Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 year in review...

So, it's been an interesting year on the fitness front. My biggest goal for the year was to do the Calgary Ironman 70.3 and that did not happen. There are a variety of reasons for this, injury being first and foremost amoung them. After the Okanagan Half Marathon in 2009, it became rather apparent that I definitely had some problem with my foot. It turns out I had plantar fasciitis and a heel spur to go with it. This was very devastating to me as it elimated running from my repetoire for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately that killed any real motivation I had to keep at the fitness and things crumbled from there. I managed to gain about 25 pounds and just didn't care a whole lot.

In May, we ran the Mother's Day Run, only extra special for this year, my 4 year old son also ran the race. This is especially special as he's a preemie and the money raised was being donated to the NICU units in our city, to buy specific equipment that they needed or wanted. My sister-in-law and her fiance also ran with us. This is the first time that any family has participated with us!! And, how incredible to watch our 4-year-old finish his first ever 5km race. I was so proud of him and how he'd gone from this tiny baby fighting for his life to a spunky little 4-year old running serious races!!

I also did the Tri Diva Tri Triathlon in May. It was super chilly, but managed to finish my 250m swim, 9km bike and 2.5km bike despite minimal training. It was a fun event as I knew a few other people doing it and for many it was their first triathlon. I also did the Strathmore Women's Triathlon in August and it was a lot of fun. Again, I knew some people doing it, and it gave me the chance to continue to explore triathlon. I was not trained very well for the race, as I had done very little in the way of exercise leading up to it. The day before the race, I decided to use Jeremy's triathlon bike. It was a good decision on my part and I managed to do a nice good race in all three disciplines. Now if only I'd trained harder...

August was also Sebastian's second 5km race. And he even managed to shave a couple minutes off his time from his first race. It was fun, but running at a 4-year-old's pace does not exactly create a personal best. Perhaps I was using him as an excuse to not have to try harder? Hmmmmmm....

Well, something changed in me in August. After doing the Triathlon in Strathmore, I wanted to do better. I knew I could do better. I truly reached a turning point. I no longer wanted excuses and things began to change. First was exercise. It became a priority. I was not going to let any excuse prevent me from working out. I managed to exercise every day for the rest of the month. That made me happy. And, I started watching my eating. I used the Livestrong MyPlate to do this. It kept me very disciplined.

September brought on Melissa's Road Race. This was a 10km and one of my favourite races of the year. I knew I wasn't going to be as fast as I was the year before, but I put forth a good effort, and it was one of my better times at that race!! And for one of the first times ever, my husband beat me in a race, totally fair and square. I was very proud of him!! My reward that day for having exercised for a month every day, was to eat at the bison, and it was so worth every calorie!!

October was next with the Ambulance Chaser Run. This time, I ran with my sister and my son. Jeremy set out to do a personal best, and achieved that. Sebastian, Kim and I set out to finish a 5km. It was fun and we had glow sticks and enjoyed the race. Afterwards, there was Spolumbo's sausages to enjoy along with a playground for the little guys to play on (indoors). Sebastian was not the youngest to participate, another four year old claimed that honour, but there's a good chance he was the youngest one to have done the entire race on his own (no stroller rides for him!!).

The eating and exercise continued through November. At some point, the eating sort of drifted from it's discipline (I blame the holiday season for that!!). I've still kept at the exercise with complete dedication. It's now been more than four months of exercise every day and I have no plans to stop that anytime soon!!

The resolution run will be the way I finish off 2010. It's my plan to go run my little heart out... not sure that it will be a personal best (weather forecast is snow, and cold, and likely the route could be icy), but I know I'll finish strong!! And, what better way to send off 2010 and welcome 2011!!

Oh, and I almost forgot!! I completed my first AFLCA course, and I got accepted into Mount Royal University for the personal trainer certificate. Bring on the credentials to help others achieve their goals too!! Looking forward to that course starting in January!!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Looking back at my goals for 2010...

So, I really can't believe it's the end of 2010 already, but here it is and it's time to look back and see if I managed to accomplish anything I set out to do at the beginning of the year.

1. I did NOT complete the Calgary half Ironman. Sad about this, but was still coming off an injury and just did not put in the time needed to train properly. The Mother's Day run however, I did complete and we raised over $1500 for Neonatal Intensive Care. And, it was my little NICU baby's first ever 5km run. I can't believe he finished it all on his own!! He was amazing!! And if a four-year-old can complete a five kilometre than really, what's my excuse!!

2. Decluttering our house. I did get lots done on this front. I boxed up all the baby clothes through size 18 months. We donated tons of toys and kitchen items, and a whole bunch of books. Both my husband and I also went through our closets and got rid of a bunch of clothes. We also removed all the books from our office, with a plan to only keep the ones we want to see in the next six months. Have only needed one or two, so that plan is working!! And we also put all our cookbooks on probation. They each have a sticker on them, and once we have cooked from them, the sticker comes off, after a year, we'll see which ones we really use or not!! But, I still feel like I could do so much more. More with kitchen stuff and toys especially!!

3. Using my Starbucks mug. I can say this was one of the easy challenges. Now, I almost never leave the house without my mug (or my kids for that matter), if I plan to visit Starbucks. It's fantastic!! Even my husband is mostly onboard with this one. Early in the year, I took my son for a hot chocolate and brought his cup. He nearly had a meltdown when he realized he wasn't getting a paper cup. But, we chatted about it and eventually he came around. Now he brings his own cup even!! And for Christmas this year, we got cold reusable cups, so next summer, passion tea lemonades and chai fraps will be in reusable cups too!!

4. Trying to pay down debt. Well, failed miserably on this one. Ended up owing on taxes, so that didn't help, and then my husband lost his job, so we never really got to work on this much. I'm hoping for 2011!!

5. Hmmm... something that scares me, never really tried anything this year. In part because there just wasn't the cash to devote to it. I know it's probably an excuse more than anything, but hey!!

6. Reading. I read a lot more this year than some years, which was awesome. I even started reading the Harry Potter series again lately. I still love O Magazine and read every issue cover to cover. And I've been reading a bunch of blogs as well as novels even. Still wish I read more, but every bit is more than not!!

7. I really need to make the journals for my boys a priority. It was not this year. I took them to work several times, but just never got around to doing much.

8. Never really volunteered at any races. We cheered on athletes at the Calgary Police Half Marathon, and a couple of triathlons, but that is about it. Didn't even get to volunteer at the Calgary Marathon this year!! Oh well, can try harder for 2011!!

9. I took my first fitness course this year, and was accepted at Mount Royal University into their Personal Trainer Certificate which starts in less than 3 weeks!! I'm very excited for this. It's the first step into a new career direction, and I couldn't be happier!!

10. And watch less TV, I definitely did this!! I taped the shows I loved, and hardly watched anything else. Sometimes I didn't even watch the ones I taped!! Being primarily nightshifts for my worklife has definitely assisted in that. Furthermore, I started taping some of my shows only in our basement so that if I want to watch them, I have to be on the treadmill or trainer to do it!!

So, all in all, I succeeded on at least half of them, and some are sort of half successes, so really I guess I should be proud of those efforts. Next up I'll have to see what's in store for 2011!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Other people working out...

So tonight I tried to see if anyone would run outside with me. Almost had a running buddy, but she didn't have outdoor gear, but might bring it tomorrow...

However, I went down to the gym, thinking maybe weights, maybe running, and settled on the treadmill. There are three treadmills in our work gym. And in a matter of minutes, all three were being used in full force. It was great. Three women, all in a row, using their break from work, to exercise. I was very impressed. It's so nice seeing people be active like that. Especially before the new year even!!

So we will see, if tomorrow, I do, in fact, having a running buddy... it's only supposed to be -11!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The side benefit of a gastro bug...

So, I had decided to make my goal for December to simply be "staying the course". In other words, I didn't want my weight to go over 175lbs. I just wanted to stay happily where I was. I knew there would be lots of temptations over the month with holiday treats and fancy dinners etc, and figured staying where I was would better than trying to lose more, and not, because of the temptations around me.

But then a nasty gastro bug went through our house. First my oldest son, then the baby, then the husband, and finally me. I tried so hard to not get sick, but inevitably, that was not to be the case. So, instead of staying the course, I ended up with two days of hardly any eating. It was not pleasant. I hate feeling like that. I still managed to get in some exercise, simply for the timing of it all, with one day simply walking on the treadmill, and the next day, doing a short run, which felt about a hundred times harder than it should have!!

The end result was, the weight continued to drop. So rather than stay the course, I dropped an extra five pounds. Suddenly, I've been weighing in, just under 170lbs. This is huge!! I couldn't be happier. I know there are still a bunch of days left for December, but there's more hope now, and my new "stay the course" is about 5 pounds less than I imagined. So, I still doubt I'll lose much for weight for the rest of December, but I'm happy that I'm likely going to be about 5 pounds less than I thought I would be!!

I'd still have rather not had the bug in the first place though!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A streak continues... 128 days and counting...

I haven't been blogging a whole lot lately, but I can assure you, I am still out there, being active and trying to eat well. As a matter of fact, my resolve to exercise every day is still in full force. Today was day 128. Last week, I even did stuff through a nasty little flu (granted I was only walking on the treadmill, but it was still something!!). I wonder if it is considered a habit yet, or at what point it would be. I really make an effort every day to find a little time to devote to exercise. And I aim for a half an hour. A few days have been more like 20 minutes, but the vast majority are at least a half hour, sometimes longer.

And, I've varied the activities immensely. The majority of days are still running, but because I don't want to injure my foot again, I'm very aware of including a variety of activities. So far this has included running (outside and on the treadmill), cycling (on the trainer and outside), swimming (laps and laps and laps), walking, weight lifting, resistance bands and ball workout, the rowing machine, and maybe even the occasional workout dvd (although that might have been before I started this streak). I continually update my wall calendar at home and it's fun to see all the green marker on there for each day of exercise.

I'm not sure when the streak will end, but I love it. I love that I take some time every day to be active. I think it sets a good example for my kids about being active. Plus, just this month I was reading in Oprah Magazine about the importance of taking time for yourself, and that in order to be the best person I can be, I need to take time for myself every day. So, that's what the exercise has been. And I love it. I crave it. So, how many more days will this streak last...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Change is in the air...

So I got a fantastic letter in the mail. I have been accepted into the Personal Fitness Trainer program at Mount Royal University. I am so excited!! I really want to live my life in the best way possible and want to follow my dreams and goals. One of those goals is to become a personal trainer, and suddenly now, that seems like an actual real possibility!! By taking this certificate, I'll have an educational background to go along with the experience I already have. I want to have some sort of training so that I know I am offering people the right kinds of advice and programs as far as exercise and training goes. I can hardly wait to get started!! It will take a minimum of two years to finish, so really, there is no time like the present to get working on it... except it doesn't start until January!! Oh well, there's lots to do before than with Christmas and everything else anyways!!

But, come the new year, I really am taking steps to try and live the life I truly want... to help others realize their goals and dreams as far as distance events go. That's right. You want to do a marathon or triathlon or even just a 5km? Ask me about it, and I'll be able to help you. Right now, just as someone who has been there, but soon, as someone with knowledge and expertise in the fitness industry!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Falling off the wagon, well, sort of...

So, on the weekend, I had the closest I've been to falling off the wagon. And really, I have not entirely gotten back on. I am still exercising every day (up to 94 days now!!), and I'm still watching what I eat, but I haven't been religiously documenting my eating. On the weekend, we had a couple of family functions and that entailed Chinese food, and treats from the Avenue Cakery and Bakeshoppe in Airdrie (oh so yummy!!). And, although I did fine with portion control for the most part, I know I had a few more treats than I should have. And, then, we had lots of leftovers from the cakery. Needless to say, I didn't want those to go to waste, so over the next few days, I continued having more treats. This is a little counterproductive for weightloss. I even managed to be 2 pounds heavier. This is not so good!! Now, all the treats are gone, but I am still craving sugar big time. This is not so good!!

Worse though, I haven't been tracking my calories. This is not a good move on my part. And for the most part, the weight has been unchanged, I'm sure, in part because I'm eating more to maintain my weight rather than lose weight. So, I need to get back to tracking my eating again. It's so easy to do and with the iPhone, I really have no excuse not to. And if I want to continue to lose weight, then it is something I must do. I'm less than 10 pounds away from being a "normal" weight for my height. My journey won't end there, but I at least want to get there!!

Jeremy figures we need to finally get the swimsuits that were our reward for losing the weight we already had. So yesterday, he went and got his, and today had an awesome swim in his new suit. I still need to get mine!! So perhaps that will be the goal for this weekend... go and try swimsuits on... hmmmmm... not seeing that as truly feeling rewarding...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

What have you been eating...

So, some of the things I've eaten lately: Starbucks peppermint white mocha, Marble Slab chocolate mint ice cream with chocolate chips, crave cupcakes, cream filled cupcakes, Mcdonalds thai chicken mcmini crispy with fries, 4chip chocolate chip cookies (homemade of course with vanilla bean), aztec cheesecake, boston pizza bandera bread and hawaiian pizza, eggs benedict, steak, sloppy joes, Reese's peanut butter cups.

Yes, all these items have been included in my diet. My point? Just because you are trying to lose weight, doesn't mean you have to give up on the foods you love. I have been extremely disciplined in tracking my calories and the end result has been that I have lost about 22 pounds now. And yes, I do include treats. Now do I eat these items every day? Of course not!! But the point is, that I work around special events or eating out or wanting a treat and make it work within the parameters I have set. If I know I'm going to be eating out, then I make choices for the earlier meals of the day that are lower in calories, so that there are extra calories to spare later on for that special occasion. Most importantly though, I don't skip meals because of special events. I simply make different choices, or I add in an extra workout. I want to continue losing weight and in order to do so, will continue to monitor what I eat. For me, that's been key. I'm a little less rigid than I was in the beginning, but I am still careful to keep track. Weightloss doesn't happen overnight, and takes work to achieve.

So, know that if you are starting out on your weightloss journey, you can include treats, but it's important to have an adequate portion only. Maybe try a Halloween size candy if you are really wanting chocolate. Portion control is especially important when it comes to treats!! I am succeeding so far, because I don't deprive myself of treats and eat acceptable portions. It's a balancing act but in order to have a net loss in weight, the calories in, needs to be lower than the calories out. Figure out how much you want to lose (remember 1 to 2 pounds a week is reasonable), and work from there. It can be done!!

Vanilla cream filled cupcakes!!

Okay, so what does that have to do with my eating and exercise plans? It is my latest reward!! And I've decided today, to share that reward structure with you.

I sort of have two reward systems going. One is tied to weightloss. These rewards are things like, a new bathing suit, an entry into a race, a new shirt to run in. Basically, gear. The other system is tied to exercise. Basically, I decided in August, that if I exercised every day until the Melissa's race in Banff, we'd go and eat at the Bison. This is my favourite restaurant. It was so worth every workout that I did. So, for the next month, I decided if I exercised every day, I would have a treat from the Avenue Cakery and Bake Shoppe in Airdrie. And today, we went there and the treats were purchased (at half price too on Saturday afternoon, yay for good deals!!). I went home and did a run, so that every day in October was full. Okay, I know there is still one more day in October, but I know tomorrow I will do something!! And really, on my chart, the reward day was today!! Which, coincidently was day 77... that's eleven weeks in a row of doing some sort of exercise every single day. So, is it a habit yet? I sure hope so!!

I love that for the past eleven weeks, I have had no excuses for not exercising. I have to of course, thank my husband for that. He is awesome to make sure I fit it in and I hope I'm giving him the time he needs as well. I've also been using my work lunch hours to help with that. No more tv, no more eating out, just pure old fashioned exercise. And, it's been great. I have gone running with a variety of people from my workplace. It's great!! We get outside, get some fresh air, and run. Truly awesome!! And, I'm getting to know some people I might not otherwise have gotten the chance to know (including one girl who is super fast and ran Boston this year only cause she qualified at her first ever marathon and figured she might as well!!). I hope the trend continues, and I still find the time to exercise every day. Sometimes with my husband, sometimes with my boys, sometimes with work friends, and sometimes on my own!! And I hope it continues to be varied in nature. So far it's included running, biking, swimming, hiking, weights, walking and even a ball/band routine. I am very aware of my body these days and trying to avoid injuries so figure the variety can only help with that!!

So there you have it. Today was exercise reward day. Next up will be weight reward day when I finally get a new bathing suit, because the one I am using now is old and slowly getting to a point where it really needs replacing. But, it will be exciting to get a new one, since it will definitely be smaller than the last one was (since it is actually baggy now!!). Stay tuned!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

How to stay motivated...

When it comes to weight loss, it can sometimes be very tricky to keep yourself motivated. This is especially true when temptations are around you or you have come to a standstill. This past week, my husband and I both hit a plateau at the same time. It was tough, and at moments I didn't really care anymore about the long term gain, but I still stayed the course. Here's a few things that helped me...

1. Have a visual reminder of your accomplishments. One of my goals back in August was to exercise every day. It didn't matter what I did, as long as I did something every day, be it running, hiking, swimming, biking, weights or whatever. I've been keeping track on a calendar and highlight in green, every time I exercise. Looking at the poster is pretty motivating since it has green highlights on every day of the month so far. I don't want to break this streak so that has been helping a lot!!

2. Talk to someone who understands what you are going through. In this case, Jeremy was awesome, since he's basically going through the same thing. We chatted about all the ways we wanted to cheat or give up, but then encouraged each other to stay on track, since there's been accomplishments already and there is sure to be more.

3. Read an inspiring book or blog. Find someone else out there who has succeeded in their goals and has words of inspiration to share. This has been instrumental to my success. By reading about others who have reached their goals, I am inspired to reach mine!!

4. Celebrate how far you've come. In my case, I've lost 20 pounds so far. That's pretty significant. No wonder my body slowed down for a bit. It's adjusting to a lot less of me!! And any moment you want to pack it in and give up, remember how far you've already come. Nobody said it would be easy, but true change requires a commitment and it's important to honour what you have set out to do.

5. Sign up for a race. When all else fails, sign up to run a race. The atmosphere at races is truly inspiring. And it's fun to get excited about a goal down the road, so pick something that's only a couple months away so you have time to prepare but it's still close enough that you have to start working towards it. Sometimes all the exercise can feel pointless without something to work towards. By having an event in your future, you put all those hours at the gym, on the treadmill, etc to good use and will feel the results of that effort on race day. And really, nothing is more motivating than the energy at a race. If you could bottle that energy, people could be motivated forever!!

So, when you are feeling lost and need some motivation, look around, there's things you can do to help you stay the course...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The art of the plateau...

So, this last week hasn't been the most exciting as far as weight loss goes. As a matter of fact, it's been more of a plateau. I don't like the plateau. It's not so inspiring. It's actually more frustrating than anything. Part of the reason for this, is even though you are still putting in the effort, it feels like the results aren't there. Then, inevitably, since you are having a plateau anyway, you start making some bad choices. Take for example my week. I was still applying myself fairly well, but a few things happened outside of my control. We went hiking on Thursday and someone else brought lunch. Not too big a deal, but we'd already had Starbucks, and smokie plus bun plus wine gums, plus cookies, plus juice, and well, you get the picture. Thursday was the first day I actually went over on my calories. It was the first time I had a bright red line highlighting the fact that I had eaten more than I was supposed to, and more than I was supposed to even when adding in the exercise. It was a little depressing.

And that led to Friday. On Friday we had people over. This time, I was in charge of the menu, and we were having cheesecake. Because we were having cheesecake, dinner was a soup and salad, so that the calories wouldn't be crazy. And, although I wasn't over after exercise was factored in, it was still a higher calorie day than usual.

And bring on Saturday, in the morning I gave blood, so ate cookies and juice more than I normally would have, however, the benefit, far outweighed the extra calories. Lunch was leftover pumpkin spice soup (super healthy, full of veggies and pretty low in calories too!!). And, once again, another meal outside my control. And darn it anyway, there were chips and dip. I did a good job with portions. Although I confess, chips and dips were included in that (I tried to resist but it didn't work). Dinner consisted of well portioned steak, potatoes and salad. But dessert, mmmmmm... it was a cranberry upside down cake, and it was so incredibly good!! I did great only having a small bit of ice cream with it, and I truly savoured every single bite, so that I didn't need to have seconds, since that would have blown me out of the water on calories!! Saturday night I fit in my exercise as a run. I did a treadmill route and it went well. I had to take it a little bit easy since I was down on fluids and blood. So, I didn't push too hard, but had a great run.

And, the end result, this morning I weighed less again. Back in the 175 area. So, really, it's still plateau like, but after 8 days at 176 or higher, it's nice to know there is hope again!! And, now that it's Sunday night, there is hope for the rest of the week!! And as for exercise, well, I'll be running again tonight... and today is day 71 of exercise...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

There is no quick fix...

So, I was reflecting on the Biggest Loser season and how this time around they have at least a couple of contestants that have previously had surgeries to help with their weight loss. I wondered why they would choose them, and it suddenly occured to me. The surgeries are a quick fix. Most people who have gastric bypass or similar surgeries achieve dramatic results in a very short period of time.

The problem is, although the results are quick, often, those people don't actually address the issues that caused the weight gain in the first place, so slowly, the weight begins to creep on again. And, in the case of these contestants, they are battling the same issues they had to deal with many years previously. In one instance, the contestant had the surgery as a teenager. It's sad that people (or parents), are so desparate for a quick fix, that they really don't take the time to learn about proper nutrition or exercise or anything.

People wanting to make changes, need to realize that results will not be instant. It takes time, dedication and hard work to get the results they are desparately seeking. However, time does pass, and regardless of if you make an effort or not, the same time will pass. For example, in January of this year, I signed up for a weight loss challenge. I lost nothing. Zilch. Zip. I also put in no effort. Nothing. So, after two or three months, when the challenge ended, I was no further ahead. However, in August, I started putting forth some serious effort at weight loss after my work pants got too tight. Again, two months has passed, however, this time, I am down twenty pounds. The same time passed, yet this time, I've been making an effort. And, although the results are slow, now, when I look back two months, it seems almost dramatic, and that's fun.

So, if you have a goal you are working towards, and willing to put forth the effort you need to reach it, the same time will pass regardless of what you do. Think about it. There's about two and a half months until the end of the year. Is there a goal you want to start working towards? The resolution run perhaps (you get a jacket for running it!!)? Lose ten pounds perhaps? Learn some Spanish? Whatever the goal, start working towards it. You have a little over two months to make some steps towards it. And, at the end of the year, you can look back and see the progress you made over this time period. Because, regardless of what you do, in two and half months, it will be December 31st. So, it's your choice to make the most of the time until then...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Five easy steps to help your weight loss journey...

So, I've chatted with a few people lately who have talked about how hard it can be to lose weight. I know it seems that way sometime, but if you truly apply yourself, it really can be done. Take me, for example. I've been tracking my eating for 2 months now. In the beginning it took a bit of work, but now it has become almost second nature. I know how many calories I should be eating, and need to work towards that number. Of course, the challenge starts when I make the choices I do for eating.

1. Figure out how many calories you need to be eating. It's hard to stick to your program when you don't know what your program is. You can use all kinds of programs out there to find this out. Personally, I used the MyPlate application on the Livestrong website. It's fantastic. You can input your current height and weight, and then plan your calorie goal based on whether you want to maintain your current weight, lose weight, or even gain weight. I set my goal to be losing 2 pounds a week. It also asks for your activity level. I have a moderately active lifestyle (walking our son to preschool, walking to get groceries, playing outside with the kids etc), outside of specific exercise like cardio and weights, so I labelled it accordingly and then I add exercise that I do over and above that. From there, if you do the math, and your calories in matches that, then you will lose the weight. It's been 2 months now, and I'm losing an average of two pounds a week, so it has to be working!! Of course as you lose the weight, you also have to recheck your calorie goal every now and then since it will change as your weight changes!!

2. Portion control is everything!! One of the biggest challenges we faced at the beginning of this journey was getting more in check with the portions we should be eating. More often than not, we'd take what we thought we should be eating rather than what a real portion should be. This can be very tough to take at the beginning, especially with things like pasta, where a portion is much smaller than anything you might expect after eating at a popular pasta restaurant etc. We were very careful at the start, and anytime we ate at home, we would measure and weigh things out. I still do this with many things, just so I don't give myself more than I should. I'm a sauce person, so I love ketchup, bbq sauce, sour cream, dips, gravy or anything along those lines. Since they are huge calorie consumers, measuring out an appropriate portion makes a huge difference in keeping me in line.

3. Watch what you drink. Drinks are a huge source of calories and some people consume upwards of 30% or more of their calories each day in drinks. So, be very aware of what you are drinking. I still include treats like Starbucks, but the vast majority of my drinks consist of green tea, and water flavoured with fruit infusions. I often find water just too plain and boring, but if I make up some tea with a fruit infusion, then ice it, I get essentially pure water but with a little more taste. My favourites are wild cherry, sangria and pina colada from Teaopia.

4. Plan for those special events. One of the easiest ways to derail your efforts is to take special dinners and not count them. Rather, what you should be doing is planning ahead at how you can make the best choices and still keep yourself on track. The very first weekend we started tracking calories, my parents came to visit and wanted to go for chinese food. Well, first off, I tend to always make bad choices when my parents visit, but I was determined it would be different this time. I decided ahead of time, I would only have one plate and be reasonable in my portions at that. We ordered a dish that matched with our needs better and were just careful to eat reasonably while we were there. We also added in an extra workout that day so there were calories to spare if we went over what we should have been eating. It worked out great and we stayed the program despite a challenging meal.

5. Don't beat yourself up. The best part of tracking your calories, is, even if you mess up, you have an account of what you ate. It's easy to go back later and figure out what happened that day and find strategies for the next time you are in a similar circumstance. So, rather than erase the incident and pretend like it didn't happen, record it. Note what you ate, so that if it happens again, you can figure out what triggered the eating etc. The beauty of these online programs, is you can create graphs and stats and have total knowledge of the days you were ontrack, and the ones that maybe messed up. And then, if the same thing is happening every month, maybe you'll realize what it is that causes changes, allowing you to address them, rather than just trying to forget them. If you go to all the trouble of tracking your eating, don't let a setback hold you back, track it and work with the information you have.

When it comes to weight loss, the formula is very simple. In order to lose weight calories in must be less than calories out. In other words, you need to eat less calories than your body requires, but at a rate that your body doesn't go into starvation mode. And even though the formula is simple, it doesn't take into account emotions, and parties, and cravings and all the other things that can derail your efforts. So, although the formula is simple, applying it, can sometimes be complicated. But it can be done. You just have to make a very strong effort at applying it.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Twenty pounds down...

So, as you can see from the photo, I now weigh 175.4lbs. That is 20 pounds down from when I started using the application MyPlate in August. I have the iphone version and it's been fantastic!! Jeremy uses the desktop version. It's been two months of disciplined eating and exercise and the work is truly paying off. So exciting!! This scale is fun because it has the body fat, hydration,and muscle percentages, which of course will vary, but hey!!

Granted, this weight was after swimming and likely I was missing a bit of liquid in my body (since I was famished and thirsty). It's hard work chasing after preschoolers and then swimming laps, but hey, the scale is what it is!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Something to train for...

So Jeremy got us signed up for the Resolution Run yesterday. I'm excited, because it means we actually have something we are training for now. And I love the whole idea of the run. Finishing off the year with a run, or starting off the new year being active, whichever way you look at it. It makes a good statement and really encourages being healthy and active. I love it!! Last year we tried to sign up too late and it was sold out, but this year we got in, yay!! It's nice because it's early enough that you still have time to go out and bring in the new year in style, but knowing you already got a run in.

I'm happy. It's a 5km, but it's a start. Now, to figure out what the race goals are for 2011... well, I still have time to figure that out... but might as well start getting hopeful... question is, how far do I want to race...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A year ago...

So, last year on Thanksgiving weekend, I was in Kelowna for the Okanagan Marathon. Our family drove up with my friend Cindy's family. It was a fantastic weekend. We had spent the entire summer training for the race, and finally the big event was here. My son did his race (he had spent the summer accumulating kilometers so that for the kids race, he was doing the last kilometer of 42km, to complete the marathon distance, at 3 years old). Sebastian totally rocked, even if he needed a little encouragement at times!!

My race was amazing. I was hoping to finish around 2:15:00 or so. I figured I'd put in all the work needed for that. I'd run a 10km just under an hour, twice. So finishing in 2:15:00 seemed very possible. In the end it took me 2:04:44. I was shocked. This meant I'd run the whole race averaging just over 10km/hr for my pace. Since only the month before had I ever had a race at that speed, and that was for a 10km, I never imagined in a million years that I could maintain that pace for 21km. Yet, there I was, finishing at that pace. I was so proud and amazed at what I had accomplished. Of course it was right after this race that I was stopped in my tracks with an injury. It was very hard to go from training to nothing. On that weekend though, I experienced such a high. It was so awesome to know that I had become more competitive in my running. We celebrated that night with a turkey dinner, made at the hotel. It was so much fun!!

So, now, I'm looking back at last year, and also looking forward to next year. I officially weigh less now, than I did last year (only by a pound or two, but still!!). So, I look back knowing I had potential to improve, and I look forward, wondering just what that improvement will be. Is it possible to break an hour again in a 10km? Could I ever break 2 hours in a half marathon? And what might a future marathon look like? And then there is triathlon... and all the potential goals associated with it... all the way up to an ironman...

The cross training has been a huge part of my fitness regime. I am mixing all kinds of exercise in, because I don't want to deal with an injury like that again. That pattern of exercise has been huge. I have yet to get sick of it and I'm now onto 58 days in a row. Most recently it was the stair stepper and some weights. My dog ran into my leg yesterday and my calf muscle is sore, so I didn't want to aggravate that. I've been doing some icing and compression in a hope to get it repaired rather quickly. We'll see what tomorrow feels like. I'm thinking maybe tomorrow is a swimming sort of day...

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Sticking to the plan...

So, we spent the day in Medicine Hat today. It went well. I've managed to stay on track. My calories are okay, and I even managed to fit in exercise. We went to the leisure centre and I got the time to swim 775 meters. It was the first time we had ever gone, and it was fantastic. There is a wave pool which was a little smaller than I would have imagined, but there was also a lazy river, and a toddler pool.

And then there was the lane pool. This is actually divided into three sections. There is a diving board section with swing rope and nearby water slide, the traditional lanes of 25m in the middle part and then an open pool area in the shallow part. So really, the pool could be a 50 meter pool when required. It was great. It was almost intimidating at first. Jeremy went so far as to say that had we gone six months ago, he wouldn't even have swam in it, as the lanes were probably at least 2 meters deep throughout. At one point I even lost the hair elastic I had in my hair and noticed it floating on the bottom of the lane I was in. I braved it, and dived down to get it. I was glad to be back on the surface again after that!! And it was a little different having the ends be in the middle of the pool . Jeremy said he almost ran straight into it, because when you are looking down, you don't realize where it is since it's only in the top meter.

Needless to say, it was a nice place and I'd definitely go back again. The boys had a blast and didn't want to leave. The toddler pool was full of toys and they just went to town. Plus, that pool was slightly warmer than the wave pool so poor little Sebastian with no fat was more than happy to not be freezing anymore!!

Only one more day and I will have officially survived and stayed on the program while being away...

Friday, October 8, 2010

How to stick to your plan in the face of temptation...

So, this weekend we are going to visit my parents. I am excited but also a little worried about falling off my plan and going over in calories every day. I know that whenever I'm around my parents, it's harder to stick to my plan. There are thousands of opportunities to eat more calories than I need, and all sorts of temptations everywhere. So I need to work hard to make sure I don't overindulge and sabotage all the work I've done. I also need to make sure I still find the time to exercise each day. So what will my strategy be? Something like this:

1) Remind yourself each morning about your goal and what you are trying to achieve. Take note of what you have already done and try and use your past success to give you the discipline you need to stick to your plan
2) Make space for a treat or two. If you know that temptations will be there, allow yourself the occasional treat, but try and still keep it close to the program. If having a special treat keeps you in check, that's better than realizing you've given in to temptation and then being gluttonous and sabotaging the work you've done.
3) Make exercise a priority. It's important and it helps keep you on the right track. Even in a new setting, try and find a way to exercise. Bring along your runners, or your bathing suit, and find at least a little time to get active. Being active will usually help keep the eating in check as well.
4) Have some meal ideas and plans. Even though you are away, you can still follow your typical eating. If you usually eat toast, make sure there's bread to eat toast. If you usually have cereal, bring it along, and get some milk. Have snacks ready to go, so you stay the course of your program.
5) And if you do slip up, don't beat yourself up. Just accept it and move on. One or two indulgencies is no reason to give up. You have a goal, and sometimes the path to reach it is not always easy, that's okay, there's more than one way to get there, some ways just might be a little bit longer!!

An easy day...

So yesterday I had an easy exercise day. My intention was to take the boys to the park and do a bunch of exercises sort of like a circuit style. I even took my sheet that I got from the trainer last year. And, I managed to get in the pushups, tricep dips, lunges, squats, long extended squats, and some running with Sebastian playing tag. It wasn't as much as I'd planned, but it was still a bunch, so I decided it was still good enough to be considered exercise for the day, especially since my legs and arms were quite tired after those exercises, and really it probably took me about 20 minutes. So even though it wasn't much, it was still something!!

Then, on my lunch hour at work today, I ran on the treadmill. It went well, I went for forty minutes all together, finishing 5km in about 27:04 and 6km in about 32:49, and went a total of 6.7km. It was a sort of selfmade interval program, I sped up every thirty seconds and once I got to six minutes, I slowed down and started building again. My heart rate came down nicely at the end so I was happy about that.

A unit brought up coffees for us tonight, and given that I felt quite tired, I gave in and got a small tims iced cappuccino. Might not have been the best choice, but it sure tasted good!!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Part fish (or perhaps mermaid?)

So, for whatever reason, swimming comes fairly natural to me. Ever since I can remember, I have always done quite well in the water. As a kid I got to skip orange. And as a kid, I loved to swim. As an adult, I'm not quite as excited about being in the water. Mostly though, it's because I don't like the chlorine, and getting into cold water. Yet, once I start swimming, I just go. I can knock off 80 laps like it's nothing. But I think it's time to train smarter. It's time to do some actual swim workouts. Something where it's more than just getting in the water and covering a distance. Maybe it's time to work on speed, or power, or time. Maybe I should do more than just the front crawl. I'm going to start looking for other options and maybe one of these days I'll go to the pool with a workout plan... could be exciting!!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Biggest Loser... And a tainted look at blogging...

I am inspired by the Biggest Loser. I really love watching the transformations that people go through. It's the one reality show where really, everyone is a winner because almost every always makes a positive change in their lives. Now, it is a little extreme in that some of the people on the show are much larger than most, yet, anyone who has struggled with weight loss can relate. We didn't get there eating carrots. So, as I go along on my journey, I sometimes think that maybe I have it easy. Maybe I don't deserve to be blogging about the changes I'm seeing or the plan that I'm following. But for me, my journey matters, and I might not have a hundred pounds to lose, but I do have fifty. And for me, it's been a battle for a few years now. When I met my husband, eleven years ago, I was in awesome shape. I was running every day, and watching the portions I ate and I looked great. Funny thing was, at the time, I thought I still had work to do. If only the me of today could have told the me of last decade a few things.

Which brings me to another blog that I've been enjoying lately. The Healthy Tipping Point has been interesting. Lots of neat recipe ideas, and training ideas rolled into a blog. The whole point of that blog is to get some ideas and things that have worked for someone else. And then there was an article published that totally ripped apart a bunch of bloggers who blog about health and fitness. None of them claim to be experts, but each has written about things they have done over the years to get in shape and eat better. The article fails to mention that these blogs are only a part of who these people are. Many people have more than one blog and try to be specific to a key area of interest. So, rather than blogging about all the details of their lives, they blog about eating well and exercise. And maybe they don't have it perfect, but they are trying. I found the article really took away from what the blogs are there for. Inspiration. Ideas. Motivation. And it really made it feel like people who try and be healthy and watch what they eat are obsessive etc, rather than pointing out that they are aware. It took what should have been a celebration of their achievements and tried to turn it into something nasty and mean. Granted, I only have been following one of the blogs, but I was a little mortified by the article, since these are the types of blogs I look to for inspiration and ideas (like pumpkin yogurt, yum!!).

And then I wonder about this blog. Am I obsessed over exercise? Am I obsessed over eating? I like to think that I'm aware of what I am putting in my body, and staying within healthy limits to help shed the weight I put on. And on the exercise front, I like to think that I'm living an active lifestyle, by trying to do something every day. I don't go hardcore every day, but I do something. But now I wonder, will someone eventually criticize my methods? I'm just trying to get to a healthy weight for me, to set a good example for my boys. I don't think that's too much to ask. And in the process I'm trying to share some of the things that worked for me. Oh well, I will keep plugging away!!

Checking in...

So, the exercise has been consistent, but what about the eating you might be asking. Well, I have been consistently tracking that since the middle of August as well, and have been very good about staying within my goals as far as eating the right amount of calories for me etc. And, the results have been fairly impressive to date.

Most recently, I weighed in at 178.2 pounds. I'm not quite sure how this is possible, yet I'm so excited by it. This means I'm now down more than 17 pounds since I reached my breaking point. But even more significant, I now weigh less than I have in I couldn't even tell you how long. Definitely since before I had children. Last year, when I was in my best running shape ever, I reached 179 pounds, and that was the lowest I got, and then I was sidelined with my stupid foot injury. I was excited last year, as that had been the lowest I'd been in forever. But now, I've bested that!! It's quite an exciting feeling to know that changes are being made, and that all this effort at eating proper portions and exercising is actually paying off.

It's becoming noticable as well. My favourite part is my arms and shoulders. There is actually some definition there, lines that show where the muscle is. I like it. My husband also says my waist is changing (maybe he could tell my stomach about that, hahahaha). And really, the clothes are fitting better, so there has to be a difference!! It's exciting and I like it, and it just makes me want to continue.

Will I lose more weight? Will I fall off the wagon? Nobody knows for sure, but based on how things are going, I welcome the changes and look forward to more in the future!! I'm trying, and it's paying off!! Calories in, calories out. Such a simple concept but it's true, and paying attention to it, has made all the difference in the world!!

50 days...well 51 days...

So, back in August, I actually reached my breaking point as far as eating and exercise goes. And I started exercising. And every day I did something. And that continues. Up until yesterday, it's been 51 days. It's included weights, running, spinning, biking, swimming, hiking, rowing, and even the Jacobs ladder. Is it a habit now? I like to think so. Do I still worry I'll stop and not start again? Definitely. Well, I know I will start again, but I just worry if I pause, I may for longer than I'd like. So, I keep going. I try and keep it varied so that my body gets a chance to recover from certain exercise specific fatigue. And, it's been going well. I try and space out the running days so that I don't do too many in a row as I don't want to sustain another injury and be sidelined because of it.

Is it easy? Surprisingly, yes. I have to wonder about all the excuses I had before, and what I did with the time. Making exercise a priority has been awesome. I know that every day, I have some time devoted to it, and I look forward to it. If it's at home, I will watch a show while I'm on the trainer or the treadmill. So, then, I not only get exercise in, I also see a show I've been looking forward to... it's a win win. And sometimes, exercise involves the whole family, like for a hike, or the Ambulance Chasers run on Friday. It's awesome!!

So, 51 days done, how long will this streak continue? Only time will tell, but I have my sights set on 100 days now!!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The ride to conquer cancer...

Cancer sucks, there is no two ways about it. Anyone who has had cancer, or watched someone with cancer go through treatments will attest to this. There is really nothing fun about it. The outcome is unknown, and the process is sickening (literally). I have watched a variety of people in my life go through cancer, and have heard stories of many more. It's not a fun thing. I wouldn't wish it upon anyone.

My first real encounter with this disease was when my grandpa was diagnosed with brain cancer. I remember going to Foothills with my grandma when he was getting treatments. I remember when he lost all his hair. And I remember when he died. He was young and something he obviously didn't plan on. It was terrible. I remember (I was just a young kid at the time), wondering why it happened. Why did my grandpa have to get cancer and why did he die. It was obvious that he was trying to fight it, but the cancer was too much for him to fight.

Jeremy's dad had cancer. It was very aggressive. It was a digestive cancer. Again, here was someone who tried to fight it, but less than a year after getting sick and being diagnosed, he died. It was horrible to watch my inlaws going through this.

As I was being reaqainted with my biological dad, I learned that my uncle (my godfather), was fighting brain cancer. We went for lunch at his place, and again, there was someone trying hard to fight it, but not succeeding.

Cancer is terrible. Statistics say that in the province I live, 1 out of 2 people will hear the words "you have cancer" at some point in their lives. I have two kids. The idea that one of them might hear those words devastates me. So I want to do something about it. I want to take steps to help irradicate this terrible disease. I am not a scientist, or a doctor, but I do care, and I know I can help.

This is why I am doing the Enbridge Ride To Conquer Cancer. It's a 200km bike ride that raises money to fund valuable research that is looking to find a cure or a better treatment for those that have to face this devastating disease. Everyone knows someone that's been affected. But together, we can make a difference.

Biking is a new frontier for me. I've done lots of running races, and raised funds for all sorts of different causes, but now I am challenging myself in a new way, and raising money for something that has affected people in my life personally. I am doing this for my grandpa, my father-in-law, my uncle, and for all the others out there that have been diagnosed with cancer. Together we really can help make a difference. So, if you'd like, please, join me on the ride, and if that's not really your thing, then make a donation, it really will help make a difference. Together, we really can make a difference!! Thanks for your time. I will be updating my progress over the next few months...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Very inspiring video

So, a friend posted a link to this video last week. I loved it. I reposted it on facebook, but thought I better take the time to put it on this blog. It's about a guy who lost 120 pounds and in the process became quite the athlete. And, it's really got me thinking. What are my goals. And the goal I keep coming back to is Ironman. I really really really really really, want to do be an ironman finisher. And I'm starting to formulate a plan in my brain. I think I will volunteer next year at Ironman Canada, and then sign up for the year after. It's still just in it's infancy, but I think this is really what my goal is. I was chatting with Jeremy about it, since obviously having his support would be key, and he knows I want to do it by the time I'm forty. But he says to me, "what if you get injured, why wait until you are forty, if you do it before then, and something happens, then you still have a couple more chances". That was so awesome!! And now I really see that it might happen.

Which brings me to tonight. I went running at work with a couple of my coworkers. Keep in mind, one of these coworkers ran Boston this year, so she's fast!! The kind of fast that can pass you running up a hill pushing two kids in a stroller fast. Anyhow, she ran with me, and another girl, and tonight we kept going, and didn't even stop for a single walking break. That was a first (I've run with these ladies a few times previously, and about halfway through we usually stop). It was an awesome run!! I loved it!! We were running at a really good pace too.

At the end of the run, the Boston girl starts talking about ironman and about how she really wanted to do an ironman for her 40th (which is in 2012). Ironically, that matches exactly with the rough plan I'd laid out, and suddenly she's talking about carpooling to Penticton for Ironman Canada next year, and it was such a great conversation. Bottom line, we both have a similar goal, and although she'd likely finish hours ahead of me, we'd both still likely finish with the right amount of training etc.

And then later in the evening, another guy at work stopped by my desk and bought a cookie (which I was selling to raise money for cancer), and he's one of the few people I know who has completed Ironman. And he was talking about bike rides and charity events and it was so great to be in the company of other people who care to do something...

I think that's one of my favourite parts about races. Most of the time you are surrounded by like minded people who want to make a difference. And at those events, you see the power of putting all those like minded people together in one place and what can be accomplished... it's awe inspriring... but more on that next time...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Finding motivation...

So, things are still progressing nicely. I've been dedicated to exercising, in some form or another every day, and I've been keeping track of my eating every day as well. I'm happy with the progress I've made, and want to keep making progress, but am feeling very unmotivated. I think part of my lack of motivation comes from my work life and the stress it has caused lately. I try hard not to bring my work home with me, but every now and and then I think that it brings me down.

However, I'm still keeping at it, so I must be finding the inspiration from somewhere!! Maybe it is seeing the results. I'm happy with the results I've been seeing, from shirts that fit a little bit looser, to pants that aren't so tight. And even definition in my arms and legs. How did that happen??? I mean, I know how it happened, but it sure is nice to see, and it makes me want to keep at it so I don't lose any momentum.

My next reward is lunch at my all time favourite restaurant in Banff, in the rocky mountains. It's called the bison. It's incredible. And it will be my reward for exercising so consistently. And, it will be my reward after I finsh my 10km race!! So, I'll be hungry and craving their food and it will be so fantastic... I just know it!! If you are ever in the Banff area, you have to check it out!! For now, I'm dreaming of all the incredible choices they have...

Friday, September 10, 2010

Staying the course...

Some days, it is really hard to stay motivated. So, it's important to have strategies to stay on course. Take tonight for example, at work, the guy beside me kept offering me cookies. Super nice of him, but I didn't want to add calories to my day!! And then another girl brought in three bags of chips. Seriously people, do you know how hard it is, at 2 in the morning to not eat chips and cookies?? It has taken an extreme amount of willpower to stay away from these things. So what can you do when it seems like everyone around you is trying to get you off course. How do you keep on the path you are trying to follow. Here are a few ideas:

- bring along your own snacks. If you are at a workplace with temptation all around you, bring some things that fit into your eating plan that are tasty and full of nutrition. That way, when someone walks buy with chips or cookies, you can turn them down.

-exercise. Take a walk or run or something when you get a break. Just being active and getting your heart beating reminds you of what your goal is and helps reframe your mind again so that temptations are easier to refuse.

-surround yourself with like minded people. Try and find people in a similar boat or with similar goals. Then, when there's temptation, you can band together and make a healthier choice.

-remind yourself of what your goals are. Ask yourself honestly if the temptation will help you get there faster. Does it match with the kind of life you are trying to create. If not, then pass. Short term pleasure just makes the long term goal a little longer.

-if all else fails, and you know you simply must give in to the temptation, then allow yourself a small portion. If everyone is having cake and you don't want to miss out, have half a piece, that way, you still got the treat, but kept your portions in check. Nobody is perfect and sometimes allowing yourself to have the treat in a reasonable way will prevent you from overindulging later!!

So tonight, I have been successful, I brought in snacks, I stayed away from the cookies, and instead of grabbing chips, I went and ran on my lunch, came back and had my snack I had brought in, and now, I'm just reminding myself of why I don't need the chips since they aren't going to help me get where I want to be!! So I just have to last three more hours...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

So, where are we now??

Well, it's been well over three weeks now, since I started tracking my calories on myplate at And it's definitely making a difference. In pounds, I started at 195.4 and have since gone down to 187. That's a big difference in a relatively short amount of time. Eight pounds is pretty close to two pounds a week. So, it's a healthy amount to lose at a time. And, it sure is motivating!! We have a scale that approximates how much of your body is fat vs water vs muscle and I'm now measuring around 38%. That's over 2% of body fat that is hopefully gone forever.

On the food front, I've been doing well. I still find room to have the occasional treat, but I make sure that there are calories to spare. The biggest challenge was when my parents visited. For some reason, the choices just aren't always that healthy. Jeremy did a great job though making a meal with lots of choices when we made supper, and when we went out for Chinese food, we had exercised earlier in the day to make sure we made up for any calorie surplus that might exist. We also made a point of drinking lots of tea, and tried hard not to fill our plates too full. All in all it was a success and although those might not have been our biggest days of losing, we still stayed within our net calories for the days.

As for exercise, I've really made it a point to include it in my day every day. It doesn't have to be much. A half hour here, a half hour there. But it does have to be there. And it's been quite varied. I have run, walked, biked, spun, swam, done weights and even the Jacob's ladder. I've made a point of using my lunches at work to do something. Even though there's really only half an hour of active time, it's still a half hour. Plus, by not being in the lunchroom, I am not tempted to buy foods that aren't healthy or sit and watch tv only. It really is a mindset to get out and be active and it's working. I've even run with a bunch of different people at work. So, not only am I being active, I'm encouraging others to be as well!! And maybe some of them would have gone anyways, but others have made a point of bringing their shoes etc.

So all in all, things are changing for the better. There's a little less of me now, and I'm already noticing that my pants aren't bursting at the seams anymore (thank goodness!!). So now, just have to stay motivated and keep going...

Oh, and in case you are wondering about the husband, well, Jeremy is now down 12 pounds and doing great as well. I think having him on board and working for similar results has really helped both of us stay on course working towards our goals!!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Swimming etiquette?

So, I swam today. Trying to swim a bit more often, just to stay regular and get stronger in this discipline. Swimming comes fairly natural to me, for that I am grateful. I can get in the water and swim. Not much thought needs to go into it. It's nice that way. Mostly all I do is the front crawl. Boring I suppose. But, the backstroke is just annoying since I can't tell where I'm going, and the breaststroke is just too slow. Which brings me to my question...

Is there such a thing as etiquette in the water? I know at triathlon races, if you touch someone's toes, they are supposed to let you pass them at the end. But I can't ever imagine touching someone's toes at just plain public swimming. At our pool, there are only two lanes to swim in. Most of the time, it's not a big deal, but sometimes it gets a bit busy. Like today for instance. It was crazy. Funny enough, the lanes for swimming weren't too bad, at least at first. Twice, I nearly ran into someone trying to cross through the lanes. I'm guessing they don't have a clue since they went right through the swimmers to get to the deep end. So to them, I don't worry too much. Annoying however, are the pesky breaststrokers. I mean, please, it's not a very fast swimming skill. Some people are quick, but the vast majority are slow, slow slow. And since there are only two lanes, I don't understand how someone can think they are fast and choose to swim in the fast lane. Really, you might be faster than one other person, but you are slower than anyone else!! So swim where you belong!!

I managed to swim 28 laps (there and back, or 56 lengths), before it became an issue. But at that point, it was just too much. There were three people going uber slow in the fast lane. I ended up moving to the slow lane just so I could get in a couple more laps, but then I gave up. at 30 laps, I was done. I wasn't playing dodge the breaststroker, just not worth my time. So, at 1.5km of swimming, I called it, and stopped. It was a great swim, up until the last two laps. I just wish people understood why there are signs for fast and slow. I know I'm not super fast, but I am considerably faster than the leisurely breaststrokers that decided to drive me crazy!!

Oh well, there's always next time... stay tuned for an update on where I stand as far as eating, exercise and trimming down a bit...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

My poster...My vision board...

I have to say, I am definitely motivated by posters. I bought a bulletin board awhile back, and kept bugging my husband to hang it up for me. I suppose I could have done it myself, but I eventually got him to do it. The first thing I put up was a poster of the month of August I had made. It had a running program written on it, but never did follow that. However, what I did do, was start working out. August was an amazing month for working out. I swam about 4 times. I biked about 5 times, I ran about 18 times, and I did weights about 3 times and also played around on the wii a bunch.

Every time I worked out, I wrote it onto the calendar. And then I highlighted it in green. The desire to have green stripes on my calendar was huge. I'm not quite sure why it was so huge, but it was. And as a result, there were enough workouts in August that I exercised every single day (well, a few days were double workouts). But, the bottom line is, I have gotten back in the groove. Was it the poster? Or the motivation to lose weight? Probably both, but I certainly am motivated by the poster!!

Next I will be putting up September. I hope that it carries the same number of stripes as August did. I think it will. This past month has been so motivating that I'm already looking ahead to courses I can take to keep on this fitness train and someday maybe help others in a similar circumstance!!

Are you thinking of putting up a poster? It will help. There's something about colouring in those stripes, or squares that just makes you feel great. Looking at August, it's a sea of green. And I earned every one of those. Last summer I created a poster based on weeks until a half marathon. And it was a colourful one. And each square that was coloured represented a workout. Life is better when you get to colour a little, so I highly recommend it!!

Monday, August 30, 2010

There's an app for that...

So, the book talked about counting calories, and food journaling and figuring out how many calories you need to eat in order to lose, gain or maintain weight. Knowing that I would be needing to count calories, I wondered if there were any apps for the iphone (since basically, the phone seldom leaves my side!!). So, I searched "calorie counters" and of course, a whole bunch came up. One caught my eye though, called I thought this was the Lance Armstrong thing for cancer, so I checked out the reviews on it, and everything I read, was quite positive. I decided, for $3, I could download it and check it out. So I did, and I put in my data from that day. And I have put in my data every day, ever since!!

Basically, the tool is called Daily Plate, or MyPlate and can be used to input the foods you eat and the exercise you do. The database is incredible. There are over a million items in there. In the past, one of my complaints on some of these sites is the lack of Canadian content, however, in this case, the Canadian content is fantastic. Right down to the 12 grain alpine loaf from the local Bowness Bakery. It also has all sorts of restaurants including Canadian content when it is different from the US stuff (ie like blizzard flavours from the Dairy Queen, although I can happily say I have not had any sort of blizzard since I started using the app). And it bases your calories on your goals, either to maintain, lose or gain weight. It nets out so if you exercise, you have a few more calories at your disposal.

But, what if I don't have an iphone, you ask. Well, the online version is free. Yup, that's right. Totally free. It's fantastic. And the online version tracks your sources of calories, so you can check out graphs and stuff on how you are doing, and it let's you know if you are eating too many carbs, proteins, fat, sodium etc. It's great. Really. You can also add meals that you usually eat (like cereal with banana and milk), so that you don't have to input each item every time. And if you make a recipe, you can input it and it will calculate out the calories you ate etc, so even home cooking can be figured out. There is an upgrade to a version with no ads, but so far, I haven't been bothered much by the ads. I've just been so impressed at the program. They even have a diabetic version of myplate. I haven't checked it out at all, but if you are in this situation, I'm sure it's tailored more to the needs of someone tracking and dealing with blood sugars etc.

Basically, I couldn't be happier with the program. It's amazing. It's been fun to use, and now that I'm going on two weeks with it, it's nice to see the different trends emerging and seeing where I need to change my eating and what I'm doing well. My husband uses only the online version, and has been very happy with it as well. I like the iphone app, as it works for me at work, or wherever, but it's nice to get online as well to see some of the graphs and stuff. All in al, it's been a great find, and funny enough, as I got further into the book, it even suggested the exact same site. Funny, I found it before I read about it though!!

So, if you are wanting to keep track of your calories in and out, check it out. It's neat... and so far, it's keeping me in line, and my weight is down four pounds, so that is a good thing... next up, my Saturday adventure...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The book that got me going...

I love books. I love exercise books. I don't really like diet books very much. I like books that inspire me to want to adopt a healthy active lifestyle. Recently, my husband found one such book. It's called Racing Weight:How to Get Lean For Peak Performance by Matt Fitzgerald.

I'll be honest, I am not even done reading it yet, but got so motivated by the first five chapters, that it was worth the money, just for the motivation!! And seriously, I'm not quite in the target market for the book. In Chapter Two, you get to do a little math to figure out what your ideal racing weight might be. This is the best weight for your body to be, to perform your best in your races.

I race, but not really for times, more for staying in shape etc. Last year was the first time I actually started racing at a level that I never thought I'd reach (under 60 minutes for a 10km). In my eyes, this was what separated the men from the boys, the casual runner from the competitor. It was the golden standard for becoming more serious and less recreational. It took a lot of work to get to that point. Getting sidelined with an injury, after my best ever 10km and half marathon was frustrating, but I knew, that there was a competitor somewhere inside me.

I might never be the fastest in my age group, but I might improve on those times. It became apparent, while reading this book, that the less I weighed, the better I would perform. I mean, of course I already knew this, but suddenly I was presented with examples from the elite world. And if it is important to the elites, then it's important to me too!!

So there's the calculations. Figuring out approximately what percentage of your body is bones and muscle and water. If there was not one stitch of fat, what would your body weigh. In my case, about 117pounds. That's crazy!! Of course that's not ideal, but it's the portion of my body that exists without adding on the fat. From there, I could do various calculations to figure out what my optimum race weight would be based on adding in a percentage of body fat. So, in doing so, I would perform best if I weighed around 139lbs. It goes on to talk about how that's not necessarily the weight I should normally be, just the weight I would race best at. And since you don't race every day or even every season, the overall best weight for me, is about 150lbs. Wow, I remember when I used to way that. I even remember weighing 141lbs. That was when I started going out with Jeremy. Oh how times have changed!!

In understanding how this book is not really designed for me, at least for where I am right now, when consulting the chart on overall body fat, I'm in the very bottom row for my age, and even off the chart really, since according to the scale, my body fat currently registers around 40.3% and the chart only goes to 40%. See what I mean? This is simply not acceptable. The book suggests you move up 5 rows. For me, that means I'm aiming to be 28.1% body fat, or 163 pounds. At the moment, I'll celebrate if I simply move up one row, to 35.7% body fat, or 182pounds. So, I certainly have my work cut out for me, but it's nice to have done some number crunching and see where I actually stand and what my goals should be, both in the short run, and over the long run.

The book is nice in that it compares a bunch of different sports, since optimal weights aren't necessarily the same for a runner as they are for a skiier or rower for example. I've learned a lot, and I'm only about half way through!!

One of the best things I've learned though, is the importance of counting calories in and out. Food journalling has never been a strong suit for me, but I understand why it is important and finally found a tool that works for me... stay tuned...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The moment of truth...

So, getting injured last year really derailed my plans. And, although the exercise has been spotty at best some months, I've gotten back on track with it. The eating though, was terrible, ever since the injury. I mean, it wasn't like I stuffed my face with huge amounts of anything, I just didn't eat proper portions and never denied myself a treat. So then treats became more commonplace, and a bigger part of my eating than really they should ever have been.

In the back of my mind, I knew what I was doing. I knew I shouldn't be eating as many treats as I did, but I still did. I kept thinking I'd start working on it next week, so have a few more treats. It was totally the wrong mentality and I knew it. But I just didn't care enough to worry too much. And treats were becoming more of staple than something special to enjoy now and then. More of an expectation than a one off enjoyable treat.

But then something happened. I didn't really notice it at first, but now, my work pants are tight. They are almost too tight. I can still wear them, but if I continue on the road I'm on, I'll need to get new pants, and that is simply not an option. In part, I'm too lazy to go down to the place I would be required to get them, then go to another place to get them altered, only to go back again a week later to pick them up. But mostly, because I don't want to need bigger pants. I'm happy in the pants I have now. I'd be happier if I needed to get smaller ones (although the lazy factor might again prevent me from caring so much!!).

Needless to say, my weight, which was down to about 179, slowly started creeping up, and most recently was back at 195.4lbs. I was angry at myself for letting this happen. Especially because I have been monitoring it, and know that it's a result primarily because of bad eating choices.

So, I have decided to do something about it. I was encouraged, in part, by my husband, who is basically in the exact same boat as I am. He decided to order a couple books on the subject to get us moving. And so we're on our way. I know it won't be a fast process but I am willing to do the work and take the time needed to work on it.

So, here I am, back in the saddle again. Yeah, yeah, I've said it before, but hey, maybe this time really will be different. I can hope and I can try, and if I fall down, well, that's okay, because I can always try again. I know I won't be perfect, but at least I'll be more aware of those imperfections...

Next up... the book that got me (well, us) inspired...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Strathmore Triathlon

So, initially I was telling a few friends about the Strathmore Triathlon as a perfect race for someone who wanted to give this sport a try in a friendly race atmosphere with like minded women. And then, registration opened, and a couple people I knew even registered. I tried registering one night at work, but it didn't work, and then I sort of forgot, and by the time I remembered, it was sold out. So there I was, convincing other people to do the race, but didn't even get signed up myself. I tried winning an entry at the tri diva tri event by bringing in old bras, but my ten, was nothing compared to the girl who brought in 200. And then, I also tried winning an entry, and even emailed the race director, but nothing. Finally, in about May, there was a chance to sign up again, once they knew who had dropped from the race. And so, my awesome husband got me all signed up. Yippee!!

Fast forward to Sunday, August 15th. Race day had arrived. I was ready, I was excited and although I might have trained a little harder, I knew I would finish. Two days before, I bought clip shoes and pedals. I didn't like the shoes and clips Jeremy had, and knew I wanted something different, something more rugged. Jeremy installed the new pedals and also changed out the water bottle holder as I didn't really want to use his fancy aerodynamic one. The day before, I decided that it wasn't clip shoes I wanted, but clip sandals. So, I went to MEC and bought the Keen biking sandals. The souls were a lot stiffer than regular keens, but they fit, and I knew it was the right choice for me. Of course I had to return the shoes, and then I actually needed to try them out. So I did, in the backyard. Oh, and keep in mind, I was deciding between using my mountain bike, and borrowing my husband's triathlon bike. The shifters are all different on a triathlon bike, so if I wanted to use it, I needed to make sure I could go between gears. So, I headed out into the neighbourhood, and rode about 2km, practicing shifting and getting the pedals clipped in and released. And, it went okay, so I made the decision to use Jeremy's bike for the race.

I got all my stuff together the night before. There's a lot of stuff you need. It's not nearly as simple as running. You need an outfit for the pool, ideally something you'd also bike and run in. You need goggles. And a towel to dry your feet off before putting on your bike shoes (or sandals in my case), a helmet, sunglasses (have no desire to get a rock in the eye), bike jersey, bike gloves (yes, I'm a bit of a princess), and of course your race number and belt. Then, there's the running shoes, and a hat, and let's not forget some fuel. For me, it was some gels (clif ones I think), and some water with Jeremy's magical nuun stuff or whatever it was. Here's what my transition area sort of looked like:

Race morning, Jody picked me up and off we went to Strathmore. First hurdle was the bike rack. The bars were too far apart on the bike rack for the bike to fit, so it got thrown inside (and Jeremy, if you are reading this, by thrown, I mean very gently placed with loving care inside the back of the vehicle). We get there and get our stuff set up in transition. It's a bit of a process. You lay everything out, thinking of how you can do so, so that you are in and out of transition as quickly as possible. After that, it was time to get body marked. This is the process where they use a permanent marker to write your number on your arms and legs, thus ensuring that nobody else could secretly take your place or do a part of the race for you. Then, the race meeting and finally things got underway.

One of the interesting things about pool triathlons is how athletes are ranked for their position. It's all based on swim time. And the slowest swimmers are first. This is nice for them as it is reassuring to know that you likely won't finish last. Faster swimmers, on the other hand swim last. This is a bit daunting to those people who are proficient at swimming, yet not as good at biking or running. Because now, you start last, and the feeling is that everyone around you is even faster, and you just might finish last. Jody was in the first heat, I was in heat J, so it took over two hours before I even started the race!! You really are on your own, with no idea of where you stand because of this. You might be near someone on the bike, or pass someone on the run, but they may have been faster elsewhere, and unless you know them personally, you likely won't remember their number to know how you placed in relation to them.

My swim went well. I was happy with it. I passed a person twice, and another person once. But, for the most part, was totally on my own. In transition I got to give my boys a kiss and then headed out on the bike. I worked hard. I pedalled hard, and passed about 7 people over the course of my bike. Then back to transition, chatted with Jody, who by this time, was done. Then off on the run. It was slow. I felt sluggish and I was hot and tired. Even though I had an energy gel at both transitions, I just wasn't all there for the run. And, I got passed by about 5 people. I hate getting passed. I had managed to avoid it on the swim and the bike, but was just too tired on the run. Plus, the people who started swimming after me were faster and it made sense that at some point some of them should catch up to me!! I did run the whole thing though, only breaking at the water stations.

And, how did I do, you might be wondering? Well, it goes a little something like this. My finishing time was 1hour 37minutes and 56seconds. What did that time get me? Well 1:37:56.4 was good enough for 131st place out of 281. In my age group, I was 25th out of 52. And to break it down a little further, my swim time was 13:26 (ranked 128th in the swim), my bike time with both transitions was 50:03 (ranked 122nd in the bike), and my sluggish run was 34:29 (ranked 159th in the run). So, my run wasn't my strong suit that day!! Guess those clip sandals and triathlon bike really helped (last year in my first triathlon, my bike was the weakest of the three disciplines, on the mountain bike). So, I am a solid middle of the pack triathlete. I'm happy with that.

Super Team Awesome... we both finished!! Here's us showing off our body marking... cause that's what it's all about ya know!!

I'd like to get better, but I need to put more time into training and eating better. And that is next up... stay tuned, for the moment of truth, part 2, since I've taken a few steps back since last fall....

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The beginning...

So, I think I might finally be making changes to my eating. I ate well today. As in, no crappy yucky stuff for me. I had decent portions and even though I went to Starbucks twice, I asked for light whip. I know I should have said no whip, but hey, it was a step. And the running, although short, has been going well. I ran 4 times last week, and so far 2 times this week. I meant to swim today, but it just didn't happen. Mostly though, I'm just really glad the eating went well today. Especially the night time snacking. I had some grapefruit, and that was it. Well, and some water. And instead of watching television, we played on the wii fit plus. It was fun. There's some silly yet really fun games on that one!! It's not too fun though being on the cusp of being obese. When I look back, last year I was weighing close to 179, and now I'm up to almost 196. It's not pleasant at all. And it will slow down the running, quite obviously. But hey. It's coming together again and I'm even encouraging people at work to run with me!!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Is this healthy mom?

So, I have a four-year-old. And somewhere along the way, he has learned about eating healthy. Part of this he learned at home, but I think it was reinforced at preschool. As a result of all this, I hear, daily, several times a day, "mom, is this healthy?". He will ask this about everything, and he is now well aware of what is healthy and what is not. He will still want some cookies, but knows he needs to eat healthy meals if he wants to have a treat sometimes.

He also asks to exercise quite often. Usually, he wants to go running, but sometimes it's biking or swimming. He says it's important to move your body and that exercise is healthy for your body. He's four. These concepts are very elementary. Somehow though, as adults, we try to complicate the issues. I don't know why. There's no reason to make things more complicated than they are. I will simplify it just like he does.

Eating healthy is important. Include in your diet, a variety of foods. Fruits, vegetables, carbohydrates, proteins. Basically, follow the Canada Food Guide. It's actually quite amazing how the body will eat what it needs to, when the mind doesn't get involved. I watch my kids and am blown away with how they eat. Granted, their eating is not always perfect, but it's amazing how if you put a variety of foods in front of your child, they will eat to fill their needs. Some days my kids pack away the protein, but other days it's red fruit they crave, and the next time, it's grains. Left to their own devices, they eat what they need. They have yet to develop a psychological relationship to food. So far, they are driven purely by need!!

And exercise. The body needs to move. It's good for us. It feels good. And it keeps us healthy.

It's time to apply his principles to my daily life. And to add in the extra bit of math that applies to weight loss. Eat less calories than you burn, and your body will have to find the calories it needs internally. So, I need to eat less calories than I currently am and exercise more than I currently do, and weight loss should follow.

My husband bought a scale this weekend that measures body fat as well as weight etc. The results aren't so pretty. Currently I am sitting around 193.2lbs, and my body fat is approximately 40.3% of my body weight. Less than ideal. I have about 40 pounds to lose. Compared to this time last year, I'm about 15 pounds heavier than I was. This is very not so good. But, I have some events coming up and a plan for them, so hopefully I can get things in motion.

To start that effort, I've been running on my night shifts. And, not only running, trying to find people to run with... and the other night, I ran with two people!! Tonight though, nobody wanted to run. I nearly skipped it, but decided to go out and run laps of our parking lot. And, I did. I got in 5km in just under 33 minutes. So, there is hope.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Where is the motivation??

So, where does the motivation go? I'm trying to find it. I think it's hiding. I feel as though I'm sabatoging myself. I know I want to change. I know I need to lose some weight. It's been creeping up, yet I've had no motivation to do anything about it. Furthermore, my eating has been total crap. Bad choices as often as I can. It's terrible. I know better. So what gives? Why is tomorrow always the starting day, when tomorrow doesn't ever really arrive?

Sad thing is, I'm starting to get down on myself about it. I look in the mirror and I feel fat. I look at my reflection and the only thing I see is how I seem to be ever expanding at the waistline. It's not fun. I don't like feeling this way, yet seem to be having a hard time doing anything about it. I want to change yet I don't actually know what my first step will be.

Today I sent my husband off with my 4 year old to ride his bike (he's learning), and then I put my baby down for a nap, and I went down and ran on the treadmill. I just did a quick workout. Picked the mixed intervals and ran 4.21km with some hills and some speed work in there. Of course I found my ipod first. It felt so good. It always does. And really, exercise is easy to get back into. Yet I always seem to make excuses these days to not bother. Yet, if I really want to make a difference, I know that I need to work on this. Tonight, I came into work, and used my lunch hour to work out. I did 20 minutes on the bike and another 15 minutes of weight. So, there is progress. It's a start, but I need to keep that momentum going.

Even more so though, is food. I need to get serious about the choices I'm making. I'm pretty sure the best thing I could do is keep a food journal. So, perhaps I'll start doing that. It's definitely my downfall, the whole calories in part of the equation, and with not doing much to expend those calories, obviously the calories out is mostly being stored in the form of fat on my body. Grrrrrr... maybe by blogging about it I can be more accountable. I want to set a good example for my kids. I want them to be active and eat well, so I must lead by example... but some days it just seems so hard...

Monday, April 12, 2010

Back in the saddle...

The last couple months have been fairly disasterous on the exercise front. I'm still battling this stupid plantar fasciitis. It's terrible. I hate it. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. However, enough is enough already. There's more to life than a stupid foot injury. So, it's time to get with the program and get moving again.

And today, I found inspiration in my friend Jody. She is doing her first ever triathlon on May 2nd. So is Jill. It's going to be fun. Really fun!! I'm so excited. So, I signed up. I missed the opening on the Strathmore Triathlon, but not this one. I'm still hoping that somehow I get into the Strathmore one, but I'll worry about that later!! For now, I'm signed up for Tri Diva Tri and excited to be doing it with other people I know. It will be great!! And the person that runs it is the same one that does the Strathmore Triathlon, so the race atmosphere should be supportive and fun. Again, I'm signed up. Yes, yes yes!!

And to improve things even more, today I am going swimming with Jody. That's what got the whole thing rolling. We're meeting up to work on swimming a bit. The Tri Diva Tri is only 10 laps of swimming, so I am almost thinking transition will take longer than actual swimming. But either way, it's just going to be fun, and now I need to get working on things again. It's sometimes tough to fit in workouts with the kids, but I just need to make sure I pick working out above tv or other mind wasters. I can, I know I can. No more lazy lady!! Time to get back on track (gee, I know I've said that before, but hey, every time I get out there, is one more time I'm not just sitting at home...)

Friday, January 29, 2010

The runner's perspective on carrying the Olympic Flame...

So, I already wrote all about my torch experience on The Evolution of Me, but there are a few other things I wanted to write about that are more appropriate to this blog.

I remember the torch relay from 1988. I remember it coming through Medicine Hat and thinking that the coolest thing ever would be to be a torchbearer. It was even cooler that I had an uncle who got to run with the torch. And, if memory serves me correctly, he ran with it a few times in more remote areas. He worked for Petro Canada, and he was a runner, so it was a perfect fit. But that was his life, not mine.

When the Olympics were announced as coming to Canada, I knew there would be a torch relay, and I just knew I wanted to be a part of it. After seeing the torch in 1988 and celebrating with those red mini torch candles, I just wanted to someday be a part of that. So, when it was announced you had to apply for it by committing to improving your community, being active, helping the environment etc, I knew it was only natural that I would write an essay about being a good example to my boys, and trying to inspire others. I think I managed to do both. Personally, in the last year, I went from having a baby, to becoming a better runner than I ever have been. It took a lot of training and dedication, but it paid off on race days. And, I got someone else inspired and running as well. Cindy, went from being a running drop out, to finishing three 5km races, two 10km races and a half marathon. And she's now planning out her race calendar for this year, and inspiring others as well. It's amazing the power we can have on one another when we support and encourage each other. I look forward to watching more friends become active and want to run.

The day I got the email saying I had been chosen I will never forget. It was an email from Coca Cola and my heart started racing. Then, I opened the email and it clicked to a link that played the Open Happiness song and said "Congratulations, you've been selected as a torchbearer" or something similar. I couldn't believe it. I was absolutely shocked and so super excited. And when I got the uniform in the mail, I immediately had to try it on. It really was real. We travelled to BC and soon I was in a room full of torchbearers. Looking around, everyone was so happy. It was a diverse group of young and old, men and women. And everyone was smiling. We were briefed and soon headed out to be dropped off at our part of the relay. There were huge stickers with our number on them. I was running along Island Road in Oliver BC.

After watching various videos and hearing stories, it was my turn to meet up with my family. I was so nervous. I think the last time I was nervous like that I was in a job interview or speaking in front of people. I was a bit surprised actually. The outfits are white because that is the colour of peace, and we wore the red mittens as a symbol of winter in Canada. I chatted with my family and then I began my part of the journey.

I remember the silence. We were on a scenic road in the middle of interior BC. And it was away from the highway and very quiet. When the RBC and Coke trucks went by, there was music but soon they passed, and then the media vehicle passed, and then I could see the runner who was passing off to me. My torch was turned on, and then I went into the middle of the road to meet him. You could hear the noise coming from the fuel burning in the torch. The torches don't even have to touch each other. Once they were close enough, the flame from his torch lit up my torch. And I could hear this, and the silence around me and no other sounds. I mean, my family cheered me on, but once I was on my way, I was struck by how quiet it actually was. It was so peaceful. I had my escort runner with me, but even he was in behind at first. So, it was just me, on this quiet Island Road. I was just awestruck. Eventually I chatted a bit with the escort runner. When it came time to meet up with the next runner, it was again such a special moment, as the flame was passed on. And then, he was on his way, and my torch was turned off and once again, there was that silence. It was so peaceful.

There are several moments in my running career that have blown me away. The energy at the start of any race. Finishing any race. But especially, finishing my first ever marathon (totally teared up). Finishing a marathon pregnant with my first child. Finishing a half marathon under two and a half hours. Finishing the Goofy Race (half marathon one day, full marathon the next). Finishing a 10km on Mother's Day in support of Neonatal Intensive Care while listening to the songs that mattered when my son was critically ill (totally cried at that finish line). Finishing a half marathon while pregnant with my second child with only 18 seconds to spare. Finishing a 10km under an hour (this actually made me cry!!), and then doing it again two weeks later (no fluke there!!). Finishing a half marathon in under 2:05. And each of these moments was incredible, yet none nearly as amazing as being a torchbearer and actually carrying the Olympic Flame. Even as I type this I am teary eyed. I can't believe I was able to be part of something so big and so much more than any one person. I just remember looking at my torch, all lit up and being in complete awe of the whole experience. This is by far the best moment I have ever had in my running career. I don't know that it can be topped. I don't know that I would want to top this. I can't stop thinking about it. And it is just inspiring me to want to do more. To inspire others. To help people who want to be active but don't know where to begin.

For now, I will continue to relive this experience and allow it to keep me inspired and excited about what the future holds. And I will keep on listening to that Cold Play song, Fix You, "lights will guide you home and ignite your bones". The world hasn't seen the best of me yet. And I think this experience can only push me to better myself and inspire others.

Next up I'm gearing up for the Mother's Day run. This will be my fifth year doing it. I have done it ever since I became a mom, even though the first year, I shouldn't have been a mom yet. The money they raise always goes to help Neonatal Intensive Care. It is a very emotional race for me. And this year, Cindy and I are inspiring some other moms to do it with us. I'm so excited to watch these ladies stretch their limits and try something new.

What inspires you?