Love and Running With My Husband

Lisa-Blog-2-STWMI love my husband, I do. He truly is my best friend, love of my life and all that other cheesy stuff that makes people roll their eyes. But when it comes to running, the gloves come off. There is no sweet talk, no terms of endearment, just me versus him (and of course thousands of other people) on the open road. We are serious about our competition, so much so that we even compete over who has the better GPS watch.

When I first met Jeff in 2009, I was on a brief break from running. I had developed intense IT band pain while running the 2008 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, so running any distance was unbearable and I chose to just take a break. But Jeff was training for the Sporting Life 10k and on our fourth date – the night of that race – as he was talking about the event, I realized that I wanted to get back at it. So we started having running dates to train together for the Zoo Run, which led to the 10 miler, and so on and so on. We started out being friendly with it all. He would be there by my side pacing me, encouraging me and not letting me quit. That all changed the day I ran a 10k race without him and finished 15 minutes faster than I had in our training runs.  Ever since it has been all about who will run stronger and faster. We always start in the same corral, but we won’t stand together. We kiss each other and wish one another luck and then one of us will walk off and find our own starting spot. Once we cross the finish we meet each other to swap times “race stories”.

Now here is the reality check, he is a man, I am a woman…..yeah, obvious right? He is also 5’9” and around 180lbs. I am 5’2” and…..well let’s just say substantially less. I mean it is simple science that he is stronger and faster because of his weight and height alone so I will always have to pump my legs much harder to get a faster time, the same time or even a time that is anywhere close to his.  So he may always get a faster time, but when it comes to placing, he’s got nothing on this girl. I always place higher in my age group (and sometimes even win!).

Once I got pregnant and I had to get used to running while growing a human inside me, my time slowed down and we started training & racing together again.  We knew that opportunities to go for leisurely training runs together would be few and far between once we welcomed the new addition to our family, so we wanted to take advantage while we could. The last race I ran before I had my son was the Zoo Run (at about 17 weeks pregnant and under strict instructions from my doctor) and I had to slow my pace down drastically, but running right next to me was my guy. He had come to the race with a goal time and totally let it go once we got to the start. He ran next to me every step and even insisted that we cross the finish line at the same time – to avoid one of us beating the other by mere seconds. At the end of that run, I had the fabulous idea that we should run compete at the Scotiabank half marathon the fallowing fall. I had grand visions of me being on maternity leave and training everyday while I pushed our son in the jogging stroller. That dream quickly came to a halt when, after finally recovering from child birth enough to start running again, we were told that I couldn’t run with said jogging stroller until our little man was 7-8 months because – duh! – He needs to have enough neck strength to be able to hold his head up as I am speeding around Toronto. I think I ran maybe 20k total(!) during my training for this 21K race, so I was basically going into it with zero training. We woke up on race day and while he felt amazing, I was a nervous wreck. Once again, Jeff gave up his goal time to drag me through 21k and once again he held my hand as we crossed the finish.

I am happy to report that the competition is back on track. I renewed my dedication to running after that race and got really serious when I signed up for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon earlier this year. Our little guy has had lots of strong muscles for quite some time now  and loves yelling “FASTER!” when getting pushed in the jogging stroller. When I ran a half marathon by myself earlier this year in a time of 1:42, the look on Jeff’s face said it all – “Oh dear God, she might actually run faster than me”. He literally got up the next morning and still gets up 5 days a week at 5:30 am to get in his training runs.  So of course I get up as soon as he gets back and head out for mine. You can smell our determination, neither one of us refusing to slack for fear that the other will outrun the other by a drastic amount. We are both training for the Scotiabank Waterfront in October, he is running the half, and I the full. So as far as I am concerned, I win no matter what J.

In all seriousness, I am thankful that while my father inspired me to start running, my husband (along with our little man) inspires me to keep going, getting stronger mentally and physically every day. We may not be racing together on October 20th, but I am looking forward to seeing him waiting at the finish (because he is running half the race 😉 ), cheering me on and when we run into each other’s arms, the first thing I will say to him will be “what was your time?”

 

 

 

Yoga For Runners

yogaforrunners_banner

Yoga and running. These two forms of physical activity couldn’t be any further from one another on the exercise spectrum, but together they can help any runner reach new personal bests through breath and stretching that strengthen the whole body. By introducing yoga into your training, I can guarantee that you will offset the effects of running’s one- dimensional nature AND as an added bonus you and running will live happily ever after.

As a yoga instructor I can’t tell you how many times I have heard the following excuse reason why one does not have a yoga practice “I’m not flexible enough”. To anyone who says this I say “Ah, heck to the no”. Yoga is not just for people who can wrap their leg around their head, it is about the journey towards touching your toes (or wrapping your leg around your head – if that’s what you’re in to) and allowing your breath to carry you from one position to the next.   As runners, we often forget about the breathing part, especially when faced with those pesky things called hills. Instead of focusing on our breathing, we often hold our breath till we reach the top. Let me ask you a question, when you do that, how do you feel once you reach the top? Tired, heart racing, and maybe like you can’t go on? Whatever you are feeling, I am sure that it falls into the negative category. With something as simple as proper breathing, you will find that you can calmly run one kilometre to the next – including hills, with ease.

As runners, we experience a ton of pounding, tightening and shortening of the muscles and not enough restorative, elongating and loosening work.  The body starts to compensate to avoid injury by working around any instability, which means our body compensates by putting stress on muscles, joints and the entire skeletal system. If you’re off balance, every step you take forces the muscles to work harder. Tight muscles get tighter and weak muscles don’t have a chance to strengthen, and this is when you end up spending more time in recovery than in training.

Runners can use yoga to develop strength, increase range of motion, and train the body and mind.  You learn how to coordinate your breath with each subtle movement. The result is that your body, mind, and breath are integrated in all actions. Through consistent yoga conditioning you can engage, strengthen and correct muscle imbalances which will improve posture and help with recovery. Mental focus is also extremely important for us distance runners and yoga has a meditative component that can help keep you calm and focused through any training run and/or race.

From personal experience, I can vouch that if you only run during training for a race, you are not giving yourself your best chance on race day. When I last ran the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon back in 2008, all I did was concentrate on adding miles and speed (putting my regular yoga practice on hold), and wouldn’t you know it, that failed me.  At the 24km mark, I developed tremendous IT band pain and spent the rest of the race in agonizing pain. Since adding regular yoga classes (in addition to teaching) into my training routine I have become a new runner. I am more in tune with my body; I spend more time training and less time resting/recovering. I am stronger, and on race day I am not only physically ready, I am mentally ready.

Still think that the benefits to yoga for runners are overstated? How does this grab you; with a straighter spine, a stronger core and better focus — you’ll find that you will become a more efficient runner.

Check out Get Fit in the City where I take you through a short yoga flow you can do at home. You can also join me on Sunday, July 7th  at Chopra Yoga Centre, for a special Yoga for Runners Workshop, click on events and then scroll to the bottom.

**until then you can look for my name on the schedule (Lisa Davidson) and drop in for one of my other classes**

See you on the mat/pavement.

Photo Credit: Eva Redpath BCBD Retreat, Cabo San Lucas 2013

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Energybits Review

Energybits reviewSince my horrendous experience with gels a few years ago, I have been on a mission to find a product that I could stomach and give me a much needed boost during long training runs and races.

There has been quite a bit of chatter on twitter the last few months about Energybits. I was intrigued, so I looked into it. I have to be honest, when I first read that Energybits were algae….I almost threw up right then and there. I mean really? Algae?? I put off trying these “bits” for awhile but after a horrible 15K run, which was supposed to be longer, but I had to cut short due to hunger and a lack of energy, I finally gave in and decided to give Energybits a try.

I received my sample from the kind folks in Boston a week later. I woke up one morning for my usual training run, I got dressed, I laced up and then I opened the tin that contained the bits. First impressions….I felt I was about to pop fish food into my mouth. Following the directions, I swallowed 30 and 10 minutes later I was out the door. I was especially tired that morning. My legs were sore from a tough strength training session the day before, but as I was running I was thrilled with how my alert I was and how I was able to push myself a little bit faster as I ran.  When I got home and looked at my Garmin to see my time, I was shocked and thrilled to see that I shaved 2 minutes off my usual 10K time, and I didn’t feel wiped out at all. In that moment, I knew I was hooked on these little green bits.

A little bit of information for you. Straight from the Energybits website:

Algae is no overnight success. It was the first plant life on earth 2 billion years ago and it’s thanks to algae, we have oxygen on earth. So just imagine what it can do for you and your body.  They are 100% green, 100% nutrition, 100% natural and 100% carbon neutral.

Spirulina Algae has been used by Olympic athletes for over 50 years! 50 years. Heck, if it works for Olympians, and I’m a wanna be olympian..sign me up! Spirulina algae’s benefits include:

  • Increasing Energy – Check!
  • Increasing Endurance – Check!
  • Increasing Stamina – Check!
  • Increasing Mental Focus – Heck yeah check!
  • Increasing High Quality Protein –  Check!

So will I be ordering some more for myself? Of course, and I will be frantically checking my mailbox until that little package arrives. Thank you so much to the team at Energybits, you have made me a “Bits Believer” 🙂

Curious about these little bits yet? You can receive a 10% discount on your order by entering the word “BLOG” into the website coupon box.

Have you tried Energybits yet? What did you think?

Toronto Yonge Street 10K – AKA #TYS10K

I am an athlete, I am a runner. For quite some time I didn’t see myself as these two things, but I have embraced them and I am proud to call myself both now. Back in elementary school, I was the starter on the relay team for Track and Field. I loved standing on the track, adrenaline rushing through my body while I waited for that gun to go off, and when it did I ran like I never ran before. Fast forward to 2008 when I signed up for my first marathon (the Scotiabank Waterfront Marathon) and I was completely naïve about running. At the time I was simply crossing something off my bucket list and I never thought for one second that I would be signing up for race after race, training hard and talking about things like PB’s (personal bests), Garmin watches, interval training, hill training etc. But here I am Toronto and I am here to stay.

On Sunday, April 21st I took part in the Toronto Yonge Street 10K. I have run it in the past, and I have enjoyed it every time. This year was different. Awhile back I was asked by Canada Running Series to be a Digital Champion for the run; basically all of us who were asked were ambassadors for the run via social media. Our job was to spread the love and inspire others to sign up, a job I took seriously. As a yoga teacher, I am always striving to inspire people to reach their goals, so it was a position that came naturally to me.

Then six days before the run, the heartbreaking, senseless tragedy took place at the finish line of the Boston Marathon (a run that is a personal goal of mine to run). I sat glued to the TV devastated, not only because of just how horrible it all was, but because I felt a special connection to the site of this disaster.  As a runner, I have experienced the joy and jubilation that one experiences as they sprint towards that finish line, knowing that the goal has almost been attained.  Plus, Boston is one of my favourite places to visit. I love everything about the city and have walked down Bolyston St. and passed that (now) infamous finish line numerous times.boston finish I knew that I wanted to pay tribute to Boston in some way. My husband – who is a runner himself – and I decked ourselves out in blue and yellow and wore T-shirts that said “TORONTO RUNS FOR BOSTON #TYS10K” (thanks to fellow digital champion Steve Layton for the design.)  We were photographed by Craig Cassar of Get Out There Magazine at the finish line and we had fellow runners asking to take our photo, smiling, or giving us thumbs up. There was a general consensus on Sunday; we were all running for Boston.

Finish line GOTM

For anyone looking for a 10K to break into the race scene with, this is definitely the run for you. It is also perfect for the seasoned runner looking for a PB (see, there’s that runner talk again). A course that is all downhill, apart from 2 slight inclines, will certainly help that.  And hey, when else can you cruise down Yonge Street without getting stuck in traffic or weaving in and out of crowds of people?? Everything from the starting line, finish line and the 10K in between was smooth, organized and FUN. I got my medal at the end and noticed that it said “Live long and prosper” on it.

TYS10K medal

I’m no Star Trek nerd, but it made me smile and to the organizers – you can count on it.

I know what some of you are wondering, did she get her PB? I did, 45min. Not only that but the Digital Champion mixed team came third and I was the top female. AND in the all women’s team competition, the Digital Champions came second, and I was top female there as well.

Overall I am happy…..well maybe not totally, I know I can shave off 2-3 min at least! 😉

Once again, thank you Canada Running Series for an amazing run, I am still on a high, and thank you for having me as a Digital Champion, I look forward to doing it again.

Transformation, Digital Champion and Chopra..oh my!

A week ago I returned from a transformation retreat with an incredible group of BCBD women. We spent a week in Cabo San Lucas, starting our days with meditation and yoga smack dab in between the ocean and pool. We followed that with a delicious breakfast, a breakfast so good that sadly I have not come close to making oatmeal that delish. We then got our butts handed to us by the lovely Eva Redpath in a BCBD bootcamp style class; I would run to lunch afterwards!

First day on the beach squatting…as you do.

beach squatA group shot of us girls after working hard!

BCBD girls

 

 

 

 

We would enjoy some down time by the pool or lounging in a hammock before getting together for some pretty emotional coaching sessions. I may or may not have cried multiple times. Last but not least a 4K run at sunset  (or sunrise one morning) on our very own private beach, and of course dinner.

This was my second year taking part in this incredible adventure, and my second year having the opportunity to share my passion of teaching yoga!

teaching yoga

 

 

 

 

It was my second year of setting and sharing goals. This year however I know that I am strong enough and in the right place to be held accountable for all the goals that I have set. Maybe it is the boost of confidence I have now after landing a teaching job at the gorgeous Chopra Yoga studio, and having an amazing opportunity to inspire people to run and join the Toronto Yonge Street 10K as a digital champion. Yoga and running are just two things that I am passionate about, and what I want to motivate and inspire people to do more of. Being where I am right now is simply amazing, and it just makes me realize how much more I want!

My days are now spent preparing classes to teach each week, and of course preparing playlists for those classes, planning my runs (both with and without my almost 2 year old son in a jogging stroller), being a mom, a wife and being honest about what I’m feeling and what I need. Life is too short to spend your days unhappy, angry and bitter. My vision board that I made on the retreat sits on my nightstand where I see it not just before I go to bed or wake up in the morning, but multiple times a day. It is a constant reminder that I am strong enough to go after what I want, need and deserve.

I have huge goals for running and yoga. I thank Chopra for bringing me on as a teacher and Canada Running Series for bringing me on as a Digital Champion for the Toronto Yonge Street 10K – anyone who follows me on twitter I’m sure has seen many tweets ending in #TYS10K….now you know why. Spread the love and join a great race, while you are at it, come on out to Chopra to stretch out 🙂 ! And of course thank you to the lovely ladies I went away with, and thank you to Eva our leader.

I know that big things are coming my way and I am 100% ready for it.

Bad Mom

moms smarter than dads

 

 

 

 

 

From the moment you get a positive pregnancy test result and you share your excitement with the world, you get an overload of information from well meaning friends and family (maybe even some of the non-family and friend variety.) Whoever it is, the “advice” doesn’t stop.

Like.

Ever.

Everything from sleepers, to the reasons why you MUST breast feed (because there is no other option), to whether or not you should find out the sex to which stroller to buy.  Literally anything and everything.

Then you have your bundle of joy and you think it will stop and be replaced with some love and joy.

N to the O!

That’s when it becomes how long they should sleep in your room and how hard you should be patting them during burping.  It also means talking about all the classes and programs that you must join, because your 2 month old baby really needs the social interaction even though he can barely sit up.

Then they turn one and you think, ok he’s a toddler now it must stop right?  No, it just turns into “HE’S NOT IN DAYCARE?” (said with a horrified look like I just told them I feed him Mars bars and Twinkies all day everyday)  “Is he in any programs for social interaction?  You don’t want him to be a social outcast, do you?”  Then I start to feel guilty about only having him in two programs, all the while I’m thinking, if I want my son to turn into a mature, responsible person wouldn’t I want him to spend time with mature responsible adults instead of a bunch of other screaming kids that hit and bite and scream?

Here’s my deal. I had trouble breastfeeding, meaning I was not producing enough to feed my child, so I made the decision to start supplementing with formula and pump so that he would still get some breast milk. However the more I pumped, the less there was, and my day turned into constant attempts of futile pumping and stress over not being able to feed him “the best thing I could feed him”.  I would constantly hear how I needed to keep trying because it is so much better for him and so convenient for you.  I heard it all and I was getting more and more upset and stressed. Looking back, I don’t regret for one second my decision to feed my son formula. Of course I wanted to breast feed but I couldn’t, so what was I supposed to do? Let him starve?

I am made to feel guilty about my decisions as a mom quite often. Not always with words, sometimes with looks. Whatever it is, I am made to feel guilty. When I went back to running, yoga and body conditioning classes three weeks after he was born, I had to deal with the horror from others like I had left him home alone and unattended. Going away on fitness retreat? How could I? You want to know how? I do it because I don’t want my son to grow up feeling that I resent him because I gave things up or “sacrificed” for him. I think that living my life to the fullest, the way I did before he was born, sets a positive example. He will grow up watching my husband and I going on work trips, going to concerts, going away on adults only getaways, etc. and he will know that we will always come back and we come back stronger and happier. This is just a small part of helping him to grow into a successful, happy, independent man.

Here are my “bad mom” confessions.

I’m not a crafty mom.  There, I said it.  I colour and that is about as crafty as I get. Will I get better at it? Maybe.  Never say never, right?  (but don’t hold your breath)

I let him watch TV – Curious George, Super Why and Sesame Street – so go ahead tell me that I am destroying his brain cells. We all know deep down that sometimes letting them watch some TV is a saving grace.

I don’t do baking; I order cakes, cupcakes etc from my favorite bakeries. I know my strengths and baking is not one of them. Again, will that change in the future? If he comes to me when he is a little older and says that he really, really wants to bake a birthday cake for his dad, then we will do it together. However, I can promise you that it will not look pretty at all. In fact it will most likely be lopsided and a total mess.

I am not with him 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!!! I am a firm believer in setting examples, and running, yoga, fitness classes, are nothing but positive examples for him. Do I miss him when I am not with him? Of course!

These are just a few of my “bad mom” confessions, but I can guarantee that making all of his food from scratch, making sure he gets loads of fruits and veggies daily, making sure he drinks water as his main beverage, having a strict bedtime routine (that includes a bath daily – yes daily), teaching him everything from manners to letters & numbers, to swimming, patience, animals & the sounds they make, to downward dog and upward dog, and everything in between more than makes up for what some may call my “shortcomings.”

My son is 21 months.  He knows his letters and he knows what a hippo, panda and a plethora of other animals are. He is fiercely independent and wants to do it all on his own. He sometimes does not stop talking about everything he sees and is absorbing. All of this and so much more is all the evidence I need that all those naysayers are wrong. I will continue to smile and nod when I get any “advice” and if you think I’m a bad mom, then I must be the best damn bad mom there is.

Oh and one more thing, I don’t change for anyone.

children responsibilityi am not your friend parent

Get Fit in the City, Episode 5: Jock Yoga

 

 

 

 

 

In this week’s episode of Get Fit in the City, Eva (and myself) took a Jock Yoga class with Mr. Michael Decorte. If you haven’t had the pleasure to set foot in one of his classes, you truly are missing out.  Don’t let the name intimidate you at all, Jock Yoga is Michael’s take on power yoga where emphasis is on strength, endurance and toning. Jock yoga is designed for men and women, flexible or not. If you desire breaking a sweat in an intense class (like I do!), then you have to get yourself in one his classes as soon as you can.

In addition to making you hold Asanas (postures) for what seems like an illegal amount of time, Michael uses contemporary music throughout his class. Imagine if you will downward dogging to Madonna or Coldplay…. I love it! By the end of a class he will have you feeling strong enough to tackle an arm balance or two. Michael is also famous for the following quotes “one more”, “last one”…..between you and I, he is totally lying. That always means at least another 3-4.

If you like his regular classes and are really feeling up for a challenge, Michael does yoga bootcamps every few months. What exactly is a yoga bootcamp? Every Tuesday – Thursday from 6:45 – 7:45 am (yes am, not pm), he will put you through vigorous sequences that target different parts of the body on each day. Tuesday – legs, Wednesday – core (my fav!) Thursday – arms(which means so many chaturangas, you pretty much lose count.) Don’t you fret though! You work everything all the time no matter the day; you just have extra special things to do on certain days. I have been through three bootcamps and even though waking up at 5:15 is not my favourite thing to do, I look forward to doing it for his classes.

In addition to having super strong and amazing classes, Michael’s instructions are bang on. You honestly never have to take a peak around to see what other people are doing, he speaks super clearly to ensure that you understand and are not pulled out of your practice. Will you find traditional Ashtanga in his classes? Of course you will, but it is with a twist. You can attend a traditional Ashtanga class anywhere in the city. Where else will have you holding warrior 2 for the longest 10 second count ever (sometimes while holding yoga blocks in each hand!) Oh and you can rest assured that if anyone drops their arms, or comes out of a posture too soon, he will start counting from 1 again….My advice, don’t be that person!! And don’t be fooled thinking that when he turns his back you can rest….he knows all of our little tricks.

Want to try a class yet? You should, you will be hooked. I know I certainly am. Michael is definitely my favourite teacher. Check out his website to see where he is teaching and get yourself there: JOCK YOGA

Don’t be afraid of a little (or a lot) of sweat. It’s good for you 😉 

 

 

 

 

P.S. Don’t forget to watch: Get Fit in the City

Contamination

 

 

 

 

 

I have had this blog post for awhile now. I kept going back and forth on whether or not I should post it. In the end I decided why not! The whole point of my blog is to share my feelings…..

With the end of the year fast approaching, I have been spending some time reflecting on my goals for 2012. What I achieved, what I totally slacked on and what will make the 2013 list?

A BIG goal for me was to let things roll off my back and focus on the happiness of myself, my husband and my son, and to remove negativity in my life. This. Has been HARD.VERY HARD! A friend on Facebook shared the photo at the top of this post and I had to share it as well. I am someone who is dealing with a constant, never ending whirlwind of negativity (not my own or anyone close to me, but an extension of something). I really can’t get too much into it here, but I will say that it is not always so easy to limit my time with negative people. Even if I don’t see these negative people on a regular basis, what they do and say to my loved ones turns me into a serious Mama bird and I do whatever I can to protect them.

Before I get further into this, let me set the record straight. I really am a positive person. Everyday I am thankful for so many things. My husband, my son, great friends, amazing parents who will spend way too long in traffic to drive downtown to baby-sit while I work on things that I am passionate about because they understand and support me, my health of course, my brother who even while living in NYC is there to talk for however long I need to talk. I really am thankful for TONS!

Back to negative people… I’m just going to come right out and say it… I just don’t get people sometimes. Like really? You really think that what you just said should have zero implications? Or really, someone treats someone you love poorly yet you continue to make nice and be friends? Really? Some might say that I need to be more forgiving, or more patient..more…I don’t know what. But what I will say is this, where I come from we believe in respect and it’s a two way street. If I don’t get it, I’m not going to give it, and we tend to stand by our loved ones. What I am actually trying to do is remove contamination and get through to others to get rid of it as well, but it literally feels like I am hitting my head against a wall sometimes as a result. Life is way too short to be angry and bitter, so I am not going let anyone bring me to that level no matter what. No matter what you are going through it is no excuse to treat others badly.

Believe me when I say that I certainly don’t think that everyone needs to go all guns a blazing and defend yourself or loved ones, but there is certainly nothing wrong with saying your piece. To stand up for yourself and then expect that others will understand and support you and not act like nothing happened and everyone is all sunshine and lollipops.

If you’re like me and you can’t actually remove the contamination, be honest about how you are feeling, talk about it, and as hard as it is remember, remember that:

I guess what I am trying to say is….”I am a good enough person to forgive you, but not stupid enough to trust you again”. Oh and the next time I see said negativity, I will be the bigger person and just say nothing at all. Unless of course you start in on who I love, then the gloves might come off 😉

Get Fit in the City, Episode 3: Barreworks

 

 

 

 

 

In the latest episode of “Get Fit in the City”, viewers had the opportunity to watch Eva take on a Barreworks class. Barreworks – located  on Queen Street West, opened in Toronto back in June and it has been building steam ever since. Based on the fitness sensation that has hit New York and Los Angeles, the BarreworksTM system was created by a team of certified fitness, yoga and dance professionals, to achieve a long, lean and strong dancers physique.  If you have seen the video – and if you haven’t, then you have to watch it – you will see that Eva was led through the Mixed Level Barre class by Paulina. This class is a 1 hour muscle sculpting and cardio workout where they used fun props such as resistance bands, weighted balls and the barre itself to work their entire bodies.  I didn’t take part in this class, but as I watched it, I was envious.  Let me tell you, I will definitely be getting my butt into that class very soon! Paulina has an infectious energy that gets her class moving with great music pumping in the background.  I watched as Eva and the rest of the class broke a crazy sweat all while smiling and forgetting that they were working hard! Now that’s the way to work out.  They did stretches, lunges, jumping, planks, and bicep curls, and, of course, my favourite Ab work.  Are you new to fitness? No need to worry, this mixed level class is just that, you will find a mix of levels, and Paulina will talk you through modifications as needed.

Because it is relatively new to the Toronto fitness scene, I didn’t have any expectations from the class and the studio, but going there certainly surpassed anything I was thinking. Located above the famous Duke’s Cycle, Barreworks is a bright, big and clean space.  There are three studios, one of which is for spinning. Yes, there is actually a spin/barre hybrid for all of you who like dancing while riding a bike ;).

In addition to their signature Mixed level class, Barreworks offers: Barreworks express, which is basically a 40 min version of what you would find in the one hour mixed level class – perfect for all of you who work nearby and want to break a sweat at lunch ;), Spinbarre and Yogabarre. As a yogi myself, I have since gone back to the studio to check out the Yogabarre. Jaimee, who teaches it, is simply awesome. She teaches a Hatha vinyasa flow, but with her own flair added to it. In this class you will find unique stretches and flows and I loved that the class never stopped moving (unless of course you needed to). It was literally like performing a dance for an hour and fifteen minutes. It was the perfect combination of strength and stretch. So when you do get to the studio, I highly recommend this class as well!

So there you have it, my opinion on a great new studio that you have to check out! Why are you still sitting there reading? Get over to Queen West now!!

 

 

 

 

Boston

The second weekend in September, my husband – Jeff and I went away for a long weekend to Boston. I love Boston! We first took a trip there when we were dating and we both fell in love with the city, everything from their accents to, the great shops, to the European feel you experience while walking the streets. We swore that we would get back. This year we decided to make it our anniversary trip – we celebrated 2 blissfully happy years on August 27th, and we decided that we had to watch the Toronto Blue Jays play the Boston Red Fox at Fenway (this was something we were not able to do the first time we went, since the Red Sox were out of town).  So we packed our bags, sent the little man off to Grandma and Grandpa, and headed to Boston.

Everything was going great until Thursday night – did I mention that we landed Thursday morning? We went out for a steak dinner at Grill 23 and it was delicious. We had wine and Crème Brule, it was amazing! But, then I was up the whole night being sick. Just awesome! I was not going to spend our time in one of my favourite cities stuck in the hotel room though. I powered through on Friday, enjoying the sights and walking hand in hand with Jeff, the whole time wanting to just curl up and sleep for days. But it’s amazing what going to bed early will do for you. By Saturday I was rearing to go and I was so excited to get to the game! We went on a batting practice tour, which basically means we got to walk on the field for 3 minutes and then sat above the Green Monster for Red Sox batting practice and I ducked while he tried to catch the balls that they were smashing our way (I’m convinced it was because of our Blue Jays gear ;).) We then went down near the dugout to watch our home team take batting practice. I totally made eye contact with Henderson Alvarez and JP Arencibia! After being drenched in an insane downpour – something we Torontonians don’t have to worry about with a stadium that has a retractable roof, we decided that with an early morning flight, the smart thing would be to head over to a bar and have some beer where we could at least stay dry and warm to wait out the rain and then watch the game on TV. We felt pretty safe walking around in our Jays shirts and hats since they were beating them to a pulp!

I love going out for brunch, here in Toronto, on vacation….it doesn’t matter where I am, I LOVE brunch. So on this trip we took some advice and went to The Beehive, located in The South End of Boston it is a very up and coming neighbourhood. This place has a real eclectic, funky, yet elegant feel to it. See the photos below to see what we ate. I will let you decide who ate what!

 

For those that don’t know, I really like baseball and going to baseball games. Together Jeff and I have been to many games, 2 of which we went to on our honeymoon, if you can believe it. We have visited a handful of different stadiums in the U.S, but I have to say that Fenway is by far my favourite. I don’t know if it’s because it is celebrating 100 years, or because of how much Boston loves their baseball and their team (despite their shockingly terrible season), but being there was a TON of fun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

For anyone wanting to visit Boston here are my top 6 picks of things to do/see:

 Fenway Park: As already mentioned, I loved Fenway. Though generations have come and gone, Fenway Park remains, much like it did the day it opened on April 20, 1912. It is the oldest baseball stadium in the U.S; many improvements have been made to keep it shining new. Definitely a must see, even if you’re not a baseball fan.

 Faneuil Hall Market Place: In the heart of Boston, Faneuil Hall Marketplace is adjacent to historic Faneuil Hall and is bordered by the financial district, the waterfront, the North End, Government Center, and Haymarket. You can buy great things to eat, just ask Jeff about the chocolate cannoli he said he didn’t like, yet devoured in record time.

 Boston Common: The starting point of the Freedom Trail, Boston Common is the oldest park in the country and ideal for Boston sightseeing. The park is almost 50 acres in size. On both trips Jeff and I really enjoyed finding a patch of grass to take a break, lie down and maybe take a nap!

Harvard University: Harvard University, which celebrated its 350th anniversary in 1986, is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. We took a tour of the campus on our first visit and then enjoyed strolling through on our second. Being there makes you want to learn! What an impressive place. No pressure to our little man Brady, but maybe one day we will be visiting him at school there!

Duck Tour: The fun begins as soon as you board your “DUCK,” an authentic World War II amphibious landing vehicle, renovated for sightseeing. First, you’ll be greeted by one of the legendary tour ConDUCKtors, who’ll be narrating the tour. As the best of Boston unfolds before your eyes, your ConDUCKtor will be giving lots of little known facts and interesting insights about the unique and wonderful city of Boston.

 Pub Crawls: Whenever we go on an adult only vacation, hubby and I like to pretend that we are 21 again and go on pub crawls. Let me tell you, Boston is such a great city to do this in! There are so many great pubs to visit, where we can dance and pretend we are students!   You can even find an actual Boston pub crawl map!

Have you been to Boston? What was your favourite part?