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 218 of 365: My Last…

…day in my favourite gym, or at least for now.

This morning I was up at 5:30 AM and standing outside the gym door at 5:48 AM.  Unfortunately that door was not going to unlock for another 12 minutes as the gym does not open until 6:00 AM.  In all the times I’ve walked through that door, I never noticed that sign and obviously I’ve never been in the gym before 6:00 AM.  Oh well…At least I had a few minutes to check emails and read the news.  (I did consider doing some body resistance moves but my self consciousness quickly reminded me that I was on camera.)

In the gym, I got right onto the elliptical trainer and went hard.  Real hard.  46 minutes, performance hills, 7 KMs and 503 calories later I was huffing and puffing and dripping.  (I also ended up with a couple mosquito bites since the last people in there left the windows open all night.  You have no idea how ridiculous someone can look while trying to swat mosquitos and maintain pace on an elliptical machine.)

So to elaborate on the dripping and sweating that occurred during this 46 minutes…well…let’s just say that seven hours later my headband, made of performance material, is still wet.  When I made my husband feel how wet it was, he wiped his hands on his pants and said it was gross.  I see it as a badge of hard work.  I actually have it hanging in my office hoping it will dry before I board our flight back to Poland.  It’s hanging beside an umbrella.  That just make sense.

When I left the gym with my Grannie Smith apple and glass of water, I was sad.  My small ray of hope comes from my colleagues saying that they believe we will be back for some more projects at some time in the future.  They really have no idea how happy that would make me.

Still huffing and puffing even after being done for a few minutes already.

Still huffing and puffing even after being done for a few minutes already.


Day 217 of 365: Breakdown of My Favourite Gym

When the alarm went off at 6:00 AM, I immediately got up to hit the gym.  Yes, my favourite gym at 6:00 AM is motivating to me.  Within 15 minutes, I was upstairs on the elliptical training busting my butt and working up a serious sweat.  34 minutes later I was done on the elliptical and had moved onto the foam roller.  Shortly after that I was getting ready for the day.

This gym at the Hilton Garden in Leiden has been amazing.  I love the views and the newness of the machinery and room.  It’s a beautiful little space and if I was to ever install a gym at home, it would have to look and feel something like this.  It has everything you need and a little more.

FavouriteGym1 FavouriteGym2

Tomorrow morning will be my time in this gym.  Not sure that I will be returning to Leiden any time soon so it’s going to have to be an absolutely sweaty, hard breathing, drop to my knees energy burning workout.  It’s going to be great!

Day 212 of 365: Huge Challenges & Great Rewards

As I’ve mentioned, my motivation and drive have been low since returning to Poland. With so much going on, I’ve been reluctant to take on something more. At the same time, I’m a little bored with what I’ve been doing. Even just running is making me bored. I’m getting excited to start hill repeats next week.

So today, instead of hiding in my novel, which I finished last night, I decided to figure out what I’m going to be doing for the immediate next four weeks and consider beyond that. I thought that I would once again do 4 Weeks to a New You. It’s interval/circuit training and it works well for me. I actually did the first of 12 sessions tonight. It was 33minutes but during this time, I realized that I was giving up going to the gym with my man. I like our morning gym time three days a week. I very quickly realized that I didn’t want to lose that. I also considered that I like the muscle tone results of the gym much more than the circuit training but the circuit training is a much better weight loss for me.

No matter what, running four days per week and being focused on my October 20th half-marathon is my number one priority. After discussing this conundrum with my husband, I came to the conclusion that I want to try all three. Resistance training in the mornings Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays along with circuit training after work on those same three days. The rest of the days during the week are for running. My priorities are running, resistance training, and the circuit training. If anything needs to drop, it’ll be circuit training.

So this plan seems like a bit much but it would only be for four weeks. I also have a three week cleanse planned in August that will start next Wednesday. I want to make this a great month with huge challenges and great rewards.

Day 67 of 365: Clock’s Ticking

Ticking Clock

In less than 48 hours, I’ll be flying back to Poland for another 3-4 months.  As the time is ticking my stress level is starting to climb.  Trying to accomplish everything on my ‘to do’ list for this week is catching up with me.  Throughout the week, I’ve been making sure my time off from work has been a balance between fun and responsibility.  Earlier today, my husband and I needed to move a large chunk of activity from this afternoon to tonight just to make sure there would be time for everything including a mid-afternoon mani/pedi.

After the late night errands were completed, it was time to come home to get a run in.  It was after 10 PM when we went out for a fast paced tempo run.  It was a shorter 3.5KM loop.  Once the loop was done, we were off to Shopper’s to pick up some necessities.  Finally, just a few minutes before midnight, I’m able to sit down and write my blog.

Tomorrow will be another long busy day.  Run in the morning (must do this before anything else), downtown all afternoon, and then dinner at our friends house.  Even though it will be a long day, it will be a quick day.  I’m expecting the same on Sunday.

Day 58 of 365: Father Knows Best


This morning I completed 4 Weeks to a New You circuit training.  (Typing that just feels good.)  The last session was tough but I pushed through.  The sweat dripping off my face was pretty intense.  More intense that any of the previous videos I’ve followed.  Before I did the last video, I took my measurements and I lost 4.5″ in the last four weeks (1″ chest, 2″ waist, 1.5″ hips).  I’m pretty happy with those results.  Wish they were bigger numbers but that’s okay.  I have no idea how much weight I’ve lost since I do not have access to a scale.  I’ll check this weekend when I’m home.

For the rest of the day, my energy level was really low.  After the 45 minutes of interval training at the end of day yesterday (I peaked at a speed of 9.6 for an entire 3+ minute Rob Zombie song) and then circuit training at 6:30 AM, there was no mystery to my sluggishness.  I made sure I ate a good breakfast, oatmeal with walnuts and dried cranberries.  Mid morning I had a plain Greek yogurt and lunch was chicken Florentine (chicken breast, tomatoes and spinach).  Still feeling tired I had a second cup of green tea (first one was an hour after breakfast).  As the mid-afternoon rolled around, I felt more alert.  My afternoon snack was a smaller portion of chicken Florentine.  Dinner is homemade cauliflower soup.  Even the chicken stock is made from scratch.

When I was talking to my Dad earlier today, he said, “So you ran last night and then exercised first thing this morning?”  I said, “Yeah!”  He responds with a slightly disapproving tone, “That doesn’t give your body much time to recover.”  He’s so right.  This evening is nothing more than resting and taking care of laundry.  See Dad, I do listen to what you tell me.

Day 57 of 365: Committed!

Finish Line Ahead

When I arrived home after work, the first priority was to get the laundry in the washer.  After that I headed down to the gym and spent 45 minutes running intervals on the treadmill.  Once I got back upstairs and cleaned up, I then started the second load of laundry.  This load is almost done.  For anyone who has not seen my previous post about laundry, the washing machine takes two hours and there are no dryers here in Poland.  Everything dries on a rack.

Yesterday I registered for the 2013 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon.  The total cost was just over $100 once the processing fees, engraved backing for medal with completion time and taxes were all tallied up.  The half will happen on October 20th.  The last time I ran this half, which is also the last time I ran a half, was in 2003.  So ten years later and I’m making a come back.

The running that I’m doing now, I really consider that training for the half.  By the end of June I want to be comfortably running 12-14 KM.  (Right now I’m comfortable with 8KM and ready to increase.)  My plan is to sign up with the Running Room for their half marathon clinic to guide me and support me through the rest of the distance.

I’m feeling really good about running the half in October.  I have the race route printed and sitting at my desk at work.  It’s a great motivator on days when I’m thinking I’m too tired.  At the same time it reminds me of all of my goals for this year.  Running the half is just one goal in 2013.  But thinking of one reminds me of all.