Aug 10, 2012

The race that never was....(or 30k training recap)

Time to admit it, say it out loud, write it down, whatever.

I will not be participating in the 30K Midsummer Night's Run next weekend.

Whew! There. I've said it. I've been dreading this moment.
During week 5 of training while on vacation I undertook a 21km training run and apparently did some serious damage to my left leg. Glutes! Hammies! Who needs 'em? Yeah, they tend to come in handy in the whole motorization of your body thing. I killed mine. Ugh.

But enough with the "woe is me". I've sought out some therapy (the physical kind, come on now!!) and will just need to wait a bit longer to participate in a longer distance race. Better to sit this one out than to further injure myself. I still have my sights set on the 25k trail run at the end of September. Hopefully my body will be healed by then & I will be able to get a good training regime going.

Here's to good training, persistence & perhaps a bit of luck (!) to help me get to the next finish line!!

Jul 3, 2012

Training update

Taking a much needed 2 week vacation! Recaps for week 4,5 and 6 will be posted when I return. I am currently enjoying myself at Killbear Provincial Park on the shores of Georgian Bay. Beautiful weather, beautiful scenery and beautiful family time! Definitely trying to get my running in but my schedule will need to be tweaked to accommodate for needs on the trip. Follow me on twitter as I'll try to post updates there. I'm in an area with sporadic cell service so I'm at the mercy of powers beyond my control!! Twitter handle is journeyto42. Updates soon!!

Jun 26, 2012

30k Training - Week 3 Recap

Week #3 is the training week that barely happened!
Here's my training week in review:

Day 1 - Monday - Boot camp.
This was the best part of the week.  Really!  It was my last boot camp session and it was a good one!  Lots of different activity.  An hour of crab walking, skipping, sit ups, weighted squats, world jumps and kettle bell swings.  Woohoo!  
I was actually sad it was over.  BUT....I do have the option of returning any Monday night I choose to, so that is good news!

Day 2 - Tuesday -  3 x 10mins @THR.
A 10 minute warm up & cool down targeting 60-70% HR and in between 3 10 minute intervals at 80-85% HR (with a 1:30 rest in between each). 
38 degrees in the shade with 100% humidity.  OMG! This was a tough run.  And to top it off I did it while pushing L in the stroller.  Really?  Could hubby ever come home on time??!!
I felt great that I was able to get this done, but had to dig deep to finish.  My average HR was 81% as it stayed at just above the top end of the range for each interval.

Run stats - 5.81kms in 52:25 minutes.

Day 3 - Wednesday - Cross Training.
This was supposed to be a cross training day.  Unfortunately, I did absolutely nothing in the form of exercise besides swim in the pool.  It was dreadfully hot again and I didn't do any activity. Instead I invited L's babysitter and her family over for a swim & BBQ after work. No activity. I could have.  I should have.  I didn't.

Run stats - 0 kms.

Day 4 - Thursday - 40 mins EASY.
Today was pack & travel day.  No time to fit the run in.  We were leaving to visit my dad for the weekend who lives 6 hours away.  By the time we are all packed up & ready to go it was 9pm.  Arrived around 3am, got to bed around 3:30am.

Run stats - 0 kms.

Day 5 - Friday -  6x1k @10k pace .
My least favorite run so far, but I know this will get better!
Unfortunately after only 4 hours of sleep this wasn't happening for me.  I did the 15 minute warm up and the first interval before stopping.  I then decided just to finish off with a 20 minute run.  The other problem with this run (and yes it does sound like I'm making excuses) was the road conditions.  My dad lives at the end of a deserted, lonely, gravel country road.  I have never seen so much dust.  There were several vehicles that drove down on the way to their cottages and I literally had to stop & turn my back so as not to choke on the dust.  I know that conditions can't always be perfect but this was just nasty!
Total distance was 6.74 kms in 43:58 minutes.

Day 6 - Saturday - REST DAY.
The reason we were at my Dad's was for a family wedding.  My young cousin was married to her high school sweetheart.  A lovely celebration. Yes, a celebration. I may have participated a little too much! It was a late night, early morning kind of situation!  All in good fun.

Day 7 - Sunday - Long Run 165 mins
See above.  Too much celebrating. This run did not happen.  We also headed home on Sunday as well.  A drive that turned into 8 hours with all the weekend cottage traffic.  Ugh!

Run stats - 0 kms.

Total stats for the week:
Distance - 13.49 km 
Time - 1:36:26 
Average pace - 7.09min/km

This wasn't a very successful week on the training front.  I am a little concerned about the next few weeks as I have vacation coming up & lots of work to do before I go as well as preparation for 2 weeks of camping to finish!  Hopefully I'll be able to get in the majority of my runs, but most especially the long weekend runs.

I CAN make it happen!!

Jun 18, 2012

30k Training - Week 2 Recap

Week #2 has come & gone already. 9 weeks left until my 30k race!

Here's my training week in review:

Day 1 - Monday - Boot camp.
Once again I had another commitment and couldn't make it to boot camp.  Ugh!  Next week is the final session so I. Must. Go!

Day 2 - Tuesday -  40 mins EASY.
Easy, conversational pace = VERY SLOW! This is a tough one for me.  40 minutes keeping my HR between 60-70%.  
I'm sure as people pass me on the street they say "Oh, there's a runner! Wait, she looks like she's kind of running, but not really.  She's not really walking either.  What exactly is she doing??"
My pacing for this run should probably be closer to 8min/km.  My run tonight was about 7:15. I really find this pace hard to keep.  My knees seem to bother me a bit at this pace as well.  Probably because I'm shortening my stride as I try to slow down. I'm sure there's some running guideline that would tell me that's not the proper way to do it but I'm really unsure what is!

Total for this painfully slow run - 5.81 kms in 40:00 minutes.

Day 3 - Wednesday - 6x1k @10k pace.
When I started this run I thought "Hurray, I get to run fast tonight!".
Yeah, this wasn't happening for me. Not sure what my problem was (aside from the fact that my HRM was not adjusted properly for the first half of the run which just totally drove me crazy & kept me very distracted!).
I don't know whose "10K" pace this is...but apparently it's not mine.
Borrowed from
Goal was to keep my HR between 88-92% for each of the 6 1km intervals.  I could barely do it, was frustrated and eventually talked myself out of it.
I would give this run a big FAIL, except that I did try and wasn't home sitting on my couch eating chips (which I've been known to do!). And, I was able to run one 5:36min km, which means I was pushing it!

Run stats - 10.2 kms in 1 hour 12 minutes.

Day 4 - Thursday - 40 mins MOD.
I had to change up the plan a little on this night as I went running with a friend.  Something that doesn't happen very often so I do try to take advantage of it.  Company is nice sometimes!
I turned off the HRM and we just went running.  Funny thing is we actually ended up pretty close to what my target for the night was supposed to be.
40 mins with HR between 70-85%.  My average HR was 86% and we ran just shy of 40 minutes.

Total distance was 5.49 kms in 35:43 minutes.

Day 5 - Friday - 4x6mins.
Another speed workout!  After Wednesday I was a little nervous. 
This one was structured a little differently.  The goal was 4 6min intervals run at 80-85%. There was also a 10 minute warm up & cool down period.
This one was better. My average HR for each interval was 87%.  A touch higher than the goal, but I was able to run consistently and this tells me I should also be able to do the intervals at the increased HR from Wednesday.
Overall, I was quite please with this run.

Total distance was 7.04 kms in 50:00 minutes.

Day 6 - Saturday - REST DAY.
I really missed running on Saturday.  I rarely do not run on Saturday's so I really felt like I was missing something all day.  I did enjoy afternoon of lounging by the pool, no complaints there!

Day 7 - Sunday - Long Run 150 mins
What is it with my weekend runs and RAIN?? Again as soon as I stepped outside the heavens opened and poured down on me.  I ran anyway.  I tried to run toward the blue sky in the distance.  After 30 minutes the rain was behind me.
I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this run.  I didn't feel like I ran for 2.5 hours.  I didn't feel like I was continually having to slow down or speed up.  I was able to run consistently with few annoying beeps from my HRM.  I managed to get in 1.5 more kms in the same time as last week although I did run a different route.
I am going to give credit for this run to both progress and less up hill running!

Total distance 19.34km in 2hours 30minutes.

Total stats for the week:
Distance - 46.88km (4.64km more than week #1)
Time - 5:48:04 (10 minutes more than week#1)
Average pace - 7.25min/km

With the exception of the speed work on Wednesday, a much better training week. Still areas for improvement, but I'm feeling much better about the HR training itself. I didn't fit in any strength training either which I'd like to do twice a week.
Next week brings new challenges as it's supposed to be very hot & humid here.  As well, we are going out of town for the weekend so I may need to reorganize things to ensure I get my long run in.  Hopefully it works!

Jun 13, 2012

30k Training - Week 1 Recap

Well week #1 of heart rate training for my 30km Midsummer Night's Run is behind me.  Thank goodness!
Actually, it went better than I expected really.  I haven't run with a HRM in a long time.  I go out, I run.  I typically run as fast as I can as long as I don't talk myself out of a fast paced run (which happens quite frequently!).

Here's my training week in review:

Day 1 - Monday - Boot camp.
This turned out to be a rest day as I had a prior commitment & couldn't make it to boot camp.  My older daughter returned from Europe (yay!!) and I had to pick her up at the airport.  A good excuse I think!

Day 2 - Tuesday - 3x10 mins @THR.
This run involved a 10 minute warm up & cool down targeting 60-70% HR and in between 3 10 minute intervals at 80-85% HR (with a 1:30 rest in between each). 
Hubby was late getting home from work and I was determined to run.  So L. got packed into her stroller with books, toys & snacks and off we went.
Holy crap!!
I think it is next to impossible (for me anyway) to run pushing a stroller with a 30lb toddler plus assorted paraphernalia and keep your heart rate less than 70% of max!!  The same can be said for keeping it under 85%.  This was a tough run for me.  My average heart rate for the entire run was about 87%.  Not quite where it needed to be.
Very slow run in my normal running terms - 7.22 kms in 54:34 minutes.
I blame it on bringing the kid!

Day 3 - Wednesday - 40 mins EASY.
An easy run means being able to run at a conversational pace.  In HR terms  we're talking between 60-70%.
Once again L. joined me on this run.  
My average heart rate for the run was about 76%.  There was a lot of walking involved.  There is no way I can run up hills with her in the stroller and keep my HR that low! 
Another very slow run (but that is the goal for this type of run) - 3.73 kms in 30:02 minutes.
For fun after the run I threw in some strength training (to make up for that missed boot camp) - squats, sit ups, push ups & kettle bell swings.  About 25 minutes worth.

Day 4 - Thursday - 5x3mins @10k pace.
A 15 minute warm up & cool down at the dreaded 60-70% pace. 5 intervals of 3 minute each at what this plan calls "10k pace" or 88-92% THR.
Apparently, this is not my 10k pace!  It was hard to get my HR up to this level and then run at that consistent pace.  Three minutes doesn't seem that long, but holy cow!  It's never ending! 
This run went better and I was flying solo finally.  My average HR was about 85% and I was able to achieve the 10k pace for a good length of time.  Hopefully this gets easier!
Total distance was 6.26 kms in 48:53 minutes.

Day 5 - Friday - Rest Day

Day 6 - Saturday - 3x10 mins @THR.
A repeat of Tuesday, minus L. & the stroller.
What I blamed on bringing the kid was apparently not her fault.  I only did slightly better without her!
I made sure to do this run early morning as it was supposed to be a hot day.  Can you say torrential downpour?  That's what happened. I got caught in a lovely storm, but I kept on going.  I'm determined.  I only have 11 weeks to get ready for this very long run!
I felt pretty good after this one, less frustrated.
Total distance 7.24 kms in 54:30 minutes.

Day 7 - Sunday - Long Run 150 mins
That's 2 and one half hours!
I'm thinking "Oh crap! I've never run for that length of time".
Then I look at the rest of the info.  THR is between 65-75%.  What???  That's ridiculous.
I started this one about 7:30am because it was going to be a scorcher.  It was 15 degrees Celsius when I left the house & 21 degrees when I finished.  Bright burning sunshine all the way.
While this was tough to keep my HR at the proper level this was the most enjoyable run I had all week.  It was very controlled.  The time zipped by. When I finished I didn't feel like I had run for 2 1/2 hours. The last hour was very tough to keep in the zone and my average HR ended up around 80%.
Total distance 17.78km in 2hours 30minutes.

To summarize, heart rate training is hard. Period.  I knew it would be.  It is going to take all my patience and then some to complete the 11 weeks.  I'm determined to do it.  Hopefully I still think that way a couple of weeks from now!

Total stats for the week:
Distance - 42.24km
Time - 5:38:01
Average pace - 8.0min/km

Overall not bad.  Some definite room for improvement.

Jun 7, 2012

A Midsummer Night's Run - Training Plan

So with the commitment made to participate in the longest run I've attempted to date, a training plan is a necessity.

I've thought a lot about this in the past few weeks. All of my prior training has been pretty standard - 3 - 4 runs of between 5 - 11 kms plus one long weekend run that progressively increased until just before race day.  For my last race I also tried to include some tempo runs as well.  Also, 95% of my training is done alone. That all worked fine and I've seen my pace & endurance increase but this time I'm going with a different approach.

Heart rate based training.  
Cheer or Boo at your leisure!

Why HR based training?
A couple of reasons:
  1. The challenge.  
  2. Added variety from my previous training plans.
HR based training is tough.  At least it is for me.  After my first 5 months of running I attempted HR based training and it was hard.  But it did help me & I really had to focus.  Focus on running.  Focus on breathing.  Focus on pace.  I moved away from that when I got back into running after my last pregnancy.

The plan I've decided to use is based on a Garmin Marathon training schedule. (You could search on-line & probably come up with the same plan.) It's only been slightly modified.  The scary part is I'm jumping in mid-plan (week 6) so my long run days are really long run days very quickly!  I may have to tweak this a bit further for those long runs if that ramp is too fast.  But my Half Marathon was only 3 weeks ago so really it shouldn't be a problem.  I have a tendency to talk myself out of continuing those long runs sometimes though so we'll see how it goes!

The one downfall to all this training in the summer is vacation.  See all those highlighted days up there?  Yep, that's my vacation.  3 whole weeks of it.  Training can't stop or I won't make my goal.  The good thing is that our summer vacation is camping, so I'll be in an area where running is possible and there are even some decent trails.

So let's dive in!  This is Week #1!!  Hopefully this all works out and I won't need to be placed in that padded cell I spoke of previously!

Jun 5, 2012

Commitment - an act of insanity or a pledge?

According to the online Merriam-Webster dictionary the word commitment can be defined as:

Definition of COMMITMENT

a : an act of committing to a charge or trust: as (1) : a consignment to a penal or mental institution (2) : an act of referring a matter to a legislative committeeb : mittimus
a : an agreement or pledge to do something in the future;especially : an engagement to assume a financial obligation at a future dateb : something pledgedc : the state or an instance of being obligated or emotionallyimpelled <a commitment to a cause>

As far as I know I haven't committed any acts that would involve a stay at a penal or mental institution.  Well definitely not the penal, but there are days that some may say a nicely padded solitary cell is required!
Photo courtesy of

No, I'm talking about commitment because I've just made one.  A personal one.  A BIG one. Obligated myself to participate in a future event.  
Take a guess what it is.
It involves wearing brightly coloured clothing, mostly skin tight clothing, and not particularly a lot of it.  NOOO!  Minds out of the gutter please, this is a family show!
It also involves a lot of sweat (okay, really, I already told you not to go there) as well as determination.
Ever heard of A Midsummer Night's Run? No.  Well it's a summer time endurance event.  There are 2 options for distance - 15k or 30k.  Last summer I ran the 15k and that was the hardest physical event I've completed to date.  I didn't have enough training, was 40lbs too heavy and it was HOT!
Photo courtesy of

The 2 Half Marathons I did next were way easier than that race.
But because I'm a sucker for punishment or something (remember that padded cell from up above?) this year I'm going all out.  THIRTY K BABY!!! In. The. Middle. Of. August.
I've signed on the dotted line.  Paid my fees.  Made the schedule.  It's a done deal.
Photo courtesy of
The commitment is made.  My schedule is posted on the fridge for all to see.  There can't be any excuses.  There will be a lot of running going on over the next 11 weeks.  I will need help.  I might need to beg, plead, whine, promise lovely gifts to enlist the help of my family. (I think I see some shopping trips & daddy play dates in my future!!)  It's all about teamwork right?

This is my next big step.  A trip down the path to my end goal of that full marathon run. More to follow in the weeks to come as I get going with the training.

Once again I'm hanging out at YeahWrite - a great blogging community.  Read & be read!!  Enjoy.

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May 29, 2012

On the Injured Reserve List

Lately I've been out.
Out of the game.
Sidelined by a work related injury.  Yes, that's right a work related injury.

Take me away.  I'm OUT!

Work.  That's my injury.

At least that's what I've been telling myself.  I have been consumed by the megabytes of files that have been delivered to my overflowing inbox and have embedded themselves directly into my brain. I'm working ALL THE TIME.  My body is hovered over my laptop for 8 hours at the office.  My only breaks have been to refuel with the wonder of caffeine.  Occasionally my brain yells at my "Get up and go's time you moron, remember all that caffeine you've absorbed?!".
After I leave the office my evening is cluttered with domestic duties plus the evening shift to attend to all that work. I rush to the daycare, scoop up the wee girlie and head home.  Dinner is a hurried affair, there's a little kitchen clean up, a bit of toddler play as well as the occasional nod of recognition to my husband.  Between the hours of 6 and 9 I'm running between my home office & the rest of the house.  A little bit of domesticity here, a little bit of spreadsheet mastery there.  By 9:30 the wee one is settled, I've effectively said good night to hubby and I'm once again hunkered down in front of that glaring 17 inch screen for another consecutive FOUR HOURS.
At 6:30am the cycle starts again.
Sleeping?  No.  Just trying to make sense of the futility of it all.

Sidelined.  That's how I feel.  On the injured reserve list.

There has been little to no activity outside of my scurrying between different rooms in my house. For TWO WEEKS.  For someone who calls themselves a runner and is supposed to be training for the next big event, this SUCKS!  I could use stronger words, but let's just leave it at that. This workload is wearing me thin. Sucking up all my time like a monstrous vacuum. There is nothing left for me.  Like I said, sidelined.


So in the midst of all this work, I'm very angry that I have no ME time.  I don't have time to go for a walk let alone a 5k or longer run.  Somewhere though while thinking of all this work, doing all this work and being angry about all this work (well not really angry about the work, but how it's affecting other aspects of my life) I had a different kind of thought.

Is it really the work that's the problem?  Is my injury really work?
Squeezing out the lunacy!

No. It. Is. Not.  My injury is me.  I am my own injury.  I've let myself be consumed and driven by the work. I've made the choice to work these insane hours. I've made excuses, to myself.  I haven't let myself be active, and the more days that pass the harder it is.

One of my new favorite blogs is Shut Up + Run. Beth is a no nonsense, tell it like it is kind of gal. Her tagline is "It really is mind over matter. No excuses. Just do it!".  I couldn't agree more, and somewhere along the way I've forgotten this.
There's an inspirational running quote I found on that I really like.
fitsugar - healthy happy you

On Sunday I took that first step.  And then another.  And another.  Until I had taken enough steps to log a 6k run.  While those first steps were hard, and the kilometers didn't exactly fly by, it felt great. Exactly what I needed to renew my spirit and re-energize my body.  It's a whole different lift from a caffeine high let me tell you!

So I've taken myself off the injured reserve list. I can no longer injure myself. I'm back in the game and determined to stay there. I may not always win, but as long as I give it a try I'll be content and satisfied that I'm working towards my personal goals.

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May 21, 2012

Miss Independent (x 2)

"I wanna do it!"
"I can do it!"
"Let me do it!"

A small sampling of the phrases we hear from wee L. every day, all day! At almost 2 she is becoming an independent force to reckon with!! No longer will she sit quietly (well rarely) while I dress her. She must try to do it. Every. Time. Have you ever watched a little one try to put on socks? It's a fruitless endeavour for the most part. Neither the toes nor the socks seem to cooperate!  Let Mama help?  No way. It can be a struggle to let her let me help get the clothes on.  When I ask her to find shoes, L. typically goes for her rain boots because those she can get on all by herself!

This new found independence that L. is embracing so whole heartedly is hurting my heart a little. Where did my baby go? Those days where she totally depends on Mama are fluttering in the wind, ready to be blown away by the approaching storm of childhood. Well, I'll hope it's not an actual storm. Maybe a light rain shower mixed in with mostly sunny skies! While I am so totally amazed by the new things she does, says & learns every single day I find myself wishing I could slow down the process. Just a little. Not forever. A little more time to hold her close (minus the wriggling away so she can move on to the next fascination).

But I can't. And I know it. Her independence will grow & I will continue to be amazed at the wonder that is L. Before I know it, we'll be picking courses for university, choosing residences, shopping for household items to outfit her new place.  Wait, WHAT?  Slow down!!

The truth of the matter is these things I described above; they are actually happening.  Now. Talk about chaotic emotions.

Meet Miss Independent #1, or the Original MI if you will!  The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity with her as well. Come August my baby will no longer live under my roof. Seriously. I blinked and 19 years have gone by. Talk about a hurting heart! I can't believe it's time for this already. We might need to revisit my earlier thought about slowing down the process. For real. Could I have a bit more time? I'm not ready! A few more snuggles, nights spent under covers watching rom-com movies, trips taken just the 2 of us.  Please, can we do it all again?

We can't. 
M. no longer says "I wanna do it!" (well actually sometimes her requests actually do sound a bit like L's!!) she can do it. By herself. All the time! She is ready to take her next step just like L.

I better get ready because this isn't stopping.  And in all reality I do not want it to. Yes, it would be lovely to keep them tiny forever but they will always remain that way in my heart.  And as for that, it may be aching a bit right now but that will soon be replaced by that amazement that comes as I watch them learn & grow, the love I feel for them that only increases over time and my overall pleasure with having been blessed by these two unique girls.

But right now, I'm going to watch L. serve up "breakfast" in her playhouse while sipping my coffee that M. so graciously delivered!!  Independence isn't all that bad!

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May 13, 2012

A mom by any other name...

Nineteen years ago I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby girl.  
In the beginning as she was discovering how to navigate her tongue through her first sounds she would call me "ma" or "ma-ma".  That didn't last very long.  As soon as she could, those 2 little letters morphed into the full-blown word "Mommy".  

I have heard many variations of this name over the years.  From the sweet innocent whispers of "mommy" as we cuddled close at night to the cries of "MOMMMMMYYY" choked out with her tears when she was hurt or scared.  Let's not forget the sarcastic, roll her eyes "MUUuuuMM" when I'm apparently doing something totally wrong or embarrassing.  And even now when she thanks me in her text messages for something I've done (or given in to is probably more the case) I usually get a "thank you mommy".  Just the other day as she was leaving the house to go out with friends she was halfway out the door, came back over to me, kissed me on the cheek and said "I love you Mommy". I had to pick my jaw back up off the floor after that I was so shocked. We have always been very outwardly affectionate but even so she can still surprise me at times!

I am Mommy!  For the better part of 19 years that has been the most frequently used titled associated with me!  I LOVE being MOMMY!  Even if my first born is getting ready to leave the nest.

Almost two years ago now I gave birth to another beautiful, healthy baby girl.  
To her I am "MAMA".  At first I wasn't sure how I felt about this.  I mean after all before she blessed us with her wonderful spirit I had been Mommy for 17 years!  Even my husband, who always refers to me as "Mommy" with my older daughter now calls me "Mama".  I hear "Mama, where are you?" and "Help please Mama".  And just recently for the first time I heard "I wuv you Mama!". Sigh!!

I am Mama!  I LOVE being MAMA!

Even though I wasn't sure about the name change at first, I told myself "It's just a word, just a name".  But the more I've thought about it the more this feels right.  I was 19 years younger with my older daughter.  I raised her when I was in a completely different stage of my life.  A young 20-something single parent trying to find her way in the world.  Now with my wee girlie I bring a lot more life experience to the table.  I've navigated parenthood, the dating game, the business world. I've been successful in most things I've done and when I haven't I'm at least proud & satisfied that I've tried.

I am different.  My daughters are different.  It's completely okay that I have two different but very similar titles.  It doesn't matter the word; it is the feeling, the sentiment & the meaning behind it.  The protector.  The teacher. The storyteller. The healer.  The comforter. The cheerleader.

I am Mommy!  I am Mama!  And I love it!

Hangin' out at YeahWrite again!!  Take a look at all the great posts!

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May 8, 2012

Bootcamp, burpees & peeing my pants!

Several weeks ago I made the decision to join a fitness boot camp.  I am still not sure how or why that decision was made.  It must have been in the heat of the moment after an incredibly fantastic training run & I was still riding high on endorphins!!

Some of the things I have learned so far at my boot camp:
  1. Sense of humor required.  Seriously.  Don't leave home without it.  I wouldn't make it through these workouts if I didn't laugh at myself!
  2. I really do have muscles that I apparently NEVER use, or perhaps they were never meant to be used.  I can't decide which.
  3. Pee before starting the workout.  This is very important! The emptier the bladder the better! I will explain later.
  4. My vocabulary is expanding.  I've learned several new words & phrases I wasn't familiar with before.  Things like double-unders (fun!), kettle bell swings (more fun!) & burpees (the most fun!).
  5. Ibuprofen, cool showers & ice are my new best friends!
  6. Cliched as it may sound, hard work & perseverance really do pay off!
The boot camp takes place Monday evenings, outdoors in the quiet circle where a colleague of mine lives. I was told it takes place rain or shine. Kind of like the mail delivery! Okay, I can deal with that. Actually I don't know that I could deal with that and thankfully 2 sessions have been postponed due to horribly rainy & windy weather. It seems odd to me how happy I was about these sessions being cancelled given that I run outdoors all year long in scorching heat, rain, wind, snow, sleet, etc, etc.But the idea of getting down on the ground to pump out 50 push ups in the rain....not so nice!

Having never participated in anything like this before I went in with an open mind, willing to take on anything the trainer would throw at me. The trainer - let's call her Sarge - is blond, medium height & built like a rugby player.  She is one tough cookie & perfect to be leading us. She is a personal trainer, massage therapist & overall fitness aficionado. The best thing about Sarge is that she recognizes that each person is at different levels of fitness & overall strength and really tries to work each session to help every person there. Now that may be a ploy to make sure we all come back week after week, but hey, it works!

So session 1 opens up with a jump rope workout. Hurray! I can do this. I loved skipping when I was a kid. WRONG!  4 minutes of non-stop skipping.  Doesn't seem like much, but OMG!  Here's a little tidbit of conversation between me, Sarge & my inner-self as I'm skipping:
                Me (after about 20 seconds of skipping):  Ummm, so I feel like I need to go pee.
                Sarge:  Yeah, that's normal, it will get better over time.
                Me:  Like tonight? I really feel like I'm going to pee my pants.
                Sarge: <wicked laugh> It happens to the best of us!!
                Inner-Me:  Umm, I think I just peed a little.
                Skip, skip, skip.  Stop
                Inner-Me:  UH-OH!  I did, I just peed a little.
                Skip, skip, trickle, trickle, skip, skip...
                Inner-Me:  <screaming in my head> Is this going to STOP??!!??
I finally finish the 4 minutes of agony & ask my colleague if I could use her washroom.  I make a mad dash and once I'm all ready...NOTHING!  My bladder is now EMPTY!

All this took place in the first 5 minutes of the session! My inner-me is screaming "We are SOOOO not coming back again!!". The fun of the evening continued with sit-ups, push-ups, squats, a 35 lb kettle bell & a rowing machine. Sarge introduced us to something she calls 10's - a simple circuit.  10 sit-ups, 10 push-ups, 10 burpees, 10 skips, 10 kettle bell swings.  Did I mention the kettle bell weighs 35 lbs.  10 of each to start, then working all the way down to 1.
I should say now, that my most hated activity is the burpee.  Ha!  You thought I was going to say skipping didn't you?  No, even with the warmth & wetness added to the skipping activity, the burpee wins out for the activity that sucks the most!
Showering that night was a hoot, trying to raise my arms to shampoo my hair, and then to rinse, really, something for those home video shows I swear. By Tuesday evening my arms were better, but the pain had just moved into my legs!

Session 2.  Yes I did go back believe it or not!  There is no way this class or Sarge is getting the better of me!  This session was a roller coaster of fun as well.   

I should have stayed home!

Session 2 was all about the squats.  And not just any squats, but squats while you are holding a weighted pole across your body (can't say for sure, but it had to be 10-15lbs).  And not just holding said weighted pole across your body, but pushing it up above the head while standing up from the squat.  The goal was to do 25 of these little gems and then take 25 large steps, stop & proceed to do 25 more, take 25 steps, repeat, repeat, repeat until I had gone twice around the circle/street which is about 200 yards (so 400 yards in total). WHAT???  My muscles were already yelling at me to quick, sprint for the car & drive away fast.  But I didn't.  I did the squats, with the weighted pole & heaved it above my least 200 times!  I could not do 25 at a time though - more like 10 - 20 at the most and it varied throughout the exercise.

After this session, I couldn't walk properly for FIVE days!!  I have never been in so much pain in my life.  Bearing children was easier I kid you not!

Sarge told me at the beginning that the ramp up period would be pretty quick. I actually believed her.  I mean after all I am a runner.  I am strong.  I lift my 30lb toddler on a daily basis several times a day!  Now, I'm thinking she lied to me.  But I return for Session 3 because really I think what could she possibly ask me to do that is going to hurt more than it already has.

Session 3 was better. Sarge didn't lie to me after all. I am feeling better about doing some of the activities that I didn't like so well. I'm much better at a burpee now! Our new activity last night was a lovely thing called a double-under.  Skipping.  Great!  I'm mentally preparing myself for wet pants. Happy to report, no peeing, so those muscles are apparently getting stronger too!  I did have to try at least 25 times before I finally completed one successful double-under (jump once but the rope goes under your feet twice).  Hard.  However, my 19 year old daughter who attends the boot camp with me was a ROCK STAR at these.  But then she's 19, fit & active always.  She seems to be a rock star at most of these activities! Oh to be young again.

There are 5 more sessions left.  I get a little nervous before each one as I'm just not sure what will happen, and how my body will feel they day after & the day after that & the day.....
But I make it fun. I laugh at myself both during & after the workout, ease my aching muscles as best I can & relish my progress so far.

Next up (as far as I've been told) is a workout with a hula hoop.  I think my wee girlie is about to get a hula hoop for a new toy so that mama can practice beforehand!!!

**Re: Sarge - I really love her!  She is a most excellent trainer & motivator!!

May 4, 2012

42 Things

When I named my blog journeyto42 I was referring to the challenge I've given myself to complete a full marathon.  Having 2 half marathons under my belt & the desire to keep going farther that seems the next logical step.

I was thinking about this the other day and while my goal is all well & good, what happens when I've reached it?  Notice I didn't say "if"...I do plan on achieving this goal!!  My Journey To 42 will be over.  The name of my blog will be meaningless.  I could change it I suppose, but I actually do like it.  Not too creative, but it's kind of catchy don't you think?!

So in an effort to preserve the longevity of the name I'm going to change gears a bit.  Instead of blogging about one 42 km goal, how about a list next steps?  You guessed it!  42 of them!  42 next steps for the future.

So here's my list of 42 Next Steps (in no particular order) which we'll affectionately dub "The 42":

  1. Complete a full marathon.
  2. Lose these annoying 20 lbs that continue to languish on my body (not their fault really, I've made it quite comfortable for them to stay!).
  3. Cheer & clap loudly when I watch my oldest daughter graduate from university.
  4. Be an inspiration to my daughters.
  5. Plan & take a European holiday with my hubby.
  6. Have another baby (I can't believe I'm putting this out in public!).
  7. Complete a half marathon in under 2 hours (my current PR is 2:13).
  8. Walk my oldest daughter down the aisle at her wedding (should she choose to get married).
  9. Love & spoil some eventual grandchildren (but not too soon!!).
  10. Write more!  This blog is a start.  I've always loved to write so whether it's for public or personal consumption I'd like to tune up my writing skills.
  11. Show & tell my daughters how much I love them every single day.
  12. Visit every province in Canada at least once.  So far I've only been to 2 - Ontario where I live & neighboring Quebec.  I've been to more US States! 
  13. Wear a bikini.  A real one.  Not a tank that hides all the squishy parts!
  14. Be a mentor in the workplace.
  15. Complete a "Tough Mudder" or similar strength/endurance event.  I have my cousin Dan to thank for this little piece of inspiration!! 
  16. Buy a sailboat.
  17. Enjoy a long weekend holiday with my hubby.  It doesn't have to be far away, just the 2 of us, alone, enjoying each other's company.  Novel idea really!!
  18. Go on a "girl's retreat" with some of my closest lady friends.
  19. Visit Australia.
  20. Take my youngest daughter to "the happiest place on Earth".  And so there's no confusion, I do mean Disney World!
  21. Improve my gardening skills.  Currently the plants tend to shrink in the stores as I walk by to make themselves as unattractive as possible so I won't buy them!!
  22. Learn how to properly back up a vehicle with a trailer attached.  You would think that I could do this given that we've camped with a tent trailer for years & I grew up on a fishing resort with many boats & trailers, but this is just something I can't do!
  23. Become a better windsurfer.  I know how to do this amazing sport, but I'm a little scared, hmmmm, perhaps terrified is a better way to describe it, when I'm out in the deep water & don't know how to use the wind to get me safely back to shore.
  24. Take additional professional development to help me in my career.  Currently that means to increase my knowledge of marketing, how to operate an effective marketing organization & track its success.
  25. Show & tell my husband how much I love him every single day.
  26. Get up earlier in the morning.  I am not an early riser.  I would like to rise earlier 2 - 3 days a week either to do activity (i.e. a morning run) or just have some quiet "me" time!
  27. Reduce the amount of coffee I drink on a daily basis.  Ideally I would like to limit this to only one Tim Horton's coffee per day.
  28. Open an RESP for my youngest daughter (and contribute to it regularly).
  29. Take control of my health.  I'm pretty passive about this & only see the doctor if I absolutely have to.  I really need to be better about those annual appointments that are important for a woman my age.
  30. Communicate more with my family (not my husband's family, my family).  We all have an on-again, off-again kind of relationship.  Not a close-knit bunch.  I will try to open up those communication lines more frequently so that we all feel the love!
  31. Develop new relationships.
  32. Finish those scrapbooks that I've either started or planned in my head.  Not the online kind either.  I have a room in my house that is filled with all kinds of scrapbook & craft paraphernalia that is dying to get used!!
  33. Put a hot tub in the backyard.  Ah, that would be heaven!!
  34. Attend my younger daughter's wedding (should she choose to get married).  This is separate for the same desire I have with my older daughter.  Given there is 17 years difference in their ages, I will be considerably older when my youngest is at this stage in life!
  35. Volunteer in the community.  Not sure what form this could take, but something I've been thinking about for a long time.
  36. Be happy with the life I've built & my accomplishments. I tend to be very hard on myself. There is no need for that!
  37. Continue to teach my daughters that they are/will be beautiful, strong, independent girls/women who have the ability to achieve any dream or goal they set for themselves.
  38. Work outside of my home on a part-time basis. This will involve ramping up savings and/or creating some other means of income.
  39. Start playing hockey again.  I am a Canadian girl & LOVE hockey.  It's not too late to get back into it!
  40. Push my boundaries & comfort zone.  Hmmmm....not sure where this will lead!
  41. Further develop & then maintain a healthy lifestyle.
  42. Connect & re-connect with friends.
Wow, that was a bit hard!  I'll update you on progress of these next steps over time.

Now for you.  Do you have a list of next steps?  What would you aim for?  What is most important for you to see, do, accomplish?  I'd love to hear about all those next steps, big or small!!

May 2, 2012

Postcard from a Small Town

This post is inspired by Mondays with Mac: Postcards from Parenthood Blog Carnival to give advice to new parents!  

Hi from Small Town Anywhere!

I'm from a small town.  Actually town isn't the right word.  I think where I grew up could accurately be described as a hamlet.  Yep, that small!  More cows than people I always said!

Small town living may not seem like it is for everyone.  You may have the same thoughts about parenting right now as well!  Caught you didn't I?  That's exactly what you are thinking.  Let me assure are WRONG!

A few personal reflections on small town living.  There are some definite comparisons that can be drawn to parenting!

Secrets?  You get 'em?  Not any more!  In a small town, your business is out there.  It is talked about reverently (!) at the church social.  Little old ladies fuss about it over afternoon tea.  Oh yes, the "party lines" are buzzing with all the latest gossip about YOU!! 

Being a parent feels a little like that!  Everybody knows your business and worst of all has an opinion that they will share with you at any given moment.  You may feel useless, unworthy, wrong ALL THE TIME!  But do not fear my little mama friend as that is far from the truth.  The best advice I can give is to stand tall, be polite, but follow your instincts.  It's true. Lots of people have raised little ones.  But no one has raised yours.  You are the only expert when it comes to your own child. Who cares if grandma at the end of the block spread the word that you took wee Sammy off the breast at 3 months?  You don't...that is your decision & one you don't have to justify to anyone!

Small town residents are involved, very involved.  People are expected to contribute & help out in whatever way they can.  Not only that, but typically people WANT to contribute & help out.  Go figure!!  A small town doesn't run itself, it takes the efforts of the residents to build a thriving community.  You know those church suppers that happen periodically throughout the summer?  There was always great anticipation when it was time for "the lists" to be distributed.  I remember my Mom receiving her list of expected contributions.  I'm not talking a $5 generic contribution to support the event.  The "list" was handwritten & about 5 inches long!  It included things like "6 pies, 2 cabbages shredded for coleslaw, one large jar of mayonnaise, 4 jars of pickles, 1 jar of pickled beets, contribution to the "sale table", contribution to the "fish pond" and $10".  Wow!!!  There was never any question, my Mom just got it all together because that is what she did to help out.

Parenting kind of works the same way.  Yes, you are making the decisions on child rearing, providing as much love & support as you can, but let's face it!  At some point you will need a break.  Yes YOU!  Super Mom who will try to juggle it all; the kids, husband, house, pets, work, etc, etc.  Take advantage of that community around you.  They WANT to help.  Grandma would love to babysit.  Aunt Jean would love to pick up that forgotten can of formula at the grocery store.  Your best friend is there to mop your tears or when you need to vent.  It is important to realize that help is not over is exactly what is needed from time to time!

Small town living can really help reduce the stress of the everyday, hectic-ness that is life! Less hustle, less noise (except for maybe the natural noise of nature), no congested traffic filled streets to deal with.  Heck in my town there was only 1 Stop sign.  Two cars stopped at the sign in front of the local mini-mall (inside joke) was considered a traffic jam!  It can be so much more peaceful and really help you focus on what is important in life.

Guess what?  When the kiddies arrive you will feel exactly that way.  Your #1 priority will now be keeping that wee one safe, loved & comforted 24/7.  Hey, now that's not to say that your life will be stress free (I just don't believe that exists, there is always some type of stress).  However, it will be different.  

Small town or big you will build a life that is suited for you & your family.  You will do the same with parenting.  Be happy, make your own decisions & stand by them, engage your community & focus on what's really important.  YOU WILL SHINE - like all those stars in the clear small town sky!!!

Mondays with Mac