My journey to a healthier me

Tales of my life

January 2015 recap

Well the first month of the year is over.  And it went pretty fast too.

Not much happened either really.

I managed to get a few short runs in at the beginning of the month, but super cold temps and snow/ice prevented me from running outside most of the month.

Instead, I concentrated on other things.

I did a 21-day squats and lunges challenge.  And OMG it was tough!  But I actually quite enjoyed it.  It really pushed me some days.  I can hardly wait until the next one LOL

I also did daily stretching and meditation, both of which I found to be quite helpful.  I will continue to do both of them.  The stretches are basically easy yoga moves and things I learned when I took a stretch class a couple of years ago.  I stretch for 15-20 minutes.  I’m not sure where I got the idea to try meditation, but it doesn’t really matter.  It was a little hard when I first started doing it, but it got easier each day.  My longest meditation session is 20 minutes.  I lay on the floor on my yoga mat when I meditate.  I’ve found that to be the easiest for me right now.  I did try sitting on the floor once, and it was okay.  I also tried sitting in a chair, but I didn’t like it and that session didn’t last long.

I also challenged myself to do at least one plank every day for as long I could hold it, but a minimum of 30 seconds.  Some days, that was all I could manage.  But as the days went on, I could hold longer and longer.  Most of the month, I was able to hold for at least a minute, with my longest time being 1 minute 20 seconds.  I’m pretty proud of that!  I think I’ll keep doing a daily plank as well.

I saw my doctor in January as well.  He said I’m doing fine.  I see him about every 3-4 months, just routine check ups.  He did suggest I watch 3 documentaries — Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead; Forks Over Knives; and Food Matters.  The first one I found the most interesting.  He also suggested I try juicing, which I promised I would try.  I’ll be writing a post on that in the near future.

I bought a couple of new notebooks to use as a food journal and a workout journal.  I had been keeping the information on my phone, but I noticed that I started getting a bit lazy about it.  So I decided to go old school again.  I used notebooks when I first started out, so I thought they might help me get back on track and stay there.  It seems to be going well so far.

As I said before, I didn’t get much running in this month.  I think I got 3 or 4 runs in, and maybe 3 walks.  Pitiful.  But not having winter running gear makes it hard.  I really need to get some.  I know I keep saying that.  And, of course, I’m still not in a gym, so no access to a treadmill.  I still have the indoor track to use, but going around and around and around in circles really started to get to me and I had to take a break from it.  Maybe if I had someone to run/walk with, it might be different.  Sometimes I really dislike running alone.  But I don’t have a choice right now.

That’s about it really.  Like I said, not much happened this month.  Hopefully I’ll have more to report next month.



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New challenges

So we’re a couple of weeks plus into the new year now and I’m doing my best to push myself, but it’s not been very easy.  Running outside here in the winter is not easy.  I don’t mind the cold so much, but it’s hard to run with snow and ice on the ground.  I don’t have gear for that.

Right after the new year, I was able to do a few short runs before we got the first real snowfall of the year.  I have asthma, although it is well controlled.  Most of the time it doesn’t bother me at all.  But it does when it’s really cold.  The super cold air burns my lungs.  That’s why I was only able to do short runs.  Anyway, because of the cold and the snow and the ice, I haven’t been able to do much running outside.  I have been able to walk a bit, but even that hasn’t been much.  I can use the indoor track, but to be honest, I have been a bit bored with it.  And I still haven’t been able to get back into a gym, so I don’t have access to a treadmill.

So what’s a runner to do?

Well the logical answer is to get gear to run outside in.  I’m working on that.  And I’m still working on getting back into a gym too.

So what else do I do?

I do what I can at home.  I work to strengthen my legs to help make me a better runner.  I work on my core.  I do things every day to help me along in my journey.

So with that in mind, I’ve set up some new challenges for myself.  Some daily, some weekly.  Nothing too big.  Just little things to keep me moving and motivated.

I have a small group on Facebook with some friends.  We are all on our own journeys.  We use the group to share stories, offer support, and try to keep each other motivated.  With that in mind, we set up weekly challenges.  Something for us to do each day for a week.  And then the next week, we change it to something else.  Again, nothing big, nothing too hard.  The first week, it was 10 squats a day; the second week, it was 10 lunges a day.  No pressure either.  Do the challenge or don’t, no judgement.

Along those same lines, I joined a 3 week challenge put on by my friend Wendy on Facebook.  Part of what drew me to this challenge is that it’s all about glutes.  This one is more challenging, to say the least!  So far, we’ve done all squats, different variations, with rest days mixed in as well.  OMG! My legs burn by the end of each day’s workout.  I’m interested to see what else she has in store for us.  I hope she plans on doing more challenges after this one is over.

I also started doing meditation.  This is a bit out of my comfort zone.  I’ve never done it before, but I’ve always been intrigued by it.  I did a little research on it, and watched a few videos on you tube.  I got a new yoga mat for Christmas, so I figured this would be a good use for it.  I laid down on the floor on the mat, closed my eyes, and just listened to myself breath.  I turned the tv and my phone off so that the room was quiet.  The first time, it only lasted a couple of minutes.  But each day, it lasted a little bit longer.  I tried sitting up, as well as laying on my bed.  The floor seems to be the best position for me at this point.  My goal is to do meditation every day, even if it’s just a few minutes.

I also spend several minutes stretching.  When I first joined a gym, I took a stretch class.  I don’t remember everything we did in the class, but I remember quite a bit.  I stretch for at least 10 minutes, but preferably more like 20.  I’m always looking for new moves to add.  Again, I do this every day.

After stretching, I do at least 1 plank.  Sometimes it’s a regular plank (also called a solider plank); other times it’s a bridge plank.  I hold it for as long as I can.  Some days are better than others.  Sometimes I struggle to get to 30 seconds; others, I can hold a full minute.  Again, something I do on a daily basis, or at least try to.

My goal is to keep myself moving.  I’m hoping setting up these daily and weekly challenges will do that, and encourage me to do more and more.  Hopefully, the things I’m choosing to do will also help make me a better runner.  Time will tell there.  But I’m feeling good about all this.

As I go along, I’ll add things as I think they are needed.  I do have a few things at home I can use to work out — a set of resistance bands, a kettlebell, some dumbbells (2lb, 5lb, 10lb), an aerobics step, and 2 stability balls.  I also got a foam roller for Christmas, which I’m still figuring out how to use.  I am looking forward to nicer weather, where I can be outside again.  But until then, I’ll do what I can inside.  Tyler taught me quite a few exercises that don’t require special equipment.  And there is also you tube if I need more.

All in all, I’m feeling pretty good with how things are going so far.

And it’s a good start to the year.



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Hello 2015!

The start of a new year.  A time when many people make resolutions to improve themselves.  I used to do that.  But like most people, I’d usually give up on them fairly quickly.  It took me a while to realize that the resolutions I’d make were too much, too big, too far out of reach.  And that’s the case with the ones most people make.  Eventually, I stopped making them because I knew I’d just end up forgetting them in a matter of weeks.

But a couple of years ago, I took a different approach.

To me, the word “resolutions” has an almost negative sound to it.  So instead, I decided to set goals.  I think it’s a more positive word.   And I’m less likely to give up on a goal.

So that’s what I do.  I think of things I’d like to accomplish throughout the year, and set them as my goals.  Some are small; some a little bigger; some pretty big.  I like to challenge myself, but not so much that I get discouraged.  It’s a fine line.

2014 was a tough year, lots of ups and downs.  I managed to push & challenge myself in some areas, but not in others.  I’m hoping to do better in 2015.

So that being said, what do I want to accomplish in 2015?

1) Do more races.  In 2014, I exceeded my own expectations and finished 7 races.  In 2015, I’m shooting for 10.  It’s a bit lofty, but I think I can do it.

2) Along those lines, for one of those 10 races, I’m going to do my first half-marathon.  And let me tell you, I’m a bit scared.  No, not scared.  Terrified is more like it.  That’s 21.1km.  I’m never even walked that distance all at once, much less run it.  But I’m going to do it this year.  I’m not officially registered yet, but hoping that I will be soon.  The race I’m looking at is at the beginning of October.

3) More running.  As in 2014, I want to up my running game.  And doing a half marathon certainly will help with that.  But in general, I want to run more.  I want to run farther, longer, and maybe even faster.

4) Get back into the gym.  I left my gym in early 2014 with the hopes of joining a new one quickly.  The car accident put a damper on that.  So I spent much of the year working on my cardio, and doing workouts that require little to no equipment.  I was in a gym a few times in the last couple of months, and I realized just how badly I need to get back in there.

5) Spend more time with friends.  I don’t get to see my friends nearly enough.  I know we all get busy with life, but friendships are important too.  Even if we just meet up briefly for coffee, or go for a walk together, anything really.  I just would like to see them more often.

6) Write more.  My blog was a little neglected in 2014.  I hope to do better in 2015.

7) Read more.  I said this for 2014, and while I did read several books, I didn’t read as much as I really wanted to.

8) Not be so hard on myself.  I’m my own worst critic.  I get down on myself far too often. I need to get better at that.  I need to remember that I’m not perfect and that’s okay.  I need to remember that every little bit counts.  I need to remember that it’s okay to make a mistake, it’s not the end of the world.  I need to pick myself up, dust myself off, and keep going.  There’s a Japanese proverb that says “Fall down seven times, Stand up eight.”  I need to remember that.

Okay, I know that’s not much in the way of goals for the year, but a couple of them are pretty big.

I’m looking forward to seeing just what I can do this year.

Happy New Year everyone!