Thursday, February 28, 2013

Three Things Thursday - Random


1) I'm hurt :(  and it's all my sofa's fault.  Not that I hip checked it to move it so I could vacuum behind it on Monday and felt my knee do a fwoopty-whoop...totally not because of that.  Nor because of my 6 hill repeats on Tuesday that left me limping later in the day.   Nope - all the sofa's fault.

But after the run, my calf developed a knot (I totally stretched so it should have been fine) and by bedtime, it was making the bottom of my foot feel like the muscle was half the length.

So - I'm taking a few days off to rest and heal.   and stretch.  I hate feeling hobbled.   Worst part?  My knee doesn't even hurt - but it is all the rest of the things that are killing me.

Gotta heal fast.  I have a 5k to rock on St Paddy's day!

***

2) I am loving a new blog I was introduced to SO MUCH that I need to introduce you all to it too!  Reading and Chickens (http://www.readingandchickens.com)  So funny and well written.  It's more of a style/mommy blog...well, I haven't actually seen anything running related (yet) but that's not to say it isn't there.  I haven't read all of the archives yet :P  I have my fingers crossed because that totally would make her be my new best friend...


She is so good.   My particular favourite thing she wrote?  When she admitted to Amateur mommying.  It resonated.

But don't trust me on this one - you need to go read the blog too.

GO!


***


3) Oh phew - you stuck around for #3.  In hindsight, I probably should have made #2 be #3....

Yesterday, I gave myself an official kick in the too-tight pants.   I joined Fitfluential's March DietBet.  I was inspired by Nikki and Solana who recently completed one and I think the thought of extra money for my crafting pursuits sounds like it could be a great motivator!  Plus, I am currently about 20lbs over my ideal weight and would love it if the next time I went to the dry cleaners, the little lady there would take back the quip she made about my looking pregnant! (not even kidding a little)



What is a DietBet?  Easy - it's a social dieting game.  You put money into a collective pot to begin and if you lose 4% of your body weight by the end of the month - all of the winners split the pot!  Entry was $25 and I don't intend to lose it.  The game starts in 13 days so I have time to start amending my habits now so I can make sure I am on track for success!

4%, for me, would amount to 7.5 lbs.  Totally do-able in 4 weeks :)

First thing I plan to do is do a coffee wean!  Eeep...but it does account for a HUGE number of calories each day that I know is setting me back.

If you think you might like to join me in this, consider yourself invited!  I'd love to see us all win!

***

In other news, I am looking forward to escaping to the mountains with hubby this weekend to live it up in style at the Banff Springs Hotel without the munchkins.  Much needed getaway methinks....

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Workout Wednesday: The Run You Do

Ever hear of the 5k trap?  After I finished couch to 5k back in 2010 and was regularly running 5k several times a week, somehow 5k got set as my "minimum run distance" - meaning, if I didn't do 5k, I figured there was no point in going.

Silly, I know.  That's the 5k trap.

So life happens and you plan a run, but then realize you don't have time to do that minimum 5k...so you skip it.

BECAUSE YOU CAN'T POSSIBLE DO LESS!  THAT'D BE RIDICULOUS!

And then it happens again.  and again.   and again.  Soon, all of your weekday runs are skipped and you are only running your long runs and are wondering why you are hurting and grumpy and not making any progress.  All because you are stuck in the 5k trap.

That was me up until about 6 months ago.   If I couldn't do 5k, I just wouldn't go.   But somewhere along Goofy training, I realized I needed to do something.  So I started running at lunch.  Not enough time most days to do 5k...but I could do 4.

Turns out a couple of 4ks a week are so much better than no 5ks.

Suddenly, I was running stronger.  I was hurting less.  I was training better than I ever had for any other race.  All because I was actually doing it.  Heck - letting go of the 5k trap freed me up to do hills and speed - typically much shorter overall runs - just because I wasn't faulting myself for running under 5k.

Sometimes it's just about the runs we actually do that make us better runners.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Monsieur, I'll Take the Hills

I was in a vile mood this morning.  Let's just say it's a good thing my kids are back at the dayhome after yesterday's closure...and it's probably a good thing my work partner is sick today.  Missing my long run this weekend didn't help...and I probably needed it more than ever after a far too short weekend that included my cousin's funeral on Saturday and my kids waking up on Sunday super sick and extra grumpy.  This momma needed a release.

Luckily, I had a lunch date on my calendar with the lovely Tina. and hills were on the menu.

What is up with my face...and can y'all see how ridiculous that hill is?

We met up right at noon and headed out for a quick 1k warmup before we tackled the various hills of Southwood.  She let me vent about my week and together we chased away some grumpies and some crazies.

Six hills...three of those were killer.



And SLUSHY!  Holy hannah -  did last nights little snowfall ever make for a sloppy run.  But it was great to get out there and get mucky and work hard and get my brain into a better place again.   Now I can be a better employee and a much better momma.  

It was exactly what I needed.


We did one of the killer hills (where the 3k marker is) 3 times!


Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday Reads: The Maze Runner Trilogy by James Dashner


Know what I am LOVING right now?  The Maze Runner series by James Dashner.  It's YA and seriously good post-apocalyptic fiction.

I picked it up after reading so many great reviews, but even going in I really didn't have any idea what it is all about.  Even to the end of the first book, you don't really know what's happening.  I'm currently on book 3 and am happy to know there is a prequel so I can still live in this world a little longer once I am done.  I am going to try really hard to not spoil it for you...

Book One: The Maze Runner

Kid wakes up in a box at a place called the Glade.  he has no personal memories prior to that moment and is now living in a weird world where only teenage boys are and where there is a maze right outside the doors that changes nightly and holds horrific creatures named Grievers.   Then, the next day, the first girl arrives with a message...that she is the last that will arrive and that their end is near.

I loved how this book set things up for the trilogy.   It leaves the reader questioning what happened to bring them to this point and is a constant adventure to see how they will get out of it.   When questions of who to trust and why they were all brought to this point arise - you really get to see these kids run to overcome.   And get a seemingly strange happy ending that is cut short...and leads right into book two.

Book Two: The Scorch Trials

After the rescue from the maze, the kids discover that they were not alone in the maze trials...there was another group running in parallel...but that was all teenage girls.  Now both groups have been given a bit more information about why they are enduring the trials being put on by a group called WICKED and they are released into the "Scorch" - a quarantine for those most sick - to see who can persevere and live on.   Alliances are made, team mates are lost and loyalties are tested.   This book continues at the pace set by the first book and really keeps you turning the pages to see what WICKED will throw at these kids next.

Book Three: The Death Cure

I am still reading this one so can't give you much background except to say the trials are seemingly over and trust is at an all time low all around.  This one is another page turner so far and I don't expect that to end...

It is easy to see that the critical acclaim these books have received is well deserved.  It is a very creative take on post-apocalyptic YA fiction that *surprise* doesn't consist of a girlie romance element like books like the Hunger Games and Divergent are.  The world as it was known is over and it is hard to see who the good guys and the bad guys really are - even when you think you know the answer.   The characters read honestly and while the writing initially struck me as unpolished, the ingenuity of the story sucked me in to a point where I don't notice it anymore.  

Highly recommended.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Lunchtime Quickie with Tina

I almost skipped this run in my mind...and then I got this tweet from Tina last night


And since the one time I ran with Tina, it was super fun and we pace well together - I knew I was on the hook for a run :)

We met up at Southland Station around 11:30 am to run my Southwood loop. After Tina took a super funny (and luckily non-injurous) fall on the ice right at the start, the 4k went by quick as we gabbed the miles away.   Of course, you'd never know it to look at my nike screenshot...I totally forgot to pause it for the 20mins of gabbing we did at the end.  It did NOT take us 54 mins to run 4k LOL






And because I love the pic she took WAY better than the one I did - here's us after the run, courtesy of Tina:


It was so awesome to have a running buddy for a lunch run.  We are likely going to try to make it a regular thing if my run days mesh well with her days off.  Did wonders for my running mojo today...and we all know I need it.

Three Things Thursday - The Mojo Wagon Edition


It's kind of confession time in my brain.  I've been admitting a few things to myself and I think I need to get them out there...

1) My running mojo has been seriously flagging since about 3 weeks ago.  I mean, I'm still trying to get the runs in, but honestly I haven't run in the past week at all because I just couldn't be bothered.   I'm really happy Tina wrote me last night to see if I wanted to be her running buddy today or I might have skipped my lunch run today too.

I'm not sure what it is.  Maybe it is the looming prospect of training alone for my goal races later this spring.  Maybe it is me needing to generate some adventures to keep myself excited.  Maybe I need some greater accountability.  Whatever it is - I definitely need some mojo booting.  Maybe it's time to bring back Mojo Jar Mondays!


2) Since Goofy, I have seriously fallen off the wagon with my eating.  And the scale is showing it.  Up 5 pounds since Goofy.  And 20lbs heavier than I would like to be.  Granted - I am definitely not putting in the mileage that I did in training, but I am also not eating well at all.   I need to rein it in RIGHT NOW or I am going to seriously be negating all of the hard work I have put in over the last 3 years.

It might be time to set some new food goals...or to figure out a challenge for myself.  Any suggestions for veg-friendly things/challenges I could try?

Can someone please slow that wagon down so I can climb back on?

3) I am REALLY not feeling it with the Jillian Michaels Body Revolution.  I need the strength training, but I DO NOT like the moves in these workouts.  I feel like I am constantly modifying them so I won't hurt myself and end up sidelined for race season.  I've discovered I just want a safe, effective strength workout that will complement my running and I don't think this is the right one.  But doing something is better than doing nothing and I do enjoy working out with the Super Secret Jillian Michaels Workout Society so I will keep going til the end of their 12 weeks and than I plan to do something different.



I'm hoping my mojo will return in all areas to help me out with the motivation for this.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Resolution Update - February 18

Time to update on my 36 resolutions for the year.  This past month actually felt really productive!
  1. Do something interesting with my hair
  2. Rework my home gym - Calling this one done, though I still have a couple more things I need to do to it.  It is now a much more inspiring and colourful place.  I hung up my medal rack and bought new foam mats for the flooring.   It can at least be used again and is no longer a holding place for crap :)  By the end of next weekend it will be completely reworked.
  3. Tune up my bike
  4. Take the girls to Zoolights
  5. Make amazing halloween costumes
  6. Plan a monthly date night - February - done.  Wasn't that inspired but we had lunch and a movie (Silver Linings Playbook - so good).  March will be much better. ;)
  7. Volunteer at a race
  8. Go thrifting once each month - done!  While hubby had lasik surgery, I hit the thrift stores and had a whole lotta luck!   Crafting stuff, a couple of tops and a skirt.  Backup snowpants for the girls, ties for hubby.  I even found stuff that was on my friends wishlists!  A very successful thrifty month!   Plus - I discovered my new favourite thrift store in town.
  9. Learn to knit properly - I had a very successful month in this arena!  Like I said last month, I wanted to learn a new cast on and how to purl and I totally rocked at both.  Discovered a crochet cast on that I really like and then set to purling.  It took me a while to find a video on purling that didn't go too fast, but Knit Picks had one that helped me catch on right away.   So, I used it in 2 afghan squares for my bedspread.  One was a waffle stitch - really simple and helped me get used to switching stitches smoothly.



    The other was a raised diamond pattern that helped me read a more complicated pattern with the purls.  


    I'm very happy with how both worked up.   Next square, I had originally planned to add another stitch, but then I found this pattern and I think I am going to do one more knit/purl square to add it to the blanket.   And it will teach me how to read a more complicated pattern that doesn't repeat.
  10. Take a shopping trip to the States 
  11. Invest in a perfect black dress
  12. Get another tattoo
  13. Leave Facebook again - done! Now that I no longer need to be there as part of my TNT team - I am happy to say I pulled the plug.   Ever since I left FB in the fall od 2010 - I have found that it is more a burden than a bolster in my life.   It feels good to be rid of it.
  14. Get an instagram poster printed
  15. Stay at the Banff Springs Hotel
  16. Go on an amazing hike
  17. Take my kids camping
  18. Re-learn how to draw and paint
  19. Create an outdoor reading area
  20. Plant a rose garden
  21. Redecorate the master bedroom and bath
  22. Train for a specific goal race - The training plan for Calgary 10k starts in early March!
  23. Create an indoor reader's sanctuary Create a creative space for myself - DONE!  Finished it this weekend and am over the moon with how it turned out!
  24. Try to have an article published in a magazine
  25. Try standup Paddleboarding
  26. Go snowshoeing with hubby
  27. Go ice skating with my girls
  28. Visit Ontario in the Fall
  29. Self Publish One Book
  30. Run a 2:15 Half
  31. Run a sub-60min 10k - aiming for Calgary Marathon
  32. Run a Sub-30min 5k - aiming for St Paddys Day
  33. Run a continuous 10k - aiming for Run for Water
  34. Run the Goofy Challenge at Walt Disney World - COMPLETED!
  35. Complete a home yoga challenge - attempt #1 was a big fat fail. But I admittedly rushed into it without taking the time to think out how it would work with my life.   I will try again when I have time to plan for success.
  36. Complete 8 weeks of Rip:60

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Getting Crafty: A Hobbit-Hole Craft Room

When we first built this house, hubby and I each chose a space that would house each of our creative pursuits.  Hubby's was a contained, semi-soundroofed room and mine was a little more open concept and took over the north corner of the basement.

And then we decided to list the house.   The space was packed up and turned into additional storage space.   Then we took the house off the market and put the girls into separate bedrooms and, somewhere along the line, my creative space evaporated.  The old space was now needed for a guest room and I was evicted.

But it was okay.  For a time.  I hadn't been feeling very inspired anyway.

Then, sometime around my birthday, I really felt my creative fire start sparking again.   And I was working out of about 6 giant rubbermaid bins of supplies.  Digging for what I needed was not ideal.  I needed a creative space.

The big problem, though, was that I couldn't find a single room in our house that I could compromise to create that space.  Long story short, I started thinking I wished we had an extra closet that I could turn into one of the cool craft closets I was drooling over on Pinterest.

I was staring wistfully at blueprints of our basement when inspiration struck.  The crawl space under the stairs.   The entrance had a higher roof  that could be my "workspace" and the lower ceiling areas could be used for supply storage.  If I needed a larger working area - I could just claim the dining room for that project.   I had my closet - I just had to do something with it.

So, it took me a while, but I am so happy with how this has come together.  Meet my new creative space...a little room that has come to be known as my little Hobbit Hole.  I cannot believe how much I have managed to achieve with this tiny space.

My workspace consists of a portable kitchen cart that I picked up at Canadian Tire.  I used pegboard to close in the space and provide tons of additional storage. There is plenty of room to work at the cart and all of my tools are easy to access for any project I might be taking on.


I can't seem to get this next picture to brighten up...but I hung a pendant light to provide workspace lighting and decorated the place up with a cork board and my washi tape decoupage letters "Create" hung down the stair risers.

My ribbon, washi, and cording storage is a pant hanger :)


I made the bulletin board from a leftover kitchen cupboard door that had been sized wrong.  I just added a cork tile from Dollarama and *voila* instant cork board. (and a lovely Joann coupon...just waiting to save me some money)


There is no electricity down there so I put in a power bar and then found an extension cord with a switch on it so I could power the pendant light.


Beside the kitchen cart - I put in this little cart I picked up at Costco for $26.   Perfect for storing rubber stamps, stationary and kids craft supplies.


In the crawl space, I focused on storage pieces and shelving.  I do need to stoop or kneel to access everything, but it is all labeled and there is enough room to move around easily.  We did have a ceiling light wired into this area of the space so there is awesome lighting.

And yes, I do have projects planned for all that yarn.



And then in the lower section of the stairs (directly across from the above photo), there are more supply storage drawers and my pastel tabouret.  I arranged them like this so I could have some additional storage behind them in the very low area to store my sewing machine and supplies I need less often...


Which are hidden behind this curtain.


So there you have it.  The grand tour of my own little Hobbit Hole Craft Room.   I am excited to have this space to paint and knit and bead and sculpt and create in.  I hope it inspires others to clam some space for their own creative pursuits!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Three Things Thursday - Love

I've heard a lot of people in my bloggy world getting really down on Valentines Day today.  While I am not an over the top, shower of hearts kinda gal - I do love having one day a year to throw a little extra love around.  Heck - I even wore a dress today that MAY be a little too close to pink on the purple spectrum for my own comfort level...I know!  I'm shocked too!  My daughters picked it out for me because they had to dress up all valentine'sey today.


The biggest change this year is that my girlies seem to have "gotten" love now.  Their excitement about a whole day dedicated to loving everyone in your life is definitely contagious and I have really enjoyed this month because of it!

So for today's three things...here is our Valentine's day :) And it's not about the whole Hallmark Holiday thing.

1) Hubby surprised me yesterday with a super sweet valentine.  Might be the first "not bought at the last minute" card in 11 Valentine's days!   What he wrote (and I'm not going to share) was so sweet it almost made me cry. He's not a mushy guy.  It was just so heartfelt and honest.

It's good to be loved.

2) I got all crafty for my cards this year.  No storebought here.  Just crafts and printables all the way
for Hubby - on the back, I wrote "I love you to bytes"
Ha ha ha - I'm hilarious!
(Instructions here)
For Buggie - she loves bugs and yellow
(Printable here)

For Doodle - she is so obsessed with the moon
(Image here)


3) We also made valentines for the girlies friends.   We bought packages of goldfish crackers and then on blank business cards, I printed "You are O 'FISH'ally Awesome!"  And then the girls decorated them with rubber stamps and we tied the cards to the cracker packages with red yarn.  I totally forgot to snap a photo before I dropped them off :(

During Valentines decorating - I realized I had run out of heart stickers.  We had nothing but rubber stamps...but when the girls discovered that touching the ink pads with their fingers would allow them to fingerpaint - I took the opportunity to teach them how to make fingerprint hearts.

So easy and they LOVED adding their own special hearts to the cards for their friends.

Doodle (left) and Momma

Happy Valentine's day everyone!   I hope your day is filled with love!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Stressbuster Fartleks

Another arduous morning of testing almost made me miss my run...but with an afternoon of testing ahead - I HAD to get out there...so made it a speedy me day.

When my usual speedwork path proved to be littered with ice swaths (see below) - I hit the residential for some fartleks.
Candidate for awkward shadow of the year....
but each of those stripes o f"Wet" was actually ice.
Not great for speed.
 So I moseyed my modified southwood loop in reverse.  Picking objects to race toward as I went.   I wish I'd had my garmin today to know what my pace on each was...but I was pushing hard... I MUST have been pushing super hard on the speed sections because I would nearly collapse when it was over and end up walk/jogging (You know what I mean - the attempt to jog that awkwardly ends in walking) to recover. That slowed my overall pace.




Exhausting!

Oh and a funny thing happened after the run - I checked my Fitbit to see how many steps that had worked out to...and the Smiley guy was sporting a black eye.  I so wish I could have snapped it before the screen changed...and now I can't find a pic online.  I found it hilarious.  Guess I did really push it :P

Monday, February 11, 2013

MOMday: Calgary Zoo Penguin Walk

The Calgary Zoo has recently decided that the King Penguins need a little bit more exercise..so they have started doing "walkabouts" 3 days a week, where they allow the penguins out of their enclosure for a little 15 min waddle around the zoo.

We decided to take the girlies to it since they do love their penguins and I thought it would be neat experience.

And it was...well, it was busy and we only arrived in the nick of time for it to start - so we didn't have a great vantage point.  But it was still pretty cool.




Pretty cool.  The penguin enclosure at the zoo is pretty open, but it was still so neat to see these guys out and about.  

If you'd like to visit and see the Penguin Walk, it will be going on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays between 11 - 11:15am until early March.  If it is colder than -25C or warmer than +10C - the walk may be cancelled so if this is your only reason for going, you may want to call ahead to ensure it is still proceeding.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Race Report: Crave Chick Chaser 5 Miler

Those of you on Twitter may recall my lamenting the lack of winter races in Calgary a few weeks ago. I was seriously jonesing for a race and there was nothing I could find to solve this.  And then Leana told me about the Crave Chick Chaser 5 miler being put on through Tri-it.  At $25 and with cupcakes at the finish, it was a steal and I registered as fast as humanly possible.

The weather report for the weekend had kept changing - one moment it looked like it was going to be gorgeous and warm.  The next it looked like snowy and chilly.  Race outfit planning was not going well...but I knew one thing.  My Run Happy cupcake shirt was on the menu no matter what the weather.


I arrived at Tri-it ridiculously early so got to spend about 35 mins chilling in the car until it seemed a reasonable time to mosey inside.

It wasn't long before Leana got there and we chatted about our Goofy recoveries until it was time to head to the start line across the street.

Me and Leana at the start line
This was a super small race, at under 200 people and my only real goal going in was to not be last.  I had run 8k last week in 1 hour so I kind of hoped I could beat that.  My speedier run on Thursday had told me I still had some speed in me, even if it was hiding out.

The start line - there were WAAAAY more women than men at this race:

Me and Leana at the start - top right
Photo credit: Dawn Henry

So at 9am, the women were off!  The guys would follow 4 mins later.   Leana and I wished each other a great race and took off.   I felt so speedy and, despite some suspiciously icy-looking patches - the pathway was fairly dry and slip-free.   I think the biggest obstacle in the first half of the race was the blindingly bright sun being in our eyes.  Thank goodness for sunglasses.

I flew along at a fast (for me) pace - though still well back in the pack.  I knew I might have some fueling issues so had packed along a gel and some nuun just in case.  I had stupidly skipped dinner last night after a late late lunch and realized at bedtime that I might regret that.

But I carried on, feeling strong.

The race route ran east along the north shore of the Bow River until crowchild, where it moved to the south.  Following the path to the Peace Bridge where it crossed over and ran on the north side until 10 street.  Crossing over again we went back the way we came, crossing over again at crowchild and in for the finish.  It is always so nice to run a pathway race that is a different route than Eau Claire west to Edworthy and back...

About 15 mins into the race, the guys started to pass me.  I'm actually surprised it took them that long.  I expected to be passed before I hit the first kilometer. It was around this time that I realized I was dressed too warmly in my jacket and peeled it off to cool down.

As I crossed over the Peace Bridge, I could see Tina right where she said she'd be.  She snapped this fun shot of me.  I love it!

It was around the 5k mark that I had a sugar crash and needed that gel.   I was walking then when Leana passed me.  So I downed the gel and vowed to keep her in my sights the rest of the way.

Not really a direct pic of me, but I am the 2nd person...checking my garmin...
Photo credit: Dawn Henry

Photo credit: Dawn Henry
I took another short walk break at Crowchild as I crossed the river again and then the finish line was almost in sight.   As the path sloped upward, I decided to see if I could pull some speed out and finish strong.   As the pathway flattened out, I dug deep and pushed it to finish in around 51 minutes.

Photo credit: Dawn Henry

I am super happy with that time.  Leana crossed about a minute ahead of me and was waiting to cheer me across.

Then it was cupcake time!  Mmmmm, Crave makes the best cupcakes.

I loved that they had them individually packaged in takeout containers!


mmmm - chocolate.
This was an awesome little race!  I could totally see it selling out next year if they run it again.   I had never run a 5 mile race before so...INSTANT PB!!!! :D

It was untimed so my Garmin is as accurate as it gets.   Since we all know how accurate my Garmin was on distances during Goofy training - it is showing a bit short on the distance, but the time is dead on (I finally rememebered to kill the autopause!)




The Garmin Geekery