Friday, November 23, 2012

Sponsor Spotlight: Bondi Bands

Bondi Band has donated three (3) headbands to the virtual run giveaway!  There are two running headbands and a more yoga themed headband.  They will be given away to three lucky winners!  Want a chance to win one?  Sign up for the virtual run before it's too late!

Bondi Band - where fashion meets function!  They are comfy, colorful and creative headbands to fit any lifestyle or occasion.

Bondi Band promises they are "no slip, no drip" and that their products are "where fashion meets function".  Their website has this description of the headbands:
Bondi bands are a comfy, colorful and creative way to hold your hair back whether you're riding in a convertible, rushing out the door to get your kids, or getting some exercise.  Bondi Bands are an easy fix for your hair.  Check out our wicking fabric bands; they will absorb and evaporate buckets of sweat.
I have a few Bondi Bans myself, having purchased them in the past for events with friends.  In my experience, the headbands follow through on all these promises (although I can't comment on the "buckets of sweat" because I'm not really a sweaty girl, I definitely have a lot of hair that needs to be controlled).

My immediate impression of the Bondi Band headband was that it was a lot thinner and lighter than I anticipated, and I was worried that it was flimsy.  As soon as I put it on, I knew I was wrong!  The material is thin and light so it feels like you're not wearing anything at all, and it is very comfortable.  At the same time, it is sturdy enough to hold my very thick and curly hair back and it doesn't slide around.  It is surprisingly snug for an almost t-shirt like material.

All in all, the headband is just... comfy.  It's hard to describe it any other way!  My friends and I wanted something that matched when we ran the Toronto Women's 5k together, so we ordered Bondi bands with a tiara print.  My sister and I also wore "big sister" and "little sister" prints when we ran our first race together.  They are an easy, inexpensive option for personalizing your race outfit and matching with friends.

Bondi Bands are available with countless prints and in countless colours.  They are also available in solid colours and various patterns (without a print).  Their prints range from funny (like my turtle) to messages that support different charities.
Tiara bands!

The girls I ran the race with were also very happy with the bands.  When we were ordering them, they were concerned about whether they would fit after having disappointing experiences with so many other headbands.  Everyone commented immediately how well they fit and after the race everyone said they would be ordering more in the future.

We also discovered another handy benefit of the headbands - they are just wide enough to fit down over your ears and they are super soft and warm on cool mornings!  They kept our ears nice and comfy while we waited for our race to start.  One girl also commented that they would be handy for holding your earphones in.

Sister bands.
I love wearing my bands in the fall to keep my ears warm.  The headband is just warm enough without being too hot during cooler fall days.  They also "smush" up very small and fit in my pocket when I am too warm, or I can push it back off my ears without looking silly.

I also like how wide the band is - perfect for frizzy hair days!

You can learn more about Bondi Band at their website.  You can also connect with them on Facebook and Twitter @bondiband!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sponsor Spotlight: Get Fit With Les

Get Fit with Les has donated personal training sessions to the virtual run!  One (1) lucky finisher will win one month of virtual personal training (a $200 value) or one week of in-person virtual training (three sessions, a $225 value).  Don't miss your chance to win this great prize - sign up for the virtual run today!

Les is a certified personal trainer who works in Ottawa.  Whether you are new to exercise or an experienced fitness enthusiast, Les can help you meet your goals!

Les began her personal training career at Good Life Fitness in 2008.  In November 2011, she started her own personal training business in a private studio.  This opportunity has enhanced her commitment to helping people reach their health and fitness goals: losing weight, trimming inches, eating healthier, building muscle, learning to run or train for a race, starting a yoga practice, finding balance in life, gaining confidence, or finding their inner athlete!  Les stresses the importance of a healthy lifestyle which includes: proper nutrition, daily physical activity, a consistent workout routine, getting plenty of sleep and enjoying life to the fullest.

Les is a runner herself, completing the first of many half marathons in 2008.  One of her specialities is training programs for long distance runners.

Changing lives for people of all ages and fitness levels by motivating them to 'get fit', helping them lose weight or  gain muscle, and helping them find their true inner athlete is what Les does best.

Les' certifications include:

  • B.Sc. Kinesiology and B.Ed. Physical Education K-12 (University of Southern Miss '02-'06)
  • CAN FIT PRO Certified Personal Trainer Specialist
  • CPR/First Aid
  • Agatsu KettleBell Certification
  • National Coaching Certificate Program (NCCP) Levels 1 and 2
  • 200 hr. Certified Hatha Yoga Teacher (Rama Lotus '12)
  • 30 hr. Certified Power Yoga Teacher (Rama Lotus '12)

You can find out more about Les on her website, follow her on her blog or Twitter @getfitwithles, or connect with her on Facebook!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Sponsor Spotlight: SPIbelt

SPIBelt has donated one (1) SPIbelt to the virtual run giveaway.  It is a one pocket belt.  Want a chance to win this prize?  Register for the virtual run today!

A SPIBelt is a "small personal item belt".  You can wear it while running or working out to hold your phone, keys, cash or other small items if you do not have pockets.  Another use might be to hold items under your clothes while travelling.  The website also suggests using it for medical needs, perhaps for first aid items or an epi pen.

The SPIbelt will expand to hold any phone, keys, cash, and even a passport.  It is sleek, secure, and does not bounce.  The pocket is small when you are not using it and expands to the right size when you do.  It buckles on and the strap is made of soft, adjustable elastic (it will fit waist sizes from 25" to 50").

My sister and I used double pocket SPIbelts when we ran the Princess Half Marathon in February 2012.  We used them for our phones, our gels and our race bibs (you can purchase race bib holders for only $2.00 - sadly I lost mine since).  You can see the belts in this photo:

The belt didn't bother me while I was running.  I had never run with it before (I know - nothing new on race day...) but didn't have any trouble.  It was easy to access during the run to grab my camera for pictures or gels.  You can see me getting my phone out here:

It was a very convenient and useful product and I have used it since on training runs.  I also discovered it will hold a bottle from my Fuel belt if I leave it unzipped - very handy for when I just want one bottle of water on a short run.  The American has used it as well when he works out - running, sit ups, burpees, etc. - to hold his keys.

You can find out more about SPIbelt, including their other products, on their website.  You can also connect with them on Facebook and Twitter @spibelt.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sponsor Spotlight: Larabar

Larabar has donated this lovely cotton tote and a box of carrot cake bars to the virtual run.  One (1) finisher will receive this great prize!  Don't miss out on your chance - register for the virtual run today!

I have reviewed Larabar in the past and they are delicious!  I have never tried the carrot cake but I am sure it is equally yummy.  How could it not be with an ingredients list like this?  "Dates, almonds, walnuts, raisins, pineapple, unsweetened coconut, carrots, cinnamon, extra virgin coconut oil." (And yes, that's the WHOLE ingredients list!)

In case you're not familiar with Larabar, here's some info from their website:
LÄRABAR is a delicious blend of unsweetened fruits, nuts and spices. Made from whole food, each flavor contains no more than nine ingredients. Pure and simple, just as nature intended.  
There is no sugar added to the core line of LÄRABAR. The claim “No Added Sugar” appears next to the nutrition panel. The exception to this is the chocolate chip flavors (Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Chip Brownie, and Chocolate Chip Cherry Torte), which contain added sugar in the actual chocolate chips.  
LÄRABAR is made by a simple process in which fruit, nuts, and spices are ground and mixed together. They are not baked or cooked. We use simple ingredients, as close to their natural state as possible. 
Each LÄRABAR flavor offers at least a ¼ cup  of fruit. Tropical Fruit Tart, Apple Pie, and Cherry Pie each offer a ½ cup of fruit in each full-size bar.

You can also view their FAQ and their product list.

You can learn more about Larabar on their website.  You can also connect with them on Facebook and Twitter @larabar.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sponsor Spotlight: Tough Chik

Tough Chik has donated one (1) $20 gift card to their online store to the virtual run.  Want a chance to win this prize?  Don't miss out - register for the virtual run today!

Tough Chik is performance clothing designed by women, for women.

In addition to their performance clothing, Tough Chik organizes Team Tough Chik, a group of women from all over the world, from elite athletes to newbies.  I am a proud member of Team Tough Chik.  We encourage each other, support each other and show the world what tough looks like!

I think Tough Chik explains their company best themselves, so I am taking this right from their website:
Tough Chik is not just a clothing line, it is an outlook on life.  All women have a personal story that makes them tough and our goal is to celebrate Tough Chik triumphs in a creative way.  We want to revolutionize women's performance apparel by linking it to something more profound than just pretty designs. 
Tough Chik is also committed to supporting women to not just survive--but to go on and STRIVE.  A portion of all Tough Chik sales will go to the unique and compassionate organization, Project Athena.  Its mission is to help women with breast cancer and other medical or traumatic setbacks fulfill their athletic and adventurous dreams through the Project Athena Foundation. Many Tough Chiks out there are fighting each day and we aim to support them with our respect, a mutual determination to succeed and maybe even a cute t-shirt or two.
Tough Chik sells both performance clothing and casual clothing, from t-shirts and hoodies to arm sleeves and cycling jerseys.  They also just recently introduced the casual, unisex Toughie line.

You can connect with Tough Chik on Facebook and Twitter @tough_chik.  Watch for details on how you can join Team Tough Chik!  The most recent registration window just closed but I am sure there will be more opportunities in the future.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sponsor Spotlight: KT Tape

KT Tape has donated twelve (12) rolls of KT Tape Pro to the giveaway.  Twelve lucky virtual run finishers will receive a roll.  Don't miss out on your chance to try this product - register for the virtual run today!

As frequent readers of this blog and my Twitter account know, I struggled with a posterior shin splint for much of the summer.  It messed up my training and generally made me unhappy and uncomfortable.  One of the things that finally helped me bounce back was KT Tape.

I received a sample of KT Tape in a race kit but was skeptical.  I also didn't have an injury at the time that I needed it for.  I put it aside and forgot about it until my shin splint became almost unbearable.  While searching for relief, I decided to give KT Tape a try.  I checked out their website , which has tons of videos and information on how to use and apply KT Tape.  I experimented and even got help from them via their Twitter account, @kttape , where they will check pictures of your tape job to confirm whether you did it correctly.

I won't pretend to be an expert about how KT Tape works.  I just know that for me it did.  You can read on their website all about how their product helps runners and other athletes.  You might have noticed during the Olympics this year that athletes in many different sports were using a product like this one.

I was very pleased with the results KT Tape provided, and with the quality of the product.  When I apply it correctly (as opposed to in a rush immediately before a run) it will stay on for days at time through showering and running.  I have also recently used KT Tape on the back of my knee as my popliteal muscle has been bothering me and was pleased with the results.  KT Tape has become a permanent fixture in my big bag of running supplies.

In addition to their website and Twitter, KT Tape is also on Facebook.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Tink in Training Virtual Run Update!

Are you still waiting to sign up for the virtual run?  Here's the latest update!

There are currently 22 registered runners from all over the US and Canada!

There are 23 prizes (check out the prize list here) so winning a prize right now is guaranteed (obviously not guaranteed once we go over 23 runners but your chances will still be fairly good)!

Almost every prize is valued at over $15 (which is the cost of the 5k registration)!  Sponsor spotlight posts are going up all this week and so far include detailed posts about Endorphin Warrior, Bia Sport and MyRaceRagz.  Unfortunately the prize from Knucklelights is no longer available (they are just too popular and can't keep up with demand) but will be replaced with a prize or prize pack of a similar value which I will provide.

I will be ordering enough of this adorable bling for everyone who registers once registration closes and I have confirmed numbers. The first 20 registrants will get their bling sooner as it has already been shipped to me.

Registration closes November 23rd - only 11 days left to get in on this great run! Don't miss out - register today!  You will need to complete your run by November 30th and provide proof of time if you win a finisher prize.

Sponsor Spotlight: Bia Sport

BiaSport has donated one (1) tech t-shirt (colour to be determined based on availability) to the giveaway.  Want a chance to win this prize?  Register for the virtual run today!

If you have been online in the running community in the past few months, you have probably heard about the incredible Kickstarter campaign run by BiaSport to fund the development and launch of a new GPS sports watch.  This watch, while mainly targeted at women, is a great new product for any runner or other active person.

There are a few things that make this watch different.  It is smaller.  It is waterproof.  It is designed to you don't have to "wait for satellites" forever before you start running.  And most importantly, it has a "panic button" that can notify loved ones and emergency services that you need assistance and where they can find you.  This last feature is a huge selling point for me as a woman, and makes me talk about this product every chance I get!

I backed BiaSport during their Kickstarter campaign, have been following their updates ever since, tell every female runner I can about it, and cannot wait to receive my watch!

As part of their Kickstarter campaign, BiaSport gave away tech t-shirts as a sponsor incentive.  These shirts were also available on their website for purchase and they have donated one to this giveaway.  Show your support for this amazing new product while staying comfy and stylish on your next run!

You can connect with BiaSport on Twitter @biasport and Facebook to follow the development of this product.  You can also sign up on their website to be on the Bia Watch list to track their progress, pre-order a watch if you did not do so through Kickstarter, and learn about special offers like custom watch bands and voting on colours.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sponsor Spotlight: My Race Ragz

MyRaceRagz has donated one (1) custom running shirt to the virtual run giveaway.  Want a chance to win one of these shirts?  Sign up for the virtual run today!

MyRaceRagz' slogan is "creating memorable running moments one shirt at a time" and that's exactly what they do!  Through this company you can easily design a custom shirt for your next race or training run.

I have often seen people on Twitter looking for a company that will make a custom shirt for a run.  And as runners, we are not just looking for a cotton t-shirt - we want a comfy shirt made from technical fabric that will go the distance, from 5k to a marathon, and wick moisture while also being comfortable.  MyRaceRagz is the answer if you are looking for a shirt like that!

I had never ordered from MyRaceRagz before this.  They generously provided me with a coupon code so I could check out their product.  Knowing the cold weather is coming, I selected a long sleeve technical shirt.  I am not very talented when it comes to graphic design or clever sayings, so I was concerned about what to put on the shirt.  I was happy to find out that MyRaceRagz offers a lot of pre-designed options as well, and even happier to find out that you can customize the colours on the designs.

I went with a simple 13.1 design (I will post a picture when I get home- I'm in the airport right now) which was originally pink.  I customized it to be purple to match Team in Training colours.  It was easy to select my design, place it, and select the colours.  I also played around with the text options, which were also easy to work with.  I could put 13.1 on the front and another design or some text on the back.  In the end, I went with the front design only, but more because of my own lack of creativity than a lack of options or a problem with the website interface.

My shirt arrived quickly considering it was being shipped to Canada.  I put it on right away and was pleased with the quality of the fabric and the cut of the shirt.  It fit very well.  At first I felt the sleeves were a little short, but realized when I headed out to run that they were the perfect length - since they didn't go down to far, my wrists weren't super bulky with fabric and putting my Garmin on was easy compared to my other fall/winter running top options.  I headed out for a run and the shirt was comfortable and kept me warm.

Using the MyRaceRagz website was very easy and I was pleased with the product.  I would definitely recommend them if you need a custom shirt for a race or other athletic event, and will be keeping them in mind myself for future races.

Visit their website to see all the possibilities.  You can find MyRaceRagz on Facebook and on Twitter @myraceragz.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Team in Training Update

I am sending out "newsletters" to everyone I asked for a donation, as a way to update them as well as to remind them about my fundraising if they have not donated yet.  Here's this month's update!

Hello friends and family!

Another month of training and fundraising has passed and I wanted to take the opportunity to update you as to my progress with Team in Training.

Honoured Teammate

When I don't want to go running, I think about the people who the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada supports.  I think about all the people who have been diagnosed with leukemia and lymphoma, and all the people who love them.  I think that if they can go through everything they go through, I can get out for a little run!

One such person is Ottawa's "Honoured Teammate", Liam.  Liam is an 8 year old boy who was diagnosed with Philadelphia chromosome positive (ph+) acute lymphblastic leukemia (ALL), a rare form of leukemia, in March 2011.  Only 2-3% of children with ALL are diagnosed with this rare form.  Prior to 2000, the prognosis was very poor.  Now, with advanced research, the invention of new drugs and ongoing trials, Liam's chances of survival are around 75% - almost the same as other forms of ALL.  Liam is now doing really well and is two months into the 16 month "maintenance phase" of treatment.  He will get to go back to school and can be a regular kid most of the time.  His mom tells us that he is patiently waiting for his hair to grow back.  While he is doing well, his future is still a bit unknown and continuing research is important, as well as support for his family, including his parents and his younger brother, Benjamin, who have also been impacted a great deal by Liam's diagnosis.

Every team has an Honoured Teammate every season.  TNT says this about our Honoured Teammates:

"TNT is truly an unforgettable experience, made even more meaningful by an honored patient - a local blood cancer survivor whose courage provides motivation and inspiration - a special partner whose challenge is greater than your own."

"Honoured Teammates are very special individuals who have battled, or are battling, a form of blood cancer.  Team In Training (TNT) participants train and participate in endurance events in honour of these courageous individuals.  So often people are asked to raise funds for a charity with very little understanding of how valuable their efforts are.  By honouring a member of our own community, and hearing their story firsthand, participants are able to understand the extreme value of their efforts.  As the distances get longer and longer in training and at races, they can think of their honoured patient and push through to the finish."

Funds Raised

As of today, I have raised $2,401.81 for Team in Training thanks largely due to generous donations from friends and family like you.  I have set my ultimate goal as $5,000, and this amount is 48% of my total goal.  

In my initial email, I set a deadline of October 15, 2012 for you to pledge your support.  The reason I set this date was because I had to "recommit" to Team in Training by October 18, 2012.  This "recommitment" was a promise by me that if I fail to reach a minimum fundraising amount, I will pay the balance out of my own pocket.  For me, my minimum goal is $3,100.  I am telling you this so you know, firstly, that I am committed to this cause 100% and secondly, that you can still donate even if you missed the first deadline.  My next "mini goal" is to raise $3,500 by November 15, 2012.  If you have been thinking of donating and have not done so yet, I would love your support at this time.

Yoga Fundraiser

I hosted a fundraiser a few weeks ago with a yoga teacher I know in Ottawa.  Monica generously donated her time to host an outdoor yoga session, with the proceeds going to Team in Training.  We had a relatively low turnout, but raised $75 for Team in Training and are hoping to do another session with Monica soon.

Virtual Run

My latest fundraiser, which will go until the end of November, is a virtual run.  A virtual run is a race where you sign up, pay a "race fee", and run the race on your own (or with friends!) on a date of your choosing and at a location of your choosing.  All proceeds of this virtual run will go to Team in Training, and participants have the opportunity to win fantastic prizes from great companies like Endorphin Warrior, KT Tape, Larabar and SPIbelt.  For more information and to sign up, visit  Sign up, grab your friends, and help us fly away to a cure for leukemia and lymphoma!

Finish Time Pool

I am putting together a pool for people who want to guess my finishing time.  For a donation, you can take a guess at my finishing time (or a couple guesses if you like).  The winner will receive a prize.  Stay tuned for details!


My training continues and although I am a little behind in my long runs due to life getting in the way and wanting to be gentle with my almost fully recovered injuries, I am confident that I will make it through to the race and reach my goals.

On October 27th, I ran a 5k race.  I ran this race in Toronto with Toronto Women's Runs.  I have run three other events with this group, including a half marathon in May 2012.  It poured rain at this event - nothing like some of our friends and family experienced with Hurricane Sandy, but enough to keep some of the runners away and give us lots of puddles to navigate.  I confirmed at this race that I definitely need a better waterproof jacket!  If any runners out there have suggestions, I would really appreciate it.  You can read more about this event on my blog.

I have also started to run "hills" for the first time while training for this race.  "Hills" means I find a hill and run up and down it... again and again and again.  Hill workouts are really difficult but they help a lot.  I find all my running is going better and faster now that I have challenged myself with these workouts.

Thank You!

Thank you all so much for your continued support of my training and fundraising, both in terms of donations and your encouragement.  If you have already donated, thank you!  If you have been thinking about it, now is a great time - with Christmas coming up, a donation in honour of a friend or family member makes a great gift, and donations made before the end of 2012 can be claimed on your income taxes for this year.  Please visit to donate (this URL will redirect you to my official LLSC fundraising page where you can donate and get a tax receipt) or check out my blog to sign up for the virtual run.  If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to let me know!

All the best,


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Virtual Run - Now With Bling!

Have you read all about the Tink in Training Virtual Run and still need a little convincing to sign up?

How does a bit of bling for your medal wall sound?

I want to keep the costs as low as possible but also want to offer a little something to people as a "medal".  Unfortunately, in all my research, I couldn't find a cost effective "real" medal option.  I think our choices are bit more limited here in Canada than for the virtual runs operating out of the US.  I didn't want a medal for each person to cut into the proceeds by $5 or more, because that's money that could go to Team in Training.

The solution?  Etsy, of course!  I found a relatively inexpensive option that should also be fairly cheap to ship (especially compared to a heavy medal).  I found these Tinker Bell themed "medals" on a shop called littleprincessbling.  What could be more appropriate than that?

These medals are currently available to the first 20 people to register, regardless of whether you are running the 5k or 10k (but only one per person, even if you run both).  I may order more in the future but cannot guarantee them beyond the first 20 registrants at this point.  (But remember no matter when you register, you will get entered into the draw for the amazing prizes!)

Update: I have decided to order enough bling for everyone once registration closes!

These are bottlecap necklaces.  They are not traditional medals but it is definitely something unique for your collection!  From the shop description:
...bottlecap necklaces, each with a cute Tinkerbell graphic and sparkly pink rhinestone to add a little bling. They are strung on light pink organza ribbon and cord necklaces that measure 17" and close with a lobster clasp. The graphic is covered with a water resistant epoxy dome. 

Each medal will come in its own bag, mounted on cardstock that says "Tink in Training Virtual Run".

There are currently seven people registered for the run so there are 13 medals up for grabs!  One of them could be yours!  Visit the main post to register today!

Sponsor Spotlight: Endorphin Warrior

I purchased a warrior training bracelet this past spring, and I have worn it on practically every run since.  My bracelet says "strength" to remind me to find my strong on every run and to dig deep down inside!

On one of my first runs wearing this bracelet, I swore it had magic powers.  And I still do.  It pulls me through runs and even through days when I don't run.  I can look down at this bracelet at any time and remember that I am stronger than I think.

My bracelet is soft and comfortable.  Even after numerous wears, and getting sweat on, rained on or wet when I wash my hands, it is still in good shape.  If anything, the slightly worn weather is more comfortable and lovely looking.  I hardly even notice it's there when I wash it, even though inside I know that it's there.

I picked "strength" for my warrior training bracelet but there are many other words and even phrases available, like "persevere", "focus", "13.1", "swim bike run" and "as I run, as I run, the universe is running with me".  You can see all the available words and phrases here.

Endorphin Warrior also has other inspirational products including rings, t-shirts, pendants, and other bracelet styles.  Check out their website to see their whole selection!

You can also find Endorphin Warrior on Twitter @EndorphnWarrior.

Endorphin Warrior has donated one (1) warrior training bracelet to the giveaway (word or phrase chosen by the winner).  Want a chance to win a warrior training bracelet of your own?  Register for the virtual run today!