It’s the weekend! Even with it being a short work week for us, it’s still nice that the weekend is here. The weather is supposed to be gorgeous. Sunny, warm on the verge of hot and a few clouds from time to time. Here is a breakdown of the weekend…
Friday After Work
Yoga – 25 minute Yoga for Runner’s video
Drinks & Snacks with my husband
An indulgent television
Fritatta & Salad
Early morning run
Quick shopping trip for just a few necessities (necklace, shoes, sewing needle)
Off to a big new market
Off to find out if the mid-evil fair is happening
Baked Fried Chicken for dinner
Early morning long run
Wish Dad a Happy Father’s Day
Take my man for a cheeseburger and beer
Meet up with two colleagues for US for a few hours of sight-seeing
Figure out dinner at a later time
Yep, that’s the weekend plan right now. I think Saturday will be a little challenging to get everything done but I’ll do it. Oh, and amongst everything else, I must finish knitting that baby sweater.
This has been a challenging week for me. For the first time in a long time, I spent 2.5 days without my husband. We not only live together and hang out together but we also work together which leads to commuting together. We have a TON of together-ness. And in a country where we barely speak the language (okay – we don’t speak the language) we truly do spend all of our non-work time together. For some reason, we’ve made this work. It actually comes really easy for us. Now of course we do get on each others nerves and we do occasionally say to the other one “I’m going out for a bit.” or “I need you to go out so I can have some time to myself.”It’s happens! We’re married! And in 3.5 weeks, we’ll have been married for 9 years.
So at the beginning of this week, I was without my husband for 2.5 days. It was nice and it was also tough. You see if I wasn’t trying so hard to cook a lot at our apartment (rather than eating out) then I would have had it a lot easier. Instead I stayed committed to the meal plan I created (even though a few people at work told me to take it easy and go out to eat) and cooked every night and ensured left-overs would be available for lunches all week. Since I don’t normally cook, I’m probably a little slower than the average person who cooks on a regular basis. The recipe said it should take an hour from start to finish and it took me 2.5 hours.
The night my husband returned, I was up until 1:00 AM. That’s three hours past my bedtime. As a result, I didn’t get up and go to the gym the next morning. Instead it was after work when I cooked again (but had help since my man was back).
Thursday was an early morning 6KM run followed by a late dinner, too many drinks, and excess noise from the concert happening across the river at the college. I really didn’t sleep until close to 3:00 AM last night.
Today I was dragging and there was no way I was getting into the gym. Instead I did a 22 minute leg strengthening yoga video. I’m so grateful for the ability to have an easy day. As well, my husband offered to cook our entire dinner tonight while I do yoga and then blog. He also prepared a fresh plate of veggies with humus. (He’s wonderful.)
The laundry is running. We have a business call to make in ten minutes but then that’s pretty much it. Dinner is almost prepared and we’ll eat after our call. My body is feeling so tired that I can barely wait to rinse my plate and watch some Degrassi.
About nine months after I started running, I registered for half marathon training at the Running Room. It was 2003 and I was on a quest to complete my first half. The training was 16-weeks long and I was running 5-6 times per week on double duty. Not only was I training for my first half, I was also teaching the Learn to Run training program at the Running Room. I would run 3 times with the Learn to Run group and then attend the half marathon clinic night and also fit in three additional runs to make up for my half training. Quite often I would run with the Learn to Run group on Sunday morning and then go right back out for my own run. And long runs were also done on Saturday nights by myself. (Safety First: Copy of planned route was left at home and I would run in well lit, well travelled areas.)
During this time (I had also started a new job), I was very busy but I loved it. I always had something to do and our basement apartment in Toronto was really just used for sleeping. The truest form of shelter…warm bed, hot shower, clean clothes. Sometime during these 16 weeks, I came across a mantra that I’ve never let go of. No matter what physical challenge I have taken on, I regularly remind myself to “finish strong.” Whenever I say this to myself, the vision it creates is of myself as a strong athlete breathing well, chest up, and radiating confidence. By the end of this 16 weeks, my first Learn to Run group had completed a great 5KM race and my second group was working towards the same goal. At my first half marathon, I had wanted to run a sub-2:00 but I finished around 2:11. About 4KM from the finish, I had a burst of energy and was picking up the pace while others were barely holding on. I felt amazing and couldn’t believe what I was accomplishing.
This morning in the gym, I was almost through my routine and it felt really good. It felt like it was going by so fast. I kept moving with very little rest or no rest in between sets. Coming up on the last few sets I was feeling good but wanted to stay on the ground a little longer after my side planks. Instead I said to myself, “finish strong” and very quickly found myself on my feet moving into plies with weight. I finished my routine and stretched all within 55 minutes.
Two little words put together are very powerful for me. It doesn’t matter if I’m on a run, at the gym, or carrying groceries to our apartment, this mantra keeps my head up and my body moving when I know I have done enough but I’m not quite finished. No matter the situation, this is my mantra and it motivates. To everyone working hard out there, I hope you finish strong.
Today I’d like to give a shout out to my parents. Both retired and both about to be 65+ after mom celebrates her birthday in June. This morning they woke up to a winter snow storm in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Even though they live in an apartment building and are not responsible for cleaning up after such treacherous weather, they still go outside and shovel snow.
My dad was outside for two hours cleaning the snow and my mom joined him for an hour and half. The landlord takes care of the driveway and they clean up the nooks and crannies (aka: sidewalks and in between cars). If ever there are two people to admire for their continuous effort and hard work, my parents are great examples of such activity. And it’s snowing in April. That just has to scream something to you.
Also, they are regular exercisers. They each have a stationary bike and their own sets of weights. These two are taking care of themselves!
On the flip side, after work I succumb to desires, guilty pleasures and lying around while doing a bit more work. This was followed by drinks, dinner, and a Community Season 4 marathon. Hence, my activity for the day turned into midnight yoga. Twenty minute yoga for leg strength. This is one of my favourite videos as it focuses a lot on balancing poses. Balance during yoga was good. Balance after work was not.
Normally I go outside to run on Friday’s after work. This Friday, I didn’t. All week, every day and sometimes multiple times per day it would snow. Last Friday there was no snow and in the past week everything has been covered in a thick blanket of white. The temperature has been right around freezing so the snow gets wet and then turns to ice. Great for snowballs, bad for sidewalks. Aside from the snow, the wind has been really intense today. After work the temperatures was -12C with 24km/h winds.
Tonight I stayed inside and ran intervals on the treadmill. The thought of doing this twice in one week was not motivating. However, the tiniest ray of reasoning was that I did not run intervals on Wednesday so I should make up for it tonight and I did. I ran intervals for 38 minutes to an old playlist (circa 2009). Here’s the list…
Learn to Fly – Foo Fighters
Breathe Me (Mylo Remix) – Sia
Paper Planes – M.I.A
Don’t Cha – Pussy Cat Dolls
It’s My Life – No Doubt
Time After Time – Cindy Lauper
I Gotta Feeling – The Black Eyed Peas
Comfortably Numb – Van Morrison with Roger Waters
After running, I walked for 5 minutes and then did a full body stretch. The run was good. I was strong and tall. The faint reflection of myself in the window makes me believe that I am indeed getting smaller.
When I was done walking, I rested my hands on the handles of the treadmill and looked over at the mirror to my left. I could see one of my muscles in my upper arm pop. I’m not sure the name of this muscle but it’s the one that appears when you tense and twist your arm inward. It appears to be wrapping from the back of your arm, across and down towards the front of your arm. I wish I knew the name to help make this a more condensed post but unfortunately I do not. Anyways, the fact I could see this muscle popping in a mirror that was 8 meters or 26 feet away made me feel like my body is really starting to transform. I looked twice to make sure my eyes were not deceiving me and they weren’t.
This moment is going to stick with me and push me for quite a while. Moments like these are something we all need to keep going at times.
Another late night with our friends this week. This is the third night that we’ve arrived home well past our regular bedtime. This will be a quick post.
Woke up at 6:10 and by 6:30 I was started a 30 minute run on the treadmill. Did a steady run. It was good.
After work, took my husband for a birthday drink then walked to a restaurant where we met our friends for dinner. This was followed by an out-of-the-way trip to a car and then to a pub to meet up with some colleagues. After a short stay we walked home. This circuit was probably about 4KM. Not bad for an unplanned activity.
Hope everyone out there is planning some activity this weekend. If you aren’t, why not?
It’s been almost two weeks since I last ran outside. This past week, the temperature was +8c and all the snow in Poznan is gone. The sidewalks are dry. The only memory of the snow is the sand left on the sidewalks. About 1KM into my run, I came around the corner and was crossing paths with an older Polish man. I’d guess he was about 65-70 years old. “Slow down! Slow down!” he was yelling in Polish. The only reason I knew what he was saying is because of the hand gestures. It’s a classic hand gesture. (Almost as classic as the one I gave to a driver later in my run but I won’t go into that now.) I smiled and waved at the older man in appreciation for his concern.
In Poland, women should not strain themselves. At work, I am not allowed to change the plastic jug on the water cooler if there are men around. Earlier this week, I was told I shouldn’t do it because it’s too heavy. Today I was told I should never do it because women in Poland do not do that. One time I was walking towards the water cooler when it was empty and they jumped out of their seats to beat me to the cooler. The men mean well. They really do but it’s a bit much at times. I like to challenge myself. I like to lift heavy things. I like to just do things. And, I’m not someone who likes to ask for help.
Back to the run. Last time I ran, my 5KM time was 40:30. Today, I ran 5KM in 37 minutes! That is a huge 3:30 improvement in the last two weeks. Interval training on the treadmill and no snow makes a big difference. Now at this point I only need to shave off two more minutes to meet my goal of 35 minute 5KM by March 31st. It’s in the bag!