I Ran A 10K and Didn’t Die: A Memoir

I Ran A 10K and Didn’t Die: A Memoir

I Ran A 10K and Didn’t Die: A Memoir

At the end of July, I did something a little crazy. If you haven’t already figured it out, I ran a 10k. This was my first race since I ran Bloomsday in 2005! That was 13 years ago. I recall having issues walking afterwards. Unlike last time, this is a race I DID train for the run! And I’m happy to say, it definitely paid off. In addition to the vlog “I Ran A 10K and Didn’t Die: A Memoir” I was also interviewed by Lululemon about my training for the race. Keep scrolling for some ~lifestyle~ shots of me in my favourite running gear.


Top: Short Notice Tee
Bottoms: On Pace Crop
Hat: Baller Hat Translucent Brim
Jacket: Mesh on Mesh Jacket
Shoes: APL Women’s TechLoom Phantom in Rose Gold
(all c/o Lululemon)

Run Collective

A major part of why I was able to stay on track training for the 10k was thanks to the Run Collective. They are a community that goes for runs every Wednesday at 6:30 pm from the Lululemon store on Whyte Ave in Edmonton. It’s free and open to all levels. Each week there is always something a little different on the docket. If you have even the slightest interest in running I sincerely suggest you try it out. It’s truly a welcoming group of people, I have never felt more encouraged while working out in my life. On top of that, they have pacers for every level of runners.

Let Your Mind Run Free

All in all, it was such a great experience that I have continued to go to Run Collective any Wednesday I can make time for it. It’s much easier to stay in the zone when you make it a regular occurrence. Plus, it’s a great way to see the nuances of each season and watch them slowly morph into the next. I talk about that in my other post 5 Things I Wish I knew When I Started Running. I can’t wait to see where this journey takes me next! Perhaps a half marathon? 😉 In the meantime, feel free to subscribe to my YouTube channel – I’m updating it every week!

Photographs – Des Iles


Many thanks to the Lululemon Yeg family that made all of this possible! <3

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How to Have a Restful Sleep

How to Have a Restful Sleep

How to Have a Restful Sleep

Ever found yourself enduring the misery of a sleepless night? I am no stranger to the agony of a restless slumber. What if it were possible to avoid a bad sleep? Join me on a zen ride while I share all my tips on how to have THE BEST SLEEP EVERRRRRRRR in this video. Or maybe it is just some tips and tricks on how to have a restful sleep which I suppose could be considered THE BEST SLEEP EVER.


When I decided to fully commit to being an adult (baby blankie and snoopy stuffed animal notwithstanding), incorporating proper bedding was a must. Once I slept on high quality cotton sheets, I could never look back. My current set up includes:

– Four SleepEnvie pillows – two Skyler, two Violet
– Brooklinen Sheets – luxe cotton in Smoke Stripe & Reverse Smoke Stripe 
– Brooklinen Duvet cover – luxe cotton white
– Casper – Duvet
– MUJI – Men’s PJ’s
– MUJI – Slippers
– SLIP – Silk Sleep Mask Navy 
– SLIP – Silk Sleep Mask Pink

For those of you who are curious about Muji or already love it as much as I do, they opened their newest Canadian location in Richmond Centre in Richmond, BC. I will definitely be stopping by on my way to the island this summer to stock up on my FAVOURITE pen in the world.


This one is a hard one, I know. After many attempts and setbacks, I have officially made my bedroom a device-free zone. In addition to that, I avoid electronics 1 hour before bedtime to help my body naturally produce melatonin. Instead of my phone being my alarm clock, I use my Google Home to set alarms. If this sounds preposterous to you, I suggest reading How to Break Up With Your Phone.


The surefire way to help your body relax for bedtime is developing a routine that lets it wind down for the day. I like to start with my skincare routine. Then I either read or meditate, or both! (Not at the same time though 😉 )  I also avoid screens an hour before bed to help my body adjust as well.


Scenting a room for the right vibe is of very great importance to me, I’m that person with a Saje Diffuser in every room. Calming scents truly help my body relax and put me into a great mood. Lately I’ve been loving a giant dose of lavender before bed. If you need more tips on ambience, check out my post 10 Ways to Make Your Home More Spa Like.


I hope some of this tips will help you have the best sleep ever! And like I said in the video, when all else fails, there’s always melatonin! If you have any other tricks for how to have a restful sleep, I would love to hear them! In the meantime, feel free to subscribe to my YouTube channel if you’re enjoying what you see. 🙂

photographs – Sandy Joe Karpetz

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WELLNESS | 10 Things to Accomplish in 2018

WELLNESS | 10 Things to Accomplish in 2018


10 Things to Accomplish in 2018

I spent a full month deciding what I would like to get done in 2018. Part of that involved reflecting on the past year. I looked at which of my goals I nailed (treat my body like the temple, nurture important relationships) and which ones were quickly abandoned (learn to play the guitar better). If you’d like to see the complete list from last year, here are my 10 Things to Accomplish in 2017. Some of those accomplishments are rolling over into this year in different forms. By posting this, I hope to achieve two things. 1. hold myself accountable for the duration of the year. And 2. help inspire someone else. It’s difficult to distill down which things are worthy of focus, so hopefully this will help you identify something you want to improve upon. With that, I give you my 10 Things to Accomplish in 2018.



My desk is marginally cleaner than last year. However, I have loose papers all over my office. It is the definition of CHAOS. Fortunately, I have a few ideas on how this year will be different.

First off, I’m trying out a new agenda by MiGoals. The first few pages are all about reviewing the previous year and setting goals for this one. BOOM! Plus, there’s a separate book to break down each goal and follow it through in chunks. This is what I need to force myself to stay on task. I am becoming a full fledged GOAL DIGGER this year. I’m going to get my taxes done ahead of time like a total boss. You watch me.

Second of all, I want to streamline my contact list and get my invoicing down to an art. I’ve decided to switch my archaic methods and convert everything to Google Docs. That way, I can access all my vital information from any device, anywhere!


Action Items
  • File all my receipts and invoices as I get them to avoid the dreaded shoebox of paper come tax time.
  • Recycle paper the second the information becomes redundant (why do I have grocery lists from months ago!?)
  • Set deadlines and keep them thanks to MiGoals and my 2018 Diary, Progress Journal, and Bucket List
  • RESPECT TIME! Working from home without a schedule can mean putting things off till the very last second. Not anymore. I’m a gal who’s going to respect time this year and not squander it falling into a Youtube vortex of cute kitten videos.
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Last year was a mixed bag in terms of fitness. For the things I did accomplish, I have a couple of people to thank. Andrea Rice at Lululemon YEG is one of them. She helped inspire me (and outfit me) to get my run on – bless her heart. (see my post 5 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Running). In addition to running, I have been trying out classes I normally would never have dreamed of checking out – Soar, hot yoga, and even a weekly HIIT class. Lastly, my partner Jesse who has been accompanying me to these classes, holding me accountable, and encouraging me on my running journey.

Action Items
  • Continue going to all the classes I love and challenging myself with new ones 3-4 times per week  and challenging myself with new ones.
  • Make my running a year-round activity.
  • Discover new ways to stay active all year round
  • Create a network of workout buddies to hold me accountable!

On the right is my first run ever, solo, in the river valley. It was terrifying and liberating. It’s only gotten better since then, especially with how far I’m able to run in an hour! I may not be running Bloomsday like when I was 17, but I’m making progress!



Last year I read a book that has changed my life forever more. It has changed the way I look at food. I’ve returned to my vegetarian ways and have been seriously questioning the necessity of dairy in my life. This lifestyle change deserves a whole post on its own. In short, eating plant based is so much better for my health so it’s something I am working towards.

Action Items
  • Re-read How Not To Die by Michael Greger, MD and commit it to memory
  • Find more dairy alternatives to replace my favourites
  • Continue to try different recipes every week
  • Make a habit of choosing plant based options when dining out


Last year I made a goal to read 20 books. I was just shy of that number despite spending the majority of the year in a major literary drought. This year, I want to double that and add a few additional goals within this goal. I’d like to vary the books I read to include: fiction, self improvement, and biographical. It’s so easy for me to get hyper focused on one genre and neglect my other interests. Not this year!

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Action Items
  • Be the information ninja I know I am and use my library card as much as possible
  • Rotate between genres after every finished book
  • Possibly join a book club or start a book club? Anyone interested in that?


Part of the allure of running is having the excuse to spend time in the river valley. Connecting with nature during an otherwise hectic week is essential. Last year, I said I was going to meditate; I did not even begin. This year, I’m setting aside time and making it happen. I spend so much time staring at screens and splitting my attention. This is no way to live a balanced life!

Action Items
  • Set aside time every day to use my Muse headband with guided meditation
  • Find more ways to connect with nature all year round (running, cross country skiing, snowshoeing etc)
  • Put my phone down more and be present
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I have spent one too many years cursing at a laptop that’s on the brink of being full. The time and energy I have wasted dealing with devices that are beyond expiration is astonishing. This is the year I have finally said no to this. I went and bought the laptop I’m currently typing this on (shout out to my dear Greg at Apple for helping me out). I intend on running a tight ship from now on.

Action Items
  • Back up old files on to my external hard drive once a week
  • Update my desktop when it financially makes sense
  • Delete useless digital clutter before it becomes overwhelming


I’ve been in my condo for two years and it is still….. quite empty. The renovations are finally complete! However, I haven’t made time to actually outfit it. At the end of the day, it’s a giant white box and has zero personality aside from the smoked glass mirrors from the 70s. I think I’ve maxed out the time in which I can justify living with only a desk and my bed.

Action Items
  • Start unpacking my life!
  • Curate the space carefully with thoughtfully picked out pieces
  • Finally share my space on the blog!


Last year I went back to London to trace the footsteps of my former life. It was such a treat traipsing around reliving my old neighbourhood. Reminiscing was wonderful, but discovering new places was equally as great. In addition to revisiting old favourite places (Arizona, Gabriola, London), I also explored some new places. Iceland and Morocco were two new places I finally went to, both of which were wonderful in such different ways. I always feel the most me when traveling and seeing new places. That feeling is something I want to continue to chase.

Action Items
  • Watch flight sales and book on a whim, figure out the details later
  • Write a list of dream places to go and slowly start crossing them off


Last year was marginally better than the year prior. Between travelling and reading more, I managed to find bursts of creativity. The drawing every day did not last more than a month. Truth be told, I just asked my partner “How do I stay inspired?” He laughed at me. It is always something I continue to strive for, something to be sought out on the regular, a muscle that must be worked on otherwise you lose it. It’s easy to get caught up in mundane details and forget about what stokes your creative fire.

Action Items
  • Read, write, draw as much as I can
  • Watch old films to dig up old new ways of dressing, doing, creating
  • Be pickier about the media I consume (aka less Housewives)


The idea of populating my Youtube channel with travel and beauty content has been percolating in my mind for years. I talk about it. I come up with ideas. And that’s where it ends. Anti-climatic if you ask me. In my travels, I have accumulated an extensive collection of video clips that are just waiting to become something. It is TIME! The thought of editing everything is the thing that has held me back. That and not having enough space on any of my computers to edit a video without crashing. Half of the problem has been solved!

Action Items
  • Make a hard deadline to edit two videos per month using old footage
  • Once it becomes a habit, up that goal and continue to hone my skills editing
  • Share these videos whether or not they’re “perfect” – done is better than perfect when you are goal digging

10 Things to Accomplish in 2018

One little piece of advice is to keep an ongoing list during the year of all the good things and wins that happen during the year. It gives you a better idea of how the year actually went. It also helps to focus on all of the positive things, big or small, you may have forgotten about. What are you hoping to accomplish this year?

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GIFT GUIDE | Holiday Gift Ideas for a Health Guru

GIFT GUIDE | Holiday Gift Ideas for a Health Guru


Holiday Gift Ideas for a Health Guru

My final installment of the holiday gift guide series for 2017 is about health, of course. Everything begins and ends with good health! I’m positive there are a few people on your list who immediately came to mind when reading the headline. Here’s a few holiday gift ideas for a health guru in your life.


It is no secrets the immense health benefits that accompany the act of meditating. However, I know it is sometimes difficult to get motivated to start. Enter Muse, a meditation app and headband that’s so sophisticated. If you’re anything like me and need to see hard numbers when it comes to self improvement. This is the app for you if that statement is a resounding yes. It guides you through your meditation with nature sounds, when your mind begins to drift, you’ll be notified by the weather sounds intensifying. Bonus: the app has an alarm function that notifies you when it’s time to meditate.



Naturally, cookbooks are synonymous with healthy living. The food we consume is the foundation of healthy living! Thus cookbooks are high on the list of holiday gift ideas for a health guru. While plant based eating is ideal, even eating vegetarian can improve your health in so many ways. A couple books I have been turning to quite regularly have been Vegetarian Heartland, New Feast, and my most favourite, How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Completely Revised Tenth Anniversary Edition. It even includes some added vegan recipes! All three books are accessible to varying skill levels too.



One of the best gifts I have received was a high end water bottle from my Mother last year. It has traveled to Morocco and back. It kept my water cold for 24 hours. When I got ill abroad, I was able to keep my hot eucalyptus water steamy for 12 hours. It is magic! Insulated steel water bottles are the way to go. Lamose is a locally owned Edmonton company designing water vessels. They even have the option of etching any design onto the bottle should you want to personalize it!


For that person who has everything, get them consumables! Things they will actually use up and won’t crowd their life. I’m a huge fan of high quality honey as a gift. Nude Honey is an excellent brand which I recently went into depth about on this honey post. Raw honey is superior in so many ways! Especially when it comes to taste. Another consumable gift idea is individually packaged  Teapigs matcha sachets for a grab and go green tea! Or a tin of their matcha which is 100% ground green tea leaves from Japan.

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I recently discovered this line of deodorants and soaps that smell like getting lost in a forest in the PNW. That’s how good they are. You’ll be smelling like a dreamy pine with Schmidt’s Oh Christmas Tree deodorant but without the mess of pine needles. Their Lavender & Sage soap is equally as potent. I am immediately reminded of driving through fields of lavender!


This woodsy theme continues with the addition of candles and essential oil from Woodlot. I mean, it’s in the name! Their Wildwoods candle is one of my all time favourites. It’s made of natural coconut and soy wax. It smells of balsam, fir, and clove. They’ve recently launched essential oils as well. I love their Cascadia blend. It notes are Fir, cedar, and patchouli essential oils.  DEEP BREATH.

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WELLNESS | Four Seasons Spa Toronto

WELLNESS | Four Seasons Spa Toronto


Four Seasons Spa Toronto

Ever wonder what complete bliss feels like? I did until I finally made my first (and hopefully not last) trip to the Four Seasons Spa Toronto in Yorkville. It was an absolute delight in every way. When I first walked into the grand lobby, I was overwhelmed with the amount of fresh flowers. The vibrant array of orchids, roses, and what appeared to be hydrangeas, were a fragrant treat. The last time I enjoyed the lavish lobby was on my previous trip out east for Holt Renfrew’s All Together at Holt’s Campaign I was invited to be a part of. I posted a Toronto photodiary of the adventure too which mostly revolved around being in my luxurious suite at the Four Seasons in Yorkville. If you’ve seen the property before you can understand why. This time around, I was sampling the spa and it did not disappoint.

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Our morning at the Four Seasons Spa Toronto began with an incredible deep tissue massage. Whenever I’ve heard the term “deep tissue,” I assumed it wasn’t for me. I imagined that meant deep pain but it turns out it means deeply satisfying. That evening I fell asleep without the aid of melatonin, a next to impossible feat for me when I’m traveling; further evidence on the greatness of the massage! It began with the soles of my feet being kneaded with fists – a true blessing for someone who was taking 20,000 steps per day while exploring the city. After that, I swear I just blacked out in sheer bliss. Blended peppermint, eucalyptus, and rosemary oil helped to release tension throughout the massage. The best part was having my arms and legs stretched out while simultaneously deeply working the muscles.  Post-massage I felt as though I was floating through the halls.


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There were more than a few things that stood out for me when we began our relaxation journey at the Four Seasons Spa Toronto. Even taking the elevator up to the 9th floor felt luxurious. When entering the spa, the ambience was incredible with lighting that was uniquely both soft and welcoming. The staff were incredibly friendly and helpful – I had no idea how to use the electronic lockers but a woman came to my rescue immediately. Once I realized how easy the lockers were to operate, they were such a treat! There was an extraordinary attention to detail throughout. Not only was it was impressive but also decadent right down to the rolled up facecloths on ice waiting at the door of the steam room! A few other things that I really appreciated (aside from the mind blowing massage which I’ll get into after) were:


To begin with, there was ample citrus infused water to keep hydrated throughout the day which is recommended to do after a massage. If citrus water isn’t your thing, no worries because there’s a massive selection of tea to be had as well! My favourite was the Lavender Earl Grey. It was the shot of caffeine I needed post morning massage. The shortbread cookies were a perfect side to my delicious tea as well.


Access to the palatial swimming pool area (complete with a giant jacuzzi hot tub and indoor/outdoor lounge seating) is arguably one of the best perks of visiting the Four Seasons Spa Toronto. Napping poolside on their luxe lounge chairs is the way I always would like to bliss out after a massage. Plus the lighting in there is stunning – whoever had the foresight to install those skylights is my personal hero.

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As a matter of fact, bathrobes are an every day luxury every one should be indulging in. When it comes to comfort, the Four Seasons Spa Toronto KNOWS what they’re doing. I swear my robe was made of angel wings because it was the softest thing I have ever felt. I enjoyed swanning around the pool deck with my fleecy dream robe.


Did you forget to bring your shampoo or realize last minute that you might need a little mouthwash after drinking 5 cups of lavender Earl Grey tea? No worries because the Four Seasons Spa Toronto has all the essentials waiting for you. Forget having to haul all your products with you to Yorkville, they are already there!


The spacious showers have an invigorating eucalyptus spray which you can spritz on the tiles during a steamy rinse off post steam room. It’s such a nice way to get refreshed after you’ve made your rounds to all the steamy amenities available.

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Overall, this was a truly exceptional experience thanks to the Four Seasons Spa Toronto. Suffice to say, I am very pleased I am able to attest to its greatness by firsthand knowledge. Now I will just have to count the days till I’m back in the city to try out another service and get back to doing what I do best – lounging hard by the poolside.😎
To find out more about their services, check out the Four Seasons Toronto Spa Menu.
Photographs – CC Ruth & Sandy Karpetz

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WELLNESS | 5 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Running

WELLNESS | 5 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Running


For the longest time I have been immensely averse to running. The mere mention of the word “jogging” made me cringe. How could people possibly spend their time running? There must be a better way to stay physically active! What is this “runners high” I keep hearing about? It must be a myth. Yes, I have run Bloomsday twice but I don’t recall enjoying any of it. Time has not rose tinted those memories. Then a chain of events quickly unfolded, the stars aligned perfectly, and I found myself in the river valley partaking in this sport of sorts. How could this have happened?

It all started when I switched to an Android phone since being an Apple user since 2008. I was majorly changing up many facets of my life and the switch to the Samsung GS8 was just the beginning. While adjusting to the new-to-me operating system, I discovered the Samsung Health app and it’s guided workouts… that’s when I went for my first run in the Spring of 2017. Yes, an app is what magically convinced me to try running. Now I’m nearly 9 months in and there’s a few things I wish I would have known when I began.



The first few times are the worst. So bad, in fact, that it is enough to get you to quit. Your legs feel like jello, it’s hard to find a pace that feels right, and if you don’t stretch well, you’re in for a world of pain. The best way to keep on track is to find an app that guides you through it. Without the Samsung Health app, I probably wouldn’t have continued to run.

Finding an app that works for you is essential. The thing I love about this one is that you can pick your level of workout and a guide will help you throughout the entire run. From letting you know whether you’re running to slow or too fast depending on the workout to randomly saying encouraging things like “smile if you can” or “you’re one workout closer to your fitness goals.” It sounds incredibly cheesy but when you’re coming up to that 8th km, an encouraging word is greatly appreciated.

In addition to helping with running cadence, the Samsung Health app also logs my progress and gives me milestone awards for best kept pace, longest distance, etc. Having hard evidence and statistics on my achievements makes the process much more tangible for me. Plus it gives you a weekly summary of all your physical activity.  I could probably talk about this app at length because I am so infatuated with it but that could be a whole post on its own. I’ve also heard that Google Fit is pretty good as well.



I made the mistake of going for a run without a water bottle. By the time I realized it was a terrible mistake, I was already across the river and nowhere near home. I would suggest two options: 1. Make note of working water fountains on your route or 2. Invest in a lightweight water bottle. The first option is dicey and I can’t say that city fountains are always reliable. I always opt for my tried and true Lululemon Purist Cycling Water Bottle II. My original one I left on a ferry this summer and it was devastating. Fortunately, I have a sweetie pie man friend who wanted to support my new found hobby so much so that he surprised me with this one. I will never lose it again. Bonus tip: the water bottle can double as a weight should you decided to stop along your route to do some toning exercises.



Not all accessories are created equal and this statement couldn’t be more true than with athletic gear. I have a few favourites that have made a world of a difference to my level of comfort when working out in the wilderness. We’ve already discussed my water bottle preferences and I assure you I’m just as specific about the other accessories I own. Let’s start from the top down:

6 Essential Accessories For Running

1. Sunglasses are essential all year round in my opinion. Nothing is more bright that sunlight reflected off snow. I found that the Ray-Ban Aviators ($228) were the best sunglasses in terms of being lightweight and not moving all over my face while being active.

2. Bluetooth Earbuds allow you to run without having a cord smacking against your chest. I love the Sudio Sweden Vasa Bla headphones ($99) because of their wireless capabilities. Each pair comes with 5 different earbud sizes allowing for multiple fit options. As a female, I prefer to run with only one earbud in for safety reasons so the handy clip allows me to secure the extra wire down. Bonus: you can also get 15% off any Sudio Sweden order using the promocode “PRETTYSECRETS”

3. Hair ties can make or break your experience. Too tight and you have a headache. Too loose and your hair is flying all over. I prefer the Telephone Cord Hair Ties ($10) which miraculously don’t leave a hideous indent line.

4. A comfortable pair of leggings will change the way you run. The best leggings I have come across are the Lululemon Break Free Crop Nulux 17″ (on sale for $89). They are lightweight and moisture-wicking. Most importantly though, they don’t ride up or fall down. Bonus: they have side pockets for your phone and keys!

5. A supportive pair of shoes can help you run even further. I am obsessed with my Lululemon x APL Techloom Phantom Shoe ($180) it’s like a little foot glove with everything tucked in. They’re lightweight and have hidden laces so you’ll never find yourself tripping on them.

6. An indestructible phone case for your butter fingers when you’re skipping a song on your playlist. The Otterbox Samsung GS8 Symmetry Series Clear Case in Stardust ($39.95) has saved me from destroying yet another screen. I cannot risk having to experience that devastation again!

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For the first time since I was in elementary school I was actually able to enjoy the seasons changing and experience it in an immersive way. Running in the spring with all the fragrant freshly blossoming trees. In the summer when everything is vibrantly green. In the fall with that unmistakable scent of decaying leaves. And of course the less liked season: winter, when the snow muffles sound and the trees are naked, revealing the surrounding landscape. I felt as though I was truly in tune with the changes happening within and around me. Running can feel meditative at a point too, it’s amazing how clearing of your thoughts it can be. It allows me to exercise while indulging in forest bathing.



This is the part everyone wants to hear. It does get easier! Until this year, I hadn’t run since I was 17. Despite that seemingly enormous hurdle, I was able to get into a groove where I was impressing myself with my stamina. I’m at a point where I have admittedly drunk the kool-aid and enjoy going for runs. The secret to getting good is consistency and forcing yourself to go even when you don’t want to. Each time I have been hesitant and have pushed myself, I am always grateful when the run is complete. Our bodies can do amazing things if we just give them the chance and work with them at a reasonable pace. I may not run Bloomsday again but at least I’m one run closer to being a better runner in general!

photographs – CC Ruth

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