Feel The Moment

It seems when I have a lot to write about is when I feel like blogging least.

I don’t get the need to post about every mundane detail of my life, because, really, with my schedule I have a lot of free time that is spent cleaning or watching Les Mis (for the 3rd time) or yelling at the dogs to stop wrestling.  I also don’t understand the “I must go do something so I can blog about it” mentality that some people seem to have, either.  I don’t live to blog or blog to live, I just like to write. Sometimes.

Anyway a month ago now (holy time flew by) I ran the NYC Half Marathon.

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I had hoped for a PR, and considering how well my training had been going I thought it was a sure thing.  However I underestimated how hilly Central Park is (Harlem Hill is EVIL) and by 16km my legs just said “Nope” and my brain couldn’t talk them out of it.  My time ended up being exactly 2 minutes slower than my first half marathon, which all things considered isn’t that bad.  I also  ran the first 15-16km straight without any walk  breaks, which I have never, ever done before.  So that in itself was a HUGE accomplishment.

Still, I felt a little disappointed in myself that I couldn’t push harder at the end when things got tough.

This past weekend I ran the 5K at Harry’s Spring Run Off in Toronto. 

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It is the first race in the Canada Running Series in the Toronto area for 2013.  Now, they warn you about the hill at the end (which, quite frankly, was way WORSE than Harlem Hill) but neglected to mention that most of the course was rolling hills  Winking smile .  My legs were shot from earlier in the week and felt dead from the get go, and since I don’t usually push hard in my training my brain panicked again and I had to walk. In a stupid 5K.  I ended up with a PR regardless but I KNOW I could have gone faster if I could just shut my brain up, or shut it down, or just RUN.

My next race is the Toronto Yonge Street 10K on April 21 (the second race in the Canada Running Series).  I was invited earlier this year to be a Digital Champion for this race, which has been a really neat experience.  I did get a free race entry but I have also been able to connect with a lot of like minded people in the GTA and help build up some hype for this awesome race!

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My goal for the 10K is to have FUN.  I need to take the pressure off myself with this stupid PR business and to just run my own race.  I also need to practice getting comfortable with being uncomfortable, if that makes any sense.  So I won’t be out there just trotting along, but I want to go into this race with no time expectations beyond not finishing dead last. I’m going to enjoy the moment and run the kilometre that I’m in instead of worrying about the kilometres behind me or the ones to come.

Anyway enough of my rambling for tonight, and I promise to not take such a long break again.  I’m starting a new strength program next week and I’m excited to tell you guys all about it!

Tell me: How do you deal with being uncomfortable during a race?

Training Thursday

I have been a bad half marathon wannabe.

I did not run last week. At all. I had every intention of running, really I did, but as usual life got in the way.

But I'm back on track (mostly) this week.

Monday: CrossFit

Tuesday: CrossFit

Wednesday: 2.5km run: it started out really well, did the first km in 5:43 which is probably the fastest I've ever run a km before. Then it went downhill – my heart rate was really high and I couldn't catch my breath. I think it has a lot to do with under hydrating and not enough sleep. I'm making a conscious effort to drink more water and I'm even tracking it to make sure I get enough.

Today: CrossFit

 

Friday: 4x400m run, and maybe the gym if I feel up to it

Saturday: 10km long run

Sunday: skills clinic at the gym

I'm going to take my time doing the long run and not stress about time, just get the distance covered. I will definitely do the run/walk method – 10min run to 1min walk.

We did a really fun WOD on Tuesday:

21-15-9 deadlifts (95 for women) with 10 box jumps (20″) after each set. As it was explained to me this workout was about intensity instead of load – the faster the better. I did the first set of 21 deadlifts unbroken but I'm still super slow on the box jumps. The second set I did 10 and 5 deadlifts, and then did the 9 unbroken. I finished in 4:26 and my legs were shaking! It's pretty crazy that you can get a great workout in less than 5 minutes.

I'm looking forward to the weekend and having a few days off. Hope everyone has had a good week so far!

What was your favourite workout this week?

 

How To Go From a Size 16 to a Size 6

**Warning – this post talks about weight loss and weight issues – if this is a trigger for you please don’t read or read with caution**

Warning #2 – this post contains copious amounts of pictures of me when I was, um, larger.  This may be offensive to some. Proceed with caution (and please don’t make fun of me too much!)**

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Our wedding in 2007 – approx. 190lbs

At my heaviest weight I was 209lbs.  That I know of, anyway – I didn’t weigh myself before that, so for all I know I could have been heavier.  I steadily gained weight after high school – from 160 to 193 and finally to 209.  The weight gain was slowish, slow enough that I never really seemed to notice in daily life, until I saw a photo of myself or went to try on clothes.  320_69287935353_547645353_4000657_9965_n
At my heaviest. And my super awesome brother

There was no specific trigger that got me to lose 30lbs initially.  I decided to start following Weight Watchers without joining – my mom gave me the information for the points, we guessed my point value for the day, and away I went.  Of course I was also going to the gym a lot – mostly spin and yoga.  And some weight came off. My lowest at that time was 173.

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I fell off the gym and Weight Watchers wagons and went back to my old lifestyle, and what do ya know – I gained weight again.  In December of 2010 I was back up to 190, and with a wedding and a vacation happening in the next month or so I started buckling down on the eating again (eating healthy, not restricting) and amped it up at the gym.  I was still going to spin and yoga, but added Body Pump into the rotation as well.  And again, the weight came off.  Before I left for vacation in January of 2011 I was down 7 lbs, and somehow managed to lose 3 pounds WHILE on vacation.

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(183 in December 2010 and 169 in April 2011)

After plodding along for a while on my own, I bit the bullet and officially signed up with Weight Watchers online.  This spurred even more weight loss, and my  interest in healthy eating continued to grow, as did my interest in weight lifting.  In May of 2011 I quit Goodlife and joined CrossFit – and I have to say that this has had the biggest impact on my weight and body than anything I have ever tried before.

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Weights CHANGE your body.  They change the way you look, the way you feel, the way your body works.  They give you confidence, they give you mental strength, they give you peace.  And they make me happy.

Everyone asks how I have done it, how I do it, what my secret is.  You want to know what the secret it?

Hard work. Determination.  Will power. Healthy eating. Lifting weights.

There it is.  That’s how I went from 209 to 148, from a size 16 to a size 6 (ok, I know I’m more of a size 8, but those shorts I bought yesterday are a 6 so I’m going to run with that for a while).

There is no secret, no magic pill, no special diet that will get you where you want to go.  You have to WANT it and be willing to work HARD every single day.  You have to make it a permanent lifestyle, and not an “until I reach my goal weight” lifestyle.

So there you have it.  How to go from a size 16 to a size 6. Work hard. Eat right. Lift heavy.

Half Marathon Training Help!

Had a nice, busy weekend off!

Had the CrossFit total on Friday, lunch with my dad and brother, then Shawn and I drove around looking at houses we were interested in (didn’t go in to see any but did drive bys – and boy, do the listing photos make them look way better than they do in real life!). I may have had this for dinner:

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Saturday I woke up early to head to CrossFit again.  Did this workout:

AMRAP 20min
5 deadlifts
5 hang power cleans
5 front squats
5 push press
5 back squats
All at 70lbs.  I did 4 rounds + the hang cleans.  Could have done more but I hate push presses.  No excuse, I know, but that’s the truth! I suck at upper body work still.

After the workout I headed (well, after showering) to the west end to hang out with some friends of mine from school.  We spent the afternoon browsing stores and pastry shops, then had a little too much wine and pasta at the most awesomest Italian restaurant ever, Sempre.

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Sunday I bought the cutest pair of boots, went to an antique store, had more ice cream, and looked at more houses.  It was a very full weekend!

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Yesterday was the Toronto Goodlife Marathon (and half and 5km).  I was supposed to run the half, but I didn’t have enough time to train once my knee decided to start co-operating.  So yet another race I had to sit out.  This got me thinking, though – I’d really like to run the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront half marathon in October, so in the next month or so I have to seriously start training for it if I plan to run a halfway decent race.  Last time I trained with the Running Room, but I think this time I would like to follow a different plan and train on my own.  But this is where I’m stuck – I’m not too sure what training plan to follow.  Some of them are so similar, and yet others are so different.  I want to run 3-4 days a week, with speed work involved.  I’m going to keep searching, but in the meantime if anyone has any favourite training plans they want to share, that would be great!

What are your favourite half marathon training plans? And what is your next big race??

That Time I Decided to Become An Olympic Lifter

 

Yeah, random title right?

So my “secret” not so secret news is that I’ve decided to train for an Olympic lifting competition that is in August.  One of our coaches just completed his first comp this weekend and did very well for only 5 weeks training.  We have a lifting coach that was coming in on Wednesday nights for group training, and he was privately training Kyle as well.  Now he wants to find more “talent” and bring them to the competitions.  We have some extremely strong guys in the gym, and I think they would excel.

So why am I doing this, you might ask yourself? I’m not extremely strong, and apparently according to my training session yesterday, I’ve been doing the lifts wrong for the last year. Not horrifically wrong, mind you, but my body position needs a lot of work. My hip flexors don’t bend as they should, and I’m all tilty, and I always have this feeling that I’m going to fall backwards. Or I do fall backwards. I’m just so graceful.

But I am a perfectionist when it comes to some things (cleaning is not one of them – sorry Mom, I know you tried) and I really want to perfect these lifts. I am not going to compete to win, or place, but I’m using it as a goal to work on my form and hopefully improve my strength gains in each lift.

Now what exactly is Olympic lifting? Olympic lifting consists of 2 lifts – the clean & jerk, and the snatch (yes, laugh, we all do), while powerlifting is the more commonly thought of deadlift, back squat, and bench press.

 

Snatch

 

Clean and Jerk

 

Truthfully, the Olympic lifts are more technical than the powerlifting ones (at least they seem that way to me).  The term “powerlifting” is also a bit misleading – the Oly lifts are about power, and hip drive, while the powerlifts are more about strength.  Form is extremely important in both, but I have a harder time wrapping my brain around the subtleties of the Oly lifts than the powerlifts. 

Last night we worked on snatch progression (cue snickering), and really all I worked on was set up and first pull (bringing the bar to my knees).  Before yesterday I didn’t really realize just how much leg strength is involved in this lift, probably because I was doing it wrong and using my back before.  But holy, trying to do the WOD afterwards was excruciating.  Our workout (after the hour + of Oly lifting!) was:

50 kettlebell swings (16kg)
40 box jumps (20’)
30 push ups
20 air squats
10 pull ups
400 m run

My legs felt like lead after the KB swings, and I was slow getting started on the box jumps.  But I finished in 12:37, not the slowest on the day, so that’s a good thing!

Time to get off my chair and head over to the gym for tabata tire flips and a 1.5 mile run. Sorry body – the things I do to you!

Enjoy your Tuesday!

The Weekend I Ran 5km Again, and Signed Up For a Race

Good Monday morning everyone! I trust that everyone had a safe and enjoyable long weekend, and that you didn’t indulge (too much) on Easter candy. No

Just a quick post to check in.  I had a great weekend overall, but especially exercise wise.

Friday morning was my return to running, with a 3.6km run with some walks in between the 1200m repeats, to a total of 4.08km.  My knees felt great afterwards! Just as a precaution I wore my drugstore knee sleeve the rest of the afternoon, for some added support.  After my run my mom met Shawn and me at our house and we took our 3 dogs and her dog for a walk down by the lake.  It was basically the same route I had just run, so we ended up walking for about an hour and covering nearly 4km.  So for me that was about 8km either ran or walked for Friday – not too shabby.

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Rocky, Scout and my parents’ border collie, Chase, at the cottage

Saturday was my return to lifting heavy.  I have some updated news on that but until things are figured out with my coaches and I actually have a plan in place I’m going to keep that secret to myself.  Needless to say I’m VERY excited and look forward to the challenges the next few months will bring.

Sunday I finally ran 5km! Okay, I know that doesn’t seem like a lot to most of you, but since my injury I have run exactly 5 times, one of them being yesterday’s run.  And boy, in a 2 month time period do you EVER lose your conditioning.  I can’t believe how difficult the run was for me.  I ran with a friend from work, and I felt badly because we took so many walking breaks, but my lungs and legs could just NOT keep up.  It was a huge difference from being able to run 16km a few months ago. I have a lot of work to do to build back up but I’m going to take it slowly.  My knees are happy now and I’d like to keep them that way.  After my run I iced, foam rolled, and wore my knee sleeve for a few hours again.  So far this strategy seems to be working! I wish I had a fancier knee sleeve but the shipping prices on the ones I’m eyeing (ie Tommie Copper!) are almost as much as the sleeves themselves, so it doesn’t make sense for me to order one at this time.

To celebrate my 5km distance, I did what any other self respecting runner would do – I signed up for a race! And it’s in less then 2 weeks!

The Uxbridge Half Marathon – Run for the Diamond has a 5km trail run/walk, 10km trail run/walk, and a half marathon trail race (as well as a kids 300m fun run).  I had originally wanted to do the 10km but clearly will not be ready for that, so I signed up for the 5km.  I’ve always wanted to do a trail race, and since I have my sights set on a 14km trail race in July, I figured I might as well start now.

So that was my weekend in a nut shell! Add in dinner with friends on Saturday night, and Easter dinner at my parents’ yesterday, and it was a busy weekend.  I’m off to run some errands, then head to an extra lifting class at the gym, and of course, Monday night yoga as usual.

Enjoy your Monday, whatever way you plan on spending it!

Friday Favourites

1. These individual oatmeal bakes from Sugar Free Mom. When I made the recipe I ended up with way more than she did, plus I added cranberries to the batter.  But these are fabulous and filling, especially warmed with a bit of maple syrup. Divine.

2. My new Run:Pacesetter Skirt from Lululemon.  I’ve wanted a running skirt for a while, just because they are so cute. This is the one I got (please excuse my fantastic iPhone photo and wicked lighting. I swear I do know how to take pictures)

I love this pattern

I wore this skirt combined with the Cool racerback tank to CrossFit on Wednesday. It was fun to clean and jerk 90lbs wearing pink and a skirt (and my silver sparkle BIC Band).  Who says you can’t look cute while lifting weights?

Awkward smile, check!

3. Running! I don’t think I’m going to make it out for my second run this week, I probably ran a little harder than I should have on Tuesday and I’m afraid to hurt myself by pushing for a second day.  Or I’m a wimp.  Either way, it was so awesome to slap on my Garmin and actually get out and do a real running workout. Yay running!

Another awkward smile, and now complete with windblown hair. I'm a class act

4. We have mourning doves that are living on our porch.  They pirated a nest that other birds had built but never used last year.  The Mrs bird is always in the nest, while her Mr comes and goes, bringing her food and company, I guess.  I named them Pierre and Margaret Trudeau, and this joke is probably only funny to Canadians, and probably then only to people who remember anything about politics from high school. And clearly I need to learn to write in less run-on sentences.

The love birds (I know they aren't really love birds)

5. Fringe.  Fringe is one of my favourite shows of all time.  Yes I realize this makes me a science fiction nerd, but that is a whole other post in and of itself.  There is a huge social media campaign happening by the show’s fans to bring attention to the popularity of the show to Fox Broadcasting, and so far it seems to be working. Last week the hashtag on Twitter was #WhereYouBelong, and Fox even got on board and displayed the hastag during the episode.  This week the hastag is #ChangeYourWorld.  Watch for it on Twitter and, if you can or want to, please RT and help support this undervalued, awesome show. The world needs more Fringe, and way less reality TV.  Check out Fringenuity for more information on the current campaign.

Have a great Friday and an even better weekend! See ya next week!

Dear CrossFit Games 2013 – Watch Out, I’m Getting Better

I know I haven’t written in a while (again) but I don’t like feeling *forced* to produce a blog post.  I find the blogs that post multiple times a day or even many times a week to sometimes be “fake”.  I suppose to some degree everyone has an online persona but they all seem the same.  I don’t want to become something I’m not, in order to increase blog traffic or twitter followers or more “likes”.  I want to blog for me, and to share information with others. The blogs I love don’t follow a “format”, don’t post what they eat every day all day, and have an attitude and aren’t afraid to speak their minds.  They are interesting, and stimulating, and make me think or learn each and every time I read.  That’s what I want this blog to be (one day…).

That being said the last few weeks have been very busy.  I spent the week after my DNF half marathon working at a horse farm so needless to say I was not only sore but super tired.

Cold, snowy week at the barn

During that time I also got sick and didn’t complete 12.3, and then I worked the weekend of 12.4 and just didn’t do it.  It’s not that I didn’t want to, but I think I realize just how much I have to work on to even properly compete in the CrossFit Games.  So now I have my list of things to work on for next year’s games:

- strength and form for Oly and power lifts.  I bought Rippetoe’s “Starting Strength” and I plan on programming myself a strength program starting this summer. I’m also going to make a real effort to attend my gym’s Oly lifting class when I’m not working. Can’t wait to get back there next Wednesday.

A little "light" reading. Bring on the PRs

- gymnastic type movements.  I still can’t do a kipping pull up, so this is my immediate goal.  We are having a gym event on April 21 and I really want to do it prescribed, so that’s my deadline for learning the kip.  I need to get better at push ups and sit ups as well, as well as toes to bar.  Increasing core strength will help me overall anyway.  Muscle ups are NOT in my future, at least not at this point.

- nutrition.  I know I don’t eat properly a lot of the time, and although I can’t fully commit to a Paleo diet I do plan on eating a lot cleaner over the next year.  I did join Weight Watchers again 2 weeks ago, in an effort to lose the “last 15 lbs” but it’s already a struggle to eat less while working out more.  We’ll see how this goes.

- commit to the gym 4-5 times a week, minimum.  I’ve gotten back up to 4 regularly, and did 5 last week (I also just finished my 4th day in a row). The more I’m in the gym, the better I’ll get.

So those are my “CrossFit Goals”.  Let’s see if I can stick to them this time around.  I’ll need to kick my own ass to get better.

Happy Monday, everyone :)

What are your goals to improve in your sport? How do you stick to them?

Why I Crossfit (And Why You Should, Too!)

Hello!

First off, I am participating in the #CanadianBloggerSeries, the brain child of Heidi Murphy, where each Tuesday someone writes about their part of Canada. I’m scheduled to write about Ontario on April 17, and I already have some fun ideas that I hope to be able to make work! Today’s post is by Lisa from Smores N  More, and she’s also talking about Ontario! Please check her blog out and her post over on Heidi’s blog, The Balance Project!

I sure used a lot of exclamation points in that paragraph. But I digress…

Today I want to talk more about Crossfit, and weight lifting in general.  Over the last week I’ve talked to a lot of women that I know, and they seem to fall into 1 of 3 camps.  The first believes that muscles are not feminine, that women shouldn’t lift weights or have muscles, and are baffled that I’m striving for the 250lb deadlift or the 100lb clean and jerk.  The second feels that muscles and strength are fine, as long as they aren’t obvious muscles, and there isn’t too much definition (ok, this sounds eerily similar to the first camp).  And finally, the third group is where I fit in – where “strong is the new skinny”, and we feel that having muscles is just fine.  I’m not striving to be a body builder by any means, but the fact that I have wicked back and shoulder definition and I’m working on the elusive ab muscles positively thrills me.

It's only 60lbs but it looks impressive!

Why all this negativity towards strong, capable women? Some of the ladies who fall into group 3 with me believe that the others in the first 2 groups are “jealous” and know they won’t ever try to achieve the same sort of physical fitness we are striving for.  I’m not sure that this is true, but I don’t think that I have the answer, either. All I can do is tell these women why I do what I do, and hope that I can lead by example and change even one persons’ mind!

I started Crossfit because I was interested in powerlifting.  I had been introduced to Crossfit a few years ago by a (believe it or not) pole dancing instructor I had, but I never thought that I would be able to a) do any of the workouts I saw on the main site or b) be able to afford it.  As I did more research, I found out that the Crossfit workouts can be scaled in order to make them appropriate for every ability level.  I tested out 2 different boxes in my area, fell in love with the second and haven’t left.

What I like about Crossfit, and lifting weights as well, is that I am pushed to my edge every time I step into the box or onto the platform.  While I love running, I find that I’m more challenged with weights.  I’m actually *good* at lifting weights.  I’m not built to be a runner – as I’ve said before, I’m built to plow fields – and so I might as well use my body type to my advantage.

Lifting weights gives me confidence, and in the last few months I’ve seen weights and Crossfit give so many other women confidence, too.  To be able to do something that you never thought you could do before, and do it well, is such an ego boost and it translates into every aspect of their lives.  I just want every woman to feel the same kind of confidence I do, to feel good about themselves after every workout, to workout because they LOVE it and not because they *have* to in order to be skinny.  Because, let’s face it, a woman with a little bit of muscle (or a lot) is *hot*.

Please go check out Lisa and Heidi’s blogs! And if you have any questions about Crossfit please feel free to ask!