My journey to a healthier me

Tales of my life

Half-Marathon training – Week 7


Wait! What? 

Halfway done? Really?? 

OMG! That means Race Day is only 7 weeks away!

Ok, can’t think about that right now. So much training still to be done.

This is how the week went:

MONDAY – My leg muscles were feeling pretty tight, so I decided to do a stretching session today.  And I combined it with a short upper body workout.  Felt pretty good.

TUESDAY – Today’s run was 6.64k, with another 1.4k of walking after that. Once again the humid had me out running early. Also did another stretching session and short upper body workout in the afternoon.

WEDNESDAY – Cross training on the elliptical again this week. 

THURSDAY – I pushed my run just a little bit farther today, finishing with 7.01k. Then walked another 1.42k.

FRIDAY – Rest Day. Thank goodness. 

SATURDAY – Long run day. The plan called for 11.25k. I managed to push a little farther and ended with 12.24k. My longest run to date. And it was hard. After some rest, I walked another 1.42k.

SUNDAY – Thankfully, the plan had me doing a short run today. Another 5.35k in the books.

Total for the week – 35.5k. My training plan called for 29.25k.

The humidity was a factor all week.  I was up early all week to avoid it as much as I could.  Most days, it was already a little humid when I headed out.

Monday night, I only slept about 4 1/2 hours, which is why I didn’t push my run in Tuesday too much.  I actually surprised myself a little by going out at all. 

The elliptical is my favourite way to do my cross training.  Sometimes I wish I had one in my house.

My long run this week was hard. It was already a bit humid when I headed out. But the temperature was still a little cool, so I didn’t feel it that much. I took 2 bottles of Gatorade with me, because I was pretty sure I would need it.  And I was right.  But that also meant I had to make a couple of bathroom stops.  I took chews with me for my fueling choice.  They seemed to work fine, but I didn’t have enough of them with me.  I was starving by the time I ended my run at the coffee shop.  I also had to stop twice to loosen my shoes. I think I tied them too tight before I left the house.  In the end, it was the longest in time and farthest in distance I had ever run. I was pretty proud of that. 

Sunday’s short run was a little slow than I would have liked. And I didn’t push the distance much farther than I needed to.  My long run really took a lot out of me.

Well that was my week.  Check back next week for another update.

Leave a comment »

Half-Marathon training – Week 6

Another week done already. I know I keep saying it, but it’s crazy how fast time is going. Overall, I think training is going well, a least as far as the running goes.  I’m struggling a bit with the strength training, but I’m doing the best I can.  It really helps having so many supportive people around me.

Anyway, this is how my week went: 

MONDAY – I love rest days LOL. Weekends tend to be busy for me, and not just with running, so it’s nice to have a day to kick back and recharge.

TUESDAY – with the humidity a factor almost every day right now, my runs are almost always early in the morning. Today called for 5k, and I finished with 5.35k.

WEDNESDAY – I had a slight headache when I went to bed Tuesday night, and it was full on migraine when I woke up on Wednesday morning.  I really hate that.  Meds and rest all day.

THURSDAY – I was feeling better by Wednesday night, so I had planned to get up early to run on Thursday. A friend was in town and wanted to meet for coffee and to catch up.  I also had planned to do my long run today instead of Saturday.  So I was up and out extra early to get at least 10k in before meeting my friend.  I ended up with 10.6k and another 3k of walking with my friend. It was a good day.

FRIDAY – after a long run Thursday, plus extra walking, and a race planned for Saturday, I definitely needed a rest day.

SATURDAY – normally, Saturday is when I do my long run, but I had a 5k race on my calendar, which is why I changed with Thursday this week. The race was in nearby Trenton, on a route I’d done before.  I was pretty happy with my time, considering there is a giant hill around the mid point in the race and it was a bit humid. Afterwards, I walked about another 3k

SUNDAY – I woke up a little sore from the race, but still needed to get at least 5k in for the day. It was another early morning to try and avoid the humidity as much as I could.  A lady I’ve seen several times walking her dog on the trail stopped me to say how great I look and to keep up the good work. I love hearing things like that! 

This week called for 25k, and I finished the week with 32.35k.  Some of that is walking, but it all adds up. 

A bit of a busy week, and they’re just going to keep getting busier. I’m almost used to getting up early to go running. Thank goodness for coffee LOL.

I’ve been testing various gels during my runs. The flavours have been good overall. I think there have only been one or two I didn’t like that much.  Some of them have extra caffeine, some don’t.  I prefer the ones that do.  Overall, I’m happy with the results I’m getting with them. And I think I’m finally getting a handle on fueling while running, especially during my long runs. I’m formulating a plan for the big race, which I’ll be testing out as my runs get longer. 

I’ve worn the running socks I bought a few times now. I like that they are shorter than my sport socks.  They are soft and comfortable too.  I’m still not sure if they are necessarily any better than the sport socks though. 

I’ve worn the belt bottle holder several times, including during my race.  I like it.  It bounces a little, but not too much.  And I like that it holds the bottle at an angle so it’s easier to grab.  The only downside that I’ve noticed is that the pouch is not very big.  I can put gels or my phone in it, but not both.  I’m still looking into other options for carrying things. I need to be able to carry fuel, my phone, and my asthma puffer.  Right now, I’m wearing a jacket around my waist when I run so I can use the pockets. I’m in the process of looking at other options.

That’s about it for week 6. Check back next week for another update.

Leave a comment »

Half-Marathon training – Week 3 

So another week is done. Time seems to be going by pretty fast!

This week was an interesting one because it was hotter and more humid than it had been.  Oh, the joys of training in the summer. 

Anyway, here’s the lowdown on what happened this week:

Monday – Rest day. I just chilled out most of the day. After two early morning runs, I felt like I needed and deserved a total rest day.

Tuesday – Another hot and humid day, but I managed 5.11km.  Normally I would push a little farther, but it’s hard to do that when it’s so humid out.  I also did 45 minutes of strength training and stretching.  It felt good.

Wednesday – For cross-training this week, I chose the recumbent bike and did a good 60 minute workout.  It had been awhile since I’d been on a bike and my legs were a little jello-like when I got done.  I also did a nice 3km walk since it wasn’t too humid for a change.

Thursday – Yet another hot and humid day. Part of me really wanted to stay in bed, but I made myself get up and go running.  Not gonna lie, it was tough. It was a short run day, but I pushed myself and did 6.25km.

Friday – Rest day again. Thankfully. Between the recumbent bike on Wednesday and the tough run on Thursday, I needed a rest.

Saturday – I had another local fun run to do. It was rather humid, but I got it done. They said it was 5km, but my Nike running app said it was 5.5km. 

Sunday – My plan had me running today, but the weather was not good.  Extremely hot and humid and a risk of thunderstorms much of the day. Even if I had gotten up at 5am to run, it would still have been very humid. I decided to switch today with tomorrow. I can run when it’s a little humid, but when the humidity makes it feel likes it is over 100 degrees Fahrenheit outside, probably a good idea to hold off. Tomorrow’s weather looks better and not as humid.

My training plan called for 16.5km this week, and I managed 19.86km even without running today. Pretty good, I think.

I had a chance to stop at a running store this week.  It’s been awhile since I’d been to one.  I wish there was one closer to me.  Anyway, I picked up a few new gel flavours to try and some chews as well.  I’m looking forward to trying them out.

I got a few new strength training moves and stretches from the books I checked out of the library last week.  I’ll be returning those this week and maybe getting a few more.  I got a foam roller at Christmas, but I haven’t used it much.  I really want to learn more on how to use it properly, and actually use it! A lot of runners I talk to on Twitter use them and love them.  Maybe I’ll find some books at the library on how to use a foam roller.

Well I think that’s about it for this week.  Kind of uneventful really, but still a pretty good week.

On to Week 4! 

Leave a comment »

The ups and downs of training alone 

Since I started this new training plan, I’ve been thinking a lot about working out alone vs working out with a partner.  There are good and bad points to both.  I’m sure anyone you ask will give you different reasons for one over the other.

When I first started working out, I was always by myself.  Which, at the time, I think was good because I was just starting out and didn’t really know what I was doing and there wasn’t a lot I could do. I was shy, unsure of myself. 

When I joined my first gym, I was leery about working out around others, afraid of being judged and/or laughed at. The more I did it, though, the easier it got.  Not that I was working out with anyone, just working out around others.  My self-confidence was building.

I was really nervous when I first asked Tyler to take me on as a client.  But the more we worked out together, the easier it got.  I really enjoyed working with someone else, even if most of the time he was just showing me what to do and then watching me do it.  It was nice just having someone there.

Eventually, I got really comfortable around others in the gym, and even began working out with them when I wasn’t with Tyler.  It was nice having someone spot me or check my form to make sure I was doing it right.  I liked having someone to talk to, joke with, and learn from.

Then Tyler moved on, and the regulars at the gym did as well, so I was left to my own devices again.  So I know what it’s like to be with and without someone to train with.

In my opinion, these are some of the ups and downs of training alone …

The downs: 

1) Being alone.  Sometimes we all just need someone to be there.  Sometimes I just want some company, someone to talk to.  

2) Easy to skip a workout. Without someone expecting you to be there, it’s easy to say “just this once” when skipping a session.  And sometimes that can lead to skipping more than once.

3) No one to spot me or check my form. When working out alone, it’s sometimes hard to know if your form is correct. And if you need help with a heavier weight, there is no one there to help.

The ups: 

1) Not needing to rely on anyone.  Everyone gets busy from time to time, but if you’re working out alone, you don’t have to worry about that.

2) You can set your own schedule. You don’t have to work around anyone else’s schedule. You can workout when and where you want, and for how long.

3) You can do whatever workout you want. Self explanatory really.

There are times that I absolutely prefer to be alone when I’m working out.  It gives me time to think, to process.  I often work on blog posts in my head when I’m running.  I think about upcoming events.  Or I think about something new I want to try, whether it be a new activity or a new recipe.  I don’t have to worry about how fast or slow I’m going.  For the most part, I don’t have to worry about time.

But there are other times that I would really love to have someone else there.  Someone to cheer me on.  Someone to help me push a little harder.  Someone who is counting on me being there at a specific day and time.  Someone who I can bounce ideas off of or share concerns with.  Someone who can help make sure I’m doing things right, and maybe offer ways I can do them better.  Someone who is willing to share their ideas, experiences, concerns with me.  Someone who will listen.

I’ve chatted with numerous people on this subject.  Some are adamant that they only train alone; others will only workout with someone else; while others are somewhere in the middle.  Everyone has their own reasons for their answers.  Everyone’s workout style is different.

Personally, I’m somewhere in the middle.  I can see the benefits of both.  I’ve personally experienced the benefits of both.  And I’ve also experienced the downside of both.  

For quite a while now, the majority of my training has been alone.  While I feel like my running has progressed pretty good in that time, I feel like my strength training has suffered.  Maybe “suffered” isn’t quite the right word, but I’m not sure what word would be better.  I made great strides in that area when I had a coach or a partner.  I don’t feel like I’ve done as well alone.  I’ve received a lot of encouragement and advice from various people, but it’s not really the same as having someone there.  Given the choice, on many occasions, I would definitely prefer to have someone to workout with.

And there are days when I’d love someone to run with, especially as I push myself to run longer distances.  I’m both excited and scared about doing my first half marathon.  Excited because it’s a new challenge, something I never thought I’d ever be able to do.  But scared/worried that I won’t be able to do it.  I worry sometimes that I’ve bitten off more than I can chew with this challenge.  Sometimes I think having someone run with me once in a while will help push me, especially on long runs. And I know I can use help with my strength training. I want to be as prepared as possible for race day because I know how big of a challenge it is.  In the end, no matter what, with or without a training partner, I will cross that finish line.

What about you? Do you prefer to workout alone or do you want/need someone else there? Why? 

Leave a comment »

Pre-training ends and Training begins

I’ve spent June doing what I called pre-training. I had lost some of my base over the winter and early spring because I didn’t do that much running, and I wanted to make sure my base was solid for training.
During pre-training, I made sure to run on a variety of surfaces, like sidewalks, roads, and trails. I also incorporated some hills, going both up and down. Running downhill is an art form, which I think I do pretty well. I struggle going uphill sometimes, but I’m getting better.

I also ran with and without music. I used to need music to run, but now it’s not necessary. I still like to have it sometimes, though.

My biggest concern is fueling while running. I tested out several flavours of GU energy gels, and was pretty happy with the taste and results. I think there was only 1 flavour I didn’t really like. There are more flavours I want to try, but I haven’t had a chance to pick up more of them. I also want to try out some chews. I also tried out mini pancakes (I’m a little obsessed with pancakes LOL) and homemade energy bars. I will be trying more things throughout my training.  I want to find something that tastes good, doesn’t upset my stomach, is portable, and will give me enough energy to get me across the finish line.  I will report on how my search goes.

I also want to try different ways to stay hydrated.  I’ve tried plain water, Gatorade G2 red (fruit punch), and NUUN strawberry lemonade.  All of them work well.  I want to try more flavours of NUUN, as well as other brands.  Again, I will report on my search.

I want to try different pouches and fuel/hydration belts as well, but haven’t had a chance yet.  I do have a handheld that I really like.  It’s good for short runs, but I think I need something that can hold more for longer runs and the race.

If you have any suggestions for things to try, please let me know.  I’ll appreciate all the help I can get! 

Throughout my pre-training, I managed 19 runs of varying distances, and a few recovery walks as well.  My shortest was 3km and my longest was 8.34km.  I think I did pretty well.  And I feel like my base is solid once again.

When I decided to do my first half-marathon, I knew I’d need a plan to follow.  The funny thing about that is I’ve never followed a plan before.  I just ran.  When I was still working with my trainer, he would tell me to run, so I ran whatever distance he told me to run.  That got me through several 5K and one 10K race.  But a half marathon is different.  It’s more than double my longest race, and just under double my longest run.  That scares me a bit.  It used to terrify me, but not anymore.  

Anyway, I wanted to make sure I cross that finish line.  And that means preparation.  And, to me, that means an actual training plan.  I looked at many different ones.  Many seemed too rigid.  I wanted something more flexible because sometimes life just gets in the way.  Most were 10-12 weeks.  I didn’t think that would be enough time for me.  After a lot of search, I finally found one that seemed to have everything I needed/wanted.  It’s a 14-week plan, which seemed the perfect length.  It has me running 4 days a week, which I think is perfect.  And it seemed pretty flexible, in case I need to move things around.  It also incorporates strength training and cross training, which I think are important too.  As well, I will be doing core work and stretching.  Hopefully it will all make me a better running and help me get across the finish line.

So today is Day 1 of my training plan.  

And I must say, I’m pretty excited about getting this started! 

It starts with shorter runs than I was doing during pre-training.  Today’s run was scheduled for 3.25km, but I pushed it to 4.15km.  I might push the first few runs a bit, since I have been running farther than that already.  As long as I go at least the distance the plan calls for, I think it’s okay to go a little farther.

As my training progresses, I will do my best to post regular updates on how it’s going.

When I first decided to do this race, I was terrified, worried if I could even do it, thinking I must be crazy.  And now I’m pretty excited, especially since the official training has now started!  I’ll admit, I’m still a little scared, but I think that’s okay.

Here’s to training for my biggest goal yet! Woot woot! 


Lessons learned from today’s run

So today is the National Day of Running.

I couldn’t participate last year because I was still recovering from the car accident.

But I was definitely going to run this year!

Today also happens to be Camp Day at Tim Horton’s.  All proceeds from coffee sales today goes to send kids to camp.  I love that.  And since I also love coffee, it seemed perfect to combine the two.

I decided to make today’s run my long run of the week.  Normally, when I run, I loop around so I end at or near my house.  That really helps with a longish run, because I’m usually pretty tired by the time I finish.  But because I was planning on stopping for coffee, I decided to throw myself out of my comfort zone.

The problem was I didn’t plan it very well.

But I learned several lessons in the process.

Here’s how it went down:

I had my breakfast and coffee, as I always do.  Then showered and put my running clothes on.  It was a beautiful day, so I opted for a bright green tank top.  Most of the time, I don’t like tank tops, but this one I love.  Anyway, after getting dressed, I sprayed on sunscreen and applied some to my face.  Then I dug out money, found my asthma inhaler, put on my sunglasses and running hat, and grabbed my house key and phone.

I headed out the door feeling good about my run.  And excited that I was trying something a little different.

I decided to run to the farthest Tim Horton’s from my house.  And I decided to take a long way around to it.  I figured I would hit about 7km by the time I got there.  Usually, I map out my runs beforehand so I know the distance, but for whatever reason I didn’t do that this time.

I realize that 7km may not seem like a lot to many people, but I’m still fairly new to running so it’s a good run for me.  And plus, I would need to get back home, so that would make it even longer.

The first 3km felt pretty good. I had to stop a couple of times for traffic, but that’s okay.  I finally got to the path along the river so I wouldn’t have to worry about traffic for a while.  I did feel myself slowing down a bit, getting a little tired, but I kept moving.

The first big problem I encountered was when I got to the park.  Much of the park has gravel paths and they are a bit hard for me to run on.  Eventually I got to where the paths are paved.  But I could feel myself getting rather fatigued.  I was walking a little more often, but I kept moving.

I made it through the park, which I knew meant I had about 1km left before I was at my destination.  I was really slowing down at this point, but just kept going.

I had to stop for traffic a couple more times.  One car ran a red light, and if I had not been paying attention or if I’d been moving a little faster, I would have been hit.

I finally made it to the Tim Horton’s and I had never been so happy to stop.  7.14km according to my Nike training app.  I was tired and a little sore.  I was also very thirsty and starving!

I had enough money for a coffee and a small sandwich, and both disappeared quickly.  Too quickly, actually.

It was a bit of struggle to get there, and as I sat there resting up a bit, I wondered how I was going to make it home.  I hadn’t really thought about that before I left my house.

So after resting a bit, and using the bathroom, I headed for home.  I was exhausted and a little shaky.  But I didn’t have any choice.  I opted to just walk home instead of trying to run more.  And I decided to take a more direct route, but staying in well travelled area in case I needed help.

After what seemed like forever, I made it home.  Even more tired and still hungry.  I ate, and drank some coconut water and a gatorade.  Then I took a shower and laid down to rest.  I woke up a couple of hours later very sore, still feeling tired, and still hungry.  And I noticed after waking up from my nap that I didn’t quite spray on enough sunscreen.

I didn’t do much the rest of the day.  And I plan on going to bed early tonight.

So this is what I learned:

1) Take something to drink. You KNOW you will need it.

2) Take something to eat. Gels, chews, energy bars/bites, whatever.  Just take something.  Again, you KNOW you will need it.

3) Make sure you are wearing enough sunscreen.

4) Make sure you have enough money to take the bus home if need be.  You never know what could happen.

5) Take your phone charger if possible, at least until you get the issue with your phone battery fixed.  And maybe even still then.  If something happens, you may need to call someone for help.

All VERY important lessons.

I just wish I hadn’t had to learn them all in one day.

It wasn’t all bad.  I did do a few things right.

1) I made sure I had my inhaler.

2) I stayed in well travelled areas.

3) I did stop and rest.

4) I put on sunscreen (although not enough).

5) I wore a hat and sunglasses.

6) I did have my phone with me (although it was nearly dead by the time I got home).

All in all, it was a good run/walk.

7.14km out and 5km back.  More than I’ve ever done in one day before.

A good way to celebrate National Running Day.


Leave a comment »

Pitter Patter 5k (2015)

Yesterday, I completed my first race of 2015 — the Pitter Patter 5k/10k.  It’s a small local race that supports community policing.  This was my third year doing this race.

I was a little concerned about this race.  In the last couple of weeks, my seasonal allergies have flared up, and along with them, so did my asthma.  And because of that, I didn’t go out running as much as I really wanted to recently.

On the upside, though, this is a race I’ve done before, so I know the route and the terrain.  Always a plus in my book.

I was up early yesterday, a little earlier than I normally would get up for a race.  But I wanted to have plenty of time to get prepared before I headed out to the race location.

I was a bit surprised that I wasn’t super nervous when I first got up.  I tend to get pretty nervous before a race.

Anyway, because mornings can still be a bit chilly this time of year, and it was windy, I decided to wear my INCLUSION hoodie for the race, with a wicking shirt underneath.

After having my smoothie and coffee for breakfast (as I do almost every morning), I spent about 20 minutes doing some easy stretches to get warmed up.  Over the last several months, I’ve been doing stretches on a near-daily basis.  I’ve really noticed a difference in my flexibility since I started doing them.

Before I knew it, it was time to head to the race location across town.  My husband and I stopped for coffee on the way.  He dropped me off near the start line.   That’s when I noticed the nerves starting.  I found my friend Karen, and shortly after that, my friend Andreas.  Always nice to see friends.

The nerves really started in after I got my bib.  I wondered if I was really ready.  I kept telling myself to just think about crossing the finish line; don’t worry about how long it takes.  I kept repeating that in my head.

Karen, Andreas and I chatted about nerves, other races we plan on running, and just generally caught up on our lives. Karen is a very seasoned runner; Andreas and I are both still fairly new, although I think Andreas ran when he was younger whereas I didn’t.  Andreas will be running his first full marathon this year.  It’s the same race that I’m doing as my first half marathon.  I think that’s pretty cool.

The closer it got to race time, the more nervous I was getting.  I tried to do some meditation, but it wasn’t working.

Before I knew it, it was finally time to head out to the start line.

I always stand at the back because I’m a slow runner.

And suddenly we were off!

I didn’t get very far before I had to take my first walking break.  I was not impressed with myself.  I reminded myself that you never NEVER judge a run by the first kilometre!

I started running again.  A few minutes later I had to take another walking break.

The first kilometre of this race is a bit tough mentally (at least for me) because you’re running through the parking lot.  It just seems to take forever!

I felt a bit better once I got onto the road.  I still had to walk a bit, but I was okay with that.  The super fast runners were already heading back before I was at the 2km mark.  I gave cheered them on as they went by.

At about 2km, I told myself that I needed to just run and not take any more walking breaks.  I paused at the halfway/turnaround point for some water.  Then started running again.

There are a couple of small hills on the way back, but I wasn’t worried about them.

As I neared the entrance to the parking lot, I told myself I was in the home stretch, almost there.  I looked behind me and saw my friend Andreas not far behind. (He was doing the 10k).

About halfway through the parking lot, I saw my friend Karen coming towards me.  (She had done the 10k, and had long finished.  When her and I run the same race, she always comes back to help me finish.)  Andreas went by us not long after that.

As I neared the finish line, the Rocky theme started playing.  It’s the last song on my racing playlist.  And, in my opinion, the most epic song to finish a race to.  I turned the volume up and pushed myself as hard as I could so that I could cross the finish line with that song playing.  And I did.

Before the start, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to finish.

But I did.

Not my best time.

My lungs were burning, and I was having trouble catching my breath.

I thought I was going to puke.

But I didn’t care.

I did it what I set out to do — I crossed the finish line.

And that’s what matters.

My official time 1:02:12. (My running app was a little less.  My app also said it was just over 5k)

And now to prepare for the next race.



Andreas, me, and Karen after the finish line.

Notes:  She got a PR and 3rd in her age group, and Andreas took 1st in his age group!  Well done, my friends!



Leave a comment »

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.



Leave a comment »

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!





Goodbye 2014 – a year in review

Another year is coming to a close.

2014 was a year of ups and downs; struggles and triumphs; good times and some not so good.

I started the year still struggling a bit with working out on my own, but determined to keep going.

It was much harder than I anticipated working out on my own.  I did the best I could, though, with the list of exercises Tyler gave me before he left.  It was made even more difficult with my gym being nearly empty every time I went.  Without having someone around to spot me, I couldn’t go very heavy with the weights.  And being by myself, it was hard to know sometimes if my form was correct.  I started almost dreading going to the gym, which is not a good thing.  Sometimes instead of going to the gym, I would just shovel snow for my workout.  And let me tell you, shovelling snow is an awesome workout – cardio and strength training in one!  I really missed the social aspect of the gym.  It was nice having people to chat with while working out.

I’d been at my gym for over a year, and I really liked it when I first joined.  But the last few months of 2013 things changed.  And they only got worse at the beginning of 2014.  It wasn’t kept as clean as it should have been, there were issues with some of the cardio equipment, membership declined, and as I said before, there was almost no one there when I was there, including staff.  All these things started me thinking that I needed to find somewhere else to work out.

The thought of changing gyms was scary, but I knew deep down that it was the right choice.  But it still took me a few weeks to realize that.  Eventually I started checking out the other gyms in town, and in the meantime, I was using the indoor track at the wellness centre for cardio. running as much as I could.  And it felt like I was getting better at it too.  The first time I ran around that track for 5k without having to stop or walk, I was over the moon with excitement!  And I was still shovelling snow too.  And walking outside if the weather was decent.

One of my goals this year was I wanted to get better at running.  Sounds like an easy thing, but not for me.  I don’t think I was born a runner.  I hated running as a kid.  I think that was partly due to my asthma and partly because I was overweight.  I still find it funny that I somehow became a runner.  Anyway, I wanted to really improve this year.  Because I was now doing races, I wanted to be able to run for longer periods, and not take as many walking breaks.

I did my first race of the year near the end of April.  It was one I’d done the previous year called the Pitter Patter.  I only did it was a 5k this year, but I ran the whole thing start to finish.  I was pretty proud of that!

A few days later, I was set to go visit my friend Jeff in Arizona.  On the way to the airport, my husband and I were involved in a car accident.  We got lucky and only had minor injuries, but the car was a write-off and I never made my trip.

The accident forced me to take a break from pretty much any kind of workout.  I took the brunt of the impact in the accident so the right side of my body was pretty sore.  I had several cuts from breaking glass, and a few bruises.  After some tests, it was discovered I had a tear in my rotator cuff too.  A few days after the accident, I went for a walk, but I didn’t get very far.  I tried again a few days later and was able to go farther.  I was pretty proud of that, even if it hurt a bit.

I had planned on joining a new gym when I got back from my trip, but the accident changed my mind.  I decided to hold off until winter and instead, I would spend the next several months enjoying the outdoors as much as I could.  I also figured it would be just what I needed to improve my running.  Or at least I hoped it would.  And I would still use the indoor track when I couldn’t be outside.  I was really happy with that plan.

After taking about 6 weeks off after the accident, I decided to try running again.  I didn’t really know how long I would need to recover, but 6 weeks seemed a good amount of time.  I decided to try a short run to begin with, just to see how it felt.  Let me tell you, that first run hurt!  But I didn’t give up, I kept going.  I ended doing 5k that first time out again.  While I was pretty sore afterwards, I was really happy.  I decided to run every other day (or at least try to) and see how it went.  It went well.

On July 1st, I did my second race of the year.  And it was one I hadn’t done before.  It was a very hot and humid day, but I crossed that finish line feeling pretty damn proud of myself.  A couple of weeks later, I did my third race, the Run for Reece.  This was the first race I had ever done in 2012.  This time I ran it start to finish.  It felt awesome!  And in between races, I was trying my best to run every other day.  Sometimes it worked out, sometimes it didn’t.  Because it would get pretty hot and humid, I often got up and out early in the day.  I’m not a morning person, but I am a coffee person, and that definitely helps (haha).

I still missed being in a gym for strength training, but I did what I could with little to no equipment.  There are actually quite a few things that I could do.  I know it’s not exactly the same, but at least it was something.  I was concentrating more on my cardio.

August brought more running, but no new races.  I didn’t have another one planned until September.  My goal was to do 5 races and I had already done 3.  There are a lot of races in the area where I live, so I was pretty sure I wouldn’t have a problem doing 2 more.

August also brought Tyler home after graduating from University.  I’m incredibly proud of him for making the commitment to get his degree.  And he brought home his new fiancee.  I somehow knew he’d meet someone out there.  I met them for coffee not long after their return.  Her name is Angela and she’s wonderful.  They are perfect together.  I’m so happy for them both.

He and I began working together again.  It felt good to have someone to workout with again.  And he had me up my cardio.  I had been trying to run every other day, and I was running at least 5km each time.  But now he wanted me to do 8km, 5 days a week.  I’m pretty sure I called him bat-shit crazy, but I did it anyway LOL.  When I first started doing it, I had to walk quite a bit, but eventually I got to the point where I could run the whole 8km.  Another proud moment for me.  A few times, I even went a little farther just to see if I could.

September was pretty busy.  First came my birthday, which is always a good time.  Then Dan and I went to Muskoka for his work trip.  I had never been there before, so I was super excited.  I even got a few workouts in while I was there.  I also did 2 more races in September, both were ones I had never done before.   There were both in neighbouring towns, which was also new to me.  Up until then, all the races I had done had been in my little town.  Now I was expanding to other areas.  Another proud moment.

No races in October, just more running and workouts with Tyler.  I could have done a race or two, but decided against it.  I had met my goal and wasn’t sure if I wanted to push it further.  The weather was still nice, so I was still running outside as much as I could.  And to be honest, I was started to feel a little bored running around the track.

November included another new race for me.  This one was also in a neighbouring town, put on by the local running store.  It was called the Egg Nog Jog.  A couple of things drew me to this race.  First, it was a free entry — hard to pass that up; second, it was for charity, the local Coats for Kids program.  I was nervous about it, but hard a great time doing it.  And I made some new friends too.

Near the end of November/early December brought an end to working out with Tyler again.  And while I miss working with him, I understand.  He’s building a new life for himself and his family.  We remain good friends though, which is important to me.

It started getting cold in November, but I still ran outside as much as I could.  I’m determined to run outside as much as I can this winter.  Of course, I need some warmer clothes, but I’m working on that.

I did another new race in December.  This one in the same neighbouring town as the one in November.  This one was called the Run for Food.  Another free entry, this time taking donations for the local food bank, another worthy cause.  It was very cold, and there was a bit of snow and ice on the ground, which made it a bit tough for me, but I crossed the finish line, and that’s what’s important.

My goal was 5 races this year and I did 7 … super proud of that!  I know it may not seem like a lot to most people, but it’s huge to me.  I never thought I’d be this person, but I quite like it.  And I never thought I’d be a runner, but I am and proud to say I actually really enjoy it!  I don’t have to run — I get to run.  Hopefully, I will be able to do most, if not all, of these races next year too.

I really wanted to up my running game this year, and I think I accomplished that.  Between running and walking, I logged over 835 kms, and most of those were from running.  Actually, those are only the kms that I logged on my running app.  There were a few runs and walks that didn’t get logged, so the total is probably closer to 900 kms.  I’m extremely proud of that!

I also wanted to volunteer more of my time this year.  And I did.  I continued working with Celebrate the Hero.  I so love working there.  It’s an amazing organization and everyone there is so great.  Being there makes my heart and soul happy.  And I feel like I’m making a difference, which is important.

This year, I was hoping to have part of the skin removal surgery I need.  I had consultations with 2 plastic surgeons, but surgery didn’t happen.  And looking back, I honestly don’t think I was ready this year.  It will happen when it’s meant to happen.

I wanted to do more reading this year.  And while I did read quite a bit, I didn’t read as much as I really wanted to.  I love to read, I have ever since I was very young.  It’s something I really should do more often.

One of the most fun things about this year was discovering chats on twitter.  I started going on twitter more and more this year, and by accident I came across chats.  I participate in several of them now.  Most have to do with running/racing or fitness/wellness, but my favourite is actually about coffee.  I actually get up early on Sunday mornings to chat about coffee on twitter.  I’ve “met” some really nice people through these various chats.  They’ve really helped me stay motivated and together.

Well that’s it, my year in review.  While I didn’t accomplish everything I wanted to this year, I’m extremely proud of what I did do.  I’m looking forward to the new year and a new set of goals.


I’ve been working on this post on and off for several days, and I’ve been struggling with what to say and how to say it.  I mentioned it on facebook, and my friend Jess had this to say:

“Quite honestly, I feel like this year was a learning experience about our inner selves. Our capabilities, our strength, our perseverance, our will power”

And I think that really sums up this year quite nicely, thank you Jess.



Leave a comment »