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Email TinaFab at: tina_garstad@hotmail.com

Monday, 14 April 2014

Ragnar Part 1 - My Team: Too Fabulous for Words!

Part 1  |  Part 2   |  Part 3   |  Part 4


I am still writing my blog posts ... for now I give you this! 




Thank You to my amazing team mates: 
Lisa, Krystal, Virginia, Valerie, Shannon, Helen, Amy, Theresa, Kathy, Jessy and Casey

And the HUGEST SHOUT OUT EVER to our FAB drivers Julie and Lauren! 



Thanks to my FAB teammate Jessy for doing this vid! 
If you don't wanna read all my posts about Ragnar
this'll show you the sheer awesomeness that was  ♥ Team Tough Chik   
#ttcsocalragnar14


Sunday, 13 April 2014

Fav Races: So hard to Choose!

This post ORIGINALLY appeared over on Alyssa's blog on March 25th as part of a I'm FitPossible Ambassadors blog exchange. I liked the post so much I decided to re-post over here! Enjoy! (ps - this was written BEFORE Ragnar...so it isn't on this list...but no fear...lots more about that fab race and week coming soon!)

When I first "talked" (via email) to Alyssa  she asked me a few questions about me. Where was I from? Calgary, Alberta, Canada! What's my fav activity? Running! What are your favourite races? YIKES! Oh my...I had never given it much thought! Hmm. That question got me thinking. How do you pick? The more I thought, the harder it seemed to decide. I knew right away which ones I hated and never wanted to do again (bad organization, race length was really off, lack of aid stations) But, after some careful thought I finally came up with my FAB list of Fav Races!  
(And in no particular order...you can't make me RANK them, too!)

Rocky Mountain Soap Company Women's Run (Canmore, Alberta) - I have run this race since 2011, the year I lost 40 pounds.
The first year I did 12k in 1.5 hrs, then the next year I did the same distance 15 minutes faster!

In 2013 I had an amazing weekend at this run where I ran a halfmarathon on Saturday and followed it up with a 10km on the Sunday. Both were strong races and showcased where I proved to myself I really can push further and be stronger.

I love running out in the mountains, it must be something about the air here. I always feel great and the view is spectacular. This race has the BEST swag. Over $50 worth of product, an awesome buff (multifunctional headwear) and giftcards for the RMSC store!
At the finish line runners are treated with scented clothes to refresh and wipedown, along with a fantastic healthy lunch. This year, I will run 10km on Saturday and 10km on Sunday in preparation for my marathon the next weekend! I look forward to another great weekend in the mountains.


Calgary Marathon (Calgary, Alberta) - I have run this race since 2008 in all distances (5k, 10k, halfmara and marathon). In 2012, I ran my first marathon. In my hometown! What an experience. This race is special for that reason. I never EVER thought I could do this.


But in 2012 after running a few halfmarathons, I nervously made the decision to train for a marathon. It was a hard few months training, but I learned after every run where I went past 21k, 25k, 30k, 38k...that I realized I could actually do this!! And on race day when I finished 42.2 kilometres, I burst into tears! I have never ever forgot that feeling. And, I still get goosebumps when I think of that special feeling that was so overwhelming.

This year, Calgary Marathon turns 50 (Canada's oldest marathon!) and I am once again running the marathon. The bling will be awesome. There will also be a celebratory beer garden! Here's hoping I can best my time of 5:11! 

Banff Ekiden Marathon Relay (Banff, Alberta) - This was not my first relay, but this was the most fun I have EVER had at a race! This is a marathon divvied up into 5 legs. I ran this race with my blogger pals Michelle, Leana and Cori.

We were the #littlebloggybluebirds and we had a hoot. We all ran some of our best times all on hills and mountain terrain. And, I think that was partly due to the fact that we were there to have fun, and not concern ourselves with pace.

As soon as we left those stresses behind, we had awesome runs, one after another! We lost our voices cheering, and had a wicked time laughing, taking silly pictures and getting to know each other better. These women are rockstars and I love them all dearly.
The gals each ran 1 leg, and I ran the two short legs.
All legs added up to a marathon! It stands as our fastest marathon too (lol). We learned to roll with the punches, too, as the presence of a bear on the route resulted in the race doing last minute changes to the route.

Run to the Pub (Bozeman, Montana) - Last March I took a road trip with an old friend and we drove 8 hours to Montana (my first American race!) for a wicked Saint Patrick's Day Race.


The trip was fun, the weather fantastic (we wore shorts in MARCH hurrah). The race itself was very well organized and the volunteers rocked. The view running from outside the city down into main street into a street party with beer was fantastic. It was mostly a downhill course, and felt fantastic the entire time.

As we passed houses coming into town, people were sitting outside on lawn chairs cheering us runners on. This was such a great atmosphere. We got great shirts, pint glasses in a sweet swagbag. The town was welcoming, and probably one of the best trips I ever took to a race. I would recommend this race to anyone, and totally want to do it again! 

And my last favourite race? Well, this isn't a race I ran. It was a race I volunteered at -- the WOW Superhero 10km Run last October.
My friend Cori and I decided to not run and volunteer: BEST decisions ever. Cori and I were at the 10km turnaround point. We planned our superhero outfits, and brought clappers, pompoms and our fabulous cheer.
We had a blast cheering on runners and despite the weather (a very early snowstorm). It was an amazing experience high-5ing runners and went hoarse cheering on all the superheroes running. We even cheered on runners on the pathways that weren't in the race. I have never has so much fun! I think EVERYONE needs to volunteer at a race. you will love it and feel fabulous. 


I think that from my FAB race picks (and pics), they have something in common. I look for a fun and fabulous experience every time I go out to race. Even if it a 'serious' race. If it isn't fun, why bother? Life should be all about having fun and making some fabulous memories. When picking a race to do, have fun no matter what. Everything else will fall into place! 

What are your fav races? 

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Ragnar SoCal - Countdown!

So the LAST time I was in California was in 1980. 
I may not be goin to Disneyland...but close...Ima gunna runna RAGNAR!!


In one week I shall be in some sun and sand and no talk of winter! 
I gotta say I am so hotdamn excited to be jetting off. It has been a harsh winter and the training conditions have sucked big time. We (at least in Canada) are all all feeling it! Especially with the last week of cold, now, now, and, more snow. bah. I haven't been getting in as much speed work in or as many hills as I would like due to icy conditions. But a week in the California sun is what the Doctor ordered. 

It's not my first relay. But it is my first Ragnar. And I have no idea what I am in for. 
I expect some fun. 
Some Sun. But no sunburn. 
Some sweat. 
Some serious hard work. I do have 3 Legs to run! 
Some cheering and meeting some really fab women!
Oh and some goofy pictures. 
And Sand. Did I say sand? In my toes (after a run not during!). 
On beaches. Where there is sun. And ocean. 
oooh...a huge drop in elevation!
SCORE!!!  


Oh yeh...I am excited! I wonder if I am more excited about the weather than anything else...
We are running from Huntington Beach to San Diego! Voila...Lookit all the ocean views!!! weee. 
There are 12 runners. And I am lucky enough to be RUNNER 12 on my toughie team! So that means I run leg 12, 24, and 36. I will run 17miles in about 24 hours. NICE! 
Leg 12
Leg 24
And what is super awesome is that I am the last runner...I bring in my team (on a BEACH!!!!!!). They will join me to the finish! 
Leg 36
Look at that elevation. Oh wait there is NO elevation! HA! 
I am gonna be so pumped to run in this climate and near the water. 

Can't wait to get there! And run! And just love love the moment. 
For the first time in months I won't be lacing up my shoes while telling myself:
"Just do it...put in the miles...you can do it..it's not THAT cold".

I am thinking some sun and sand and beach views while running are going to do wonders for my motivation! oooh And after Ragnar I can still get two more training runs in. Sweet! 

Now I have to go figure out what to pack! 

6 MORE SLEEPS!!!! 
'bye stupid spring. I wont miss you! 






Monday, 24 March 2014

Guest Blogger: Food Prep Tips

Today I have a guest blogger! Some of us I'm FitPossible Ambassadors decided to have a blog swap! I have a post on my fav races over on Alyssa's fab blog (go check it out and tell her I say howdy) and she is here on mine talking food! 

A little about #imfitpossible: We are a group of fitness and wellness enthusiasts (not to mention sassy) who are all active on social media. And as our fearless leader Tara describes us... 


"We are social media rock stars. We are basically the Bon Jovi’s of social media. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Flickr, Tumblr, Instagram and YouTube. You name it, we rock it."
  --------------------------------------------
Come check out #imfitpossible on twitterfacebook and instagram
  --------------------------------------------
And now over to Alyssa: 
I have struggled with what to write for the I’m Fit Possible Blog Swap with Tina until she suggested writing about food prepping. She originally asked for tips for her own personal use and it didn’t even hit me that it was a good topic for all of you too!


So I’ll be giving tips on how to food prep like a champ. Holding a full time job and being a full time student in a graduate program makes it tough for me to constantly eat healthy, but I get it done. That is an amazing accomplishment since I work around food all day long!

My Tips on Food Prepping
  1. Find what works for you. Food prep can be so easy if it’s done right. A lot of people use the weekends. However, if you’re like me and you have to work every other weekend, it isn’t always doable. If I have the weekend off, I’ll prep on Sundays. It usually takes a few hours so I make sure I have time to do it. If I don’t have the weekend off then I do a mini prep. I’ll make things I can eat for a couple days until I prep again and that I won’t get tired of it. I also plan it out with my workouts so that I don’t slack on those.
  2. Make a plan. As I said above, you need to plan. Make a list of everything you want to make and have it in your refrigerator or pantry so you have easy access. Nothing like forgetting an item at the store to ruin your prep!
  3. Don’t make boring food. I know this sounds like a stupid tip, but trust me. If the food sounds boring then you won’t eat it. I love using plenty of spices
  4. Invest in Tupperware! I have plenty. I actually get a little excited over Tupperware. Weird? Maybe…
  5.  Work Ahead. If you have something in the oven, start working on your next food item. I like to throw spaghetti squash in the oven with my baked oatmeal and have turkey burgers cooking on the George Foreman grill all at once.
  6. You don’t have to prep everything. It’s okay to cook breakfast or for one meal a day. Food prep just makes life a little easier. I know a lot of people who like to make certain things then freeze them. I don’t mind cold food so I have no problems making it and eating it right out of the refrigerator.
  7. Snack-Time. Work does not allow me to take mini breaks to eat food all through the day. I like to bring protein shakes and Quest bars. I use a good quality protein shake added to milk for a little extra nutrition and to keep my blood sugar stable.
I hope these tips have helped. As a bonus, I’ll throw in my baked oatmeal recipe. So yummy! This makes one serving.


What you need:
-1/2 cup rolled oats
-Cinnamon
-1/2 cup nonfat milk
-1/2 egg white
-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
-Blueberries
-Raspberries

Spray oven-safe ramekin with olive oil and pour as many blueberries in as you want. Combine oats and cinnamon in a bowl and pour over the blueberries. Then combine milk, egg white and vanilla extract in a separate bowl and pour over the dry mixture. Add raspberries on top. Bake for 25-30 minutes on 375 degrees.

Enjoy!

Link up with Alyssa:

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Be Happy

In the past month I have really noticed a trend in blogs (and even in some conversations with fellow runners). It's been on discussion boards. It's even come from my lips.

What am I on about?

Self Deprecation. Negative talk.

Why do so many runners talk negatively about their run? I have heard so many runners say, "I just ran X kilometres in X minutes. I know its slow, but..." I know I have said it. 

Maybe all the negative self-talk is getting to me. I was actually starting to think of packing in my marathon training cause "I was just so slow". What if I don't make my goal time? Maybe I should just do the half. BAH!  NOPE. NOT. GONNA. HAPPEN. 
It's time to start using different words to describe a run. It's time to stop running down a race, finish time and pace. It's time to CELEBRATE the run. Slow or fast. Every. Run. Counts.  (Thanks to Crystal, Sue, and Cori, and Michelle for the nudge on this!)
Positivity when describing a run makes a huge difference. Self defeating talk (in an 7 minute miler is just as irritating as someone who is an 11 minute miler). If I am being VERY honest. I will say I find it hard to give encouragement to someone who just ran a 4 hour marathon or a 2 hour half and then says, "That sucked"; "I am so slow"; "That was a bad result."

Eliminating the "BUT" makes a difference in how one feels about a run. It does not mean you are complacent about a result. You can always use a run as a springboard to move forward.

I love to cheer fellow runner on. But, I am beginning to think that people are often disappointed in their result no matter what it is. I have read a lot of race reports, facebook and twitter posts  that voice disappointment in a run or race. Heck, even if it is a new personal record, the person is STILL not happy. I really find this disheartening. Stop saying a run sucked when you finished it. Find the good, the positive. Use every run as a builder. Move on. Stop the self defeating talk.
The running community is about your presence, not your pace. We're all getting out there and working hard every day to be the best we can be. I think that being supportive also means helping us stop the defeating talk.  

Why can't we just be excited about and confident in our accomplishments? Don't get me wrong, I've done it too, but I've seen it so much lately, it's started getting to me. We are all awesome. So keep rocking it!

#runhappy
#justdoit
#findyourstrong
#mezamashii
#brilliantrun
#whatifeverybodyran
#myjourney
#soundbodysoundmind
#makeithappen

Have I missed one?? 




Friday, 21 March 2014

a little Race-cation!

This year I joined a team. Team Tough Chik.
If you have never heard of it, Tough Chik is a very cool performance and casual apparel line for women. I was drawn to its sassy and encouraging attitude the past couple years. So this year when applications opened, I applied.

Team Tough Chik is an online team of  about 280 women (5 countries and 42 states)! I am one of 3 Alberta reps (2 gals from Edmonton and ME from Calgary) on the team. I figured this would sorta be it. We would cheer each other on via our private FaceBook group. And, I would probably not meet any of these toughies. Not this year anyway...so I thought.


I was wrong. 

YEHAW. Yup. I have a wee announcement: I am OFF to a race!

In two weeks I will be meeting about 14 or so of my toughie teammates!!! Woohoo! This toughie is heading south!

After a VERY long winter that is seemingly never going to end, I am headed to California. Squee! I am joining team Tough Chik for Ragnar SoCal! Yes, a RAGNAR!

What??? hold on. WHAT the heck is this Ragnar Relay?

Ragnar is an overnight relay race where teams of 12 run 200 miles. Each runner (in a designated order) does 3 legs of the race.

And here is how Ragnar defines it:
"You and 11 of your craziest friends pile into two vans and tag team running 200(ish) miles, day and night, relay-style. Only one runner hits the road at a time. Each participant runs three times, with each leg ranging between 3-8 miles and varying in difficulty."

Plus I like the fact that this race series is named after Ragnar Lodbrok, legendary Norse ruler and hero from the Viking Age. Now, I do not know if that Ragnar is named after this Ragnar...but I like to think so...

What??? Yup. I really am running a ragnar. Been wanting to for ages. And timing (and money) never worked out. Then I saw an opportunity. And passed. And then a few weeks later...I passed again. And then, a few weeks ago, I saw a call-out asking for someone to join the toughie team. And, really, the third time that it came up I thought....HELLS YEH! I booked a flight on airmile points! I am staying with someone I have never met! And, quite frankly, I am stoked to go run with 11 women I have never met. But  I have to say that several have already contacted me and I feel so welcome, especially since I was a last minute add in. And stoked. Did I say I was stoked?? Running from Huntington Beach to San Diego? Yes I am in!

I just could NOT let this opportunity pass again....
Stay tuned for more deets on my legs and the team! 


Have you ever ...
Run a relay race? 
Did you Love it? 
Run a Ragnar? 
What advice do you have for a Ragnar Virgin? 





Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Saint Patrick's Day Run and FUN

I have said it before. I love the Original Saint Patrick's Day Run! So how did it go?

Getting there...well I take this route regularly. But I missed the turnoff and it added 15 minutes of driving time. *shakes head* But I got there. in the nick! I like a little more time to GET READY, but well, c'et la vie. And as you can see from my outfit...I was ready to get down to business!
I run into Tara on the walk to the race, Then Saskia comes over to say hi! 
So of course a photo is needed....
The funny part is that the local paper was there and took a pic of the 'selfie' to put in the paper!
A moment later we are off to the start line. 
I must have been distracted. I was standing next to Leana and didn't even see her til she said hi. No time to snap a pic because then it was time to go! 

Off we went....

I knew I wouldn't have the best race....shingles really kicked my ass before Christmas. Then the killer flu I had left me 2 full weeks without running. so I have only really be recently getting in proper training. That is ok. It was a beautiful day. I just wanted to run. 

I have been feeling discouraged lately. About my running. About how no one  seems to be happy with a run - even when it is a good race. Nothing is good enough, fast enough. Its hard to read when people say it was a personal best, but it isn't good enough. I do not mean that people should be complacent. But a lot of runners (myself totally included) do not celebrate the wins. We navel gaze at the bad. 

But for this raceI felt determined just to see about sticking to a consistent pace. I didn't do badly on that front. I got the first 5km done in 32 minutes. Not much off a good pace for me. Then I faded a bit. Ice (really narsty ice) on the pathways played a part. So did a lack of strength. The next 20 minutes were slower, a bit of walk an run...weaving through some crappy parts. Then over the last 15 minutes I picked up my pace and dialled it up to speed up by over a minute and a half. o yes. I have it in me. I just need to stick to the schedule and get er done. 

I have to say nearing the en of the race having Karen and her fab daughter cheering their butts off was the BEST boost a gal could have. Super awesome high5s and cheering gave me an extra kick to the end! 

After the run, Tara and I headed into the gym to warm up and check out the festivities and food. Mmmm Vegetarian chili, buns, bananas, water, milk, coffee, and lots more. 
Someone was gonna win all this beer...to bad I didn't know them!! 

This race is full of yum at the finish.
I did win a prize for my outfit. A New Balance run shirt! whoohoo. 
Also a highlight was the fun photo booth there...Thanks to  Neil Zeller for these fun shots! 
And this awesome one too! Thanks Neil

A great after race laugh with Karen, her daughter and Dawn

It was  great race, a wonderful way to start my day and, yes,  yes, most certainly slower pace than  I have been in a long time. But also feeling pretty damn fine and happy with the run. Its going to be an awesome stepping stone. I shall not let complacency win. But I will not beat myself up over not getting a goal time either. I will use this to push further and move father along in my training!! 
There is a lot more fabulous to come this year!! 








Sunday, 9 March 2014

Ready for Saint Patrick's Day Fun?

The past few years I have run the Original Saint Patrick's Day Road Race. I did it when I could barely run 5k in 45 minutes. I did it when I could run 10km in 65 minutes. And, every single time I have had a BLAST!
Last year was the first year since since 2010 I did not run it.
But I AM excited to be running it again this year!

My pal Trev took of his girl/my BFF Tara on her first Saint Patrick's Day Race in 2013!
Notice the crappy weather last year..whenever I run it the weather is GREAT!
(eek let's hope that tradition continues this year)
Now...to figure out what to wear.....

Best costume gets a $100 Gift Certificate to Strides Running Store!

It is a smaller race - capped at 1000 participants. But super friendly and fun. One of my fav run memories is doing this race in 2009 - I was heavier and was struggling a bit with less than half a kilometre to go and this amazing gal who was finishing a quick 10km runs up besides me and slows down momentarily to put her arm around me, to say, "You are doing awesome! Keep up the good work!" THAT is why I love our local running community. And, I definitely have a soft spot for this race to be sure. 
If you aren't doin' anything on Sunday, March 16th, you should sign up! Besides supporting great local race...it is only 5km or 10km. It fits perfectly into a training plan. Short mileage...and you can still tack on a few extra miles the same day!

Don't you wanna run with some fun folks?
Volunteers cheer you on during the race, but there is Irish stew (meat and vegetarian) waiting at the finish line. Actually, for a shorter race, it is prob one of the best for food! The race starts and finishes at Central Memorial High School in SW Calgary. And I love that the post-race celebration (and award ceremony) is inside at the Central Memorial gym. Warmth awaits after the run.

Oh and did I forget??? You can WIN your WEIGHT in Steam Whistle beer! 
One of the most popular features of this race the past several years!

And the shirts we get are pretty awesome too! 
 (the last 4 years of shirts!!)

Come out and run on of the most awesome spring runs in Calgary! 
Plus it doesn't start til 9:00am (an 9:20 for the 5km) so you can sleep in a bit. 

Register online 

See you there! 
What are you wearing to run on Saint Patrick's Day? 


*I was given a complementary race entry this year, but all opinions are my own!

Bondi Band+ Ragnar + Vegas = TinaFABulous

When I read Bondi Band asked for bloggers to apply to run Ragnar Vegas, 
I was so excited. I knew I HAD to apply! 
I wear Bondi Bands a lot, am DYING to run a Ragnar ...
Put them together and

Bondi Band + Ragnar + Vegas = TinaFABulous
Sooooo...Why do I belong in VEGAS with Bondi Band's FAB Ragnar team this year? 
Where do I begin....

Several years ago, I was a VERY different person than I am today. I was heavy, unhappy, looking for change. I decided to try something I hadn't done in 20 years. I signed up for a 5km run. And a run class to get my butt in gear. At first it wasn't easy. But I got out there and kept at it, even if it meant sometimes walking not running.
 And despite that initial trepidation, I built up from 5k to 10k runs. 
One Step. One Day. One Mile. AT A TIME.
I worked my butt off. Literally. I ran every chance I could. 
Then in 2011, I thought I could run a half marathon. Now, I have run 25 halfmaras.
I ran after knowledge, peacefulness, and to chase down that elusive pace. 
I ran on road and trails. I ran in the rain, the sleet, the snow. Day or night. 
Throughout the past few years, I have loved wearing my Bondi Band headgear. I found them at a local race expo and have been hooked ever since! I am training for my 3rd Mara (in June!!! eek) and now that Spring is coming my Bondi's are coming back out for runs!
I think you can see I really am a bit of a crazy fan. I do not have a huge collection of Bondi Bands, well, I have a few. Ok. I have a dozen. *shrugs* Is that a problem? I think not!

So Why Ragnar?
It's basically a road trip, a bit of camping combined with a relay.
I am SO DOWN with that. Three things that I love. In a setting that is beyond fantastic!
I'm not afraid of the mileage - and would love to cheer others on too.
And I would be stoked to take on this killer challenge before our winter sets in.

Combine that with a company I think is FAB, it's a perfect match.
I want in on the camraderie. I want in on the terrain. 
I want in on new running friends. 
I want in on the FABULOUSNESS of it all!
Plus, if I may be so bold, 
I think Bondi Band would benefit from some Tina FABulous!

Today when I run or finish a race I am so grateful that I do NOT look like this 
BUT that I look and feel like this

AND THAT I WHY I WANNA BE A PART OF THIS FAB OPPORTUNITY!
I just love the run!

#pickmepickmepickme #bondiband #tinafab #FabVegas #LoveMeSomeBondiBand
#LifeIsFabWithBondiBand