Sunday, March 25, 2012

New Shoes = New Knowledge

I finally took the advice other runners have been giving me and I went out and bought new shoes from the Running Room. They are a supportive running shoe - Asics GT-2170 G-TX and they thankfully look cute enough that I would have bought them on a normal shoe shopping expedition. They cost me $150 so they better be worth it.

I plan to run in them tomorrow to find out if they make running that much more better, but for now I am more than satisfied with just the experience of purchasing them.

I had immediate and personal service at the Running Room. My walk was assessed quickly and I proceeded to strut my stuff in about a dozen different pairs of shoes. I learned more about my foot and my footwear in that 20 minutes than I have ever known. But, the highlight of my trip resulted in an AHA moment! This was the moment where my shoewearing days changed forever.

Take a look at the shoe above and note the two topmost shoe eyelets. I've always wondered why shoes have these two holes as it laces the shoe oddly, but as my husband says I'm a conformist so most of the time I lace my shoes up to the top hole although sometimes I remain annoyed by the empty hole and leave it unlaced. My AHA moment taught me the purpose of this hole and I learned to tie my shoes properly for the third (yes this is the third new way I've learned) time in my life.

If you look at the picture above you will note that by using the top hole you can create a loop that you can pass the opposite lace through before tying up your shoes normally. Thic allows you to cinch the heel tighter and prevent your foot from sliding up out of the back of the shoe. I have a narrow heel and because of this have never been able to wear sexy high heeled shoes unless they have straps to hold my feet in, but now I have a solution to at least make my running shoes more comfortable. I am thrilled.

Here's the link to the shoelace tying video I watched that taught me to tie my shoes properly for the second time in my life. If you want to keep your shoelaces from coming undone or you like to see a straight bow because you're a little OCD like me then it's worth watching.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

I Am So Proud of Myself

There have been a lot of new discoveries and progresses in my life this past week and I am feeling pretty pleased with myself today.

I went for a bike ride on my day off of work (and my scheduled day off of exercise) and enjoyed it. The only reason my ride ended was because the trail was flooded out so I had to turn back and go home. That same day I even considered going out for a second workout to take a run, but it was too close to my scheduled massage (which I missed because my loving husband accidentally took my car keys to work with him - oops).

I got inspired by a friend. I work with this amazing woman who does a job even I do not have the patience nor the mental staying power for and she has been sharing her gym successes with me. The other day she lifted 140lbs!!! Between my work friend and my blog friend Marion I may have to make weightlifting my next goal.

I chatted with a new old guy at the gym! Yay me! I was stretching after my trail run and he asked me how I was doing. We compared notes and he gave me some tips and words of encouragement. If only people my age at the gym weren't so concerned with just themselves my gym buddies could begin to multiply.

Ages ago a blogger friend that mysteriously disappeared from blogworld posted about Bento box lunches. I thought this would be a perfect idea for me as I often only get 10-15min for my two teaching lunch breaks so I tend to "just snack" anyway. Lately I've been coming home with headaches because I'm not eating and drinking enough during the day (yesterday's calorie count was under 500 calories by dinner time). Today I cracked open the Bento style box I bought and packed it with yummy healthy food for lunch tomorrow. Tomorrow is even treat day at work so this is a big ordeal.

Tonight's new dinner recipe to add to my cooking goal is pan fried fresh rainbow trout, broccoli, and a spinach, strawberry, feta, and almond salad with homemade balsamic dressing. Yum!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Crossfit Here I Come

Part of my discussion with Jodi this morning was about how many times a week I should be running because my shins are killing me from pounding the pavement on my runs. The answer to my question was run three times a week and crosstrain 2-3 times a week as well. Jodi stressed that I could double these up with my runs as she knew there was no way I was training 5-6 days a week.

I'm excited about this as I've been aiming to tack on my old workouts to my 1km runs in order to keep my strength training going, but I've been too tired to drag out an old workout routine that will kill me all by itself. When Jodi told me that the best way to crosstrain is to swim or cycle I was overjoyed. Swimming and cycling are on my goal list for the summer and I've been waiting for better weather to start them. However, it seems it would make more sense to combine all my goals together now.

Working out should be an exciting adventure for me over the next few months. I get to swim, ride my bike, and run the trails around my house. These are all things I love to do!!! Why didn't I do this before?

I know the answer to that. They are too much fun to seem like a workout, or rather, if I do them at workout intensity they may lose their fun. When my goal was weight loss and getting in shape they did not seem like the "right" activities to choose. Now that my goal is to do more things I love better than I've done them before they make more sense.

What do you do to crosstrain?

I'm So Confused

Today I woke up early on my day off to go running with my trainer at 7:30am. That in itself was a feat because I never would have considered doing that before.

I'm considering (hypothetically) changing my blog title to Learning to Love Running because that is what it seems like I'm doing lately. I am not spending much time at the gym, but I am getting my workouts in elsewhere.

Today's goal:
Run 1.5km with my trainer and learn what I'm doing right and what I'm doing wrong.

Walk/ran 1.5km outside in intervals of 1 min running, 1-2min walking. I even went uphill! It took me 13min 55sec which was a little disappointing as I guessed it would take me 12 minutes. But, the longer time was a result of focusing more on my form than on my speed.

1) My strides are good. Chris told me I should aim for one step per sidewalk square, I can do 1 for every 3/4 of a square. Running with my trainer she told me I need to do shorter ones than that so it was an easy change to make.
2) I am fairly relaxed with good posture for running. With few self-reminders I stay loose, I swing my arms at 110 degrees, I don't twist my upper body, and I keep my torso upright. Apparently I am "built to run" according to my trainer. It's just a matter of time before my heart and my breathing agree.
3) I slap my feet when I run. This is something I need to work on, but it was an improvement from running on the balls of my feet. It take a lot of focus for me to think about runnning through my my heel to my toes.
4) I run too fast for where I'm at currently. I need to slow it down and keep a pace that won't have me keeling over at the halfway mark. I need to work on running longer, not faster.
5) 1.5km goes by way faster than I thought it would when running outside.

1) Somebody's blog I read discussed a foam roller. Where did I read that? I need to start using one.
2) I am having a hard time with the reality that I need to purchase good (expensive) running shoes when I am only starting out. Will proper running shoes really make that much of a difference?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Catalina Chicken Recipe

I set a goal for myself this year to learn 12 new recipes. My husband and I both love to cook (him more than me as I prefer baking), but our busy schedules often leave us scrounging for a quick meal so we can get back out the door or get food in our tummies before 9pm.

This recipe kick starts my adventure because I tried it out on a whim. I was sitting at the lunch table at work (I teach at an elementary school) when my collegue began discussing the recipe below as she had brought leftovers in her lunch. She mentioned that she bought the ingredients at Costco, it was quick to make, and that it tasted yummy. Another collegue tried it and agreed. I thought "Hey, I have to drive past the Costco on my way home and I have no idea what I am going to make for dinner. I guess I'll go out on a limb and try this dish." That was a big gamble for me as I thought at first the dish did not sound as appealing as my collegues exclaimed it was. It was delicious though! Even Chris loved it and he made it even better as leftovers (and I almost never eat leftovers!)

Catalina Chicken

1) Fill a baking dish with a single layer of boneless, skinless turkey thighs. (You can use chicken breasts, but the chicken will dry out a bit). I used about 15 thighs.
2) Season thighs with salt and pepper to taste.
3) Chop up red, yellow, and orange bell peppers and sprinkle over thighs. I used three peppers.
4) Pour an entire bottle of Catalina salad dressing over the thighs and peppers.
5) Cover with aluminum foil and bake until chicken is done. (45min-1 hour at 350)
6) Serve with mashed potatoes.

Note: Chris determined that a few minor changes to this original recipe would make it taste even more fantastic. He was right so here are the changes if you want. You have to sacrifice the dishes appeal of being a "throw it into the pan and walk away" aspect, but if you want to invest a little more time you will amp up the flavour.

1) Brown the thighs in a frying pan before placing them into the baking dish to add a crispier texture and to speed up baking time in the oven
2) Add the bell peppers to the baking dish with only 20 minutes of cooking time left for a less mushy vegetable texture
3) Serve over rice to soak up the sauce and become more of a stir fry (this was my favourite adaptation)
4) For leftovers, heat up in a frying pan and add another chopped bell pepper to the mix. The sauce will thicken more as it reduces in the uncovered pan.

Fitness Goals 2012 Status Update

Fitness Goals 2012 Check-in

I've realized that I am falling down on the job of keeping my goals in mind because I set far too many of them in an attempt to meet success (by achieving 75% of my goals). I thought it was about time to check-in and see where I was at to date. Goals that are not mentioned below have not been attempted yet.

5) Some students introduced me to Just Dance 3 videos on YouTube. I learned several routines. I highly recommend them to add some cardio variety to your home workout or just for some fun to your day. I have been using them to teach dance to my kindergarten to grade 4 students ever since some students shared "Pump It" with me.
18) I tried something new and sporty – running outside!!!
19) A friend and I went for a 10km walk and I have a few other friends who would like to do this once the weather warms up.

8) Sadly, I have not accomplished this goal as on more than one occasion I skipped a week or more at the gym/or a workout.
11) I have not weighed in weekly because of a busy schedule. I’m alright with failing this one as I weigh in when I need a boost of confidence or a kick in the butt to get motivated.
12) I have not met with Jodi (my trainer) once a month, but I will be meeting with her this month to train for running.
14) I failed to go for a walk once a week because I hate the cold.
16) I’m still working on this one even though I failed to drink 5 or less cans of pop a week.

Currently in progress:

1) I have yet to go swimming. I think I will start this week.
2) I have lost 7 of 25 lbs of fat.
4) I will not be running a 5km race, but I will be running a 1km race in just over a month.
10) I’m on track with blogging weekly.
13) I workout in proximity of Chris once a month.

15) I have cooked 1 of 12 new recipes
25) I can wall sit for 45 seconds of the 2 minutes I am aiming towards.
27) I met and followed up with one new friend from the gym. Let’s see if it sticks!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Gym Buddies

Marion from Affection for Fitness often talks about her fitness buddies in such a positive light that it has me wanting some fitness buddies of my own. Today I set out on this mission and discovered I am way too shy when I plan ahead.

Gym Buddy #1
There is this older gentleman at the gym who speed walks around the track faster than I ever could. I even tried today. He is in his 70s at least and I am 29, but he makes my day when I go to the gym. He is the most unlikely of gym buddies due to age, choice of fitness activities, and my inability to identify with his choice to wear gym clothing that is full of holes that expose his bare skin. But, he is one of the sweetest men I know and I don't even know his name. I've been away from the gym for a few weeks and he makes a point of asking my husband how I'm doing and where I'm at when I don't arrive at the gym on Sunday mornings. When I arrived to today he announced "Oh, the boss is back!" and asked me why I wasn't at work. mY long-time friends can't keep my work schedule straight so I don't know how he manages to remember I work long days on the weekend. He always makes me smile, he chats it up with anybody who makes eye contact with him as he whizzes by, and I love that he is a talk and walk kind of guy. He is not there to be distracted from his workout, nor is he there to distract you from yours. He just wants to brighten your day.

Gym Buddy #2
The lady at the front counter that knows my husband from karate as he used to or still does teach both her boys at karate. I don't know her name either (this is a theme with my gym buddies). She is always happy and smiling at the front counter and chatting it up with the patrons. She asks how things are going in a general sense and that is enough for me to feel like I am noticed and appreciated for coming. It is a stark contrast to the grouchy lady at the front counter that is always talking stern to clients.

Gym Buddy #3
This is a collection of one of interactions that brings me to my goal of making deeper connections that lead to gym buddiness. I make it a point to smile at other people, compliment, and connect as I make my way through the gym. If I see you do 20 pull-ups because I literally stopped my wandering eyes to watch you it looked so impressive I am going to tell you that. I like to see you smile and think "Yep, I'm good!". If I see you lying in a puddle of sweat on the floor or hear you grunting as you complete a crunch I am going to feel your pain and tell you I know how tough that can be or that I don't envy you right now. I like to hear you chuckle and see you get back to work. These are the people that I get inspiration from and want to chat with more frequently and more in depth. It has become my goal to do so over the next month.

Potential Gym Buddy #4
These are the people that I see often at the gym and some of which I know by name from our elementary school days. These are the people that connections should be easier to make, but I am more intimidated to do so. But, they could also be the most rewarding as the connections could extend beyond the gym. I'm working up to these ones.

Non-Gym Buddies
I also think it is important to realize what I don't want in a gym buddy. Like Marion I want to be the boss of myself. I do not need a gym buddy that is going to tell me how to do my workouts. I have a trainer that I pay to set those up for me. I also don't want a buddy that I have encourage to workout as that is a challenge enough for me to do for myself. Buddies that stop working out to chat at length are also not good for me as I distract easily and then lose my motivation to keep my workout going. I also spend as little time in the chageroom as possible as I just don't get other people's comfortableness with chatting to each other naked. So - a good buddy for me is someone who greets me, takes notice of what I'm doind on occasion, and offers advice. He/She will also appreciate getting compliments on progress and want to chat about what new gym things they've tried lately. find said gym buddies.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Just Keep Running, Just Keep Running...

I hopped on the scale yesterday after many weeks away. I didn't see the point of weighing in when I hadn't been exercising. But, yesterday, I thought "Hey, I've been running a bit. I think it's time to start fresh along with my new fitness goal." So I hopped on the scale and low and behold I had dropped a few pounds.

This morning I hopped on again expecting to see a slight rise as I was convinced the scale was playing tricks on me the day before. It turns out it was...but in a good way. Today I dropped another couple pounds. All in all the scale said I dropped 2.4 kgs since my last Wii Fit recording. However, I apparently did not save my actual last weigh in as my Excel Spreadsheet says I lost 1.7 kgs. That's still a whopping 3.7 lbs!!!

Chris' response to my enthusiasm and surprise was "Now that you're back on track just keep doing what you're doing." All I pictured upon hearing his words was Dori from Finding Nemo saying Just keep running, just keep running over and over again. And so tomorrow I run...