Montreal Runner Mom

Mommy. Runner. Blogger. Writer


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Quitting Coffee Cold Turkey

Yes I did it. I quit coffee cold turkey. I hadn’t planned on it but it happened and I love it. I think I may be slightly drugged….

It has now been 2.5 weeks since I switched my morning coffee for room temperature lemon water and the changes in my body have been incredible. The only other times in my life I have quit coffee were during my two pregnancies and both those times I had awful withdrawal symptoms during the first week. This time it has been so easy!

So what brought this on? Well, I recently learned about the body’s levels of acidity versus alkalinity and a lot of the information made sense to me. I had never really thought about this before and didn’t know much, if anything about it. The most striking information to me was about energy. I always seemed to be tired. The more tired I felt, the more coffee I drank. It helped for a while but never really made a difference other than just continuing the circle of fatigue. So I decided to make the change and see for myself.

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Previously I had about 4-6 coffees a day. At least 2 in the early morning, then again around midday and a few in the late afternoon were always must. I would also always order a coffee after dinner out in a restaurant. That adds up to a lot of caffeine!

However I was eager to try something that reportedly would give me more energy. So I figured why not at least try!

On the first morning, I prepared a large jug of water infused with fresh lemons and left it on my kitchen counter. My husband had no desire to quit coffee so this made it a little harder…..I could still smell his coffee brewing as I poured my water. I will admit it was very hard not to pour myself a cup too!

The first glass was refreshing and surprisingly easy to drink despite the smell of coffee in the house. I made sure to discard the remaining coffee as I poured glass #2 of lemon water. I didn’t want to be tempted. Before long I realized that I was on glass 3. I had been awake for almost 3 hours, had zero coffee and no sign of the withdrawal headache. I continued drinking water all day, not really counting how much but simply always having a glass by my side and sipping throughout the day. I was amazed that by late afternoon, at my typical coffee “pick me up” time, I wasn’t tired at all! This water thing was magical.

Day 2 -Again in the morning it was a bit rough smelling the freshly brewed coffee. However I stuck to the plan and began to drink my water. I realized in that moment that my brain liked the smell of the coffee but that my body wasn’t really craving it. I was simply reacting to an appealing smell. I did consider pouring a cup but then as I thought of the coffee taste versus the taste of the refreshing and energizing (!) lemon water, I actually surprised myself by wanting the lemon water more.

By the third day, it was a piece of cake. I was drinking 2 glasses of water first thing in the morning before eating and continuing all day long. I felt refreshed and energized throughout the day. After a week I noticed my skin felt smoother and my face seemed to look more rested. I also had less cravings for unhealthy food choices. I have always had what I like to call an “addiction” problem with BBQ chips. Yet all of a sudden I had no desire to eat them. It was as if the water was steering me into a path of better food choices as well. Seems crazy I know!

Now 2.5 weeks into this new lifestyle change I can truthfully say that I have no need for coffee at all. The smell doesn’t phase me and I don’t crave it. I have not had one headache and I have actually felt more energized than ever before.

It has also helped my running. I used to have to drink a lot of water before a run and try to time it properly so I would not have to find a bathroom along the way. It was a complicated balance of drinking enough and being able to make it through a run without a full bladder. Now that I drink regularly, I don’t need to stock up before a run. I am simply well hydrated at all times.

I have also experimented with different tastes. Sometimes I infuse with lemons only, other times I add lime or oranges to the mix. Each version has a slightly different taste but all have the same results.

You can do the research yourself…

  • Learn how lemon water gets your metabolism going first thing in the morning
  • How it is immune boosting and anti-aging,
  • How it detoxifies the body
  • The anti-inflammatory benefits of lemon water
  • How it is a great option for post workout recovery

And so much more…..but for me it has been more simple. By replacing coffee with lemon water, I have seen my energy levels rise and stay high all day long, it has helped me make better and fresher food choices and ultimately has had a positive impact on my running. For these reasons alone, it is so worth it!

Cut up some lemons and pour yourself a glass today! I guarantee you will see the difference for yourself!

Lemon Water blog post

#GoRunnerGo  🙂


4 Comments

#HempLove and Give-A-Way!

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As I journey through the months leading up to my first ever marathon, I have taken on a more serious approach to eating clean. So when I was offered the opportunity to sample and review #HempHearts for Manitoba Harvest Foods I was really excited! I had seen their products in local stores and even previously tried the HempPro 70 Chocolate Protein Powder  after receiving a sample of it through the #SweatPink community. I love the protein powder and have been using it ever since however #HempHearts were new to me.

So first question if you don’t know anything about this product, is what is hemp exactly? Well all the details you need to know can be found here and here! 

However very simply put, hemp hearts are raw shelled hemp seeds. They have a taste similar to pine nuts or sunflower seeds, they come in this fun little package and they pretty much go with EVERYTHING! From smoothies, shakes and yogurts to salads, soups and pasta, you can use hemp hearts to season pretty much any meal or snack. And as per the company’s info –Hemp Hearts have more protein and omegas and less carbs than the same serving of chia or flax. Now how awesome is that? Not to mention my kids LOVED them!! They had so much fun sprinkling the hemp hearts on their food and it was an easy sell taste wise too! Can’t beat that 😉

To top it off, if you are in need of a little inspiration Manitoba Harvest Foods has a fabulous Recipe Page that lists simple to prepare and delicious meal and snack ideas. I encourage you to try some out, they are amazing!!

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I really enjoyed sampling the #HempHearts and will now be adding them to my grocery list along with the HempPro 70 Chocolate powderwhich has a smooth and delicious chocolaty taste!!

GIVE-A-WAY ALERT!!! Manitoba Harvest is giving away a bag of Hemp Hearts to one lucky reader!! All you have to do is comment on this blog post and like my FB page: Montreal Runner Mom. Then follow @ManitobaHarvest on IG or Twitter and tweet about the giveaway. Use the hashtag #HempHearts for a better chance of getting noticed!!

Winner will be chosen at random and announced on my FB page on Wednesday February 25th 2015 then Manitoba Harvest will send out your prize 🙂

I am so proud to support this fabulous Canadian company and their delicious, healthy and easy to use products! Thank you Manitoba Harvest Foods and Sweat Pink!! 

Don’t forget to enter the GIVE-A -WAY today!!!

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#GoRunnerGo  🙂


7 Comments

Surprise 15km Success!

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I did not expect to have a great run today…I woke up with a headache and a very annoying recurring hip pain, the temperature outside was minus 25 (!), I knew I had a very packed schedule of things to do today and everything got off to a really late start because my car wouldn’t start and hubby had to come back to boost it after dropping the kids at school. So by the time I got to the gym, I was super cranky. In fact I almost didn’t go. It was one of those times when you are in major conflict with that inner voice- I don’t want to go to the gym. You have to go to the gym. Don’t want to, have to…..

However, I am so glad I did because…..I broke 15km of continuous running this morning! Wow! I did not expect things to turn around like that! This makes me feel confident that the half marathon is well within reach. I managed to get into The Zone despite my cranky morning and stay there until I reached success 🙂 Of course now, I am dead tired, super stiff, sore and seriously in need of a nap but it feels AWESOME!!!

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Perhaps I owe some of today’s success to the Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods products that I have been sampling the past few days? Not sure but maybe, just maybe! As a #Sweat Pink Ambassador, I have been fortunate enough to be able to sample some of these fabulous products and will be providing feedback at the end of this week after I try out a few more recipes!

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Blog review and FB giveaway coming up this Friday! So stay tuned!

#GoRunnerGo  🙂


19 Comments

5 tips to beat the Winter Fitness Blues

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It’s officially the dead of winter. If you’re not careful, February in Montreal can freeze you from the inside out. With temperatures ranging from minus 20 to minus 30 degrees Celsius, it can be hard to stay focused on your fitness goals. When most forms of life are hibernating, the idea of waking up early and heading out in the dark to workout can be overwhelming. February is also notorious for seasonal depression and the abandoning of well meaning New Years resolutions.

So how does one beat the winter blues and stay on track during this difficult time of year?

1. Get more SLEEP!

As parents we are keen to put our kids to bed early but we rarely follow our own advice. Children are living proof that getting enough sleep is the key to waking up happy and perky. Yet adults will stay up late watching hours of mind numbing television or surfing the net for no good reason. We tend to say that we are relaxing but this type of “relaxing” actually make us feel worse the next day. We have all heard of the recommended 8 hours a night but it is slightly different for each person. Find out what your body needs and follow it’s lead. Waking up refreshed makes it easier to stick with your workout plans.

2. Plan to FUEL correctly!

During the long, cold months we have a natural tendency to gravitate towards comfort foods. Hot, melt in your mouth, heavy, greasy, savory comfort foods. Let’s be honest here -whatever your comfort food is, chances are it’s not a salad! So planning and preparing in advance is the key to consuming healthy, warm comfort foods that work with your fitness goals instead of against them. There are millions of recipes floating around cyberspace that can fuel your nutritional and fitness needs without resorting to carb loading like an ultra runner each day. Make the effort in advance so that you won’t reach for an old unhealthy standby when you are cold and hungry.

3. Find the SUNSHINE!

Here’s a tricky one. Montreal often has clear skies and beautiful sunshine even when it’s minus 25. This is a great bonus but it doesn’t happen every day nor does this hold true for all cold weather cities. So what to do when you need a little vitamin D to get you going? Well if it is a nice day, spend some time soaking in the sunshine from indoors, like a cat on a windowsill. Find the rays of sunlight that are filtering through the window and take a moment to stop, close your eyes and feel the warmth. When the days are long and dark, feel the warmth of the tropics at your nearest hot yoga studio. Yoga is a fabulous compliment to running as well as many other sports and fitness activities. Hot yoga and a little imagination will make your savasana feel like a beautiful day on the beach in Cancun.

4. DRESS for success!

Again this is a case against us parents of “Do as I say not as I do”. The reality is that most kids love winter and love playing in the snow. They never seem to be cold and they’re always happy to be outside. Meanwhile their parents are huddled nearby complaining about the weather. What’s their secret you ask? WINTER CLOTHES. When was the last time us grownups wore snow pants, hats, neck warmers and proper gloves? Too many of us are preoccupied with our children and making sure they don’t get frostbite but we run out of the house in jeans, no hat and a jacket that we would only let our kids wear in the fall. No wonder it’s hard to follow through with our fitness goals, many of us are too frozen to even think of working out!

5. Connect to NATURE!

If you can follow the above advice then this one is easy. Nothing says childhood nostalgia more than indulging in ice skating, fort building, skiing, snowshoeing, sledding and general outdoor winter fun. In the winter our first instinct is stay indoors but if we are well rested, well fueled and properly dressed, we CAN be active throughout the winter. If you can be active in nature no matter the weather, then you will be more inclined to stick to your goals instead of hibernating the winter away.

And when all else fails remember…. 

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Are you still on track with your fitness goals from January or has winter got you down? If so how do you fight back?

#GoRunnerGo   🙂


12 Comments

What I learned from a “fitness professional” this week

What did I learn this week you ask? Well, I went for a “fitness evaluation” and I was enlightened by a fabulous fitness professional who gave me awesome tips that will help me to train and prep for my first marathon!!

Ummmm…..wait, no, that’s not what happened at all.

The gym I’m at offers a free fitness evaluation for new members and when they phoned me one evening this week and asked if I’d be interested, I figured why not? It sounded interesting, the guy on the phone told me they would discuss my fitness goals with me and give me pointers on how to achieve them. Test my overall fitness level and pinpoint my strengths and weaknesses. All good things to know, especially since I have just signed up for a marathon!

Or so I thought….

After my workout I headed upstairs to my scheduled appointment. After a quick introduction and tour around the private facility, the fitness dude asked me 2 questions :

  • How old are you? 36
  • What is your fitness goal? Run a marathon at the end of September 

Then he wanted to me step on the scale….ugh. Let’s face it, NOBODY likes that! You know weighing all that muscle is just so embarrassing 😉 However, I am a fairly fit person. I teach dance, I run, I do a little yoga. I might not be Miss Universe but things are pretty good considering I’ve had 2 babies and I’m over 35!

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5km race -September 2014

So I got on the scale…after the weigh in, he breaks out some gadget that no joke looks like something I saw my ob-gyn use during the prep for my last C-section. Then he proceeds to use this contraption to pinch the *muscle* in all the best spots…triceps, stomach, thighs and back. He furiously writes down a few numbers, breaks out a calculator and starts cross checking his numbers with what seemed like possibly Lotto Quebec?!……then with a grave face he gives me the news. Apparently he had scientific proof that I am considerably over the ideal weight for a runner.

Really dude??? Damn, you’re lucky I was too tired from my run to be confrontational!

I politely ask him to explain and he proceeded to tell me that in order to run a marathon at the end of September I should be at 20% body fat and he can help me get there if I splurge for sessions with a personal trainer and nutritionist for the next 6 months. Really?!?….this was a moment when I wish I had a snarky little card to slide across his desk that said…I wasn’t born yesterday JACK!

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I didn’t have that card but I’m sure the look on my face was pretty telling because he started backtracking immediately.

All to say, I can’t imagine how an impressionable young girl with body image issues or an overweight guy with actual health problems would have felt in that situation. I was livid for the rest of the day. This was supposed to be a fitness test and this guy hadn’t no idea about my fitness level at all!! A couple of questions and pinching of body fat may give some ideas but it certainly doesn’t tell him anything about my fitness level. He never even asked me how far or how long I could currently run for. Considering my fitness goal is to run a marathon you’d think this would have been an important question!

I did put in a complaint to the gym manager and now I have to wait and see what comes of it but needless to say I was not impressed at all.

Now maybe some of what he said is true…I know that I do need to revamp my eating habits a little in order to train properly for this marathon. I’m certainly not eating like a runner yet however I do exercise 5 times per week and for the most part eat pretty healthy. However, there could have been so many ways to have a positive discussion about eating and working out in order to better reach my fitness goals without making me feel awful.

Fitness dude failed big time.

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Turkey Trot…Not!

OMG….24hrs after Thanksgiving (yes it was Canadian Thanksgiving this past weekend) and I still feel stuffed like a turkey!

Totally threw all my good eating and running habits out the window this long weekend and replaced them with endless meals, lots of wine, movies, tractor rides through the local apple orchard and beautiful sweet moments with friends and family. I am so grateful for these moments and so blessed to have them. However…due to this lovely weekend, it’s quite obvious that my running form now resembles that of a waddling stuffed turkey! Not good when your first 10km is fast approaching!

Just for fun and so you can have a good idea of how much my training has suffered in the last 5 days, here’s a quick recap of this past weekend.

Cardio:

Running after my 3 yr old as she giggled with delight and played hide and go seek in the apple orchard

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Stretching:

Side lunges across the table to help myself to more pie

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Weights:

Lifting my 6 yr old up into a tree to reach the best apples.

Hmmmm…okay not too much lifting here….perhaps this pic is better off as a warning to all those who try to climb a ladder after drinking apple cider!

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Hydration:

Vino…vino…and more VINO!

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Fuel:

Turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, apple pie, pumpkin pie….let’s just say there was LOTS of fuel!

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So as of tomorrow I must get back on track and take my waddling to trotting and hopefully in a few days I should be back to a full gallop. Only 19 days to go till my first 10km and yes..I am scared…very scared! Fingers crossed that I run off this turkey weekend FAST and get back on track to a solid first 10km!

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