2017 Running Goals

When I started to run seriously, I wasn’t shy about sharing my goals with just about everybody. I wanted to qualify for Boston.  Just about every runner who runs marathons dreams of attaining the elusive Boston qualifying time, to wear the jacket as a lifelong bragging right. I wanted it so bad it was the last thing I thought about at night and the first thing I thought about in the morning. I stuck up inspiring running quotes in my room and on the bathroom mirror. Everywhere I would look, I would have something inspiring to read. I even had a post it with my goal time taped to my mirror. It was always in my face. Always.


Hubby snapped this as we were on our run in Boston in November.

My goal race was the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in 2013. I was super pumped to get started and waiting to start felt like a lifetime. When I finally started I felt amazing and strong for the first 25km. I was even ahead of the 3:40 pace bunny (my goal time by the way), it was the best feeling ever. Then I hit 30km and I had a pain in my hip, but I shrugged it off and kept going.  Then the pain started to run down my leg and I had to stop and walk, then trot, then jog, then force myself to run, then walk again…..you get the idea. At 35km I wanted to call my husband and ask him to come pick me up but I didn’t, I kept going. The 3:40 pace bunny passed me while I dramatically held out one arm in an attempt to grab hold and have him drag me along.  At that point, I knew there was no PB and no Boston Qualifying (BQ) time that day. My goal at this point was to just finish the darn thing, which I did in 4:11. The pain in my hip was my Tensor Fasciae Latae (TFL) and it was incredibly angry at me because of what I later found out was my weak glutes. I swore that two marathons were enough and I would never ever run another one again. That is until the next year when I started training with my coach who was confident that I would get that BQ and then he convinced me as well. Things were going well on the marathon training program he laid out for me until the day I had a 35km long training run. I hit 28km and had a thought “I hate this”, but it was different than the usual “I hate this” when you’re in the middle of a multi-hour long run. I got in touch with my coach and was honest about how much I was hating the marathon distance training, I loved the strength work, the speed work and the cross training. I told him and anyone else who questioned “what about your BQ?”, that it wasn’t the year and I was making the switch to the half marathon as my distance. I’ve done great at 21km, my fastest time was 1:38 and I was well on my way to getting a sub 1:30 time.


Just about the cross the finish line during the Championship 5K race back in September. It was an amazing experience. No PB but a 2nd place Masters for my age category.

Fast forward to a few months ago when, like I do at the end of each race season, I talked with my coach about what I want for my 2017 race season. We went through my results for 2016 and it turns out that I had quite the successful season with 5 & 10ks. Together we decided that I should really stick to 5 & 10k races for 2017, and when I say together, I mean it. I was and still am really excited about how 2017 will pan out for me. 2016 was the first year that I started to compete as a Masters runner and I had some pretty successful results in the shorter distances.

I am excited for this new emphasis on “shorter” distances. My coach is excited, my husband is excited and my son is always excited no matter what. In his eyes I win every race, every time. I got some mixed responses when I announced it. I got a lot of “don’t worry, one day you will get that BQ”. Here’s the thing, I honestly don’t want that now. That was a goal from 4-5 years ago. Goals change, people change, people grow and it is ok. Getting a BQ does not and will not define me as a runner. In fact the work I have to do now is far more challenging than what I had to do for 42km, believe me. Having to go from zero to your fastest possible pace from the second that race starts is no easy feat. Being warmed up before a race is a whole new world at these distances – I’m good and sweaty from warm up sprints. You are pushing your body to your max, lungs burning, chest heaving, legs pumping and then just when you think you can’t do it much longer you cross the finish line and it is THE BEST FEELING EVER. For real. The best part is that while you are sore and tired, after a day or two of rest you are ready to go again. Unlike the half or full that requires me to hobble around for a week and avoid stairs like the plague.

Need to hear other reasons why racing shorter distances is awesome?

  • Your “hard long” runs are about 1.5hours. Tops.
  • No getting up at 6am to get a run in on the weekend. I can actually sleep longer and finish before my friends who started at 6
  • I don’t have to worry about gels, or water bottles. Just me and my phone (for selfies or course!)
  • No need to replace running shoes as often as I have been, which saves me money, which means ….that’s right, I can run more races!
  • I can train with my son. My son who will be 6 in April loves to run with me, I could never run a 20km + run with him, but 5km? Since he has already run that distance he is down to go for a run with me.
  • The strength and power you develop makes you feel like Wonder Woman
  • It is just plain bad ass!


So my friends, don’t pity me when you hear that I’m not running the half or a full.  I haven’t “given up” or “downgraded”. I have never once had the thought that I am not a “real runner”. I’m good.  In fact, I am better than good, trust me. I know not every race will be a PB, it never is, but it will be an exciting time as I train for the 2020 World Masters Championships, right here in Toronto.


During the Canada Running Series Zoo Run 10K. This was a training run and I won my age category and was the 5th Masters female overall.

Balance Wellness and Family

***originally posted on Huffington Post***

We live in a society where our days are filled with work, family obligations and a to-do list that seems to multiply as the hours tick by. In addition to our busy schedules we find ourselves constantly distracted by our smart phones, email, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope. Basically if it can distract us from what we have to get done, chances are, we will happily procrastinate in the deep abyss of social media. Now, if you happen to be a parent on top of everything else, you don’t stand a chance.

I am a mother of a 4.5 yr old boy and I will admit that my relationship with distraction started when my bundle of joy was a baby and I was up at ungodly hours.  It was my connection to the outside world beyond the unending cycle of feeding, diapers, laundry and cleaning until my husband walked through the door.

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Before I had my son I was an avid runner who was doing my teacher training to become a yoga instructor. I was going to a class called Body Conditioning By Dancers twice a week. I was active. I knew labour would take a physical toll, but then an emergency C-section turned me into someone who could barely get out of bed on her own. I longed to have my active lifestyle back and knew that I had to make some changes to get myself back on track.

It is easy for parents to fall into a pattern where they are just always on the go. Wake up, breakfast, feed kids, dress kids, get kids to daycare/school, rush to work – but stop at Starbucks to get a caffeine boost to get through to lunch, another caffeine boost to get through the afternoon, finish work, rush home to pick up kids, take kids to extracurricular activities, get kids home, dinner, homework, bath and bed. I know that feeling of saying goodnight to your little one and just wanting to collapse on the couch for about 5 minutes before falling asleep. You finally drag yourself to bed and start all over the next morning. What’s missing from all of this is one major important piece. Your overall wellness! As parents we are so busy taking care of everyone else that we let our own health slide. That needs to change. As the wise Elle Woods from Legally Blonde said “Exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy”

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Taking care of you creates a domino effect, before you know it your spouse is picking up on what you’re doing, your kids pick up on it, your colleagues are picking up on it, your boss is picking up on it, everyone has more energy and everyone is happier, calmer and honestly a lot more fun to be around. So where do you start? It doesn’t have to cost you much to bring back wellness in your life.


  1. Parent to a baby/toddler: Use them as your very own gym prop!
    Hold them as you squat.
    Use them as a weight for bicep curls or an overhead press.
    Put them down and get into a push up position each time those elbows bend, give your little one a kiss. You could also check out Toronto Yoga Mamas for classes you can bring your babe to.
    Once they are old enough to be in a jogging stroller (usually about 7-8 months since this is when your little one’s neck is strong enough), strap them in and go for a run
  2. Kindergarten to middle school age: Once your little one no longer has to be in a stroller, get walking as family, or yoga as a family, hiking as a family. Kids learn from example if they see you doing it, chances are they will want to too. There are loads of run events where kids can take part with their parents, like Canada Running Series for starters
  3. Regardless of how old your child/children are: Finding time to get out on your own and move is so important. Most yoga studios offer an introductory month offer where you can attend as many classes as you can/would like to. Maybe register for Class Pass. It allows you to browse a plethora of fitness and yoga studios. Not in your budget? Put those social media skills to work as a way to learn about free events happening in your neighbourhood. Tribe Fitness or Lululemon as an example offer free yoga/fitness classes and run groups.
  4. Short on time: between your long to do list? Workouts like tabata or HIIT will give you fast results in a short amount of time.
  5. Corporate yoga/fitness: There are quite a few yoga/fitness instructors (ahem…me 😉 ) who do corporate classes and will come to your place of work to teach private, semi-private or group classes. You don’t even need to leave your office, just your desk.
  6. Meal prep: this is HUGE. All the activity in the world doesn’t matter if you and your family aren’t eating right. I like to spend time on Sunday planning meals for the week. Meals that include everything to give you a well-balanced meal. What can also help with this? A crockpot. A crockpot will become a good friend. When you get up in the morning put all your ingredients in there and set the timer. Come home hours later to a warm cooked nutritious, delicious meal.

These are just a few steps to help bring wellness back into your life. What’s not on the list? Surround yourself with people who want to help you succeed and enlist the help of friends and/or your spouse/partner. Before you know it your positive energy and outlook will result in a happier, more efficient you. Not just at home, but at work, your productivity will increase. It’s a win – win situation.

Finally, once you have planned your week and your meals, remember to be present: “Most humans are never fully present in the now, because unconsciously they believe that the next moment must be more important than this one. But then you miss your whole life, which is never not now, and that’s a revelation for some people: to realize that your life is only ever now” ~ Eckhart Tolle



Confession Time


I have a confession to make. I didn’t always love yoga; in fact, I didn’t really like it very much. The first time I did a yoga class was in university (where I was a dance major) back in the 90’s. I hated it. I didn’t understand all the inhales and exhales through my nose, and savasana? Don’t even get me started on my thoughts on “just” lying there at the end of class. Fast forward to sometime in the 2000’s, I was working as a dancer on cruise ships and I was living in LA for rehearsals. A group of dancers & singers would get together for a yoga class every now and then. This time I didn’t hate it, but I still didn’t get it.  It seemed like we always did our class right when I was starving and couldn’t concentrate on anything other than my stomach wanting all the food. Fast forward again to me back in Toronto and no longer dancing. I started taking a lunchtime Ashtanga class, the first class was tough, but I loved how athletic the class was and so I went back. It wasn’t long before I was practicing Ashtanga 3 times a week . I was still figuring out the breathing, but savasana became amazing.

I started to really love going to class and getting on my mat. I loved being able to leave class and feel like I was floating because when I practiced all my worries just went away. All that mattered was me and my mat. It made sense for me to get certified as a teacher. I went to Downward Dog since I loved Ashtanga and it was the perfect match for me. As a former dancer, I loved all the anatomy behind what we were learning. I found myself connecting more with that part of the practice and the more I was learning, the more excited I was about the idea of teaching.  As soon as I got my certificate I was hungry to get teaching.

For the two years or of teaching I always felt like I was playing the part of a yoga teacher. I didn’t feel authentic. So I started to pay attention to the classes that I found myself at again and again. As a result of that, I got certified as a Jock Yoga teacher. I loved classes where I was being really challenged athletically. So, my teaching started to reflect that…..but I realized something was still missing. I was a dancer for most of my life, starting when I was 3, until I stopped performing at 30. I loved moving my body and challenging how I moved my body, so why not bring that into my yoga teaching and sequencing? So I started.

When I put my classes together I think of it like I am choreographing a dance.  The music, the movements are a puzzle to be pieced together. I like to link poses together and move through pose after pose, with each side lasting about 10-20 minutes each (depending on the length of the class). Moments where I flow and moments where I like being still, moving deeper into each pose. The more honest I started to become in my approach to how I taught my classes, the more fun and  passionate I became about my teaching and I wanted to share my style with as many people as possible. I mean let’s be honest; there are a lot of us yoga teachers here in the city. We aren’t re inventing the wheel so we need to find our niche, what makes us…us! I like to take chances and push things a bit and, dare I say, rock the boat a little.










You want to know some more truths about me? I am not just a yoga teacher. I am a wife, mother and a runner, who runs many races a year. 2015 I raced 9 races alone (5 of which were half marathons). Running is incredibly important to me, so in order to be at my best on race day, I have a run coach who has me hitting the gym along with training runs each week.


What else? There are actually a lot of things in yoga that my body can’t physically do. Everyone is built differently; we all have bones and joints stacked in a different way. I used to get really down about what I couldn’t do, until I realized it really doesn’t matter. If I can’t do it, why do it? It doesn’t mean I will never be able to do certain things, it just means that I am good with where I am in my practice now, and isn’t that what it should be about? More truths? Are you ready? I am a yoga teacher and I like red wine, I like red meat, I love reality TV and will happily watch The Bachelor each season. There are some days where my practice is a few sun salutations because that is what my body needs. I like to play a variety of music and lately you may even hear some Drake in my classes, because why not? For me it is about moving your body, strengthening your body and your mind. It’s about how your body feels when you stretch and lengthen. It’s about not worrying about anything for however long you are on your mat and letting your breath guide you. It is about taking time for you. I love teaching athletically challenging classes that will have you working up a sweat, break some “yoga rules”, build your strength and have you leave with some serious yoga brain! Because come on, who doesn’t love some good yoga brain?

I hope to #seeyouonthemat soon 🙂


Train with Grains ~ Banana Blueberry Chocolate chip muffins


As a mom of a very active 4 year old, I am often on the go.  Teaching my yoga classes, hitting the gym for strength training or out for training runs in between all the other “mom” things I need to do keeps me busy on a daily basis. As a result, I am not the best at having healthy snacks to throw in my bag. I am scoring high points with meals on a regular basis, but snacks, not so much. My little guy will be content with bananas or apples or blueberries…really any fruit and this kid will inhale it all and I usually have a bag of almonds in my bag, but sometimes I want more. That is when I cave in and hit up the closest Starbucks for their Banana/Chocolate chip muffin…..I know, I know, you don’t even need to say it. But it is so good, especially when they warm it up for you. I can’t help it, it is a guilty pleasure, especially as a treat the day after a race. I am not alone right? No? Just me? Alrighty then….

This began my quest to find a healthy guilt free muffin recipe. A muffin where I would enjoy eating the entire thing and not just the muffin top – Seinfeld anyone? Again, just me? Well I found a recipe that is so, so, so good and ticks all my must haves for a healthy muffin treat.

Banana Blueberry Chocolate Chip Muffins. Zero flour, zero white sugar, zero oil.  Just all good and all delicious melt-in-your-mouth-give-me-more-I-want-all-the-muffins!

They were quick and easy to make. I will generally ignore a recipe if the ingredient list is too long or if the time to make it is too long, but this was perfect. They are great to eat on the way to the gym or to teach, or as a great snack after I have completed a training run. The best part, they are also 100% kid approved, he doesn’t miss the flour or white sugar one bit 🙂











  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups rolled oats (old fashioned or quick)
  • ¼ cup brown sugar (I use Giddy YoYo raw cane juice crystals)
  • 1½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ cup chocolate chips, mini or regular (I used a little less than ½ and then piled in the blueberries)
    • Since the original recipe is just banana and chocolate chips, I went crazy with the blueberries! Pile in as many as you want 🙂 But be sure to add them after you have mixed everything together.


  1. Preheat oven to 400F and prepare a muffin pan by spraying cavities with cooking spray or lining them with paper liners**. Set aside.
  2. Add all ingredients except for chocolate chips to a blender or food processor and process on high until oats are broken down and batter is smooth and creamy. Stir in chocolate chips by hand.
  3. Pour batter into prepared muffin pan, filling each cavity until it is about ¾ full. Optional: sprinkle a few chocolate chips over the top of each muffin.
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the tops of your muffins are set and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow muffins to cool in pan for ~10 minutes before removing. Store in an air-tight container for up to a week.


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** If using paper liners, you’ll want to spray them with cooking spray as well, since the lack of oil in these muffins could make them stick to the liners after baking.

Be sure to check out the Good in Every Grain website for more RECIPES

Share your favourite pre or post run snack or meal on Twitter or Instagram usuing the hashtag #TrainWithGrains for your chance to win a $50 “Good In Every Grain” prize pack!







When I first started running seriously, I decided that running a marathon was something I wanted to scratch off my bucket list. Why not right? Who needs to start small with a 10k when you can go full throttle?! I figured since I used to run with my dad growing up and I did track when I was 12, it would be a breeze! Obviously, I was super naive and I had no clue what I was getting myself into. But I started training…badly. But I trained. Race day I was severely under trained but stubborn enough to push myself to finishing in just under 5 hours. Injured (obviously), I took time off from running until I started to run again for fitness a few months later.

Fast forward to the Spring of 2009, that was when I met my husband. On our third date he had just ran a 10k race and I realized how much I missed it. We started running together training for a fall 10k, that lead to more 10k’s, a 10 miler, and a half marathon. Now here I am with a plethora of medals, that my son loves to play with, for many half marathons, 5k’s, 10k’s, another marathon. I even started working with a coach to take my running to the next level.

In the fall of 2014, I made the decision to stick to the half marathon as my furthest distance and I started enjoying running even more than when I had been marathon training. Running for me has always been my way to escape and clear my mind, it’s my meditation and when I do my best thinking. As a yoga teacher who teaches many power classes in a week, I often say “I thought of this as I was running”. To be able to move and feel and see my body getting stronger has only increased my love of running even more.

This photo was taken during the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (Half) in October of 2014, it was the race that brought my half marathon time to sub 1:40. By far my proudest running  moment! I know that there are bigger moments just waiting to happen.

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Thank you running for showing me the strength inside of me, for keeping me moving and improving, not just athletically but personally as well.

Thank you running for showing my 4 year old how much fun it is to get your legs moving. He has already run an 800m and a 2.5km race, and he wants to run more and more 🙂



Share your thank you running story via Twitter or Instagram or by uploading your story at thankyourunning.com with Brooks Running (@BrooksRunning). You could win a trip for 2 to Amsterdam for the 2016 European Athletic Championships! Don’t forget the hashtag…#thankyourunning

Start sharing 🙂

Nike Women’s 15k recap

Nike jump shot

Not my best jump shot, but this was at the end of racing a 15k race, so not too shabby

I have been a long time supporter of all things Nike, for about the last ten years to be specific. I watched with envy as San Francisco and Washington hosted women only Nike events, so when I found out that Nike was bringing their race series to Toronto I was more than a little excited. I registered for the race as part of team Tribe Fitness Tribe Strong. The race took place on Toronto Island, which is awesome for me since I live very close to the ferry terminal.

This race was more than a race, it was a 4 day epic event with Nike creating their own village at Harbourfront (again, awesome since I live so close).  A giant store was put up where you could purchase limited edition Nike Toronto run clothing was well as shoes and a plethora of other Nike workout clothes. Let’s just say I had to restrain like I have never restrained before….after I bought 2 tank tops, a sweatshirt and a new pair of shoes, the LunaRacer 3’s. They also had a studio set up on a barge, named the Crystal Coliseum, where they offered NT+C classes from Thursday – Sunday.  I personally didn’t take any classes, as both coach and I wanted to be sure that I wasn’t exhausting my body any more than it would be in a typical week of teaching yoga and training.

The day before the race I did a shakeout run with Nike that took off from Sport Chek in Maple Leaf Square. It was a short, easy run of just a couple of kms. Afterwards I headed home to get my usual day before race lunch from IQ Foods. I love having the Lima box with quinoa 🙂 . I usually will just relax after lunch, watch movies, nap. But this time I went to a bridal shower of a friend. I made sure to stick to snacking on the veggies, no pastries or desserts for me (which was hard, as this bridal shower was stunning with a ton of delicious food!) Once I got home, I got everything ready for race day before my usual pre race dinner of salmon, asparagus, mushrooms and sweet potato. Dessert was a few squares of dark chocolate. I was in bed and fast asleep by about 10pm

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Pre race with some of the Tribe ladies

Race day, I was up at 5am (I can never sleep the night before a race) to get ready. I was on the 6:40am ferry over to the island so I made my pre race breakfast of white rice, quinoa, banana, peanut butter and cinnamon and put it in a take-out container to bring with me. I wanted to be sure that I had my breakfast by about 7 – 7:15am since I was in the first wave and was starting at 9:30am. I met up with Tribe teammates and hung out until the usual pre-race potty breaks began around 8:15am. That’s when I headed towards my wave and started to warm up. I listened to some pump up music while warming up. In case you’re wondering, some of my favourites on this list are:

Lose Yourself – Eminem
All I do is Win – DJ Khaled (feat T-Pain, Ludacris, Snoop Dogg & Rick Ross)
Turn Down for What – DJ Snake & Lil Jon

Right off the top it was crowded and it took a bit to get around people, but once I did I was able to settle into a 4:30/km pace. The grassy parts of the route were pretty squishy and soft due to the all the rain, and the dirt path was more mud path, so these parts of the route slowed me down a bit. By far, the coolest part of the route was being on the runway of the Island airport. Around the 9.5 – 10k part of the route my vision started to go funny – squiggly lines and dots – and it only got worse when I started to panic about it happening. I have had this happen to me a few times in the past, twice in my dancing days and once during a workout. What I have done in the past is eat something with sugar and after a bit it goes away. I had a small water bottle with me on race day containing watered down blueberry/pomegranate juice with raw honey, so I sipped some of that. That helped a bit, it was still there, just not as severe. Seeing my husband and son at the 10k and again at the 14k parts of the route was just what I needed! I kept pushing myself and gave everything I had for the last km and crossing the finish line was a huge relief. I felt like my lungs were going to explode for most of the race and because the rain finished and the sun came out, it was actually muggy and humid while I was running. Not long after I finished, the rain started again and I was freezing. With my husband and son with me we headed back to the ferry.

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I would love to tell you what Km this was, but I can’t remember. But I have my usual race face on.

My goal was to run the 15k in 1:05-1:07, I finished in 1:11, while not the time I was hoping for I have been trying to not get too down about it. I placed 26/1171 in my category which isn’t too bad.

After talking to my coach, we think we may have pinpointed the reason why I was seeing spots. I have noticed that lately my breathing during races is quite labored; really short breaths with heavy breathing out of my mouth. So the plan is to start incorporating my yoga breathing a little bit more and hopefully I can get back on track with getting some serious PB’s.

Overall Nike did such an amazing job; 10,000 runners + family/friends + staff and it was so organized – from the Village at Harbourfront to the ferry to everything they had over on the island. Getting that Tiffany necklace, and seeing a friendly familiar face, the lovely Eva Redpath (Nike’s Canada’s Master Trainer. I have taken her classes for years!) who I haven’t seen in months! Was pretty sweet and the perfect way to finish off a great weekend. After a complete rest day where I binged watched Rookie Blue, I am back to my training. I am moving on and focusing on the rest of my race season. #ontothenextone

Thanks again Nike for a great event 🙂 #betterforit



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VERY happy to finish!

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Seeing my husband and my little guy with his sign he made at pre school made my day!




Find Your Zen


As a yoga teacher/runner living and working in downtown Toronto, I am always excited to hear about cool events happening in my neighborhood and this event taking place at the end of the month at Leon’s Roundhouse is no exception.

I have been living in downtown Toronto for quite some time and I walk around a lot, but I have never been in the Leon’s Roundhouse store.  Whether it is a training run or on my way to/from a Jays game, I always think to myself that I want to check it out,  but it’s never the right time.  I am always on the lookout for home décor advice for my condo. Leon’s Roundhouse offers beautiful, affordable and contemporary home furnishing and décor options perfect for both condo and home owners. It seems silly to not go when it’s practically in my backyard.  Well Leon’s has finally given me the perfect reason to  get through the front door, by offering FREE YOGA!

On Saturday, June 27th, you can find your zen and liberate your mind and home from clutter.  There are three different yoga classes that are 60 min in length,  (9:00am, 10:15am and 11:30am with instructors Laurie Campbell, Sheldon Shannon and Naomi Zahler). Did I mention that it’s a FREE? I’ve signed up to attend the 11:30am class. The yoga will take care of your mind, BUT what about the home clutter? They are offering FREE one on one Feng Shui consultations, just bring your home décor photos and you will get advice to find your zen at home. You will also get free smoothies and fresh pressed juice. You will leave Leon’s with a new sense of calm and a free yoga mat. There is so much FREE going on here it is crazy!

What a neat idea for an event.  It’s no secret that your mental state is often a reflection of your surroundings; so having a messy, disorganized living environment can affect your mood and mental wellbeing. That’s why Leon’s is helping Torontonians free their mind, body and space.

It is super easy to sign up for, just click this LINK make sure you RSVP for the time you want to attend 🙂 I hope to see some of you  there!

P.S: While everything is free, a donation to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada is encouraged and can be made on the Facebook registration page or at Leon’s Roundhouse.