Weekly Fitness Update – #1

Is it weird to do a weekly fitness update on Tuesdays? Oh well.

Last week, I actually managed to run 4 times but 3 of the runs were pretty low mileage…

Sept 21 – 4km @ 6’05” avg pace, 24:26
Sept 24 – 5km @ 6’03” avg pace, 30:21
Sept 25 – 3km @ 6’05” avg pace, 18:20
Sept 26 – 10km @ 6’54” avg pace, 1:09:05

The 10km run was soooo much slower because I felt some pain on my left hip/lower ab muscles during the first couple kilometers. I was forced to walk and put some pressure on them to stretch them out, but the rest of the run went pretty well!

I went climbing on Sunday, but I didn’t have a belay buddy and I was too shy to ask someone so I couldn’t do top-rope without the auto-belaying systems.

Top-rope – I started with a couple 5.6’s and worked my way to 5.8’s but only managed to conquer one 5.8 available on the auto-belays. I was about 3/4 of the way for the rest of them, though! There were a lot of people and kids at the auto-belay bays for classes and parties, so I went to the bouldering sections.

Bouldering – I managed to do some V1 challenges on the flat wall, but I couldn’t even do a single V0 on the overhang walls! I found a couple of nice holds to do some pull ups to try and strengthen the necessary shoulder muscles, but I also made a mental note to do some more climb-ups and muscle-ups at parkour next time as well.

This week, I’m planning on following this plan:

Sept 29 – 5km @ 6’10” avg pace, 30:50 (it’s raining today, okay?!)
Sept 30 – 7km @ 6’10” avg pace, 42:50
Oct 1 – 10km @ 6’30” avg pace, 1:05:00

Oct 2 – Parkour Women’s Class + some climb-up exercises

Wish me luck!



New Balance Shoes

Why Comfortable Shoes are Important in Running

I’ve always run in proper running shoes, so it’s not a totally miraculous self-discovery.

To cut to the chase, here’s what I’m running in right now: New Balance’s Minimus 10v3 Trails!

New Balance Minimus 10v2

Aren’t they pretty? I love them. You’ll see why when you read on!

But, I was training in a different pair of shoes for the Nike 15K earlier this year that were amazing for me. Here’s my old pair of New Balance 1010v2‘s (minimal trail runners).

New Balance 1010v2

I was really sad when I started running after recovering from my cuboid injury because the shoes were extremely painful to run in! That injury must have changed something in my foot and I was forced to retire them from long-distance running. Luckily, they’re more than perfect for parkour!

The only other shoes I had at the time were New Balance RC1400v2‘s (lightweight, minimal road racers).

New Balance RC 1400

I bought the RC1400v2’s back in the spring when they were on sale. I tried them a half size bigger than what I normally wear for runners, which is the common recommendation to accomodate for typical foot swelling during long runs, and they felt okay in that size even with a quick run around the store. I figured that I wouldn’t really feel that discomfort by the time I’m on the 8th kilometer or so and I could use a nice road runner as an alternate.

I started running in the RC1400v2’s and immediately noticed that something wasn’t feeling quite right. They weren’t causing me a lot of pain like the 1010v2’s were, but there was a slight discomfort about the shoes that I couldn’t really place. I even did a different lacing style!

I ran the Toronto ZooRun 10K in the RC1400v2’s, but my calves and ankles ended up super tight and there was something wrong with my injured foot. It didn’t really warrant a trip to the doctor’s (yet), but it was definitely something to consider!

Once I started running in the new Minimus 10v3s, there was minimal pain after a long run of 10km and my foot felt like normal. The new Minimus 10v3s are also minimal trail shoes, so there’s not much cushioning or support but something about the material and the sole’s design makes it a super comfortable ride for me!

New Balance Minimus 10v2

The best part? They’re so comfortable that I managed to get my easy pace down to 6’04” without much effort!

I’m looking forward to logging in some major mileage in the next year!

Do you have a favourite shoe? What is it?




Fall 2015 Fitness Goals

Happy first day of Fall, everyone!

Last night, I went on a quick 4km run to test out my new shoes (more on that later!) and realized that I’ve managed to get into a bunch of new things in the past few months. I’m not really someone who gets that worked up over a failed goal, like how I didn’t get a PR at the Toronto Zoo Run, but I’ve found that setting a goal helps keep the motivation up!

Since it’s the first day of Fall, I thought I’d set some fitness goals to meet by the first day of Winter. I’ll do my best to do a Weekly Report on Tuesdays, too!

Running (3X a week)

  • Weekly mileage of 20-25km with a 5-7-10 pattern
  • Dream pace goal of 6’00″/km for 5K distance
    1. Realistic pace goal of 6’15″/km for 5K distance
  • Dream pace goal of 6’20″/km for 7-10K distances

Rock Climbing (1X every other week)

  • Work on 5.8 and 5.9 belay routes
  • Work on V.1 bouldering routes
  • Increase grip strength and more confident footwork

Parkour (1X every other week)

  • Work on climb-ups with vertical wall (at least 1 good climb-up per session)
  • Regain balance on rails

I don’t have any races or competitions coming up, so these goals are purely for personal gain. Now that I’ve written out my goals, I can see how quantifiable each sport can be. Running has so much data involved with all the distances, pace times and even shoe mileage! Rock climbing still has some data that you can measure, like the difficulty levels (5.8 and V.1, for example), and it’s possible to measure grip strength with certain tools. Parkour has almost no measurable features to it whatsoever, except for height!

Do you have any fitness goals for the Fall? I’d love to hear them!



Zoo Run 10K Map

Race Report – Oasis Toronto ZooRun 10K 2015

It’s a little late for a Race Report, but it’s better late than never! And, this will be my first Race Report to commemorate my first anniversary of running!

I ran the Oasis Toronto ZooRun 10K by myself, but my mom, cousin and Christine did the 5K Run/Walk at their own paces. Since the 10K started at 8:15am and the 5K was scheduled for about 10am, I would wait for them at the finish line!

I wanted to see if I could finish under 60 minutes, but I gave myself a realistic time between 1:00 and 1:10 since that’s about the pace that I usually run. I figured that it’s possible that I run faster since it’s a race and the weather forecast shows that it’ll be a lot cooler, but it also predicted some rain and I hadn’t run this course in about a year, so it’s just as possible that I’d run slower! Gah.

Zoo Run 10K Map

Toronto Zoo Run 10K Course – Courtesy of Canada Running Series

Pre-Race – Night

I ran an easy 3.5KM the night before to gauge how I was feeling overall. I didn’t feel awesome on that run, but I hadn’t eaten in over 5 hours, so that could have been a factor! After a quick check on the ofrecast, I stuffed my daypack with some things I figured I’d need:

  • Spare change of clothes, including socks
  • Tiny umbrella

Since I couldn’t really predict what would happen during and after the race, I also packed:

  • Extra KT Tape strips
  • Extra granola bars (for post-race waiting)
  • Camera + 2 lens

I was surprised my 10L daypack could fit all of that. Thank goodness for baggage check!

Pre-Race – Morning

7am: It’s 7 and I’m still at home and just finished changing. Crap. I was hoping to be at the Zoo by now!

7:30am: Waiting at the Zoo for a parking space. Craaaaap. Hoping I can get to the baggage check on time or else I could be doing an extra km just to get my bag into the car and back to the corrals.

7:45am: Bag is checked in! It’s raining kind of hard at this point so I’m desperately hoping that my camera isn’t going to get wet even though it’s in its own protective case!

7:45am – 8:10am: I slowly sip on a cup of water since I was rushing out the door, which was a terrible, terrible idea at the time. There’s huge lines for the portables, but I figured I could stop at one along the route somewhere. I do some dynamic lunges and pace around to try and keep myself warm, but it’s just so damn cold and wet!

8:15am: Gun starts and the Red Corral is opened. Damn, they’re fast! I wonder what the winning time will be…

8:25am: Damn. I’m starting to feel that pee signal.

8:30am: My corral, Green, is let through the starting gate. Woo hoo! LET’S DO THIS SO I CAN FIND A PORT-A-POTTY.

1 – 2KM – I spot an older gentleman in front of me, who’s much taller, wearing a neon green jacket and going at a nice pace for my liking, so I’ve dubbed him my Pacer for the rest of the race.

It’s pretty interesting running on the highway that I just drove on. The incline isn’t too bad so far and the pavement seems pretty good.

3KM – My Pacer is so far ahead of me! GODDAMN IT.

A lot of people ran ahead of me by now, but now I’m starting to pass them. Yay for pacing!

We turn from the roads back into the Zoo property now and it’s really, really muddy back there. That rain isn’t making anything better…

4KM – Just passed the water station. WHERE IS THIS PORT-A-POTTY?!

It dawns on me now that they probably don’t have any on the route because the Zoo has to stay open to the public afterwards and they might not have the resources to take them away before the anticipated crowds.

I still have to pee but I gotta wait until the end now! Aggghhhh.

5KM – Oh, right. There’s HILLS in this course. And I haven’t trained on hills since… well, ever. I’m screwed.

But, what’s that ahead? I see my Pacer and pass him as he walks. PROGRESS!

And, at least the hill doesn’t look as scary as last year! MORE PROGRESS!

6 – 7KM – Were the hills always here?! Holy crap, man.

7.5KM – Left foot and right lung/ribs are starting to hurt in some really strange ways, so I decide to start doing some walking to catch my breath and to make sure I don’t cross the finish line with a branch crutch.

Ooh, an arctic wolf!

8KM – Pacer catches up.

NO. I will cross the finish line before you, sir!

I start picking up the pace back to 6’10” even on the inclines, but I start to worry about how my legs will be afterwards.

Ooh, camels!

9KM – I’m slowly dying. This feels like the longest 10km I’ve ever run and something doesn’t feel right somewhere in my body, but I refuse to give up.

I remember how I’ve passed by dozens of runners who started before me and I see an older gentleman chugging along ahead of me.

I can do this. Just one more incline and curve and I’ll be done.

10KM – I DID IT! I crossed the finish line just ahead of a couple of other girls who I was following for the past 300m or so(gotta finish strong, right?).


I quickly grabbed my medal and then immediately doubled back to the Canadian Ski Patrol medical tent to get someone to check on my foot. Luckily, the bone was still in place but they guessed that I had strained the tendons too much, so they rebound my foot and firmly agreed with me that I should see my physiotherapist soon after the race.

But, here’s my final results!

Chip Time: 65:05.1
Overall Place: 1398
KM Pace: 06:31
Place in Gender: 664 / 1504
Place in Category: 148 / 324
Category – 10 KM F25-29
Zoo Run 2015

I MAINTAINED MY PR! Seriously, it’s almost exactly the same time as my PR and I’m not sure if I’m proud or annoyed at that. I’m super proud that I managed to run those hills that fast, but it’s SO close from breaking a PR!

The food and amenities were quite generous and there was a lot of port-a-potties available at the finisher’s area. They offered some Liberté Greek yogurt, bananas, some cookies and Pita Break’s Morning Rounds.

As the main sponsor, Oasis set up a huge sampling tent for their juices and handed out bottles of their NutriSolution, which is a meal replacement product.

I waited around for my mom, cousin and Christine to finish their 5K and cheered them on to the finish line!

I had a great time at the Oasis ZooRun this year and I’m definitely planning on making this an annual race.

Have you been on the ZooRun or another Canadian Running Series race?



Toronto ZooRun 10K Tomorrow!

Tomorrow’s the Toronto Zoo 10K Run and I had set a goal earlier in the summer to run the race in under 60 minutes.

I’ll be perfectly honest: It ain’t happening. Simply put, I didn’t train often or hard enough over the last few months because I’ve been extra cautious with letting my foot recover. By the time I was confident enough to run without injuring myself again, Toronto was hit with a couple of heat waves!

I did try running in 34C and again in 38C (with humidex), but I was seriously suffering at the 7.5km mark and my times were horrible. I knew that there was no way I’d be able to make my original goal, but I’m okay with it. I’m happy that I can actually participate in the run even if I’m not able to reach that goal. After all, I’d much rather make sure my foot heals properly so I can run as pain-free as possible!

But more about the Toronto Zoo Run! It’s a great course that goes through the Toronto Zoo’s exhibits so all the runners actually get to run past the animals! It also has a fundraising portion where the proceeds go directly to the Toronto Zoo’s conservation and research programs.

It’s also the run that got me into running!

So, I’m super, super excited to be running the 10K course this year instead of the 5K and I’m so amazed at how much I’ve achieved in just one year!

It’s going to be much, much cooler this weekend with a little bit of rain so it’s going to be a fantastic run. Here’s what I’m going to be using:

  • Dri-FIT tank top with Bib attached
  • Shorts
  • New Balance RC1400 shoes
  • Wireless headphones
  • Cell phone and valuable ID in SPIbelt
  • Running hat (in case it rains)

We’re allowed baggage check with a backpack, so I’ll also be packing this in preparation:

  • Change of clothes
  • Water bottle (for touring the zoo after the race!)
  • Nuun tablets
  • Extra granola bars
  • Light sweater/sweatshirt (it looks like it’ll be a bit chilly tomorrow morning at 7am)
  • Camera kit

I’m expecting to finish around 1:05 since I ran 10K on a sort of trail last Friday in 1:10 and it was much warmer. If I break that time, I’ll have a new PR!

Are you running this weekend?





No, I’m really not. I’m not even 30 yet, actually. I just like saying that because I know it annoys people a lot!

But, I know that I’m pretty much an adult now who isn’t too great at adulting, but I’m at least adult enough to go to work on my birthday and not go out partying afterwards because it’s a TUESDAY, GODDAMN IT.

So, what am I going to do to celebrate?

On Sunday, the Monsieur took me out to explore the wonderful Liberty Village and Trinity-Bellwoods area in downtown. We had a quick little snack at Smoque N Bones, which has an in-house, Kansas City-approved smoking barbeque and makes absolutely delicious pulled pork. We’ll definitely be back!

For dinner, we went to a place called Chantecler Restaurant on Queen West. There’s not much on the website, but it’s a little dinner-only restaurant that’s got a great open-kitchen concept and literally serves up the best cocktails I’ve ever had in my LIFE. Their plates are primarily for sharing and I highly recommend the spicy popcorn shrimp and the lettuce wrap meal. (They’re so delicious!)

Tonight, I’ll be heading to an Italian buffet with my family.

Tomorrow, I’ll be donating blood and going for noodles with a couple other friends.

Finally, I’ll be going to another surprise dinner location this weekend!

I do like spreading out my energy over a few events over a huge bash because I like spending quality time with people!

Also, I’m excited to get my birthday present to myself when I get home! What is it? You’ll just have to wait and see… Muahahahaha.



Soba Noodles

Cold Soba Noodles and Quick Pickled Cucumbers

Toronto’s going through one hell of a heat wave this week and it also just happens to be the week right after our air conditioner breaks! YAY…

This means that I’m extremely hesitant to use any form of heat to cook and I’d really rather keep the stove to a minimum.

Cold sandwiches can get boring really easily, so how about some cold soba noodles?

Soba NoodlesIt’s super easy to make, so delicious and actually pretty healthy for you! Compared to common spaghetti, soba (aka buckwheat) noodles are about as nutrient-dense but with different vitamin and mineral levels and a third less calories. (See: USDA’s nutrient database sheets for spaghetti and soba noodles.)

I even made my own soba sauce! Even though I couldn’t find any dashi, bonito or kombu, I improvised with some mirin, dark soya sauce and white wine vinegar. (I know, I should’ve used rice wine vinegar, but I didn’t realize I ran out until I actually got home!)

Soba Noodles

It’s seriously so refreshing after a long, hot summer day! Even though the soba sauce is typically used for dipping, I just love drenching my noodles in it.

I paired it with some quick pickled cucumbers that I also kind of improvised but it’s a pretty simple, sweet pickling solution.

Quick Pickled Cucumbers

Cold Soba Noodles + Dipping Sauce

Takes: 15 minutes
Makes: 2 servings

2 bunches of soba noodles (about 190g)
1L water

1/4 cup medium or dark soya sauce
2-3 tbsp mirin
1-2 tbsp white wine vinegar (can and should sub for rice wine vinegar)
1 tsp sesame seeds
Water, to dilute to taste

Mix sauce ingredients and set aside

Bring water to a boil and cook the soba noodles for 6-7 minutes, until soft. Rinse with cold water 2-3 times.

Serve cold or at room temperature with dipping sauce on the side. Slurp loudly.

Quick Pickled Cucumbers

Takes: 40 minutes, minimum
Makes: About a cup

1 field cucumber, cut into slices
1 tbsp + 1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp white wine vinegar (can sub for rice wine vinegar)
1 tsp chili flakes
Water, to dilute to taste

Stir all ingredients together until thoroughly mixed. Cover and set aside for at least half an hour. Serve as needed.

Refrigerate covered. It can probably stay for about a week before it gets too soggy.

What’s your favourite cold meal for the summer?