Author Archives: Cassandra Chin

“New year, new you”


Another rotation of the sun has come and gone, with it, another year crossed off. For some it was great, to others it was meh; regardless, I hope everyone learned something new and grew with it.

For many, a new year is a great time to choose new resolutions and/or goals. Whether your goal is to travel somewhere new, determine a new career path or get on a healthier track, there’s always room to grow.


K.I.S.S. principle:

Keep It Simple, Silly. When you pick your goal, make a step-by-step list of how you want to achieve it and when you want to accomplish it. For example: if you want to lose weight, the first step would be adjusting your diet and simply cutting out excess sugar (no candy, desserts, added sugar into coffee, etc). If you’re looking for a new job, create a list of what makes you happy or what you want to achieve within the job – financially or personally.

Next, decide when you want to see results and mark it down in your calendar. Keep yourself accountable to your own goals.

Everything in life takes time, but more importantly it’s the will of creating a habit (one that becomes second nature) that will ensure success. Stick with it. Results don’t happen immediately – change takes time and patience. If you fall off the wagon one day, hop right back on and repeat it the next.

Stay happy and smile!



First tri of the summer


My friends and I after our try-a-tri in Guelph.


A tad belated in posting but I finished my first Subaru try-a-tri a week and a half ago.

This year we chose to attend the Guelph tri, as opposed to completing the Niagara route again. Note to self: when signing up for new routes or races pay attention to the layout of the race. When it states, “this course has rolling hills” – it really does have quite a few hills. Both the cycling and running courses had quite a few “rolling hills” which were not enjoyable when you have dry lips and heaving lungs.

The swim itself went smoothly, though the transition took a while longer as we had wet suits this year. I really should have practiced getting in and out of them more, as well as added a few more open swims into my training regime. The wet suits are surprisingly buoyant and certainly affects the way your stroke is completed. However, the sea legs and tunnel vision I encountered last year when moving from swim to bike also wasn’t as fierce and I managed to stumble out of the water with a decent amount of grace.

Overall, the tri was a success. Though I was eleven seconds (ELEVEN SECONDS) slower than my first tri, I placed better in my gender category at eighth overall.  From my stats, it looks like I’ll need to up my game in cycling hills as that’s where I slowed down, and maintain/improve my swimming and running for the Iron Girl in August.

Next up I’ll be attending the Walking Dead Escape Race in San Diego. Keep posted for news of and from San Diego Comic Con!




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Bread and Honey Race 5k – first race of the summer


Adding to my collection of bees! Participation medals from the Streetsville Bread and Honey Race.

The Streetsville Bread and Honey Race is one of my favourite races I’ve participated in to date – it was also my first race and the one that got me hooked.

It’s well-organized with friendly staff and volunteers, wonderful support from the community, and connected to the popular Bread and Honey Festival. Yes, delicious bread and honey are served to runners as a post-race meal. It’s fantastic.
I had initially signed up for the 15k race with a goal of completing it sub 1:30 but due to a lingering injury and muscle fatigue I switched to the 5k race. I’ve learned it’s better to be safe than sorry, and just because you know you can finish a 15k, it doesn’t mean you should. As competitive as I am, running for me is about enjoying the moment and listening to my body when it says the 8k practice is too much right now and it’s better to stick to a shorter loop around the block. I never want running to become a chore.
Next up, I have my try-a-tri in two weeks. Time to rest up today and back to the grind tomorrow.
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Brick Workouts: Training for my tri

Brick workouts...

Brick workouts are easier with a support group, but it’s still difficult.

My first attempt at a brick workout last year resulted in a hilarious penguin walk-jog-waddle after my relatively short bike ride. I’m happy to say this year’s first brick workout wasn’t as horrible. Still pretty bad, but not horrible.

A brick workout is a great addition to triathlon training, switches up the regular routine, and offers a total body workout. When I had first starting creating my training schedule last year, the idea of a brick workout was foreign to me. However, the concept is relatively simple: choose two of the three disciplines and complete them back to back with minimal to no interruption in between.  Easier said than done for most people.

The most common brick workout is establishing a good transition from cycling to running. You can also choose from swimming to biking, or swimming to running, or any combination of the three.

The hardest brick workout for me was transitioning from cycling to running. When your legs become used to the circular motion of your bike, switching from cycling to running, which is a more linear motion, takes some adjusting too. The heavy feeling you’ll feel in your legs during this transition will remind you of carrying weights, hence the name “brick workout.”

You’ll find your heart rate rise rapidly as it adjusts from one sport to another. A brick workout is also not something you want to daily; at most once a week, or even once every two weeks.

USA Triathlon recommends giving yourself “several weeks of easy-steady aerobic training and light strength training to first build your aerobic fitness base.” The organization notes it takes around two to three months of base training before brick workouts should be added to your training schedule.

What I’ve learned through trial and error (and some research):

-Listen to your body. I’m all for pushing myself past my own limits, but sometimes you just have to listen to the creaking in your body and make minutia adjustments.

-Make sure you can complete each phase by itself before trying to do them together. It will be a train wreak if you attempt to do both but you’re not ready to handle it.

-Start small. Make sure the distances you choose for your brick workout are in line with where you currently are in your training program.

-Learning to transition is its own challenge. By transition I mean going from wetsuit to shoes, etc.

-It takes longer to recuperate. The first few times you attempt a brick, it will take your body longer than expected to bounce back from the workout purely because you are using more muscles than in a typical training routine.

Some examples of a brick workout include:

-5 mile bike (roughly 8km), followed by 1 mile run (around 2.5km); repeated four times

-45 minute bike ride, 10 minute run (distance is not a factor)

-Swim 400 metres – 3 mile (6.5k) bike; repeat x2 (harder to pull of in terms of getting your bike to a pool and keeping it accessible, or even a body of water)


That said, have fun!

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New year, new goals, new adventures

Day 7

#365DaysofHappiness Day 7: A night of bouldering.


I’m sad to say I’ve neglected posting here this past year, which has flown by incredibly fast.

To recap the year so far:

In January, I decided to start the #365DaysofHappiness challenge. To my surprise, I haven’t stopped as yet.

In February, I added bouldering into my already busy schedule.

In March, I ran the first of my races.  The race itself, Around the Bay 5k in Hamilton, has easily become one of my favourite races to date. Well-organized and friendly, the there and back loop concludes with runners entering the FirstOntario Place. As you enter the arena, the yelling and cheers of supportive friends and family members is akin to athletes finishing an Olympic race – it was amazing. To date I’ve signed up for 11 races spread throughout the year, including the Spartan Race, Iron Girl, and a half marathon in October (my first).

In April, I climbed the steps of the CN Tower for the first time on behalf of World Wildlife Foundation (WWF). Phew, that was a different challenge on its own! Plus running up 1,776 steps or 144 flights while recovering from a bad bout of the cough wasn’t the brightest of ideas.

It’s now May and I’m finally back into full training mode. Between the swimming, running and biking in the morning, there’s karate, bouldering and yoga in the evenings. Rest days are amazing.

My next race is Streetsville’s Bread and Honey Race, in which I decided to signed up for the 15k. (Part of me wonders why I didn’t sign up for the 5k instead). The following week is my first try-a-tri.

A tad belated, but here’s to another fantastic year!

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Dinosaurs rap with The Notorious B.I.G.

This video is the definition of Throwback Thursday. It’s the perfect mix of two ’90s hits and a kick of nostalgia that left me in a fit of laughter.

the notorious b.i.g.

A figurine of Earl Sinclair.


The mash-up, originally posted on YouTube last year by Benjamin Roberts, is a spectacularly catchy video of Dinosaurs’ Earl Sinclair performing “Hypnotize” by The Notorious B.I.G. It’s a perfect lip-sync of Earl rapping to the groovy beats and doing the jiggy with cut footage from the original television show.

It’s one of those moments where you can’t help but recall your childhood. It’s like when you’re walking down the grocery aisles and stumble across a favorite childhood snack, such as Dunk-a-roos, or find your long lost Tamagotchi

For more, visit BreakingModern here.

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365 Days of Happiness: Making social media work for you

The power of social media is undeniable. It can work against people — reports of online bullying and negative publicity are always in the news — but it can also help us support a cause. The ALS promotion that swept social channels in the summer of 2014 is a great example of the power of social media.

Be the Happy

The 356 Days of Happiness Challenge, a recent social media phenomenon, encourages you to post one photo a day of something that made/makes you happy that day. It could be of a surprise coffee left on your desk by a coworker, hitting the gym, chilling with friends or even just a night in with Game of Thrones reruns.

365 Days of Happiness

#365DaysofHappiness Day 25: Second day of KU training


The idea of the 365 Days of Happiness Challenge was expanded from the social media experiment, #100HappyDays. That challenge came about as a way to reconnect people to their lives. According to the 100HappyDays website, “71 percent of people tried to complete this challenge, but failed quoting lack of time as the main reason.” If we can’t take the time to recognize and pursue our happiness, we might run into some real issues.

I’ve found that a goal like this helps to keep your daily mindset positive and, at the end of the day, you’ve got a pretty happy (if not totally content) life. When your day is going to hell and everything goes wrong — which it will, usually in threes, when the first thing goes wrong watch out for two more. In times like these think of one moment, just one, that made you smile that day. I had a particularly rough patch a few weeks ago and this challenge reminded me that life will continue, the clock continues ticking regardless of how you feel at that moment, and if you’ve committed to recognizing happiness it will make you feel better. Your family and friends will always be there to hold your hand, encourage you, bother you and tell you to keep your chin up…

For more, visit BreakingModern here.

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It’s the year of the sheep – kung hei fat choy!

chinese new year sheep

The Year of the Sheep (or Ram or Goat)


Kung Hei Fat Choy!

Chinese New Year follows the lunar calendar and typically occurs between Jan. 21 and Feb. 20. This year it falls on Thursday, Feb. 19. Like any other cultural New Year’s celebration around the world, Chinese New Year varies slightly depending on its geographic neighbors.

Year of the Sheep

This year celebrates the Sheep — also known as the Year of the Goat or Year of the Ram, depending on your culture. As with astrology, the animal signs represent not what others perceive you as being, but are assigned by the year you are born.

To make it slightly more confusing, there are also animal signs assigned by the month known as the “inner animals,” by the day known as “true animals” and by the hour known as the “secret animals.” This means that even if you are born in the year of the Rabbit, you can have the traits of a Dragon internally, an Ox truly and a Tiger secretly. Most people simplify this process by stating what animal year they were born.

That said, people born in the year of the Sheep are (supposed to be) tender, polite, filial, clever and kindhearted. Overall, they are sensitive and gentle, but are often worriers and shy…

For more, visit BreakingModern here.

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Book Review: The Bitterbynde Trilogy – where Celtic lore meets orcs

“The rain was without beginning and without end. It pattered on incessantly, a drumming of impatient fingers. The creature knew only the sound of the rain and the rasp of its own breathing. It had no concept of its own identity, no memory of how it had come to this place. Inchoate purpose drove it upward, in darkness. Over levels of harsh stone it crawled and through dripping claws of vegetation. Sometimes it slept momentarily or perhaps lost consciousness.”

Looking for an epic trilogy? Want one that’s already finished, so you don’t wait endlessly for more?

The Bitterbynde Trilogy by Cecilia Dart-Thornton was first conceived over a decade ago, but it wasn’t until recently that I stumbled across the fantasy series in a used bookstore in Australia. I snatched it up and soon discovered what I was missing. Nestled in a corner shop on the edge of a bustling beach, I thanked my luck I was able to find all three novels side-by-side. Needless to say, much of the next two days was spent with my nose pressed into the yellowed pages (when I wasn’t out snorkeling or hiking the beautiful shores of Airlie Beach).

The Bitterbynde Trilogy

The lovely trilogy I picked up from a used bookstore in Australia.


Beginnings …

The trilogy is a wonderfully concocted fantasy that brings folklore, magic and heroism to life. It all begins with a scarred, despised and mute foundling surrounded by superstitious servants and pompous lords. As the mute seeks the help of a wise woman in the outside world, it runs into trouble and is eventually saved by an adventurer who gives it the gift of communication through hand-speak and, most importantly, a name. Imrhien then sets off into a journey where she meets new friends, unkind foes, crazy wights, frightening monsters and ultimately falls in love…

For more, visit BreakingModern here.

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Top 10 Fitness Apps

Winter, if you are on the west coast of the U.S., has been mild so far, and if you’re in Canada, like I am, the worst is yet to come. No matter where you are it’s still cold outside. For fitness resolutes, the first two weeks are the hardest for fitness — it can take up to a month before a routine is set and you no longer need to force yourself to get some exercise. Whether you want to add a morning jog before you go to work or schedule in a quick set or three in the gym, here are 10 apps that will help you accomplish your 2015 fitness resolutions.


You Are Your Own Gym

This is one of my favorite travel companions since it’s essentially a gym in your pocket. This particular app hosts a series of workouts featuring body weight movements that don’t require any equipment, aside from a bench or chair that should be easy enough to find.

Body weight exercises are my go-to because you can do them anywhere and at any time. A quick set of 20 jumping jacks, 15 push-ups and 10 sit-ups/crunches done three times will pick up your heart rate and warm you up. If you’re looking for something more challenging, burpees and jump squats are an excellent way to sky rocket yourself, or you can really push yourself with interval training, such as Tabata

For more, visit BreakingModern here.

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