The Book Gift Guide (from a non-reader runner)

Let me preface this post with the fact that I’m not a big reader. I enjoy reading but it’s not something I usually make time for. I value reading and appreciated it but I don’t always love it. Unbeknownst to me, this past year I’ve read more books then ever.

I thought I would share with you some of the books I read as they all are great books (and great gift ideas for the holidays). This is not a sponsored post, nor was I asked to promote these books. I either bought the book or went to my local library and loaned it out. Most of these books I saw through social media shares from people I follow as recommendations. You know what they say about like minded people? Well, you tend to like the same things.

Fitness Junkie: I’ve seen this book time and time again on social media and figured I’d give it a go. My local library didn’t have it in stock so they ordered it and I was the first one to read it. Nothing like cracking open a book from the library for the first time. It’s a funny read about the fitness world and all the crazy (yeah, crazy) trends out there and the length people will go to obtain “the look”. It’s a fun and easy read that I think anyone would enjoy. 

Strong – Kara Goucher. This is one book I will use and reuse year after year. I’m only half way through it but I can see how it can be used over and over again. It’s a very goal-oriented, motivational tool you can have in your back pocket as a runner. But also, not just as a runner. I think any sport / athlete could use this book to help you set goals and reach them. 

I highly recommend reading it and taking the time to sit down to write out your goals. When I read it on my car ride to the city last weekend, my mind was popping out goals and ideas for next year with excitement. Since 2019 is approaching fast, now’s a great time to set you goals for next year! I’ve started to set mine because of reading this book. Some are lofty goals but ones I want to reach as a runner.

North – Scott Jurek. I was able to snag the audio book this summer from my local library. Over a period of three weeks, I listened to the book while driving around to meetings. Sometimes, I’d be in my car for 1-2 hours one way, so it was easy to listen to the book and get through the chapters. 

This book is an amazing story to read (listen) to. It’s about Scott finding his way while running along the Appalachian Trail, along with his wife being his support crew. He tells it like it is, honest, funny and engaging. I loved that his wife…Jenny was part of the storytelling. It brought a whole other perspective when hearing a female voice telling her part of their story. To be honest, it was “their” story that was told.  I’d love to buy the actual book and read but really enjoyed listening to the audio book. I’d really recommend the audio book as a nice change and a bonus to hear their actual voices tell their story. 

Redefining Realistic – Heather Moyse. Nothing better then reading a motivational book from a “local” Olympian. By local, I mean from the Maritimes, not Nova Scotia.

Heather is an extremely inspiring Olympian (bobsled) but successful in other sports: rugby and track cycling. Her book dives into redefining your realistic perspective, your potential and how to own your story. It’s the kind of book you feel like your just having a conversation with her and learning about her life experiences and how they brought her to where she is now – in a realistic kinda of way. I liked hearing about the impact people made on her life – whether is was good or bad. It’s not just for the athlete, her knowledge can apply to anyone.

Sweet Ride by Ann Barry. Now this is local! It’s a really cute book about these four women who ride their bikes from the South Shore in Nova Scotia to Prince Edward Island and back again through the Annapolis Valley back in the 1943 (World War II). Not an easy trek by any means. 

It shares their story along with some adventures and challenges they faced. I enjoyed reading about their adventures but also knowing the routes they took and the communities they road through and places they stopped. If you are from Nova Scotia, are a cyclist or just enjoy local authors, this is a great little book to read. 

If you are like me and don’t always love to read but kinda enjoy it and want to read more, give one of these books a try. I’m hoping my new interest in reading this past year will continue to grow and I may actually love it one day. I’m always looking for book suggestions so feel free to leave me one of your favourite books in the comments. 

What are you reading right now?

What’s the number one book you’d recommend right now?

Any favourite local books you want to share?


Favourite Running Books

Though I’m not a big reader, I can somehow manage to plow through running related books in no time. I guess when you have a passions {yes, running is a passion for me – surprize!}, you can find it easy to incorporate it into your life in many ways.

Between my husband’s collection and mine, I realized we have quite the selection of running books. Most I have read but some I have still do to. Okay, let’s be honest….in the picture below, my books are on the bottom (read all of them) and my husbands are on top (have read none of them).

Favourite Running Books PR

With the holidays fast approaching, these books might be great for that special someone or for your secret Santa that’s a runner. Or something for you to buy for yourself in the new year! I received a number of these books for Christmas or my birthday in the past and have devoured them, re-read them and refer back to them for training plans, workouts and tips.

Mother Runners

Train Like a Mother: How to Get Across Any Finish Line – and Not Lose Your Family, Job or Sanity {Sarah Bowen Shea & Dimity McDowell} was my first book in the series.  I was kind of hooked on this book and couldn’t put it down. Lots of great tips and training plans provided – bonus. Encouraging!

Tales from Another Mother Runner: Triumphs, Trials, Tips and Tricks on the Road {Sarah Bowen Shea & Dimity McDowell} is a fun book as it’s written with stories from women everywhere. You can relate to their stories of how they got started, the struggle to run and balance life and much more. Motivating! 

There is one more book in the “Another Mother Runner” series called “Run Like a Mother”. I haven’t had the change to buy it yet so it’s still on my list.

Training, Tips and Techniques

Meb for Mortals {Meb Keflezighi &Scott Douglas}.I did a book review about this book. First off, I wasn’t sure if I’d like the book because I thought I could NEVER run like Meb. But honestly, after reading it I found it had lots of tips and things I can work on over many years of running. It’s a great resource that I go back to for some key workouts and tips. Worth it! 

Dr. Metzl Iron Strength {Dr. Jordan Metzl} Again, I did a review for this book as well. This was one book that I devoured and go back to a lot. The Iron Strength workouts are something I’m adding into my workouts to hopefully keep my hamstring happy. I’m actually debating on ordering the DVD workouts so I do the workouts more regularly. Worth it! 

Page Turner

4:09:43 {Hal Higdon}. I couldn’t put this book down when I read it for the first time. Seriously, I felt like I was there and could picture everything in detail. The stories from those at the event, to the coverage and all they experienced. This book is amazing and though I’ve yet to run a marathon, being at a Boston Marathon event would be an amazing thing to experience. Whether I am a spectator or running {dreaming here}, I would love to be at Boston one day. A must read!

The next list of books my husband read, not me so here is a little breakdown. 

PR Book Favourite

Ultra Marathons/Training

Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons  {Byron Powell}. The name of this book says it all. If your interested in learning more about running Ultras – this should be on your list.

80/20 {Matt Fitzgerald} is about training. It’s all about training slower to run stronger and faster. My husband has been trying this method lately but I’m not too sure if he’s liking it.

Finding Ultra {Rich Roll}. From a sedentary lifestyle to running ultramarathons after turning 40. This is a book I’d like to read and feel like it would be pretty motivating.

Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner {Dean Karnazes} is more a autobiography about how he got into ultra running after taking time off after finishing school. Honestly, I don’t know how people can run these distances. Again this a book I’d love to read. There adventures, their struggles {I’m sure there are lots}, there drive!

Vegan Focus

Eat & Run {Scott Jurek}  is about a vegan athlete; balancing life and changing over to a vegan/ultra lifestyle. Eat & Run is one of Saï’s favourites because it’s plant based which my husband follows and Ultramarathon Man because he can relate to the “before” and part of the “after” story.

Not Shown

Born to Run {Christopher McDougall} This is one of my husband favourite books but I couldn’t find it when I took the photos. Funny though, he keeps telling me I should read this one!

Happy Reading!

What’s your favourite running related book?

Have you read any of these or have any peaked your interest?

What’s one book missing from this list you’d recommend? 

Note: This post was written out of my own interest for Piper’s Run blog. It is not sponsored nor was I asked to promote these books. I have written reviews for some of these books in the past but this post was not required. All opinions are my own.

My Magical Adventure {Book Review}

Not too long ago I received this fantastic book from Crayon CrunchIt’s a story about your own child with a special message written inside!

The best part about it, is that you get to design what the character will look like based on your child’s look: colour of hair and eyes, glasses or freckles and even the clothing they are wearing! It’s a lot of fun to create.

As mentioned, I was contacted by Crayon Crunch and was provided a book for one of my daughters. Since Lilly is getting into reading more I chose to design the book around her. She’ll be getting it for Christmas.

Crayon Crunch 2

The cover of the book looks kind of basic but when you open it up there are so many colours and things to see on every page.

Crayon Crunch Pipers Run

This magical adventure takes your child on an adventure and finishes with a special note from you. This message could be anything you wanted it to be but they do provide an example for you to work from.

It’s a sweet message {I’m not going to give it away} and one that I hope Lilly continues to live throughout her life. I really like the book as it’s creative and fun. I would recommend looking into getting one for your child, your grandchild or other family member as a special gift.

I can’t wait to read it to her!

Ever have a book personalized for you?

What’s your favourite children’s book?

Please note: I was provided a book by Crayon Crunch and all opinions are my own. 


Things I am loving at 23 weeks pregnant

I’ve been pretty bummed out about not running the last few weeks but have so many other things that I am loving at 23 weeks pregnant:

  • Cold fruit – specifically watermelon, red grapes and oranges
  • Belly kicks, punches, rolls and hiccups – this baby is getting active 🙂
  • Ice cold water – can’t get enough
  • Lilly’s trying lots of new food: pesto, pad thai, broccoli trees, snow trees (cauliflower)
  • Cool temperatures in the morning (not so much later in the day/evening, humidity is terrible when you’re pregnant)
  • Evening walks by myself
  • Potty Training (I haven’t washed cloth diapers in over 2 weeks)
  • Lilly loves the potty AND big toilet
  • Raisin Bran and skim milk – seriously, I can’t get enough
  • It’s only taking Lilly 1 hour to go to bed (bath, books, cuddle, crying, cuddle, crying, asleep)
  • Prenatal Yoga at home
  • Fit Pregnancy Magazines (that I bought when pregnant with Lilly)
  • Fit Mom DVD Workout
  • Taking two weeks vacation – glorious idea
  • Farmer’s Markets
  • Started reading a book that is not work, baby or pregnancy related: Where We Belong – Emily Giffin. I even managed to buy it 40% off plus tax free – whoop whoop!
  • Vegan Pesto – might be addicted
  • Slight Olympic hangover but looking forward to watching the Paralympics August 29th

What’s your favourite summer work out?

Any big changes for your kids this summer?

For those preggo’s out there:

What are you loving right now?

What foods are you craving? Or what did you crave when pregnant?


Fitness Pregnancy Resources (I use)

[Please note, I am not a medical professional or certified fitness trainer. I am simple sharing the resources I have used during my second pregnancy. Please consult your doctor or a certified fitness trainer for fitness advice]

Before I got pregnant with our second baby, I was pretty focused on running and working out at home. My husband was away at school and I was a single parent who worked full-time. I made time to workout, it was one of the first things I scheduled each week. You can read more about it here: the need to run, goal setting, and how exercise kept me from loosing it. Even though there where some days that I hated working out – I still did it because I valued the health benefits I got from working out.

So, when I got pregnant, I simply thought I could keep this up! Ha, who was I kidding? At 6 weeks pregnant, I became extremely nauseous. Now, I’m not talking “I don’t feel well” …. I’m talking nauseous from 9 in the morning until about 8 at night. I couldn’t eat, couldn’t workout and barely managed to function at work (without them knowing I was expecting again). I slept. I slept A LOT! When my husband was home I could fall asleep at 5:30pm and stay in bed (with a few washroom breaks) until 6:30 am! Trying to focus on working out was basically impossible.

I ran, when I could. I walked even more, and my favourite Jillian Michael’s DVD’s seem to become a thing of the past (and something to focus on – in the future).

Then, I started to get more focused on pregnancy fitness and came across some great resources that I want to share with my readers.


1. How to Exercise When You’re Expecting: for the 9 months of Pregnancy and the 5 months it takes to get your best body back. By Lindsay Brin. ($20 roughly).

I found this on the NYC Running Mama’s Blog, on her recent post here. Great resources, food recipes, goal setting, workouts for each trimester and after baby. US info.

2. Today’s Parent – Healthy Pregnancy Magazine ($9.95 Can)

I bought mine from a magazine store. Month by month resources, workouts with pictures. Canadian info.

3. What to Expect When You’re Expecting (though I am rarely reading it for this pregnancy)

4. The Mother of all Pregnancy Books (All Canadian Guide). Nice to have Canadian data and info. I got if from the library.


FitMom DVD. I bought this at Walmart, when I was pregnant with Lilly and believe it was around $10. Great workout, get’s your heart rate up, lots of squats, small weights, a little stretching/yoga poses. A great workout during any stage of your pregnancy – they provide modified moves also.

Prenatal Yoga – I have no recommendations here, as I have only attended classes. However, I am debating on purchasing Jennifer Wolfe’s Prenatal Vinyasa Yoga DVD.

Don’t forget about the For Two Fitness coupon code for Piper’s Run readers – learn more here – good until July 31st.


Blogggers who have blog about being pregnant and active that I follow:

* note: some are currently expecting, some have little one’s running around

The Happy Runner

The Hungry Runner Girl

The Wannabe Athlete

NYC Running Mama

Bouffe E Bambini

The Fitnessista

Sistas Of Strength

Fit Pregnancy & Parenting

At 20 weeks pregnant, I am still nauseous but am managing more workouts and help me get that “buzz” back. Running has been put on the back burner (which is rather depressing to think about) but I haven’t ruled it out. I’d just rather not have any pelvic pain after I run and not sure that’s going to happen until I have this baby.

Benefits of being active during pregnancy:

  • Gives you more energy
  • Helps prepare you for birth
  • Reduces pregnancy discomfort
  • Fend off pregnancy blues
  • Help you sleep better
  • Reduces stress
  • Improves your self image
  • Helps your body get back faster postnatal

Source: BabyCentre Canada

Don’t forget to eat and hydrate well before and after you work out.

For those of you who are pregnant, I hope these resources are of benefit to you.

For those of you who are planning a family (now or in a few years) – get active before you get pregnant,  do your research,  and don’t forget to talk to your doctor about being active during pregnancy.

For everyone else – go get active – it will look good on you.


Note: I was not paid by any of the resources I have written about, these opinions are simply my own. Again, I am not a medical professional or certified fitness trainer. I am simple sharing the resources I have used during my second pregnancy. Please consult your doctor or a certified fitness trainer for fitness advice.

Exercise Can Keep You From Losing Your Mind

There you have it: “Exercise Can Keep You From Losing Your Mind”. I cannot take credit for this title or topic that I am going to jump into. I saw this quote in a presentation today but failed to copy the reference in time. At least I got the quote right 🙂

I sure know that when I am active (running, skiing) I always feel good after my workout. I’ve mentioned in a previous post that “some days I hate working out“. It’s true and it’s okay to feel that way. But after I workout, whether it’s immediate or a few hours later I ALWAYS feel great and that keeps me from loosing my mind.

Lately while being a single parent I feel like I’ve lost my mind……..or was that patience numerous times ? It’s a good thing I work out!

I’ve been managing our active 18 month old who doesn’t sleep through the night (except on January 3rd), our retired sled dog who should be walked twice a day, the house and yard (think bagging leaves and shoveling the driveway) and a full-time job since my husband went back to school in September 2011.  When he decided to go back to school I really couldn’t say no, be selfish and that I wanted him to stay home with us. That’s just not who I am. Really, would it hurt me to be a single mom for 10 months while he got an educationNo, it would not. But I have lost my mind and patience a few times over the last 4-5 months. Good thing it always comes back!

Today I attended a seminar at a local private school about this book called “SPARK”. Let me tell you that I left their feeling pretty inspired about physical activity and what it can do for your body. I may just write the work “SPARK” on a sticky note and place it throughout my house so I can be reminded to workout and remember the effects of physical activity on my body and brain.


“SPARK is a groundbreaking exploration of the connection between exercise and the brain’s performance that shows how even moderate exercise will supercharge mental circuits to beat stress, sharpen thinking, enhance memory, and much more”.


“Exercise can keep you from losing your mind” (Reference Unknown) and get your brain working. Seriously, check out Dr. John Ratey’s website – click on BRAIN GAINS in the left hand corner. It’s a 14:52 minute video about a school in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. It’s worth the time.

But to sum the video up, a school goes through a change. That change is 20 minutes of exercise on a treadmill at the start of the day and beginning of math class. Three hours later the students have completed their school work without disruptions, swearing and able to focus that entire time.

Dr. Ratey says that exercise promotes growing new brain cells enables people to be sharper, less impulsive, helps their ability to sort through information and effects their behaviour. Exercise “turns your brain on”. (His words not mine).

Exercise. Turns. Your. Brain. On.  I’ve never really thought about that before but it makes sense. After I work out, I feel energized and some days ready to conquer the world…well at least, my world.  Looks like I’m hooked on this topic which doesn’t surprise me, as promoting physical activity is my 9-5 job! I gotta get my hands on this book and start reading.

Today, Dr. Ratey also talk about PLAY. And that our children, youth and YES adults don’t PLAY anymore. This is not new to me and it shouldn’t be new to you either. With the advances in technology …iPad, Cell Phones, Gaming Systems and Computers (yes I am currently on mine) we have forgotten how to play. Nature deficit is a whole other topic that I will blog about some day but for now it’s PLAY and EXERCISE. Remember 4 square, hop scotch, all those skipping games,  capture the flag – these are just NOT happening as much these days because of our increase in screen time.

The effects of exercise for mental health patients is really interesting work, however not an area that I am greatly familiar with…yet. Dr. Ratey did mentioned a few research studies that said those who participated in exercise long term versus taking medication saw less reoccurrence of depression! Again, I’m not an expert but just sharing what I learned today.

Last but not least, he shared a story about a Polar Bear and a group of Husky’s in Canada’s Hudson Bay. The polar bear had not eaten in 4 months and came across this group of husky’s. The owner/photographer captured what he thought was going to be an attack on his team, however that’s not what took place. Check out the link above to see the 4-6 photo slide show – AMAZING!

This is our husky Maclean when we first got her in March of 2008. She was a sled dog with Outward Bound in Ontario where my husband was a staff member. She was retired at the age of 6 because of over heating on the trail runs; she has a thicker coat the other husky’s. She is now 9 1/2 and loves helping us EXERCISE and PLAY!

What keeps you from loosing your mind?

When was the last time you went outside to PLAY?



Other pictures found on Google, book image on Dr. John Ratey’s website.