Day 355 of 365: 10 Days Remaining

I remember when I completed my first ten days. I thought if I could make it through ten days, then I could definitely make it through this challenge. Now it’s 345 days later and there are only ten days remaining.

Earlier this week, my husband asked me how I am feeling about my 365 day challenge. Overall, I just don’t want to mess it up being so close to the end. My secondary thought is that I expected this to be much easier by now. I expected that it would be able to easily handle an hour of activity everyday. It never occurred to me that my body would be so tired and drained. Daily activity with minimal downtime is hard on your body.

Otherwise it feels pretty good to being this close to the end.

Tonight I did 30 minute yoga for runners. My hamstrings and inside thighs are tight. My lower back too.

Day 354 of 365: Getting Stronger

For the last four weeks or so, I’ve been going to physiotherapy for my right shoulder. I have tendinitis in my right should mostly due to strength/muscle imbalance.

My treatment starts with acupuncture then moves to soft tissue massage and then onto learning new muscle building exercises. I’m up to five different exercises.

One of the big challenges I’m trying to overcome is not using my “shrugging” muscles. They are a go to for almost everything I’m doing with my arms. For one of my exercises, my physiotherapist had me start with an anchored band and pull my arm from beside my waist extended out to over my head in a sweeping motion. I couldn’t do it using the correct muscles. Then she had me try doing it only to shoulder height and that wasn’t good either. I’m now working on doing this move with no resistance. I’m truly needing to re-learn how to use my correct muscles.

The other four exercises I’m doing really well. Today I did all five exercises (three sets of each, various reps) followed by a short run on the treadmill all before my day started.

Day 353 of 365: Making It Through The Holidays

It’s a crazy time of year when excuses multiply like cute fuzzy bunnies.

“I have to go finish my shopping.”

“I need to figure out what I’m going to make to bring to Christmas dinner.”

“My friends want to get together tonight before the holidays.”

“The weather’s not great.”

“I just need a night off.”

No matter the excuse, the holidays will come and go and you will either come out of them feeling good or regretting not getting in enough exercise.

My approach during Christmas is to DO IT ALL.

Get in the exercise at the beginning of the day. Even if all you have time for is wake up thirty minutes early for some lunges, planks and push-ups, that’s great.

Figure out what you still need to figure while doing your cardio (gift ideas, meal plans, creating to do lists). It’s a wonderful time to multi-task.

Spend time before or after work (depending on your schedule) to get the big tasks done (shopping).

Specifically when it comes to shopping, don’t do it when everyone else is doing it. Go out on a Monday or Tuesday night. Even get out there tonight. There will be far less people tonight then there will be Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.

Above all else, make sure your list is slit between must do and okay to pass on. Get the must do done first and you’ll feel like a million bucks!

Thus morning I got up and ran on the treadmill for 23 minutes covering 2 miles. My personal must do’s for today are done.

Day 352 of 365: One Week Until Christmas

My goal is always to finish my Christmas shopping early so that I can enjoy the time leading up to Christmas. I usually leave a few things to pick up days before to be part of the last minute “fun.”

Luckily a significant portion of my gifts get sent to my parent’s home so getting my shopping done in advance is a must to allow time for shipping. It’s truly a blessing in disguise.

I think my husband does the same although I’m not completely certain. But that doesn’t matter do much because he enjoys the week leading up to Christmas with me. We take time to enjoy dinner out together, checking out Christmas lights and watching everyone else rushing around. It’s a really nice way to enjoy the Christmas holidays.

Yesterday my mind was completely distracted and I forgot to blog. Yesterday I was at the gym and spent 30 minutes on the elliptical trainer.

Today I was on my feet for a good portion of the afternoon and the took some time tonight to do yoga for runners and some additional stretching too.

Day 350 of 365: Keeping It Simple

My plan was to go to the gym tonight. For the past six weeks or so, I’ve been going to the gym on Monday night as an “extra” gym day over the course of the week. I like it. I usually keep it pretty simple like walking hills on the treadmill or doing three different cardio machines within an hour.

Tonight I didn’t have it in me. It’s quite cold outside. My husband has a cold and he wasn’t going. I am sore from shovelling. I wasn’t really wanting to.

At 8:30 PM, I had decided for sure that it wasn’t going to happen. Instead I did my physiotherapy exercises (wall push-ups, rotator cuff resistance moves). I also stretched a lot. Typically my stretching focusing on my lower body. Instead I decided to focus on my shoulders, back and chest with just a few moves for my lower body.

Tomorrow night I’ll be at the gym and probably wishing that I went tonight instead of staying at home with my husband. Well, maybe not.

Day 349 of 365: Shovelling – Part III

This has turned into a three part series — no joke! The snow finally stopped falling at some point early this morning. Since it started snowing, we’ve received around 30 cm or 12 inches.

When I woke just after 7:00 AM, I looked outside and saw two things…1) It stopped snowing and 2) The street plough went by on both sides of the street.

Growing up as a Canadian with plenty of neighbours, it wasn’t uncommon to clean off each others cars (including work colleagues) and/or shovel snow on their property. This held true for closest neighbours either physically or emotionally and especially true for elderly or unhealthy.

When I started to clean the snow around 7:45 AM, I could hear I was the first one outside. There were no sounds of scrapping shovels or snow blowers. All I heard was birds. It was peaceful and calm. By 8:00 AM, I heard the first of many snow blowers. I worked my way from the back of the house to the front. I shovelled the sidewalk and then tackle the gift left by the street plough. I also did this for neighbour on the right.

By 9:15 AM, I had finished and went inside for a hot shower. After getting dressed, I was looking out the front window and saw a favoured neighbour out shovelling. Not a big deal except for the fact that he has been very sick with a sinus infection and his wife just had surgery on her hand. Quickly I put my coat back on and headed across the street with my shovel. Before he could get his snow blower out, I had done 90% of his driveway and helped push out a women who was stuck. He came out to a complete surprise and it felt great. He told me that I was welcome to use his snow blower anytime, and not just to take care of his driveway. He even through in some lessons too.

Shortly there after, my husband and I were driving down the street on our way to Starbucks. Not even a half block from our house, another person got stuck in the snow. We pulled over and jumped out to help. By this time, almost everyone in the neighbourhood was out cleaning snow. So many people were helping each other, no requests needed. It was a pure joy to be part of this community.

My forearms are sore. My shoulders are tired. My mind is shutting down. I didn’t have the most restful sleep last night however I’m certain tonight will be a different story.

Day 348 of 365: Shovelling – Part II

So far there has been just over 20 cm of snow to touch down. That’s about 8 inches. By tomorrow morning, it’s supposed to be another 15 cm or 6 inches.

My first activity today was shovelling everything I shovelled yesterday. The driveway, the sidewalk, around the house and out to the composted. Before I started it looked like this…

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After I was done, it looked like this…

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No, I didn’t shovel away the red car. That’s my mother-in-laws car. As I dressed to go shovel she was quickly getting ready too. I was thinking that she was thinking that I was going out and needed to move her car. I say, “Don’t rush Jean, I’m only go out to shovel.” She replies, “Oh, I am too.” Oh. We stepped out and she has a tiny flat shovel. I have my totally great ergonomic shovel. She says,”You go first with your bigger shovel. I’ll follow and clean up the small stuff.” Okay!

Moments later she is starting to clean off my Jeep with her shovel. Gentle, yes. Acceptable, NO! “Jean, would you like a brush?” Ugh. She stopped shovelling and started brushing the passenger side of my vehicle. Then she did both sides if her vehicle. She said she was getting cold. I suggested she stop and head inside. She said she needed to go out. So she stopped and the driver’s side of my vehicle was still covered in snow.

By the time I shovelled everything, including the grass path to the composted, it was an hour.

It was great to shovel but I was happy to be done. Headed inside to change and then went to the gym. Spent 35 minutes on the elliptical at level 11 doing random intervals. By the time I was done, 400 calories were gone.

We came home from the gym, along with a few short stops to find more snow and snow drifts. Grabbed the shovel and did it all over again. Thirty-five minutes later I had done everything and my shoulders were starting to feel tired.

As I shovelled both times today, I thought of all the times I’ve shovelled with my Dad and all that he’s taught me about shovelling. Here’s a good list of advice I’ve received from him regarding shovelling.

1. Ergonomic shovels are great and you can never have to many. My Dad has somewhere between 8-12. No joke!
2. Shovel with the wind at your back. You’ll stay warmers and the snow won’t blow in your face. It’s most efficient.
3. Throw/pile the snow against the house. It really does help insulate.
4. Push the snow to the edge of the path and lift. It’s a nice clean shovel.
5. Don’t just push the snow around. That’s a waste of time. Be effective. (That’s from my Grandfather.)
6. Don’t throw the snow with just your back. Use your legs and shoulders too.
7. Don’t buy a really large shovel. You’ll never be able to lift it.
8. Write your name on your shovel, no matter how many you have.

As I shovel again later tonight, I know I will remember some more wisdom I’ve gotten from my father. Yes, that’s right. Once I return from my father-in-law’s Christmas concert tonight, I’ll do it all over again. Part III to follow tomorrow.