My journey to a healthier me

Tales of my life

September recap (2014)

Well September sure was a busy month.  So much going on.  My birthday near the beginning of the month.  A weekend getaway.  And lots and lots of cardio.

My birthday this year was low key.  I’m okay with that.  We didn’t do anything special.  I did get a ton of birthday wishes from family and friends, which is always nice.

Every September, my husband’s work has their annual general meeting.  And they make it into a getaway weekend.  I look forward to it every year.  This year we went to Muskoka.  I had never been there before.  It was beautiful!  I, of course, made sure to schedule some time to get a couple of workouts in.  The hotel we stayed at had a little gym, which I did use, but mostly I took advantage of the good weather and did my cardio outside.  It was a near-perfect weekend.  If you have never been there, I highly recommend going, especially in the fall when the leaves are charging.  Gorgeous, just gorgeous.

I continued my workouts with Tyler this month.  It amazes me sometimes the number of exercises you can do that require little or no equipment.  The weather in September was pretty nice, so most of our workouts were outdoors.  We occasionally used the indoor track.  As the weather changes, we may need to move indoors more often, but we will continue to take advantage of the good weather while it lasts.

Sometimes I feel like I’m starting from scratch though, which is frustrating.  Things I could do relatively easily a year ago, I’m now struggling with.  It’s my own fault.  I put back on some weight over the last year, and I let life get in the way.  I get mad at myself about that.  But I need to just suck it up and try harder.  I will get back to where I was.  I will do better.  This is only temporary.

I really amped up my cardio in September too.  Tyler gave me the goal of doing 8km a day, 5 days a week.  I’m pretty sure I called him bat-shit crazy too LOL.  My first thought was it would be too much, that I wouldn’t be able to do that much.  Tyler, of course, said otherwise.  And he was, of course, right.  And there were a few days where I did more than 8km.  Some days I ran all 8km; some days I walked it; some days I did a combination.  In total, between walking and running, I covered 178km this month!!  An absolutely astonishing number to me.  I never thought I’d be able to do that much in a month’s time.  And I’m poised to do even more in October.  Crazy, just crazy.

I also did two 5k races this month.  Both new races for me too.  I’m still slow, but that doesn’t matter.  When I’m doing a race, I don’t worry about my time.  All I care about it crossing the finish line.  If I happen to have a good time, that’s just icing on the cake … or maybe I should say it’s the dressing on the salad LOL.  One of my goals this year was to complete five 5k races.  And this month, I did the 4th and 5th.  I’m pretty proud of that.  And I may actually do a few more before the year is over.

Overall, September was a good month.  I’m looking forward to an even better October.


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Applefest 5k

So today I did my fifth 5k race of the year.

I’m pretty proud of that.

At the beginning of the year, I set a goal to do 5 races.  And now I’ve done it.  Feels pretty good.

This was a new race for me.  The second time this year I’ve done a new race.  This one was in a neighbouring town.  It’s kind of exciting to finally branch out and do races in other areas.

My friend Karen was doing the race too, so we rode there together.  It’s only about 40 minutes away.  Our friends Aidan and Andreas live there.  Andreas was doing the race too.   Aidan wasn’t feeling well, so she had to bow out at the last minute.  It’s nice when I know others in the race.

We got there, and got signed in.  I realized I wasn’t as nervous as I normally am before a race.  Even though it was a new race for me.  It was weird.

I realized I dressed too warmly, but nothing I could do about it.  I would just have to make the best of it.  At least I had my lucky hat.

They held a kids 1km fun run before the big race started.  Those kids were pretty quick!  I love to see kids out exercising.  I wish I had done more of it as a kid.

Once the kids run was over, we got set up for our race.  It was a pretty good turnout too.  I think the total was 103 racers.  And there was even some kids doing the 5k.  I think that’s pretty cool.

Because this was a new race for me, I didn’t really know what to except with the terrain.  I wish I had been a little better prepared for it.  I did know there was a hill, but not to what extent.

The first km was relatively flat.  But starting around the 2km mark, you start to go uphill.  It’s a long slow hill.  But then you go off road into an apple orchard.  And you continue to go uphill.  And not only we were going uphill, but it was rolling hills as well.  I was cursing those hills the whole way!  Eventually, I made it to the back of the orchard.  Here, we looped around some of the trees and back out.  At this point, we FINALLY started going downhill.  Only about the last km is downhill.

As I was looping through the trees, Karen came back to find me, then we met up with Andreas, who brought me some water.  He offered me a banana too, but I said if I ate that, I’d puke LOL.  They had long finished the race, so it was nice of them to come back and finish with me.  I called them my personal pace bunnies LOL they thought it was funny too.  Once we got back on the road, we could see the finish line, and I started running again.  I had been mostly walking because it was hard to run up the hill and through the orchard.

As we approached the finish line, Andreas ran up ahead and took a couple of pictures of me crossing the finish line.  It was awesome.  As much as I was cursing the hills, it was pretty awesome to finish the race.  Karen and Andreas both said they were cursing the hills too.  At least I wasn’t alone in that LOL.

My official time was 1:09:17.  Considering it was a new race and the majority of it was uphill, I think that’s a pretty good time.  Like I said, I wish I had been better prepared for the terrain, but overall it was a good race.  I think I might even do it again next year.



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Sandbanks 5k/10k

So yesterday I ran my 4th 5k race of the year.

It was the first time I’d done this particular race.  I learned about it from my friend Karen, who has run it before.

So new race meant new route and new terrain.  As if I’m not nervous enough before a race.

Being September, it’s a little cool in the mornings.  I dressed in layers, and even brought along a thin pair of gloves just in case.  I wore them before the race, but took them off just before the race started.

We got there and I got registered.  And as always before a race, I paced around, did some stretching, retied my shoes, paced some more.  I was nervous, but not as nervous as I thought I might be.

I double checked the route on the map a couple of times.  The lady said the route is well marked and there are volunteers out so no one should get lost.  I was hoping she was right.  Because I’m a slow runner, I always worry I’ll get off course or get lost.

Quite a few people run this race.  Always good to see a nice turnout.

Finally it was time to line up for the start.  I had my music with me, which always helps keep me running.

I use the Nike running app to track my runs and walks.  Mostly for review later.  I try not to pay too much attention to it while I’m in the run.  And it plays my music.

The first part of the race was on the road.  I’m used to that, so not too big of a deal.  Except that I was running on the side of the road, and the road dips down a bit so I was running on an angle.  It was a little weird, but I kept going.  There was some traffic, so I mostly stayed to the side.  A few times I moved a little to the middle of the road.

The lady I talked to was right, the route was well marked.  There were arrows on the ground, and people directing runners/walkers where to go.  I was happy to see that.

Sometimes I run with a water bottle, but I opted not to this time.  I paused briefly at the water station, and then kept on running.  Several people were already on their way back by the time I got to that point.  A few passed on good wishes to me, or smiled, or gave me a high-five.  One of my favourite things about running is the camaraderie.  I even had a couple motorists wave at me.

I made it to the turnaround point and headed back.

I paused at the water station again, again briefly.

On the way back, the route takes a turn and goes through a wooded area.  I had never really done any trail running before.  I was not sure what to expect.  I got through it just fine.

As I reach each kilometre, the running app gives me my time.  I’m actually making pretty good time.  I’m pretty impressed with myself.  I noticed that the app and the route markers are not the same.  I’m not sure how they measured them out.  Not that it makes too much of a difference.  I just keep running.

The route had a couple little hills, not too much to worry about really.

As I near the finish, I can hear the people.  As they spot me, a bunch of them start cheering.  I love that.  It never gets old.  It sometimes helps push me to finish strong.  Most of the people there don’t know me, but they cheered anyway.  My friend Karen was there and taking pictures.

By the Nike running app, the route was 5.39km, and I finished in 1:03:45.  I hit the 5k mark at 59:11.

I’m not sure what my official finishing time by their clock was, but that’s okay.

I’m super proud of that result.  Best I’ve run in a while I think.

I’m especially proud because it was a race I’d never done before, on terrain I was unfamiliar with.

One of the things I think helped was chewing coffee beans during the race.  Yes, you read that right — I chewed on some coffee beans. And they tasted good!  I think they gave me an extra energy boost that I needed.  That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

I celebrated with chocolate milk and a granola bar.

And I had a healthy lunch when I got back home.

Overall, this was a great race.  It was well organized.  The route was well marked.  The scenery is beautiful (if I hadn’t been in a race, I would have paused to take a few pictures).  Everyone was friendly.  People donate prizes and they give them out at the end.  Anyone who has registered and checks in is eligible to win a prize.

I would definitely run it again.  And I hope to next year.



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Happy Birthday to Me 2014

Well another year has passed, where has the time gone?  Today is my birthday.  I’m 44 years old.

As always, on my birthday I reflect on birthdays past.

Last year, my husband and I were in New York City for his work, and we came home on my birthday.  I had an incredible breakfast at the hotel we were staying at.  When we got back to Canada, we had pizza for dinner with our sister-in-law and nephew.  And cake, of course. I won’t be doing that this year. Not sure exactly how I’ll celebrate this year.

Growing up, I wasn’t much into celebrating my birthday.  I mean, I was always glad when it was my birthday, but I never really had a big party or anything.  At least not that I can remember.  Not that it really made much of a difference then, or now for that matter.  I don’t need a big crowd of people around me to celebrate my birthday.  All I really need or want are my favourite people.  I know they can’t all be here in person, but they are always here in spirit.

My mom always baked my siblings and me a cake for our birthdays, whatever flavour we wanted.  And she’d make our favourite meal.  When we got older, we sometimes went out to dinner for our birthdays.  I remember being about 10 or 11 and going to Red Lobster for dinner and having my first Shirley Temple drink.  I thought I was so grown up.

Since I’ve been married, my husband and I usually go out to dinner somewhere nice for our birthdays.  One of our favourite special occasion places is a little bistro restaurant in the next town over.  We’ve been there many times, and not just for special occasions.  The food is really good.  It’s changed owners recently, and the menu changed a bit, but it’s still good

It was on my birthday one year that I found my favourite ice cream flavour — Chocolate Peanut Butter at Baskin Robbins. Rich chocolate ice cream with big chunks of peanut butter throughout.  OMG, it was so good… still is actually.  For years, I would go to Baskin Robbins on my birthday to get some.  Haven’t done that in a while.  I don’t live near one now, which is a good thing.

My favourite football team is the Denver Broncos.  I’ve been a fan for almost 30 years.  A few years ago, the start of the NFL season happen to fall on my birthday.  That year, Denver was playing in Buffalo, which is only a few hours drive from where I live.  I ordered tickets and told my husband that was what he was getting me for my birthday.  It was a rainy Sunday, but I didn’t care.  I was seeing my favourite team play in person for the first time.  The only time I got out of my seat was to stand and cheer.  It was great.  And Denver won on a last second field goal.  Best Birthday Present Ever!  My dream is to see them play at home in Denver.  Someday it will happen.

While technically it’s late summer, my birthday has always felt more like the beginning of fall.  (And I’m totally okay with that because fall is my favourite season).  It’s the near the beginning of the school year, and the beginning of the NFL season.  There always seems to be a crispness in the air that feels like fall.  And it’s not unusual to see leaves starting to change colours.

So many birthdays, so many memories.

Hopefully I’ll have many more birthdays to make many more memories.

Not sure all what I’ll do today, what memories I’ll make, but I’m looking forward to enjoying my special day.

I’m starting the day with a workout with my trainer.  Glad he’s back.  Working with him again is a gift I gave to myself.  BEST. GIFT. EVER.

Happy Birthday to me!

Now go have some cake and ice cream for me 🙂

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August recap (2014)

Well another month has passed.  Where has the time gone?  This year seems to just be flying by.

My goal for this month was to log more kilometres than I did in July.  Well that didn’t happen.  Early in the month, I tweaked my ankle when I was running.  I decided to rest it and let it heal instead of trying to run through the soreness and make it worse.  I did a little bit of walking, but didn’t run again for a couple of weeks.  Consequently, I only logged a little more than half of what I did in July, just over 44km.  And some of those kms are walking.  Oh well, it happens.  I’ll try to do better in September.

On the plus side, I logged longer run/walks.  Twice I was out for 8km.  Been over a year since I did that.  Pretty proud of myself.  I’m working my way up to 10km a day.  I would like to be able to run 10km by spring, but we’ll see.

After taking a break from it for a couple of months, I also began my food diary again.  I don’t know why I stopped in the first place.  I know how valuable it is.  It’s important to know what I’m eating, and how many calories.  At least I’m back at it.  And I feel good about it.

I didn’t do any races in August, but I have 2 on my schedule for September.

I’m happy to report that I’m working with my trainer again.  Feels good too.  I really need that extra push.  The first couple of workouts have been hard.  It almost feels like I’m starting back at the beginning.  And I guess in a way, I am.  That’s what happens when you take several months off from strength training, and put more than a few pounds back on.  But I’m confident that I will be able to get back to where I was and continue on the right path.

Not too much happened in August.  I’m looking forward to a new month and new challenges.

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