07 Oct

Run for the Cure 2013


I can’t believe this is already the 8th Run for the Cure that we’ve participated in.

Run for the Cure 2013 (3)
Just a part of this year’s team, icancervive

Our team, icancervive, is a group of our friends and family who come together to have a good time, raise money for breast cancer, and remember my mom, Hiyan Campagna, who passed away from the disease in August of 2006.

Run day is one of my favourite days of the year. I always look forward to it because it covers all the things I love: getting together with family, doing something active, eating (we always go out for breakfast after), and, of course, my late mom.

Run for the Cure 2013 (5)
Matt and I, post-run

Every year is the same.

We wake up early and meet at the Windsor riverfront about an hour before the start of the run.

We don our team t-shirts and buttons and try to keep warm as we wait for the race to begin (except this year when we tried to keep dry, but at least it was warm!) .

My dad and his friends begin their walk, crossing the starting line extra early so they can finish around the same time as the runners even though they still have to wait for all the other walkers on our team to come in before we go for breakfast.

Run for the Cure 2013 (2)

Me with my dad and Silvia, who crossed the finish not long after I did due to their early start.

We watch Sandi, our teammate, on stage with the breast cancer survivors as a living representation of the outcome of all our fundraising efforts.

Run for the Cure 2013 (6)
My sister Vicki, our team survivor & top funraiser Sandi, and I.

We do a really cheesy warm-up that involves more hip rolling than is necessary for a 5K run.

Run for the Cure 2013 (4)
No fetuses were harmed in the making of this photo

And then we take off.

Not long after the starting horn, my cousin Jessica is already blasting through the finish line and winning the race. Her athleticism is an anomaly in our family.

Run for the Cure 2013 (1)
That’s Jess in the middle

Usually we have an even number of runners and walkers but out of this year’s 23 participants only 3 of us ran: Jess, my friend Kyle, and I. I ran in about 25 minutes which wasn’t bad considering I took a few walking breaks but, then again, the course is about 500m short of 5K, which is a pretty significant amount.

After everyone crosses the finish line we head out for breakfast as our after party for more socializing.

Run for the Cure 2013 (7)
Waiting patiently for our breakfast

This year we have raised over $2800 this year and over the 8 years participating in the Run for the Cure we’ve accumulated nearly $25,000 in funds for breast cancer research. Not too shabby, folks.

For more information on where all that money goes, check out the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation website.

Thank you so much to everyone who came out to participate and everyone who donated to the cause. I’m already looking forward to next year’s event!


Past Runs for the Cure:

Run for the Cure 2010

Run for the Cure 2011

Run for the Cure 2012

06 Nov

Hot Chocolate 15K Chicago – Recap

This weekend Matt and I and Tina loaded up and hit the road for Illinois. Tina, my sister Vicki, and I were registered to run the Hot Chocolate 15K in Chicago on Sunday morning.

I was really excited about registering for this race because, hello, chocolate. It didn’t take much convincing to get Vicki and Tina in on it as well. (And for the record I did ask my husband and brother-in-law, and they did not feel chocolate was worth and hour and a half of running. Pffft. Boys.)

I guess 39,999 other people felt the same way so this was one HUGE race.

I had read some pretty terrible reviews of past Hot Chocolate races, but it seemed like a lot of the bad reviews were from 5K participants or people complaining about terrible traffic or runners who were underwhelmed by getting *gasp* only half a banana with their fondue. I figured it was all trivial and registered anyway.

Then on Friday before we left for Illinois I checked out the race’s facebook page only to discover that people were waiting in line for 2 hours to pick up their race packet! Derp. The only other BIG race this big I’ve done is the Disney Marathon and I waited exactly 0min 0sec to pick up my packet so I was not expecting this at all.

But at least I knew in advance, so my jaw didn’t quite drop when I saw this massive line snaking around the soldier field parking lot on Saturday afternoon:

Hot Chocolate 15K Expo Line-upI know. I can’t see the end either.

The wait ended up being only about 45 minutes. At least we were in good spirits.

This wait was the only real “glitch” in the organization. Otherwise, I suppose I could complain that the race was narrow at certain points, but for the most part I thought the run was great.

With the changing of the clocks we got an extra hour of sleep so our 5:50 wake-up call at the hotel didn’t feel extraordinarily early. We threw on our gear and I made sure to get in a bathroom break so I wouldn’t have to worry about runner’s trots and then walked over to Grant Park for the start of the race.

Tina, aka Miss “I-Can-Only-Really-Run-For-10-minutes”, managed to finagle a spot in the D Corral so she started not long after the 7AM shotgun. I was in J, starting at 7:30, and Vicki was in N so she didn’t take off almost 8:00 (a fact that she was none too pleased about). I was a little sad that none of us were in the same corral, but at least we didn’t have to fret over what pace to keep or whether or not we would stick together.

About 100-200m out from the starting line I tripped and went flying to the ground, cutting my finger and scraping up the skin on my leg. Luckily I wasn’t trampled or tripped over, but I was really upset and fighting back tears of frustration.

Battle Scar from the Hot Chocolate 15KBattle Scars

I was feeling great for the first half of the race. The boys caught up to me (literally. My brother-in-law Sean was sprinting beside me after spotting me from a distance and nearly missing a photo op) at mile 3. I was so excited because I had been expecting to see them at mile 1 and was keeping an eye out.

Hot Chocolate 15K ChicagoMile 3, the place to be.

The course had nice views of the skyline and Lake Michigan. I didn’t like that it was narrow in spots, particularly along the lakefront trail, and that there were a few hills but that’s just because I’m a pussy when it comes to running on any incline whatsoever (Essex County is majorly flat.) For the most part, the race was great.

I wasn’t wearing my watch, but based on the mile markers my pace was about 9 min/mi for the first half of the race. I slowed down a bit in mile 5.

Then, naturally, near the end of mile 5 my intestines decided to do backflips and I was in very desperate need of a porta-potty, which I lumbered towards at mile 7.

I probably lost a good 3 minutes of time in the porta-potty but it didn’t help all that much. My stomach was still turning. I tried to keep my pace strong, but I did take a few walking breaks to ease my tummy troubles.

Surprisingly the entire race went by really fast. Before I knew it, I was running past the Field Museum and coming up on the finish line. I nearly missed seeing the boys again at the 9 mile mark but I caught them in the nick of time and called out to them. Apparently they almost missed me too!

Hot Chocolate 15K ChicagoMy Sweaty Self at mile 9. I think I’m fake-running for the picture.

As I saw the clock above the finish, I realized I could probably wrap this thing up in 1:30 which was a vague goal of mine but, given my runner’s trots, one I wasn’t expecting to hit.

I picked up the pace and BAM!

Hot Chocolate 15K Results

Then, I ran straight to find more porta potties.

Later I grabbed my Finisher’s Mug which included a steaming hot cup of cocoa and fondue with apple, marshmallow, a rice krispie square, and pretzels for dipping. Oh yeah, and a whole banana.

Hot Chocolate 15K ChicagoTina, Vicki, and I with our (mostly empty, at this point) finisher’s mugs.

I reconnected with Tina (who finished in 1:22!!) and then Vicki came over not long after, with an impressive 1:37 finish that smashed her 1:40 goal.

Hot Chocolate 15K Chicago

Overall, I really liked the Hot Chocolate 15K.

Hot Chocolate 15K Chicago

Was it worth the $73 to enter? I’d say yes, but only because it was 15K. I don’t think I’d go through the hassle to do it for just the 5K. The course was fun, the hot chocolate and fondue were great, and in spite of my bowel issues I had a great time.

Plus there was this snazzy tech hoodie, which is pretty good quality and I’m pretty sure I’m going to be getting a lot of use out of.

Hot Chocolate 15K Chicago hoodieSuper Exciting Technical Hoodie!

‘Til next year? . . . perhaps.


Hot Chocolate 15K By the Numbers:

Final Time: 1:30:29
Goal Time: 1:30:00
Training Miles Run: 35 (I know, not a lot)
Bathroom Breaks: 1 during the course, countless afterward
Food Eaten on Course: 4 Sport Beans, 1 PowerBar (pre-run)
Cups of Gatorade Consumed: 1
Body Parts in Pain: 2: the leg and finger and cut up when falling

01 Oct

Run for the Cure 2012

Sunday marked my team’s 7th year participating in the annual Run for the Cure which raises money for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

This year our team, icancervive, was put together in memory of my mom, Hiyan Campagna, who passed away from breast cancer in 2006. Together we have raised over $2000 this year and over the 7 years participating in the Run for the Cure we’ve accumulated more than $20,000 in funds for breast cancer research.

The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation has a great website with information on how to reduce your risk of breast cancer. I encourage you all to check it out. (You can also check out some past posts that I’ve done about breast cancer risks, and my previous Run for the Cure recaps here.

Run for the Cure 2012Me representing team icancervive. I loved the shirts this year!

We had one of the warmest mornings I can remember for the Run for the Cure. The sun was shining and despite some weather forecast calling for rain, the sky was completely clear.

Our team was a bit smaller this year than normal due to some family being halfway across the world and others being on the cusp of a firstborn child but we still had a solid 12 people turn out.

Run for the Cure 2012Matt and I in front of the Detroit skyline, pre-race

About half of the team walked, and the rest of us ran. They changed the path slightly so that it was an out and back entirely on the road, which made it great to see our team mates as they passed in the opposite direction. This was extremely helpful this year since the volunteers who were supposed to be cheering us on at the sidelines were totally crap and barely made any noise at all (a far cry from the cheering and noisemakers of prior years). You really do notice when that extra encouragement from spectators isn’t there to give you that much needed energy boost.

Run for the Cure 2012Me, Vicki, and Tina

This isn’t a race, by the way. It’s just a fun run. There are no time chips but I do like to time myself with my watch when I do it. My friend Tina and I ran together and came in at about 26 minutes. Not too shabby considering Tina was battling a side stitch for a good chunk of the run (she’s a trooper, I totally would have been walking if I were her). Her brother Michael killed it in 22 minutes!

After the race we all headed back to my dad’s house for a barbecue and to watch the Lions game. It was good times.

Congrats to everyone that took part and thanks again to everyone who donated and helped us quash our $1500 team fundraising goal by more than $500! Woot Woot!

See you all next year 🙂

Run for the Cure 2012Matt, Kyle, Me, and the Boobies

Past Run for the Cures:

Run for the Cure 2010

Run for the Cure 2011

08 May

Easy Run

Running Shoes

Saturday afternoon between cleaning the bathroom and baking cookies I was looking for something to do so I decided to go for an 3 mile Easy Run.

Easy runs are short runs performed at a long distance pace, so you should feel pretty comfortable when you do them. You can use them to build aerobic fitness and help condition your muscles to be able to handle long distance running. They are also a good way to recover from hard workouts while helping you maintain your weekly mileage.

People (and by people I mean non-runners) can get really annoyed when you throw around the term ‘easy run’, like you’re rubbing it in their face or something– “Look at me, I can run 5 miles and it’s soooo easy!” –which really isn’t the case at all. I never actually find running ‘easy’.

My kind of easy run is about getting outside on a gorgeous day, pumping out endorphins, and feeling good. I’m not looking to struggle or speed or run my PR, I just want to have a good time.

My typical easy run is:
– 10:00/mi or slower (but I’m not sure because I don’t time it)
– 3-5 miles
– outside in good weather

Doing sprint intervals or tough loooooong distance runs makes running feel a bit like a chore at times, and I find that an easy run is a good reminder of why I enjoy running in the first place.

So back to my run on Saturday. . .

I was a bit tired that afternoon and I had no excuse to be. All I did in the morning was go see the awesome private screening of my friend’s first feature movie called Riot (I was in it for 2 seconds! I’m famous! No autographs, please.)

I headed out for the run anyway and even though I was keeping the pace slow I was sluggish in my first 1/4 mile or so. I couldn’t get into the groove and my easy run pace meant I would have to endure the distance for even longer than normal.

I wasn’t feeling good. I wasn’t high on endorphins. I was struggling and it wasn’t fun. I wanted it to be over with.

So I completely abandoned the easy run ideal, since it wasn’t feeling very easy anyway, and picked up the pace. I finished a 5K loop in 25 minutes which has been my typical speed lately for this distance, but is about 5minutes faster than I had intended.

Some days you just have to motor through it I guess.

28 Mar

Gallo Pinto

So after a week off running my legs are feeling alright and my stamina is through the roof. Today I killed 3.1 miles (5K) in 24 minutes and then I even kept running for another 2 miles to round out 5 miles in just under 42 minutes. It’s been a while since I’ve had such a speedy run!

And speaking of running, here’s an interesting article on mammals and the “Runner’s High”.

Now onto the food:

I’m in love with beans & rice.

I told Matt this weekend that as long as I have beans and rice in the pantry and a bunch of cilantro in the fridge then I don’t need to bother with groceries. He begged to differ and went grocery shopping anyway, coming home with things like meat and eggs. Pssht, who needs ‘em? (Okay so I actually requested these ingredients, but, ya know, I don’t need them per se)

I’m trying to get you excited about beans and rice here, but I don’t think it’s working. No one seems to like them as much as I do. I may very well be the only person who clears her side dish of beans&rice at Mexicantown and then eyes everyone else’s untouched side with jealousy and maybe a bit of empathy for the dish itself.

I really could live off of beans and rice for the rest of my life. The variations are endless. Endless!! But right now gallo pinto is my favourite one.

Gallo Pinto

Gallo pinto is yet another variation of the beans & rice combination that you’ll find in virtually every country in the world. It is a Costa Rican dish that is more of a breakfast food than a dinner. I’ll eat it for both and in the same day.

This isn’t true gallo pinto though. True gallo pinto is made with the liquid reserved from cooking the beans. I used red wine instead, making this variation all kinds of awesome. I don’t even want to try making it without red wine now (it’s just too good with it!).

If you’re looking for a traditional gallo pinto recipe, then look away my friend, look away.

Gallo Pinto

Gallo Pinto (Refried Beans and Rice)

Serves 4


2 T olive oil
6 small garlic cloves, minced
1 yellow onion, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 c of cooked rice
2 t cumin
1 can kidney beans
1 c red wine
1 bay leaf
1 T worcestershire sauce
1 t smoked paprika
salt and pepper to taste
Fresh cilantro, chopped
1 lime, optional


Add the oil and garlic to a large deep pan or saucepan and heat it on medium-heat until the garlic starts sizzling. Add the onion and peppers and sautee until the onions are softened.

Add the rice to the onions and fry for 10 minutes, stirring continuously so the rice doesn’t stick to the pan.

Add the cumin, beans, red wine, bay leaf, worcestershire, and paprika. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the wine is absorbed.

Serve topped with fresh chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lime.

25 Oct

A Crumble and Cake

Tonight I felt that I had a lot of energy on my run. Even though the weather was quite nice, I worked out on the treadmill today so that I could do some uphill work (hills are hard to come by in Essex County).

I ran at about 6.5mph to warm up. Then I ran 5 consecutive minutes on a 5% incline. I decreased the speed a bit every minute, but I was really happy that I was able to keep up the incline run for that long.

My pace was between 8:30 and 8:00 minute miles for the rest of the run which was really strong.

I’ve been pretty happy with my speeds on my short and medium distance runs lately. I really think all the interval training that I’m getting from kickboxing is helping a lot.

Oh, and I may or may not have deadlifted 185lbs today(!!!) No big deal, only the best ever. I was able to squeak out 2 reps, and it felt good.

Last night I made this dish:

Root Vegetable Crumble

root vegetable crumble

It’s exactly what it sounds like—a savoury crumble instead of the more common sweet version. I liked it a lot, but think that the recipe needs some tweaking.

Here’s a rundown of what I did, in case you want to run with the idea in your own kitchen:

– I cooked finely chopped onion, garlic, sweet potato, celery root, and bok choy, with a little oil and some rosemary
– I toasted slivered almonds and flax, sesame, and sunflower seeds.
– I mixed the nuts/seeds with whole wheat flour and cold butter to make a crumb. Spread it over the veggies, and baked it in a hot oven.

What I would change:
I think that it came out a little dry and next time I need to add either a vegetable with more water content or add some broth to the root veggies.
Also, I think I skimped a bit on the butter in the crumble. It was a bit too crumbly.

But, anyway it was a good dinner idea and side for Perfect Baked Tofu.

Another thing I made last night was this thing of beauty:

Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake

caramel apple upside down cake

It was for this little lady’s 88th birthday which was today.

Me and Nonna
Me and my Nonna

I’ll share the recipe within the next couple of weeks. I have a few other delicious recipes that I’ve made lately! There’s so much to share.

18 Oct

Running Shoes

Photography Challenge Day 18: Your Shoes


Photo Taken October 10, 2011.

This post is part of the October 30 Day Photography Challenge

I finally committed to buying a new pair of running shoes. It only took me 2 years and 2 months from the purchase of my last pair.

I know that most people who call themselves runners are probably shocked that I could go so long between running shoes and put so many miles on a single pair. To which I say, well, I haven’t been injured yet, so I must be doing something right!

I knew that I needed a new pair when the holes got so large that my baby toe was completely sticking out the side of my shoe. I like to keep all 10 toes under wraps.

I tried getting another pair of Adidas Marathon 10 shoes a while back but they were a bit too wide so I returned them.

After far too much time shopping for the perfect pair of sneakers, I eventually settled on these Saucony Kinvara 2 runners that have very little cushioning and stability support (ironically, much like my old runners in their last days). They felt comfy when I walked around the store, but that really tells you dick all about how they’re going to feel on a run doesn’t it?

I primarily bought them because I was getting sick and tired of shopping around and trying on running shoes. I just wanted to settle down and commit to one pair.

On my first go with them on the treadmill I didn’t love them. I wanted them to make me run faster, or feel like I was floating. They did not. As a matter of fact they actually left my feet feeling a bit numb.

For a fleeting moment I considered returning these shoes too, but instead I forced myself to commit to them like a bride in an arranged marriage. And in the way arranged marriages go I suspect that after many miles spent together, a little wearing in, and a few races, my tolerance of the shoes will eventually lead to love. I’ll let you know how I feel in another 2 years and 2 months.

03 Oct

Run for the Cure 2011


Yesterday I took part in the Run for the Cure which is a fun 5 kilometre run/walk to raise money for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and kick off Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

My family and friends have participated as a team every year since 2006 when we established our team, team icancervive, in honour of my mother, Hiyan Campagna, who passed away from breast cancer that year.

Run for the Cure
My friends at the Run for the Cure

Me, Dad, Sister

Every year we raise thousands of dollars which go toward breast cancer research, awareness programs, early diagnosis, and effective treatments.

As of this writing, our team raised $3,275 this year! And there are still cash donations coming in.

The run isn’t a race so you have to keep your own time. The event is more about getting together with family than beating the clock, so I wasn’t too upset that I forgot my watch. Based on the clock I suspect my time was around 27 minutes.

My sister and I ran together for the first 4K and then I decided to kick into gear in the last kilometre of the race.


Matt and I brought Bagigi to the run because she seemed so excited to come with us this morning. Also, I knew that our friend Eric was bringing his dog Boomer and my sister Vicki was bringing Ruxin.



It was a bit of a mistake because she was way too hyper to be around so many people and I was really busy trying to get things in order for the team (since I’m the team captain).

My friend Teresa offered to walk Bagig’ so I could run and I took them up on that. It was the perfect morning for a run — sunny and about 50*F.


After the run Matt and I hosted the team at our place for beers and sandwiches which was so much fun. I made a pie and 3 different types of sandwich bread yesterday which were all a hit 🙂

It turned out to be such an amazing day with my friends and family. It’s one that I look forward too every year.

26 Sep

High Rep Routine

I’ve started on a new weight training routine that is mostly based on lower resistance and higher repetitions (~10-12).

My goal here is just to change things up a bit since I’m addicted to my heavy lift routines. But I want to make sure that I’m lifting as heavy as possible for all 10 to 12 repetitions. No cheating.

I’m going to give it a go for at least 4 weeks (I already started the upper and full body exercises last week) and I’m going to track my progress. I’m usually pretty good about writing down my lifts, but these last 3 weeks or so I have just been winging it in the weight room.

I think this workout, which is a little more endurance-based, is a good complement to my kickboxing and “marathon training” (you know, for that Disney marathon that I still have yet to sign up for).

Weight Training Routine

– 3 Day Split: Lower Body, Upper Body, Full Body
– Method: 3 sets of 10-12 reps, unless otherwise indicated

Day 1 – Lower Body

Squat Jumps – 2 sets of 15
Back Squats – 5 sets of 5 (okay, I’m sticking with building my squat strength here)
Plie Squats
Leg Press
Lying Leg Curl
Leg Extensions
Standing Calf Raises
Clam Crunches

Day 2 – Upper Body

Push Ups – 2 sets of 16
Dumbbell Lateral Raises
Dumbbell Bench Press
Dumbbell Tricep Extensions
Cable Low Rows
Back Extensions on the ball
Bicycle Crunches

Day 3 – Full Body

One Legged Bridge -  2 sets of 15
Push Press
Bent-Over Barbell Rows
Wide Grip Lat Pulldowns
Good Mornings
Dumbbell Rear Lunges


In running news, I killed an 8.2 miler on Sunday afternoon.

The first mile started off slow and crampy but after that I ended up with a lot of energy throughout the whole run. I had a solid pace going, I maintained it, and I took very few walking breaks.

I think one thing that helped was swinging back around to my house at mile 5 to get a drink of water before heading out for the last 3 miles. I often forget how much being hydrated helps to get me through a run.

I also attribute it to the sugar cookies I ate pre-run.


Just over a 9:30 pace. Which, for me, is pretty decent.

Bagigis helped me fold laundry today:


Good dog.

16 Aug

Winning a 5K at 65 Years Old

I was recently thinking about winning a 5K in my age division. Not running a 5K, mind you, actually winning a 5K. It’s a long term goal (and I mean loooooong)

I think most recreational runners focus on personal bests rather than actually winning a 5K. I’m usually one of those people too. But my goal isn’t to win a race that will come any time soon it’s actually to win my age division of a race when I’m a senior citizen.

I’ve been telling myself: “You’re going to win a 5K when you’re 65”. I’m completely convinced that this is going to happen and that nothing in the next 40 years will prevent it.

There are a few reasons why I want to win a 5K at 65. First of all, I think it will be easier to win my age division if most people my age are playing shuffle board in Boca. I like to set attainable goals where statistics are on my side; I’m practical like that.

Secondly, running a 5K at 65 means that I’ll still be in shape at that age. I see my active lifestyle continuing into the future. I want to be able to bench press my 15 year old grandkids and teach them to run 5Ks too.

Also, and most importantly, old women who are active kick ass. Knowing that I’m going to win a 5K at 65 keeps me hopeful and inspired that I too will kick ass one day. Seriously. I just read this story about a 98 year old who became the first woman to become a 10th-degree black belt in Judo. At 98 years old!

image (source)

Earlier today, I saw a story on TV about the world’s oldest synchronized swim team of 80 to 90 year olds kicking their legs in the air like women a quarter their age.


Right now when I’m at the cusp of my quarter life crisis wondering what direction my life should take and if I’ll ever find fulfillment in the monotony of daily life, it’s refreshing and exciting to think that I could still be so full of life and accomplishment when I’m a senior citizen. It makes me feel like I have all the time in the world to do some amazing things in my life.

Who knows, maybe I shouldn’t set my sights only on winning that 5K. Maybe I can take up some entirely new activity. Actually, now that I think about it, I’m pretty positive I’ll be the oldest performer in Cirque de Soleil sometime in the distant future.