My 2018 Running Goals

Taking some time to reflect on this past year and some of the running goals that I’ve accomplished.

It wasn’t a perfect year health-wise but was pretty good all-in-all. I was taken out of training for just two months and have been battling a little injury for the last couple of weeks but otherwise, I’m pretty happy with this past year and what I’ve been able to do. I ran my first ever half-marathon in the spring, started trail running, started a run club called RUNDISTRIKT, then PB’ed on my second half-marathon and recently started doing some trail races as well. The last one was just this past weekend in North Vancouver and let me tell you, it’s a whole other ball game. Trail races are no joke! The 13k race I did last weekend was hands down the hardest race I’ve ever done.

So as 2017 draws to an end and I start planning my goals for 2018, I know that trail running and even alpine running are going to be quite high on my list of running goals. Call me crazy but I’ve already started a list of races I’m interested in participating in, a lot of them being out here on the west coast. I love adding some travels to the mix, so whenever possible I make it a destination run as well.

In addition to doing some more trail and alpine races in 2018, I want to compete in my first ever SWIMRUN event. I’ve never been a big cycling enthusiast so having the opportunity to skip that discipline altogether, sounds right up my alley. The first one in British Columbia is happening next August in Victoria. I also hope to have the run club partake in more events and represent them at the races I’ll be doing in the new year.

My one hope for this upcoming year is that I’m as healthy as can be! Injuries are the worst, especially when you have races lined up so I’m putting all the chances on my side to have a successful 2018. Lots of yoga, swimming, cross-training, healthy eats and self-care!

What are your running goals for next year? Will I be seeing you at a race?

Photos by: @Offner

What I’m wearing: Hyba Windproof Jacket (get it here), Hyba Printed Mesh Leggings (get it here), Hyba Colourblock Training T-Shirt (get it here).

This post was written in collaboration with Hyba but all opinions are my own.

Tips on How to Stay Active while Traveling with Reebok

Staying active while on the road is easy. All it takes is just a little extra planning ahead and organization. Over the last little while I’ve come up with a simple formula and a few simple tips that can help you also keep moving while you’re on the go.

1) Whenever I know I have a trip coming up, I always make some time either the night before I leave or even at the airport the morning of (because we all know we spend lots of time doing nothing at the airport), to look up local running routes in advance that are close to where I’ll be traveling to and evening staying. I will then map out a few different runs or at least some key points of interests that I want to visit while I’m running and make a quick list on my phone. I sometimes even record the actual route itself on my phone via one of my running apps so that I am ready to go when I arrive.

2) I always pack my Reebok Floatride Run shoes with me so that I can easily take them out of my suitcase when I get to my hotel room or Airbnb. After a long flight or long day of travel, I’ll usually go for a run immediately when I get to my new destination. The Reebok Floatride Run shoe is cushioning without compromise, it is soft and also responsive, making me feel like I’m floating through my runs. The new shoe comes in new colour options and combines performance and aesthetic all into one.

3) I try to find unique local run clubs or even fitness studios to book some drop-in classes. I make sure to mark off some time in my schedule, even if it’s just 30 minutes to work out and also meet new people. Traveling gives you access to different workouts you may not even have at home as well as a whole new crew of people to meet, which is awesome!

4) If I don’t have the chance to make it out anywhere, I will use the environment around me; so either the gym in my hotel, my hotel room or even a nearby park to get a little workout or some drills in. It’s easy to just take your phone with you and either write down a few exercises or follow a video or an app.

5) If I know I’ll be traveling with friends or going to see family, I try to get them to take me out for a run or organize a little workout together. It makes it that much more of a fun experience for everyone and great memories to share while on the road.

Running and being active has become my first priority while traveling and as a result I’ve seen so many benefits in both my overall mood, stress levels and well-being while away from home. Therefore, I highly recommend giving these tips a try!

The Reebok Floatride Run shoe is available exclusively at Running Room and Reebok.ca.

This article was written in collaboration with Reebok but all opinions are my own.

New Balance and Sport Chek collaborate on Women’s Only Space

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Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to visit New Balance and Sport Chek‘s brand new Women’s Only Space at the store in Richmond, BC. This brand collaboration is rolling out across the country. You can already find these women-focused spaces in 18 stores nationwide.

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What’s great about this collaboration is that they provide not only running gear but also training and also lifestyle pieces for athletes, fitness enthusiasts or even just fans of the brand.

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I had the pleasure of being accompanied by one of New Balance‘s ambassadors, Gemma Slaughter (who finished 10th female overall at this past weekend’s BMO Vancouver Half Marathon, no big deal!), who showed me some of the brand’s new styles and features for this upcoming summer season.

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In addition to offering a wide variety of prints and designs, New Balance‘s latest collection features state of the art technology and pays close attention to detail thus creating a line that is not only affordable, but also comfortable and practical!

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Thanks to the help and pro running tips from Gemma, I was able to pick out a few key pieces for this current race season and my next half marathon, that is less than a month away in San Diego.

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Together Gemma and I picked out, the Reflective Lite Pack Jacket, which is super light and easy for me to bring on my travels and great for running at night.

I also grabbed an Ice Tank, with intuitive cooling fabric, which allows for sweat-activated cooling and 2-way air circulation for fast drying, thus being perfect for hot summer runs. I also couldn’t resist the Accelerate 2.5 Short, vintage-looking and ultra light. These mid-rise shorts will sit right where I want them and aren’t too tight, which should avoid any kind of chaffing while I run. To top it off, an ultra soft Run Viz Longsleeve Top that glows in the dark!

She also recommended the Pulse Bra for a secure feel and fit and most importantly comfort while running.

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We completed the ensemble, with a pair of new runners, the Vazee Pace, version 2, for a combination of speed and high performance. These shoes are some of Gemma’s favourites for races and training. I can see why, after giving them a try, they’re incredibly supportive and resilient while also not compromising comfort.

Did I mention that my entire outfit is volt? Gemma says that bright colours allow you to run faster, so coming from someone who runs a half marathon in 1h22mins, I will take her word for it!

A big thank you to Gemma Slaughter for coming to shop with me and for the serious running inspiration. The New Balance Women’s Only Space at Sport Chek in Vancouver is located at 6551 No 3 Rd in Richmond, BC.

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This post is sponsored by New Balance Canada as part of the New Balance Women’s Only Flex Spaces by Sport Chek. In exchange for this post, I have received perks in the form of products and/or compensation. All opinions on this blog are my own.

Spring Running Essentials

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Photo: Chris Thorn (christhornphotography.com)

With race season already underway, I thought I would share some of my latest go-to running essentials for spring. I’m eagerly awaiting my half-marathon debut and clocking a lot of miles, so these essentials have been keeping me on track (no pun intended!).

1) Stance Run Fuel Crew Socks – These lightweight reflective socks are perfect for running with a reinforced toe and heel, engineered arch support and also breathable mesh. These Stance socks stay on your feet without moving around, they will never slide off and also look super fly. The entire Stance Run collection is so fun! My new favorite thing is to run races in these wild performance socks.

 

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2) Nike Free RN Distance 2 – The latest edition of the RN Distance shoe is a great new addition to my running gear. I have been using them for my 8-10 km runs because they are very lightweight and also very flexible. The shoe’s outsole has hexagonal flex grooves that allow for greater flexibility of the foot while you run. Additionally, the Lunarlon cushioning supports my feet during these longer distances and so do the Flywire cables that are integrated with the laces, in order to wrap my arch and provide an even more supportive fit.

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3) Ciele FSTCap – With spring comes warmer temperatures and higher chances of running in the sun (hopefully!). I always cover my head when running during the warmer months because it could potentially prevent heatstrokes and at the same time, keeps my hair in place. This Ciele cap is super lightweight, UPF +40 protection, easy to bring travel with and machine washable.

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4) Spibelt With Waterproof Accessory – This Spibelt is an absolute must for my runs, races and also all of the obstacle courses I’ve been doing. Not only does it keep my belongings dry and clean but it’s also sturdy while not being bothersome when I run. I use the larger belt to stash anything like keys, ID card, money, phone and also gels while I run.

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5) Strava Run App – Whether you’re training for a half-marathon like myself, a trail race, a triathlon, a cycling race or just want to keep tabs on your fitness activities every week, the Strava App is a super handy tool! Not only is it a great activity tracker but also a fun and encouraging social platform.

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6) Clif Shot Energy Gel – Longer runs often require a little boost of energy so I have been trying out some gels these past couple of weeks as I’ve been clocking more miles to see how my body reacted. Thus far, the Clif energy shot has been my favorite in terms of flavour and also ingredients.

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7) Urbanears Humlan headphones – These have been my go-to for running for the past two years. This particular Urbanears model is machine washable, has a tangle-free cord as well as built-in mic that allows you to also be able to chat on the phone if you so desire.

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8) Consonant Sunscreen – With the temperatures on the rise, it’s important to wear sunscreen especially when going out for a longer run. The Consonant sunscreen is one of my favorites because it is clean and 100% natural. The cream uses uniquely micronized (non-nano particle) Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide minerals to block the sun’s damaging UVA and UVB rays. The cream is also water and sweat resistant!

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Discover a New Town by Running

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Moving to a new city or have recently moved to somewhere new? The best way to get to know a new place is to start running. Since I started running two years ago, I have been able to get to know the places I travel to or reside in remarkably better. It has become my go-to way to explore neighborhoods, landmarks and also a great way to meet new people. Here are my three tips for running your new town!

1) Join the city’s run clubs. One of the best ways to make new friends, find like-minded people and discover your new home is by joining the city’s local run groups. They are usually pretty easy to find, either online or via social media. Another way is to look up running-specific stores or brands that make running apparel, as they often have local run groups as well. These run clubs are mostly free and you can drop in at any moment, so it is easy to run with different clubs all around town.

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2) Sign up for local races. Local races always showcase some of the best running routes in the city. It is also a fun way to see some of the city’s attractions and get a feel for the running community in your new home. It will also allow you to meet new people and stay on top of our fitness goals, all at once!

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3) Research different running routes. Before going out for a run, map out your run online or search for some alternate routes. Long runs are especially fun to plan out because they allow you to cover so much ground in the city. I sometimes even stop at certain points of interest to take photos or take mental notes of places I want to come back to after my run.

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Photos by: @Offner

What I’m wearing: Hyba Essential Short Sleeve Tee (get it here), Hyba Hooded Neoprene Jacket (get it here), Hyba Printed Fast Track Legging (get it here).

This post was written in collaboration with Hyba but all opinions are my own.

My Fitness Goals for 2017

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I’m thrilled to have been asked by Sport Chek to be one of their ambassadors for this coming year. It is an honour to be a part of their ultra inspiring #ChekSquad and to be able to share with you all some of my fitness goals for this upcoming year.

1) Run a half-marathon. This first goal is unfinished business from 2016. My one and only fitness goal in 2016 was to run my 1st half-marathon and due to my back injury this past summer, the goal of running a half in the fall was thrown out the window. I’ve never been so excited to have a second shot at something. I have already started training and cannot wait to finally accomplish this goal.

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2) Participate in a sprint triathlon. One of my earliest fitness and sport-related memories from childhood is the only triathlon that I did when I was a kid. I grew up being on the swimming team so the swim part was a breeze but never really ran or biked much so I remember those two latter parts being quite challenging. Fast-forward 20 years later, with all the inspiring athletes I’ve been following on social media as of late, I’ve been itching to give it another shot!

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3) Finish a Spartan Race Trifecta. I’m a big fan of obstacle races and mud races and Spartan Race is hands down one of my favorite ones to do. I have partaken in Spartan Races for two summers and have become obsessed. What I like about them is that they have 3 different races with 3 levels of difficulty – Sprint (3-5 miles, 20-23 obstacles), Super (-10 miles, 24-29 obstacles) and Beast (2-14 miles, 30-35 obstacles). I have never tried a Super or let alone a Beast but if I’m 100% back to health in 2017, this will be one of my goals.

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4) Try new sports. Since I will be spending part of the winter in British Columbia so I want to spend time hiking and also cross-country skiing. I think the BC mountains will be the perfect setting to practice these sports. I am also open to trying a bunch of different workouts, I just want to be outdoors and as active as possible.

5) Get stronger. This last goal is more of a general goal but after this year’s injury, my goal is to correct all of my body imbalances and strengthen my weak areas in order to prevent any future injuries. The stronger I get, the less chance of injury.

What are your 2017 fitness goals?

What I’m wearing: Nike Pro Warm Notebook Allover Print Women’s Tights (get them here), Nike LunarGlide 8 Shield Women’s Running Shoes (get them here), Nike Pro Classic Padded GRX Women’s Bra (get it here).

This post was written in collaboration with Sport Chek but all opinions are my own.

Moving Forward

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Ever felt stuck in a rut or stuck on a path that you didn’t want to be on? Prior to leaving my full-time television gig at the end of the summer, I really felt stuck in a situation and world that I no longer wanted to be in. Moving forward in life is something that isn’t easy to do but is necessary in order to find happiness and fulfillment. I’ve learned over time that when situations become unbearable, it’s better to break free and move forward and that goes not only for your professional life but also for your personal life (health, wellness, etc.).

Moving forward in my career isn’t the only obstacle I’ve had to overcome this year. My recent back injury totally made me feel stuck and powerless especially as months went on and I was seeing no improvement. I felt like I wasn’t getting better or getting myself out of this situation. I thought on several occasions that I was on a path of healing and change only to be stopped dead in my tracks and have to start over.

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2016 has taught me that moving forward isn’t easy but super necessary both personally and professionally. So I wanted to share with you today some of the things I’ve learned from this experience.

My 5 tips for moving forward: 

1) Figure out what’s stopping you from moving forward and making that change in your life. Take time to reassess your goals and aspirations and use that as a motivator to help yourself to get “unstuck”.

2) Stop listening to everyone else. When I went to leave my steady job, everyone was questioning why, trying to scare me by telling me I wouldn’t get another steady paycheck, that there were no jobs on the market at the moment, etc. Same went with my injury, I was told healing could take forever, that I may never run again, etc. The key to moving forward was blocking out all the noise around me.

3) Spread positivity. Surrounding myself with positive thoughts and people helped me focus on the goal at hand and helped me conquer my fears of moving forward. I made sure to celebrate little progress I made with my injury and focus on the pros of leaving my full-time job.

4) It won’t be easy. Whether it was having to cut down on spending after leaving my job or dealing with not being active, both were incredibly hard things to deal with or adjust to. There will be days where you will doubt yourself or days where you question your decision, but it’s important to persevere throughout the process.

5) The end result will be worth it. Once you realize that you control your destiny, that taking risks always pay off and that if you focus on what makes you happy and overcome the speed bumps along the way, you will be successful in your transition! You will be able to get yourself out of that situation that you no longer want to be in. Though I’m not by any means making a killing as a freelancer, I’m a lot happier, calmer and fulfilled than I was prior to leaving my job. Also, finally being able to be active again has motivated me beyond belief. I’ve never been so excited to pursue a sport in my entire life. I can’t wait to see what I can accomplish now that I have moved forward!

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Photos & hair by: Cabello by Carolina

What I’m wearing: Hyba Printed Winter Legging (get it here), Hyba Long Sleeve Boot Camp Tee (get it here), Hyba Mixed Media Vest (get it here).

This post was written in collaboration with Hyba but all opinions are my own.

Toronto Waterfront Marathon

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If you live in Toronto you know that the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is one of the most popular sporting events in the city each year. I’m excited to announce that after 7 years in Toronto, I will finally have the opportunity to be in the city and run this amazing race. The race course showcases some of Toronto’s best scenery during a beautiful time of year, so I couldn’t be more thrilled. 

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What I like about this race is that participants can personalize their race by choosing any participating charity in the Scotiabank Charity Challenge, and 100% of the funds raised go directly to charity. Scotiabank has raised over $50 million nationally for Canadian charities through its marathons across the country since 2003.

For the Scotiabank Charity Challenge, everyone who has registered for the race, including myself has the opportunity to pick one charity to fundraise for and support. Though it was hard to pick just one charity out of the close to 200 listed on their website, I decided to pick the Toronto Humane Society. This independent non-profit organization is a no-kill shelter does great work bringing awareness about adoption and educating people on how to best take care of their animals. They also rely completely on donations to take care of the animals in the shelter and do the great work they do.

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Those taking part in the race have the option to run either a 5k, half-marathon or full marathon. Unfortunately, due to my recent back injury I can only run the 5k this year but am excited to be a part of this great day of running! A lot of my friends ran the race last year and had a wonderful time so I can’t wait to experience it for myself this year.

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Just days after the race I will be leaving the city for a few months so I can’t imagine a better goodbye to the city I love so much. The reason why I run today is because of Toronto. Before moving here 7 years ago, I had never ran or participated in any races. Over the last 2 years, running has become an instrumental part of my life. I’m so grateful to the city for having had such a positive impact on my health, fitness and overall well-being. I’m therefore excited to celebrate my love for running in the city and support a great charity at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on October 16th 2016

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To sign up for the race and the Scotiabank Charity Challenge visit http://www.torontowaterfrontmarathon.com/.

Photos by: Offner

This post was written in collaboration with the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon but all opinions are my own.

RBC Race for the Kids

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When I was approached to become an ambassador for the upcoming RBC Race for the Kids taking place in Toronto on September 17th, I didn’t hesitate a minute to say yes. Their race has as a goal to raise awareness and funds for mental health and more specifically the Family Navigation Project at the Sunnybrook Hospital. The race has raised $5.1 million in only 3 years for the Family Navigation Project and has become the 3rd largest walk/run in the GTA. With close to 20 000 participants and sold-out editions in 2014, 2015 and also now 2016, this has become a very important event in the city.

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Mental health is a cause that hits close to home. When I was 21, I lost my best friend and boyfriend at the time to suicide. This was an incredibly hard time in my life. I know that projects like the Family Navigation Project could have potentially helped him during his time of distress. There is unfortunately still such a stigma associated with mental health and over the past couple of years, I have tried my hardest to talk as much as possible about my direct experience with it, offer any help I can and hopefully point people to direct lines of help.

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The Family Navigation Project has already helped more than 1000 families in the past 2 years. Did you know that as many as 2 million young Canadians struggle with mental health or addiction and yet only 1 in 5 receives the specialized treatment he or she needs? The reason being is that Canada’s mental-health system is difficult and confusion for families to navigate. So the goal of this project is to provide family with experts and navigators that can help families free of charge get the specific help they need. The project is entirely funded by private donations so partaking in this race directly impacts the services that can be provided to the community.

 

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This weekend, people from all over will be coming to downtown Toronto in support of this cause. You have the chance to run either 5k, 7k or 15k. I picked the 7k distance. I will be running in some great new gear by New Balance, the official race sponsor.

A lot of groups have signed up for the race because the race has no registration fee (which is awesome!). This is because everyone is encouraged to fundraise at least $100 for the event. So even if the race is now sold out you can still donate by going to the link provided below. With everyone’s help fundraising, the Family Navigation Project hopes to expand their services and reach beyond the GTA, to across the country.

For more information about the RBC Race for the Kids and how you can donate, go here. See you all on Saturday!

Photos by: @Offner

Mudmoiselle

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Looking for a great sporting event to take part in and help out a great cause all at once? Then consider taking part in one of the Canadian Cancer Society‘s Mudmoiselle races coming up in the next couple of weeks.

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Mudmoiselle is much more than just a mud run. The goal of the event is to not only raise funds for the organization but also but also raise awareness for all types of cancer. The Canadian Cancer Society is the primary funder of cancer research in the country. Their mission is to educate Canadians on the 200 different types of cancer, work on cancer prevention and help those affected by cancer through a variety of services and support.

This women’s-only 5k and 18-obstacle run is all about having a good time. The course is open to all levels and is a good introduction to mud runs for those who are new at these kinds of sporting events.

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One of the most inspiring things about Mudmoiselle is seeing women like Sherry Meehan, who are currently undergoing treatment for cancer be a part of the event.

I asked Sherry to share a bit of her story and why she continues to take part in sporting events while battling cancer.

I have led an active lifestyle with exercise since my 30s and starting to run in my mid-40s, eating well and looking after myself so it was a surprise (shock) to me to be diagnosed with breast cancer in January this year. Everything happened so fast from the diagnosis to the surgery and then the start of treatment that I didn’t have a lot of time to think about it. I always thought that if I ever got cancer I would just go into a corner and die but fortunately that didn’t happen. I was lucky to have a very treatable form of breast cancer and, being risk averse, chose the most aggressive treatment for chemo and radiation,” she explains.

At the time she was already signed up for the Mississauga Marathon and with the support of her husband and friends continued training and even completed it. “I found the importance of a good support network made a huge difference and I had enough friends and family that stepped up to support me,” Sherry adds.

During the past couple of months, Sherry has continued being active even during her intensive treatment rounds. “Keeping active during chemo and radiation is not easy. You feel tired, nauseous, have bone or muscle pain, low blood counts and not be eating or sleeping very well. BUT any activity you can do will benefit your recovery,” she says.

For me, it increased my appetite, helped me sleep better, minimized a lot of the side effects so they were manageable and increased my energy. I worked with a personal trainer two days a week, ran when I could and did some yoga and stretching to remain limber. I wanted to maintain as much muscle mass as I could during treatment so I could recover my health faster after treatment was done and I could go back to my regular life,” Sherry continues, “running has given me some mental toughness and that really helped in dealing with treatment.

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As to why she wanted to partake in an event like Mudmoiselle, she explains that as a benefiter of the research done by the Canadian Cancer Society, there’s no better run to support. “I gathered some sister-in-laws and a niece and am busy making pink costumes for us. We are not fast runners but every race we do is one where we have fun and support each other! Since that seems to be the theme for this event we will fit right in. It will also be a challenge for me but it will make me feel stronger at the end,” she concludes.

There are a handful of Mudmoiselle events that will be taking place across Ontario in the next couple of weeks. The dates and locations are as follows:

August 20th – Sudbury, ON

September 10th – Beaver Valley, ON

September 16th – Kingston H.S., ON

September 17th – Kingston, ON

September 17th – Halton, ON

September 24th – London, ON

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I am excited to be taking part in the Halton event on September 17th with my sister. I can’t wait to drag cancer through the mud!

For more information on Mudmoiselle or see how you can raise money for the event, go here.