Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Speedy 3K tempo (for me)

Found my Black Diamond headlamp again!  Thank goodness.  It is much nicer to run at night when you can actually see where you're going.


Note the return of the awkward ponytail? Hopefully the blinking rear light on my headlamp distracted anyone who saw me out there...


Shiny little moon directly overhead.

See how dark my street is?

Home at last :)

3k in 20 mins.   Yay me.

Techy Tuesday: Running Room Half Marathon Web Clinic - First Impressions

As a part of my Run Van Blogger experience, I had the opportunity to receive a complimentary half marathon clinic to help me prepare for race day.  While I did have a dedicated running coach for my first Half Marathon, I have always been really curious about the Running Room clinics so was excited to take this one for a spin.

The only problem was that I don't have a very typical life and attending a clinic in person is very difficult for me because:

a) I live a half hour outside of Calgary
b) We only have one vehicle
c) We have toddler twins who need to go to bed shortly after an in-store clinic would start
d) our commute is hellish enough as it is

Enter: the web clinic.
Problem solved.  

Soon, I was registered into the online clinic.  I thought I would share some of my initial impressions in case you've been considering doing one of these.

Perhaps the biggest thing I thought I would be missing out on, by doing an online clinic, was the demonstrations that go with it. There are some things that just can't be relayed succinctly in text.  As soon as I clicked on the curriculum link, I was pleasantly surprised to find audio files for many of the sessions, in addition to the textual write-ups.  

Other features of the online course are:
  • Extensive PDF clinic training manual (could be downloaded to read on an e-reader)
  • training plans - you can customize them based on your goal finish time and they feature goal paces for each training run
  • printable pace bands
  • training log
  • calculators
  • archive of the instructor emails (helpful when you start a few weeks in, like I did)
  • a discount coupon for the Running Room
All of this is available from your Running Room account, so if you are already registered, you will soon notice a small button on the bottom left of your profile to access the clinic.


From what I can see, Running Room does e-learning right.  (And I can say this with some authority, since I worked in e-learning for years and years.)  They provide a ton of information within the profile that can be accessed at anytime PLUS, they have a dedicated instructor who is available to answer questions or provide guidance along the way.

The only thing I can initially see as being a disappointment was that there is no way to interact with other clinic participants. An online chat would have been wonderful, but it definitely does not distract from the truly awesome list of features the online clinic DOES have.

Just my initial impressions. Now that I have caught up on the curriculum I missed, I am looking forward to making the most out of my clinic experience and will hopefully emerge on the other side of my race with a new personal best!  I'll weigh in later with more thoughts!

Monday, January 30, 2012

MOMday: Telus Spark

When the grand opening date for the new science centre were announced...I added them to my Cozi calendar and added a note "Try to visit in 3-4 months once the crowds have dispersed". As the months passed since the grand opening and the reviews have come rolling in - I admit, it's been hard to stay away.  Finally, this last weekend, we went to check it out.

I never visited the old Science Centre downtown.  Partly because admission seemed so expensive and partly because I didn't have kids to entertain in the winter.  Now that I have the munchkin twins, I feel a need to take them out and provide experiences to enrich their growing minds.  At two and a half, they are in a much better place to enjoy a place like Telus Spark.

The biggest draw for us was the Creative Kids Museum.  As far as we could tell, much of the rest of the centre is geared toward an older audience.   With this in mind, we toured the entire place but our attention was ultimately focused on the Creative Kids Museum to make sure Doodle and Buggie would get the most out of the day.    It was just as well, anyway, since the museum had a HUGE amount of things to occupy small hands.

Everything at SPARK is geared toward being a very hand-on experience.  There are experiments to conduct, materials to manipulate, cranks to spin, pieces to assemble and buttons to push.   In every area BUT the Creative Kids Museum, the tables are at a height that is more easily accessible to an older child.  I'd say around 8 years old.  We found we needed to lift the girls up often to reach things until we headed into the Museum.

The Creative Kids Museum is a feast for the senses.   We didn't even make it through everything in there and the girls LOVED everything that did try.  What amazed us most was that they weren't even drawn to the play structure...they wanted to play with the experiments.   Doodle immediately started to play with the magnets and loved it when one of the staff members came over to show her how to build a bridge. 

Buggie was enthralled by the floating "bouncy balls" and spent a good 20 minutes hovering the foam balls over the air tubes.

They were also huge fans of the water piano.  I can already see which kid needs to go into music lessons soon...


It was at the water area where the real action happened.   The entire area is on a raised platform in the museum.  There is a large water table that dominates a large portion of the platform and, along the edges, there are seats for the parents (much needed when you see how long your kids will play in the water) and a slate "painting wall" where kids can paint with water.  After seeing the girls enthusiasm for this wall, we started thinking of ways we might build our own at home!  There are thick, waterproof aprons for the kids to wear while they play.

The water table itself is pretty cool.  There is a large reservoir that has a section in the middle, where a kid can climb up through a hole and be surrounded by water.   There are two sections that descend from this main reservoir - one leading to an assortment of fountains; the other littered with rocks and stones.  There are boats and ducks to float through the obstacles and to play with how water works and moves.   There is also an area where the kids can turn cranks to pump water into a raised reservoir and then they can place various track pieces to watch water flow when a chain is pulled.  

The girls spent a good half hour playing in the water.  When they started getting a bit over-excited and stopped listening to our requests that they not transport water in the boats across the floor...we decided it was time to take them to a quieter area to calm down.

On to the "Baby and Toddler" area.  Along one of the walls is, arguably, one of the neatest learning area for the little ones.   Meant for ages three and under - the room is a sensory playground, complete with crawling track and padded blocks, a wall with velcro alphabet letters and many other toys geared toward the smaller kids.  Our twins really loved the area and it was a great place to help them calm down after the excitement of the water table.

When the girls started to tire of the the experience, we knew it was time to take them home.   But not before we stopped in the atrium area where the giant foam blocks were!  Part of me wishes we had room at home to invest in these because they had so much fun walking on them and pushing them over.   


I had my reservations about whether the girls would find any value in the Telus SPARK.  I thought they might be a touch on the young side for it, but I was happily proven wrong.   They loved everything and it was great to see the wheels turning as they learned new things. I could see this being a monthly destination for us since there is still so much that we didn't even have a chance to explore.

I definitely recommend this place as a family outing.   There is something for everyone and you'll all learn something along the way!

Visitor Tips from a Mom in the Know:

1) Be prepared to pay for parking.  It is NOT free. (though if you buy a Gold membership - then it is).  You pay for it at the same time you pay your admission.

2) Under age 3 are free (Bonus for us that the girls are only 2.5!)

3) If you decide to buy a membership after your first visit - the admission from that visit can be used against the total cost.  We're seriously considering this.

4) Bring food - we ended up having lunch in the cafe there and it was not worth the $27 for the soggy sandwich, a dry sandwich and really bad hummus we got.  We noticed after than most people seemed to be unpacking picnic lunches.

5) There are locker rentals - if you need to pack stuff around, get one.  Having your hands free is a huge luxury here.

6) Note the location of the quiet room in the Creative Kids Museum.  If you have a kid who is easily overstimulated, you will appreciate knowing how to get here quickly.

7) Dress them in short sleeves.  There is a large water-play area and they are going to WANT to play in it.   The waterproof aprons only cover so much and long sleeves make for discomfort later.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

My Training Week in Review

And with that, my first full week of training for BMO Vancouver Marathon is done.   And I feel so great about it!!! I stuck to the plan - even when it meant running in the dark after the girlies were in bed.

  • Tues - 4k Tempo
  • Wed - 3k Tempo (plus 40 mins on the bike!)
  • Thurs - 4K steady
  • Sat - 7K LSD
  • Sun - 3K steady

I think the thing I like best about following the Running Room schedule for this half is that it gives me target paces for each type of run.  I admit I am a bit nervous going into this with a finish time goal, but these target paces are completely do-able for me.  

I also can't believe I ran 5 days this week!!!   That is the first time in a very long time I've done that!

A fun side effect of committing to my training plan (and starting a new job that doesn't have a yummy Good Earth in the lobby) is that I am also down on the scale!

I also made a couple of big decisions this week...

1) I am going to get some nutrition and weight loss counseling.  I have access to this through my work's wellness program and I intend to take full advantage of it.  I used to work for an employer who had a similar program and I found it very helpful.  My benefits kick in on Wednesday and I plan to contact them that morning to get things started.

2) We are finally buying a treadmill. I need it from a safety standpoint - running at night in the winter in Langdon is just not safe. and I need it from a family standpoint - I can be a much more available mom if I can just run at home. I don't particularly care for the dreadmill...but it makes sense for me to have one at home and will remove a lot of excuses from ever forming.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

REGISTERED! 2012 Mother's Day Run and Walk 5k


I've been so busy this month, that I didn't even realize I hadn't yet set up the team for the Forzani Mothers Day Run and Walk until we got the brochure in the mail yesterday!

So, after being asked a bazillion times today - I came straight home and registered the team!  Hubby and I will be doing the 5k again this year (one of us will be pushing the twins in the double stroller - probably him, since I did it last year).

This is one event that means so much to our family, since our twins were born 6 weeks premature and needed to spend the first 8 days of their little lives in the Calgary NICUs.  The care they received truly gave them the best start in life and we will be forever grateful to everything the staff did during those 8 days!  This race is a major fundraiser for the NICUs and forming a team to run or walk at this event is our way of giving back.

We're not actively fundraising, but if anyone wants to donate to me, I have a donation page set up at:
http://www.eventsonline.ca/cgi-bin/events/forzani_cal/pledge.pl?id=JME2635374

This year, the money raised will go toward buying the following equipment:


Foothills Medical Centre
4 SiPAP Units

Rockyview General Hospital
SiPAP Unit
Neonatal Ventilator

Peter Lougheed Centre
8 Joey Beds
Bili Bassinet

And, if you are in Calgary and are interested in joining our team, please email me for more information.

Long Run = Done!

First things first - I couldn't bear the thought of gracing the pathways with my super awkward 2 inch long ponytail, so I went cute and did pigtails again.   I don't know why I am so lazy on weekdays when the piggies only take a minute more to do...


The car told me it was much colder than I expected after seeing the forecast. (don't judge the Forester's fuel efficiency from this pic - we'd just gassed up)

My Running Room training schedule called for a 7K long run this weekend and, since I prefer my long runs to fall on Saturday, I headed to the city to git 'er done.  But by the time I got to the city, the temperature was looking a bit more reasonable (as was the fuel efficiency, obvs.):

Great tip for anyone who is a Garmin newbie - turning on the GPS and putting it on your dash while you drive, means the signal is usually found by the time you get to your destination.

I  met up with JS and J at Eau Claire, plus our furriest runner girl, Sally (J's dog). There were also a bunch of other gals from our TNT Team so we had fun laughing and warming up altogether before heading out.

Today seemed like a great day to head out through the East Village so off we went.  51 mins of great conversation later, we were back at Eau Claire and ready for some serious coffee :)


From Daily Mile

Tired of dealing with my foot pain, I decided to tighten the heck out of my shoes and, voila, no pain.  As much as I hate the feeling of tight tight tight shoes - it sure does seem to make a difference for me.

I felt great today on the run.  Even though the Running Room's plans call for Rune 10 mins: walk 1 min, I haven't done that ratio in a long time.  Instead, we usually just take a walk break every two kilometres.   It felt comfortable today - like my 3 continuous runs this week made a difference. 

So, now it is on to week 2 of my training for BMO Vancouver Marathon.  Less than 100 days until I am running in that beautiful city!!!  I am so excited!!!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Reads: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?  is Mindy Kaling's foray into the "Girl comedian ventures into publishing" world. Hey - it worked for Tina Fey, so why not, right?

I LOVE the office and I really think Kaling is incredibly talented and hilarious.  Did I think her book lived up to my expectations?  Not really.   Do I feel like I know Mindy Kaling a little bit better as a result of reading it? Absolutely.

The book is very much an out of order autobiography with a few comedy bits interspersed.  I think she perhaps focused a bit too heavily on making it "real" instead of making it "funny".  It was rare that I found myself laughing aloud.  More often than not, I caught myself nodding along with some of her observations on life.

Really, this book was written by a normal girl who has a good relationship with her family and lived a relatively normal life while she worked her way up the comedy ladder.   Her story sounds familiar - growing up normally, going to college, fostering close friendships, moving across the country to take a job.  Sure, her name appears on the credits for The Office in about a bazillion places (what doesn't she do on that show?) but ultimately it felt like she took a pretty normal route to get there and has stayed a fairly normal gal.

Maybe that's all she wanted to put out there.  

So, Mindy.  To answer your question.  Yes - everyone IS hanging out without you, but you likely don't really care because you're probably hanging out with those nearest and dearest to you anyway.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Another 4K done!

It was such a pretty night tonight.  Fluffy clouds and a bright little sliver of moon.  I tried to take a picture to share, but my blackberry sucks in low light.

There was a 4K steady run on the training plan so, the second the girls were safely locked in their room tucked into their beds, I headed out the door.  Running up and down the streets near my house sounded like the most boring thing in the world, so I took off on my summer 4k route - a loop around town.  

Once I crossed over the highway - the roads were clear and dry.  It was like leaving Antarctica to run across California.   I would have been so much more comfortable in my regular runners - the trail shoes are overkill on dry asphalt.  

I missed my target pace of 7:19/K (as per my Running Room schedule) but wasn't far off at 7:26/k.  Slow and steady.  No walk breaks.   Then followed up with a nice calf and hamstring stretch.  All in all - a very nice run.

Cori the Relay Runner?

I had an interesting BBM conversation this week with my friend Sue from Sylvan Lake.   She decided to put together a team for the K-100 Relay Race in June and wanted to know if I was interested in joining.

 

To be honest, I hadn't even thought about it.  I was aware of the race, since it's a Hostels International race (they also host the Last Chance Half).  I've followed several bloggers through their amazing relay experiences and have found it to be a very exciting idea.  I'm already running in the Rick Hansen Relay. I've just never thought about DOING a relay race.

Well, as you know from the opportunities that ave been knocking on my door this past couple of years...I have a hard time turning down new experiences.

SO, I SAID YES!

The race is June 23rd and runs between Longview and Nakiska.  I don't know what leg I will be doing yet (in fact, that is a reminder that I should review them and let Sue know what my top 3 choices are).  No matter what I choose, it's definitely going to be a beautiful race. Maybe even beautiful enough to make me not realize there are so many hills...

So, as soon as I am done Vancouver - this will be the race I am training for.   I have a feeling 2012 is going to be a very interesting year!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Introducing: The Ponytail

My hair has finally reached that stage....I will be the awkward looking one on the paths for the next year or so...

well...more awkward looking than usual...


3.25K done.  Still going strong with the weekday training...if 2 days can be counted as going strong...

Now to hop on the bike and get caught up on my Gossip Girl...

Workout Wednesday: Laziness or Justified?

So far, in 2012, I have left a job I was in for a very long time, started a job with a new company in a dramatically different location, left one dayhome, started a new one (and let's not forget the transition time in between), had too many goodbye lunches in restaurants to count, and had my MIL move out of our home.   That is in the first 3 weeks of THIS YEAR!!!  I think if there was a stress index for that - I might be off the charts.  I should probably also touch on the migraines I have been getting almost everyday - whether due to the shifting weather or a byproduct of all of this stress.

2012 has been a challenging year to just jump into already.  I make plans and life happens.  I adjust plans and life happens again.   I say "to hell with planning" and things area left undone.   And then I beat myself up over it.

But, that is the reality.  As a working mom - life does happen.  There is dinner to be made and kids who won't go to sleep when you tell them to go to sleep.  There are things around the house that only you can do.  There are bills to pay and budgets to balance.   By the time the day ends, you have been up since 4:35am and it is suddenly 8pm and you should be heading down to the workout room or hitting the road for a run and it is, quite frankly, the last thing you want to do.  To top it off - this is just the everyday stuff.  We are not even talking real emergencies here!

The real question is how long can you let life interrupt your health?   At what point have you "justified" your way out enough workouts to mean you are just being lazy?  One week? Two weeks?

I would like to say that I have only really been slacking off for two weeks.   I entered the year with a bang.   I've been laying out plans for each week since, but have been falling seriously shy of the mark. I recognize that some days have been justified.  The days where I turn to hubby and ask him to take the top off my head and rinse the headache out are justified.   The days I absolutely needed that hour before bed to get everything ready to go to the dayhome the next day - justified.   The days I plopped down on the sofa to veg with some PVRed soaps?  Perhaps not so justified.

With this in mind, I have created a justification meter for myself:




1 Honestly, am I just being lazy?
2 But I NEED to sit down and watch the 3 episodes I recorded!
3 I ate too much dinner
4 I had a super long day and now that the kids are down - I'll just sit for a moment - I'll work out in a bit (and actually intend to get the workout in)
5 I just need a rest day - I've already worked out 4 times this week
6 I really want to work out, but the kids just won't settle in for the night.  Climbing the stairs 12 times should count as a workout, right? At least I walked at lunch today.
7 I'm so stressed out - an hour on the bike will help with that, but I can't take that time right now
8 Why aren't there enough hours in the day?  The day was so packed and suddenly it's time for bed and I haven't gotten my workout in yet!
9 I have a migraine/flu/nasty cold/sick kid

Ideally, I should always fall between 4 and 6...meaning I get the workout in.  If I am below 4 - I need to call myself lazy and just get it done.   Above 6 - TOTALLY JUSTIFIED in skipping that days workout.  If it stretches on for more than a couple of days, though, then I need to reassess life and see if maybe I could be managing things better - either by calling in extra help of getting hubby to share more of the load.   9, of course, is not an excuse.  It's just self care to skip the workout.

Are you able to justify your way out of any workout?  How do you mentally bitchslap yourself to stop being lazy?  I'm totally looking for tips here!!!  Let me know in the comments!

Also - today I've joined up on a blog hop! Welcome to any new visitors to my little blog!!!



Tuesday, January 24, 2012

4.5K Continuous: Let the training begin!

Today I got the shove I needed to get me into the game again.   My registration in the half marathon clinic (Online through the Running Room) and my registration for the Vancouver Half Marathon both happened today.

I was playing around with the online clinic and pulled up my training plan.  JS and I decided to aim for 2:15 as our goal on this race so I studied the plan intently.  Seeing that it was just a 4K tempo run scheduled for today - as soon as my girlies were in bed, I pulled on my running gear and headed out the door.

Speed work has never really been a friend of mine.  Doing speedwork on the unshoveled walks of Langdon is practically suicide...so I opted for a 4K continuous run instead.  The goal was to keep my average page under 7 min/k

The town was so quiet tonight.   I think I only passed one vehicle and 3 people walking their dogs.  I would have brought my dogs with me, but we've already touched on how speedwork in Langdon is suicide (Yellow Girl loves to run but I can't hold her 4 min/k pace for more than a couple of minutes).

In an effort to play safe - I wore my orange pylon coloured jacket from the 2010 Resolution Run, reflective BondiBand and my little headlamp (of course my Black Diamond one decided to hide when I decided to do a spur of the moment night run).



I wanted to avoid the highway at all costs so ended up running up and down the streets on the west side of town.   Boring but effective.  Toward the end the wind really kicked up and I got a bit of a strength workout plowing into a wall of air.   That same wall pushed me home when I was at my most tired.   I ended up at 4.5K and an average pace of 6:56/k   GOAL ACHIEVED!!!

Tired and windswept a half hour later...this pic shows the fluorescence of the jacket better...


I'm so proud of me for getting out there on a weeknight.   It's been a very long time since I've been able to convince myself to run during the week in the winter!

Monday, January 23, 2012

MOMday: When to call It Quits

No - not motherhood.  or work. or life. I'm talking about outings here.  

I have this big thing about offering as many experiences to our girlies as I possibly can.  Whether it is a trip to the zoo or a walk in the park.   I get these grand ideas about how the trip should go and how long it should take.  

Of course, usually that translates into them having other ideas (Say what!?!?! - I know - I'm still shocked every time it happens).   I am usually the one who ends up disappointed when an outing doesn't pan out the way I envision it.   Then I get mad.  and I usually end up in tears.  It's not pretty - considering the twins are usually also in tears because they no longer want to be there.  I guess I've just had a hard time rolling with certain things.   I've endured shopping trips punctuated by screams just because I think we should be doing it as a family. 

But this weekend, I finally let them dicate.  

We went to the Chinese New Year celebrations in Chinatown.  The dragon and lion dance was to start at noon sharp and we were running late.   Then we ended up way far away from the action.   Unfortunately, the celebration started with 20 minutes of speeches.  Who really expects 2 year olds to sit still through long speeches?  When the lions and dragon came out to dance, I hoisted Doodle up onto my shoulders and she watched for approximately 2 full minutes and then she asked if we could go.  Buggie was already playing in the snow and throwing snowballs at everyone by then.  

As much as I wanted to watch the dragon dance - I had to weigh it out.  

1) It was warmer out than it has been, but it still wasn't THAT warm.

2) We had crappy "seats" anyway

3) It hadn't cost us anything but the time to drive to the city - which we might have done anyway at some point that day.

So - we left.  Went to Eau Claire and beat the rush for lunch in the food court. The girls chattered about the dragon and we looked at the photos and videos I took, holding the camera above my head.  

They still got the experience - it might not have been what we'd originally planned, but it still worked.  Best of all, this particular aborted outing taught me alot about assessing when to abort the outing.

It would have probably been much harder had we paid money to be there.  I might have tried harder to salvage a trip to the zoo or the science centre...but sometimes it isn't even worth it to do that.   I want to foster as many positive experiences as I can in their little lives and if it is forced, then it isn't going to be positive.

Guess it just takes me a bit sometimes to figure out when to let go.

Friday, January 20, 2012

At last, I can share my news!

Guess who's going to Vancouver!?!?!

THIS GIRL!!!!

Ok - crazy story.   I was getting ready to go home from work last Wednesday and my Blackberry told me I had a new email.  I opened it up and got the shock of a lifetime!  BMO Vancouver Marathon was asking me to be an official Van Run Blogger at the 2012 event weekend!!!!  If I accepted, they wanted me to chronicle my training adventures and then report on my race weekend experiences!  So exciting!

I hadn't intended to run a half this spring (let alone a destination one), but with an offer like this, how could I refuse?!?!   Free event entry plus a training clinic in exchange for some words.  Words, I have plenty of.  Motivation? That's the stuff I need...and this is definitely motivation!

So, after a couple of emails and a phone call and then some paperwork...I accepted!   The weekend of May 4-6, I will be in lovely Vancouver and ready to run!



The route for the half sounds so amazing, running through many neighbourhoods that hold fond memories for me:
  • Historic Cambie Street
  • Chinatown
  • Yaletown
  • English Bay
  • Stanley Park
  • Downtown

I can already PICTURE this race!!   Good thing they gave me some notice, since it's been 5 years since I was last there and I already have a huge list of restaurants that need to feed me LOL. Better start saving my money now :)  Plus, I need to rally all of my Vancouver friends for a super cheering section!!!!

That weekend, I would also be covering the Expo and the Friendship Run.  Plenty of opportunity for adventure!  I'm in pretty good company, too, since I noticed Ben from BenDoesLife is also an official blogger!

I've already convinced JS to join me and would love to drag all of my Runner Girlies along for the fun!  Guess we'll see if it can be swung ;) Oh - and I need to talk to the weather gods to make sure the forecast isn't for rain!!!


Disclaimer:  Anything I write regarding my training adventures (both here and on my social networks) for Vancouver Half are my own thoughts and opinions and in no way reflect those of the Vancouver International Marathon Society, BMO Vancouver Marathon, or their related sponsors.   In exchange for my promoting the event weekend, I am receiving free admission into the race and an online half marathon training clinic, plus media accreditation on the event weekend, training clothing and any promotion that the marathon wishes to provide for my blog.    

Though, you all know that I would have written about my journey anyway...it's just who I am and what my blog is all about!

Friday Reads: Just Let Me Lie Down by Kristen van Ogstrop

For a book whose jacket description sounded so promising - I think this one kind of missed the mark on my expectations.  That's not to say it wasn't amusing or insightful, but it was not what I was wanting.

Essentially, the book is directed at working moms.  I thought it would be filled with wisdom on how to find my own balance in this world.  Instead, I was greeted by alphabetical chapters and a glorified glossary of terms relating to working motherhood.   Sure - some of the entries were quite funny, but it just wasn't what I was looking for.

It's a quick read, though - so if you want a witty read to distract you temporarily from working motherhood...nah - this won't even do that.   I just can't recommend it.   Perhaps as a bathroom reader bought on clearance...then it might be better enjoyed bit by bit.

Monday, January 16, 2012

In with a whimper...

January 2010 came on like a vengeance.   I had a mission and I was determined to conquer anything that stood between myself and my formerly fat self.    I was dedicated.  I was committed. (Some days my family probably came close to actually committing ME).

But I had a goal and I made real progress.

January 2011, I had experienced a couple of setbacks and had to recover some of the progress I had made, but I charged ahead.   I had the same mission and I was still kicking butt and taking names.   The first half of the year were great for weight loss...then I started marathon training and marathon gaining.

That brings us to January 2012...it came in with a whimper.   It came in with despair and longing.   I had almost negated any progress that early 2011 has shown.   My pants were tight.  My shirts hung weird.  I really needed the motivation.  The drive.  The focus.

But then I got sick.  Then, my kids got sick.   Then other drama happened at home.  

The first week, I stuck to my workout goals...kind of.  I worked out 5 days of the week.

The second week I had 3 workouts...and 2 of them were titled "slow walk with family" on my calendar.   Slow walk with family, for those who can't figure it out, means walking as fast as a two year old walks while drinking some sort of warm beverage in a to-go cup.  and wearing jeans.   It's not really a workout.  Oh - and I missed my long run because it was -29C with the windchill...brrr.

So, yes.  I can make the excuse that I was sick or that life was happening and needed me elsewhere.  But really - it was laziness.   The same laziness that had me snacking in front of the TV for three nights after I said I would stop. The difference is that I DID stop after those 3 days and I feel much better for it.

I also got on the bike on Saturday and also felt much better for it.

and now I'm tired of whimpering.

Bye-bye whimper.  Hello ROAR! 

I have big news coming today or tomorrow.  As soon as I CAN post it, I will.   I am super pumped and VERY motivated now so it is time to pretend like it is January 1st again and kick my arse into gear.   2012 is going to be a great year...and I don't intend to spend it carrying around more fat that is absolutely necessary.

My Plan for the Week:

Monday: Bike 40 mins
Tuesday: Rip:60 workout (plus bike if I am feeling super motivated or have time)
Wednesday: Bike 40 mins
Thursday: Rip:60 Workout (plus bike if I am feeling super motivated or have time)
Friday: Off
Saturday: Run
Sunday: Rip:60 workout plus bike

Track all food. Stop snacking at 7pm. Drink so much water my eyeballs float.


and you all?  Stay tuned....

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday Reads: Matched and Crossed by Ally Condie

This is another YA dystopian trilogy.  Much like Hunger Games and Divergent - it delves into a world where a single entity now decides what's best for society and the citizens simply fall in line.

Matched - Book #1

In Matched, we meet Cassia on the day of her Matching Banquet.  It is this day that she will find out who will be her future husband and father of her children.   Typically, the first time a girl sees her match, it is on a video screen because they usually live in another province.   Imagine Cassia's surprise when her name is called and her match turns out to be Xander, her best friend since childhood.

Excited, when she gets home, she puts his bio card into the computer and after momentarily seeing Xander's picture, she is them presented with the picture of another boy.  Someone she also knows - Ky.  

Confusion ensues as everything Cassia has ever believed to be true about the world is questioned.   Is her perfect match Xander or is it Ky?  And why would the "Society" make a mistake like this when Ky is not even in the matching pool.

Whether it is the mistake that starts the ball rolling or if it was detined to happen anyway - Cassia finds herself more and more drawn to Ky - ultimately affecting her relationship with Xander.

I don't want to give too much away because I really did enjoy this book and do recommend it.   It is not as captivating as Divergent or Hunger Games, but it is a sweet teenage love triangle story with another big, bad, manipulative government twist and plenty of secrets to be had all around.   Well worth reading.


Crossed - Book #2

Book two starts a few months after book one ends.   Cassia is doing several hard labour terms before taking her permanent position as a sorter.  Ky is fighting in the war in the Outer Provinces.  They both wonder if they will ever see each other again.   In a twist - the narrative switches voices each chapter.  It starts with Ky and alternates between him and Cassia from there.

There are alot of bad reviews out there for this book..Well, not bad reviews, but wishy-washy ones.  I admit that it isn't as strong a work as Matched was but it is definitely a strong story as well.   It just tends to be a little hard to see the purpose and the chapters drag a bit because you are always switching narrators.  It might have been better to break it up into several chapters by each narrator instead of switching every single chapter.

There is A LOT of poetry in this one.  I think I had the lines from the Tennyson poem committed to memory by halfway through.  This book also takes you into the warzone and away from the "safety" of the Society.  It keeps you guessing on exactly what game is being played.

POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT! As much as it tried to play out a romance, there was a great deal of awkward tension where you just knew the characters weren't on the same page and where the book ultimately left you wondering who would end up together.  This should have been a good ending point for a "book 2" but instead if felt sloppy and  out of place.   Guess that's how they'll hook me for book 3...if I even remember I was reading the series when it comes out.

I think it is possible to read just the first book without needing to carry on to the second.  I was just too curious so kept going and, while some questions were answered, I didn't enjoy it as much as the first.  In Matched - I HAD to keep turning pages.  In Crossed, somedays it was an effort to turn on my Kobo.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Energy Divebomb

Holy moly - do I ever hate fighting a bug.  I mean - of course NOBODY actually LIKES to fight a bug...but I always take such pride in my ability to evade them.   I am blaming this on my slacking off on the magic multivitamins.   I thought I was out of them and couldn't get to Costco to get more so bought different ones at Superstore.  Within a week BLAMMO!  Sick.  

Luckily I found I had had a moment of genius at Costco on the last vitamin run and had actually bought a second bottle last time so I actually wasn't out of them...I'd just stored them someplace so safe that even I couldn't find them when the time came.  Regardless, now I can start seriously killing this bug and remind it how unwelcome it is in my body.

Now if only I could pump my girlies full of them too.  I'm afraid Disney Princess Gummies have nothing on Cheap Costco Prenatals.   Two girlies with flu-like symptoms is no fun.    At least they are getting it out of their systems before I start my new job and they start their new dayhome.

The downside to this bug that it has messed up my workouts this week.  I've been super weak and more than a little lazy.  I did so good the first week of the year and then NADA on the second.  Ah well - next week is another chance to succeed.  And I have some serious motivation on the near horizon (I should be able to post about it tomorrow).  

Will somebody please come to my house and remove all junk food from my pantry?  I am seriously attacking my pantry with a big black garbage bag tomorrow.   If the crap isn't in the house, I certainly can't shovel it into my face after 7, right?   Here's hoping!

So - my week has been a waste on the goals front.   Since I'll be home with the twins tomorrow, if they actually do me the favour of napping - I might get a workout in.  If not, well rumor has it I have 10K planned for Sunday...that will get me moving.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Something to work on...

I've noticed lately that I am super snacky in the evenings - often snacking until 8 or 9pm.   And then I wonder each week why the scale isn't budging.

Doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out where my stumbling block is.  I am definitely going to bed with a stuffed stomach each night this week so far.

So - for the rest of January, I am going to work hard to shut down my snack-drive at 7pm...after that, no food shall enter my maw.  Call it a mini-goal.  An add-on to my resolutions.

Let's see if that makes a difference.  I bet it does!

Race Wish List 2012

I guess it's time to start thinking about the ol' race wishlist for 2012. I am not going into this year thinking about a specific number of races I want to do...I am just going to race the ones I actually WANT to race and see if I can't smash a few PRs in the meantime.
  • March 17: Calgary Road Runners St. Patricks Day 5K - Registered!
  • March 24: Run for L'Arche 8K (why run a half when they give you a medal for the 1K!  8K at least shows I am trying..plus it will be an instant PR since I have never raced 8K before)
  • May 5: The Big Run 10K - Registered!
  • May 13: Forzani Mother's Day 5K - just waiting for registration to open! and, yes, I'll have a team again this year!
  • May 27: Calgary Marathon 10K - just waiting to see the route change before I leap on this one.
I also thought I might want to do the Police 5K again at the end of April, but now that I see this years shirts are white, I am having second thoughts.

So, this list only takes me to June.  I am trying to figure out the rest of my year from there.   I might do Edmonton Marathon 10K again.  I'm also thinking of maybe doing a Fall half, but want it to be a good one with decent swag.

To prepare for my spring races, I will be training alongside JS as she prepares for her first marathon in June.  I wish I knew right now that I could join her in Seattle, but without knowing if hubby is getting renewed at his job, it makes long term travel plans impossible.  Having a training plan will be super nice, though.   It will give me something to help build my endurance again.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Friday Reads: The Great Fitness Experiment by Charlotte Hilton...

I figured I'd start off my 2012 reviews with a fitness book - just in time to catch you all as you are reconsidering your fitness resolutions! Just kidding - I know you're all still going strong!

The Great Fitness Experiment by Charlotte Hilton Andersen is perfect for us goal setters who crave some variety but want to see if it's worth the effort. The premise of the book (and her accompanying blog) is that each month she take a different fitness craze and spends that month devoting herself to it to see if the buzz is worth it.

The book chronicles 12 months of different "experiments" and she talks candidly about what did and didn't work for her and what results she achieved during this time. The only thing I didn't really like about the book - though it was vital information to provide context to some of her struggles - was how she always returned to her own disorders around eating and over-exersizing. It does provide insight into the thoughts of someone suffering from a disorder, but may not actually put forth the message she is hoping in her otherwise witty and well-thought out book.

Loved it. It was a quirky fun read! I loved her candidness. I loved her wit (ok - the book was downright hilarious in many, MANY spots). I love the concept of the experiment. It gave me some direction on where to take my own new years resolutions this year. It's also a super fast read - only took me a couple of days.

All in all, I do recommend the book - especially as a January read. It could give some direction to someone looking to change their life - as long as you spend more time reading the experiments and the results and less on the personal essays that accompany each chapter.

And even if you don't read her book - you should definitely check out her blog at http://www.thegreatfitnessexperiment.com/

Thursday, January 5, 2012

"They won't know why they run..."

My good friend, Anna, is fond of saying this about the twins and her own granddaughter (who is just a few months older than my girls):

"They won't know why they run, they just will."

I've always kind of laughed it off, but last night it hit home for me.  Buggie and Doodle had gotten a hold of a pack of dollar store post-it notes.  There were large yellow ones in there and Buggie peeled one off and stuck it to her chest.  She then looked at me and said "Look at me, Mommy.  I'm run run running!"  and then took off...running with her little blank yellow "race bib".   (Pardon the low-light blackberry pics)
 
 

It wasn't long before Doodle needed one too.

They get it.   And, in a few years, I may have a daughter (or two) to run with.  Or perhaps to chase since I suspect they'll be faster than me... They won't have known a life that is lived any other way.







Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Race Report: 2011 Resolution Run 5K

Ya ya ya..I'm a few days late with this one.  2012 has been a busy year so far.

New Years Eve, I ran the 2011 Resolution Run 5k.  It's no secret I only run this one for the free jacket...and this year that jacket was a lovely shade of the perfect blue.

Hubby and I were in the city with the girls, interviewing a new dayhome, so we headed over to Eau Claire Market right after so we could ensure we got underground parking (See - this girlie learns from her Santa Shuffle mistake).  The twinners were asleep so the early arrival worked perfectly - we let them get in an extra half hour of snooze time while I changed into my running gear.
The weather was PERFECT!  -8C (way better than last years -20something).  All I wore was a tank under my fancy blue jacket (of course I wore tights too - don't be a perv!)  You can't really beat that for new years eve in Alberta!

Around 5:30, we met up with Mr & Mrs JS and JS's dad, Mr. L.  
 

Shortly after, J and her hubby showed up as well.  
Courtesy of Mr. JS
Courtesy of Mr. JS (meaning I stoled it from his Google+ feed)

My heart wasn't in the run itself - my heart hasn't really been in running at all lately -  but I ran with JS J was sticking to her hubby and their funny dog, Sally) and we gabbed about our holidays and our 2012 goals the entire way.  It was a really great chat and I think it helped us both define some of the things we wanted to change for how we race in 2012 (pace placement, races to run, training plans)!

All in all it took us around 34 minutes.   It was a great, relaxed run and in many ways it re-energized me to the idea of running in 2012.  

The Unspoken Resolution

Those of you who follow me on Twitter already know this, but for the rest of you - I have been kicking the coffee habit.

WHAT!?!?  

Don't get me wrong.  I love coffee.  I love coffee too much.   I love it so much that I recently bought a little Latte charm for my Pandora bracelet.  and I don't like it black (blech).  I like my lattes and my coffeemate and my sticky-sweet flavoured syrups.  I like my coffee fatty and creamy and full of calories.  And, since returning to work, I've been loving it 1-3 times a day...and that adds up.  It could even add up to the 15lbs gained last year.

So I decided that 2012 was a clean slate.  I've kicked coffee before and I have now done it again.

This isn't to say that I will never have a coffee again.  I just want to get back to the place where I can have a latte after my Saturday run as a TREAT instead of every day as a necessity.

I wasn't kidding...
The past couple of days have been shadowed with a slight headache lingering in the background.   Thanks to a few cups of black tea, that headache hasn't taken me down.   The amazing thing about kicking coffee is that tea doesn't have the same effect on me.  when weaning, tea is my savior.  It has enough caffeine to hold the headache off for the 2-3 days it takes to get over the withdrawal...and then I can just switch to herbal tea to hold over the habit.  It works perfectly.

In the past when I have kicked coffee (and I've done it probably 8 times in the last 15 years), I am always amazed at how little coffee had anything to do with keeping me awake or energizing my mornings.  I usually awake clearer-headed and with energy to spare (probably from sleeping better).

I know that right now it is a good move for me.  but don't kid yourself - I'm really looking  forward to my latte this Saturday :P

Monday, January 2, 2012

A funny thing happened on the way to my progress pic update...

I've been pretty down about 2011 and how I frittered away my weight loss until it ended up being nearly nothing (2011, I mean.  I'm still maintaining what I lost in 2010).  Looking around my workout room, my eyes immediately rest on the board where I have all of my progress pics since January 2010.   So, what do I do?  I turn that board around, hand the camera to hubby and say "Please take new pics for me.  I'm starting fresh!"

and when I pull these new pics into photoshop and start lining them up, I discover a funny thing.  They don't look terribly different from the ones that were taken in June...when I was at 52lbs lost.   Right now, sitting back up at only 35ls lost - I can't help but be smacked across the face by this.   Actually, I've kind of been bitchslapped up the face by it.

Sure, there are places that are a bit flobblier than they were in June.  I haven't been a very good girl throughout The Great Marathon Adventure of 2011 - and it shows.  But I'm not as far gone as I keep thinking I am.  As I keep seeing myself as being.

June 2011:

And now:


And exactly two years ago:

Guess it's good for me to get this perspective happening this early in the year.   I feel better already. Now to keep the momentum going!

and some more "pinspiration" for y'all:


And, yes...I realize I haven't done my recap of the Resolution Run 5k yet.  It's coming.  I've just been uber busy so far this year....

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Perspective

I found this on Pinterest and I think it may finally help me put my body goals into perspective






20-ish pounds to go.   Yuck.

New Year's Resolutions 2012

Happy New Year!!!!

Ok - it is that time of year again...time to set my new goals for 2012.

In 2010 and 2011, my goals were centred around losing weight, hitting my goal, blah blah blah.  I want to get away from that this year.  I want to focus more on the healthy living aspects that come after the big weight loss.  I am busy.  I can't require myself to focus on numbers anymore.  It takes too much of my energy.  I'm not at my goal weight yet, but I don't want to think about it anymore.  I want to throw away a few notions that have cluttered my one-track mind and focus on betterment.

So my goals this year are simple:

Eat Better.

I would like to get away from the highly processed foods we have been eating and start to eat cleaner. I will eat proper portions of better foods. 

Strive Harder.

My fitness has gotten a bit complacent.   Ok - more than a bit.  So I am going to try to challenge myself this year.  My immediate goal is as follows:

Try to race a 5K in under 30 mins and try to race a 10K in under one hour.  I think these are attainable and, even if it takes the whole year to get there, I am sure I will :)

But mainly, I need to find consistency again.  I want to work out at least 5 days a week so I will strive for that.   This will mean planning out my week and that is my resolution..I will plan out my week (for both fitness and meals).

Get Stronger.

I also need to bring strength training back into my routine (what, am I saying that hefting 2-30lb toddlers around isn't strength training?).  Real strength training.  So, my goal is to do 2 strength workouts a week.  That should be do-able.

Live Lighter.

I'm still striving to pare down our belongings and that will continue into 2012.  I foresee there being a fantastic garage sale in Langdon the first Saturday in May this year...consider yourself invited...

Living lighter also shifts my focus on physical momentos and my attempts to archive them digitally.  My hope is to get all of my photos and scan-able keepsakes scanned and stored in my shutterfly memory box

Focus Creatively.

I need to give myself the gift of time to pursue creative endeavours.  I will start small and give myself an hour a week to write or draw or whatever..as long as I get a chance to express myself. This is also an excellent time to be creative with my girlies.   I'd like to say I will finish my book in 2012, but for now I can only promise to try my best...


There we have it...my goals for 2012...

Do you set new year's resolutions?  Are you able to stick to them?  What goals are you setting for yourself in 2012?