Jan 6

Run Like a Girl: Lacing Up Together {A Challenge}

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It’s time to lace up those running shoes and hit the road. I’m introducing a new section on my blog and issuing a challenge to you! Use hashtag #runwithdara on social media.
Run Like a Girl: Lacing Up Together {A Challenge} | cookincanuck.com #running #exercise #fitness

Everyone deserves to give themselves a gift every now and then. While there’s something to be said for a rockin’ pair of new shoes or a fabulous necklace, there are certain gifts that touch your soul and keep on giving well past their shelf-life.

You see, today is my birthday, and this post…and the introduction of this new section on my blog…are gifts to myself. (And I have a challenge for you…read on.)

(We’re using the hashtag #runwithdara on social media to update each other during the challenge. I’d love to see you join in!)

Running is the thing I do for myself, early in the morning, with my wonderful friend and running partner – before the emails start, before I start working down my to-do list, before I dive into recipe development for the blog, before the pressures of the day steal away any chance of “me” time.

There is something I discovered along the way, after many footfalls, after piles of clothes drenched with sweat and even tears, after enough miles to take me home to Vancouver and back again. It is this:

Running is more than just moving my body from A to B.

It’s community, it’s friendship, it’s self-confidence, it’s mental fortitude, it’s physical strength, it’s pure elation, it’s my sanity…

Running took center stage in 2012 in the most horrifying way, with the bombings at the Boston Marathon. As many of you know, we were there to watch my husband cross the finish line and cheer on the other runners, including my friend Cindy of Kicking It In. I told our story in A Personal Account – The Boston Marathon: Grieving…and Looking Ahead. Since then, I haven’t written about the experience again on my blog. It has taken some time to heal, but I meant what I said in that post. We are looking forward and finding the positives that need to be dug out from beneath the surface of a tragic event.

We will be returning to Boston again in April, to cheer on my husband and all of the other runners who are coming out strong to run the marathon. The running community is strong.

The Boston Marathon: Grieving...and Looking Ahead | cookincanuck.com #running
A Personal Account – The Boston Marathon: Grieving…and Looking Ahead

And with the turn of the new year, I am laying down my own running goals. What do I want to accomplish this year?

That’s where this new section, Run Like a Girl, comes in (you can find it in the dropdown menu under Tidbits in the header above).

And that’s where you come in.

The challenge

I want you to join me. Do you need to run a marathon or even a 10k race to participate? Of course not!

“What if I’ve never run more than a block?” you ask. That’s okay!

If running has never been your thing but you’d like to start, be sure to check out Cindy’s post on my blog, How to: Train for a 5k Run. She breaks down everything you need to know, from choosing shoes to resting your body. Cindy was the coaching brains behind the Red-Faced Runners Challenge that we did with an amazing group of food bloggers.

When I first started running, I couldn’t run for more than 2 minutes without walking or gasping for breath. It’s a process, and each run or run/walk moves you closer to your goal.

I’ve learned a little something over my running years.

There’s no such thing as a bad run.

That doesn’t mean that every run feels great. In fact, sometimes you’ll question why the heck you’re doing it. But each step makes you stronger, both mentally and physically. And those hard days make the easy ones feel so good!

A little over a year ago, I ran my first marathon and then proceeded to fall away from races altogether.

I need a goal again!

My First Marathon: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly | cookincanuck.com #running #marathon
My First Marathon: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

As I work towards a half-marathon in June (I’ll be accompanying my 12-year old son, who has resolved to run his first half-marathon) and my second marathon in the fall, I’ll be writing about my experiences each weekend.

And I would love to hear about your journeys. We can be virtual running partners, if you will.

This is not a place for comparison, only for support. Whether you made it around the block for the first time without stopping, or you are training for your 10th ultra-marathon, we can all support and learn from each other.

And of course, I’ll still be posting several recipes each week to help you fuel your bodies and feed your families.

So, what do you say? Are you in?

Let’s lace up and hit the road!

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{ 64 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Taylor @ FoodFaithFitness January 6, 2014 at 5:50 am

I love this post. I am going to be honest, I hate running. I am all about lifting weights, and I avoid any sort of running-esque thing at all costs.
However, it’s a new year, and this is an inspirational post! Maybe I will just have to re-visit my hatred of running and try something new! :) Great post and challenge Dara!


2 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 6, 2014 at 8:57 am

Thank you, Taylor! I adore lifting weights too and find it a really good balance for running. Believe me, I get the “hate running” thing. I felt the same way for years. It wasn’t until I really put my head down and started doing it really consistently that I started to enjoy it and it got easier. I hope you’ll join in…there’s nothing like virtual running partners to keep you motivated. :)


3 Katrina @ In Katrina's Kitchen January 6, 2014 at 6:27 am

Happy happy birthday!!! I love that you’re doing this! I’m really hoping to get the “yes” from my doctor to start running again soon. I have actually had to grieve not being able to run. I really want to complete another half in May so wish me luck… And good health!

I’m so proud of you and your husband for passing on the running bug to your kids. What a great gift!


4 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 6, 2014 at 8:59 am

Thank you, Katrina! I can only imagine how much you must be missing it. I’m crossing my fingers for you that you get that “a-okay” from the doctor soon. And someday we need to run together in person!


5 Cindy @ Kicking it In January 6, 2014 at 6:57 am

Thanks for making me BAWL on my iPad!

Look at you, birthday girl; a rose in your hand and the world on a string.

You’re on the road again, now, and 2014 is going to be an awesome journey WITHOUT tragedy! Bringing your son into your running world (and helping him build his own) is just something I can’t describe, having done it, myself. And the ‘you’ part, and the community aspect. So much soul food in one place, as you well know.

I’m honored and tickled absolutely pink to be a part your butt-kicking 2014. You enhance everyone you come into contact with and are one of the most genuine people I know. You’re a natural inspiration to everyone around you. You deserve everything your heart desires, birthday girl!

Lead the way, my friend.


6 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 6, 2014 at 9:02 am

Thank you, my friend. You have been such an integral part of my journey, and I’m so happy to have you on my team and, more importantly, to call you my friend. You never cease to amaze me with you accomplishments, your strength and your words of wisdom.


7 Liz @ The Lemon Bowl January 6, 2014 at 7:12 am

Happy Birthday Dara!! This is such an inspiring and motivating post!! I can not wait to get my doctors approval to start exercising again – desperate for those endorphins!!


8 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 6, 2014 at 9:03 am

Thanks so much, Liz! Those post-baby weeks are tough, aren’t they? Let’s hope you get the thumbs-up from the doctor soon.


9 kita January 6, 2014 at 7:26 am

I’d like to tackle a marathon before the year is out. Ran several races last year, but ended up with a torn groin mid season. Now back to the routine and kicking booty!


10 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 6, 2014 at 9:05 am

Ouch, Kita! That sounds painful! I’m glad to hear you’re back on you’re feet and knocking off the miles. What marathon are you thinking of doing?


11 Jess January 6, 2014 at 7:51 am

I was SO excited to see this post!! I had been wondering if you were planning on racing anymore. I can’t wait to hear about your journey, and that is awesome that your son will be joining you for a half! I started running in Feb 2013 with couch to 5k, then completed my first and second halfs in Oct and Dec 2013. I am racing my third half at the end of march and am hoping to break 2:30 (my second half was 2:31:18).


12 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 6, 2014 at 9:11 am

Jess, you are amazing! What a year you had in 2013! I’ll be cheering you on in 2013. I hope you’ll check in on my running posts along the way and leave comments to let everyone know how your training/racing is going.


13 Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar January 6, 2014 at 8:05 am

Such a fun post, and happy birthday by the way! I start training for my 5th marathon in May and a 1/2 in April next week! Excited to see all your posts! xx


14 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 6, 2014 at 9:15 am

Katrina, you are a machine! I had no idea that you had run so many races. What marathon and half-marathon are you training for?


15 Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar January 12, 2014 at 6:11 am

I’m training for the Ottawa Race Weekend Marathon in May and the Scotiabank 1/2 in Montreal in April! Fingers crossed!!


16 Jacky January 6, 2014 at 9:34 am

Well Happy Birthday to You! I applaud you for starting this challenge. I didn’t become a runner until after I turned 50. In the last 2 1/2 years I have gone from couch potato to half marathon instructor. I love helping people reach their goals, and I find it very motivating to myself when they do! I look forward to reading your comments!


17 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 6, 2014 at 10:31 am

Wow, Jacky…that’s wonderful! It must be so satisfying to seeing your runners work hard to reach their goals, and to be a part of the process. I hope you’ll comment on future posts…I’m sure you’d have plenty of words of wisdom to contribute!


18 Brenda January 6, 2014 at 9:35 am

TOTALLY IN!! Just coming out of a stress fracture in my foot and I have run exactly twice since October. But I am ready to go, even if it means hitting the treadmill during these cold snaps. Looking forward to it!!!
And HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! Love the idea. See—-we do get WISER with age! Keep those healthy recipes coming.


19 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 6, 2014 at 10:34 am

LOL. Yes, let’s hope that wisdom keeps coming and that I can slow down the aching body part! I’m sorry that you had to deal with a stress fracture. I’ve been through that too and know how frustrating it can be. Be sure to comment on future running posts and keep me updated on how the running is going!


20 Holly January 6, 2014 at 9:55 am

I am in! Great post and well-timed. I’ve been admiring the runners I’ve seen out in the snow this past weekend instead of getting out there myself! My beginner goal is to run twice a week this month and hope to increase it to three times a week next month.
Happy Birthday! I’ll look forward to seeing what the year ahead holds for you on your blog and I am excited about your new running section too.


21 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 6, 2014 at 10:36 am

Holly, I’m so glad to hear that you’re in! Your goal sounds like a great way to start. We each need to choose what is realistic for our schedules, our bodies and our minds. Slow and steady improvement is so much better than going “full on” at the beginning and risking injury or burn-out. You can do it!


22 Lauren @ Climbing Grier Mountain January 6, 2014 at 10:06 am

Hooray for running! Such an inspiring post, Dara! And you can totally count me in. I hope you have a wonderful birthday too!!


23 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 6, 2014 at 10:38 am

Thank you, Lauren. And “hooray” to you being in for the challenge!


24 Tracey January 6, 2014 at 11:02 am

Happy Birthday!! And thank you for this. It’s perfect timing because I just signed up for a 10km run in April (in B.C.). I’ve run sporadically over the last couple of years and did a 5km last year. I’m getting married in July and thought signing up for the run would be extra motivation to be wedding dress ready!! I’m looking forward to your posts on this subject. Thank you :)


25 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 6, 2014 at 11:51 am

Ah yes, the fit-into-the-wedding-dress motivation…I’ve been there! :) That fantastic that you already have a race on the docket. I’m looking forward to hearing about your training progress.


26 Becky January 6, 2014 at 11:10 am

I love seeing the number of people that are excited about running! I have a half in February and a full in May that I am training for.


27 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 6, 2014 at 11:54 am

I know…it makes me so excited to see so many enthusiastic runners. It motivates me even more! It sounds like you have a full racing year ahead of you. Please leave comments along the way to let me know how your training is going!


28 Liz Cullinane January 6, 2014 at 3:11 pm

Happy Birthday!! Running was always on my bucket list and I am proud to say that there is a big check beside that one. I started running in 2012 and then really took it seriously in 2013. I am so lucky to have found a really great running group, Sole Sisters Victoria. I have logged a few 5 Ks and 10 Ks last year and signed up for my first half next October in Vancouver….very excited and nervous. Love your site and your blogs, the running site is a great idea, really looking forward to reading and the support.


29 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 8, 2014 at 1:00 pm

That’s fantastic, Liz! Finding a running partner or group is such a great way to stay motivated and keep yourself accountable. As for the half-marathon…you can do this. Just take your training one long run at a time and think of the next one as just “one mile longer” than the previous one. Nothing feels as good as reaching a goal that seems unattainable at first glance. I can’t wait to hear about your training along the way!


30 Carolyn January 6, 2014 at 3:15 pm

Great post, Dara! Love that you’re still running, still looking to motivate others. I did 6.5 miles today in the weirdest, foggiest, slipperiest weather!


31 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 8, 2014 at 1:01 pm

Thank you, Carolyn! Those foggy, slippery weather can be tough, but they feel so fabulous in the end. You are always such an inspiration with your running!


32 Sarah @ Will Run for Pasta January 6, 2014 at 4:02 pm

You know I’m totally in! I was so sad that RFR5k kinda died off, it’s so much easier to stick with it when there’s a community of like-minded support!


33 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 8, 2014 at 1:02 pm

I’m so glad you’re in, Sarah. You’re someone that took the RFR5k challenge by the horns and really made things happened for yourself. I’m looking forward to watching your journey to your next race.


34 Tammy J January 6, 2014 at 6:07 pm

Happy ♪ ♫• *¨ *• .¸… ¸ Birthday ♥ ¸¸. •*¨*•♫♪ To You…♪♫• *¨*•.¸¸Happy ♥ .•*¨* • ♫♪ Birthday ♪ to you ♫ •*¨*•. Happy Birthday¸¸ ♥ ¸¸.•* Dear¨*•Dara .. ♫♪ Happy ♥Birthday ♥ to You! ♥Happy ♥ .•*¨* • ♫♪ Birthday ♪ to you ♫ ♥ Happy Birthday!!! Have a great day!!


35 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 8, 2014 at 1:02 pm

Awww…thank you, Tammy!


36 Kelly @ Kelly Bakes January 6, 2014 at 6:48 pm

First and foremost: HAPPY BIRTHDAY! What a wonderful gift to yourself!

I don’t like to make new years resolutions, but I read this great piece on resolutions vs. identity and changing the way you view yourself to make changes in your life – for example, instead of saying “I will run 5 miles a day to lose weight,” or “I will lose 10 lbs this year,” it’s better say, “I am the type of person who makes time to exercise because it’s good for my body.” So, with that in mind, I say it to myself every day and make sure that I find time to get up and move–whether it be hula hooping or old school sit ups, push ups and squats. And, on the same token, I’ve taken a more forgiving attitude towards myself when it comes to being on my treadmill. I don’t have to run 8 miles on the first go because a) I’ve never been a runner and b) it’s a goal to work up to. I see your #rfr5k photos on instagram and knowing that you started off not running more than 2 minutes has definitely helped reaffirm the idea that it’s okay to take it slow and walk more than you run. I’m excited to follow along and share too. Thanks for being such an inspiration, Dara!


37 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 8, 2014 at 1:04 pm

That’s a great way to think about things! And yes, setting smaller, measurable goals for your running is really smart. I’m looking forward to running alongside you virtually, Kelly!


38 Karen Petersen January 6, 2014 at 10:03 pm

I love running. Just got some new shoes today.
My goals for this year are speed. I can run long and slow. I want to run short and fast. My ultimate goal is to run 3 miles in less than 20 minutes. It will be hard, but I’m excited to try!


39 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 8, 2014 at 1:06 pm

There’s nothing like a new pair of running shoes to put a spring in your step! That’s a great goal. I’ve heard people say before, “I’m ONLY running a 5k.” But, honestly, a 5k race can be really tough. It’s finding that balance between picking up the pace and reserving just enough energy to make it to the end. High-five to you, Karen!


40 Maria @ The Good Life January 6, 2014 at 10:12 pm

Hi! I found your blog via Instagram of all places and love this challenge and would love to join you! I love running but after foot surgery I’m finding it hard to motivate myself and this sounds perfect. So excited!


41 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 8, 2014 at 1:07 pm

Maria, I’m so glad that you popped over from Instagram and even more excited that you’re joining in for the challenge. Let’s do this running thing together!


42 Kelli @ The Corner Kitchen January 7, 2014 at 8:25 am

Happy belated birthday, Dara! I love the new addition, I think it’s amazing & so inspiring! Absolutely in! I started running almost 10 years ago and joined a local running group 7 years ago. One of the greatest things about this (which never even crossed my mind way back when) is the sense of community and friendships I’ve made through this sport.


43 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 8, 2014 at 1:08 pm

You’re absolutely right, Kelli. The running community is a group of truly amazing people. I have some of my best chats with friends when we’re out on runs, and the feeling of “togetherness” at races is indescribable. I’m so glad you’re in for the challenge!


44 Christi in MA January 7, 2014 at 8:34 am

I found your blog and this challenge from Sarah’s (WillRunForPasta) instagram.
Adding you to my Feedly and looking forward to making 2014 the year I really finally feel like a runner.


45 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 8, 2014 at 1:09 pm

Christi, I’m so glad that you are joining in on the challenge. If you run, you’re a runner…don’t let anyone every tell you otherwise!


46 Laura @ My Friend's Bakery January 7, 2014 at 10:35 am

Happy Birthday Dara. I’m not a runner but I admire those that can and do run for their health, both mental and physical. Congrats!


47 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 8, 2014 at 1:10 pm

Thank you so much, Laura! Running isn’t for everyone and I love to see others finding their own ways to move their bodies and strive for better health.


48 Jessica @ A Kitchen Addiction January 7, 2014 at 12:42 pm

Happy belated birthday! I love reading about your journey of running. You are so right that running is so much more than getting your self from one point to another! Looking forward to following your training!


49 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 8, 2014 at 1:11 pm

Thanks, Jessica! I’m so grateful to have running as a part of my life. It truly is something that makes me stronger…physically, emotionally and mentally.


50 Niki January 7, 2014 at 2:09 pm

Thank you for your blog post, I will definitely lace up with you :) I have been running since 2004 mainly running 10 km races and sometimes 15 km but this year I will run my first half marathon in October. To be honest I’m really scared but my theme for this year is to embrace being out of my comfort zone, so I will do this!


51 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 8, 2014 at 1:12 pm

Niki, that’s so exciting! I love the half-marathon distance. If you already have all of those 10k and 15k races under your belt, you’re golden. Please check in on these posts and let me know how your training is going.


52 Nikki January 7, 2014 at 2:21 pm

I will lace up with you too! I’ve been running since 2008 after a few yrs of physical therapy from a horrific car accident. I was told my pain would be so great I never would run again, but I do and I am thankful for every step I take no matter how slow it is. Will definitely follow along (from just outside of Vancouver in fact!)


53 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 8, 2014 at 1:14 pm

Nikki, I’m so sorry to hear about your accident. It takes a strong person to push past those doctors’ predictions and get yourself moving…and running…again. Please check in and let me know how your running is going along the way. And yes, I’m a bit envious that you live in the Vancouver area. How I miss it! :)


54 kelley January 7, 2014 at 2:23 pm

Happy belated, dear friend. I can’t (read: won’t) join you on the running but you bet your buns I’ll be riding, biking,hiking, yoga’ing and tennis’ing my way along with you! Love the inspiration! xo


55 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 8, 2014 at 1:14 pm

Kelley, you always inspire me with your tennis-playing, yoga-posing and snowboarding ways. Thank you for your support! xo


56 Amy @Very Culinary January 7, 2014 at 9:30 pm

Okay, so I’m a day late to wish you a blog Happy Birthday, but I didn’t forget on Facebook. Whew! I remember when you were at the Boston marathon last year – we were all so worried. You’re brave and committed to go back.

I’ve been running 4-5 miles a day off and on for a few years, but this past November is when I started to run every single day. I treat it like brushing my teeth now. And I feel awesome afterwards. “I’m really sorry I exercised today” said no one ever!


57 Dara (Cookin' Canuck) January 8, 2014 at 1:15 pm

Thank you so much for your support, Amy! You’re so right…I’ve never once regretted exercising. It’s a fantastic way to start the day. Good for your to log all of those miles. You’re a machine! :)


58 Kirsten @ Comfortably Domestic January 9, 2014 at 11:09 pm

Yay! I must admit that I was kind of bummed when #rfr5k died down because it was such a fun and inspiring group. I’m so excited to join you in the new challenge. After a wicked case of shin splints that would not go away, I’ve got the “all clear” to lace up and start again. I’m frustrated to be “starting over” but I’m looking at it as an opportunity for a clean slate–no comparisons or obsessing over PRs. Just making time to do something for myself. So I’ll start with a 10K in May and take it from there.


59 Trish @infinebalance January 12, 2014 at 5:20 am

Great post. And Great timing. I still call myself a new runner – even though its been about 3 years since I did Couch2 5k, and I ran 2 half marathons last year — my first 2 ever. I still feel like such a newbie.
I haven’t run since the last half in September. I’ve been looking for a way to get started again. I’ve jumped on the treadmill a couple of times since New Years but your right, it’s time to set some goals. And its time for me to write about running again. And since I have a headband that says “Run like a girl” …


60 Teresa January 12, 2014 at 3:00 pm

Hi Dara!
Thanks for the inspiration.
I’ve signed up for the Rock N Roll Half Marathon Seattle in June!
CraZy thing is.
I can’t run a MILE! But I SO want to!
Starting to train this week. Just subscribed so I can be part of this community!
Thanks for the motivation!


61 Theresa January 13, 2014 at 7:41 am

I hate running but I’m committed to running two half marathons this year. One in April – training starts today – and one in September. I do it because it challenges me mentally and physically…I do it because I LOVE races…I do it because it makes me feel healthy, strong and proud. I needed to write these things because I will need to remember them in a couple months when I’m dreading my long runs and questioning why I’m doing this!


62 Debbie January 13, 2014 at 8:02 am

I am so in too !! Since last August I’ve lost 40 pounds & have 20 more to reach my goal. I don’t have the desire to run marathons, but to do a few KM four days a week to get my blood pumping as part of my journey back to health.

I’m starting today … 2 blocks at a time :)


63 Donna January 13, 2014 at 8:35 pm

I’m in. In 2011 I reached my goal weight in spring, did the couch to 5k program and ran a 5k in October of that year. Then things fell apart. I stopped running over that winter, didn’t go back to it and in the following years put on 60 pounds….again. I’ve started with the exercise bike and will start the c25k program again when we start Daylight Savings Time and it is lighter at night. My goal is to run the same 5k this year, eat healthier and lose whatever weight comes off. I’m focusing on moving and being healthy, rather than the number on the scale (but I’m hoping to wear smaller clothes). I miss the endorphin high that you only get from running/jogging. That feeling is sooo addictive.
Thanks for your blog and the focus on healthy foods, it really helps (especially the breakfast ideas).


64 Ty January 15, 2014 at 6:27 am

Hi Dara! This is just what I needed. I’ve just started up the Couch to 5k program again and need all the motivation I can get! I haven’t run since I had tendonitis long before I was pregnant, so it’s been a while. I so miss the feeling you’re describing though! I can’t wait to get it back :).


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