a peek inside the fishbowl

10 May, 2017

A bit about last weekend (Eating, running, and generally Feeling Awesome)

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Misc. life

Have you ever had a weekend that you go into full of butterflies and self-doubt, but emerge on the other side of it feeling amazing and empowered? That’s exactly the kind of weekend I just had.

Awhile back, Shopper’s Drug Mart invited me and a few other Ottawa blogging types to participate in a weekend to celebrate women. It involved an event called the Beauty Gala at the Rideau Centre location of Shopper’s, dinner at E18hteen, a battery-charging night’s stay at the Ottawa Sheraton, and the 5K Run for Women the next day.

First, the Beauty Gala. It’s a special little fundraiser and funds from ticket sales go to women’s health programs. After a brief introduction, I dove right in and got a makeover which was expertly done by resident artiste, Joseph T. I have to say that although I’m not the type of person who wears a ton of makeup, at the same time I rarely leave home without it. I greatly appreciated the advice and guidance, especially for, er, mature women like myself. (My words, not his. Sigh.)

After that, we changed for dinner and headed out to E18hteen. Have you ever been? I’ve only been here once before. It’s an experience. The service! The food! It is impeccable. We were served a phenomenal dinner that I will always remember. (Just thinking about it makes my mouth water.)

After a good night’s sleep and a healthy breakfast I was ready for the 5K. Did you know that the Run for Women is actually a series of runs across the Canada? There are 15 runs, and each one raises money for women’s mental health in that city. So the $215,000 that was raised here in Ottawa at this weekend’s events stays in Ottawa! I thought that was really great and I was so thrilled to be part of it.

Most of our group walked the 5K route but a few of us ran. I decided to run it, well, sort of. I was going to continue with my intervals but my plan fell apart on the starting line. I was so caught up in the moment I ditched the idea as soon as the race started. The was music, cheering, and excitement… I got caught up in the wave of it all and trotted along with no mind to intervals. In fact, I reached the 1KM mark with a feeling of peace and happiness. It was like NOTHING AT ALL. It wasn’t long afterward that things started to spiral a bit and I had to pay more attention to my pace. And dancing around while I ran – hey, it was a good song! – wasn’t helping my energy levels. By the time the halfway point came up I was pretty darn tired. But I persevered! I quickly reprogrammed my handy interval app so I didn’t have to think about how slowly time was moving at this point. I had myself doing two-minute runs with 45-second intervals and did that for the rest of the race, minus one bit at the end when a wall of wind about 500m from the finish line threatened to knock me off my feet. (Oh, and did I mention it was freezing?)

And THEN I saw the finish line. And then I saw the people. I was so utterly tired, and cramping up, and I didn’t think that I could take a single step… until I took a step, and then another one, and then a good song came up on my playlist (Taylor Swift’s Shake it Off, FYI) and I was able to find it within myself to pick up the pace. I dug deep, my friends. At this point, I was, for all intents and purposes, crying, but not from pain or fatigue, because I was doing it. I was DOING IT! The cheering was so uplifting I can’t even describe it. The rational side of my brain knew they weren’t cheering for me, just one individual in a sea of a thousand people, they were cheering for everyone (but for me too)! As we got closer, everyone around me sped up and I felt a bit like a fish caught up in a tidal wave so I just went with it. When I crossed the finish line I was very close to throwing up, and throwing myself down on the soggy grass, but I held myself together and refrained from doing either.

I waited for my friend Julie to cross the finish line and we hugged. WE DID IT. It felt amazing. I was weepy and sniffly but she was too nice to point it out.

Me and Julie at the Run for Women

(Just for the record I should point out that this pic was taken BEFORE the race started. I was a mess at the end and no one needs to see THAT.)

After I collected myself I went over to the food tables and grabbed a bagel, a banana, and an apple. THEY WERE THE MOST DELICIOUS THINGS I HAVE EVER EATEN. Funny how that happens, eh?

As a thank you gift, I was given an amazing new pair of Brooks, courtesy of The Running Room. The fellow helping me at the Westboro store was one of the most patient salespeople in the history of sales. I can’t wait to take them for a spin.

New kicks!

I wanted to take a moment to say thank you to Shopper’s Drug Mart for inviting me to be part of this amazing weekend. I feel like I emerged a stronger person on the other side of it, and for that, I am very grateful.

4 Responses to "A bit about last weekend (Eating, running, and generally Feeling Awesome)"

1 | andrea tomkins

May 10th, 2017 at 1:37 pm


I should also mention the others who came along for the ride! Have a peek:


2 | joy

May 10th, 2017 at 2:15 pm


sounds like a great uplifting weekend!! good on ya!!

3 | andrea tomkins

May 11th, 2017 at 11:38 am


Thank you! I think it will stay with me for a long time!

4 | a peek inside the fishbowl » Blog Archive About that 5K (the Color Run!) and a fitness switcheroo - a peek inside the fishbowl

August 15th, 2017 at 8:28 am


[…] actually completed two 5Ks this summer: one was the Run for Women (which I wrote about here) and the other was the Ottawa Color Run, which took place the day before we left on our annual […]

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  • andrea tomkins: It was gorgeous and we had amazing weather. It went by too quickly... as it always does. :)
  • Peter G.: You know you are in a good place when even the dog is smiling. Looks like it was a lovely and likely deserved getaway.
  • Nora B.: So nice to see photos of J&D's beautiful cottage. A wonderful place to get away for a little while from our crazy world!
  • Luis: Never buy a Maytag appliance I have had mine for two years now and the washer and dry suck. Washer leaves soap on clothing and dry doesn’t dry.
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  • andrea tomkins: Thank you Sally! It was so peaceful... very restorative. I look forward to our camping trips every year!

The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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