hiking

Taking on The Narrows!

hiking

hiking

hiking

hiking

hiking

A lot of mental preparation went into committing to hike The Narrows at Zion National Park. I knew I would be fine physically. Of course I would be cold, wet and tired but we would rent all the proper gear, bring tons of snacks and warm clothe. It was my mental state that I couldn’t quite whip into shape.

The Narrows is one of the most unique and famous hiking trails that Zion National Park has to offer. The trail is positioned amidst the narrowest section of Zion Canyon and under the Virgin River. Exquisitly detailed 1,000 foot high-walls surround you as you make your way through the cold waters of the 20-30 foot wide river. Let it be known that, even during the driest times of the year, you will be hiking through some amount of water.

None of the above actually worried me. I was excited for the challenge.

It was the (verbal and written) warning signs about flash floods that had me shaking in my water proof boots. They went something like: “There is ALWAYS a chance of a flash flood” and “Don’t go in the river if there is a chance of a flash flood” and “A flash flood could occur even if there are blue skies above. Beware!”

I was so confused.

A flash flood is caused by water runoff during or way after storms. Because of the shape and texture of The Narrows, the water between those beautiful abstract canyon walls rises quickly and fills up with immense force leaving hikers stranded, injured and even killed. Even the lovely man we rented our gear from couldn’t give me a percentage of how safe we would be. He didn’t want “to be responsible” should anything “go down”.

No one else in our group seemed concerned by these threats so I (wo)man’ed up.

I am incredibly happy that I did because I made it through and lived to write this blog post! That day was one of my favorites of the entire six month trip. The only struggle came in knowing where to place my feet as I manoeuvred through the dangerous bits. It’s all so funny to me now. At the beginning of the hike every step I took was motivated by fear; I was careful, gentle and limited myself to befriending the edges of the river. It was a completely different story on the way back. I was jumping from rock to rock, gliding through the deepest parts of the river and even running after my sister without worrying about fumbling around like a loser.

We hiked The Narrows for nearly seven hours that day but when we got back to the start I was all like, “Wait – should we do it again?”

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Toronto Half Marathon

Goodlife Fitness Toronto Marathon 2015

They say that the best way to get to know a city is by walking it. We wanted to get real intimate with Toronto this weekend so we decided to run it instead.

This past Sunday Jack and I took part in the Goodlife Fitness Toronto Marathon. Well, we did the half, not the full, but that’s just name of the event. I’m not trying to trick you. I haven’t built up the guts to commit to a full marathon… yet.

I always feel so inspired after taking part in events like these. Every single person that comes to participate is there because they want to be. They have either challenged themselves, believe in the cause they are running for. It’s a truly infectious atmosphere.

A friend ran her first half marathon this Sunday. She was never very active, never played sports and didn’t think she could do it. She trained for a year and not only did she finish the race, she beat the goal she set for herself. I got goosebumps watching the video of her crossing the finish line.

My goal for this run was to beat my previous time from The Age Run Melbourne last year. Unfortunately, I came in at 1 hour and 55 minutes and missed beating my time by one minute. The good news is that Jack killed it! He crossed the finish line at 1 hour and 40 minutes beating his last time by three minutes!

I’ve written a bit about it in previous posts (here and here), but I haven’t yet felt truly ready to run before a race. This time was no different. I’m proud of myself, but I should have prepared more. Trained more.

For the next one (typed like a true addict), my goal is to train properly and just let myself run.

(And as tradition would have it, click through for some terrible pictures from the run.)

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The Age Run Melbourne 2014

Run Melbourne

Sunday was a big day for Jack and I. We did the half marathon as part of Run Melbourne 2014. It was Jack’s first and my second.

If I would have had time on Saturday to put up my intended post, you would have read a story about a Debbie Downer who committed to the race months ago but didn’t feel ready for it. Jack and I are really competitive with ourselves. I was desperate to at least beat my previous time of 2 hours 6 minutes, Jack wanted to run it in under 2 hours (He was being safe. I knew he would do way better).

This past weekend was full of resting, eating the way a runner would (carbs and salt! yum!), getting all race essentials together, and creating our near-perfect running play list. We still didn’t feel ready.

The thing about running, for me, is that I’ll never feel race-ready. At the starting line, as the faster waves of people in front of me begin, I always end up cutting myself some slack. I have that last minute thought of ‘Oh, well, just make sure you finish the race.”

It was a completely different story at the finish line though. Jack was waiting for me after running the half in a total of 1 hour and 43 minutes. I beat my previous time by 12 minutes and ran it in 1 hour and 54 minutes. That’s not to be all showy offy, I’m just still shocked, giddy and hungry; and hoping it’s not all a big mistake.

I’m so proud of us and prouder to have had the honor of partaking in Run Melbourne. The atmosphere was contagious, the track was ravishing and medals are shiny ;). And what gorgeous weather we were lucky to get. The sun went up as we started the run and yellow flooded the city’s high-rises as we went through.

Even though I’m weak in the knees and getting to Fancy Hanks and Doughboys Doughnuts for a celebration feast was a struggle, I already can’t wait for the next half!

(If you wanna see what the race looked like from the point of view of a silly girl who misplaced her armband the night before and could not stop taking pictures with her phone during the run, click through!)

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3-Day Juice Cleanse

Pressed Juices Pressed Juices Pressed Juices

For some reason I’ve always been interested in doing a cleanse. Not to lose weight, I’ve always thought stronger, not skinnier, is better. I did it out of curiosity, a challenge. So after months and months of contemplating it, a girlfriend and I decided to Just Do It. It happened from one minute to the next

As you can probably tell I’m a big eater. I like food. I think about food all the time. I get mad when a meal is wasted.  So the challenge for me was about figuring out if I could 1) go three days without thinking about food and 2) see if my body felt different (or better) and possibly make a change to my diet accordingly.

I’d had Pressed Juices before and loved every one I’d tried so, naturally, I thought I’d absolutely kill it. I’d pass with flying colors. Random people would high five me on the street. Easy!

That didn’t happen. I failed. Big time. I belly flopped into a pool of earth juice #2 (a delicious veggie based juice that I called lunch for 3 days).

With the three day basic cleanse I “did” you are given 8 juices per day. All 8 juices are freshly made and packed before you pick them up in the morning. Two of those are water based (aloe vera water and chlorophyll water)(don’t get thrown off by the black color of the chlorophyll). The others are a combination of fruit smoothies, green juices and earth juices that you choose.

In my defense, and the defense of those delicious juices, it was my first time doing a cleanse. I really hadn’t prepared; I should have researched it and planned. I was eating and drinking as normal until the first day of the cleanse. Two strong coffees in the morning, a glass of red wine at night, three meals through out the day and snacking in between. My body went into shock after the first few hours of day one, feeling angry, alone, and disoriented.

Not to be throwing out excuses at you straight away, BUT!… I always knew I liked planning meals, I just didn’t know how much. Some people plan their outfits for the next morning, I plan my breakfast. No matter how hard or long the day at work is, I’m excited to cook for Jack and I at night. It relaxes me.

I know, I know. IT’S ONLY A 3 DAY CLEANSE! What’s the big deal? If I knew, I would tell you. I was perfectly fine and feeling good until dinner on the second night. I turned into a monster, a silent and unpleasant one. To be honest, my throat just could not take another juice, so I had one small taco from La Condesa instead. I kept on juicing the third day anyway. I did feel lighter by the end, and the girls at work said my skin was glowing, but my body didn’t feel significantly different in any way.

I did learn one very important thing through the experience and that is that snacking is for dummies. While I desperately missed solid meals, I could have cared less about snacking. That bag of sweet and salty popcorn, that mandarin, the box of chocolates in my third drawer, the salted nuts in the kitchen, my secret stash of sour patch kids – they meant nothing to me.

When I went back to normal eating I noticed those snacks I was unnecessarily putting in my mouth before, felt like a nuisance now. I have sworn off snacking now and I honestly do feel a difference in my body after that.

Is juicing for people like me? No, Probably not. What was my favorite juice? Zest juice #4: Coconut, cucumber, lemon and pineapple. Yummo! Would I do it again? Absolutely, but only after a bit or research and training.

Have you done one?