a letter to my body

TaraVictoriaDotCom-ALetterToMyBody

i have spent the better part of 26 years hating you, feeling defeated by you and judging you to the harshest standards and in the deepest ways. i have spent that time wishing you looked like someone else, wishing you were built differently and wishing you would change overnight. i have cried over you. i have let feelings of disgust consume me. i have allowed myself to daydream that you looked different. i have spent the better part of 26 years wanting and trying, desperately to change you. i have let my worries about what others may think you look like gain complete power over me. i have gotten angry at you. i have compared you on a regular basis. i have abused you with insecure thoughts and i have taken you for granted.

what i haven’t done is thanked you. you are the only body i was given and you have got me through 26 years of life. you are healthy and that is a complete gift. i have not looked at you and felt gratitude that you, and you alone, have carried the weight of my pain, suffering, heartache, headaches, stress, anxiety, depression, and whatever else i’ve thrown your way. i have instead burdened you with feelings of constant negativity.

i have not told you that you are enough. that you are simply you and you are doing the best that you can. i haven’t looked at you and said thank you. thank you for getting me up that mountain. thank you for healing that injury and those cuts and bruises and turning them into the most beautiful scars. thank you for fighting that cold. thank you for taking on the toll of day to day stresses. thank you for staying healthy when i don’t give you enough rest. thank you for getting me through that workout and for letting me push you to your max. thank you for letting me feel the touch of a friend and the comfort of their hug. thank you for facing my fears head on and standing tall when my soul struggles.

you have always been there for me no matter what and i have taken that for granted every time i allowed my insecurities to get the best of me. the truth is that you have always been enough. you have always been the most capable you can be with everything i’ve asked of you. you have walked with me through every celebration, gain, challenge, loss, heartbreak, adventure, sleepless nights, and overworked days. every movement you make is a beautiful reflection of my mind. you are forgiving. you are resilient, despite my best efforts to tell you otherwise. and dammit, you are beautiful. you are a work of art. you are as you were made and you are as you are meant to be. you are gracefully, me.


have you thanked your body today? if not, you should. you are beautiful.

2016 Jasper Half Marathon Recap

TaraVictoriaX2016JCRHalfMarathon-Recap-01

i’m back from my trip to jasper and reflecting on the amazing time i had there! as i mentioned the week before, i was headed to jasper for their first ever half marathon to run the 10k. i honestly could not think of a better place to have had my first marathon experience. it was truly a memorable weekend and, for myself, a huge accomplishment in my fitness journey.

TaraVictoriaX2016JCRHalfMarathon-Recap-02TaraVictoriaX2016JCRHalfMarathon-Recap-03

the drive to jasper is one of my all time favourites. the scenery is something else. we took our time driving up and made a couple stops – one being the columbia icefields (which is a must if you’re heading that way). it had been a really long time since i’d done that drive so it was a serene 5 hours for me. i was a little worried when we hit snow about an hour outside of jasper,  but it quickly disappeared the closer we got and turned into a beautifully sunny day. the whole time leading up to the race, i struggled a bit to get my head prepared. it didn’t feel like i was going to be running 10k in a matter of hours and i think i was maybe a little distracted by all the beautiful scenery surrounding us (not that that was a bad thing).

TaraVictoriaX2016JCRHalfMarathon-Recap-05TaraVictoriaX2016JCRHalfMarathon-Recap-04TaraVictoriaX2016JCRHalfMarathon-Recap-06

i had never stayed at the fairmont jasper park lodge but as we drove in, i knew it was going to be spectacular. even stepping into the main lobby, i was pretty blown away by the whole place. not to mention the views we had from our room. for 2 mornings this beautifully teal lake and mountain tops greeted us. the hotel is pretty unique with all of the rooms looking like cabins from the outside and then beautiful rooms on the inside.

TaraVictoriaX2016JCRHalfMarathon-Recap-09

i was honestly a little nervous the morning before the run. i kind of just wanted to get started, but the race didn’t start until the afternoon so we had an easy, calm morning. we ate an amazing breakfast at Orso, a restaurant in the JPL, where we had also enjoyed an amazing dinner the night before. after a light breakfast, we drove out to see some of the surrounding area. i was grateful in the end to have that time to calm my nerves and get my head in the right space. to prepare mentally, i really just tried to embrace the calm that i was surrounded by and listen too everyone who told me i could do it. i’ve always been so connected to nature and so at peace when i’m surrounded by it, just one more reason why this was the perfect place for my first race experience.

TaraVictoriaX2016JCRHalfMarathon-Recap-07TaraVictoriaX2016JCRHalfMarathon-Recap-08

watching the 21k runners pass the starting line, i felt excited for whatever i was going to experience over the next few hours of running. i’ve mentioned it before this year, but i’ve committed to fully to releasing the need for expectations in any area of my life. i have always felt like there is really no benefit to expecting something to go a certain way – it will either disappoint or be absolutely nothing like what you expected, so what’s the point? this mindset has actually amazed me so far and it’s become a big part of my yes year! going into the 10k, i held zero expectations of what i would be experiencing and feeling. i think that made it even more exciting for me.

TaraVictoriaX2016JCRHalfMarathon-Recap-10TaraVictoriaX2016JCRHalfMarathon-Recap-11 TaraVictoriaX2016JCRHalfMarathon-Recap-12

the first 1k i felt really great, my knees were solid and my energy was up. by around the 3rd kilometer mark, i started to get shin splints, which are THE WORST. by the first water station they thankfully disappeared and i was back in action. the rest of the run felt really great. the weather was really perfect – not too hot and not too cold, and the route for the run was absolutely stunning. i played the “mind over matter” game when i started to get sore or tired and told myself that any pain was just temporary, which kept me going.

TaraVictoriaX2016JCRHalfMarathon-Recap-22TaraVictoriaX2016JCRHalfMarathon-Recap-13 TaraVictoriaX2016JCRHalfMarathon-Recap-14

my favourite part of the whole race was probably the tunnel right before the finish line. it was totally hidden and such a beautiful way to end the race. the feeling after pushing yourself physically and mentally is truly an amazing rush. i usually get a bit emotional with these kinds of things, given my fitness journey, and this one was a pretty big milestone for me. i held no expectations of my finishing time, i really just wanted to finish, but i crossed the finish line at 1:10 and was pretty stoked on that time for my first run ever!

TaraVictoriaX2016JCRHalfMarathon-Recap-21

after the race we were surprised with some goodies in our room, enjoyed a steam in the steam room and a dip in the hot tub and then it was off to the banquet dinner. the food was seriously amazing and it felt great to sit and reflect on the day with the awesome people we met over the weekend!

TaraVictoriaX2016JCRHalfMarathon-Recap-15 TaraVictoriaX2016JCRHalfMarathon-Recap-16

the next morning after another delicious breakfast at Orso, we took our time heading back to calgary and stopped at a ton of spots along the way. my favourite was probably the athabasca falls. the sound of rushing water never gets old! we had a ton of fun getting different pictures and throughout the trip kind of became a little obsessed with panorama shots (sorry not sorry for all the panos i’ve been sharing : P ).

TaraVictoriaX2016JCRHalfMarathon-Recap-18TaraVictoriaX2016JCRHalfMarathon-Recap-20TaraVictoriaX2016JCRHalfMarathon-Recap-26

in true spirit of it being a weekend of firsts, i saw my first bear(s)! leaving jasper we saw a black bear on the side of the road, which was super intimidating, but such a cool experience (and i can say that because we were safely in the truck). then later on on our drive we saw this grizz!

TaraVictoriaX2016JCRHalfMarathon-Recap-25 TaraVictoriaX2016JCRHalfMarathon-Recap-24 TaraVictoriaX2016JCRHalfMarathon-Recap-27 TaraVictoriaX2016JCRHalfMarathon-Recap-28

we ended the drive with a stop off in banff at one of my favourite restaurants, Park. to top off the weekend, our last hour of the drive was surrounded by this breathtakingly beautiful sunset.

overall, i had such a great experience in a short 3 days spent in jasper. i’m super grateful to have been a part of the first ever half marathon in jasper! i would highly recommend this race to anyone who loves beautiful scenery and unique marathon experiences! i have to say, i think i’ve been bit by the running bug and plan to incorporate more of it into my regular routine. maybe even go back and do the full 21k next year! do you guys have a favourite marathon experience? share it with us!

 

_____________________________________________

JasperHalf450header

big thank you to Teresa and the JPL staff for making this such a great experience for us! *please note* this post is sponsored by Jasper Park Lodge. all thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

2016 Jasper Canadian Rockies Half Marathon

TaraVictoriaX2016JasperCanadianRockiesHalfMarathon

when this fitness journey began, running a marathon (or half marathon) was never really on my radar. i honestly held a belief that i probably wasn’t capable of doing one. running has always been something i’ve wanted to get into, but felt that i probably couldn’t because of my knees or whatever other limiting belief was holding me back. when i was asked to take part in jasper’s first ever half marathon, in the true spirit of being a yes girl, i said YES! at first i figured i’d go the easy route and choose a 1K, but with the slew of support from all the ridiculously amazing folks in my life, i’m gonna push myself for a 10K.

jasper has always been a very special place to me because the scenery there is absolutely breathtaking and it’s really just an incredible place. i could not be more inspired and excited that my first marathon experience will take place in such a meaningful and magical part of alberta. in preparation for the run i’ve been tracking my distance running with the nike + running app. i started out with smaller distances to see how i did and gradually built up to larger distances.

i’ll be heading up to jasper this weekend (april 15 – 17) and will be documenting the whole experience on instagram and snapchat (taravictoria12)! prepare yourself for some amazing scenery spam, my thoughts while on the trip, and run updates. also, look out for a blog post next week with an update on my first marathon experience.

 

_____________________________________________

JasperHalf450header

 

*please note* this post is sponsored by Jasper Park Lodge. all thoughts and opinions are my own.

at home with uncommongoods

AtHomeWith-UncommonGoods-01

as i’m looking at moving into a new space in the next few months, obviously the interior design obsessed me has already started looking at different shops and items i’d like to decorate the new space with. i get pretty excited when i land on a super cool business with a great mission statement that’s doing something different than some of the big names out there. when i found out about UncommonGoods i was pretty stoked. you know how excited i get about the stories behind things and reading about the business i could see that they do too. seriously y’all, reading through the stories behind some of the artists’ pieces has been amazing! i think so far this one is my favourite. i love love constellations and the meaning behind the necklace makes for a gorgeous and simple piece.

AtHomeWith-UncommonGoods-02

i’ve had a ton of fun creating a little wish list from their unique selection of artists and small businesses and i couldn’t resist this lightbox piece (even though i’m trying to not have a ton to move)! sometimes you just have to! i’m pretty excited about this piece and i’ve been having a ton of fun switching up the quotes every week. i think it’ll be a great addition to the new office space!

of course, i got lost in their home decor and a few other goodies that have been placed on my want list, so i wanted to share a few of my favourites with you guys! if you have a minute take a browse around some of the unique items and read the artist stories, they’re so interesting!

AtHomeWith-UncommonGoods-03

shop these items:  1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |  7
favourite collections: personalized gifts  |  top mothers day gifts  |  earrings

 

_____________________________________________

UncommonGoods-logo

*please note* this post is sponsored by UncommonGoods. all thoughts and opinions are my own.

2 weeks 2 dare: final thoughts

TaraVictoriaXyycCycle-YegCycle-2w2dBlogPost3

well we’re at the end of this 2 week spin challenge and i made it! woohoo! not gonna lie, the last class was probably the hardest one i had to push through, but it felt pretty dang good to crush it! i’ve taken a few days to let my body recoup a bit, and reflect on the past 14 days. looking back, i’m so glad that i did this challenge and i feel pretty lucky to have had the support of such amazing people.

TaraVictoriaXyycCycle-YegCycle-2w2dBlogPost3-02

so how do i feel on the other side of 14 days of spin? pretty awesome! it was a cool experience to have to push through mental walls and it was inspiring to be immersed in such a strong community everyday for 2 weeks. as i mentioned in my last post, it’s become a pretty great escape for me and knowing i had that commitment everyday made it not only easier to challenge my body physically, but stick to healthy eating. i was surprised to find that getting back on that nutrition train was pretty easy the minute i committed to the challenge.

physically, i noticed quite a few inches and pounds lost, but the biggest thing was the strength. by the end of the second week the amount of tension i was putting on the bike was way more than i ever thought i could handle and the weight tracks became more manageable. i definitely knew that i was going to have to pace myself throughout the 14 days, so i used lighter weights and while i was still pushing myself in class, i tried to do so at a reasonable rate. the funny thing was, in certain classes when a certain song came on that i really connected with or when the motivator said something that pumped me up, i forgot about the challenge, pacing, and previous days workout and pushed harder than before. it is truly remarkable what our bodies are capable of!

TaraVictoriaXyycCycle-YegCycle-2w2dBlogPost3-01

i think more than anything this became a mental game. 2 weeks really isn’t that long of a commitment, but when you’re in the middle of it feeling a bit sore or tired, the end seems pretty far away. i think i feel stronger mentally on the other side of this than i do physically and i think that’s pretty rad! it’s a bit difficult to put into words what these fitness challenges that i’ve been doing since the beginning of last year have come to mean to me, but i know they have had a massive affect on my mindset and motivation. on top of that, surrounding myself with friends and a community that inspires and encourages me has made this journey even more exciting. so thanks to all of you who have commented, liked, shared or reached out on this journey. you have made such a difference and i appreciate the heck out of each and every one of you!!

 

_____________________________________________

TaraVictoria-YYCYEGCycle-2Weeks2Dare02-logos

*please note* this post is sponsored by YYC Cycle & YEG Cycle. all thoughts and opinions are my own. huge thank you to Farha, Andrew, Warren & Grady for agreeing to let me take on this crazy experiment. you guys are the best!! 

2 weeks 2 dare: why i spin

TaraVictoriaXyycCycle-YegCycle-2w2dFitnessChallenge-01

at the halfway point of this 2 weeks 2 dare challenge, i wanted to reflect on my thoughts and how i’ve been feeling physically and emotionally over the past 7 days. i also wanted to share about how fitness has become such an escape for me, specifically, how spin has become such a great source of clarity and a place to calm my mind.

at the start of these 14 days, i had little expectations of how things would go. i’ve been finding more and more that i’ve been trying in different areas of my life to hold little to no expectations of how experiences will be. i always find that expectations are either surpassed or you’re left disappointed. things never happen how we think they’re going to. i feel like going into something with a totally open mind is a positive attitude that can lead to a more positive experience. so when it came to this spin challenge, i went into it totally open-minded. i had parts of me that were a bit scared that i wouldn’t be able to do the entire 14 days – whether that was from giving up mentally or physically – and i had parts of me that were just excited to see what would happen. the only thing i knew for sure was that i would hit at least one wall at some point, physically, and i would be a mental mind game to push through.

on day 3 i hit that road block, which freaked me out a little bit because that seemed a really early to me. it was during the class that day that i kept thinking to myself ‘holy shit this is day 3 and physically my legs are jelly right now… what did i get myself into!’ i had a few good minutes of that thought process and then i remembered that when we push ourselves in anything it’s a mental and emotional game and once we get past that mind block of “i can’t”, we can! it’s all about that mind over matter. so i fought that fight, pushed through the rest of the class and gave it my all.

TaraVictoriaXyycCycle-YegCycle-2w2dFitnessChallenge-02

the following days seemed to go a lot easier for me after getting through that one block. i pushed myself as hard as i could in each class, turned up the tension in the dial and let the music motivate the hell out of me. i also committed to trying some new instructors with some of my regular favourites and that turned out to be even more motivating.

so how am i feeling at the halfway mark? well other than being a bit sore and me needing to stretch more than i normally would, i feel pretty great! i’ve had some moments where i feel a bit tired so i’ve had to listen to my body and adjust my nutrition a accordingly. i’ve noticed that with each class, my body is getting stronger and stronger and i’m able to push myself harder than i ever have. it’s been an amazing feeling.

TaraVictoriaXyycCycle-YegCycle-2w2dFitnessChallenge-03

beyond the physical aspect of this challenge, i wanted to know what would happen to me mentally being immersed in this community environment and being committed to a physical challenge everyday. the one thing i’ve noticed is that it’s been really great to have this commitment everyday of just me time and i haven’t had a day yet where it’s been a fight for me to get up and go to a class. i’ve had days where i was pretty stressed out with work or something else going on and knowing i had that hour to escape whatever was going on that day was extremely comforting. the minute i walk into that class my focus changes from all the stuff on my to-do list and whatever is stressing me out to all of my surroundings: the music, the smiling faces, the inspiring motivators and the sweat dripping down my forehead.

so in thinking about this challenge and also the topic of my web afternoon talk back in february, i wanted to think about a simple question: why i spin. i thought getting into the nitty gritty of it might help you guys and myself, better understand why it motivates me so much and why i’ve clicked so much with this particular fitness class. i think some parts of my why i can’t really put into words, but the biggest reason i think i would say is the escape. there’s something about the music, working out in the dark and the inspirational voice coming through the mic that lights a fire inside me. there’s also a point in each class where i connect with a certain song and the beat just totally takes over. it’s this crazy amazing feeling of just moving to the music and pushing as hard as i can. i’d say it’s pretty hard to explain if you’ve never taken a spin class or don’t get motivated by classes as much as i do. but i will say if you’ve never given it a shot, you should definitely try one! it’s a seriously amazing experience! wish me luck on this next half of the challenge and come say hi if you see me in the studio this week! 

_____________________________________________

TaraVictoria-YYCYEGCycle-2Weeks2Dare02-logos

*please note* this post is sponsored by YYC Cycle & YEG Cycle. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Huge thank you to Farha, Andrew, Warren & Grady for agreeing to let me take on this crazy experiment. You guys are the best!! 

1 2 3 4 49