Friday, November 28, 2014

Tidbits re: Black Friday

Posted by CheapRunnerMichelle

I trust that all of our American friends had a wonderful day of turkey comas and family time yesterday! In honour of another "national holiday" today, I dug up some fun and interesting facts surrounding "Black Friday". It's amazing to me that people actually want to subject themselves to the shopping craziness (personally you couldn't pay me enough to step foot in the malls for the next few days). The crowds, the lines, the fellow shoppers thanks...but I know that I am in the minority - so let's go ahead and celebrate this crazy day


1. Black Friday used to refer to stock market crashes in the 1800s.
Although it is now known as the biggest shopping day in the US, the term Black Friday originally referred to very different events. In the US, the first time the term was used was on 24 September 1869, when two speculators, Jay Gould and James Fisk, tried to corner the gold market on the New York Stock Exchange.
When the government stepped in to correct the distortion by flooding the market with gold, prices plummeted and many investors lost sizable fortunes.

2. "Santa Claus parades" were Black Friday's predecessor.
For many Americans, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade has become part of the holiday ritual. But the event actually was inspired from the US's neighbours in the north. Canadian department store Eaton's held the first "Santa Claus parade" on 2 December 1905. Once Santa appeared at the end of the parade, the signal was that the holiday season - and thus, holiday shopping, had begun. Of course, consumers were encouraged to buy their presents at Eaton's. US department stores such as Macy's took inspiration from the parade, and started sponsoring similar efforts across the country. In 1924, New York saw the first Macy's parade featuring animals from Central Park Zoo and run by the store's employees.


3. The date of Thanksgiving was, indirectly, determined by holiday shoppers.
From the mid-nineteenth century to the early twentieth century, in a custom started by US President Abraham Lincoln, the president would declare a "day of thanks giving" on the last Thursday in November. This could either fall on the fourth or fifth Thursday in the month. But in 1939, a funny thing happened - the last Thursday happened to be the last day in November. Retailers, worried about the shortened holiday shopping season, petitioned then-President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to declare the holiday a week earlier - which he did. For the next three years, Thanksgiving was known derisively as "Franksgiving" and celebrated on different days in different parts of the country. Finally, at the end of 1941, a joint resolution from Congress cleared up the matter. From then on, Thanksgiving would be celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November - guaranteeing an extra week of shopping before Christmas.

4. Big Friday?
A New York Times report from 1975 locates the phrase "Black Friday" as a bit of Philadelphia slang.  The city that first popularized the term was Philadelphia. Police officers, frustrated by the congestion caused by shoppers on the day, started referring to it derisively as "Black Friday". Unsurprisingly, retailers weren't happy to be associated with traffic and smog. So they tried to rebrand the day "Big Friday", according to a 1961 local Philadelphia paper. Needless to say, the term didn't stick.


5. Black Friday became the biggest shopping day of the year in 2001.
Although it's often touted as the biggest shopping day of the year, the day didn't earn the designation consistently until the 2000s.  That's because, for many years, the rule wasn't that Americans loved deals, it was that they loved procrastinating. So up until that point, it was the Saturday before Christmas that typically saw the most wallets being emptied.

6. Black Friday has become an international affair.
Canadian retailers have long winced as their customers went south on Black Friday in search of better shopping deals. So now they've begun offering their own sales - despite the fact that Canadian Thanksgiving is a full month earlier.  In Mexico, there is El Buen Fin, which roughly translates as "the good weekend". It's pegged to the anniversary of Mexico's 1910 revolution, which sometimes falls on the same day American Thanksgiving. It lasts, as the name suggests, the entire weekend.
Beyond North America, as online shopping has grown, retailers like Amazon have looked to Cyber Monday, first heard of in 2005, to promote deals for shoppers across the globe. While in China, the recently launched 'Singles Day' prompted sales of two million bras in one hour, making a pile that would be three times higher than Mount Everest.


7. Nearly 140 million unique consumers are expected to shop during the Thanksgiving weekend, according to NRF's Thanksgiving Weekend Expectations survey.
The most popular item in the shopping carts on Black Friday is Apparel, with 64% revealing they shopped in this category, AOL advertising said. It is followed by electronics at 47% and Food/Beverage and Entertainment at 46% each. Most consumers, in order to avoid crowds and the cold chose to shop online. On Black Friday 2013, 86% of Home Goods purchases, 85% of Children's toys/games, and 47% of Entertainment purchases were made in online.

8. 12% of all shoppers on Black Friday 2014 will be under the influence of alcohol, according to a Time survey.


9. Two women have been camping outside Best Buy in Beaumont, California since 5 November, 22 days ahead of Black Friday.

10. Black Friday is the busiest day of the year for plumbers, who are left to clean up after guests "overwhelm the system", reports CNN. Source BBC and IB Times

Are you out shopping today hoping to score a deal?

What tidbit surprised you the most?
#9 and 10

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Date With My Daughter

Posted by CheapRunnerMike

Kennedy is a HUGE fan of the Hunger Games…it was the first "grown-up" book series she really read and she loved it (she has a great passion for reading, thankfully!).  After finishing the books she convinced me to read them as well and I enjoyed them quite a bit too…certainly a lot more than I expected to.  We have seen the first two movies and with the latest film coming out this past Friday, a Daddy/Daughter Date Night was in order!


We started our night with dinner at The Works, where we had some awesome gourmet burgers.  I went for the "Barking at my Cow" burger off their Cooking With Beer menu…topped with brisket, grilled onions, bacon, jack cheese and lots of BBQ sauce #delicious.  Kennedy had wanted to eat here for a while and for her first visit she went with the "Gotta Be KD", a burger topped with Kraft Dinner and lots of cheese.

photo 3

We gobbled up our burgers and walked down to the theatre for cheap Tuesday movie night, only $5 a ticket!  A great deal considering cheap Tuesday was $4.25 when I was in high school 20 years ago (yikes!  20 years??).  We grabbed our seats in the packed theatre and settled in for the movie.  It was really good and followed the book very closely…Mockingjay was the final book in the trilogy, but they have split this last movie into two parts.  I guess it works as it didn't feel like they were leaving key moments out, and it sure leaves you wanting more at the end!  Needless to say, Kennedy and I had a great night.

Yesterday was also my strength workout run.  I have just started to incorporate these targeted workouts into my training schedule and yesterday called for 4 x 1.5 miles at marathon pace minus 10 seconds per mile (so 6:40/mile for me), with an 800m recovery in between.  I did my 1 mile warmup which conveniently took me right to the start of the path at Springbank Park, and then switched my watch over to run my intervals.  I did my workout on the treadmill last week as the weather was garbage, but it was certainly more enjoyable being outside to get this one in.  The treadmill was good for keeping my pace where it was supposed to be, because without it regulating me I went way too fast.  I should have been clocking my 1.5 miles at 10:00 even, but I was a bit quicker than that…woopsie.

1 - 9:28 (6:19/mile)
2 - 9:34 (6:23/mile)
3 - 9:23 (6:15/mile)
4 - 9:09 (6:06/mile)

It was a great workout though and I felt decent when I was done, so it wasn't like I was killing myself.  Maybe I need to think about changing my goal marathon pace…to be determined.

It was cooler again for yesterday's workout (down around freezing), but I'm happy to announce that I was able to get out for a run on November 24 in shorts and short sleeves!  We were in the mid-50's, it was an absolute monsoon, I got SOAKED, and it was great!  Hopefully not the last run in shorts for the year, but the forecast isn't friendly.  Enjoy it while we can, right?

photo 5

One last thing…I saw this in the holiday gift guide section of the current issue of Triathlete magazine, TOMS coffee!  I don't have any of their shoes but I like the look and love the concept.  Michelle bought me a pair once but they were too small.  Their coffee sales support Water For People’s efforts to make clean water more accessible via community-owned water systems.  What a great idea!

photo 1

Less than a month until Christmas, yikes!

Have you tried TOMS coffee?  What is your fav coffee to brew at home??
I drink President's Choice West Coast Dark Roast

Warm rain run or cold dry run??
The rain never bothered me anyway…sorry, bad Frozen reference

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Tangent Tuesday

Posted by CheapRunnerMichelle

Ready for some randomness today?!?....good!


We have officially booked our winter holidays!!!! I haven't started an official countdown yet - since I have a few trips to Florida before we head to Mexico (I know...tough life), but I am beyoooond excited, for a whole lotta nothing other than some hot sun, cold drinks and some good eats!!!


Speaking of Florida, Mike booked us yesterday for a couples massage at Saratoga Springs after his marathon in January! I haven't gone for a massage in over 10 years....and I get to go with Mike - it'll make it even better!




I can't get enough of this snack...plain Greek yogurt with grapes....sooooo delish, so much so, I actually eat it twice a day!

What's your randomness today?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Running Hot & Cold

Posted by CheapRunnerMike

Welcome to Monday folks.

As a runner I think I care about the weather more than I ever did…it is a huge influence on my day-to-day.  Here in Southwestern Ontario you never know what to expect.  Here's what we had just a couple of days ago…

photo 1

…and then it warmed right up, the rain came in, and we now have no snow at all.  Craziness.

The cold and snow didn't stop me from getting my runs in, including a great 8 mile tempo.  I managed to run 20 seconds per mile faster than marathon pace despite the snow and ice covering the path…always feels good to get in solid workout runs!


The next day was Friday and the schedule called for 7 miles easy.  I had to modify though as we were heading away for the weekend to go visit my sister and her family and I wouldn't have a chance to get my long run in.  So Friday after work I took off from the house and got in 17 miles at marathon pace.  It was cold though…my face was frozen and the unexpected results of cold weather long runs include frozen fuel…my chews were rock hard!  The snow had started to melt a bit on the paths, but a lot of the melt had just turned to black ice as shadows began to fall across the pathway.  Being a Canadian driver, I recognize black ice fairly easily, so I just took care and watched my step.  I still almost wiped out a couple of times though, one time even getting sideways with both feet slipping, but I managed to stay upright.  17 miles in the books in just under 2 hours…I made it back home just before it started to get dark out.

photo 2

As I mentioned, we went to visit my sister and her family up in Kingston…it's such a beautiful spot that they are in.  This picture is literally 100 feet from their door.  The lake was rough and the wind was howling when we got there on Saturday afternoon.  We had a great time with them all though and the weather was much nicer on Sunday.  That allowed Michelle and I to get out for a nice 5K run together and then I finished up with another 5K on my own.  Kingston is an awesome city to run in!  Can't wait to get back during the nicer months to enjoy their paths along the shores of Lake Ontario.

photo 6

Anyone else getting crazy weather right now?

Who else is travelling this week?

Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday Fav's

Posted by CheapRunnerMichelle

Happy Friday friends!!! And I am excited that it's actually a proper Friday for me (typically from Sept - April I work on Saturday's), but I'm OFF tomorrow!!!! Yieppe!!! 'cause we are heading to Kingston to visit with Mike's sister and her family. They moved back in August, so this is the first visit we'll be making to their new place. We're excited to go spend some time with them, and the kids are stoked to see their cousins! Being Friday and all...let's just jump right in...




This is certainly not a "fav" in the sense that I like feeling like this...but I am already waaay past December and feeling like we've only had about 4 days of snow so far, but the temperatures have been ridiculously freezing Steaming mad's going to be a long winter



To keep me warm for the next few months - I am all about flannel



Love, love, love the holidays, and although out Christmas tree is not up yet, I scored this beauty from Costco on clearance last's beginning to look a lot like Christmas



Who knew you could be sweating so much after just 5 min of starting your workout?!? This is the circuit workout plan that my AP partner gave me this week...and although it seems "easy" on paper...this is no joke. Definitely a 30min kick ass workout



Although we haven't booked our trip yet, we are VERY close to doing so, but even just researching places puts me in a better mood, to know that we will have some reprieve from all this winter suckyness!!!!

...and that's been pretty much my week in a nutshell...happy weekend friends!!!!

What are your plans this weekend?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Snow Problem, Just Run

Posted by CheapRunnerMike

She said I can't go back to America soon
It's so goddamn cold it's gonna snow until June
Yeah, they're freezin' up in Buffalo stuck in their cars
And I'm lyin' here 'neath the sun and the stars.
-- Jimmy Buffett

We may not have gotten dumped on quite as bad as Buffalo here in Southwestern Ontario (we are less than a 3 hour drive from Buffalo), but it does look like we are now into winter running season!


Once I mentally wrap my head around the idea of running in the cold again, I'm pretty much fine with it.  I just break out my winter running gear and keep hitting the paths.  They are a bit slippery right now, but I'm lucky enough that they plow out the big park in town, which happens to be close enough that I can run there from work or home.  I just throw on my tights, jacket, gloves and toque and I am good to go for miles.

photo 3

I've been out in the snow twice already this week, wearing my regular Kinvara 5 training shoes both times.  On Monday we had our first real snowfall and it was super slippery…pretty dangerous on some of the downhills.  Yesterday I was back out again and the paths were much better…still snowy but not too much ice at all.  I was able to actually feel the ground and get some traction, helping me put the power from my legs to the pavement.  That was fun because it meant I could run fast Smile

Tuesday was set to be a strength workout, with 6 x 1 mile repeats at 6:40 on the schedule.  It was also brutally cold outside and the paths were in no condition to get anything other than junk miles in.  Reluctantly I took to the treadmill in the gym here at work to get my session in.  I got all kinds of looks from the gym regulars who have never seen me running indoors.  They figured they finally found the temperature that was my breaking point.  I must say though, having a structured workout on the 'mill really helped.  All too often I will resort to the treadmill with nothing but a distance and pace in mind…a workout really helped to focus and I think that kind of structure is good for me.


So in celebration of my new love appreciation of the treadmill, I have allocated space in my drawer at work for indoor running clothes.  BTW, it is totally normal to have a section of your office at work dedicated to your running gear, right??

photo 2

I think I may make more of Tuesday's strength workouts treadmill workouts…with the weather being so unpredictable these days, I need to be flexible about how I get my miles in, and especially those quality workout miles.  Look at me expanding my running horizons Smile

Anyone else have multiple pairs of running shoes and extra running clothes in their office?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Would You Rather….and WOW

Posted by CheapRunnerMichelle

Happy hump day friends...I don't know about where you live, but things have sure turned, shall we say brisk, in our neck of the woods...makes dragging my butt out of the house at 5:30am even harder, but also motivates me to push myself harder to get my sweat on

It's been awhile since I have done a Would You I thought it would be fun today - and I found a fitness one over on this blog


1. Swim 5 miles or run 26 miles?
As I've shared before - I just kinda feel like my body was not built for the marathon distance - so I'm gonna have to go with the swim...but in a pool...if it was open water I just might have to consider changing my answer.

2. Wear brand new running shoes on a run or have excessive chafing?
Hands down - I'll take the new shoes and blisters over chaffing any day. Have I mentioned lately that I have chaffing scars from the Around the Bay race I did....ugh...

3. 100 crunches or 100 squats?
I'll drop it like a squat...that way my neck won't hurt

4. Breathe through your nose or through your mouth?
I'd have to say that I think I'm more of a nose breather

5. Run with a terrible side cramp or be hung over?
Ummm...neither....but I think I'd rather deal with a headache then a cramp (which s.u.c.k) I'll go hangover

6.  Run on a treadmill for an hour or run around a track for an hour? least that way I would have Netflix or Bravo tv to keep me distracted

7. Relay race or a portion of a distance triathlon?
Triathlon...anyone else watch Kona over the weekend, and got totally inspired?!?

8. Spinning or Running?
These days I've been spending a lot more of my time spinning, but soon I am going to be starting 1/2 marathon training again!

9. Run in excessive heat or below freezing temperatures?

10. Forget to eat before a race or forget snacks during a race?
Probably forget snacks...I'm not real "in tune" with snacking during a race and what I need when etc...and chances are there would be something along the race course that I could grab



Wednesday - spin class
Thursday - spin class
Friday - off
Saturday - off
Sunday - aqua fit class
Monday - spin class
Tuesday - abs
Wednesday - spin class, circuit training

You're turn pick a few WYR to answer below...go!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Slip Slidin' Away

Posted by CheapRunnerMike

Hey folks, hope everyone is staying warm!  The wind-chill outside is -20°C right now, which is a balmy -4° for the Fahrenheities out there…simply put, it's very brrr outside.  We woke up to a blanket of snow yesterday but I wasn't going to let that stop me from getting out for my run.

photo 2

While it wasn't super cold (right around freezing), the paths were a mess.  They were covered in snow and slush, and in many spots snow-covered leaves, making it very slippery.  I was putting down some good power but really felt like I was getting nowhere.  Every step was an adventure and I was lucky I didn't spill at all, especially on the downhills.  It probably didn't help that I was just wearing my regular trainers, but I'm too stubborn to make the official switch to my trail shoes.  Speaking of which, after two winters my trail shoes have just about had it…might be time to find a new winter shoe.

photo 5

I got out for a couple of runs on the weekend, the first a "roll-out-of-bed-and-run" run and then my long run on Sunday.  I hate running first thing in the morning, it just never goes well for me, and Saturday was no exception.  I had planned on doing my long run on Saturday, but plans changed and Jackson was at home with me…that meant I could get in a quick 10K before Michelle went to work or do nothing.  I set out bright and early I could tell right away that I just didn't have it.  I pushed on and finished the run, but I was beat.

Sunday was a different story though…I ran around 1:00 (a lot closer to my normal late-morning run time) and was able to fuel as I normally would before a long run with some coffee and oatmeal about an hour before.  The run went great as I got in 15 miles at  what was probably a little faster than marathon pace.  I tried as hard as I could to hold back, but even at that it felt like an easy jog for the first 10K or so.  I pushed a bit harder on the home stretch and finished feeling good.  It was my best long run ever, both in terms of results and feel…runs like this make you crave the next one.  Strava even told me that it was the fastest half marathon I had ever run with a GPS-estimated time of 1:25:57!


Today's workout is up in the air…as I mentioned, it is brutally cold here right now (though this will seem like nothing in a couple of months).  I brought my outdoor running gear, but I also packed stuff for the (gasp) treadmill.  Today is supposed to be my strength day, calling for 6x1 mile repeats, and the treadmill in the gym may be the best way to go about the workout.  Needless to say, I am not looking forward to that.  It needs to be done though, so best to just suck it up.

What temperature pushes you inside to the treadmill?

Do you do strength workouts on the treadmill?

Monday, November 17, 2014


Posted by CheapRunnerMichelle

Happy Monday friends! …so let's just jump right into my MIMM today Open-mouthed smile



Friday night date night…plus 1…

With the new food plan that I have been following…on it I get 1 cheat meal a week…so early in the week Mike and I had decided that since we were going to be kid free (K was heading to a youth conference…and J was going to hang with his cousins) that we would start up our Friday date nights again…head to the pool for a swim session and then grab some late night apps…last minute plans changed, and J ended up staying home with us after all…so we skipped our pool date, and all 3 of us headed out at 9pm (that’s when the apps go ½ price…remember we are cheap after all) for some munchies (aka. My cheat meal). We had a nice time together, and then not long after J finished eating he fell asleep in our booth…so then that gave Mike and I a chance to connect and talk with each other.


Saturday night we got together with some friends and played some board games. It was nice to get together and fellowship with one another – we all had a great time…so much so…that by the time we decided to wrap up with our games…it was almost 1:30am…you know what they say…time flies when you’re having fun…and that we did!


I am so thankful for the life that we have, and feel so blessed. I really appreciate being able to teach my kids – that this time of year is for GIVING, and that not everyone is as fortunate as we are. There are a number of charities that our church is supporting and collecting for this holiday season – one of them being our local crisis pregnancy centre. Our church puts on a dinner for the mothers and little ones there, and before that you can sign out Christmas stockings that you then fill for either the mother or child that you received, and then at the dinner that they host for them, they present them with all the gifts. This year our family received a mother and a child…so over the course of the last week – we headed out shopping to try and bring some holiday cheer to others. It’s a great lesson for the children – and I am so happy that they understand – and WANT to do these type of things when the opportunity presents itself.


Started my morning off right – and headed to 6am spin class (despite being woken up at 4:40am by J…and never falling back asleep)


I don’t think that this was so marvelous…but I am choosing to see the silver lining. This morning as I was walking into work, I fell in the parking lot...and then as soon as I stood up and was wiping myself off...the snow slid off the roof of the building, and landed right on top of my head and slid down my face…not cool….BUT, at least I didn’t break anything…I’m just going to have a sore tushie for the next little while.

Thanks Katie for hosting today.

What was something marvelous for you this week?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Friday Favs

Posted by CheapRunnerMike

Here we are about to wrap up another week, so I've decided to share what I've been digging on this week.

1) Getting Back in the Swing of Things

photo 1

It's nice to be back into my running routine again…I've been out every day this week and I'm looking forward to a good long run this weekend.  The pace has been quick, maybe even a little quicker than before holidays.  Note the long sleeves, hat and tights in the pic above…yup, cold weather is here.  Leading to…

2) Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude


Once the cold weather hits us, it's time to start planning our winter vacation.  Just thinking about getting away is enough to warm me up some days!  This will be just what I need come February.

3) Alex Zanardi, You are an Ironman!

photo 4

I used to watch a lot of auto racing when I was younger (Indy cars and F1), so I am well aware of Alex Zanardi.  He was a champion driver who suffered a pretty horrific accident, causing him to lose his legs.  He also just took on the Ironman in Kona last month and it will be airing this weekend on NBC.  Can't wait to check it out!

4) Awesome new Clif Bars

photo 2

I was at the grocery store the other day and noticed a display with a couple of new seasonal Clif Bars…Pecan Pie and Spiced Pumpkin Pie.  I had the Pecan Pie yesterday with my lunch and it was amazing, can't wait to try the Pumpkin Pie today!

5) Disney Dreaming


Still digging the good vibes we picked up at Disney last week…can't wait until we're back there in January for the Marathon!

Have a great weekend folks!

Have you tried these new Clif Bar flavours?  Do you have a fav of your own?

Is it cold and snowy where you are yet?  How do you cope?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Eat more…lose more?!?!?

Posted by CheapRunnerMichelle

Well friends we’ve almost made it to the weekend….whooo hooooo!!!! As I’ve shared before I have an Accountability Partner that I have been meeting with for about 2 months now, and things have been going ok…I certainly am not breaking any records over here or anything, but coming back from vacation I am feeling focused and determined to meet some tough goals. For these past few months, I haven’t been “told” what to do at all. I’ve been eating whatever foods that I pick, but the focus has been on tracking, and more than anything being very aware of what and when you are putting things in your body. I have lost some weight, but I still have a little ways to go. I feel like it has given me a good foundation, and enough time to start making these things a permanent “habit” in my life. So this week we have stepped it up and taken things to a new level. I have set some tough (for me) goals this week, and completely changed the way that I am eating, what I am eating and how much I am eating. The plan consists of eating 6 times a day (what?!?!?!?! I was lucky to eat 3 times a day before sometimes), and measuring everything,


so that you know EXACTLY what you are having. Even though I am certainly trying new-to-me foods, I am still getting to eat things that I really enjoy. So I am eating roughly every 2.5-3 hours, and I can say that I am certainly NEVER hungry. My AP has been speaking with me about what the benefits to this are, and why a “low calorie diet” just doesn’t work…I hope I’ve been paying attention…’cause this to me is the jist of what they have been teaching me: There is a point at which cutting calories will work against weight loss because consuming too few calories (or too few meals) leads to increased appetite and low satiety as your body prevents starvation. Your body will make a choice: lose body fat or lose muscle. An inadequately fueled body will choose to drop calorie-burning muscle rather than fat.

So…basically with the changes I am currently making we are focusing on losing fat.


I’ve been rocking my workouts this week too…and more important than that – dare I say it…I actually am starting to really enjoy getting up and going to class at 5:30am. It’s a great way to start my day knowing that I have checked my workout off my list, and it also means that it is not time away from the family ‘cause they’re all still in bed Open-mouthed smile win – win!


Have a rockn’ day friends…what are you up to today?

What’s your fav snack?
Right now I am really enjoying Greek yogurt with either grapes or frozen blueberries….yummy