Day 364 of 365: One…

A year ago tonight, I sat in a restaurant with my husband and shared with him my goals for 2013.

“2013 was the year I…”

  • Settled back in Canada
  • Challenged myself to be active for 365 days
  • Got in touch with my feelings and truly identified what I want in life.

A year ago, we were on a work assignment in Poznan, Poland.  This assignment had us spending the majority of our time there.  As much as our time in Poland was simply amazing (my views on life and culture have been greatly broadened), it was isolating too.  Not being able to fluently speak the language has major draw backs.  It’s limiting when attending parties or even considering joining a social group.  People were so kind and helpful but once the encounter of working through the language barrier was over, I both sides were happy to go along our merry ways.

Being isolated and feeling bored was no way to live.  And I was also feeling like I was on a treadmill, going nowhere.  I needed to get focused on something, anything (other than work) to help avoid wilting away.  The building our apartment was in had a good gym and pool.  We lived in a neighbourhood near three large parks.  Being active seemed like a great option.  I could challenge myself to try different activities and it gave me something to focus on each day.  At the same time, I also wanted to be back home.  We had not lived in Canada since 2005 and when we finished up in the USA, we went right to Poland.  An exciting adventure far away from where I wanted to be.  Exciting and boring all at the same time.  2013 had to be the year that I took my life back.

Setting these goals didn’t happen overnight.  In 2008, I came up with the idea of 365 days of straight activity while reading Julie & Julia.  The idea came and went because the timing wasn’t right mostly due to a lack of real motivation.  Getting settled back in Canada was something my husband and I had been focused on since 2010.  We knew our assignment in Poland would not last through 2013 so this was the time to seize the opportunity.  Personally, I’ve been struggling with being in touch with my feelings for some years now.  (Coming out of the other side of 2013, I believe this is natural for most humans.)  Overall, it took me about a month (December 2012) or so to get pen to paper and narrow in on three huge goals.

It paid off.

Getting settled back in Canada.  My husband and I finished up our overseas work assignment at the very end of August.  We were back in Canada for Labour Day weekend.  Part of settling back in Canada included stable employment, buying a home, reconnecting with friends, and getting engaged with the community.  Our employer was very happy with the work accomplished in Poland (and with the Dutch office) along with our dedication and flexibility in working in three major manufacturing facilities.  He has now assigned us to corporate global projects and allows us to be based in Toronto, Canada.  Prior to coming back to Canada, we were searching for a condo to buy.  In October, we made an offer and it was accepted.  We are almost homeowners being that we do not close until May 2014.  Until then, we live with my husband’s parents.  (It’s everything you could possibly imagine and more.)  We see our friends all of the time and we have begun to establish ourselves in our “temporary” community and in our “upcoming” community (which also happens to be the neighbourhood we lived in prior to moving to the USA in 2005).

Challenged myself to be active for 365 days.  If you are a follower, “THANK YOU!!!!”  There are 176 of you (and over 3800 hits!) and that is something I never expected.  Being active for 365 days was something else.  The first ten days were horrible.  Actually, one, two and three were not bad.  It was really four through ten but I’ll get more into that in tomorrow’s blog post.  Blogging as part of this challenge has been a great outlet.  Isolated in Poland, this blog allowed me to share with others in a free-flowing manner.  Daily blogging was also a chore.  I had two major times this year where 1) I had to take a break for a few days and 2) I just didn’t do it regularly.  I moved past both of those phases and I’m finishing the challenge strong.

Got in touch with my feelings and truly identified what I want in life.  As I mentioned above, I think most everyone goes through a phase when they feel like they are on an emotional treadmill.  Sometimes you need to be there to get through.  Treadmills are boring but if you use them correctly, you are a better, stronger person when you get off them.  This past year I’ve let go of some hurt and I realized what it is that I want and why I couldn’t see that I was actually moving in the right direction even when it felt like I was going nowhere.  Being on the back-end of this goal, I thought I would be in a different place right now but I’m not and I’m okay with that because where I thought I needed to go ended not being where I needed to be.  Emotions, feelings, desires…they are all tricky but as you peel away layers the fog slowly clears out and the view gets better and better.

With 2013 about to come to a close, I’m getting ready for a big 2014.  Most of my goals this year will be broken down into multiple projects, big and small.  In writing my goals and using the statement, “2013 was the year I…” I create a mini vision and/or feeling of what it’s like when the goal is achieve.  I start to create something to move towards.  Here’s what I’ve got for 2014.  Again, it’s all going to breakdown into a bunch of big and small projects this year.

“2014 was the year I…”

  • Became a homeowner in a neighbourhood and condo that I love.
  • Took control of my weight and moved my BMI to the lower quarter of overweight.
  • Helped my family move towards where they need to be. (Yep, this one has a ton of personal content.)
  • [I haven’t filled in this blank just yet.]

Today I went to the gym in the morning and spent 45 minutes on the elliptical trainer.


Day 361 of 365: Four…

Day 358 – 30 Minutes Elliptical
Day 359 – Runner’s Yoga & Stretching
Day 360 – Runner’s Yoga & Stretching
Day 361 – 46 Minutes Elliptical

You would think that after 350+ days of this challenge which includes blogging that I would rarely forget to blog. Well, I forgot to blog for two days in a row!

Christmas did get the better of me. I was so caught up in all things Christmassy that did two nights in a row I went to bed without blogging. Christmas Day was the worst though. As I got ready for bed, I realized I hadn’t done any activity for the day. Could you imagine coming this far and missing Day 360!?! You should have seen the looks in mine and my husband’s face.

Aside from the above, Christmas was great! Christmas Eve was also great! Boxing Day was not very good but got better at night.

Today I finished knitting a baby sweater for two of our closest friends. Baby boy James will be five months old on December 31st. As always, I like to knit the 6-12 month size. I think it optimizes the growth and wear time.

With only four days left, I’m not sure what my activity will be tomorrow. The weather is supposed to be beautiful. Maybe I’ll go for a run outside. Maybe not.

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…


After I was done, it looked like this…


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.

Day 343 of 365: My Last Quarterly Goal

The past few weeks I’ve been trying hard to reduce the amount of food I eat, make some healthier choice and ensure I’m drinking plenty of water daily. This past week I was very focused and diligent with this task.

Earlier this year, I set my final quarterly goal to weight less than 170 pounds by the end of this year. I’m not going to achieve this goal. I’m okay with that because this challenge was about being active, not losing weight. The one thing I’m focused on though is to move my BMI number so that I’m ‘overweight’ and no longer ‘obese’. This really should have been my quarterly goal instead of some random number that doesn’t have much meaning.

This past week, I’ve seen the number on the scale drop but more enjoyable has been the changes I’ve noticed in my body. Specifically, I’ve notice my tummy getting smaller.

At the end of this year, I’ll weigh less than I have since 2007. Compared to missing my last quarterly goal, this is way better.

Tonight at the gym I did 6.5 minutes hill walking, 22 minutes running, 15 minutes ArcTrainer and 12 minutes elliptical. My legs are feeling sleepy.

Day 342 of 365: My Shoulder

I rocked the elliptical trainer this morning. After 70 minutes at a level 11 following a ‘random’ workout, I burned EXACTLY 800 calories. Even better than the calorie burn was that today was the first time I stayed consistent and felt strong the entire time at level 11.

So it was a great start to the day. You might be wondering why I keep going back to the elliptical. The reason is that I’ve actually developed tendinitis in my right shoulder. I started physiotherapy a couple of weeks ago. I’ve pretty much stopped lifting anything heavy or putting much weight on my shoulder. It’s getting better but I’ve been told to just keep up my cardio.

Last week I was given homework. Wall push-ups! Three sets starting with five reps. What a change from what I’m used to. It’s really back to the basics here.

Day 339 of 365: Back to What I Started

For anyone still reading my blog, you know that I haven’t been blogging daily like I originally committed to doing. Since being back in Canada, I’ve been very lax about this part of the challenge. Not sure why.

Maybe burn out? Maybe busier? Maybe feeling it’s not as important? No matter the reason it’s what I committed to do and with only three and a bit weeks left, there’s no reason I cannot finish this challenge right.

At the gym tonight, I spent 45 minutes on the elliptical trainer (random workout) and 20 minutes walking intensely (hills workout). I’ve really noticed how solid my legs are feeling from all of this cardio. I’ve also noticed how fatigued they are feeling too. Maybe it is burn out or maybe it’s time to change it up.

26 days remaining…

Day 338 of 365: The Holidays Are Coming…

  • Day 331 – 4.5 Hours Walking at Show
  • Day 332 – 20 Minutes TriAngle, 30 Minutes Elliptical
  • Day 333 – Yoga for Runners (plus a few other stretches)
  • Day 334 – Yoga & Stretching
  • Day 335 – 15 Minute Run on Treadmill, 33 Minutes Elliptical – Intervals
  • Day 336 – 45 Minutes Hill Walking on Treadmill – 3-10% Inclines
  • Day 337 – 65 Minutes Elliptical – Random
  • Day 338 – 30 Minutes Walk Through Neighbourhood

As I write this post, SNL Christmas is on the television and just earlier tonight, my husband and I walked around the neighbourhood not only to be active but to also check out the Christmas lights.  My shopping is almost done and most of the my Christmas cards will be in the mail by the end of the week.  This really means that the only thing left to do is enjoy the season and celebrate.  For me, this is the best way to celebrate the holidays.  (Okay – So we still need to mail some gifts and hang some Christmas lights in the tree outside but that’s nothing.)

As I logged my activity above, I originally came out to be at Day 336 however, there are only 27 days left in the year so something is off.  I suspect that between international travel and the fact that my blog post time is based on Central European Time since I created this blog while in Poland, that these reasons would point to where the count is off.  (When this blog posts tonight, it will show tomorrow’s date.)  I’m also at fault for not continuing to blog every day as I originally committed to do. 

So I’m down to 27 days.  Yes, that is less than one month.  On the last day of this challenge, I’ll be participating in a 5 KM run on December 31st.  It’s the Running Room’s annual event.  I’m really focused on just getting through this month and then taking a day off from being active.  Recently, I’ve been enjoying the gym a lot but going three days in a row is taking its toll on my mind and body.  By the third day I’m dreading it and I am genuinely tired.  To top this off, I have tendonitis in my right shoulder and have started to go to physiotherapy.  This is limiting what I’m able to do right now.  Really it’s just a lot of cardio and some mid to lower body strength work.

Soon it will be 2014 and I have yet to set any goals for next year.  I haven’t even had any luck brainstorming potential ideas.  Last year, my 2013 goals came to me pretty late in December but they were huge and I’ve been successful with them.  If you haven’t started to set some goals for yourself, don’t hesitate to.  Try completing the following sentence.  Fill in what sounds desirable to you.

  • 2014 was the year that I…