August 23, 2012
by Barbara Clark
When I realized that 50 Shades of Grey was not the home decorating book I had hoped for I quickly switched to another genre for beach time summer reading.
I highly recommend this book for anyone who runs. As in any book, you look at the message and take some of the side tangents with a grain of salt. Ultra-marathoner’s do walk that fine line between sanity and insanity, as do barefoot runners, but the basis of this book is that we run because we love it and we can.
Many of us forget this very simple and basic reason behind the sport of running. Sure many of us get addicted to training and the idea of staying fit and lean, but when push comes to shove I hope that all of us deep down run because we love to. Whether this feeling comes from trail running, road running, hill running, speed running or running races just remember to enjoy the journey. Test your skills, push your limits but enjoy the journey,
Don’t ever forget to have fun and if you are wavering on the pleasure emotional part of running, please read this book. It will help you get back on track…and you may even find yourself smiling as you are lacing up the sneakers.
Barb has been running for over 20 years. She has her level 1 coaching certification and her pure love of running is what motives to her coach other runners. She has focused an various disciplines of running over the years, from 5km, 10km and half-marathon events, triathlon, and most recently the help of some friendly peer pressure, Barb decided to journey into marathons including the Boston Marathon .Barb is often found running on nature trails, which is an experience that she feels every runner should try at least once. Barb’s running motto is “Whatever your distance or whatever your goal, running should be a journey of both accomplishment and fun …because if it isn’t fun, why do it?”
June 6, 2012
Elation Centre runner, Halima Anisman, tells us about her experience in the Spartan Race.
I finished the Spartan Race this past muddy, rainy Saturday and it was SO FUN! I loved every minute of it and I highly recommend it.
This was my first race ever and what a great day. It is for sure a race for all levels. If you can run 5km, you can do this race. The obstacles are mostly made to make you uncomfortable (crawl through mud under barbed wire, run through mucky water, carry heavy awkward objects for small distances, and climbing walls). My final time was 55:06 minutes, but I feel I could have done it much faster. There were many times where I had to wait for an obstacle or was stuck single file behind other racers. Next year, I’ll be more aggressive. Most racers were there for a good time so it was just so fun.
To anyone considering this race for next year, I would say do trail running and as many push-ups as possible! Most of the obstacles required upper body strength and the most fatigue came from running. The only obstacle I could not complete was climbing a 12 foot rope, unassisted (no knots, or anything!). All the rest I could do and I have very limited upper body strength.
Hey, maybe a Beginner Spartan Training Session at Elation Centre for next year?!
May 24, 2012
On Friday May 28 I will be on CTV Ottawa Morning for 2 segments relating to race weekend. At 9:25am I’ll be cooking up this delicious quinoa salad and 9:40am doing some post-race yoga poses with the CTV gang.
This quinoa salad is a great meal to have about one hour after your race, when you need a good combo of protein and carbs to refuel and rebuild. It is simple to make and really you can use any veggies you have on hand, if you are racing in the morning, make this the night before so it’s ready to eat the next day when you come home good and hungry.
Curried Quinoa Salad with Mango
makes 4 delicious servings
1 cup dry quinoa – rinsed well in a strainer
- 1/4 cup organic olive or sunflower oil
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp mango chutney
- 1 1/2 tsp curry powder
- 1/4 tsp dry mustard
- 1 large mango, peeled and diced, pit removed
- 1 English cucumber diced
- 1 yellow pepper diced
- about 12 cherry tomatoes cut in half
- 1/4 cup cilantro finely chopped
- 2 cups baby spinach
- In a medium pot bring 2 cups of water to a boil, add quinoa, reduce to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork and let cool.
- Make Dressing; whisk together oil and next 4 ingredients and blend well, season with salt and pepper to taste.
- in a large bowl combine quinoa, veggies and dressing, toss well. Pile spinach into your salad bowl and top with the quinoa salad
May 17, 2012
i2P encourages youth to reach beyond their perceived limits by using adventure as a medium to Educate, Inspire and Empower our global community to make positive change in the world. Wow, what a great initiative to support and I am so grateful to share the stage with Ray Zahab of i2P, the gang from Solefit Orthotics, John Zahab and Marshall Ulrich.
My topic is “Yoga and Pure Foods – strategies for short-term results and longevity in your sport.” Discover the how incorporating plant-based diet strategies and simple yoga techniques can result in shortened recovery time, reduced injury and increased energy, benefiting both short-term performance and longevity in your sport.
You can sign up by clicking here.
Hope to see you there, get ready to be inspired!
October 28, 2011
A reminder about the Natural Running Mechanics seminar on October 29th organized by Solefit Orthotics, all proceedes to impossible2Possible, the gang at Solefit are looking to give i2P as big of a cheque as possible! It’s such a fantastic cause!
Here is some info Ryan from Solefit posted a few days ago “We are offering a great giveaway: if they can get over 150 people signed up between now and Saturday, i2P will donate another pair of Oakley sunglasses to give away (yep, the cool ones that Lance Armstrong wears). That would bring our prize total to nine pairs of shoes, technical clothing and TWO pairs of Oakley sunglasses!
Along with supporting i2P, our goal for the evening is to present some of the current research (pros and cons) around running technique and barefoot running and explain what it means for us (runners). We have Neil Rosenthal and Ryan Grant speaking from SoleFit Orthotics, Ray Zahab (a really fantastic speaker!) from i2P, and Francine Eastwood speaking from PSI Runners Clinic. Should be a fun afternoon!”
To give you a bit more information on Barefoot and Minimalist running (all of which will be covered at the Saturday seminar, here is a guest post by Melinda Neufeld, Elation Centre member who loves her minimalist shoes – even in the winter! She wrote this for us last winter as we trained for the National Capital Race Weekend, I’ve been holding onto the info and now seems a perfect time to post it, thanks Melinda
“Ah, winter. The bittersweet, love-hate relationship that I have with winter precedes my running career and has only intensified over the past blistery months of snowy winter runs. As a relatively new (about a year now) minimalist footwear runner, I have come to embrace the hardship of running nearly barefoot in my Vibram FiveFinger Flows in the snow and cold. In general, running in FiveFingers is great fun. Let’s be honest, I definitely prefer running on clear, dry roads in my favorite FiveFingers model, FiveFinger Sprints. The Sprints bring me as close as I can get to running barefoot with the added benefit of some sole protection. The feeling of the road or path beneath my feet is amazing; I’d even go as far as to say that it feels like I’m running naked—or at least what I imagine that would feel like. But let’s come back to reality and back to winter running in my Flows. This model features less of a barefoot feel than the Sprints because the upper part of the toe shoe is made from Neoprene, a material commonly used to make wetsuits. This material helps keep my feet relatively warm, but it also gives a stiffer feel to the toe shoe. The Flows are not waterproof, and after a run in slush and snow, my feet are definitely wet. You would think that my toes would freeze right off, but as long as I keep moving, my feet stay warm. Usually, it takes the first five minutes of a run for my toes to warm up. After that, I don’t even notice the cold or wetness. According to the official FiveFingers Web site the sole on the Flow model is made with Idrogrip performance rubber for added slip resistance. As of yet, I have managed to remain vertical during all of my winter runs!
Running in FiveFingers throughout the winter might seems a bit crazy, but I didn’t want to counteract all of the progress that I made over the summer learning to run nearly barefoot. Running in minimalist footwear or barefoot requires a change of running form. Typically, runners to tend to forefoot strike as opposed to heel strike. Daniel Lieberman, Professor of Human Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University, has conducted research on barefoot running and theorizes that a heel strike may be the cause of various common injuries suffered by runners, and that a forefoot strike naturally strengthens feet and leg muscles. This can prevent common injuries and eliminates the need for a shoe that compensates for weak feet and leg muscles. Personally, as a runner who was used to running with a heel strike, adjusting to a forefoot strike took time and patience. It was a slow, gradual learning process. But I am happy to say that I have avoided all injuries to date. I am an avid runner and a strong believer in the benefits of minimalist footwear.
The minimalist footwear trend continues to grow and many different shoes brands are coming out with their own minimalist shoe line. While not quite as odd-looking as Vibram FiveFingers, other models are appearing in stores (e.g., Merrell Barefoot shoe line), and my goal is to eventually switch all of my footwear to shoes with a “zero drop”, a.k.a. no drop from heel to toe. So, here’s to natural running! “
September 30, 2011
Elation Centre member, Natalie Giroux, is a consultant in the high tech industry. Her passions includes being a mother, playing the violin, cooking awesome food and, of course, running and yoga. Her dream is to inspire others to become fit and live a balanced life.
In May, I challenged myself to run my first marathon on August 28th . My friend, an experienced Ironman athlete, kindly agreed to coach me. He provided me with a detailed training plan, which at first sight looked quite overwhelming. Speed training, hills training, interval and super long runs were on the menu, combined with yoga. I decided to take it one day at a time, one step at a time…
Some days, I wanted to “skip” what was on the schedule… after all, only me would know… I sometimes could find very creative excuses! But I just went out and ran… rain or shine, heat advisory or not, tired and sore. I focused on the end goal and was determined not to have any excuses to miss my objective. I must admit returning home from each run exhilarated and pumped even more so the days I did not want to go! Although this was a lone conquest, I was fortunate to have and many friends encouraging me along with a great coach giving me continuous feedback and ideas.
By August 28th, I was scared, but as ready as one can be for their first marathon… but they cancelled the race that same morning because Hurricane Irene was going to hit Quebec city! Instead of seeing it as a set back, I immediately registered for the Montreal marathon scheduled for September 25th. My coach encouraged me and gave me another month worth of training, which seemed like a mountain at first. My body was getting tired! But I thought I could use this delay to ready myself more and to build up some confidence. Finally, the day came and the temperature was great. I still had some jitters in the morning, but definitely felt ready and excited to execute the final milestone….
I ran my first marathon 8 minutes lower than my objective with a negative split. Most importantly, I had a great time during the race; I felt in control and the entire four month training was a fantastic experience of soul searching and self discovery. Through the yoga practice and the long runs, I learned that patience and having a quiet mind achieves greater results than trying to cut corners and get things done in haste. Finally, I celebrated my achievements serving my friends and my faithful coach a fantastic meal with delicious wine and dessert. Now, what is the next challenge??
I was reflecting on this experience and compared it to training I did previously for a half-marathon which I did not approach with the same discipline resulting in a painful, stressful run with poor results. Some things I learned apply very well to any large business projects you undertake…
- You need to have a mentor or a coach available to provide input and guidance, someone that has done it before with successes and failures.
- You need a detailed plan with room for contingencies, something that will challenge the team, but that they can see as realistic to achieve. The plan has to be clear and everyone needs to understand each milestones.
- You need to execute the plan one milestone at a time, acknowledging the achievements and the progress as it materializes.
- You need focus, focus, focus. It is easy to get distracted and to find excuses to do something else, but there is no time to change direction or to second guess the goal or take some time off.
- Your entire team needs to be determined to succeed and feel dedicated to the goal.
- If a set back occurs, set up another goal. Keep the team focused by making them understand that everything happens for a good reason and the results will even be better.
- Once the goal is achieved make sure to take time to celebrate and acknowledge the effort that everyone has put in the process! Recognition is important for them to want to sign up for the next challenge…
- Plan ahead for the next objective to avoid losing momentum!
September 26, 2011
Liisa Vexler, an Elation Centre Yogini and Runner, shares her experience with Elation’s free Saturday morning Run Club. Her blog, Fit for a kid, focuses on raising a healthy, happy, and fit family. Check it out!
Last year, about this time, I fell back in love with running. I ran a couple of marathons in 2000 and 2001 but had completely stopped right after that. I did yoga and circuit/strength training to stay in shape, had a couple of children, and merrily went about my life.
Then one day, I decided to go for a run. We live near the river and it was a gorgeous, sunny, cool day. I ran for twenty-six glorious minutes. Two days later, I laced up my sneakers again and did the same thing.
But I’m kinda a social person. I like to talk. I like to listen. When I’m tired, I like to feed off the energy of others in a workout or class. And then I happened on the Elation Centre website and noticed the free Saturday morning Run Club. The Elation Centre is not far from my home and I thought, it’s free – why not?
I planned to go for the first time in mid-January 2011. I happened to mention it to another mom at my son’s school. She and I knew each other to say ‘hello’ and exchange a few words. She told me she had been thinking about going to the Run Club too. We decided to try it out together.
My first run with the Elation Centre Run Club was on January 28, 2011 and I have spent thirty of my last thirty-four Saturday mornings with them. That other mom and I have become good friends. You really get to know people when you run with them. I have also gotten to know a whole host of other people from our Saturday morning group, some of whom run regularly, others who just pop in for a run every few weeks. Try running with someone for two hours and see if you don’t know at least a little of their life story at the end of it!
While running with the group, I learned about the speed-training classes offered at the Elation Centre and I registered. I wasn’t able to attend every session due to family obligations, but some was way better than none and the cost was reasonable, even knowing I would have to miss some sessions. I knew about speed work, and usually did it on my own… but it’s harder to cheat with a coach and your peers watching you and cheering you on.
I ran the National Capital Race Weekend Half-Marathon with others from the Run Club and just last weekend, several of us ran the Canada Army Run Half-Marathon.
In May, I ran a 1:53:12 half-marathon; after an additional 3 months of regular training, I ran a 1:49:51 at the Army Run. The motivation and encouragement of my running buddies and the Elation Centre coaches played a major part in these results.
As coincidence would have it, I was half-way through writing this post when I ran into an old friend at this morning’s yoga class. We chatted a little and she told me she’s been trying to run two or three times a week. She was considering doing a half-marathon, but she said she can never run more than 60 minutes because she gets so bored.
“Ah”, I said. “You need to come run with us on Saturday mornings. There is nothing boring about Saturday morning long runs”.
My friend had read about the Elation Centre Run Club on the website but wasn’t sure exactly how it worked, so I explained it to her. In case you aren’t familiar with it, here’s what I told her:
It’s very simple. We meet at 8 am on Saturday mornings just inside the studio doors. If you’re on the email list, you get the route ahead of time, usually Wed or Thurs. At 8 am sharp, we discuss the route, maps are handed out, and we head out. Run distances are usually between 10 and 14 kms in the off season, and work up to half-marathon distance between February and September in preparation for the two big races in Ottawa: National Capital Race Weekend and the Canada Army Run Half Marathon.
So, with maps in hand and energy to burn, we naturally break off into groups based on pace as we start to run. We almost always follow a ten minute run: one minute walk format.
We run. We walk. We sip water or energy drinks. We laugh. We snack (on appropriate running fuel). We vent. We solve life’s problems.
Saturday mornings are for me, not for anyone else. It’s a time to be selfish, to get motivated, to recharge and to run.
And we can always use new blood. So join us on Saturday!
July 7, 2011
Guest post from Elation Centre run coach and Total Core Solution coach – Deb Ozarko
I’m still not even 100% sure myself why I decided to take on the challenge when I signed up for Ironman USA last summer, but I do know this – it truly is a journey. I’ve already learned more than I ever thought about myself physically, mentally and spiritually. It’s been quite the ride and much of what I’ve learned along the way, I’ve been able to give back to many of you in the classes that I teach with the Elation Centre.
After 8 months of hard work and sometimes grueling training, I’ve finally entered the home stretch of my Ironman journey. Many of you have come along with me on this trip. You’ve seen me hobbling around the centre with stiff muscles after hours and hours on the bike. You’ve encouraged me as I’ve nursed injuries, you’ve listened to my stories and laughed along with me at the silly things that can go right…and wrong. It really is so much more than a race of epic proportions. I’m excited and scared now that the culmination of all of this hard work is fast approaching.
Along the way, I decided that I wanted to give back to a cause that is very close to my heart. I’ve been raising funds for a wonderful organization called Farm Sanctuary based out of Watkins Glen, New York.
Why Farm Sanctuary? Many of you already know that I live a vegan lifestyle which encompasses compassion for all living beings. Farm Sanctuary was influential in this life changing time for me. Many years ago when I visited the sanctuary I had the privilege of meeting many of the rescued animals living there. I heard story after story of horrific abuse – all with a happy ending. I knew that these animals were the lucky few who were spared lives of misery. I also met some of the kindest most compassionate and caring people on the planet at this beautiful place. The giving didn’t end with the animal care at Farm Sanctuary. They also gave back to the community and one another. I learned so much during that time and it helped shape who I am today. I adopted a vegan lifestyle during that trip for many reasons – for the animals, for the planet, and for humanity. Kindness and compassion is important for all living beings – and, as the saying goes, “your life is your message”. Farm Sanctuary taught me how to be the person I have always strived to be.
So, with that in mind, I have already reached 65% of my fundraising goal of $3000. I would be thrilled and honoured if you could help me make it the rest of the way. Help me make if through this Ironman race – in those dark moments when I feel like I just can’t go on.
Knowing that I am racing for a cause with people who believe in me will help me push through those hard time. I’ve set up a donation page at this link
Any support is graciously accepted. And thank you all for encouraging me along the way – it’s meant so much to me with the months that have passed. On July 24, 2011, I will be an Ironman – I can hardly wait!
P.S. here is an amazing 3 minute video of the great work the people at Farm Sanctuary are doing
June 2, 2011
Ottawa Race Weekend 2011- Elation Centre members, family and friends all put in weeks and months of training, stayed focused and were totally prepared for their race last weekend. Experiences ranged from personal best times, participation in a very first race weekend, and the accomplishment of something just a few months prior was simply an idea. Everyone asks about the elusive Runner’s High, yes it can happen during a run, for the most part however, it happens after the race, when you know have done your best and you experience the joy, the strength of body and mind and sheer elation of a job well done! Congratulations everyone
Also a huge thank you to all our friends and family members who were cheering along the route, Jeanette and Jean-Pierre organize our Saturday Run Club and were on Richmond Road to high-five all of us as we ran by and Jean-Pierre took some awesome photos. Below is Jean-Pierre’s account of the race from a spectators perspective.
“Richmond Road was eerily silent. The constant hum of traffic was gone, replaced by the footfalls of locals walking along the empty road. People are gathering on the side walks and at intersections. Some have opened lawn chairs and others have signs and placards saying “Run Bob Run!”, “You can do it!” and “Go Mom Go!”
At the corner at Kirkwood, a police officer is preventing people from turning onto Richmond, constantly explaining “the road’s closed for the Marathon”. Frustrated drivers do a quick u-turn and speed away. Across from the officer, a group of teenagers, dressed in cheerleader outfits, bop and dance to techno music.
As the minutes tick past, the anticipation mounts amongst the ever growing crowd. People are constantly looking at their watches, 9.20 one time, 9.23 the next. “They’ll be here soon” says a spectator. Everyone’s looking down the street, craning to see over the rise and around the bend.
From around that bend, the lights of a police motorcycle flash and the siren shrieks to clear the streets. Suddenly, you can see the leaders of the race cruising past the 8km mark at a tremendous pace. A few seconds later, a small peleton of runners were trying to chase down the leaders. Within minutes, the road was filled with runners and the ground reverberated and a thunder rolled out from under their feet.
Minutes later, we spotted our first Elation runner, Tonja, hopping through the crowd saying hello to us. Then followed Mary, with a wave and a smile from the middle of the pack. Still more runners streamed past and we strained to find our folks in the crowd. Suddenly, Kristen shouts for our attention and then so does Melinda. Caroline jumps in front of us and slaps our hands. Jenn and Liisa flash huge grins as they power past us, while Jodi and Consuelo wave their arms in the air. Suddenly, the crowd swallows them up and we continue our search. Finally we see Tiffany as she slaps our hands, Shirley pops out of the crowd striking a pose, and then Mike calls out a simple, “hey!” as he continues past the cheerleaders. Donna, Amy and Cathy are next as they pause for a few high fives. Lynn, Ashley and then Dominique aren’t far behind and we give them a great cheer and send them on their way.
There are so many people that we’ve missed! We continue to scan the faces of the runners hoping that we simply missed them in the crowd and not that they’ve fallen of the back of the pack. As we look and cheer on the runners, a light rain begins to fall and the pack stretches and thins out. The walkers are next and we keep our cheers loud for them. Just 50 minutes after the leader passed us, the last 2 runners go past the cheers of the soaked spectators. Happy and beaming pride, we head of to look up everyone’s finishing times.”
May 25, 2011
This is the week we finish up our Spring Run Class session, with many of our members participating in the National Capital Race Weekend. From our Learn to Run class completing their first 30 minute run, to our Run Faster participants fine tuning for their big race and our Saturday morning group ready to tackle the half-marathon, it has been a great season of training.
We send out a huge thank you to our coaches, Sherry Carson our speed demon, Deb Ozarko helping everyone run faster, Maria Fulford guiding our Beginners, Monja DeLuca cracking the whip at the Runner’s Boot Camp and Jean-Pierre Morin & Jeanette Steffler leading our Saturday morning Run Club; Elation Centre is blessed to have so many talented and dedicated coaches – Thanks to all of you!
A reminder that our Summer Run Session starts with the Learn to Run Faster #1 class on Wednesday June 1 and the LTR Faster #2 class on Tuesday June 7 and our very popular Trail Class on Thursday June 9, the Run Club is training for the Army Run half-marathon, the training schedule will be posted soon. You can check out the run class page for more details and you can register here.
Roasted Potato and Bean Salad with Basil and Walnuts
On Saturday we had a potluck with our Run Club to celebrate our last long run before the NCM weekend and Jenn made an amazing salad, perfect for pre or post-race fuel. The recipe comes from Food and Drink Magazine and was a huge hit. Jenn tells us the secret ingredient is the basil, lots of it, and to get fresh green beans. I’m going to make a big bowl of this and eat away at it all weekend
Roasting potatoes instead of boiling them gives a new flavour spin to this classic summer salad. Toss the salad ingredients together just a few hours ahead of serving to preserve the vibrant green colour of the beans and basil vinaigrette. Use the freshest walnuts available – either California walnuts or ones in the shell.
- 3 lbs (1.5 kg) new red potatoes (about 16 to 20)
- 1/3 cup (75 mL) olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 3/4 cup (175 mL) walnut pieces
- 1 1/2 lbs (750 g) green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch (4-cm) lengths
- 6 green onions sliced
- 1 cup (250 mL) packed fresh basil
- 1/3 cup (75 mL) walnut or olive oil
- 1/4 cup (50 mL) white wine vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
- Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Scrub potatoes (do not peel) and cut each into 6 to 8 wedges. Place on a large heavy baking sheet. Drizzle with half of the olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Roast in oven, stirring occasionally, for 30 to 35 minutes or until tender. Let cool. Place in a large serving bowl.
- Meanwhile, place walnuts on a baking sheet and toast in oven for 5 to 7 minutes or until fragrant. Set aside.
- Cook beans in a large saucepan of boiling salted water for 3 to 5 minutes or until just crisp-tender. Drain and rinse under cold water to chill. Drain well and wrap in a clean dry kitchen towel to absorb moisture. Add to potatoes along with onions.
- Purée basil, remaining olive oil, walnut oil, vinegar and garlic in a food processor until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Pour over potato mixture and toss to coat well. Sprinkle with walnuts.