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 362 of 365: Three…

With the new year just around the corner and this challenge coming to an end, the question of what to do next year lingers in my mind daily.

Today I signed up for a 10 KM running clinic that starts January 8th. Later on the year, I want to run the half-marathon again and I want to achieve a much better finishing time. To get to that goal, I want to start the year by improving my 10 KM time.

There are a few other actions I need to take to improve my 10 KM time. These need to be written down along with everything else I need to accomplish to be successful.

Tonight I did yoga for runners along with some additional stretching.

Day 294 of 365: Yesterday I Ran A Half Marathon

As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, today’s post would be the sensationalized version of my half marathon.  Here it is…

It started on Saturday when we went to the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon expo to pick up my race kit.  My tote bag include my bib, some goodies, and a bunch of flyers and coupons.  My husband came with me and we spent the more close to three hours at the expo.  It was a fun way to kick off the weekend before heading to Chinatown for lunch and then to our hotel.  We chilled at the hotel all night except to step out for dinner.  Very relaxing. 

When I woke up on Sunday, I was feeling good but very quickly my anxiety level start to climb.  It was not good.  As we walked over to the start (about ten minutes away from our hotel) it got worse and as soon as I started to see all the people, I became very emotional.  We were there 45 minutes before the start and I did not relax until five minutes before my corral started.  Everything that was going on was so overwhelming. 

So there were six starting corrals and they released one every five minutes.  It was really well spaced out.  Here’s a picture of me in a sea of 20,000 runners.  Actually at this point it was probably closer to 18,000 people or so. 

I'm the one in the white hat.

I’m the one in the white hat.

Once we got going, I was still wound up but really calmed down 5K into the 21.1 KM.  Around 6-7 KM, I saw my husband again on the side of the road.  He was there to cheer me on.  It was great to see him.

The run was starting to go well.  I trained to run 10 minutes, walk one minute.  I followed that plan, not running too fast, not getting caught up in what other runners were doing.  Sticking to the plan gave me confidence and helped removed any doubt I was feeling.

Before I knew it, I was approaching kilometer marker 17.  What a great feeling.  With just over 4 KM to go, I was getting exciting and feeling really proud.  Walking through the Gatorade and water stations really paid off.  The hardest part was the end of the race.  When they post signs saying, “500m to go,” “400m to go,” “300m to go,” 200, 100…this last 500m seemed so long.  There were kilometers that seemed shorted. 

Right near the end I looked for my husband and found him.  He saw me too and snapped this great picture of me.  My main goal for this half marathon was to finish strong and I think when you look at this picture, you can see I accomplished that. 

Approaching the Finish

My second goal was to finish under 2:15.  That didn’t happen.  Instead my time was 2:26:45 but I’ll be okay with it eventually.  And I’m now really focused on improving that time next year.

When all was said and done my feet were really sore but I was happy.  I love my medal however made sure not to show it off to too many strangers today.

Happy Moment STWM

I need a little break from running but more importantly from training for a race.  Right now I’m registered for the Running Room’s Resolution Run on December 31st (what a great way to finish this challenge) and then for a hilly 5K race in April 5th (Harry’s Spring Run Off).  For the remainder of the year, I’m going to refocus on strength training and building back some muscle I’ve lost while being focused on training for the half.

Tonight, my husband and I went for a 30 minute walk.  I’m also going to be doing some more stretching tonight.

Foil & Medal

Day 292 of 365: One Sleep Left

Tomorrow is the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K race. Tomorrow starting at 8:45 AM, I’ll be running the half marathon. I’ve been specifically following a half marathons training program for the past 16 weeks however, I’ve been working on improving my running since the beginning of the year.

I spent three hours today at the race kit pick up and expo. It was fun. Collected my swag, tried a bunch if samples, bought some stuff, and enjoyed my time there.

The remainder of my day was spent relaxing with my husband. This has turned out to be a good approach because it’s kept me calm and now I’m starting to feel sleepy even though it’s not even 9 PM.

So this is all I have for tonight. Yesterday and today, I did yoga for runners. I also did some extra stretching tonight too. Time for dreamland. Time for a great night’s rest.

Day 290 of 365: 75 Days Left…Nice!

Wow…It’s hard to believe that this challenge will be ending soon.  With only 75 days remaining, it seems like nothing compared to the 290 days I’ve done so far.  Wow…this has really snuck up on me.

Yesterday I ran 4 KM in 26:35.  This was a pretty quick pace for me.  I huffed and puffed but I did not give in.

Today I ran 6 KM in 41:29.  This pace was 20 seconds slower than yesterday.  I would describe this as a strong, full-bodied pace.  🙂  With less than a kilometer left in my run, I stopped running and started to walk.  Mentally I convinced myself that I don’t have it in me.  Two seconds into walking I told myself, “Get out of your head and get into your body.  Run.”  And I did and I felt perfectly fine and the 5-10 seconds when all of this went down, it all switched.  I felt good and strong and there was no doubt.

Aside from everyday life (which is pretty intense right now), I’m starting to have those typical pre-race feelings and thoughts going through my mind.  I’m sure it’s all part of getting ready for an exciting and challenging race.  I know that I will finish this half marathon and be so ecstatic but I’m only hopeful that I will finish strong and feel good.

Day 288 of 365: Four Days Remaining

My husband and I just went out for a fast walk. We walked 4.1 KM in 37:39. This afternoon the weather all of a sudden cooled off significantly so I wore a heavier long sleeved shirt to walk in. However when we stepped outside Darren said, “It’s warm out here.” So our fast walk was done while being overdressed. Oh well.

As noted, there are on,y four full days left until my half marathon. I’m a little anxious but not so much so that it’s distracting. I do need to do a little race day prep work. Need to buy some Rice Crispies to take to the hotel to have for breakfast on Sunday. I’ll need a banana too and milk. Need to plan out Saturday for race kit pick up, expo fun (I love the expos!), hotel check-in, lunch and dinner, and early to bed.

Luckily, I found an inexpensive hotel that is two blocks from the start and finishing area of the race. It’s like I found a hidden gem in downtown Toronto.

Need to buy a new pair of running tights. I’ve been running in the same pair all year (reminder: living minimally in Poland) and there are now signs of wear and tear. (I think I’ll take care of this and buying cereal tomorrow). I also need to reduce my beer intake and increase my water intake. I drink a lot of water but I haven’t been drinking as much as I’m used to. The flip side is that I’m not drinking a lot of beer but it would be good if I was drinking a little less. I think if I did a straight swap, I’d been happy.

So that’s it for now. Need to go for a run tomorrow…maybe 6 KM or so at a happy fun pace.