Montreal Runner Mom

Mommy. Runner. Blogger. Writer


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Race to find TIME

Okay parents, let’s be real. Many of us feel like we can’t take the time we need for ourselves because of our spouses, children, parents, home, work, business and 5 million other commitments. I have had this mentality my whole life but it became much more prominent once I became a mom.

I did try to make it all work but more often than not I failed. I would make a plan for my day or my week that included special scheduled “me time”. For me that meant, exercise, meditation, reading, writing and occasionally when the kids were babies…sometimes it even meant a nap (!) More often than not though, despite my good intentions I would cancel “me time” because I felt I had other bigger more pressing commitments to attend to. Then after I didn’t follow my own plans, I would berate myself and become more and more frustrated with the lack of TIME.

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I always blamed TIME. There was never enough time to work out for an hour, then shower AND wash my hair! That meant at least 1.5 to 2 hrs of TIME! Read for fun? Yes this used to be one of my favorite things to do when I was younger but now? There was definitely not enough time for that unless I was on vacation maybe and even then! Now I had to get the kids ready and off to school, clean the house, do the laundry, visit extended family, put in hours and hours a week on managing our family business, prepare for and teach multiple classes a week, maintain friendships, attend school plays and shows, do homework with my oldest, play with my youngest, the list goes on. Not to mention feeling guilty about not making scrapbooks and scouring Pinterest for hours designing little mementos that will document each moment of my precious little ones lives. Hmmm…and what about spending some quality time with the husband?

Then I realized this needed to stop. One of the first times that it dawned on me that my priorities needed to change was when I realized that my day was being spent dictated to me by other people. I would make a plan for my day and it would all go to waste when I would open my email. I have multiple email accounts: the main company email, my personal business email and my personal/family email. Each one would be filled with anywhere from 10-50 emails and at least 80% were marked URGENT by the sender. Everyone wanted an answer and a solution to their questions and problems. Then there were the phone calls and voicemails…..

Needless to say I never got anything done for myself and I would always cross everything that I had planned to do off my list because of other people’s priorities. Now this doesn’t mean that I condone not maintaining or following up on your responsibilities. However I have finally after much trial and error come up with methods that works for me and hopefully can help out those of you who feel like you are also struggling to manage it all.

I did a lot of research, read a lot about self-development and drew from the teachings of people like Tony Robbins, Tim Feriss and Jim Rohn. I say I drew from their teaching because the reality is that they give lots of great advice but they are not living their daily lives as a busy working mom of young kids. So I had to adapt and try out different techniques to see what worked and what didn’t.

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Here are some of the concepts that I have applied to my daily life

PERSONAL

I no longer come last. Yes I said it. I come first. That’s hard to say as a mom, I know. Reason being is that if I do not have my “me time” I am just not the best mother and wife that I can be. I must spend time outside. I must run. I must write. I must read. Notice that these are not SHOULD’S but MUST’S.

However I’ve also learned that I can’t do it all each day. So now I made a schedule and I alternate. Running & stretching one day, yoga & meditation the next. Some days I nix both and just read or write. In a perfect world I could spend the first 4 hours of my morning doing all these activities but that’s not reality. So I pick one of my MUSTS each day and do just one BUT I make sure to be deeply grateful for it.

  • Choose 5 minutes a day to turn off all distractions and be grateful
  • Find at least 30 minutes a day to do one of your MUSTS -maybe that 30 minutes is in the morning before everyone else gets up or maybe it’s late at night. Find your time, it’s there waiting for you if you look. Make YOU a priority. I guarantee no one will self-combust because of it 😉

FAMILY

I used to be distracted all the time and never really focused on being in the moment. I have learned that putting my phone on silent and focusing on finger painting with my little one, or encouraging the kids to talk about their day at the dinner table has changed everything. Sometimes putting a hold on the rushing around and letting the kids play outside just a little longer or stay up just a little later is not just okay but amazing and beautiful. Making the effort to get a babysitter and go out with my hubby or meet up with friends even when I am tired and would rather just go to sleep is so very worth it. You can change your state of mind or state of being in an instant.

  • Instead of asking myself “Do I really want to go/do etc…?” I ask myself “What if I couldn’t?” What if I was incapable of even considering these options due to sickness, old age or worse? After pondering that thought, the answer is always YES! Let’s GO!

WORK

I no longer work harder and longer but I do work smarter. I prioritize according to MY description of what is urgent not other people’s. The reality is that some issues are time sensitive but many other are not. Turns out that people can wait and will not explode if they fail to receive an answer in 2 hours or less! In fact as long as you are clear about your response time turn around, most people can wait up to 48 hours or more.

I no longer check my email first thing in the morning, late at night or constantly throughout the day. Email is a fabulous tool but it can also be a nightmare that sucks up all your time without you even realizing until it’s too late. I schedule specific times and I limit the time spent answering. If I can make a phone call instead of email, I will. It’s faster and provides a much better source for communication.

What have been some the consequences of these new additions in my life? 

  • I no longer let high maintenance people, social media and tv waste my valuable time.
  • I go to sleep earlier
  • I am actively pursuing my MUSTS each day
  • I feel calm, relaxed and more appreciative of each moment of my day
  • I have less stress and less feelings of not being “enough”
  • I have more self-confidence and happiness and enjoy sharing it with others
  • I feel like I am in a constant state or learning and growth
  • I have discovered a sense of wonder in everyday moments

My self development journey has many facets to it. Running and writing are some of the bigger ones for sure but by far the most important one is the realization was that TIME didn’t need to be found. It was always there waiting for me. I just needed to know where to look. 

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#GoRunnerGo  🙂


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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  🙂


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Live With Passion

Life will never be the same, life is changing…..

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What an outstanding 5 days I have just lived!! It is almost impossible to properly describe the Tony Robbins live experience. I thought I knew what to expect. After all, I have been reading his books and listening to his audio programs for years. I was wrong. So very wrong. Never did I expect such insight, such personal growth and such a deep soul searching spiritual experience all wrapped up into the best rock concert EVER!

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Words can truly not even come close. Tony had us focus in on our beliefs and values and how they literally shape every decision we make in our lives on a minute by minute basis. Oh and did I mention that along with 7,000 other people, I walked on FIRE?? Totally crazy I know but I would do again in a heartbeat.

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Burning the logs all night….

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Laying out the hot burning coals to walk on

There is not a human being on this planet that would not benefit from a Tony Robbins Live event. All I can say is GO. Find a way or make a way but GO. Your life will never be the same.

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YES!!

#GoRunnerGo  🙂


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Better Late Than Never!

Hello blog land! 

I’m officially a few hours late with this post but it has been a crazy day…..and a crazy week! Trying to get EVERYTHING done before Spring Break begins on Monday has pretty much tipped me over the edge.

March happens to be one the busiest months in dance studio world. First week is Spring Break but instead of closing and taking the week off we hold a day camp so we actually end up with more work than we would on a normal week! Annnnnd…..It’s officially the start of competition season which means I have been drowning in planning, scheduling and rehearsing.

Other than work, I’ve also been planning for next week’s trip to New York with the hubby. We will be leaving the kiddos with their godparents for 5 days (Cue crazy laughter….bahahahahaaaaa)  It will also be our 11 year wedding anniversary and we will be celebrating in style, sans enfants 😉  Okay so our reason for choosing NY may sound romantic but really it’s because we will be going to a fabulous Tony Robbins conference -see My Ultimate MOTIVATOR for all the details!!

All exciting stuff but just a lot of planning and preparation for our trip, the kids trip and tying up the loose ends at work.

So the question is how much running did I get in this week? Ummmm…..not much honestly. Life took over and I only ran twice and not for very long either. All I could think of was how fast could I finish the workout so I could get some real work done. Same goes for writing and healthy eating, basically the whole week was a bust.

It’s okay though, I’m not going to get too upset with myself-just aim to do better next week. Although maybe some early planning would have helped…I will admit to being a HUGE procrastinator. I can put off doing something for 3 weeks then get it done in 30 minutes once I really have to. On the other hand, maybe finding an extra 5 -10 hours a day would help me during times like these…if anyone knows how to do this PLEASE pass along your info!!

The highlight of my week was coming home last night from teaching and opening the mail. Naturally I threw the bills and other boring letters over to my husband and went straight for the package 😉 Turns out my favorite aunt, who happens to be one of the most amazing, loving, caring and generous people I know, sent me a book. For no reason. It’s not my birthday. It’s not Christmas. She just saw it, bought it and sent it along to me….from Singapore. Yes, she lives in Singapore. No one should ever send anything via the mail from Singapore, they charge you the equivalent of a small mortgage.

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Thank you my fabulous Aunt!!

Your little gift will help me to refocus and JUST RUN this coming week!

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#GoRunnerGo   🙂


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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  🙂


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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   🙂


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See Mommy Run

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This week my kids unknowingly gave me the answers to the question that I get asked the most: Why do I run?

Pretty much everyone who is a non-runner has asked me this question in the past year and a half. Non-runners seem to be satisfied with a get fit, lose weight, be more healthy type of answer however they don’t seem to understand the desire to run beyond accomplishing those first little goals. So when my kids asked me the same thing this week, I really took the time to go deep and find an answer….not by choice though! Their timing was less than perfect at 7:15am 😉

However, being forced to undergo an inquisition by a 6 and 3 year old will really get to the bottom of any burning questions one might have. They are just never satisfied with the answers given, there’s always another WHY? WHY MOMMY? but…..WHY??? So one snowy morning this week, while trying to get my two little ones dressed in snowsuits, hats, boots and gloves in time for school- I was subject to the KIDDIE INQUISITION.

It went something like this….

Mommy? Mommy….?? Mommmmmmmyyyyy????? Put your snow pants on.

Are you going to the gym today? -Yes

Why? -I have to. Put your snow pants on.

Why? -I always go on Tuesdays. Put your snow pants on.

But why do you go? -I like to run. Put your snow pants on.

Why do you like to run? -Are your snow pants on yet???? Stop talking and get dressed!!!

10 seconds of silence…..

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Mommy? Mommy….?? -Okay now boots, put your boots on.

Why do you run? -BOOTS!!! You’re going to be late AGAIN!!!! PUT YOUR BOOTS ON!!!

And so it went…..back and forth between my 6 and 3 year old, on and on…..they never let up, they never backed down until finally I surrendered to their questions in an attempt to stop the madness.

Here’s what I learned about why I run.

Zach, Chloe….Mommy runs because…

  • It makes me happy
  • When I’m happy I’m a better mommy
  • The physical pain and temporary discomfort make me feel alive and pushing through it makes me feel powerful
  • It makes me healthy and that means I can do more and experience more with you
  • I take my job as your role model seriously and know that my actions speak louder than words
  • It takes discipline and dedication but gives me clarity and inspiration
  • It helps me to sit still and focus for long periods of time without getting restless
  • Habits are inevitable, why not choose healthy ones?
  • There aren’t any drawbacks to making time for myself
  • Pushing myself to be the best I can be teaches you how to embrace a healthy competitive spirit
  • I want you to find your own passion and experience the pure joy that it brings when you pursue it
  • No other activity, hobby, interest has ever made me as happy, healthy, exhilarated or appreciative as running

Mommy? –Yes Zach?

Have fun at the gym. I love you.

Mommy? –Yes Chloe?

I love you, you my best friend. 

I love you too my babies. Thank you for helping me to know exactly why I love to RUN!!  🙂