Sunday, September 23, 2007


Alright, I admit it, I'm a bit of a girl sometimes. I do miss the aggression that I had in my younger years, the fire, the drive. Yes, I've softened both in personality and body. And I want to fight back!

When I saw a booth at the recent CanFitPro Conference in Toronto that was offering Kettlebell Training I ran right over. This sounds like a perfect way to get my "mojo" back! I registered right then and there to become a Certified Kettlebell instructor. So I've been quite pumped about this session for the past few weeks. I know how to do it all: how to train with dumbells, barbells, bodyweight, unilaterally, descending sets, compound sets, vary the tempo, the range of motion, blah, blah, blah. Been there, done that, and I need more to get really excited!

In describing the Kettlebell to clients I've been saying, "It's like a steel ball with kindof a purse handle at the top". That kind of describes how I personally have been feeling within my own weight workouts: lame! Now after I've spent the weekend forcing my body to haul this seemingly unsteady weight into wild positions over my head, I have some respect again for what the body is capable of. Teach the body a new position with a new challenge and make it work to stay there, that is the essence of what I learned this weekend.

Now I know that this Russian discipline is about real effort, not just going through the motions. This is a cannonball with a suitcase handle: TOUGH! I finished the weekend feeling confident, powerful, truly strong. I'm ready to train for the next few months to really see what my body is capable of when I put it to the test and train it to capacity. This is not powerlifting, it's functional lifting to create sexy strength and a tight, toned body.

I'm looking forward to the challenge. Thank you Ajamu, for reminding how my body should feel and move, I can't wait to see the results and share this amazing form of training with my clients. I feel pretty good about the Windmill, but look out Turkish Get Up, here I come!

Look for details coming soon to my website



In my quest to motivate clients to join my running group, try a running program and eventually get out there and race, I've added some fun runs to my website. We'll run together, maybe carpool, become a bit competitive through the run, encourage each other, grab a bite to eat after the run and talk about how we did. All great stuff!

Perusing the websites about upcoming races, I noticed that there is a Clydesdale category for runners over a certain weight. OK, fine. Maybe I've never been close to this category before, maybe I'm prouder about my accomplishments with running lately, but it struck me as quite unfair that I am almost heavy enough to be a "Clydesdale". Something about the term is not particularly flattering, especially for a woman. If I think about myself I use terms like strong, athletic, fit, healthy, able, powerful, etc. If someone were describing a fit woman, whether it's myself or someone else, we might like them to use terms like sexy, hot, sleek, toned. If I had to choose a term to describe myself while running I'd like to conjure up the image of Black Beauty, unique, exceptional, gorgeous, dreamy, amazing.

I object to the term Clydesdale being used to describe any woman in any capacity. For men it's one thing, maybe even something to be proud of. We women work hard, and as much as we respect the Clydesdale for the work that they do, we do not want to be compared to them in any way. I think the Black Beauty catergory would be just fine, or even Pegasus sounds better. We're feminine and want to be acknowledged as such, thank you very much, so let's think of ourselves in that way regardless of what the scale and others might tell us.

Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Lonely Running

At the beginning of 2007 I set about determining my goals for the year. One of my fitness goals was to complete a half-marathon, which is 21 kilometres. A reasonable goal for a fitness professional like myself...

I began talking about doing a long run in the fall of '06. As I was chatting with one of the members at the club I was managing I said that I thought that I might try to do a half-marathon. She looked me right in the eye and said, "Stop thinking about it and just do it!". Why not? So overcoming my fear of failure I committed to a training program that week and stepped up the running over the winter. I started saying, "I'm running the half in Ottawa on May 27th". I bought some new gear, started planning my trip, called my aunt who lives in Ottawa to tell her I was coming to visit. I mentioned it to my clients, secretly hoping that someone might join me.

That weekend finally arrived. Conditions were beautiful through the city, it wasn't hot like it had been the previous year. I rose on Sunday morning and headed over to the start/finish line. A staff member at the Running Room had suggested that I bring a long-sleeve T-shirt to keep my warm until race-time and then to throw it down and people would collect them. OK...As I stood there waiting for the horn to blow, I felt proud to be accomplishing a major goal in my adult life. I felt fantastic, I had completed my training totally injury-free, I was prepared physically and mentally. I had my tunes, my belt, the right shorts, shirt, bra, Bodyglide, etc. Gels were packed, so was the water. I was ready. What was missing? Someone to share my triumph with, to enjoy my accomplishment with. It was bitter-sweet noticing that after months of work and prep, everyone else seemed to be standing with their partner or group, laughing, enjoying themselves, and I was fiddling with my shoelaces, killing time before the start of the race.

The rain misted above us, the day was perfect for running. I started slowly, not sure what to expect. I had a smile on my face and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience but one of the nicest moments through that run was when a total stranger noticed that I was looking at my feet and said, "Go Sarah-You're looking great!" Accomplishment is wonderful, but having people there to share that experience with you is even better!

I hope you might choose to join our group in Ottawa this May as we run towards our own goals in the 5K, 10K and half-marathon distances.



Saturday, September 15, 2007

Chicago Half

As some of you know, I spent last weekend in the Windy City. Originally planned as a road-trip, it ended up that I flew in solo on Friday to get the weekend started a bit early.

It's exciting to fly anywhere new, and the quick jaunt to Chicago was no different. My goal was to visit a new city and to run the half-marathon on Sunday. Just a bit of time to mis-behave before the big race! I quickly hopped on a speedboat cruise of the river to get an idea of the history of the city and to see the architecture. Did you know that part of Chicago is built on landfill from the fire earlier this century? We had an amateur comedian as our docent so he kept us entertained.

Friday night I joined the rest of the hotel guests in the lobby for a wine reception. What a fantastic idea! I didn't meet them at this point, but apparently there were 15 other guests running on Sunday. I chose the chaise to relax on, put my feet up, go over my tour books. I've read somewhere that you're supposed to elevate your legs before a long run!

My hotel was dog-friendly, which I've only heard of never seen. I only noticed one dog and he was fantastically well-behaved and beautiful so I certainly didn't mind.

Saturday was jam-packed with tourist activities like Millenium Park (The Bean), the Shedd Aquarium, the Adler Planetarium, the Field Museum, a trolly tour of the city, the Magnificent Mile shopping district, deep-dish pizza....When I go "tourist" I really go at it! Really I was envisioning taking my boy back in a few years so I wanted to see as much as possible. I still don't see how random dots through the sky can create the entire astrological map...

How was the run on Sunday? Easy to get to, a flat course, our start/finish was at the Museum of Science and Industry (which I returned to later that afternoon, as a "tourist"). The run was well-organized and it was a lovely day. OK, maybe a bit hot, but you can't control Mother Nature. I saw my pictures through the marathon-does anybody look normal in those pics or is that just me?

The best view of the city was, without question, from the 96th floor of The John Hancock Building. We were looking down on skyscrapers, so it was a wild view, especially at night.
Tons of big black spiders hanging out on the outside of the building. Who knew?

I found the people of Chicago to be amazingly friendly, helpful, courteous, generous. I would go back in a second. Anybody in for the half in '08?

Thanks to the returning local who shared stories with me over the weekend, I'm so glad we had that time. Mountaineering in Iceland, marathons, triathlons. Maybe in a year or two...

Thanks for reading!