How NOT to Train for a Marathon

Fall

Down for minimum of six weeks with a broken radius.

Accidents Happen

Life doesn’t always go according to plan.

For instance, I had planned to train for and run the runDisney Star Wars Rival Run Challenge in April at Walt Disney World. After successfully registering for the challenge, I put in the hard hours of training, logging many miles on my running shoes, did the research on a proper diet and ate well, and I put in time at the gym doing cardio and weight training workouts to prepare.

Then, as I was decorating for my daughters 13th birthday party, I had an accident and all that went out the window. I fell. Hard. Long story short, I have a badly broken wrist with possible nerve damage and the surgeon tells me “there will be other marathons.”

He’s right of course, but that doesn’t take the sting out of it.

One minute I was just 30 days away from my first solo trip to do the challenge, a trip that was both a birthday present and a challenge to myself for my 50th birthday, and the next I was just thankful to have only a broken arm and not having lost an eye or having broken a leg as well, and wondering if I’ll one day be able to pick up and yield a chef’s knife once again.

Cancelled Plans

I cancelled my trip.

I believe all things happen for a reason even if we may not always know that reason, and I try to focus on the positive. In this case, the reason escapes me, but I am happy I spent the time training and getting myself in good shape. No doubt about it, that will help me in my healing and rehabilitation process.

So, this is day five of me sitting on my butt, trying to learn to do for myself with just my left hand/arm, trying not to think too hard of what might happen during or at the end of my recovery, and I’ve already got my eyes set on another runDisney marathon and a new challenge.  

I guess this means that for now I won’t be sharing any training progress notes with you, but don’t count me out.

After all, I am a chef, so maybe I was meant to run the Wine & Dine challenge??


Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

New Years Eve

Attending a family wedding on New Year’s Eve.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I’m still here. Work and life were busy over the holidays, so I stepped away from writing for a while, but now things have settled and it’s time to get back to it.

Let’s start with an update:

Marathon Training

I’m happy to say, my marathon training continues!

I backed off of my running a little bit to take a couple of months to focus more on weight training and core work. The idea was to build some muscle and I’m happy to say, it’s paying off. My body is beginning to show some definition, and now that I’m back to regular running workouts, I’ve noticed a big difference. It’s become ‘easier’ and I’m running faster and with better form (if I run on the track at my local YMCA I can see my reflection in a wall of windows which helps a lot).

I use a run/walk method and have been able to increase my intervals to 1:30 (one minute run, 30 seconds walk) and maintain that throughout my workouts without pushing too hard. It’s a big jump from the 30:30 when I started running that left me huffing!

With just 69 days to go until my runDisney Star Wars Rival Run Challenge, I’m focusing on adding those longer runs, and on fine-tuning my diet. It’s tough to figure out pre and post workout foods that work best – what was enough before, isn’t working now with the extra effort. I also know that I’ll be eating around 3-3:30 am when I do the run, but it’s likely I won’t leave my corral until 6-6:30 am, so I need to figure out the food that will help then too: what to eat when I get up, and what to eat (if anything) while I stand around in the corrals waiting to start. If you have tips on what’s worked for you, I’d love to hear from you!

At this point in the game, I’m now running 3x’s per week (two short runs and 1 long run), with 1 or 2 cross-training workouts in-between: strength training and core work.

runDisney

I’ve been watching all the social media sites as the runDisney weekends keep coming. I drooled through the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend posts, and I awed at those participants that pushed themselves through the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.

And just when my marathon challenge seemed so far away, we all got a look at the medals for the upcoming Star Wars Rival Run Weekend. Did you see them? I’m so excited! In case you missed them, you can see them all here. Now I’m more determined than ever to complete my challenge: I want that Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader medal hanging on my wall so bad! I just have to watch everyone else enjoy the Disney Princess Half Marathon weekend coming up in February, and then it’s my turn (and good luck to everyone in February!).

Not long now! Just 69 training days left!

Holiday Food

I won’t say I didn’t indulge in any holiday treats, I did. I didn’t go crazy, but I still allowed myself to indulge now and then. As a chef, it’s hard not to take advantage of that time of year to play with and test recipes. Hey, Christmas only comes around once a year, right?

One of the hardest things I endured after going gluten-free was probably my first gluten-free Christmas. Watching everyone else indulge without a second thought in holiday buffets, party food, and stuffing…oh, the stuffing. It hurt.

After that, I promised myself I would never feel left out again. I created a small library of gluten-free recipes of every holiday food I had missed out on, and tested them. And tested…and tested. Some were good, most were not. I crossed out option after option until I was left with a few good recipes I was able to modify or convert to gluten-free and that wouldn’t leave me cringing when I ate them.

Now every year in the weeks prior to the holidays (and I mean even before Thanksgiving starts here in Canada – October), I grab my gluten-free holiday booklet of recipes and get to work. I make sure my freezer is full and my cupboards have all the ingredients I might need to bake a last minute treat. I rarely feel left out anymore. Mincemeat tarts, Christmas cookies of all kinds, holiday scones, cannoli, mini pizza bites, pulled pork empanadas, mozzarella sticks, stuffing, and more.

And I’ve decided, why just leave these foods for Christmas? Keep watching my blog for holiday food posts throughout the year, and by Christmas, we’ll all be ready to indulge!

And so begins 2019..

I hope this year brings you health, happiness and all the things you’re looking for in this adventure called life.


Running for Charity in Toronto

We did it! And what a great way to see the city of Toronto.

STWM5kaThis morning we ran the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon 5K Charity Challenge in support of the Canadian Celiac Association. It was great! With a 5:30 am wake-up, and a 6:30 am hike to the shuttle buses, it was cold, but great!

STWM5kd

While normally we would push to run for a good finish time, this morning we took our time and tried to enjoy the scenery. After all, when else can you walk/run through the streets of Toronto without the worry of traffic or traffic lights? Still, we did break into a run several times and managed a decent finish time, so we’re happy. I’m so proud of our girls (who are not runners) who endure early wake-up calls and cold, dark mornings to participate in a sport that is not really their favourite. I’m even more proud to say they do it to raise funds to help others.

STWM5kcSTWM5ke

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was our first run in Toronto, but I can guarantee, it won’t be our last.


Registered for My First Half Marathon (and then some)

August 28th was registration day for the Star Wars Rival Run Weekend and I excitedly sat at my laptop at the stroke of noon and registered for the 10K run. Not the half. Yep, I know…so much for all my talk and the weeks of training I’d put in in anticipation of the half.

I will admit that my decision was made partly because of the price (I pay in Canadian dollars remember and was adding this expense to the cost of a solo trip to Walt Disney World Resort), and partly because I chickened out at the last minute.

But that decision haunted me almost immediately after I received my ‘thank you for registering’ email and somehow I felt unsettled. The chatter in my head began: running the half marathon and taking a solo trip booked around this runDisney event was supposed to be my 50th birthday present to myself. I had already booked everything, set aside just about all of the trip money, and put in weeks of training in anticipation of running a half with plenty of time left to complete my training. Add in an extra shift or two at work over the upcoming holidays, and I’d easily have the extra money it would require….So I had no excuse really. Except nerves.

Finally, on Friday, I could think of nothing else at work all day except how I’d let myself down. As soon as my shift ended I came home, sat down at my laptop once again, and registered for the half marathon (in addition to the 10K).

I’m happy to say I almost instantly felt at peace and happy. For a few minutes at least.

Then I had buyers remorse and kicked myself for not registering for the Challenge in the first place and potentially earning three medals instead of two (running the 10K + the half marathon = challenge medal).

Fortunately, I belong to a number of runDisney groups and with encouragement and support, I contacted the folks at runDisney who were happy to transfer my registration from the two individual events to the challenge.

 

Star Wars Rival Run Challenge Registration

Star Wars Rival Run Challenge Registration

 

So…I’m running the challenge! Yep, the 10K AND the half marathon.

Now I’m unsettled for a whole different reason. But in a good way.

 


Run Registration Day

It’s finally here: tomorrow is run registration day for the runDisney Star Wars Rival Run Weekend!

20180420_072139From past experience, I know that the runDisney events are very popular and sell out fast, so it’s imperative that you’re ready when it comes to registration day.

Here are a few things I’ve done and recommend to help with the registration process:

  1. Know Your Race Registration Date and Time. Okay, maybe this is obvious but I’m mentioning it anyway. This is key to getting into the race of your choice. These events sell out fast, and you need to be ready not only on the day of registration, but also at the moment the registration process opens (in this case, noon my time tomorrow). I’ve cleared my calendar and set a reminder alarm on my phone for one hour prior to the opening moment that will allow me time to get set up and be ready with all of my devices.
  2. Account Preparation. The registration process for runDisney events recently changed, so my first step was to go to the runDisney page and make sure my account was set up and ready to go. Don’t wait for registration day! Create and sign in to your page and get familiar with how it looks and works days in advance.
  3. Know Your Information. Past experience has taught me what information to have ready when I register: the exact race or challenge I want, estimated finish time or proof of time (POT), t-shirt size, etc. You don’t want to waste time trying to figure this out once the registration window is open. The new registration process also allows you to register more than one participant at once, so know who you’re registering.
  4. Light or Dark Side? This year, the Star Wars Run Weekend is a rival run and that means choosing to run for either the light side or the dark side. This one required no thinking for me…but I’ll let you know which one I chose in a later post.

So I’m as ready as I can be, and if all goes well, there are just 219 days left to go!

 

 

 


Marathon Training Continues…week 6

Yep, still running and still training!

bday shots

balloons

Ok, truthfully, it was my 50th birthday on the weekend and I did take some time off from running, but not from exercise. It’s been pretty hot here and things were crazy given we were in party planning mode, so I focused more on core and strength training last week, rather than putting in the miles.

Party over, celebrating done, house back in order…it’s now time to jump back in. And I’m happy to say I’m jumping back in with a couple new items.

After listening to my frequent rants over my issues with my old running watch (I won’t name names here), my husband lovingly gave me a new Garmin Forerunner 35 for my birthday. I love it!

Instantly, the fit was so much more comfortable than my old watch and it’s definitely a better size for my wrist. While I haven’t used it just yet, it is out and synced to my phone, charged and ready to go. Now I just need to read the manual and figure out all the features.

gifts

And…In the spirit of wearing things on your wrist while running…my fabulous husband also surprised me with a Magic Kingdom 45th Anniversary Limited Edition Dumbo MagicBand! Dumbo is one of my favourite Disney characters and I had my eye on this beauty some time ago but never picked it up. So hubby did…and apparently (according to our paperwork) he managed to order the last one in stock. It’s the perfect item for my solo trip to Walt Disney World in the spring. gifts b

So thanks to my better half, I’m now ready to continue my marathon training in style with (hopefully) a little less frustration, and I look forward to running my next runDisney event with my pal, Dumbo.

Let week six begin!

 


What’s for Breakfast? (Tuna Cakes Recipe)

Let’s talk breakfast.

If you’re like me, you’ve got four or five go-to choices that you rotate through for your morning meal (and you’re probably getting tired of them), but what are they and how different are our choices from someone else’s?

I never really thought much about it until this past week at work when my boss and I shared a funny moment. First thing in the morning, I had to make a Tex-Mex salad that contained cilantro (not one of my favourite herbs) and jalapeno. As a chef, I have to taste everything I make and salad is no exception. Testing for seasoning, I jokingly commented ‘there’s nothing like eating cilantro and jalapeno first thing in the morning’ and made a nasty face as I tasted my forkful. My boss looked up and said ‘this from the girl who has tuna for breakfast.’

Tuna Cakes, Chef at Heart

Gluten-Free Tuna Cakes, Chef at Heart

It’s true. I eat tuna for breakfast. Tuna cakes are one of my go-to options in the morning. Full of chopped vegetables and quinoa flakes, they’re a perfect breakfast option for me: sometimes with an egg, sometimes with toast, sometimes on toast as a tuna melt.

I’m not a cereal or pancake person so I guess I don’t have your standard breakfast favourites. Typically I rotate through:

  • tuna cakes (with or without egg or toast)
  • toasted salmon salad sandwich
  • breakfast burrito
  • breakfast hash (with sweet potato, red peppers, onion, egg, salsa…whatever)
  • poached eggs and toast
  • egg on an English muffin, sandwich style

Disney's Kona coffee and donuts

Disney’s Kona Blend coffee and donuts

These are my norms and I think nothing of them (none of them contain cilantro or jalapeno), and all of them are always accompanied with a big mug of coffee (for the safety of others of course).

My one rule is ALWAYS breakfast. I never skip it. Sure there are days I don’t want much or I don’t feel like cooking something, but on those days I’ll grab or defrost a muffin, some berries, a banana with peanut butter, or indulge in my favourite treat, a Disney-style donut. But always something.

Even when we go out for breakfast, I stick to the old stand-by of eggs and toast, but I think that has more to do with being gluten-free and the lack of safe options more-so than anything else. Unless of course I’m at Walt Disney World where I can get a buffet of choices… but that’s a whole other post for a later date.

I’m sharing my tuna cake recipe with you and hopefully you’ll share some of your favourite breakfast options as well. I’m always looking for new and different ideas!

TUNA CAKES

  • 4 x 170g cans of flaked tuna, drained
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup quinoa flakes (or you can susbstitute gluten-free breadcrumbs)
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • finely chopped vegetables of your choice *optional (I like to add red peppers & celery)
  • 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Combine the tuna, eggs, quinoa, vegetables, and mayonnaise in a bowl. Feel free to make it your own here..add lemon zest, parmesan cheese, chives, whatever you like.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Gluten-free Tuna Cakes, Chef at Heart

Gluten-free Tuna Cakes, Chef at Heart

Divide the mixture and shape into 8-10 cakes (depending on your size preference).

Gluten-free tuna cake patties, Chef at Heart

Gluten-free tuna cake patties, Chef at Heart

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Brown the cakes in batches, approx. 3-5 minutes per side, or until browned and heated through. Serve.

You can also cool the browned cakes on a rack, wrap individually with plastic wrap, and freeze. Thaw them overnight in the fridge and reheat in a skillet.

Note: I tend to just lightly brown mine knowing I will freeze and reheat them again later in order to avoid overcooking the cakes. If you are cooking them to serve immediately, you should brown them as needed, ensuring they are heated and cooked through.

Gluten-free Tuna Cakes, Chef at Heart

Gluten-free Tuna Cakes, Chef at Heart