Hard Winter (and an Easy Canvas review)

So back in January I think I made some sort of promise to blog more often. Clearly that has not happened.  I find when I actually have stuff to write about (ie training, vacations, life in general), that’s when I’m too busy to blog.  Or when I decide to live my life instead of write about it.

Since I last blogged I’ve started tri training again.  I’m still slow at all 3 sports but I’ve seen some improvement, especially in the pool.  What I’ve found most frustrating is trying to fit in training around my work schedule – my town doesn’t have a pool so I have to drive 25min to get to one, and trying to coordinate that with work, etc is bogging me down.  But I press on!

On another note, we are continuing to make changes to the house to make it more ours.  We desperately need to paint our bedroom (it is an obnoxious shade of bright green) and there are some flooring changes we want to do as well.  We have, however, been pretty good about getting stuff up on our walls.  This is a surprise as our last house’s walls remained unadorned for a lot of the time we lived there.

 

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Yes we have 2 dogs but no 8 x 10 of Rocky. Don’t worry, his photos are still up elsewhere20140312_182923 

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NYC – Times Square. A gift from our realtor

I had the opportunity to review a canvas from Easy Canvas Prints and I jumped at the opportunity.  You can never have enough things on your walls, right? (Okay, yes you can, I do know this.) 

The hardest part was deciding what photo to use.  Shawn and I settled on a photo from our last trip to Alberta.  It is of the mountains at Moraine Lake, also known as the “Twenty Dollar View” as these are the mountains that appear on our $20 bill.

The rest of the process was super easy.  Select the size of the canvas (ours was 8 x 10) then the wrap thickness (so how deep you want the canvas to be).  Next we uploaded the image and decided on image wrap, so our picture actually continues onto the sides of the canvas.  It makes it feel more 3D like, at least to me.  After some other editing options, add to cart and you’re done!

Here is our finished product:

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Shipping was fast and inexpensive as well.  Now that we have one I’m trying hard to not put all of our photos onto canvases!

If you’re interested in getting a canvas of your own please check out http://www.easycanvasprints.com/.  I also have a 50% off code here.

Thanks again to Easy Canvas Prints for the opportunity and the fabulous product!

Out With The Old

I don’t think I have ever made a New Year’s resolution, at least not within recent memory.  I’ve never been big on the whole New Year’s celebration anyway (except Y2K but that was the end of civilization as we knew it, right?) and the last few years I’ve been working overnights so my “party” has been poking puppies and kittens all night.

This year, instead of resolutions I intend on setting monthly attainable goals that are specific, relevant, measurable and time-bound (the ever popular SMART mnemonic).  I like the idea of breaking down a bigger goal into smaller daily goals.  I’m intimidated by big changes so I figure by making smaller ones I’m more likely to stick with them instead of panicking and refusing to do anything at all.

Besides setting monthly goals, I also want to set an intention for 2014.  More often than not I make or not make decisions based on fear, and after spending most of 2013 being inactive I’ve found it really hard to get back to the same level of activity I’d enjoyed before because I’m afraid.  I’m afraid to start anything new, I’m afraid of hurting, I’m afraid to start all over again.  Newton’s first law of motion at work here, folks.  What I need is a push, a kick, someone throwing me off the back of a moving vehicle in order for me to get moving again.  So in that light, 2014 will be about being fearless.  I want to say yes to more opportunities, to do the things that scare me, and to stop watching life from the sidelines.

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So other than living life fearlessly, here are my tiny goals for January:

1. Be active for at least 20 minutes every day
2. Eat more veggies – 3 servings a day minimum
3. Stop relying on sugar when working overnights – this means stop buying candy on my way to work
4. Read at least 30 min a day.  Netflix, while amazing, is a time suck.  I have so many books I need to get to – Dawson’s Creek will have to wait.

I think 4 is enough to start out with – this is supposed to be a positive exercise and I know that if I keep adding on I’ll get overwhelmed and give up.  My brain is definitely my worst enemy.

I hope 2013 was good to you, and I hope that 2014 is even better.  Happy New Year :)

Heart & Courage

Happy Boxing Day (or day-after-Christmas, whichever! I’m just happy it’s a holiday here and I don’t have to go back to work until tomorrow).

Since this was the first Christmas after we moved, we trekked back home on Christmas eve to celebrate with our families.  Our visit was a whirlwind, with three turkey dinners and lots of family time.  It was great to see everyone, but next year we are looking forward to spending the holidays here at home and (hopefully!) having our families visit us instead.

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BIG NEWS!!  Last Friday I got an early Christmas present:  Coeur Sports announced their ambassador team and somehow (I’m still sure it is a mistake of some kind) I was one of those chosen to represent Coeur in 2014.  How cool is that?!

When I first heard about Coeur Sports I fell in love with their designs but what really drew me to the brand was their reasoning behind the name (Coeur being French for heart):

“…Its also about heart. Heart is about digging deep and being mentally tough. Heart is what gets you to the finish line when all the body wants to do is lay down.  Heart is at the center of the community and the friendships you find in sport. Heart is what makes you give back to the community that has given you so much.” 

When I applied I put it all out there – I know I’m middle of the pack (when I’m healthy), that I’m coming off a less than stellar racing year, and that I’m still the very essence of new to both running and triathlon.  But as the ladies behind Coeur put it in their welcome letter to all of us:

“At Coeur, we can all remember when we first started the journey into endurance sports. There were the inevitable failures, feelings of insecurity and points where it would have been easier to stop. For almost all of us, there was someone who provided encouragement at just the right time, to get us over the hump and on our way. It is our dream that everyone who is wearing Coeur will endeavor to be “that person.””

Just being included on this team has inspired me to do Big Things in 2014.  2013 broke me and I’m not ashamed to admit a lot of this year was spent in a dimly lit place. But I’ve also proven to myself that I have heart, and that it takes a lot more than an autoimmune disorder to keep me from accomplishing my goals.

A week later and the shock hasn’t worn off yet.  I’m now part of a group of incredible women, who are REAL athletes and have completed marathons, multiple Ironman events, and are super fit and fast.  I gotta admit, I’m more than a little intimidated by my teammates and their accomplishments, but they have been nothing but supportive, encouraging and beyond inspiring. 

I’m more than grateful for this opportunity and support, and I look forward to representing in 2014!

 

 

 

 

Currently

I stole this from Leigh – it’s fun and mindless, just like me (wait…that’s not right)

I’m currently…

Feeling…happy that I have today and tomorrow off

Writing…not enough. I have a lot of ideas but just don’t feel like writing about them today

Reading… Still working my way through MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood.  I need to dedicate more time to reading

Listening…. the TV in the background (Criminal Minds)

Eating… too much sugar.  I think in January it might be time for a Whole30

Wishing… it was a little warmer out. Or that we had a trip somewhere warm planned

Enjoying… Christmas lights!

Drinking… tea.  I’ve never been a huge tea drinker but have started enjoying David’s Tea since we move

Learning…that I need a goal to motivate myself to workout.

Thinking… about not running today because it’s too cold…also I have no goal currently so no motivation

Loving… our little town and new house!
If anyone could help me find some motivation that would be great ;)

 

Guilty Pleasures

First of all thanks for all the love on my last post.  I’m in a much better place today than I was over the summer and I hope to keep it that way.  I’ve finally acknowledged that I’m not really in control of this disease, and it’s really freeing to be able to stop trying to control it and failing. If that makes any sense.

Yesterday I meet with a physiotherapist who works with The Arthritis Society of Canada.  It was a brief meeting but he was pleased with my progress and that I am pretty much normal (never thought anyone would ever describe me as normal) other than the decreased range of motion in my right wrist.  I’m a little pissed it hasn’t gotten 100% better so I can’t bench press or do push ups and any Olympic lifting is pretty  much out of the question.  BUT again, this is the new normal, and I can work and function in daily life “normally” so this is a great improvement.  My grip strength in my hands has improved and I have some exercises to do to maintain my current range of motion in my wrist and the rest of my body.  And I got confirmation that my new rhematologist is pretty awesome, which I already knew of course.

Enough about my broken body. Did you know that Canadian NetFlix (which has been seriously lagging behind American NetFlix) now has DAWSON’S CREEK on it?? I hated that show when it was on but started watching it in reruns after it was over and got hooked.  I fully admit that when we went to Florida in May I was almost as excited to watch a few episodes of DC as I was to lounge on the beach.

That got me thinking – what are my current favourite guilty pleasures?

1. Dawson’s Creek.  I still do not like Dawson but I do still love Pacey.  Pacey for LIFE.

Oh Josh Jackson how I love you still

 

2. 80′s hair metal.  No that’s a lie, all 80′s music is amazing.

3. Christmas lights.  An extraordinary amount of Christmas lights.

And since the I’m Fit Possible ‘Tis The Season campaign is all about taking time for yourself and indulging, even just a little bit, I am definitely taking some time to indulge in these guilty pleasures.  Maybe not all at once, though.

What are your favourite (yes, with a U) guilty pleasures? And how do you plan to take some time for yourself this holiday season?

 

Where I’ve Been For Seven Months

Before December 1st my last post was April 24 of this year.  That’s over seven months of silence.  I don’t owe blog posts to anyone, but if I want to start writing again (and I do, so much so) I figured I’d at least try to explain myself, even if it is just for myself.

No post is complete without a picture of Scout

No post is complete without a picture of Scout

In 2012 I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis.  It is an inflammatory autoimmune disease that affects joints, muscles, organs, tendons – you name it, RA can affect it.  At the time of my diagnosis I was only experiencing pain and inflammation in my hands (also known as sausage fingers), and only mildly at that.  I didn’t trust my doctor and since I had been steadily improving, I decided to forgo mediation and continue my life as normal.

At the beginning of May 2013 my family and I went on a trip to Florida.  The week before I had been trying new running shoes and experienced some wicked pain in the balls of my feet.  I chalked it up to the new shoes, exchanged them, and enjoyed my vacation.  But the pain didn’t get better, it continued to get worse.

Soon it wasn’t just the balls of my feet, but my ankles, knees, hips, wrists, fingers, jaw – etc etc.  It would take me about 20 minutes to work up the courage to get out of bed in the morning, and going up and down stairs was slow and painful.  I couldn’t open jars, I hated driving long distances because it hurt to sit but it hurt even more to get out of the car once I’d reached my destination.   I was tired all the time and, truthfully, sometimes I felt just like staying in bed for days and days, because at least then I wouldn’t have to force a smile and pretend that nothing was wrong.  Because I still don’t think that everyone really got it.

You don’t really understand chronic pain until you experience it yourself.  I couldn’t ever get away from it.  NOTHING over the counter worked.  Advil was the only thing that would take the edge off and I held out for a long time because I hate the idea of being a slave to medication.  I tried to get in with my specialist but the closest appointment he had was August (most of the time I love the Canadian health care system, I swear).

I went on an elimination diet which alleviated some of my symptoms, or at least improved my quality of life.  I now mostly avoid gluten as it causes pain and inflammation in my joints.  I’m off most diary as it makes me feel crappy.

In the midst of all this we decided to move 3 hours away.  So new jobs, a new house, a 14 hour day of moving the last 6 years of our lives across the province.  I wasn’t doing anything blog worthy, and I didn’t want to be someone who only defined themselves by their health issues, and I didn’t want to seem like I was complaining so I didn’t blog.

With our move, however, came a sort of blessing – a new rheumatologist.

I met with my new doctor early in November and the experience was like a breath of fresh air. She WANTED me to feel better, immediately.  And with her help and prescriptions, I did.  The day after that appointment I felt – normal.  Pain and stiffness free.  And now, a month later, I still feel just as good.  I know that RA isn’t curable, and that it can come out of remission just as bad or worse, but I am going to enjoy my reprieve from pain for as long as it lasts.

Now that I have my life back I’m trying to figure out how to ease myself back into exercise.  I started run/walking again in September.  I’ve been swimming a few times and been to a few classes at my local gym, and I completely fell in love with my bike.  But my motivation hasn’t exactly returned to the same level it had been before, and that’s something I hope that blogging can partially help me get back.

So that’s it, in a not-so-nutshell.  Sick, painful, moving – and now I’m back.  I think.

‘Tis The Season – From I’m Fit Possible

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‘Tis the season to relax, indulge, enjoy and breathe. There. We said it.

Some might think it’s crazy for a fitness and wellness oriented community to support and encourage an hour of sleeping in, a little whipped cream on lattes and an evening with friends instead of an evening with free weights. Or maybe you think it’s brave, balanced and real. We hope it’s the latter. It happens anyway, so let’s embrace it. We encourage you to approach the holiday season a little differently this year. Let’s focus on what we actually need this holiday season. What do we mean by that?

Introducing our ‘tis the season social campaign!

This isn’t a free pass to skip the gym or to morph into a holiday couch tater. Nor is it a cookie eating contest. That’s not what we are saying. In fact, this isn’t a holiday “challenge” at all. At I’m Fit Possible, we are all about personal fitness around the holiday season and 365 glorious days of the year. Here is the “but”. But, if you are going to skip the gym or make a deliciously sinful nutritional choice around the holidays, make it worth your while. Ditch the rules and restrictions you place on yourself and savor every last morsel, take the time to catch up with an old friend (in person or over the phone), curl up by the fire with a peppermint tea, treat yourself to a trashy, gossipy magazine and glass of wine, cuddle up with Fido, go the theatre and support local talent, clean out your closet and donate the items and enjoy every beautiful, relaxing minute. Most importantly, let go of the guilt and regret that swirls once you ditch the gym or make that poor nutritional choice. It’s done. You’ve made the choice. Now make the most of it. Celebrate relaxing, indulging, enjoying and breathing this holiday season. You work hard and life is about balance. The holiday season is already way too busy and stressful for most of us without the added stress of our fitness goals as well. Care for yourself instead of wrestling your goals this holiday season.

No challenges. Just you. Enjoying life.

The way it works is simple. There isn’t a contest to enter or any hoops you have to jump through. You do not need to sign up, register or even participate every day. We have 10 lovely sponsors for our ‘tis the season campaign. Starting December 1st through December 31st, we will feature a new product and company every 3 or 4 days. You simply share how you are relaxing, enjoying, indulging and breathing this holiday season on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.  Be sure and use the #imfitpossible hashtag and mention I’m Fit Possible so we see how you are living it up this holiday season. Be sure to follow I’m Fit Possible on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as our winners will be announced every few days via social media.

From December 1st to 4th each Facebook post, Tweet and Instagram pic will earn you one chance to win an amazing prize pack from Somersault Snack Co. The more you share the more chances you have to win. That’s it. We told you it was simple! Remember to mention I’m Fit Possible in each and every tweet or post, so we don’t miss it. We will randomly choose and then announce the winner at the end of the day on December 4th and then feature a new product, with a new chance to win starting December 5th.

Website: www.imfitpossible.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ImFitPossible

Twitter: https://twitter.com/imfitpossible

Instagram: http://instagram.com/imfitpossible

Check out our wonderful and generous sponsors.

Energybits / Somersault Snack Co / Sweet Pure Honey / Wildflowers Tea / Face of Hope / Giddy Yoyo / Bakery on Main / Kooshoo / Island Boost / Yurbuds Sport Earphones

 

But wait! There is more. Throughout the month of December we will be sharing how our I’m Fit Possible Community members will be relaxing, indulging, enjoying and breathing this holiday season. Additionally we will be sharing tips from Gillian (http://gillianboult.blogspot.ca/), our community yoga gangster. She will be focussing on how to use yoga to energize, breathe and stay true to you this holiday season.

This starts now. Like right now. What do you need this holiday season to feel full? We don’t mean full of stuffing or pumpkin pie. We mean full of love, happiness and contentment. Let’s honor ourselves, enjoy every moment, leave regret and stress behind, ditch the rules and restrictions and focus on what we really need this holiday season. ‘tis the season!

Run ALL The Races

I have a problem.

A race problem.

I want to sign up for every race under the sun. When I can’t find a local race I have been feverishly scanning for ones in New York State (don’t worry Shawn, haven’t found any yet).

I have been having problems with my rotator cuff in my left shoulder so swimming has been infrequently lately, which puts my triathlon season sort of up in the air. Because of this I have been concentrating more on road races, and have tentatively come up with a race plan. I haven’t signed up for anything yet so things may change.

May 18 – 5000m track race. Weird, right? It’s $3 so why not?!

June 2 – 75km Heart And Stroke Ride for Heart – 75km on my bike!

June 15 – Triathon. Not sure if this is a go, but if it is I will probably be a baby and just do the Try A Tri again this year since my shoulder is being a bitch.

July 28 – another triathlon, sprint distance this time

August 11 – Toronto 10 miler. This would be my first 10 mile race and fit in perfectly for my fall half marathon plans

August 31 (I think) – sprint #2

September – no idea. Maybe nothing!

October 20 – take #2 at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon.

It looks kinda crazy to me! I’m really looking forward to training for this half, it was my first last year and it is a great course. Also I think I just love training and the long runs.

Who knows, maybe next year I will eat my own words and sign up for a full.

Or not.

What’s next on your race schedule?

Back In The Globo Gym–Wait, What?!

So remember (probably not, but stick with me) when I said I was taking a break from CrossFit? Well I made the break more official and joined a “globo gym”. Yes, you heard me – the dreaded globo gym.  I’ve been a member at GoodLife Fitness gyms off and on for years, and the professional organization I belong to gives us a great discount, so it was a no brainer. Yesterday I met my dad at the GoodLife he and my mom go to so I could show him some fun with free weights. He wants to start doing more strength training, and that so happens to be an interest of mine, so I was more than willing to help him out.

I’m used to my own bars and squat racks and plates with clips so it was kind of a culture shock trying to find my way around the gym yesterday, but I made it work.  We found an empty squat rack, some 45lb bars and some plates (still NO clips?? I’m still gonna do Oly lifts GoodLife, clips or no clips) and got to work.

We went over the basics – deadlift, squat (front and back), bench press, air squats and some dumbbell snatches which my dad seems to love. 

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Not too shabby for a guy who turned 60 a week ago!

There are going to be some challenges for me to try to get my workout on in a non CrossFit gym, but I am less stressed and less injured now doing things my own way.  I know I made the right decision for ME at this time, and who knows, I may find my way back to a box one day.  For now I’m enjoying spin classes, Body Pump and doing my own strength training.  Next week I will officially start a new strength program and I’ll be logging my workouts as I go, so keep an eye out for those posts.

So: Do y’all think I’m crazy for ditching my CrossFit gym for a globo gym?

Toronto Yonge Street 10K Recap

I suck as a blogger and didn’t take any pictures yesterday.  So sorry, so busy running.

As always, Canada Running Series put on a great race yesterday.  The Toronto Yonge Street 10K was only my second 10K ever but I will definitely be running this again.

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It was chilly but super sunny.  I probably overdressed (Lululmon tights, tech t shirt and arm warmers) but I didn’t notice it too much as I ran.

The plan was to stay under 165bpm HR for the first little bit and then just run (or shuffle, or whatever it is I do).  I managed to stick with it for the first 10 minutes or so before the excitement of racing caught up to me and I just started pushing.  A big difference from this race and the 5K two weeks ago was I didn’t even look at my pace.  My Garmin was set to a screen with total time, HR and calories.  It was a lot less stressful to have to guess my pace based on total time and the kilometre markers – it gave my brain something to think about other than running.

While the race is net downhill there are a few rolling hills which messed with me a little but I kept up the pace pretty good. 

At the 5K mark my total time was 31:17 which is a 3 minute PR from two weeks ago (does this really count as a PR?) and the fastest I have ever run 5K before.  And the PRs kept on coming. I know so many people run SO much faster than me, and that can get me down sometimes, but then I have to remember that this is my journey and no one else’s, so my sub 40min 6k is AWESOME for me.

Around 8K I started to fade a bit but I never gave up mentally this race.  I’d take a quick walk break, or slow down a little to catch my breath, and then it was right back to work.

The last kilometre I put the pedal to the metal and I was so close to puking.  I saw Shawn on the sidelines near the finish and I barely managed a wave.  I crossed the finish line in 1:03:39 which is a 3 min PR for me!

My only real goal going into this race was to have fun, and that I did.  I waved at everyone, high fived people and sang along to my music.  My brain was happy and I was never stressed about my pace, or my time, or how I felt.  As always I feel I could have probably pushed harder but a PR is a PR!

I will definitely run this race again – it was well organized, a beautiful course, great swag (two tech shirts and a great medal!), wonderful volunteers, and a great after party.  Running down Yonge Street was amazing, and seriously rivals running through Times Square – I know, crazy right? But Toronto is my city, and there is nothing I love more than running through its streets.

Being a digital champion and being able to run this race and meet so many people with similar interests was absolutely incredible.  I’m so grateful to have been given this opportunity.

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