Friday, July 31, 2015

Let's Sketch it - August 2015 Prompts

Still having fun with my little sketchbook challenge over on Instagram...if you want to join us in August - here is the list of prompts.

The best way to build a sketchbook practice and to improve your drawing skills is to here's a chance to do just that.  Even if you don't think you can draw - you probably can...just jump in and see where it goes!

I have loved incorporating the sketches into a journaling practice.  It has been fantastic for me.

First Long Run In Forever

ok - hush you...I know you saw on Instagram that I did this run like 2 weeks ago...and still hadn't written it up.   Those two weeks were BUSY.  NOW I have time...and I have guilted myself into writing it before I run my next long run tomorrow.  

So, I registered for my first half since the stress fracture...and that meant it was time to get serious about training.  and then I got sick, but more on that later...let's talk about that long run.

Hubby was heading out on a backpacking trip on July 18 so I had to get my long run done and be back in Langdon by 9am or it was not going to happen.   It has been proven time and time again that running 10k in Langdon just does not work so what was I to do.  If I forced myself to run laps - I was setting myself up for disaster.  I needed a real route.   The weekend before, we had camped in Wyndham-Carseland Provincial Park and I knew there was a lovely trail was only 2.5k, but I figured it was pretty enough along the river that I could run it twice if I had to Carseland I was going to go.

It had been so long since I last ran a long run,I had pretty much forgotten the drill...I gathered my hydration and nutrition crap together as best I could.

Snarfed down a clif bar for breakfast (so not a good idea).  Put on my hear no evil see no evil sock monkey noodlehugger (to thwart any negative thinking)

And hit the road.

Less than half an hour later, I was pulling into the park.

I parked at the day use area (though that time of morning could hardly count as "day") and got ready to do this thing.  I warmed up by walking up the short pathway toward the weir so I could tart literally at the end of the trail

and then I was on my way.

Soon, that gravel path entered the trees and became really really pretty.

Even running along the edge of a busy campground, the trail was deserted.  I had some trouble getting my breathing to steady (thank you allergies this year) and my poor out of shape body had trouble coming to terms with the fact I was making it move again.   Soon, I passed the rock shoal where the girls has swam the previous weekend.  What a lovely break for that hot hot weekend that was.

Still smiling and trying to love running again.

Passed a flock of pelicans on the river.

When I got to this fence, I knew the trail was shortly coming to an end.  I needed to figure out whether I was doing laps or if I would cross under the highway and make shit up for a while to get the distance.

Moment of truth - the path started to disappear into undergrowth.

Would I turn around...or was I heading into the unknown...

Yep - I decided to keep going and not give my brain an out in case it wanted to stop when it saw the car.

A couple of minutes later, I wasn't so sure I had made the right decision when this guy in full camo gear on a bike came up from the river.  I asked him if the trail continued and, in a heavy russian accent, he muttered something unintelligible...

I giggled at this sign about Rock Snot Algae.

...and then I tottered down the steep trail to the riverside and quickly figured out he had been telling me it DID NOT continue...

I ran (no I walked) along the uneven rocky beach to see if there was a way back up the bank further on.  There wasn't so I turned back and fought my way back up the bank.  It was time to take on the country roads.

I ran into a couple of bears.

Found a really crappy aid station

At the 5k point exactly - I heard the shrill scream of a redwing blackbird...I took that as my queue to turn around.  I was fading.  The burst of speed I put on when the bird wheeled overhead made my leg hurt and I quickly saw the error of my ways in breakfasting on a clif bar.  Time for some nutrition.

Chugged down a root beer gu (not bad...I've certainly had worse)

I watched some horses running free in a field - jumping and playing with each other.  Found a pace bunny

Made a new friend a little further on

 and soon I was back on the trail that would take me home.   I didn't take any shots after that because I just wanted to get my head down and run done.  It had already taken so much longer than I had hoped it would.  And I was on a time restriction.

I got back to the car in 9.90km and called it.  No sense making up that last 0.10 to make it an even 10 when my Garmin was probably shorting me anyway.

All in all - this was a pretty run along the river.  I think if I did it again, I would do the laps just to stay on the more scenic parts.  That country road had great interactions with the horses, but it really was bumpkinland and the cars were driving too dangerously for my own comfort level.

Now for some Garmin Geekery (something I haven't had to post in a good long time).  Looking at these stats gives me a pretty good idea of what I need to work on over the next couple of months.  I am also very happy I chose to do this run on a trail to just ease my joints in to the pounding again.

As i mentioned, training has been a bit slack since this run (severe sunburn, strange illnesses, extremely busy and restricted lifestyle the last 2 weeks).   Kind of out of my hands but now that life is calming down again, I will be back on track and posting a bit more along the way.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Friday Reads: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

For several months, I have been hearing murmurs about this book.  I have also been struggling with the amount of "stuff" in our home.  It was time to pull the trigger and start to bring it under control...and to see what all the fuss was about with this book.

It is a really short book with a couple of really easy premises

1) really look at each item you own and ask yourself "does it spark joy?" and if it doesn't, you get rid of it.


2) Once you are down to only the things that fill your life with joy, it becomes easier to to stay tidy because everything has a home and you merely need to return items to that home.

Easy peasy, right?

and that's really all there is to the book. By the time I had finished the chapter on clothing, I was ready to start putting it into practice.  This is where the beauty and simplicity of the "KonMari Method" shines.

I took everything from my closet and dresser and ruthlessly analyzed each piece by her guidelines...and took EIGHT big black garbage bags of clothing out of my room.  I wouldn't have thought that I had that many clothes total!  I also hauled 3 bags of garbage out - clothing I couldn't donate and accessories that were too broken or worn.   And my wardrobe was far from bare.  It made me quite happy to look at it.  Every single piece in there now makes me happy and it gave me some guidance on what kinds of things I should add because I can clearly see the prints and colours that matter to me.  It will be easy to keep my wardrobe to just the things that make me happy...because if something stops doing so - it will leave my life.

Next, I put everything back into my dresser - folded the way Marie Kondo recommends and I freed up an entire dresser drawer.  Previously - those drawers barely closed!   Now I can see everything at a glance and grab exactly what I want.  It is awesome!

So, now I am slowly moving through the rest of our house.  I've already tackled the storage room and hauled another 10 bags to donate..and am not done yet.   Hubby is even on board with this and is ready to cull his stuff too.  We are just a family of crazy cullers!

I am a KonMari convert and am very excited about this method.  I can hardly wait to see the other ways this changes our life.

Though, I do admit, I am a bit scared to start on my studio...good thing washi tape brings me a great deal of joy...

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Let the Training Plan Begin!

In our last episode, Cori had just kicked her own ass and registered for a half marathon in 12 weeks time.  Goal?  To find the runlove again.  She knew she'd be slow but she knew she had to do something to get moving kickstart the weight loss to combat the stress fracture weight gain.  But could she actually do it?  Well - the training plan kicked off this week...let's watch and see.

Ok..enough of a trailer.  I am officially training again.I'm keeping my training plan simple.  I am not pushing anything except my brain at this point.  I just need to plod one foot in front of the other and build up my base again.  That's it.  I am also working on cleaning up my crappy diet so I can start to beat my weight down..because lets face it - a year and a half of sedentary life leads to a widening arse and a bit more belly weight that I am proud to sport.  But enough about how fat I've gotten.  Let's talk about my first run of the training cycle.

My goal is to run before hubby leaves for work so that means hitting the road by 6:30 AT THE that means running in Langdon for my short runs.  No problemo  I have 4, 5 and 6k routes that I can do without being attacked by birds.  The main problem of this first run was that on sunday, LANGDON FLOODED!!!  Honest to goodness, disaster quality flooding.  You see - drainage here sucks.  The older east side of town has ditches for drainage.  Our side of town has drainage channels that take rainwater to a drainage pond.   There are no sophisticated underground sewers for drainage.  It is all over land.   

We had been camping in Carseland, only 20 mins away, when we heard thunder and headed for home on Sunday to avoid packing up a wet tent.   When we got to Langdon - it was quite apparent it had been raining for some time.  Langdon Park was under water.  Power was out all over the place. Langdon School was under water.   It looked like we were a lake town.  We aren't.  Our sump pump came on twice...for the first time in the 8 years we've lived here!

So, with that in mind - almost every one of my running routes was affected by flood water.  As I left the house on Monday morning, I half expected I'd be turning back to finish the run on my treadmill.

Luckily, thanks to the emergency crews - most of the water had drained off or absorbed into the ground.  People had piles of ruined items from their flooded basements on their lawns 

The ditch around the school field looked like a watery running track.

The park was still quite marshy.

Some power lines were still down.

But the rain had thoughtfully turned our skating rink into a pool for us.

Luckily, I only encountered one section of path that was I dashed through it to get back to the road.

With 1k to go, I decided I should probably take a selfie to shame myself into losing weight get myself used to showing my face around here.

I look tired and humidity is NOT my best friend.

All in all - I got my 4k done.  I'm slow but I'm moving and that is all that matters.  I expect that I will have a 3hr finish at Harvest Half, but I really just want to get back to training consistently so I can enjoy running again.

Product Review: Lily Trotters Compression Socks

A few months ago, I was contacted by Lily Trotters and invited to be involved in promoting their upcoming Kickstarter campaign.  Their mission? To bring the fashion into compression.   After looking into their product - I happily agreed and they sent me a pair to try out in exchange for my honest review.  Here it is.

As I have been trying to get myself running again - I have had aches and pains I don't remember having 5 years ago when I did the whole "start running" thing. Determined to train and recover better - I figured these socks could be just the hug my legs needed after my runs.  I was right.

The thought behind the company is to create a sock that is tough enough to outlast your marathon while being thin and fashionable enough to wear all day to the office with your favourite shoes.

Here's some specs:
  • Proprietary easy-to-get-on 100% micro nylon weave
  • 15-20 mmHg (millimeters of mercury) – just the right squeeze! 
  • USA tested & approved high performance gradient compression
  • Cushioned heels & reinforced toes
  • Moisture wicking, antimicrobial – yay, no stinky feet!
  • Built to last a few years, not a few months like traditional knee socks
The pair I was sent were black with lime and fuschia polka dots (one of my favourite patterns even if it was a bit too pink for my liking - we all know my pink liking is pretty low)

They were super cute. I love patterned knee socks and usually live in them all winter so even if I hated them as recovery compression socks, I would be able to still get some wear out of them this winter as long as they fit my ski like size 11 feet.

The top of the socks has a little ruffle.

and the ball of the foot features the Lily Trotters logo

But these are all the cover - we want to know what's in the book, right?

So, the first time I grabbed them post run, I admit, I didn't have high hopes.  Me and socks have a difficult relationship.  And with compression socks - I have a drawerful of expensive socks that HURT me now that I have gained some weight during my running sabbatical to heal my fracture.  One size fit all options usually aren't long enough to cover my calves (the joy of being tall).  So I went into this with a fair bit of skepticism.

But they were true to their word - they go on easy.  They fit my size 11s like they were made for them...and stretched easily up to just below my knee without looking like they were stretched to the limit (I'm looking at you, Sugoi rainbow socks and Running Skirts turquoise heart socks).  These just looked like socks!  I was amazed.

Cute, right?

But how do they feel?

Amazing!   These are not your average pair of compression socks.  They aren't going to beat you up and wring your legs out like a pair of CEPs will...but they feel like a nice firm hug for my legs...and I have a lot of leg on this 5 foot 9 body.

I've been wearing them for a while now after my 1-2 times a week...but now that I am officially in half marathon training I expect I'll be reaching for them much more often.  My legs feel less tired and I am able to keep going about my day.  Important, since as a stay at home mom of twins, my legs don't have time to lay down on the job.

I doubt I will ever wear them for running in.  I just don't tend to wear compression socks for running.  But for recovery - these will be on my feet as my first choice.  But if you want to hear from people who have run in them and loved them - there are several other bloggers who have reviewed them and Lily Trotters also has this testimonial video for you.

So how do you get yourself a pair?  As luck would have it, the Lily Trotters Kickstarter launches today and they promise awesome earlybird pricing for supporters.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Half #14

So I've been away for a few days, but before I went to Banff - I made a pretty momentous decision. This won't be a shock to anyone who follows me on Instagram, but...

Yep - Harvest Half on Oct 3 - here I come.  Time to set a date and get back on the wagon for good.   I'm officially in training mode.  Time to get my training plan in motion and see where it takes me.