Saturday, October 25, 2014

Oh, just going for a half today.

Let's not talk about how I am completely NOT mentally prepared for this run, and how I am not physically prepared either. I am finally getting the chance to do a race with my mom and we are just going to do it for the fun of it! No time, no stress, just run. 

The race is literally in our backyard, so it's just like a casual weekend run. I told my mom I signed up just to run with her and now she is panicking that she won't be fast enough or she won't be able to run the whole way. I told her that we can walk whenever, we can run as fast or as slow as she wants, and we don't need to stress about it.

I don't know if I have ever done a race on a Saturday before. I don't have any crazy day-before race superstitions or anything so it's not a huge deal, especially because we aren't "racing" it. We fuelled up right with some… tacos? I don't know if that's the best race food but lentil tacos are kind of amazing so it was worth it. I tried to hydrate a bit too :)

This adorable race that we are doing this morning is an MEC series race. My friend picked up the packages for us, and by packages I mean bibs, safety pins, and a mini pack of SportsBeans. It's pretty much the same deal as with the $100 races, but we only paid $15 for this one!

Yesterday I checked out the forecast for this morning… just below freezing, no big deal. We are dressed in layers, bundled up, and ready to go out and enjoy a (hopefully) beautiful October morning. 

It might take us 3 hours, it might take 2, but we are going to have FUN. I told my mom that because I was running "her pace" the whole time, I wouldn't be completely out of breath and I could talk to her and entertain her the entire time. For some reason that didn't brighten her spirits at all? ;)

I promise to be back tomorrow with a race run recap!

What are you looking forward to MOST about this weekend?

Do you have any races left in 2014?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Insane spin classes and flippers in the pool.

Remember the insane Thursday night spin classes I have been talking about? Last night was no different. My mom and I convinced my neighbour to come with us to experience the torturous fun that is Thursday spin and it definitely lived up the our hype. I was dripping by the time we finished our "warm up." My goal was to hit at least the lower end of the instructor's range of gears for each drill and I nailed it. I even added a gear to challenge myself in some drills. It. was. awesome.

Like Sunday, I wore my HR monitor because I was curious as to how this spin class compared with my running and Sunday's spin class (with a different instructor). It was actually so cool to see my HR climb as we did sprint intervals and hill climbs and when she told us to take a break in between drills to lower our HR a bit, I could actually see mine slowly coming down. The biggest dip (in the middle at about 30 mins) is from our longest break in the class - one minute of blissful rest. 

As you can see, my HR rose to almost 180 bpm during the class, with an average of 159 bpm! That's 10 bpm more than Sunday's class and almost on par with a normal run! Crazysauce! I loved every moment of last night's spin class and I swear it felt 5 minutes long, but in reality it was an hour class! I was so sweaty but smiling ear to ear when it was over!

I did something I have been meaning to do for a while last night… buy an external hard drive. My computer is full of thousands of photos, mostly selfies and pictures of oatmeal, and I have been warned every time I turn on my computer that my startup disk and hard drive are almost full for about three months now. It was time.

My mom actually has the exact same external hard drive, although half the size, which I had no idea when I bought mine. I decorated mine so that we could tell them apart. Electronics are meant for arts and crafts, right?

While I was in the crafting mood, I put together some Halloween treats for my coworkers. We have a little game going around our office: If you get a little ghost in your mailbox, he is accompanied by a Halloween treat (someone gave me a dark chocolate granola bar because they knew I loved healthy foods and dark chocolate :), and you have to pass it on to two people! I picked up some orange and black yogurt covered pretzels and Halloween M&Ms for my peeps. Ribbon makes anything look fancy.

While I was at the grocery store I found a giant red pear. I bought it and ate it with my dinner. It was incredibly delicious and not quite soft and ripe yet which is my favourite time to eat them!

After spin last night I went to the pool for a quick dip. I had no friends to go with so I solo'd it… it wasn't as fun ;) I did a similar workout to Monday, 500m front crawl, 250m flutter kick with flippers and a kick board, and repeat. A total of 1.5 km. I feel so fast cruising along with my flippers. 

Not actually me. Or my legs. Or the flippers I used. 

As runners, we tend to have pretty tight ankles compared to swimmers. Someone who swims a lot most likely has ankles that love to gracefully flutter and propel you through the water, while me swimming looks more like chaotic leg spasms. In an effort to loosen my ankles a bit, I tried out flippers. A few things about my experience using flippers:

  • They are fun.
  • They made my QUADS burn. How? I think because I have to use a lot more effort to push more water out of the way with the flippers. Also, I am not using my arms, I use a kick board to go back and forth, so it is all leg.
  • I feel fast and graceful cruising through the water.
  • I like not have to wear goggles for a few lengths with doing flutter kick drills.
  • My feet feel naked when I take them off to swim normally. 
  • I have a new fear of becoming flipper-dependant, so I combat this by alternating between normal front crawl, and flutter kick drills with flippers. 
  • I now want to be a mermaid.

HERE and HERE are some great tips for using flippers in the pool. They are sometimes hailed as a huge cheater tool in the pool but I think that really depends what you are using them for. If it is to increase your ankle flexibility and hip movement (like me!) then they are a great tool to use for your pool workouts. If you are using them to rack up mileage in the pool, that is completely your call and no one else should care :)

So, now that my legs are completely fried from spin class and a quick little pool workout last night, I'm going to go run a half marathon tomorrow, mmmkay? 

Have you/ do you use flippers in the pool?

If you are in a group exercise class, or with a personal trainer, do you prefer the tough love instructor or the calming and encouraging one? I love when spin instructors yell and have lots of energy, it definitely makes me go harder. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Another day in the life!

I decided to do another day in the life posts, this time of my typical Wednesday. Last time I wrote one involving a busy day at school, this time I worked from home and then went to my actual job later in the day. I just love these posts. I tried to remember to take pictures of my entire day yesterday, and there are only a few gaps. Most of my day involved food so that makes up the majority of the photos. 

5:30 AM - My alarm went off.

5:42 AM - I actually got out of bed. 

6:23 AM - I was at the gym, on the elliptical, warming up for a run. I did 15 minutes elliptical, ran 4.0 miles, then cooled down with another 15 minutes of elliptical. I came home to do abs because I love using THIS video for my ab exercises. I did two rounds of the video, my daily push-ups, and some hip opener exercises. As an update on my October push-up challenge - I can now do 28 consecutive push-ups without losing form or pausing. I think that's about a 2% increase from when I started ;)

8:20 AM - Shower. 

8:32 AM - Contemplate putting on actual clothes like jeans.

8:33 AM - Put on spandex tights and a comfy shirt. I didn't bother doing my hair for another 7 hours because working from home means I lack all motivation to put effort into my outfit and hairstyle. Besides, air drying hair is better for it, right?

8:45 AM - Breakfast. My favourite time of the day. I am on an oatmeal (with egg whites cooked in) hot streak right now. I can't remember the last time I had something else for breakfast. I get an insta-chill after being sweaty at the gym and hot oatmeal is the only cure. I topped it with peanut butter, cut up some cantaloupe, and munched on a couple of grapes. I love reading other people's (YOURS) blogs when I am eating breakfast. 

9:50 AM - Coffee. Sometimes I have a cup of coffee with breakfast, sometimes I wait and have it mid-morning. Up until this point in the day I have been reading blogs, writing blog posts, replying to all of your wonderful comments, and perusing Twitter and Facebook. 

10:00 AM - I started to work on my school assignments, group projects, and reading nutrition papers. I usually have to set a limit for myself on how long I will do blog work and procrastinate academic work because otherwise I would blog all day. I had a few different assignments to work on so it kept me busy.

11:45 AM - I got hungry again. My morning snack consisted of plain 0% greek yogurt with pumpkin seeds and dates. I had made an emergency run to Safeway the night before to pick up dates because I was craving them. The combination of tart (yogurt), salty (seeds), and sweet (dates) is perfection.

1:30 PM - I continued to work on school projects and get ready for my next classes by reading the assigned journal articles and textbook chapters up until my stomach growled again and I threw some butternut squash in the oven. I watched an episode of FRIENDS (or three) while I made lunch. I also had a salad with tomatoes, snap peas, goat cheese, and a hard boiled egg. My butternut squash fries were cooked to perfection… crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. 

2:15 PM - I tried to get back into my school work. 

2:45 PM - I gave up on trying to get back into my school work. I decided to pack my dinner for work that evening. I cooked up a cup of couscous (the food so nice they names it twice!), made a little curry dish, and put the leftovers in the fridge. I used couscous as my base then added chickpeas, tomatoes, raisins, and curry powder. It was actually so delicious. 

3:30 PM - I hit up Starbucks (only to have an amazing friend drop my favourite Starbucks drink off for me at work! Double caffeinated!) on my way to work. I love my new vehicle, I just can't get enough of it!

4:00 PM  - I started my shift at work.

9:15 PM - I danced out of work because that shift just dragged. It was just over 5 hours but felt like 11. I cranked the radio on my way home and sang as loud as I could. 

9:30 PM - I repacked my lunch bag with my meals for tomorrow at school. I hate rushing in the morning to get my stuff together for the day so getting it done at night is a priority for me. Yes, that is a 10lb. bag of carrots in our refrigerator. 

10:03 PM - Crawled into bed. 

That is definitely a typical Wednesday for me. When school started in September I was committed to going into my office everyday and working there. Once I realized that I could get most everything I need to do done at home and I didn't have to commute 2 hours a day by bus when I did that, I decided Wednesdays were meant to be "work at home" days. I always work a shift at my part-time job on Wednesday evenings so it's nice not to have to rush home from school to get to work on time! I more than love quiet and relaxing mornings at home with unlimited coffee and a comfy place to do my school work :)

How was your Wednesday?

What was the BEST thing you ate yesterday?

Do you have the luxury of working from home ever?