Friday, December 31, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Can you hear me screaming? This
hill was a lot steeper - and slicker -
than it looks! December 2010
Remember what I said last week about it being time to start shrinking again?  Yeah, well...about that.

Christmas and my hormones got in the way. Not to be indelicate - but I find that I crave crave crave carbs for a full week every month. I try really hard to recognize it for what it is, but end up spending about 4 days in full-blown carb-loading mode. Sigh. It really sabotages my efforts. Any advice on how to get over that? I mean, besides strapping my hands behind my back?

This week was also a bit light when it came to exercise. I am reminding myself that some weeks are like that, and it's not a disaster as long as I get back up on the horse ASAP. Good thing the Resolution Run is coming up this weekend!

Here's a recap from this week:

Saturday - Christmas! Slept in to 8.20 (best present ever - thanks kids!), opened presents, lazed around, then went to my sister-in-law's for family dinner and CHIPS! and DIP! and CHOCOLATE FONDUE! (ack)

Sunday - Boxing Day. PJ Day! Woke up with the best of intentions about cleaning ALL THE THINGS (thank you Hyperbole and a Half for a great laugh!) but ended up cleaning some of the things and relaxing.

That's one brave 6-year-old. She caught air &
laughed when she hit that bump! Dec 2010
Monday - Out of town to my mom's for another Christmas. Had a quick lunch, then took the kids sledding before dinner. There's snow where she lives!! Man - I thought skating was scary? SLEDDING got my heart beating faster. Hill was pretty steep and slick and going down it was terrifying! My kids had a blast!

Tuesday - Meant to go to the gym, but got overwhelmed by how out-of-control messy the house was. Invited a friend for dinner and spent the day putting things away and cleaning before she arrived.

Wednesday - Back to work for me. Good thing - getting up at 6.30am meant that I discovered our leaking hot water heater before it completely flooded the basement. My husband had the day off so spent the day with the kids, the shop vac and the service guys. Had to have the tank replaced (free) AND have the chimney lined (not free at all). (double ACK)

Thursday - Work. No real exercise, but I did power walk from home to the streetcar stop (2 blocks), from the subway to the office (3 blocks), and again on the way home.

Friday - New Year's Eve and a day off from work. Put away the Christmas decorations, cleaned the house from top to bottom, and had good friends over for the dinner and the evening. Nothing like starting a new year with a sparkling clean house! Took it easy with the wine and food - the Resolution Run is tomorrow!!

What I'm Reading This Week - Full Dark, No Stars, Stephen King's new book of short stories. Nice and creepy. Started The Harmony Silk Factory by Tash Aw, a loaner from my mom - set in 1940s Malaysia.

Friday, December 24, 2010

In Which We Go Ice Skating a Lot

Perfect day for skating - December 2010
We're on vacation for the next 10 days - how sweet! The craziness of past few weeks is behind us - HOORAY. We're planning on resting and relaxing and skating and (if the weather cooperates) sledding and celebrating Christmas with our family. Nice, nice, nice.

About skating. Did I tell you that I used to be afraid of skating? I used to feel really unsteady on my feet and didn't like the out-of-control feeling. Or the falling. It occurred to me this week that although I'm not terribly skilled, that I'm not afraid anymore. Helps that I'm lighter and stronger and have the world's most comfortable skates - but I'm also generally more confident now.

This week, I worked my way up to gliding on one foot with the other off the ice and bent up behind me. And then managed to do that with my OTHER foot too. Had some fun talking myself into that one: "Nothing bad is going to happen if you take your left skate off the ice. Honestly. Trust me! Nothing bad happened when you took your right skate off this ice, now did it? OK - NOW DO IT" And I did! Slowly, slowly breaking out of my comfort zone.

Here's a recap from this week:

Evening skating at our local rink - Dec 2010
Pic taken by my daughter
Saturday - Curves workout in the morning. The four of us took my daughter to her last gymnastics class of the season, then over to our local bakery for hot chocolate and coffee. Bought a few groceries from the Italian market next door - home-marinated artichokes, warm ciabatta, pesto, pizza dough, a lovely rustic tomato basil sauce and some beautiful tomatoes, beans and broccoli. Lunches and dinners this weekend are going to be lovely! Spent the evening at the Christmas pageant / party for our son's Scout's troupe. Went on until midnight as usual - at least we were prepared for that this year.

Sunday - Laaaaazy morning, then met friends at a new outdoor skating rink in the west end. Absolutely perfect day for outdoor skating!

Monday - Ran a few quick errands with the family before the stores get crazy later in the week. Mild weather meant I could ride my bike to Curves and back (5K) for a workout in the afternoon. Took the kids skating after dinner. So proud of them both - we haven't been skating since March and they are doing amazing. My son's a decent skater and is teaching himself speed skating and snowplowing. My daughter falls a lot but is learning so quickly. By the end of our skate yesterday, she was back to where she was in March. By the end of today, she was able to skate the length of the rink without falling!

Tuesday  - Lazy morning then out for a few errands - including the very last of the Christmas shopping. Stayed home to wrap gifts while my husband took the kids skating. Realized that I've overbought for one kid and underbought for the other. Shoot.

Harbourfront Centre - December 2010
Wednesday - Finished the Christmas shopping (for real this time) and hit the gym. The kids talked me into making latkes with dinner and ohhhh I ate too many. Good thing I only make them about once a year.

Had an 'aha' moment this evening reading a post over at 5-4-3-2-1. Cara, the author, is suffering from sprains and strains in one of her feet that have derailed her plans to run a marathon before the end of the year. The good news - she's come back fighting with a recovery and training plan. The part that really got my attention was her comment, 'I'm sure a main cause of this injury is being a still-overweight person who runs 20-30 miles a week'

Aha! Maybe that's why my knee acts up now and then. I may feel strong, energetic and invincible - but I AM carrying 40 or so extra pounds, and they're with me up the stairs, on power walks around the block and at the gym. I'm thinking that it's time to break out of the comfortable plateau that I'm on and start shrinking again.

Doing Life at Harbourfront Centre - December 2010
Thursday - Skating again, this time at Harbourfront Centre down beside Lake Ontario. Skated for close to 2 hours. Took pics of the kids wearing their 'Do Life' t-shirts and sent them on to Ben. He asked permission to write a post about it - check it out over here!

Friday - Christmas Eve! Power walked around the neighbourhood with the kids, delivering cards and cookies. We're heading to a family party this evening, then home to set out milk & cookies for Santa.

Merry Christmas everyone!

What I'm reading this week: Born Under a Million Shadows by Andrea Busfield, about an 11-year-old boy living in Kabul after the fall of the Taliban. Very, very illuminating about what life is like in Afghanistan at present.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

300 Workouts and an (almost) End of Year Wrap-up

So - it's a busy time of year. The change in season means I've had a spend a fair amount of time shopping for new boots and cold weather gear for the kids, Christmas is coming, my son's birthday is here, and work is busy busy. Oh so tempting to skip the gym, to skip the lunchtime exercise, to take the elevator instead of the stairs. But I haven't. You know why? The Shirt.

My Curves milestones shirts - December 2010
Every 100 workout at Curves = a milestone shirt. I did the math this fall and realized that if I wanted to earn my next shirt before the end of the year, that I'd have to make it to the gym 3 times a week without fail. Every time I felt like skipping...too tired, too busy, too not-in-the-mood...I shoved those thoughts aside, grabbed my bag and hit the gym. It helped that I was in sort-of-training for the Santa Shuffle, it helped that I wanted a good result for my end-of-year weigh-in, but mostly, it was so that I could earn my 300th Workout Shirt.

I'm proud to say that I earned it this week! Not only did I earn The Shirt, but the manager presented it to me as I came off the last machine at the end of my workout. Fabulous.

What's going to keep me going to the gym now on those days when I might not feel like it? Well - I've got a few ideas. I'm gearing up for the Resolution 5K run/walk on Jan 1 and there's the St. Patrick's Day 5K Fun Run to train for in March. I'm sure a few other events will presesnt themselves along the way, but I also want to earn my 400th Workout shirt before I turn 40 in the fall.

Oh, The Shirt. There's a great ode to The Shirt over at Check it out!

My weigh-in was decent. My size has been shinking more slowly this year than last but the numbers are still headed in the right direction. I'm 71.2lbs lighter and 44" smaller than January 1, 2009.  :-)

Here's how this week went -

Well - I signed up for another event...!
At this rate, I'll never need to buy another t-shirt again
Saturday - Curves in the AM, then home to clean and polish and vacuum and declutter and such - the family came over to celebrate our son's birthday. Lasagne and cheese platter and cake and ice cream and sweets and goodies. Did my best. I do find parties really hard when it comes to watching what I eat. The good news? There weren't any chips - my ultimate weakness - in the house! I asked the kids not to throw any in the grocery cart when we were shopping for the party, and not only did they put the Party Size Bag of Cheezies that they were hugging back on the shelf, they were cheerful about it! Good, good kids - thanks!!!

Sunday - A day of rest. Went to the Vinyl Cafe Christmas Concert with husband and kids. A great time as always - funny stories, fabulous music!.

Monday - 1.75K walk + stairs to 7 at lunch. Curves workout after dinner.

Hot chocolate and carolling with my daughter - Dec 2010
(still a pro at taking pictures of myself)
Tuesday - Stairs to 7 at lunch. Quick dinner to celebrate my son's birthday, then out for both kids to perform in their piano recital. Hey - the snow showed up today - we might be able to go sledding this weekend!

Wednesday - Stairs to 7 in AM and again at lunch.

Thursday - 1.5K power walk at lunch; Curves workout after dinner.

Friday - 2.4K power walk at lunch. Went to a community carol sing with my daughter after dinner. We played in the snow, had hot chocolate, got to pet a police horse, and walked 1.6K home. Nice evening! On the walk home, she mentioned liking walking places, because "it keeps me fit and strong, just like you" Oh man - that got me right in my heart. If this girl can keep a healthy relationship with food and enjoy being active - I've done my job.

What I'm reading this week: Nothing. I did pick up a magazine of word puzzles and have been chipping away at those.  

Friday, December 10, 2010

We Shuffled!

Hot and sweaty after crossing the finish line
Lynda, Jen, Kat and Emma - December 2010
The 5K Santa Shuffle was a lot of fun! Nice quick event, perfect weather (-2C, sunny, no wind), and I got to see Santa!

There were four of us in this together: Emma and Kat ran; Lynda and I power walked.

Lynda was hoping that we'd finish in 45 minutes - and we were very pleased to finish under that time! Lynda moved moved moved and finished in 42 minutes; I hustled to try to keep up with her and fnished in 44:13. She's a speedy one! So glad that she was there to set the pace, same way that she has been doing in all of our training walks. I never would have moved this quickly on my own. Wonder how I'll do in the Resolution Run next month when she's not there!

You know something though? I've been bitten by the 'sign up for an event' bug...but I'm glad that this was only 5K. I don't think that I would have enjoyed anything longer than that. Under an hour? No problem. Longer than that - um, no thanks. I guess I'm a sprinter rather than a marathoner. Whatever - as long as I keep moving, it's all good.

Here's a recap from this week:

Saturday - Santa Shuffle. Started at 10am, was home by 11.30. Kids and husband went out for a few hours shortly afterwards and I had a lovely lovely long epsom salts bath in peace!

Our reward? Getting to meet Santa! Dec 2010
Sunday - Oh, I'm feeling each and every muscle that didn't get stretched properly. PJ day today. Decorated for Christmas and moved a bunch of furniture around.

Monday - Back to it. Stairs to 7 in AM, 2K walk at lunch - still a bit stiff so walked a bit more slowly than usual. Got an email from Emma inviting us to do the St. Patrick's Day 5K Fun Run/Walk in March 2011. Um...OK, I'm in! Curves workout after dinner.

Tuesday - Stairs to 7 in AM, stairs to 12 at lunchtime, Curves after dinner.

Wednesday - Stairs to 7 in AM, stairs to 12 at lunchtime. Fun evening - kids had their last pre-recital piano lesson, then my daughter was in a gymnastics show at our community centre.

Thursday - Started the day at school, watching the school Winter Concert. Snatched some time to run errands, walking about 1.5K, the stairs to 7 when I got to work. Curves workout after dinner. Today was workout #299...!

Friday - Stairs to 7 in AM. Busy work day - didn't get to the stairs or  for a walk at lunch. Oh well - it happens.

What I'm reading this week: Not much of anything. It's been a busy week. I'm barely managing to skim the newspaper every day.  Oh, I did read an Archie comic that one of the kids left in my room. Good to see what the Riverdale gang are up to - it's been a while since I checked in on them ;-)

Friday, December 3, 2010

In Which I Find Myself Wanting Winter Gear

The Santa Shuffle 5K power walk is coming up fast and I find myself dreaming of winter gear to  keep  me warm for it and the Resolution Run 5K in January. This is Canada, folks. OK - it's not like I'm in Whitehorse or Churchill or somewhere with similarly desperate weather, but still. 

Suddenly I find myself wanting traction aids for my sneakers.
Another "sometimes I don't recognize myself" moment - Nov 2010
Hang on here - I need equipment? I didn't need seasonal gear in my old life on the couch. All I needed was an afghan to throw over myself on chilly nights in front of the TV.

Flash forward to last week, when I hit Sportchek to pick up a pair of sneakers to keep at work, because owning one pair of sneakers is no longer enough for me. Then over to this week, where I found myself hitting the Running Room to 'visit' the ponytail toque that I'm coveting and to get a sneak peek of the Resolution Run jacket that I'll be earning in January. I'm coveting a toque? I'm earning a jacket? WHO AM I?

Here's a recap of this week:

Saturday - First snow of the season! Just a dusting but so exciting. Drove to Curves, worked out, then sped home and jogged my daughter to her gymnastics class and back. Jumped in the car and headed out of town to a birthday lunch for my mother in law. Back in the car to the grocery store, then home to host a sleepover party for my son and four of his buddies. Crazy busy.

Oooh - I want The Running Room's
Reflective Jacket - it's perfect for
spring & fall hiking & biking!
Sunday - Today was a writeoff. Too many treats in the house because of party (chips and dip and soda, oh my), and my son and his friends were up until 5am this morning. Enough said.

Monday - Stairs to 7 in AM, 2.5K powerwalk at lunch, Curves after dinner.

Tuesday - Stairs to 7 at lunch.

Wednesday - 2K power walk at lunch. Rainy today. Definintely need those traction aids - the pavement was slippery!

Thursday - Curves after dinner. No stairs or power walk. Some days are just like this.

Friday - 2K power walk at lunch. Met my husband at the Running Room and showed him my wish list. The Santa Shuffle is tomorrow!!!

What I'm reading: Teacher Man by Frank McCourt.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Doing Life

Oooh - what's this in my mailbox? :-)

This was a crazy busy week. Lots of fun but oh boy does this time of year make me nuts. So many events to attend, and so much to get done before my son's December birthday and Christmas. Have to remind myself to keep breathing, get things done when I can, and enjoy the ride.

You guys know who Ben Davis is, right? He's the Ben Does Life guy and he's been a great source of inspiration for me. Instead of getting crazy over how busy the season is, I'm reminding myself that I'm doing life. I ordered one of his stickers a week or so ago, and it arrived in my mailbox this week on an afternoon when I was feeling a bit dark. Totally brightened my day, and got me to get over myself. I need that kick in the pants every so often!

Here's a recap from this week:
Andrews Family - all together at last! November 2010

Saturday - Rode my bike to Curves (5K round trip), worked out. Went to my parents for the weekend for a big surprise party for my step-father's 70th birthday. First time seeing my stepbrother, stepsister and nephews in a long time - they came from England for a surprise - and the first time that all 5 grandchildren have ever been together. So great!

Sunday - Oh my, that was quite a party. I forgot how long and hard the Brits go when they get together. No exercise today, but plenty of comfort food and taking it easy. Oh my my my.

Monday - Fresh start. Stairs to 7 in the AM; lunchtime power walk of about 1.75K. Power half-hour at Curves after dinner.

My wall at work - with my new 'Do Life' sticker!
November 2010
 Tuesday - Stairs to 7 in AM; lunchtime power walk of about 2K.

Wednesday - Stairs to 7 in AM. Took the afternoon off of work; walked 1K to a mall and ran errands for a few hours. Curves workout after dinner.

Thursday - Stairs to 7 in AM. Quick walk to the Four Season's Centre to catch a free lunchtime concert (Cuban Jazz) - about 700m round trip. After dinner, went the the school's fall soiree. Parked at my friend's house; power walked to the hall and back (1K each way).

Friday - Late for work so had to skip the stairs. Lunchtime power walk to the mall and back (about 1.5K round trip). After work...Date night! My husband and I saw Royal Wood and Hannah Gerogas at the Queen Elizabeth Theater. Fantastic show!!!

What I'm reading: 'Tis by Frank McCourt. Have read it a few times before, was time to read it again.  

Friday, November 19, 2010

In Appreciation of Professional Performers

Jackie Burns as Elphaba, Chandra Lee Schwartz as Glinda
Toronto production of Wicked - November 2010
I've been fortunate enough to take in two stellar live performances this month. I saw the musical Wicked with my sister-in-law last week, and this week took my daughter to the National Ballet's Cinderella.

Both have got me thinking about discipline and determination. I am pretty good about getting daily exercise and working hard at the gym, but I'm not pushing myself much further than I can already go. Don't get me wrong - I'm much, much fitter than I was 2 years ago, but my progress has been very slow and steady. There's decent exercise but not a dramatic amount of challenge in a lunchtime walk, a few flights of stairs, 30 minutes in a circuit. I've never trained for a marathon, half-marathon or anything like that, and have a hard time understanding just how much sheer determination it takes to train, rehearse and prepare for a competition or for a series of physical performances.

Sonja Rodriguez as Cinderella 
National Ballet of Canada, November 2010
The Toronto Star published the following about ballet dancers this week. I've never come anywhere close to anything like this - you?

In rehearsal — seven hours a day, five days a week — dancers pursue beauty, some call it transcendence. Still, it stems from an earthbound work ethic, sweat beading above arched eyebrows and streaking along exquisite jaw lines. T-shirts darken at the neck and in the small of the back. Breathing hardens. There is pain. It always hurts, dancers say. Bunions, corns, tendinitis, stress fractures, aching backs. Toes, red and swollen, are bandaged. Slender calves are on ice. Some roll foam cylinders up and down their thighs.

...In rehearsal, dancers work to the point where they don’t have to think about each step, [Principal Dancer Sonja] Rodriquez explains. At 37, she is delicately constructed, doll-like, but with muscle and sinew. “You do it over and over until the mechanics become second nature, so you get past the point where your brain is thinking so much about what the body has to do and where muscle memory takes over.”

Wow. Here's a recap from this week -

Love the poster from the Toronto production - 2010
Saturday - Beautiful day. Rode my bike to Curves and back (5K round trip), worked out. Hopped on the subway with my daughter in the afternoon to catch the Cinderella matinee.

Sunday - Amost had a lazy day...but got off my butt in the afternoon and rode my bike to the grocery store and back, a 6K round trip. Feeling great! 

Monday - Stairs to 7 in AM, 0.75km walk + stairs to 7 at lunch; hit Curves after dinner for a special Monday "power half hour". My abs felt great after!

Tuesday - Feeling stiff this morning! Stairs to 7 in AM, 2.25km power walk at lunch, light Curves workout after dinner.

Wednesday - Still oh, so stiff. That power half hour kicked my butt. Skipped the stairs (sore hamstrings), but went for a lunchtime powerwalk with Lynda. We hit 2.64km in 22 minutes. We are officially in training for the Santa Shuffle on 12/4. GO GO GO!

Thursday - Stairs to 7 in AM; power walk to my doctor's office (checkup) and back at lunch. 2.0K round trip, 9 minutes each way. Wow, are my abs feeling strong with this power walking. My doctor is very pleased with me :-)
Friday - Walk to work from my doctor's office in the AM (1K), power walk with Lynda at lunch (2.65K in 22 minutes), Curves workout after work. TIRED NOW!
What I'm reading this week - The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. Talk about discipline and determination - Lisbeth Salader has epic amounts of both! Also reading Growing Up Jung by Micah Toub - one man's story of what adolescence is like when both of your parents are Jungian therapists.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Do you eat enough plants?

Kids and I grew a watermelon - in our shady Toronto backyard!
It wasa teeny but tasty. October 2010
I've been a vegetarian for 20 years, but until recently I didn't eat enough plants. I ate a lot of carbs, a lot of cheeeeeese and a lot of treats. Surprise, surprise - I put on a lot of weight. 

I've overhauled my diet in the last two years and definintely eat a more balanced diet. I regularly struggle with keeping on track after so many years of bad habits, but overall I'm eating well.

Meanwhile - my children are also vegetarians, and I've always made sure to feed them well even in the days when I wasn't taking as good care of myself. We talk a lot about nutrition and healthy eating, and I hope I'm giving them the tools to make good choices about what they eat.

So far, so good. My favourite part of summer is watching the kids go out to the garden to snack on the fruits and veg that we grow in our teeny back yard. We don't have a lot of space, but we've made room for a raspberry bush, a blueberry bush, a strawberry patch, an apple tree and a cherry tree. Every spring, I also have the kids choose a plant or two that they want to grow. This year, they planted snow peas, cucumbers, carrots and watermelon in addition to the tomatoes and red peppers that I planted. All of this variety means that from May to September, there's always something ready to be picked and nibbled on.

Ahhh summer. You seem so very far away. Oh well. Winter gives me time to plan out the changes that I want to make in the flower gardens in the spring :-)

Here's a recap of this week:

Last raspberry of the season - October 2010
Saturday - Curves workout in the morning; took the kids swimming for an hour in the afternoon.

Sunday - Nothin' much. Cleaned the house, then subway'd it downtown with my sister-in-law to catch a performance of Wicked. Great show!!!

Monday - Stairs to 7 in AM; 1.1K walk and stairs to 12 at lunchtime.

Tuesday - Stairs to 7 in AM; 1K walk and stairs to 12 at lunchtime; Curves workout after dinner. Parked the car a few blocks away from the gym so got in a 6 block round trip walk in too.

Wendnesday - Day off. 1K walk at lunch.

Thursday - Stairs to 7 in AM, 1.5K walk and stairs to 7 at lunch. Curves workout after dinner.

Friday - Stairs to 7 in AM, 1K walk and stairs to 7 at lunch. Starting to get bored with this routine so better start shakin' things up a bit. Good news - only 2 more weeks until the skating rinks open!

What I'm reading this week: The Girl Who Played with Fire. Looks like I'll be reading the entire series.

Friday, November 5, 2010

To Answer the Question: "What's Next?"

Registration confirmation - October 2010
I signed up for a 5K power walk for December!

I'm also seriously considering doing the Tower Climb again in April...and am trying to find something to do in the gap between the 5K and the Tower.

Even after nearly 2 years of being reasonably active...sometimes I don't recognize myself.

Full-time couch potato no more.

I'm doing this event with a few ladies from work and I'm really looking forward to it. Meanwhile - my husband logged an amazing 23km of walking home from work this week. WAY TO GO!

Here's how this week went:

Saturday - Curves workout in the AM.

Sunday - Happy Halloween! Took my daughter trick-or-treating, about a 1.2km walk.

Happy Halloween! October 2010
Monday - Need to work off some of the treats from yesterday...stairs to 7 in AM, stairs to 12 at lunch.

Tuesday - Stairs to 7 in AM and again at lunch; power walked over to a lunch seminar (2K round trip) with guest speaker Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer, Facebook: It's All About People

Wednesday - 1K power walk + stairs to 12 at lunch, Curves workout after dinner.

Thursday - Stairs to 7 in AM, 1.1km power walk + stairs to 12 at lunch, Curves workout after dinner

Friday -  Tired today. 1km power walk + stairs to 7 at lunch.

Total - Gym 3 times, 5.3km of lunch time walks, 1260 stairs. Not bad, not bad...but it will barely balance out all of Halloween treats that I dipped into. Sigh.

What I'm reading this week - The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Am I the last person in the world to read this?

Friday, October 29, 2010

I DID IT!!!!

View from the parking lot - 7.30am
I finished the CN Tower Climb!! 144 flights, 1776 stairs!

Weeeelllll - actually - let's set the record straight. There is an extra flight at the beginning before the official start, and ELEVEN more flights AFTER THE FINISH LINE that they don't tell you about...ACK! By my count, it's 156 flights and closer to 1900 stairs. WOW.

I didn't really have a goal in mind aside from simply being able to finish. After that, I figured I'd be happy to finish in about an hour...and ecstatic if I could finish in about 45 minutes.

Well - I surprised myself. Not only did I finish, but I made it to the top in 34:39. Strike this one off The List!

I was TERRIFIED in the morning before I started. So nervous!

During the climb, I took it slow and steady...started to get out of breath at the 20th floor, started to get heavy legs at the 50th floor...but took a break every 7-10 flights to catch my breath and bring my heart rate down a bit...and like they say: the next thing I knew, I was at the top.

I did it!
I've got to say - crossing the finish line was an absolutely overwhelming experience. I signed up to celebrate the positive changes that I've made, and finishing taught me just how far I've come. Two years ago, walking one flight of stairs made me breathless. Now? I'm amazed to find myself looking forward to next year's Tower climb to see if I can beat my time, and I've signed up for a 5K power walk in December.

Here's how this week went:

Saturday - CN Tower Climb :-) Followed by a hot bath and then a drive to my mom's for birthday dinner for my sister and I.

Sunday - Recovery Day 1. Feeling fabulous - yesterday's bath was a good idea. Took my kids to a pool for an hour. Did a few slow laps and treaded water while they splashed around.

Monday - Recovery Day 2. Ran errands with Lynda at lunchtime - about a 1.2K power walk. It's always a POWER walk with Lynda!

Wearing the official t-shirt - October 2010

Tuesday - Recovery Day 3. Another lunchtime power walk with Lynda, about 1.2km again. Curves workout after dinner.

Wednesday - OK, recovery's over. Stairs to 7 in the AM.

Thursday - Stairs to7 in AM, walk around the block for an AM fire drill, walk around the block and stairs to 7 at lunch. Curves workout after dinner.

Friday - Crazy day. Managed a walk around the block at lunchtime. Oh, and the parade of treats started last night. Sigh. I'm going to need some serious willpower to keep from hitting the halloween candy too hard.

What I'm reading this week: Angry Fat Girls by Frances Kuffel, focusing on herself and 4 friends and their cycles of losing and regaining vast amounts of weight. She raises an interesting point that for every 25-pounds lost, people who have been overweight for a long time need about a year for their emotional maturity to catch up to their new size - i.e. it takes time to learn normal social judgements, and it takes time unlearn the habit of emotional eating as a response to stress.

Friday, October 22, 2010

It's almost Tower day...

Sunday morning bike ride - October 2010 I'd better keep climbing the stairs this week!

I've also been thinking about a goal for after the Tower - something to work towards after I knock this one off the list. I'm a bit lacking in inspiration at the moment, so for now am just setting my sights on keeping fit for the end-of-year weigh-in. Any other suggestions?

Here's a recap of this week:

Saturday - Walked my daughter to gymnastics and back, went to Curves for a workout, then walked about a 12 block-round trip to meet my family for a birthday brunch for my husband.

My son on our Sunday morning bike ride - October 2010

Sunday - Beautiful fall day. Went for a bike ride with my son through the cemetery that runs behind our house. Roughly 4.8km round trip.

Monday - Stairs to 7 in AM; walk around the block and stairs to 12 + 12 at lunch.

Tuesday - Stairs to 7 in AM; walk around the block and stairs to 7 at lunch. Curves workout after dinner.

Wednesday - My birthday! Cake at work, Ethiopian food and key lime pie waiting for me at home. I'm told it's time to start taking it easy before the climb so skipped the stairs today.

Fortunate to attend a talk by the Dalai Lama - October 2010

Thursday - Walk around the block and stairs to 7 at lunch; Curves workout after work.

Friday - Taper day. No stairs. 1.5km walk from work, walking over to hear the Dalai Lama speak on Human Approaches to World Peace. Hearing him speak has been on my list, and I'm so pleased that I had an opportunity to attend this talk. He discussed how an individual's compassion and  inner calm are contributing factors to brain plasticity, personal health and world peace; the need for more women (considered naturally more compassionate then men) to be in positions of authority and as world leaders; the importance of teaching compassion to the youth of today in order to protect the future.   His Holiness spoke for close to an hour, from memory - without consulting any notes. I couldn't help but notice the sculpted arms that this 75 year-old man has. Inspirational on so very many levels.

What I'm reading this week: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The movie's coming out in a few weeks...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Everyone's Moving!

Since I've been exercising regularly, I've started to notice just how active the people around me are. Many of my colleagues hit the gym at lunch; the ladies at Curves are active on their non-gym days; my favourite librarian is on her own mission to keep moving; most of my friends and family, and many of the parents on the playground at my kids' school, are active. How fabulous!

My family on the move! At our local park - October 2010
You know what's particularly fabulous?
My husband has started moving in some serious ways! He's been walking home from work a few days a week - an AMAZING 9km trip! - and joined a 30-day boot camp this week. I'm so, so happy to have another active adult in my house!

I'm also fortunate to have stair-climbin' buddy at work. Lynda - who just got home from a week on a Habitat for Humanity build - is a very active gal who starts most mornings with a full workout before coming to the office, then joins me for the hike up the stairs at lunchtime. Just for the fun of it! Yes - climbing stairs can be fun when you have someone to chat with on the way up :-)

Here's a run-down from this week -

Saturday - Worked out at Curves in the morning; Thanksgiving dinner with my husband's family in the evening...oh, so many treats.

Forks of the Credit Provincial Park - October 2010
Sunday - Sunny and 22C - A beautiful fall day!
Took the kids for a hike at Forks of the Credit Provincial Park. We covered about 4km of rolling hills in 2.5 hours, including a stop at a beautiful waterfall. I'm really proud of my 6-year-old girl for being strong enough to go on hikes like these. Went to one of our favourite neighbourhoods for a stroll and dinner at a pub when we got back to town.

Monday - Thanksgiving - Cleaned up the yard and took the kids to the park. Rode my bike around the track 5 + 5 laps, a total of 4.4km.

Big news today:  my daughter is learning to ride her bike, and my son taught himself to rollerblade! I'm very, very proud of both of them. And of myself for being able to jog alongside my girl - so wobbly on her bike - without getting winded.

Tuesday - Stairs to 7 in AM, then walk around the block plus stairs to 12 TWICE at lunch. That lunchtime hike is equivilant to 22% of the Tower, folks.

 Wednesday - Stairs to 7 in AM and again at lunch.

Thursday - Stairs to 7 in AM.

Friday - No stairs today, but took a walk around the block at lunchtime.

What I'm reading this week - The Glass Castle and Half-Broke Horses, both by Jeannette Wells, and Blood Lies by Daniel Kalla. Not enjoying this one as much as Of Flesh and Blood - this one is a mystery, not typically my favourite genre.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Jen Gets Sick (But Not Very)

Ready to get spooked? October 2010
(Still a pro at taking pictures of myself)
It's just a cold and I'm better now. But it knocked me off my feet for a few days. I also said 'goodbye' to the Curves diet for now...I was going squirrelly and starting to go a bit crazy for treats. Better to skip the diet and just eat well. For now.

This week -

Saturday - Cold and rainy. Drove to Curves & the Farmer's market, but parked far enough away that I got in 12 blocks of walking. Worked out.

Sunday - PJ day. Did a deep clean and rearranged furniture in my daughter's room. Heavy furniture.

Osgoode Hall is nicely creepy after dark, especially after
listening to a few ghost stories - October 2010

Monday - Stairs to 7 in AM.

Tuesday - Nothin'. No stairs, no Curves. Spent the day sneezing.

Wednesday - Nothin'. More sneezing.

Thursday - Nothin'. Even more sneezing.

Friday - Cold's almost gone. Skipped the stairs, but went on a 3-hour Haunted City walking tour with my son in the evening. We covered 5.2km, walking from Yonge/Front up to the ROM. Heard a lot of spooky stories about The Hockey Hall of Fame, the Royal York Hotel, Osgoode Hall, Sick Kids Hospital, Queen's Park and U of T. We also learned a lot of history - and I got to knock this off my List!

 What I'm reading this week - Of Flesh and Blood by Daniel Kalla. It's a fictional hospital drama that follows the history of a hospital from founding to present day. Great story. Canadian!

Friday, October 1, 2010

If you can spare any willpower...send some my way!

I started the healthy eating plan from Curves last week. OK, ok - it's a diet. Well - it's more than that. It's a balanced plan of carbs/protein/fat + all the veggies you can hold. Do this for a month, then take a two week break.

Sometimes temptation comes in a really cute package
I've cycled through it a few times in the past 18 months. It works - believe me it works - but I find weekends really hard. When I'm at work, I stick to eating what I've brought with me. When I'm at home, the fridge calls to me. I'm halfway though this cycle but still have 2 more weeks to go. My willpower is pretty weak, so send some over if you have any extra, OK? Thanks.

Oh - did I mention that my gym is right above a convenience store? And right across the street from a Pizza Pizza? I disovered a long time ago that the best way to avoid temptation is to just leave my wallet at home when I go to the gym. Anyone else do that?

Here's the moving I did this week -

Saturday - Biked to Curves and back (5K), worked out.

Sunday - 4-hour stroll around Black Creek Pioneer Village with the family and our nephews.

At Black Creek Pioneer Village - September 2010
Monday - Stairs to 7 in AM, to 12 at lunch. 

Tuesday - Stairs to 12 at lunch; Curves workout after dinner. My daughter came home from Sparks with 2 cases (cases, not boxes) of Girl Guides cookies. Fabulous!

Wednesday - Stairs to 7 in AM, to 12 and a walk around the block at lunch. Received a training tip from the CN Tower folks about increasing training time to 10+ minutes in the next week. Something to look forward to on Monday.

Thursday - No stairs today - worked in a branch office that's on the first floor. Curves workout after dinner.

Friday - Stairs to 7 in AM; stairs to 12 at lunch.

What I'm reading this week: Hitching Rides with Buddha by Will Ferguson - another travel memoir. This one is a recount of the time he hitch-hiked from south to north Japan, following the cherry blossoms.

Friday, September 24, 2010

So - What's With All the Stair Climbing?

Registration - September 2010
I signed up for the CN Tower Climb.

Yep. 1776 stairs. 144 flights.

It's on October 23.


Mostly to celebrate my increasing fitness levels.  Partly 'because it's there'.

Better keep moving - the Tower's not getting any shorter.

Then again - it's not like it's the tallest building in the world or anything...

Here's how this week went - 
At the 11th floor of my building - Sept 2010
I am obviously a pro at
taking pictures of myself.

Saturday - Biked to Curves and back (5K), worked out. Jumped in the car with the family; drove to London for the weekend to visit good friends.

Sunday - Only exercise was repeatedly lifting a fork to my mouth. (Sigh) My friend is a very good cook!

Monday - Walked around the block + climbed stairs to 12 at lunch. Started Curves' 6-week weight managment healthy eating plan this morning. Day 1, Phase 1.

Tuesday - Stairs to 7 in AM, stairs to 12 at lunch, Curves workout after dinner.

Wednesday - Stairs to 7 at lunch. Curves workout after dinner.

Thursday - Stairs to 7 in AM; walk around the block and stairs to 12 at lunch. Have been doing well on the healthy eating plan this week. Where did this willpower come from?

Friday - Stairs to 7 in AM; stairs to 12 at lunch.

What I'm reading - The Last Olympian by Rick Riordian - the last in the Percy Jackson series.