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 222 of 365: Back in Poznan

We made it back to Poznan safe and sound late this afternoon (Dad). It’s was a long three hour drive back. By the time we arrived, we were starving and headed right to the Rynek (city center) to get a late lunch.

This morning we wandered around Wroclaw, did a little sight seeing and went to the market to buy fresh fruits and vegetables. We purchased five or six varieties kinds of tomatoes.

After lunch and picking up food for dinner, we went for a 45 minute swim. The felt like if was non-stop and as a result, I fell asleep on my husbands chest while watching one of our favourite shows. So even though I’m awake posting this blog, I’m really sleeping.

Day 219 of 365: Re-Thinking My Approach

A few days ago, I posted my plan for what my focus will be until the end of the month. I haven’t been executing very well to this plan. On top of that, my plan has not taken into account high temperature days.

Today, it was (and is still close to) +35c. It sunny and humid. Walking into an apartment that’s not air conditioned does not motivate me to do circuit training. Walking into a gym that’s not air conditioned does not motivate me to start lifting or take a run on the treadmill. The heat just sort of sucks your energy and zaps your motivation, doesn’t it?

When this happens, I’ve decided to take to the pool. Even though the air is warm and humid due to the glass ceiling, the water feels so cool. This evening, I swam laps for 30 minutes. Mostly back stroke but also some front stroke and breast stroke. Like any good cardio session, I was dreading the first ten minutes but once that passed, I was on a roll.

Between 4:30 PM and 7:00 PM, I was non stop on the go. Between walking around the old city, swimming, getting cleaned up and tending to laundry, I didn’t stop for 2.5 hours. Never do I count may daily chores or everyday walking towards my daily activity but never the less in actually more active than what I only note on this blog.

Day 209 of 365: Three Showers & A Swim in the Pool

Not sure why the summer heat has decided to make a stop in Poznan but it has. Today’s temperature was +37c or 98.6F. It was humid too with only the slightest breeze.

After barely being able to sleep for most of last night, a huge crack of thunder and lightening woke me up at 4AM. Not pleasant by any means.

Once getting out of bed at 11AM, I took my first shower. About 2 hours later I was ready for my second while out having lunch. Unfortunately, I didn’t return to our art net until a few hours after that. Instead of wanting a shower, I just wanted to sleep. The heat had taken all of my energy. I could barely keep my eyes open. However, I desperately needed to cool off so we went for a swim.

For the first ten minutes, I still wanted to sleep but sleeping in a pool is ever a good idea. We swam, leisurely, and splashed each other with pool noodles. We also did a few laps. The energy thankfully returned by the time we were done. Our bodies cooled off and then it was time for our second shower.

Spending the afternoon watching the final episodes of last season’s Degrassi, we took it easy and worked at staying hydrated in our dark and non-air conditioned apartment.

Now it’s close to 9:30 PM and I just finished my third shower. The last shower before bed to refresh and cool the body before falling asleep for the night. I’m really looking forward to the thunder storms and expected cold front tomorrow night. When the temperature is down to +21c 24-hours from now, I’m sure I’ll be freezing (I hope!).

Day 207 of 365: It’s Hot

It’s hot here and will only be getting hotter this weekend. It’s actually uncomfortably hot however it’s not humid.

After feeling so uncomfortable, I decided to go for a swim. I headed down to the pool and swam laps for 30 minutes. The water felt cool. It was nice.

Not sure how I’m going to survive the heat running this weekend. It supposed to be +37c. I feel like Mother Nature is serving up a very flat sixteen foot wall.

Day 152 of 365: Ankle Update

(Between you and me, I always forget what day I’m on.  I always have to look at yesterday’s post to see the number.  :-))

Update on My Ankle:

  • After a few rounds of ice, wrapping my ankle in a tensor bandage and then spending the entire afternoon off my feet, my ankle is actually feeling much better.  There is no plan to run in it just yet however walking around the apartment it’s feeling good.  My currently elevated with an ice pack resting on it.

What did I do today with a (suspected) sprained ankle?

  • Swimming!  Thankfully there is a good pool in our apartment building.  Instead of sleeping in a bit this morning, I set my alarm for 6:30 AM and my husband and I went swimming for 45 minutes.  Last night I decided it would be best to try to get into the pool before it got busy with Saturday morning swimmers.  I really don’t know if there is a Saturday morning swimming rush.  Just wanted to avoid people seeing my pathetic swimming form (and it gave me a reason to get up early).  As much as I enjoy swimming, my front stroke is pretty sad.  Instead of being parallel with the water, my body is at a 45 degree angle trying to make it to the other side.  Glass half empty says, “This is why I will never do a triathlon.”  Glass half full says, “Your form is obviously making you work hard and thus burning more calories.”
  • My back stroke is pretty good.  In this stroke, I am parallel with the water.  Do I favour this stroke?  No.  I do enjoy it more but I do equal number of laps of each stroke and throw in a lazy breast stroke every now and then just to catch my breath.
  • During the swimming my ankle was sore.  The first few kicks were agonizing but quickly adapted my kick to not flick my ankle.

Tomorrow’s plans?

  • Right now I think I’m going to go to the gym because I already washed my swimsuit and pool towel and I really do have other laundry to take care of tomorrow. (Reminder:  I have no drier.)  However should I wake up with an overwhelming desire to swim laps then so be it.  Who am I to forbid myself of such pleasures?

Today’s Bonus:

  • My swimsuit is getting too big.  I think it’s time to buy a new one.  At the same time, swimsuit shopping at my current size is still not a reward.

Day 151 of 365: Adaptable

DarwinYesterday when I was running, I ran across some street car track and almost fell face first.  It was scary.  My hands went out to brace the fall however my quick feet saved the day and I just kept on running.  What happened is that my right foot jarred against a protruding rail.  Like I said, I was okay or so I thought…

Last evening, my ankle was feeling sore and uncomfortable.  It continued to feel that way all night and when I woke up this morning, the mind pain was still lingering.  Can I walk on it?  Yes!  Can I wear heels?  No.

When I went to the gym this morning for 50 minutes, I reviewed my routine to see what is reasonable for me to do.  Aside from side planks, I was able to do every move or adapt to be able to do the move.  For example, when I was doing ‘Down, Down, Up, Up, Push-up’, I did the movement from my knees.  When I was doing a squat with an overhead press, I did a small or partial squat.

It’s been sore all day and now I’m sitting with my foot elevated icing the sore spot.  It’s okay though.  After a couple of days I’ll be as good as new.  Until then, I’m swimming laps in the pool.

Yes, those are moose on my socks.

Yes, those are moose on my socks.