Balance Monthly Challenge

Another month, another challenge I will start…cause let’s be honest…I never stick to them. Maybe one of these days I will write a blog post on how not to fall off the Monthly Challenge wagon. Oh wait……here are a few tips for ya!

How to stick to your monthly challenge!

1. Print challenge in colour – colour is so much better on your eyes.

2. Put the challenge in a place were you go every day. Beside your bed/on your pillow after you get up; near your computer; at the dinning room table; on the fridge; with your workout clothing/gear/gym.

3. Have a pen with your colour printed monthly challenge. Cross off the workouts you finish. Seeing your progress is motivating.

4. Schedule it in. We all have “apps for that” so why not just actually put it in your calendar or an app you use to track your daily life (obviously, I don’t have a suggestion for you as to which app to use or I would plug it in here).

5. Recruit a buddy to do it with you and follow-up with them. Make sure it’s someone you like talking to daily as you’ll want to be accountable to them/yourself.

This one is all about BALANCE! Jodi Higgs workouts are awesome…hard but awesome! The furthest I’ve gone on one of her monthly challenges is 15 days I think! Maybe this will help with my running 🙂

Jodi Higgs Balance Challenge

Balance Jodi Higgs

Description By Jodi Higgs:

Balance Lunge (or Bulgarian Split Squat)

The Bulgarian Split-Squat is great for the buttocks and hamstrings, quadriceps and hip-flexors for a few reasons. It stimulates muscles that often aren’t utilised for their potential to engage, and it stretches out other muscles that are often overworked or simply tight. It is a great postural exercise because it engages and exercises the glutes and hamstrings of the front leg, while stretching out the quads and hip-flexors of the rear leg. Tight hip-flexors and/or weak glutes often result in lower back pain and immobility, so unless your knees can’t take the load-bearing here, this exercise is great for strength-building, balance, and flexibility.

You can choose to use handweights to add a degree of difficulty. Also, the higher up you place your back foot, the more difficult the exercise will be. If you’re a true beginner, simply place your back foot in the split or lunge behind you on the ground, rather than elevating it. Modify as needed to suit you!!

Don’t allow your knee or your foot arch to collapse inward; consciously pull them outward to bear the weight of your body as you bend at the knee.

And watch this video first to make sure you’re doing the right thing:

Single Leg/Single Arm Plank

The plank exercise, which we’ve seen before in our Ab Challenge, helps strengthen midsection, upper-body and lower-body muscles along the front of your body. Planks also strengthen inner core muscles that support your joints. The rectus abdominis (six pack!) and transverse abdominis that form your outer and inner abdominal muscles are primary supporters during plank exercises. The abdominal obliques also stabilize the plank position isometrically. Upper-body stabilizers include the pectoral, shoulder and upper back muscles. Lower-body stabilizers include the quadriceps, sartorius and tensor fascia coming down from the pelvis. To sum it up, it’s an amazing stationary exercise that targets just about everywhere!

We’re going to turn this one unilateral too, by raising an arm and/or a leg. Start with the plank though, with all four of your limbs on the ground. If you are in the beginner stages and need to drop your knees, drop your knees. When you’re feeling confident and comfortable in this position, do a three-legged plank by raising one of your arms. Hold that. When you are ready to move on again, lift up your arm and opposite leg at the same time, balancing on one arm and one leg. The demand on all the inner workings of your core is heightened and you will have to work harder so as not to rotate inward. The plank is a stationary hold exercise, so find your breath, tighten everything up, and hold in peace as long as required for that day.

Here’s the video for this plank variation:

Single Leg Bridge

Although the bridge is an effective glute-toning exercise, it also works the rest of your core too, which includes your rectus abdominus, erector spinae, hamstrings and adductors. During a single-leg bridge variation, your hip flexors and knee extensors also work, including the iliopsoas, sartorius and quadriceps. Your hip adductors, including the pectineus, adductor longus and adductor brevis, are also particularly active during this variation.

As with all our more advanced exercises this month, there is a progression to reaching them. So, until you’re comfortable in the traditional bridge position, don’t start lifting a leg yet. When you are ready to move on, you can progress to this…. and eventually move on to the full version.

It is your choice whether you want to hold this position or pulse it, or you can switch it up as the month goes on. The number indicated on the calendar represents seconds or pulses.

Here’s the video for single leg bridge:

Pistol Squats

(not for the faint of heart!) Holy crap. Admittedly, I’ve never tried one of these until this week and I pretty much laughed it off as impossible the first time. By the third night, I did one unassisted. Then, and only then, did i decide to include it here. It’s totally possible. Just impossibly challenging. and perfect for us!

Fortunately, there are a number of ways to assist ourselves in getting better at this exercise, that include a strap, a pole, chairs, or even an open door.

This squat is one of the top underrated exercises in existence. The benefits of mastering the pistol squat are enormous… the pistol squat requires great balance, leg strength, flexibility and coordination. Chances are you will never see anyone get this movement on their first attempt due to the difficulty of the exercise. If you work diligently on pistols, you can build up to performing them while holding a heavy weight in your hand. To start with though, you’ll be holding straps wrapped around a post or chairs to help your balance. Pistols strengthen the hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, and hips, but one of the most valuable benefits they provide is injury prevention. They significantly strengthen the knee structure over time. They can also even out strength imbalances because you perform them on just one leg. Single leg squats greatly reduce the stress placed on the lower back and spine making it a more ‘back friendly’ exercise option for those with back problems. No other body weight exercise builds lower body strength like pistols.

So, follow these progressions and don’t be discouraged:

Along with balance, one of our themes this month is definitely about progress and challenge, about acceptance of where we’re at, and about the lengths we go to make positive strides.

 Balance Challenge and Description By Jodi Higgs – You can follow her on Facebook here.


Please note: I did not create this challenge. I am not a personal trainer, doctor or medical professional. I’m sharing workouts on my blog to challenge myself (ha ha) and to share with others. Thanks.

Monthly Challenge: Yeah or Nay?

Are you good at balancing?


To The Women I Saw Trotting Up THAT Hill Yesterday

Thank you!

As I drove to work I noticed you on the sidewalk running.

I don’t know if you are a long time runner or newbie.

I don’t know if you are training for a big event or just out to be active and doing something for yourself.

I do know that I wanted to beep my horn at you but thought you might think some creepy lady was beeping her horn at you for no good reason.

I do know I wanted to roll down my window and say “Good Job” and give you a thumbs up! But I didn’t –> random lady giving thumbs up…ahhh creepy!

Fast forward to my lunch break – I had a 7k awaiting me.

I procrastinated just like I’ve done with some projects at work {dang} but managed to get my running gear on and headed out.

It was hot yet again.

I forgot my Flipbelt so I had to carry my phone in my hand – not cool. I may have pocket dial a good handful of people – sorry about that friends 😉

I ran my normal route and hoped that the hills would treat me well today.

I managed to run 3.5k and hit the half way mark of my run feeling strong on the hills.

Then I turned around.

I saw “that hill”.


That hill you were trotting up and I was tired, hot and mentally not into my run anymore. I was questioning why I would even think about fitting in a 7k run during my lunch break. I even thought I’m not even half way through my half marathon training and this sucks.

I wasn’t loving my run.

Then I thought about you….you trotting up that hill. I don’t know if what I saw was you trotting or running but you sure were not walking up that hill.

It gave me some motivation. I just had to keep one foot in front of the other and I’d make it up “that hill”. That long, long, long incline.

You motivated me to finish that hill and the next one, then I slowly finish my 7k.

So, to the lady who I saw running up that hill yesterday on my drive to work – Thank you. Who knew seeing you running hours before I would help motivated me to finish my run.

Cheers, Piper

Foam Rolling, Sleep and Sunshine

What do these all have in common? My run yesterday!

It all started Monday night. It was a “stretch and strengthen” day in my Half Marathon Training Plan but I decided to foam roll and just lay on the ground. What a painful thing to do to yourself…..but feels so good afterwards! This may be my new favourite thing, I’m not very good at it …..well, not very graceful but no one had to witness it.



I did however have a few laughs when I was rolling my upper back/shoulder area and my pony tail got caught in the roller and pulled my head back. #notgraceful Yes, very funny, I know!

I also went to bed early for the first time in weeks. Lately it’s been 11 or 11:30 before I turn out the light and the only person I have to blame is myself. Hilary’s been up once a night around 3am a lot lately …. that’s always a happy moment for me 🙂 I’ve had a lot of my plate and trying to “fit it all in” I end up staying up way to late. Not Monday night. I was in bed before 10 pm and slept all night long….so did both girls #morningwin!

I kinda wanted to run Tuesday during my lunch break…kinda being the important word here! After I foam rolled I got all my running gear in my bag so I had no excuses in the morning. When I went to bed I still wasn’t convinced I wanted to run but when I woke up I was all over it. Why? Mainly because I wanted to go to bed before 10pm.

After a conference call with my colleagues, I got changed into my running gear and headed out for the planned 6k. It was some friggin’ hot out! Once again, I ran a hilly route on the sidewalk as I didn’t feel like running on the trail. I don’t know why but this route (the hills) get me every time…they are long…L-O-N-G inclines that then turn into a hills. Four of them!

I was quickly regretting running at lunch as it was super hot. When I got back to the office, I looked at the temperature and it was 28 C (82 F) but felt like 32 C (89 F) – HOT if you ask me. I guzzled my Vega Hydrator in seconds, ate lunch, then my second lunch and finally got back to work.

Ahhhhhh, 6k done outside … Happy Piper 🙂

What time do you go to bed? Be honest!

Have you foam rolled before? 

Still hot or cooling off where you live?



Half Marathon Training Week #5

Holy crap, I am exhausted! This working full-time, taking care of two girls full-time (with my husband away a lot) and training for a half marathon is starting to take a toll on me. Well, let’s be honest…I really shouldn’t stay up so late catching up on emails, Facebook and Instagram.

The one thing I did not account for when starting this training was how much sleep I need. Oh and deodorant, shower gel, shampoo/conditioner and FOOD! I’ve gone through my toiletries faster then I ever imagined and am rungry ALL.THE.TIME!

If you missed the first few weeks, here you go –> Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Training Plan. Last week I forgot to add up my totals, whoops! Week #4: Total mileage Week 4: 41km (25.47 miles) Total mileage Training: 127 km (78.91 miles)

Week #5 What was planned VS What really happened!

 Monday: Stretch and Strength NOTHING! I took a rest day. Actually, I went on a date with my husband 🙂

Tuesday: 6 km 7k Run (Treadmill) Fairly good run.

Wednesday: 7 x 400 @ 5k Pace5 x 4oo’s @ 5k pace CRAZY!!! Okay, 400’s are just crazy, I can’t even think about doing 800’s….ever! Never say never 🙂 You can read about my 400’s here 🙂

PR Track Workout

Thursday: 5k + Strength 6k and no strength workout. I ran during my lunch break and it was a route I haven’t done in months. I forgot how hilly it was and had to take it a little slower than normal. My legs were tired and my head wasn’t into it. I decided to run 6k instead of 5k – should have just stuck to the plan.

Friday: REST DAYREST DAY – sure knocked this one out of the park!

Saturday: 5k5k I was 100% not wanting to run today. I had a rough day with the girls and my patients were thin. I really wanted to get my long run in (13k) today but I physically and mentally just couldn’t pull it off. It was 8:40pm when I put on my running gear and another 10 minutes later when I jumped on the treadmill. Somehow I was in a terrible mood at the beginning and a completely different person after my run. I felt so much better, happier and more relaxed.

I posted this on Facebook:


Sunday: 13k13k. I was kinda dreading this run…why? Well, I didn’t really want to do it on the treadmill but it had to be done. So I put the girls to bed and jumped on the treadmill at 7:48 pm….Hilary was still up talking and singing but not crying. I hit the start button and got my little tablet all set up to watch “Blue”. I tried hard not to look at the time or mileage as I didn’t want to be disappointed with how far I had to go! 

Each time I did look at the mileage, I would say…I only have 10 more to go, 7 more to go, 3 more to go. The last 1.5km I managed to increase my speed and really push my legs/body.

Just like that I’m done week #5 … HAPPY 🙂


Five Weeks Done!

Today, I woke up feeling pretty good but my arms hurt. I thought that I must have really relied on them during my run but then remembered that I mowed the lawn and it was only my right arm that hurt (from pulling the cord). Guess I got my upper body covered by mowing the lawn 🙂

Total Mileage Week 5: 36 k (22.36 miles)

Total Mileage Training: 163 k (101.28 miles) since July 21st! 

Have you done any track work?

How much deodorant, shampoo/conditioner have you gone through when training?

When was the last time you DIDN’T want to workout but did it anyway?

Seven Times Four Hundred at Five K Pace

Training Week #5 Day 2: 7 x 400 @ 5k Pace!

Seriously, what does 7 x 400 @ 5k pace mean???? That’s what I said a few months ago to myself…and never really bothered with following up with doing the actual workout. I just ran whatever distance I wanted to. However, since I am training for a half marathon, I wanted to really try to stick to my training plan as much as possible.

I’ve already missed 6 x 400 @ 5k pace and my tempo’ runs because I still need to figure out what my tempo run really should be {even though my husband already did the math for me – I forgot my pace}. Anyway, I figured I shouldn’t miss this week’s 7 x 400. I actually had to Google it! Oh yeah, that was me.

This is what I figured out: I have to run around the track {400 meters} 7 times and can have a walking or jogging break in between from 30-90 seconds (depending on what site you look at) but I had to run it at my 5k pace! So what’s my 5k pace? I dunno…I run anywhere between 5:35 to 6:16 per kilometer depending on how I am feeling.

I used the McMillan Running Calculator to figure it out. I went with my 28:00 minute 5k time, therefore I should be able to run around the track once in 1:39 then rest/recovery run or walk.

Okay, got it!

Here goes nothing!!!!!!!!!


Leaving the office…

Well, holy shit! First off, its bloody hot out….like back up to 28 degree Celsius (82 F for my American friends) but feels like 32 (89F). What was I thinking. Good thing I put on some sunscreen before I left the office.

I ran 1.23k to the local rundown track. Sure, I could have driven my car to a nice University track and paid to run on it but that wasn’t going to fit in during my lunch break. It’s an old gravel track that clearly has not been taking care of. It was used by schools I am assuming but I really don’t think they use it anymore. However, the soccer field is still in great condition.

PR Track Run

How did I do?

The first lap {400 meters} I ran, I was 6 seconds over my time…not bad. The second time I was 21 seconds over my time and then it just got worst from there.

I finished with 5 x 400 @ 5k pace….kinda felt like a turtle on the last one and decided to call it a day. Then ran another 1km back towards our office to finish off with 5k total of running today. I think on of my mistakes is that I used 28:00 as my 5k pace which I really have done once back in April but more recently ran 27:43 {PB}. I didn’t want to go with 27:43 as I know I couldn’t keep up that pace. Really, I should have aimed for a 29 minute 5k pace.

PR Track Workout

Good lord, I never want to do that again. I’d rather run hill repeats! Having said that….I feel pretty awesome physically. Even though I am in no rush to do that workout anytime soon I feel it was success.

I managed to…..

  • Get in my workout and have my evening free to do house work relax
  • Run 5k in the sun
  • Add a few more freckles to my face, arms and legs
  • Attempt 7 x 400 and finished more than half 5 x 400
  • Go outside during my lunch break
  • Finish one more day of my training!

I may have consumed more food for lunch then one really should eat (Vega snack bar, large bowl of watermelon, chicken, rice and peas from last night’s dinner, salted almonds and water…oh and I’m STILL RUNGRY!!!!!!!)

Do you like track workouts?

Gravel or nice professional tracks?

Track workout or Hill Repeats? 



Half Marathon Training Week #4 and Swimming

Hello Monday morning! I’ve got them running legs…it’s all they want to do. Run, run and more running but sometimes my mind just wants to do nothing. Another week done, another week of training for the Valley Harvest Half Marathon done 🙂 It went a little like this:

What was planned VS What REALLY happened:

Monday: Stretch & Strengthen7k Outside that included 8 hills. I wanted to run since I did yoga Sunday and felt that 7k was a good distance to go. I threw in a few hills….3 that were REALLY LONG inclines…you know the ones you don’t think will ever end; then a set of 4 repeats, then a flat stretch and another hill that didn’t want to end. It was hard but good at the same time. Later that night not only did my legs hurt but my lungs did too!

Tuesday: 6k Run –  6k Outside that included 3 hills (normal route). I ran my normal route and had a good 6k run. 

PR Anna Run

Wednesday: 35 minute tempo run –  6k Treadmill– I felt like this was a good run, nothing amazing but not terrible. It was far from a tempo run but it’s all good.

Thursday: 5k + Strength5k + Strength workout. My co-worker Melissa and I did a run/workout combination during our lunch break. We ran 2k, then did this workout {40 jumping jacks, 30 crunches, 20 squats, 10 push ups), then ran 1k, repeated the workout {40,30,20,10), ran 1k that included a set of stairs and walked 1k to cool down. It might not have been a solid 5k but I got the distance in and some strength workout too.

40,30, 20,10

Friday: Glorious REST DAY!!!!! Much needed! Lilly had a soccer extravaganza event: bbq, bouncy castle and soccer game/skills session. We didn’t get home until 7:30, then we weeded our neighbours garden until after 8pm. I had to pack for Halifax as we were making another trip in for our car.


Saturday: We drove to Halifax (an hour way) to pick up my new car (it had some major work done – long story), so we spent the weekend at my parents place. Running, swimming, a birthday party, Grammy/Grandad and Auntie time along with Saï coming home!

Saturday Run:  5 k run….ran 12k. Switched my Sunday long run to Saturday. It was a great long run on a gravel trail and shade then back on the sidewalk in the sun. Fairly flat with hills at the beginning and end. I had planned on the 11k but added 1 more kilometer since I still had that distance to go before I got back to the house. Oh and I had my first GU in YEARS…like 9 years! It was “Chocolate Outrage” and I actually really liked it. I told my husband which one I had and he almost barfed in his mouth…guess he’s not a fan of chocolate gu 😉

PR GU Long Run


After my run, Lilly and I jumped in the pool…she learned to float like a star fish and I cooled off from my run. Later we went to a party and Hilary ate enough watermelon for an entire family of six, I swear! She also loved the bouncy castle.

PR Pool and Party Fun


Sunday: 11k 5k run. Since I switched my long run to Saturday I still had a 5k run to do. We drove back from my parents place, had lunch and got the girls settled into nap/quiet time. I went for a quick 5k run and it was terrible! HA! After 2 km I decided that I just wanted to run my normal route and no hard hills…just the two normal hills I have to run. I had a side stitch that didn’t want to go away and at the last-minute I ran down one of the hard hills only to run up again. I figured I’d be thankful later that I did it {I was}. 

PR terrible run


I got home to find Hilary still not asleep and Lilly want to be done with quiet time! The four of us went out to run a few errands. No nap for Hilary meant for one cranky little girl…they were both in bed my 6:30 and Saï and I passed out at 6:45 pm, I forgot how good a 2 hour nap could make you feel 🙂

And that was my running week!

How was your weekend?

Anyone run? Vacation?

Would you swim post long run or not ? 

Other Half Marathon Training: Training Plan, Week 1 and Week 2 and Week 3


Running: This OR That

It’s time for THIS or THAT! A while back Amy at Fitness Meets Frosting posted these questions and I thought I’d give it a go. 

This or That

1. This or that: 5K or a half marathon?

This is a tough one. Since I am currently training for my 2nd half marathon my head is focused on 21.1 but I do love a good 5k. Oh wait, I have a 5k and 10k in September – the Tartan Twesome…then my half in October 😉 Guess I’ll do both distance soon!

2. This or that: flat race in the heat or hilly race in the cold?

Hilly race in the cold any day! Really, living in Nova Scotia you run in the cold, in snow, on ice conditions that are on hills 😉

3. This or that: new running shoes or a new running outfit?

I recently won a pair of running shoes *yes, I know…I am lucky* so I’d go for a new running outfit that matches well.

4. This or that: run a half marathon without headphones or Garmin?

I would run a half marathon without headphones over not having my Garmin! I do all of my outdoor runs without any music because I can’t find the time to download/upload any music to my IPod. I’d want to know how I was doing on my pace for that distance.

5. This or that: race because of the convenience (location, price, travel) or the swag?

I’m a big fan of racing because of the convenience – location and travelling. With two little ones and my husband away, I am lucky enough to have my family take care the of our girls if my husband is away.  Don’t get me wrong, the swag is fun but I don’t need it.

Best swag to date – a large bottle of sunscreen back in June!

6. This or that: PR but result in an injury or finish strong and missing a PR?

Finish strong and miss a PR 100%. I wouldn’t risk having an injury just to get a PR.

7. This or that: 100 squats or 100 push ups? [Now take a break and go do them. ;)]

100 Squats – I really, really suck at push ups and I’d rather have wobble legs then jello arms.

8. This or that: run without socks or without sports bra?

Oh dear lord, this is cruel! I would run without socks but would slab on body glide or vaseline to my feet/heels and pray to god it’s not bad.

9. This or that: treadmill for an hour or run around the same street block for an hour?

Humm….I dunno! Being the Mother Runner that I am, I run for an hour on my treadmill all the time.  How long is this street block?

10. This or that: Ragnar Relay or Marathon Relay team?

I think a Marathon Relay Team would be fun to do….I may have to put that on my bucket list. It would be awesome to do with my husband and a bunch of our friends.

11. This or that: Naked run or naked yoga?

Ahh…..ummm…. *puts head down in embarrassment* …. I would do naked yoga in my house and that’s it. No naked running, no naked yoga class. Oh god, now everybody’s thinking I do naked yoga in my house! Awesome!

12. This or that: Come in 4th in the Olympics or 1st in NYC marathon?

I would love to be a Canadian Olympic athlete – so 4th in the Olympics would win over 1st in NYC Marathon. However, I bet there is more money in the NYC Marathon then the Olympics…..nah, I’d still pick the Olympics.

13. This or that: give up running for 3 years to get a BQ or never BQ but run as much as you want?

Though running the Boston Marathon would be ah-may-zing I’d probably lose my mind if I gave up running for 3 years.

Now it’s your turn….

Naked run or naked yoga? Be honest!

PR but result in an injury or finish strong and missing a PR?

If you are running this weekend, enjoy and have fun!