Sunday, March 27, 2011

Now that's more like it!

After last week's false start, spring seems to finally be here. Creeping in slowly and steadily, but it's here! Days are longer, sun is brighter - we had a week of beautiful weather, and took advantage of it by getting outside.

Saturday - A day at the Sugar Bush! Took the kids to Bruce's Mill for pony rides, a fun hike through the forest, a wagon ride and pancakes & syrup to top it all off.

Eating maple leaf-shaped maple sugar lollipops beside a tapped tree.
Doesn't get much more Canadian than this!

Sunday - I went to Curves in the AM. Did a workout and 52 pushups (AWESOME). After lunch, we hopped in the car to meet our family at Heber Downs Conservation area. Spent 1H45 hiking through the forest and along the river - about 3K of trails and hills. Beautiful day!

Beautiful day for a hike! Heber Downs - March 2011

Monday - Stairs to 7 in AM, 3.2K fast walk at lunch (longest lunch walk to date), Curves after dinner + 54 pushups.

Tuesday - Stairs to 12 + 12 at lunch.

Wednesday - Stairs to 12 + 12 at lunch.

Thursday - Zumba + Curves after dinner. 56 pushups!

Friday - Stairs to 12 at lunch.

What I'm reading this week - The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Shudder.

Hello St. Lawrence Market!
Trying a new route on a lunchtime walk - March 2011

Friday, March 25, 2011

Not Quite Spring

At the beginning of this week - cautiously - I wanted to believe that winter was over -

  • Saw a few robins
  • Bulbs started popping up in the sunny parts of the garden
  • I found myself planning to clean the garage (well, soon)
  • I got my bike out!
Monday: Hyacinths (left) and tulips (top centre & right) are on their way!!

Aaaaaand then Mother Nature pulled a bait and switch:

Wednesday - bulbs are totally buried in snow. Sigh.

False start aside, the longer days have got me thinking of spring and getting into the garden. Here's something awesome -

There is a small garden in the front corner of our yard, and I've been planning to expand this spring. I spent some time this winter researching native plants that will attract butterflies & bees and that can survive the sunny, dry conditions in that spot. I made a list of plants to look for at the nursery later this spring, started thinking of a site plan, and got the kids excited enough about the idea of a butterfly garden that they have promised to help dig and plant.

My design skills are limited, and I tend to cram too many plants into a space, so I have been nervous about being able to come up with something attractive...but I'm willing to give it a shot...!

Well, things just got a LOT easier! LEAF's latest newsletter announced that they have started selling native plants kits - a selection of native perennials includng a few ornamental grasses and shrubs. Kits are available to attract either either butterflies or songbirds and to fill either a 25- or 50 sq-ft space. Comes with mulch, a few design plans for differently shaped gardens - and is delivered to your door in planting season (late May) for one sweet price. All of the plants that were on my list - and a few more - are in the butterfly kit. Their timing is absolutely perfect!
If you live in Toronto and are looking to start or expand your garden - check them out! I ordered a shrub from LEAF in the past and was very pleased with their customer service, their pricing (includes delivery!), and the size & health of the plant I received.

I've ordered a 25 sq-ft butterfly kit. Looking forward to getting my hands in the dirt!

Friday - chilly but the snow is shrinking. Don't give up hope just yet.
Here's this week's recap -

Saturday - Time to get training for the June Becel ride. Rode my bike to Curves, worked out, rode over to meet my family for lunch, then rode home. 7.35K total - and nothing flat about it. Hills hills hills - and I rode the whole way! Gives me hope that I'll be OK in the 25K.

Sunday - Nothing. Lazy, lazy last-day-of-vacation day.

Monday - Ack, time to get back at it. Stairs to 7 in AM and at lunch; Curves after dinner; 43 pushups. GO GO GO!

Tuesday - Stairs to 7 in AM and at lunch.

Wednesday - Stairs to 7 in AM. Spent the rest of the day in a meeting. Sitting - until we walked to a pub. Spent some more time sitting, but this time with a pint in hand.

Thursday - Curves + Zumba after dinner + 50 (yes, FIFTY!) pushups.

Friday - Stairs to 7 in AM, quick 1.5K walk at lunch.

What I'm reading this week -  A Fearful Symmetry by Stephen Shawcross; Shame by Karin Alvtegen.

Friday, March 18, 2011

March Break!

It's March Break and I've got the week off with the kids!

Verrrry fierce! Friday night at the ROM - March 2011
Yes - my daughter is wearing PJs - her class had a pyjama day at school today
Friday - Cheering and big grins when the school bell rang at the end of the day. Took the kids downtown to the Royal Ontario Museum after school, and stayed until they closed about 4 hours later. We brushed up on our history, checked out a special exhibit on Water, and generally wandered through the galleries. Our favourites of the night: a clutch of 150-million year-old dinosaur eggs, 1,200 year-old Viking swords, 3,500 year-old mummies, two of Chopin's pianos, 450-million year-old fossils of aquatic life from this area back when it was under water, 2,000 year-old busts of the Olympian gods, and the hands-on exhibits in the children's galleries. I also love being at the ROM after dark - the lighting is fabulous.

Saturday - I went to Curves in the morning while my husband took the kids down to the community centre. He and our son ran/walked about 4K on the track (way to go!!!) while our daughter had her gymnastics class. Lazy day after that.

GPOY: Post 5K edition

Sunday - St. Pat's 5K! Nice cool, dry day, fairly flat course. Great swag bag, chili and beer! Did this one with Lynda, Kat and Emma. Something remarkable happened - this is the first 5K I've done that (a) didn't suck, and (b) I finished STRONG - I signed up as a walker, but ran the first 100 or so metres (burst of adreneline),  ran the last 100 or so metres, and crossed the finish line with a smile! OK, OK, I know that's bad race etiquette...but I've never been fit enough to run any distance, anywhere - let alone at the END of a 5K and so I'm super impressed with myself. In the past I've had trembling hands after crossing the finish line. My Blackberry has chips out of it from me dropping it when trying to turn off my timer at past 5Ks. Not today! Was it the lucky green tech shirt? Or have I just been working hard enough that I'm fitter than I was in January?!?! Emailed the race coordinators for the next 5Ks that I'm signed up for and changed my category to 'runner'...just to give myself the option to jog here and there if I'm up for it.

Mamma gorilla storming off after breaking up a fight: Honestly you two - I've had enough.
Yep, I know how she feels :-)
Monday - Beautiful sunny day! Took the kids to the zoo for the day.  Kids had a great time, but this is tough for me - I know zoos do good work, and ours does absolutely the best they can, but some of the enclosures seem...cramped. Sigh. Highlight: watching a gorilla break up a fight between her son and his little sister. Just like being at home!

Tuesday - Cleaned the house for FOUR hours (long overdue...), then played outside while waiting for my SIL and nephews to arrive. Beautiful sunny afternoon - kids spent their time scootering, biking and drawing with sidewalk chalk. Bonus: my husband signed my SIL up for the 10K that he's doing this spring, and we booked our summer camping trip!

Wednesday started off rainy...

Wednesday - SIL and I took the kids bowling in the morning before heading to the park for a few hours. They headed home after dinner and I went to Zumba.

...and then brightened up!
This was really cool - feeding chickadees and nuthatches by hand
Thursday - Went to Collingwood to visit my cousin and her family. Kids played, grownups relaxed, and we took the kids swimming.

At Sunset Point, Collingwood - March 2011
Friday - Took the kids & cousins hiking down by the Collingwood waterfront. Highlight of the day: watching their dog (a boxer) endlessly chase his tail while wearing striped kneesocks that the kids had put on him. Truly the funniest thing I've seen so far this year.

What I'm reading this week - It's all over the map! Superdad: A Memoir of Rebellion, Drugs and Fatherhood by Christopher Shulgan, Magical Thinking by Augusten Burroughs, The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan, Shadow Tag by Louise Erdrich.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Version 2.0 Takes the Stairs

My kids are both healthy, fit and strong. Somewhat picky eaters, but they have reasonably good eating habits. Unsupervised, I think they'd go on an all-carbs diet, but they understand what a balanced meal looks like and genuinely seem to enjoy eating fruit and certain veg. We are trying to give them the tools they need to look after themselves in life. Fingers crossed that it sticks.

They are my biggest cheerleaders when it comes to my journey to fitness, and are fairly active themselves. They are still young enough that they naturally run and play at recess, they both love to swim, scooter, ride bikes etc., etc. My son sometimes joins me on my daily pushups, my daughter has come to Zumba a couple of times, and they have both asked to powerwalk 5Ks with me this year. I could not be happier.

My 11-year-old son has been asking to do the CN Tower climb with me. I've been fairly nervous about this - I am *pretty* sure that he is fit enough for it but wasn't *really* sure, and am also nervous how I'd do on the Climb if pacing myself against another person.

It's the Where's Waldo: Jen Edition
Part-way up the Baldwin Steps - March 2011
This past weekend, we headed over to the Baldwin Steps for some training and to help me decide if he's up for the Tower. This is a popular spot - it's a set of 111 stairs that runs north from Davenport up the hill to Casa Loma. A number of runners seem to plan their routes around it; other folks like to jog up and down the stairs. It's a pretty spot and there's a great view of the city from the top.

My son knocked it out of the park! He jogged up, down, and back up again...and back up again...and again! He jogged up (and down) a full 6 times - which is close to climbing 40% of the Tower - without breaking a sweat. He's clearly fit enough for this challenge, and I've signed him up!

Now I just have to teach him to go at my pace. If I try to go up the Tower as fast as he seems capable of...I'll collapse!

There he goes again..
Here's this week's recap -

Saturday - Crazy busy day. Haircut, daughter gymnastics, family dentist appointments, errands. Finished it off with a lovely, relaxing evening having dinner with friends and their children - a perfect end to a nutty day!

Sunday - Curves in the AM, downtown for a play (Alice in Wonderland at the LKTYP), step training (see above - I climbed 3 times), pub grub for dinner (ahhhh, Guinness), home.

Monday - 1.8K power walk at lunch, Curves + 42 pushups after dinner.

Tuesday - 1.4K power walk in the AM from a doctor's appt to work. Took the rest of the day easy.

Wednesday - 2.5K power walk to the AGO and back at lunch.

Thursday - 1.3 easy walk at lunch with Lynda to the Running Room, to pick up our race kits for Sunday's
5K! Zumba + Curves + 44 pushups after dinner.

Friday - Kicked off March break by taking the kids to the ROM after school. We stayed for 4 hours! Brushed up on our history and got our fill of dinosaurs. More on this next week.

What I'm reading this week - Walking by John Stanton of the Running Room. Seems like a good time to learan how to do this walking thing properly, eh?

...and again!

Friday, March 4, 2011

March Already? Better Get Training!!!!!

All of a sudden, it's March and the moving kicks into high gear! I'm signed up for an event every few weeks between now and mid-July, after being on a weather-imposed break since the Jan 1 Resolution Run.

Next event is the St. Pat's 5K on March 13 - that's SOON! For the past 2 months, Lynda and I let our lunchtime walks deteriorate into strolls to run errands. This week? We took things up a notch and turned them back into full-on power walks. Woohoo! We are having fun mapping out a variety of different routes to keep things interesting.

I love snow-covered pine trees. So beautiful.
On a walk with my kids through our neighbourhood - late February 2011
Here's this week's recap:

Saturday - Curves in AM, then hosted a birthday party for my daughter with 6 of her friends. Caaaaaake.

Sunday - Took my daughter swimming for about 90 minutes. Meanwhile, my son came home from a winter camping trip. Tent camping! Weather was perfect for them - snowy and not too cold. They went snowshoing and sledding, played a ton of games out in the snow and did some stargazing away from the city's light-pollution - fabulous!

Monday - Easy 2.1K lunchtime walk with Lynda; ran the kids to the park and back after school (1.5K round trip); Curves after dinner, 36 pushups.

Tuesday - Stairs to 7 in AM, fast 2.5K lunchtime walk past the AGO, 37 pushups.

Trying a few routes outside of the financial district - March 2011
Wednesday - 2.6K powerwalk at lunch past St. James Cathedral; Curves after dinner, 38 pushups.

Thursday - 1.3K walk at lunch around City Hall (time was tight), 40 minutes of straight Zumba and a quick Curves circuit + 39 pushups after dinner.

Friday - 1.5K walk at lunch, 40 pushups in the evening. Trip to the Running Room in between. Bought my very first wicking shirt, wicking capris, and a snazzy red Running Room jacket. So looking forward to doing the St. Pat's 5K in NON-COTTON clothes! OH - NEWSFLASH! The shirt and capris are ladies' size XL, and the jacket is a unisex size L - which makes these the first clothes I've bought in smaller-than-plus sizes in, oh - 13 years? WOOHOO!!!!

What I'm reading this week - Adultery by Richard B. Wright. Now I'm paranoid about what my husband may be up to when I'm not around, thanks for that (eye roll).

Lunchtime walks are much more fun with a change of scenery - March 2011