Friday, January 27, 2012

How Much Does This All Cost?

It's time to retire my beloved New Balance cross-trainers. They got me to the finish line of every event I did in 2011 (except the muddy, muddy Warrior Dash - I wore some ancient, back-of-the-closet shoes for that), as well as went on every bike ride I took. They came on daily dog walks, all workouts after Stella chewed my indoor gym shoes a couple of months ago, and every time that I just felt like wearing sneakers. Definitely time to give them a rest.

Wasn't able to get a replacement pair in my size, so went for a spiffy pair of on-sale Sauconys:

...which prompted both a friend to ask just how much money all of this is costing me.

I don't *feel* like it's a lot, but let's actually take a look.

Wait - before we do, try to think about what you consider reasonable for fees, gear and equipment. Got a number? OK, now let's take a look at my list:

Monthly gym fees: $45
Lane Swim: $30 for 10-visit punch card, which should last me 10 weeks. Can swim for free from May - August.
Couch to 5K: free
Biking: Free.
Tracking workouts in My Fitness Pal: free

Shoes: I've been lucky with sales but also make them last longer that I should. Averages $100/year.
Bike: Paid for a few years ago.
Bike maintenance: Roughly $40 for an annual tuneup.
Bike accessories: I need a new helmet this year.
Workout shirts: Free. Sort of. I wear the ones that I earned at races, and bought two others with gift certificates.
Workout tights: Free. Bought them with gift certificates and take super good care of them so they'll last!
Light weight exercise jacket: Free. Bought in 2010 with gift certificates.
Warm exercise jacket: Free. Sort of. I've earned two at races.
Light weight winter gloves: Free. Christmas present.
Biking gloves. Free. I borrow my husband's...but should buy a pair this year.
Swim suits: I think this is about $90 to buy a good new one (or 2-3 cheaper ones) every year.
Garmin: For now, I'm not using one, but can borrow my husband's if I need.

Entry fees:
This is where is gets a bit more expensive. Fees are typically $40-50 per event, and I try to sign up early before the price increases as the race date gets closer. In 2010, I did 3 free events + 8 with a fee, so that's about $360. Hmm. That averages $30 per month, which doesn't seem so bad to me.

This year, I've already signed up for 6 races ($270). Ouch - OK, that's a lot to spend in one month, but it will keep me going until August. I have 3-4 more to sign up for later in the year, but at least one of them is free.

Travel fees:
I tend to do races in my city, so just have to pay a subway token or for parking. I had one race in my hometown last year and was able to stay with my parents. This year, I have 3 out of town races; two are close to my parents, one is not. I'm splitting a cheap hotel room for that one, and will keep overall costs low.

Grand total:
That adds up to just over $100 per month if I were to spread costs out over a year. Remember - that includes my monthly gym fees.

I think that's reasonable, especially since I don't tend to spend a lot of money on myself in other areas.

What about you - is your active lifestyle breaking the bank, or is it reasonably affordable?

Here's this week's  recap -

Saturday - 2K dog walk, then had to go in to work for a special project.

My running partner likes to stop suddenly and make dog angels on the front lawns of the neighbourhood.
Sunday - Couch to 5K Week 1 Day 3 (about 2.5K), followed by a trip to the fenced dog park/forest. We walked the 1.5K forest trails, then took Stella sledding for the first time. Have to say - sledding with a dog is a pile of fun!

Monday - Curves + 2x35s plank + 45 pushups + 100 assorted killer crunches, then 300m swim followed by 1.5K dog walk.

Tuesday - Rest day. Happy, happy rest day.

Wednesday - C25K Week 2, Day 1 (2.7K).

Thursday - Ended up being an other rest day. Couldn't keep my eyes open past 7pm, and my throat is sore.

Friday - Kids are on a PA day and I've taken the day off with them :-)  Did an at-home boot camp with my daughter - she pushed me into 40 pushups and 240 assorted crunches, then did C25K W2D2 with Stella and I. She's obviously been taking lessons from my trainer.

Dog is not happy to be on a walk break, let alone a 'let's take a picture' break. Can we get back to running please?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Here We Go!

It's official - I have signed up for two try-a-tris for 2012!

400m swim, 10K bike, 2.5m run.

Seems like a reasonable way to try this sport out, but I should *probably* work on my swimming technique, and actually learn to run, right?

I should mention that one of my tris will be on totally flat ground (it's on the Toronto Island!), but the other will be in hilly country. Which fortunately is in my hometown, and I spent a lot of years riding those hills and open water swimming in the same lake. My parents still live there, so we may be able to make a weekend out of it, and perhaps check the course out in advance.  

My master plan? If I get bitten hard by the tri bug, I fully expect to try longer distances in 2013.

Don't even ask about my dreams for 2014. Let's get through this season first!

So -

Swim - I've started hitting the lane swim time at my local pool. Lessons are at a really inconvenient time, so for now I'm working on this on my own. For now.

Bike - When the nicer weather (i.e. dry pavement) hits, I'll be back on my bike a few times a week. There is a nicely evil hilly ride between my house and my gym that I used to help in training for last year's 25K Becel ride, looking forward to hitting it again.

I've started the Couch to 5K program to learn to run. You'd think I would have done this before now but nope. Remember, I started off as a power walker and am just getting into running now-ish.

All of this is to help me build up to the 10-week tri training plan that I found on the tri sports website, which I'll start at the end of the 9-week C25K.

Of course, I'll continue to go to Curves 3x a week faithfully for workouts, boot camp and Zumba. You'd better believe that my trainer is making it her personal mission to kick things up a notch so that I cross the finish lines strong and smiling.

I also have a few other races on the calendar that I'm cross-training for - a couple of 5Ks this spring, the 50K Becel ride and the Spartan Race in June, then the tris in July & August.

Annnnnnndddd...I'm slowly working on weight loss. I do have those last 33lbs to shift. Amazing how all of this training doesn't make much of a dent, but a week of eating salad for lunch shows itself on the scale pretty quickly.

So - that's my schemes and plans for the next few months. What are you working on?

Here's this week's recap -

Saturday - Brrrrr. 1K dog walk, Curves + 25 pushups + 60 crunches + 35s plank.

Sunday - lazy, lazy sloth day.

Had to take this on the sly. Can't wait to get back in the pool - it's been toooooo long!

Monday - Curves + boot camp #5 (7 mins on stairstepper + 290 assorted crunches + 1 min plank + 25 pushups. Followed by  250m swim. I'm trying not to cut too much into my family time, so find that doing this right after the gym is preferable to trying to add in a 4th workout day.

Tuesday - Rest day. Went for a short walk at lunch.

Wednesday - Curves + boot camp #6 (7 mins stairstepper + 400 assorted crunches + 180 assorted arm curls with 10lb weights). Followed by Couch to 5K week 1, day 1 (walk 5 min, then alternate 60 secs running / 90 sec walking for 20 minutes).

Thursday - Zumba + 10 mins stairstepper + 30 pushups + 2x40s plank

Friday - Couch to 5K week 1, day 2. Did I mention that Stella is doing this with me? She generally knows to run when I say "let's run", and save the stopping and sniffing for our walk breaks. For example -

What's that smell?
This has been a really great week. Fingers crossed that next week is just as positive.

And special thanks to Deb and Julie for the inspiration and encouragement!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Knocking a Few (Mental) Obstacles Out of the Way

I hit a weird mental slump this week. Maybe it's from the break in routine over the holidays, maybe it's from scrambling to get back into school & work routines, maybe it's a bit of a loss of momentum after being sick, who knows.

You may remember me mentioning last week that I've signed up for my first try-a-tri. I'm very excited about this. It's one of my big goals for this year, and it gives me a reason to finally put in the work to improve my rudimentary swimming and running skills.

Now, I'm very new to running. By early December, I was at the run 2 blocks/walk a block stage and was doing that several times a week with my dog. But I stopped for a couple of weeks when I was sick, and somewhere in those weeks I developed a mental barrier about running. I have still been getting out the door just as often as usual,  but I have found myself unwilling to run a single step when I'm out. Oh, I've been coming up with plenty of excuses - it's too wet, it might be slippery, I'm wearing the wrong coat, it's too cold, I'm dressed too warmly, should probably replace my shoes before I run again. Bah.

It's not fear of the tri, I know that. It's just...inertia?

And then it spread to swimming. Can't remember the website to look up the schedule online so can't go because I don't know what the lane swim times are. 

Never mind that there's this invention called Google - and that I walk RIGHT PAST the pool on the way to the dog park EVERY DAY. (Yes, I am lucky enough to have a pool, a dog park and a skating rink right at the bottom of my street.)

Excuses, excuses. Double bah.

I remember this sort of behaviour from a few years ago, of throwing obstacles in my way instead of just getting going on what I wanted to do. For example - I'll start going to a gym in the new year. I'll start eating less junk when I join a gym. Wait, can't join a gym until I buy some workout clothes. And also need to get healthy enough to make it though a workout. So, I can't join just yet.

I thought I was over that kind of thinking but apparently not. Started telling myself that once I developed my training plan, well, then I'd start running again. And swimming. As for actually developing that training plan? Well, I do have a newsletter to write this weekend for my daughter's school. And work to catch up on after my vacation. And my daughter's birthday to start planning for. So, I'll get to it...soon.

When really? All I needed to do was run a few steps.

Which I finally did last night.

Got home from the gym wearing exactly the perfect clothes to run in, put the leash on the dog and headed out the door. Walked one block north, then ran that one block back home. Smiled. Went inside and hit Google. Took me 15 seconds to find both the pool schedule and a tri training plan.

(BTW - lane swim is Mon-Fri, 8.30-9.30pm and 4-5pm on Sat/Sun, right after family swim time)

One step, and 15 seconds, was all it took to knock down an obstacle that I'd thrown in my own way.

That was easy enough. Why did it seem like it was going to be such a big deal?

Anything standing between you and what you want to do? What's it going to take to knock it out of your way?

Here's this week's recap -

Unbelievably mild for January. Kind of a drag that we haven't been able to so sledding this season.
Saturday - 2.6K dog walk, Curves + 30 pushups + 2x35s planks. Skating in the afternoon

Notice the lack of snow...and how no one is wearing mitts or a hat. Crazy mild!

Sunday - Rest day. Drove to a different dog park with fenced forest trails. Walked about 2K. We took it slow and easy while Stella ran around like she was in doggy paradise. Which I guess she was!

Monday - 2K dog park walk followed by Curves circuit + boot camp #3 for the year (240 assorted crunches, 3x35s planks, 30+30 pushups), followed by a 1K dog walk.

Tuesday - 1K speed walk.

Wednesday - Rest day.

Thursday - 2K dog walk followed by Curves circuit + Zumba #1 for the year + boot camp #4 (150 assorted crunches, 7 minutes on stairstepper, 2x35s planks, 30+25 pushups). 1 block dog jog (see above) afterwards.

Friday - Oh, Friday the 13th. It rained all night, then temps dropped and we got a dumping of snow. Hit a patch of ice on the way driving to work and slid right smack into a curb. We are A-OK but the car? Well, we're waiting to hear what the insurance company has to say. Sigh.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Skating and Workouts and Go Karting, Oh My!

We're on vacation this week! We usually take the two weeks off with the kids over the school break, spending the first week crazy busy with Christmas, then use the rest of the break to relax, rejuvenate and have fun close to home rather than pack bags and travel.

So - how'd we spend the first week of 2012?

Saturday - New Year's Eve - 2.5K Resolution Run in the morning. Had friends over for dinner & games for the evening, then headed out the door for a 1.25K family/dog walk followed by sparklers & noise makers on the front lawn at midnight.

V2.0, me, SIL and nephew waiting to start the run
Sunday - 1.1K dog walk in the AM. Spent the rest of the day in our PJs, reading our new Christmas books, watching movies and playing games. Oh, and I signed up for my first try-a-tri!

August 25, 2012 - 400m swim, 10K bike, 2.5K run
This has set off a flurry of goal setting for 2012 - 2014
Monday - Beautiful, crisp day! Met up with friends to go ice skating for the first time this season. 2.2K dog walk before dinner.
Why yes, I am wearing my spiffy new Resolution Run jacket, thank you for noticing.
Tuesday - Back to the gym and so, so happy to be feeling great! Full workout + mini bootcamp (15 tricep dips + 30-second plank + 40 crab kicks + 70 assorted crunches + 25 pushups). Today's workout was #427; I'm aiming to get to 500 before July.

Later - spent an hour helping my husband scrape paint off of my son's bedroom walls and ceiling. Wasn't in our plan for this week, but turned out to be a necessary step to prepare his room for painting.

This was a lot of scraping. Daughter dropped in to help for a bit. My hands are sore now.
Wednesday - 2K dogpark walk (and a lot of throwing the ball for fetch) in AM, 2K dogpark walk in afternoon (and a lot of dog/human soccer), took kids skating before bed.

Love after-dark skating
Thursday - Took the kids to the Science Centre to check out the Leonardo da Vinci exhibit, then hit a rink for some more skating time. After dinner - Curves + bootcamp #2 for the year (150 assorted crunches, 30 full situps holding a 10lb medicine ball at arms' length, 35s plank, 25 pushups). Working my way back to the level I was at before I got sick.

Taking a picture of yourself skating while trying not to skate into someone or get in other people's way is tricky.
That's my son's buddy in the background.
Friday - 2K dogpark walk + 1K dog walk, then out to try something new: go karting! This is something that's been on my son's wishlist for a while, and I'm glad that we finally got to it. My son is at a perfect height right now - tall enough to drive the fast karts with adults, but also short enough to go out on the junior karts with his sister. Win-win all around.

Me finally working up the courage to go at top speed - 35kph wheeeeee

Kids karts maxed out at 22kph.
My son absolutely loved this - which we expected - and so did my daughter! She wasn't sure about it initially, but when she found out that no adults are allowed on the course when kids are taking a turn...and then realized that since her brother was the only other kid there this evening, the track would be pretty empty...she thought she'd give it a try. She was nervous at first but got over that as soon as she rounded the first turn in the course. And went back for another turn with a huge smile on her face.

And me? I was equally nervous! There's something about the sensation about not being in control that I have a hard time with. Water slides do the same thing to me. But I'm proud to say that I went out for 4 turns - and enjoyed it :-)

How's your 2012 - off to a good start?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

What better way to start the new year than with a GPOYD?
Hope everyone had a great celebration last night!

Time to take a look back at 2011 - the year that I really started signing up for events and trying new things!

I got to the finish line on 11 events with friends and family, and made sure that a couple of them represented big, scary goals -

Resolution Run 5K (1/1/2011) with my husband & SIL
St. Pat's 5K with friends
CN Tower Climb - that's 144 flights of stairs, folks - with my son
Goodlife Marathon 5K with my son and friends
Becel Ride for Heart - 25K bike ride - solo but with husband waiting at the finish for me * Big Scary Goal #1
Do Life 5K with my husband, son and daughter
Warrior Dash adventure race (5K) with friends *Big Scary Goal #2
Scotiabank Waterfront Marathon 5K with my son and friends
Toronto Womens' Run 5K with my daughter and friends
Rudolph Run 1K - organized by my daughter!
Resolution Run 2.5K (12/31/2011) with my son, SIL and nephew

Tried a few new things -

Volunteering at a race
Dog sledding
Treetop trekking

And generally tried to stay active -

Swimming, skating, hiking and biking
Two camping trips
Got to the gym for 119 workouts + 15 boot camps + about 40 Zumba classes
Adopted Stella - and walk her 14-20kms/week

Looking back on that list, I'm very pleased :-)

What's up for 2012?

I'm working on my race calendar for the year, making sure to include at least two new big, scary goals. And of course I'll keep moving every day in one form or another.

Really looking forward to trying more new things this year - any suggestions?

How was your 2011? How will you build on it in 2012?