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.

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Day 346 of 365: Rest

Just woke up off the couch to go to bed. All day my husband was not feeling well and all I wanted to do was take a nap. I’m not sure of my desire to nap was brought on as a precursor to not feeling well or if it was just the cold weather other side will my body to stay in and stay warm.

I did go to the gym by myself. I ran for twenty minutes on the treadmill and then did 20 minutes on the bike.

Time to crawl in bed.

Day 319 of 365: I Have Plenty

  • Day 315 – 48 Minute walk, distance not tracked
  • Day 316 – 75 Minutes elliptical trainer, intervals
  • Day 317 – 25 Minutes yoga and stretching
  • Day 318 – 65 Minutes elliptical trainer, hills
  • Day 319 – 26 Minute walk, 2.5 KM (heavy rain)

Since we’ve been back from Europe, we have definitely noticed some differences in everyday life.  Very simply, people drink more coffee in Europe and less sugary beverages with shots of espresso.  People love to walk and easily do as opposed to driving around for everything.  (Sometimes I even question if my vehicle will be towed if I “cross the line” to the next property to pick up something even though I did shop there already.)  One colleague I saw in Miami, who I also saw in Poznan, said to me, “I just want to walk somewhere.”

So quality of life is quite different.  Attitudes and perspectives on how to live and what’s important are similar but have very different approaches. 

One of the most significant changes I’ve noticed is how different advertising is and the message that is consistently sent in most ads.  Before reveling this, please let me assure you different colleague in Pittsburgh who spent approximately a year in Europe noticed the same thing. 

Advertisements in North America constantly sends you a message that you are “without” or “lacking”.  This could be anything from simple retail purchases (clothing, etc.), to vehicles, to food. 

So the question I’ve received from other is, “What is European advertising like?”  Well, I have a hard time telling you about television advertising because I did not watch a lot of television in Europe (another major difference).  What I can say is that most advertisements were for banking, at home hair colouring, and over the counter medication.  The advertisements I noticed the most were billboards.  Their focus was movies (at the theatre), travel, and grocery stores.

The other major difference between Poland and North America is that most people in Poland live in flats/apartments/condos.  This means they do not have yards and as a results, there were many beautiful parts in and around Poznan.  These parks gave people the ability to spend quality time outside.  Parks have great playgrounds for kids, gym equipment structures for adults, open spaces for very young kids to learn to kick a ball, and lots of park benches for people to sit on.  This point ties back to two above; one, I was rarely at home seeing television commercials and two, people are not being told they are without even when they have less than the average person in North America who is constantly being told they are without.

Since I’ve been back, I’ve probably had 2-3 major shopping expeditions.  I believed I was without adequate fall and winter clothing.  To a certain extent I was.  After living in Miami for 18 months and making do with what I had in Poland last year, I needed a few things.  However, as I see so many advertisements (even while watching television on the elliptical trainer) telling me I do not have enough, that is simply just not true.

When I stop to take stock of what I have, I know that my vehicle is three years old with less than 20,000 miles and is soon to be considered outdated according to what I see on television, however I also know that I’m without car payments and my vehicle is more than large enough for my husband and I who share this one vehicle. 

When I look in my closet, I have more than enough clothes.  So many apparel companies now a days do short or small runs to make you believe you have to buy fast in order to get this “limited edition/limited run” item.  However, how many exercise tops do I really need?

When I stop and think about it, I’m not really hungry all the time.  Commercials constantly “tell” me I have not eaten enough and that I should be eating something more right now but I just had a great roast chicken dinner.

It’s crazy when you really stop and think about what you are without.  I have shelter and clothes and food and transportation.  I have plenty. 

Unfortunately, there are many out there that are not as fortunate as me however does buying a fast food sandwich, a limited shirt or a new vehicle really get people a true fix to their situation or does it provide immediate gratification that will quickly pass?

One of the other “things” advertisements are telling me is that I’m not “included” if I do not have whatever is being advertised at that moment.  So again, I’m without and not included.  These advertisements are playing preying on insecurities and truly not providing a solution when we cave to their advertisements.

There are so many differences in what I’ve seen between Europe and North America and what I’ve taken away is that it’s more important that ever to be confident in myself.

Day 313 of 365: Making A Comeback

When I woke up this morning, I didn’t lay in bed too long. Instead I pounced on my husband when he woke up and ‘encouraged’ him to come for a run with me. We ran 4.3 KM in 30 minutes.

After getting cleaned up, we headed to downtown Oakville for some coffee and a walk around the village.

After dinner, we went for a 33 minute walk around the neighbourhood. Didn’t track the distance but that wasn’t the point. Just wanted to go for a walk.

Day 312 of 365: I’m Still Here

  • Day 301: 40 Minutes Recumbent Bike
  • Day 302: Walking
  • Day 303: Hour with Personal Training (Resistance Training)
  • Day 304: Yoga & Stretching
  • Day 305: 40 Minutes Elliptical
  • Day 306: 36 Minute Walk
  • Day 307: 15 Minute Stair Climber & 15 Minutes Treadmill
  • Day 308: Yoga & Stretching
  • Day 309: Yoga & Stretching
  • Day 310: Walking
  • Day 311: Yoga & Stretching
  • Day 312: 30 Minutes Resistance Training & 40 Minutes Elliptical

Last time I blogged, I was in Florida.  Just yesterday, I returned from Pittsburgh, PA.  This past week, my husband and I were travelling on business.  We were in Pittsburgh from Monday through Friday.  This week, I found fitting in activity or exercise the hardest out of all my travels this year. 

We stayed in Shadyside, a beautiful urban neighbourhood just outside of the downtown core.  After work we walked to dinner every night with the exception of Tuesday. 

Recently, my activity has been a challenge.  My commitment has not been strong and I’m not sure why.  I think this challenge is catching up with me.  My desire to be active or to even set time aside for me has been minimal.  The absolute bare minimum.  My goal this week is to change that.

Today I was at the YMCA working hard, building a sweat.  Tonight I’m blogging in an attempt to get my ass back in gear. 

There were two highlights from my trip this week.

  1. I saw one of my dearest and closest friends.  She is also one of my biggest supporters.  Haven’t seen her in a couple of years, if not more.  She looked amazing!
  2. One of my dinners out was with a colleague who also lived in Europe overlapping the time my husband and I were there.  It was so great to share experiences about being there and coming home.

So if you’ve missed me, I apologize for not being here lately.  If you thought I was done, I ‘m not.  It’s now the home stretch with less than two months to go.  There is no giving up!

Day 300 of 365: Wow!

Day 295: Yoga for Runners
Day 296: 55 Minutes Recumbent Bike
Day 297: Yoga for Runners
Day 298: 30 Minutes Weights, 30 Minutes Run/Walk on Treadmill
Day 299: Yoga for Runners
Day 300: 3.8 KM Run in 25:37

I’m in Florida! South of Fort Lauderdale, north on Miami. Even though we are done travelling in Europe, we are back to travelling in North America for work. Yep, work. But really it’s okay.

When I got out of bed this morning, I through on my new running tights (purchased at the Running Room) and head out for my first road run since my half marathon last Sunday. It felt tight and just not comfortable at first. But as always, the first ten minutes went by and after that I felt good.

If was a cold but nice morning. Many people were out walking their dogs. There was leafs all over the ground. And most fun was the Halloween decoration around the neighbourhood.

We’ll be back home in time for Halloween and by the looks of it, it will be a fun night. Also on Halloween night, I’ve got a personal training session with a trainer at the YMCA. We got memberships there earlier this week and have introductory sessions. I specifically said I was someone who will challenge me, not coddle me. His name is Fabio.

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