inclement we run at the indoor track and she loves that too. Bryan usually finishes a bit before I do so he releases Kaia from the stroller. She’s older now and runs just over one kilometre around the track. She loves it. She will be turning four in June so the stroller will be retired soon. When that time comes Bryan and I will have to take turns going on our runs or consider hiring a sitter. Of course, we’ll still take her out on her own little adventures.

There are many benefits to being a running family. It keeps us fit. It gets the kids outside and reduces their screen time. It creates an environment of support which spills over into other aspects of our lives. Running as a family is a wonderful way to combine training with spending time together. Bryan, Tobias, and I run at different paces so we usually do our warm-up together and then go off on our separate runs, then meeting at the end. Tobias will run with me from time-to-time but if there is a race coming up and he needs to push his limits he goes with his Dad. Bryan travels extensively with his career so it is a perfect time for them to have those guy to guy chats.

my little runner

my little runner

Last spring I trained for my first half marathon, Tobias wasn’t able to run as far as I was going so I set out on my own one Saturday morning. About 15K into my run I heard a familiar voice shout “Hi Mom” and there he was on his bicycle. He told me that he was amazed at how far I ran and that it took him awhile to catch up. Next thing I knew Bryan, who was recovering from a nasty chest cold, was there on his bike with Kaia in tow. This gave me just that little spark I needed to keep going. One summer day Bryan watched Kaia while Tobias and I hit the trails near our home. We decided to go without a pre-set plan and be spontaneously adventurous. There are some beautiful side trails that weave in and out along the Grand River so we would just turn at a whim and see where we end up. At one point we were forced to turn around because the brambles were so thick that it was becoming extremely difficult not to mention a little hard on the legs. We do this from time to time and those runs really bring out my inner child.

A favourite memory is from my first 10K event—a very hilly trail run that took place one night in October. I am diabetic and I had a serious blood sugar crash around the 5K mark. I almost walked off the course because I had taken too much time to deal with that and wasn’t feeling well at all. Emotionally this run was taking its toll. The water stations had been taken down and the paramedic was sweeping the course behind me but I was determined to finish even if I was dead last. Just then, Tobias ran up to me and said that we were going to cross the finish line together. He had received permission to get back on the course to run with me and had a medal around his neck. I knew there were no finishing medals for this race and he told me he won first place for his age group. I was so proud of him for doing his best and I would have been even if he hadn’t been given an award. He told me that he was proud of me too. I fought back the tears because I was extremely moved that he came out to run with me. It made my night and turned what was a rough experience for me into one I will always cherish. It was in that moment I realized how running has brought us closer as a family.

What we have discovered is that introducing the kids to running was much easier than I could have imagined. By making it a part of our lifestyle and keeping it fun, our children seem to have embraced running and it has truly become a family affair. So, whether you are a seasoned runner about to enter into parenthood or you are a new runner trying to figure out how to balance training with a busy family life, perhaps you can find some inspiration from our little running family.

Do you run as a family? How do you get your kids and partner to share in your love of running?

Connect with the Toronto Yonge Street 10K Digital Champions team here!

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The new year is well under way and everyone in our family is back to the typical routines; school, work, and play. This morning the house was unusually quiet giving me the perfect opportunity to share my plans for 2014 with you.

It is always tempting with the promise and energy that comes with ringing in a new year to make the typical resolutions but I’ve learned over the years that being goal-oriented throughout the year works so much better for me. My plans are not entirely unlike what they have been in past years and I’ve already alluded to some of them over the last month.

"gotcha, Mom"

“gotcha, Mom”

Tobias will be 13 this year. Egads! I will be Mom to a teenager. It’s so hard for me to believe that the little guy in this photo has grown so quickly. It seems like yesterday that he was drenching me with that water gun. Kaia will turn 4 and she’ll be starting school in the Fall. That went fast too!  I enjoy motherhood immensely and I love passing on wisdom and life skills to my darlings. I am always learning new things from my children too. I believe that being able to learn from the those around me also makes me a good teacher. We’ll be participating in loads of outside stuff with the kids including the usual running, hiking, cycling, and camping.

I’m working towards running the Mississauga Marathon. I am running the half distance in that race as well and my intention is to knock a great deal off last year’s pace (21 minutes to be exact). Then, three weeks later, I will run the 25K at the arduous Sulphur Springs event. 25K will be a new personal distance record for me and my goal is simply to finish with a smile. Of course, there is also the race ambassador role that I have taken on—Digital Champion with CRS for the Toronto Yonge Street 10K. I’m having lots of fun with that and can’t wait until race day on April 13th, 2014. It is wonderful to be involved with such a great group of runners and the support from the other Digital Champions has been incredible.

I’ve started boxing and kick-boxing inspired workouts for cross-training and Bryan suggested that I could use a heavy bag as part of my workouts. I don’t want to be in the basement as the space is uninspiring, to say the least, so he suggested setting up a little training area in our backyard once things dry up in the late Spring. This way Kaia could play in the fresh air while I pound it out. I did a bit of yoga out there last summer and it was wonderful. We’ve also been talking about ropes and tires and other things that could be used outside to add some intensity to our training.

Living a healthy lifestyle which includes being active and eating a whole foods based diet will continue to be a big part of our lives. Being as healthy as we can is important to Bryan and I. We also strive to continue being positive role models for our children. This isn’t just about physical health but about the mind and the spirit too.  We make an effort to unplug the whole family from electronics and spend time together without that sort of distraction. 2014 will be no different in that regard. Speaking of which, we will be camping again this year. Last year we invested in bike-packing equipment and camped along Le P’tit Train du Nord in Quebec. The trip was a bit of an adventure but we learned so much from it and will return that region to explore some more. It will be interesting this year because Kaia will be on a Trail-A-Bike rather than in a child trailer. With that in mind, we will plan shorter days. We are also going to be camping and cycling with our dear friends Sandi and Phil as well as their son Tyrel. Funny I’ve known Sandi for decades and we have lived together but never camped together. We even have a spooky Halloween camping adventure planned.

I will be taking that climbing lesson and belay certification that I had planned for my last birthday. Sadly I had to cancel it because I broke my toes a few weeks before the date. I was much more disappointed than I expected to be. I’m considering a few other activities that I swore I’d never do, including zip lining. Did I mention that I am utterly terrified of gravity? Time to get over that!

From a business perspective, I finally closed GJ Studios and started a new company called Outdoor Adventure Press. The new identity suits the direction I am headed in career wise. I’m currently finishing up the manuscript for my third camping related cookbook after having to extend the project when my Mom passed away. It should hit shelves in early 2015 and I will be happy to share it with the world. The other two books continue to be fairly popular titles in their genre. I’m also launching a new outdoorsy related project that has an emphasis on children and families. This has been in the works for some time but writing the book took more time than anticipated. I will continue my freelance writing for outdoor publications and there will also be a few running related articles as the year progresses.

I’m curious to see what else this year has in store for my family and me. I love the fact that a new year is like a blank book just waiting for the pages to fill and the story to unfold.

Hello 2014!

So, tell me, what are your plans for this year?

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