Monday, December 31, 2012

Hello 2013!

Happy New Year, everyone!  Hope you all had a fantastic holiday season and are ready to welcome 2013.  Our Christmas so far has been busybusybusy, hence the lack of BIL is getting married on New Year's Day, so it's been like Grand Central Station around here with houseguests, dinners, family get togethers...seriously, working out has been a total saving grace to keep me sane amidst an extremely crazy December.  That and stealing a few quiet moments (like right now!) where I have the house to myself...aaaaaaah.

So, how was my 2012?  Well, if I'm looking at how I did on my goals from last year, I pretty much didn't accomplish any of it.  Read 15 books?  I read 5.  Achieve a 1:50 half marathon?  Well, I was on track before I crashed and burned out one kilometre from the finish line.  A vision board?  Swimming lessons?  Volunteer more?  Epic fail on all those goals.  The year has been tinged with some unhappy events and difficult times, but in all of it, I'd have to say that 2012 has been a year of being grateful for the life we have even when things aren't going great and has been an impetus to make some real changes.  And of course, with change comes goals!  For 2013, I've cut my goal list from the usual 10 to a shorter list of 5 things that I've really wanted to achieve, so without further ado,  here they are:

1.  Volunteer
I know, I know...this one has been on my goal list for years, but this year I'm gonna do it!  I've been keeping my eyes open for volunteer opportunities (particularly food related causes like food banks, breakfast clubs, etc.) and already have a few local races in mind that I want to volunteer for.  After my "little problem" that I had at the Goodlife Half, it made me realize how many good people there are out there who are so willing to help strangers and it's really given me the push to donate my time as well as money to things that I hold close to my heart.

2.  Do One Chin Up
Ack!  I can't believe I actually wrote that publicly.  Hah!  I'm actually superdupercrazy excited about this goal.  I've been going to the Pacific Institute of Sport Excellence (PISE) for a HIIT/tabata style class with my coworker M, and have been looooving it.  It's a fabulous facility - this is the place where the Canadian Olympic mens rowing team trains, so that gives you an idea of how great the place is.  PISE offers a "build it yourself" bootcamp that M was thinking about joining, where you get a small group of 6 or so people together and you work on what you want.  Apparently the trainer is a huge proponent of strength training and was wanting to work with us for an extended period to really get our strength up, watch our progress and teach us proper form.  SOLD!  I've been dying to work on strength training for ages, but feel like I need someone to show me what to do, so this is perfect.  The classes are Monday and Wednesday (the other ladies are doing Friday as well) from Jan 18 to Apr 24 and I'm totally psyched!  And you can bet I'll be blogging about this journey along the way so you'll hear all about my foibles in the weight room. Josh (the trainer) has also asked us to send along goals so I've been ruminating throughout the holiday season as to what I want my goals to be.  I went back to my bucket list and one of my goals was to be able to do chin ups, so I thought what better goal to put down!  I don't really have a good idea of what I can lift or how strong I am since at bootcamp we usually do strength work with our body weight, so I think overall if I can lift 50% more than I could at the beginning of the session, I would be ecstatic.  I'm happy with where my cardio is from the running and bootcamps, but really want to build more muscle.

Oh...and I'm not picky on the chin up.  It doesn't have to be perfect, and if it's assisted, that's fine too...girl's gotta start somewhere, right?  As long as I can do one, I'd be happy.

3.  Eat Mindfully
This goal has a couple of conponents in it.  A few years ago, Hubs and I started doing Meatless Mondays, and we've been really enjoying's helped me expand my cooking repertoire, and more veggies = good!   After watching a documentary on W5 on how horribly factory farms treat the animals, I decided that if I'm going to eat meat, I need to do it responsibly and not support factory farming.  My first step towards this goal was to sign up for a class called the "The Ethical Carnivore", where the chef will discuss the best places on the island to buy locally sourced, ethically raised and antibiotic/hormone free meat. From there I plan on trying to use ethically raised meat as much as possible in our meals. Hubs is fully on board with this change - after I told him about what they do to piglets, he's 100% behind me in this...what a guy.

The second component of this goal is where my beloved Vitamix (blowing kiss at my precious across the room) comes in.  I've been loving, loving, loving the smoothies we've been making, so we're going to be smoothy-ing it up 2013 and packing in lots of fruits and veggies into our days...goal is to hit 7 servings of fruits and veggies every day!  I tease Hubs all the time and tell him our skin is going to be green from all the smoothies we'll be drinking.  Tee hee.

4.  Yoga More
I love gives me a sense of zen and relaxation that I just can't get doing anything else, and I barely yoga'd at all in 2012 which makes me terribly sad.  In between clinics and classes, it was hard to find the time to fit yoga in.  Well, no more!  The exercise plan for next year is:

Sunday:             rest
Monday:            bootcamp/strength
Tuesday:            yoga
Wednesday:       bootcamp/strength
Thursday:           rest
Friday:                bootcamp
Saturday:            long run

5.  Try One New Recipe Per Week
I've said before that I have a lot of cookbooks...well over 200, probably inching closer to 250 and I gots to start using them!  Sometimes it's easier to just make the usual, but I'm branching out and really going to flex my culinary muscle this year.  Aaaand it gives me a reason to "freshen up" my cookbook collection every so often, right?  Hah!

Happy New Year!  Be safe and be happy.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Is it Wrong?

Is it wrong to love an inanimate object so much?  I love, love, love my new Vitamix...seriously love this thing.  I'll admit...when I first got it, I was a little afraid to use it.  I know these things are super durable and heavy duty, but I was so worried about breaking it somehow because...well, let's be blunt...these things are bloody expensive!  Once I worked myself up to it, I whizzed up my first smoothie and...

Total failure. 

Gah!  What did I do wrong?  Well, being silly, I pretty much just threw everything in there and you do have to take a bit of care and attention...I ended up with a big air pocket so the blades couldn't grab onto anything.  I dumped everything out and actually read the little Getting Started guide (yes, I'm one of those types) and I think a tear may have slipped down my cheek as my first green smoothie materialized.  Orange, grapes, grapefruit, apple and was delicious and smooth as silk!  Since then, I've made quite a few smoothies but haven't had a chance to experiment yet with soups or nut butters, but it's in the plan. 

So how do I find the actual machine?  It's incredibly high powered...a smoothie takes about 45 seconds to go from whole veggies or fruits to liquid...carrots are completely broken down.  It's loud, I won't lie...but a small price to pay for the power.  And the best thing yet is that it's easy to clean...fill it halfway, put in a few drops of dishsoap and whiz it again.  Within seconds, it's clean!  I've even managed to convince one of my bosses to get one of these beauties...we were talking about eating whole foods and I'd mentioned that I was going to get a Vitamix.  After I told him about how amazing it was, he went out and got one and has been whipping up soups and smoothies ever since and has been completely happy with it.  We've got another coworker interested as her husband is also a smoothie fan and is trying to incorporate more veggies and fruits in his diet as well. 

The other thing that I do is that on the same day I do the weekly cooking, I wash, peel and cut up all the veggies and fruits so it's all ready to go.  Ultimately, I'm an incredibly lazy person so if I have to wash, cut, peel veggies and fruits, etc. each time I want a smoothie, I'm not going to by prepping everything once a week, it's all ready to go and nutritious smoothies are literally seconds away. love you long time.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

What's the Story, Morning Glory?

For anyone reading my blog, you've probably noticed that I haven't posted anything about what I've been doing on the running front.  It's a bit of a long story and I'm going to warn you that there's going to be plenty of self reflection and pondering going on, so feel free to click the little red X at the upper right hand of the page...haha!  I admittedly have been avoiding writing this post because I've been worried that the minute I post that I'm OK, I won't be OK...nothing like tempting fate, right?  Anyways, here goes.

It's been a couple of months since the Goodlife race, where I had what I refer to as "my little problem"...passing out from low blood sugar and dehydration with only a kilometre to go from the finish line (arghhh...I hate just even writing that).  A week after that, I posted that I was a little short of breath on a treadmill run and I was going to the doctor to check things out...I admit, I may have downplayed things a bit.  I was running on the treadmill and remember feeling surprisingly good...the first few days after my little problem, I was completely exhausted mentally and physically.  All of a sudden, I felt my heart race, became dizzy and couldn't breathe...I immediately got off the treadmill and just couldn't catch my breath.  Hubs wasn't home, so I grabbed my iPhone and had my finger on the trigger to call 911 because I didn't know what was happening to me.  After a frightening few minutes, I was able to catch my breath but I was so scared because nothing like that had ever, ever happened to me.

Being a good girl, I made an appointment to see my doctor right away who ordered a bunch of tests for me, including an ECG.  The few weeks that I waited for those test results to come back were the worst weeks ever...I couldn't sleep and barely ate, I was completely stressed out, worrying that something was wrong with me...I was especially worried about having some kind of latent heart condition.  I'm not sure if it was psychological or what, but I kept feeling short of breath with heart palpitations and would have dizzy spells...I'm sure not sleeping or eating didn't help with that.  And honestly...sometimes the internet is evil because it'll turn the most sane person into a hypochondriac!  But the worst thing was through all of this, the one thing that has helped me deal with stress in the past was the very thing that I was completely afraid to do - exercise.  I avoided this blog, I avoided reading anything about was awful to be so afraid to do something that you love so much and my confidence was completely shaken.

Thankfully, my test results came back clean and the doctor said to keep monitoring my symptoms but that I was OK to resume exercising slowly.  I tell you, the first few times back I felt like I'd never exercised before.  I felt so out of shape and had lost so much cardio in just a few short weeks - that initial incident really, really took it out of  me.  I think that I started back at activity too quickly and the treadmill incident was my body's way of saying "what the EFF, girl?!"  I did a few slow treadmill runs or sessions on the stationery bike, but I really had to work myself up to it as I was so scared to have another "episode".  And Hubs...he was so wonderful...he knew I was scared and would work out with me to keep me company because having him around gave me comfort that I wouldn't be alone if something happened.  I also chatted with my friend M, who had a similar thing happen...she fainted once, and then she developed a fear of fainting that was so crippling it lasted a few years and she was afraid to leave her house.  Having a heart to heart about how I was feeling really helped me that I likely needed some rest and some distance from what happened at the race to work through it mentally. Damn, I have the best friends in the world!

So slowly but surely I've been getting back at exercising over the past month.  I started some HIIT tabata style classes at PISE, but made sure I took it really, really slow.  I've started attending a few bootcamp classes again.  And I'm back at running...I started off with some 6K runs around the neighbourhood with Hubs (and yes, I carry my cell phone with me now!), running very, very, very slowly.  We're up to 10K now, and I'm feeling good and getting some confidence back.  And it's been a blessing in disguise because now I've been really concentrating on what Marilyn's been teaching us in her clinics and I'm working on my form...I want to be able to run forever, and keeping injuries at bay will help me do that.  Always a silver lining to everything!

So where am I with things now?  I'm going to keep up a comfortable level of activity but not go crazy or anything.  Are there any races in my future?  Some day, but not right now...I fully admit that I have some apprehension to racing again that I'll have to work through.  My little problem did make me come to a realization that I was losing sight of the joy of running and exercising...I truly love it, and it's fun.  I was concentrating too much on running faster and getting's been so nice to just be able to run with Hubs, chatting while we click down the kilometres....or taking an exercise class with friends, laughing and enjoying each other's company while we work up a sweat.  It's taken a couple of months but I'm finally feeling back to normal physically and mentally...and if anything, what happened has given me an even greater appreciation for how much my health means to me.