My tips and tools for new runners!

I really started getting into running in 2009 when I started my journey towards a healthier me. As I have explained in the past, running was originally a plan to lose weight. It turned from this activity that created a large caloric deficit, into something deeper than that. Running became something that really centred me, it has meditative qualities for me. It has carried me through times of struggle and times of celebration. My relationship with my body, in turn, became stronger. I began to love my body for how it could preform. I also learned to love my body for what it was, rather than picking it apart at any glance in the mirror. I have fallen in love, out of love and back in love with running over and over again. Even during the times that I felt like I was not enjoying it, I found aspects that I still truly enjoyed. But even yet, I still get the constant “HOW can you like running? I absolutely hate it. I wish I could enjoy it” response from time to time. So this inspired me to share with you some points and tools to remember when you start running:

Know you may not love running right off the bat….or at all…

When you first start a new form of exercise, it will be a struggle. For many, being sweaty, out of breath and feeling challenged does not ring “fun.” But as you feel better with your pacing, try new routes, new terrains, new races and running buddies, running may turn into something great. But also know, not everyone will love running. That is okay. We all have our own personal preferences, so of course we won’t ALL love running. But you may end up loving it after some time trying it out!

You do not need a specific plan when you first start.

When I began, I didn’t start with a program like Couch 2 5 km. (Though, c25k really is a great way to start things if you like more structure.) What did I do? I just got out there and remembered that if I had to walk, that was okay. I was still moving. So I would go out for 20 minutes and keep in mind that my main goal was just to move. Also, I would remember to check in with my body, so not to push it TOO far. I would run for as long as I felt I could, then take a power walk break. Then once I felt ready to run again, I would! Each time I would try and challenge myself and would do my best not to back down from challenges like a steep hill. Which brings me to my next point.

Do not fear hills.

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Where I live, hills are unavoidable. How will you ever improve if you do not challenge yourself? When I started, I would do my best to make goals while climbing a hill. For instance, I would tell myself that I would run up the hill until that lamppost (tree, fire hydrant etc), and often times once I got there I felt I could keep pushing to the next marker. Before I knew it, I had crested the hill. Again, some days are stronger than others. But as long as you do what you can that day, that is all you can ask of your body. Remember, though, we are a lot stronger than we think we are!

Don’t worry about apps, and other electronic gadgets.

I run with a Garmin Forerunner 310XT now, but honestly..you do not need electronics when you run. I know plenty of people that rather not run with things like this. I used to run just with a watch so I knew how long I was out there for. But you do not need expensive pieces of equipment to train. Just a pair of shoes (unless you are a barefoot runner that is…you go Glen Coco!).

However, if you want to know distance..

Maybe you are curious about how far you did go while you were out there. The main website I use (and there is an app if you so choose to use it) to map my run. It is named exactly that. Map my run.

Don’t get hooked on numbers…

It doesn’t matter how far or fast you go when you first start. Sure, these can be good goals to constantly improve on. But do not let these number make you feel defeated. You are still out there and moving!

Don’t worry about technical running gear.

I would run in sweats and a baggy T shirt when I started. Really, it is okay if you don’t have running tights and technical t shirts. Same goes to fuel belt, fuel bottles or hydropacks. Honestly, these are NOT 100% necessary. If you live in a hotter area and feel the need to have water on you at all times, sure. But no need to complicate things and buy $500 worth of things from your local running store before you first start running. Ease into it. Use what you have in your closet!

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But remember..Safety first!

You may want to buy some running shoes. Shoes are the only piece of equipment we use as runners that is absolutely key. They are also the piece of equipment that can be the cause of back, hip, knee or (insert body part of choice) pain. Running shoes are designed for..you got it! RUNNING. Where as cross training shoes are designed for places like the gym where you may be moving omnidirectional. Running, we typically run forward. Not laterally. So running shoes are designed as such. Also, running shoes can be “too old” to run in. So my best piece of advice is to go to your local running store. They can fit your foot to the proper shoe you need since we all have different foot types and may need more or less stability.

You  may also want to have some reflective tape, bands or a vest if you are early morning or evening runner.

But above all this.. the most important thing?

Don’t over complicate it. Stop over thinking it. You will learn along the way. Listen to your body, don’t over do it (too much too soon is a recipe for overuse injuries). Just get out there and do what you can that day. Some days will be better than others. Some runs will be a huge struggle. But you are moving, you are doing what you can do that day! With time, you will feel more in touch with your body and its needs. Do your best to listen to what it wants.

Don’t worry about how you look or what others could think. Because more often than not, the people who will drive, run or bike past you are not thinking about YOU. They are thinking about themselves or whatever else is on their mind. Focus on how your body feels, breathe and put one foot in front of the other.

Just get out there. Move.

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Tune Tuesday

I LOVE finding new tunes I can work to and workout to. So I thought I would share some of the tunes I have been hitting play on A LOT.

JENNJONES

Dear Future Husband- Meghan Trainor

Title- Meghan Trainor

I am not the only one- Sam Smith (ft ASAP Rocky)

Shake it off – Taylor Swift

Anaconda- Nicki Manaj

Black Widow- Iggy Azalea

Jungle- X Ambassadors & Jamie N Commons (ft. Jay Z)

Come get it bae- Pharrell Williams

Beachin’- Jake Owen

I don’t dance- Lee Brice

American Kids- Kenny Chesney

Wild Life- Jack & Jack

Come with me now- KONGOS

Free (Nas remix)- Rudamental

Wiggle- Jason Derulo (ft Snoop Dog)

Boom Clap- Charli XCX

The Man- Aloe Blac

 

Think it out Thursday: Let’s get real- edition

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For the last year or so, I have been struggling on and off with bouts of anxiety and depression. Elements that I cannot recall feeling prior to this time in my life. The toughest part is, majority of the time, I cannot express why I am feeling this way. I just wake up feeling overwhelmed with thoughts that almost paralyze me from doing things. Sometimes it would even wake me up from my sleep and I would lay there until morning just thinking and worrying. I haven’t felt like myself. The hardest thing for me, and always has been, is asking for help when I need it most. I only recently have opened up about these struggles to my amazing husband and loved ones. I am truly blessed to have them in my life.

But as of recent, I have felt some relief. I cannot speak to this being a permanent feeling. But I am just going to go with it. I have decided to go back to a habit I followed when I embarked on my journey to a healthier me back in 2009, and I do believe it will help me a lot. I have stopped drinking. This is just a personal preference, I am by no means saying that you are unhealthy if you drink. No, no, no. I just find personally, after having a little alcohol (as little as a glass of wine with dinner), I feel my anxiety worsens for a few days after it being in my system. As much as I love a glass of chardonnay, it isn’t worth feeling overwhelmingly anxious for almost a week after. It really isn’t for me. So I rather cut it out all together.

I am not a big drinker. I had my party stage when I turned 19 for about 3 months, until I grew sick of it (Literally..I would get so sick even from just 2 glasses of alcohol). But since our wedding, I’ve been  having a glass of wine here and there. It is a habit I never really had before and is the only thing I think could have corrolation to how I have been feeling. Just how my body reacts to alcohol to begin with (eg: getting sick after 2 glasses of alcohol even when I don’t feel it at all buzz-wise), it wouldn’t surprise me that these feelings could be made worse through alcohol. So I am choosing just to step away all together.

I figured I would write on this today to:
A) keep myself accountable
B) let people know that everyone can feel this way, and you are not alone (you are always free to contact me!)
C) I feel like I am lacking in the blogging department as of late 😉
D) To stop the “omg no wine? ARE YOU PREGNANT” comments before they happen, haha! I get this comment a lot when I don’t drink, I have the flu or I am craving things. Ever since Matt and I got hitched, that is the biggest question I get. Maybe it is time I start messing people and say yes just to see the response ;).

But back to feeling the way I have, I know things will get better. Life ebbs and flows. I do think cutting out alcohol will help me quite a bit. If you feel you need support or someone just to talk to as a friend, know you can contact me with the information listed in the contact tab! Thank you for always accepting me through and through. I am truly thankful for those readers and viewers that get in contact with me on a regular. You guys ROCK!

Canmore Rocky Mountain Half Marathon Recap

We have been home from our trip for about a week now and, boy, it feels great. I am a bit of a homebody (same with Matt), so it feels so good for us to be home. Even if it is for a short time. We are off on another 2 week adventure at the end of the month!

Last weekend we were in Canmore, AB for our friend’s wedding. It worked out that the half marathon was the same day as the wedding and I thought “eh, why not do both” because…well…that is the kind of crazy things I pull.

Saturday night we joined the wedding party for the rehearsal dinner. Matt was the MC for the night, so it was a good opportunity for us to get to know the wedding party. Also, I enjoyed elk meat for the first time. Hello, elk grilled cheese! This was heavenly!

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The steakhouse was at the Silver tip golf resort (which is also where the wedding was held). It looked over this awesome hole. What a beauty!

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We got to bed at a decent hour, but for whatever reason we didn’t sleep well. Matt was wide awake at 2 am, and I was waking up every hour or two. So I started the morning of the half marathon with a few cups of coffee to say the least. Not enough to disturb my tummy though. I wore my brand new rainbow stitch CW-X compression 3/4 length pants. MAN, seriously cannot rave about these enough. I have them in a pink stitch too and I just love the feel. Horrible photo to showcase the stitching, but whatever.

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Matt dropped me off 25 minutes prior to the start (which was at 8:45) and I got myself warmed up and ready to go. It was an absolutely beautiful day. PERFECT temperature and a little breeze here and there (nothing crazy). There was quite a few people running the half, so it was much bigger than I expected. There was also a 10 km and 5 km race option. Instead of race shirts, though, we got race SOCKS. I am actually pretty stoked on that!

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Since this race was my final race for a little while, I figured I would just do what I can to enjoy it. No stressing about pacing or time. Just enjoy the scenery and take it all in. After all, I was running in the Rockies. Too beautiful to not soak it all in.

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We crossed a few of these bridges and a water purifying plant, but for the most part we were out in the trails and soaking in the beautiful sunshine, mountains, trees and rivers. Seriously one of the most beautiful course I have ever been on. Could not recommend this course enough.

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As for terrain, there was a fair amount of paved ground.. but most of it was gravel trail or wooded areas. Considering that I didn’t do too bad. Some of my long runs I did back in Vancouver were on similar terrain so I felt okay with it. As for elevation, there was a hillier chunk between about the 14 km and 19 km mark. Nothing I felt overwhelmed with. But it was a fair amount of climbing. Either way, I finished and felt good. No aches or pains. Just tired legs and a full heart. Pretty much the perfect way to end a race and end the season for me.

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It was one of my slower finishes, but that was the whole point. To not look at my watch. Not care about the pacing. Just let my body do what it wanted and focus on my surroundings. One thing I LOVE about destination races like this, is it isn’t about time. It is about the run, the place around you, and your heart. It is runs like this makes me remember how much I love running.

Fast forward a few hours, I managed to get myself ready for the wedding. Matt looked handsome as ever, and I wore heels (huge win since I ran 21.1 km that morning).

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The ceremony was beautiful. Soon as we left for the wedding, I looked at Matt and gasped “I FORGOT TISSUES.” If you know me, weddings make me very emotional. It is a beautiful moment to witness and honestly I am an emotional mess during them. Good thing the wedding planner sat near me. She gave me many tissues throughout the day!

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The venue was absolutely beautiful. I loved the theme they went with and our friend (the bride) Jodi made all the table names on her own. The tables were all named after various trees. I loved how they brought the feel and love they have for nature, into the venue.

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We are SO happy for our friends, Jodi and Kris. It was an absolutely amazing day. Matt did phenomenal as well as the MC and we danced the night away. Oh, and we of course hit up the s’mores pit they had set up for their guests. There were little baggies with 2 graham crackers, a marshmallow and a bar of chocolate in them. So amazing. Also, nothing beats the smell of a fire and s’mores.

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Then.. get this.. the next day it was SNOWING…IN SEPTEMBER (this baffles me being a west coast girl..). They literally got the last day of summer it seems like. It was a fun trip back to Calgary, and we had to wait a few hours for de-icing of the plane and what not. But I did get plenty of crocheting done ;). I made my Mom some hand warmers and a turban style headband!

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An amazing trip all around. Felt SO good to get home, but like I mentioned.. not for long! We are off to explore the state of Florida for two weeks soon. Can’t wait for that!

 

Winnipeg Recap!

I have been pretty absent vlog and blog wise! BONJOUR! I am still alive and kickin’!

When ever we go back to Winnipeg to visit our family (my in laws), it gets crazy booked FAST. We have a lot of family and friends so I didn’t feel like vlogging. Just too much going on, and I didn’t want to feel overwhelmed to edit and upload each day.

Winnipeg was fun, I find each time I go back it gives me time to better get to know my new family. It can suck living so far from them, but we make it work. I already miss them!

While I was there, I went to Moksha Winnipeg. They had a travelers pass for $40 which included towels and mat use. It lasted a week and I got in 5 classes. Pretty good I thought!

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Then there was a CRAZY rain storm. They got one month of rain in 90 minutes. This was a picture that I took after brunch the next day with my brother in laws girlfriend. Craziness.

IMG_6056Matt and I worked out together a few times. I find the best way to get a workout with Matt that we both enjoy is if there is competition. So we ran a few sprints and races while we were playing frisbee with the pooch!

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I managed to get in a couple runs as well. I always like running there, but usually it can be a bit too humid for my liking. However, it was pretty cool for the ten days we were there. I managed to get one long run in. It was pretty hot that day but it was great. I really love running when in new places. You get to see the town from a new angle and possibly find things you may want to do later on.

IMG_6071I ran down St. Mary’s, to Broadway, to Osbourne, then looped off to the BDI (Bridge Drive in).

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Fun fact about Jenn’s family..we are related to this guy … Louis Riel.

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Matt and I had a coupon to use and we woke up pretty late so we probably wouldn’t have been able to go otherwise. But no one gets between me and my ice cream ;). So I had him meet me there.

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I went with a twist cone and Matt got his usual vanilla ice cream with rainbow sprinkles. I would have a photo but it was so hot and it was melting fast. I had to take action!

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Before the trip, I had my HR monitor battery changed. So here was the total caloric burn for those interested:

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And the total distance. It was planned out to be 18 km, but I was running on very little sleep and it was hot. If I had to, I could totally have done more..so I don’t feel too bad. I have been pretty “lax” with my training for this half. Not going for any PRs or anything so ya. The race is in Canmore, AB on the 7th. Which yes, is the day of our friend Jodi’s wedding (I will have plenty of time to get ready..don’t worry ;)).

IMG_6076Another highlight of the trip? my amazing mother in law taught me how to crochet. My sister in law, Steph and I have become addicted. My current project is making a turban style headband to keep my ears warm for fall/winter hehe! ….and yes I have totally brought my old lady status up to a new level…now can someone just get me 4 cats that would be great.

We are now at our family cabin in Point Roberts, Washington and then we go off to Portland!….where I may just be spouting off Portlandia quotes. I apologize in advance, Matt. Love you 😉

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Let me know if you have ANY recommendations of things to do, see, or eat while in Portland, OR!!

 

Tips to staying active while traveling

Fun fact about Jenn…she shouldn’t refer to herself in third person she loves to travel.

You may notice, Matt and I travel a fair amount and I have been pretty blessed to travel a lot of the world at a younger age. Since starting my journey to become a healthier me, I have found ways to keep myself active and healthy while on vacation (or if away for work ….stay fit while away from home). I thought I would post on this topic today since Matt and I are off to travel for about a month starting next week!

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Come prepared

I travel pretty much anywhere with snacks and my Shakeology. Depending where you are traveling, you can pack most things with you. Obviously with flying regulations, you may have to tweak some of your favourite snacks..but it is totally doable. If you are road trippin’? I love to bring my portable cheap blender (mine is from oster). Easy to bring, affordable, and I can get my Shakeology in the way I like (blended with almond milk and a banana).

Fitness wise, I also come prepared. I ALWAYS pack running shoes, workout clothing and a DVD workout program if need be. Maybe you have a busy day and the hotel gym isn’t 24 hours or you don’t feel comfortable running in an area you don’t know that well.. then you can pop in that Insanity DVD and get your 30 minutes in.

Also, I always travel with an empty water bottle. Most airports have water filtration systems past security. If you are like me and HATE airplane bathrooms, remember how you feel when you don’t get in enough water. You don’t want your first day in a new place to be ruined due to dehydration headaches. Water is key! so suck it up, drink up and use the airplane bathroom if need be 🙂

Check amenities of the places you are staying in

Is there a gym? pool? mini fridge? maybe a kitchenette? These are some things we like to check into since it can make for a healthier trip (and often times.. a more affordable one since you can do a lot of your own cooking rather than eating out).

Running or cycling tours

When I traveled to Paris, we found a bike tour. It was PERFECT. You often can see more of the city this way since you can go to places tour buses may not be capable of. Also? for lunch we stopped at a Parisian market, picked out ingredients we wanted for lunch and ate it in a park or along the water. Many cities have tours like this, or even running tours. These are amazing ways to see the city from an angle you just won’t get on a bus!

Check out facilities in the area

When we travel back to see Matt’s family, I like to check out the types of fitness facilities in the area. Yoga studios, gyms, group fitness classes etc. Check out if they have visitor passes, or visitor rates. Make sure to check that the deal is worth it, too. I checked into Moksha yoga and the beginner rate is $40 unlimited for a month. We will be there for 10 days, so if I go at least twice it would be worth it since the drop-in rate is $20 a class.

Another option is to check out Groupon (or any discount site of your choosing) to see if you can find a good deal on a fitness facility for the time you are there for.

Check for local races

As I mentioned, running can be a great way to see the city. If you are an avid runner (and LOVE racing)…then what better way to see a city, and maybe add a new finishers medal and shirt to your collection, than entering a race in the area? Destination races are so much fun and you can find stores, restaurants and sites you may want to revisit while on course!

Check out your surrounds

I am a runner, so naturally I like to workout outside. But you don’t have to just run to do your workouts outside. Get creative! Use your body! There are many things you can do to create a little mini circuit for yourself and your surroundings can aid in that. Hills, playgrounds, tracks, stairs, etc can make for some fun workouts!

But remember, don’t make fitness a chore

This is a rule to have on days at home as well, but especially when you are on vacation. Fitness shouldn’t be a punishment.. or…pre-punishment? you know what I mean.. when you KNOW you are going to have a few drinks and nachos at that all inclusive resort so you force yourself to workout. No. Just don’t. Instead, make a mini goal for yourself. I generally make it a point of being active for at least 30 minutes a day. That can mean anything! If you are on a bike tour, you don’t have to go slave in the gym at an ungodly hour so you can make it to the tour on time. You are still being active. Some vacations are more active than others. When I travel in Europe, I walk around a lot more than I would at an all inclusive resort. Just remember you are on vacation. Find some fun things to do, and do them! Beach volleyball, dance lessons poolside, surfing, little morning jog to check out a local juice bar or cafe, renting bikes. There are many options to make it fun and apart of your adventures.

Sure, prioritize your workout by getting up and doing it first thing. But don’t let your workout take away from your time away from home. Be kind to yourself!

 

QOTD: What are some things YOU do to keep active while away from home?

Random thoughts on a Monday

Huh. Has it really almost been a full month since I posted a blog post? Apparently.

Apologies.

(Insert excuse of choice here..)

I have been on social media. If you haven’t subscribed and are into daily vlogs, I have been daily vlogging. This was suppose to be a 1 week venture.. but it has gone on past that point. Anywho, click here and you can check out the channel.

So for this post, I am just gonna spurt out random thoughts to catch you up a bit on where I am at:

I have somehow fallen in love with hot yoga (moksha…still not into the Bikrams thing). I said somehow, because I don’t enjoy heat.. like at all. But something about my journey with piyo has lead me to want to try hot yoga again, but with an open mind and heart. I am finally feeling that mind/body connection people talk about. I guess it is similar to that feeling of when I fell in love with yoga. It took so so so many runs for me to really see how healing running was for me. But yeah, yogi Jenn over here. Last night, my brother and I went to the evening class where they play live music as you practice. Luca had an amazing way about his music. Beautiful. It was a beautiful practice. Really centered me for the week.

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I have been really enjoying the Grouse Grind in Vancouver. I went with my brother last week, and then with a friend a few days ago. It is a beautiful (yet challenging) trail and it spurred some really great thoughts, reflection and conversation. I am hoping to get in one more run of it while I am visiting Vancouver.

I have been in really great spirits as of late. I have a better attitude about life. Much more positive, much more self love, much more self belief. I am learning how important it is to not only have my loved ones support me and believe in me…but for ME to believe in me. I feel like I have been just going through the motions of life the last little while but I am not up and ready to take on what needs to be taken on.

I am thankful I can still communicate with Matt while he is at sea this time around. He is in the states and has reception most of the time he has been gone. But still miss the bugger. He is back in just over 2 weeks! He has been gone for a month now.

Lately I have a juice obsession. Be Love and Cafe Bliss in Victoria.. AMAZING. Gonna grab a juice before my hair appointment this week since it is right beside the juice bar. It is funny how I didn’t really enjoy juices or “get it” but I love how energized I feel. I like the really veggie dense ones especially. Nom.

The Piyo challenge group is going well and I am really loving it. Seeing differences in the DVDs and the live format (which is fairly normal for this kind of thing). But still loving the workouts and the peeps in our group are kickin booty!

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PS look at that awesome runners tan. Tan arms and shoulders…SUPER white back and tummy. Yup!

Oh and my love for crazy workout apparel is still going strong. Hello Nike pants. You are pretty.

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And yes, I have been doing the Piyo workouts on the roof top of my parents place.. it is SO calming. Something really special about that space up there. Great way to start each morning.

Well that is all for now. Just a mini check in! I will try and balance everything a little better :). Love you guys! Thanks for always supporting me :).