Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Morning After

It's been a few days since Calgary participated in the Calgary Marathon event. All the dust has settled and some of the excitement of the day has worn down. Participants were sent copies to purchase of any photos that were shot of them, and most of them (of me) were pretty bad! It reminds me of that hilarious picture about the girl running....and let's just say that sums up what I felt about the photos. (Make that "what I KNOW I look like")

Anyway, this always leads to the "what next" question. For me, "NEXT" is running Melissa's (another half marathon) in Banff. It's the 33rd year for this road race in the beautiful mountains of Banff. It will be quite a challenge for me since I only walked this last half (and I think the course is a lot harder). But that's what's next for me. I have approximately 4 months of training for that one.

My friend who ran the Marathon sent her update about what is next, and she has some exciting plans that don't have much to do with running. Part of what she didn't like about the whole training for a marathon was that she was constantly hungry and didn't feel like she had the same control that she had before. Your body needs a LOT of fuel for something like that, and it can be hard to "carb up" when your mind is like "no!!!! put that pasta DOWN". Or, if you are like me - I often feel "entitled" to eat something after a long workout or walk/run because "well, hell, I have earned it"!

Anyway, we all know that to get in shape and lose weight, that there are two components: eating well and exercising. But here's the question: What do you guys find is the harder one? Finding the time to actually exercise and push yourself appropriately, OR sticking to a healthy eating plan? I think you'll know what my own answer is lol. Now obviously, when you are training for an event - you absolutely need both (although I have known people who drink and smoke excessively throughout marathon training) BUT I have heard quite often that diet is 80% of weight loss, not exercise.

Anyway, just curious as to what you guys think about this one. I know it's apples to oranges because eating well by itself won't help you to train your body for a marathon, but just wondering if people find exercise or eating right easier?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Calgary Marathon Weekend

Hi Everyone!

This past weekend was an exciting one. It was my own first half-marathon, as well as a friend's first MARATHON! This friend has been on one exciting journey of fitness, transformation, personal growth, you name it, over the last couple of years. The culmination of all this was symbolized by the marathon that she ran yesterday.

I won't go into the details of the actual race itself, but you can imagine the emotional rollercoaster that she would have gone through along the 42.2km's that she traveled. My friend has given me permission to share some very personal information with you all here, and at the end you will understand why I wanted to share this without you knowing her, or having too much insight into her own journey.

Anyway, here's what she had to say:

"[the 32k mark]...I think this is where the spirits really went sour for me. Thoughts of my "journey" kept me going. Truth be told I have been through so much in the last 4 years and I just wanted to finish, no matter what quitting was not an option.

Around 36K I texted my husband and told him I was emotional and "shuffling". I would switch between walking, shuffling and running, but I can tell you it was so very HARD to get to the running stance...

I turned the final corner and knew "this is my moment''.  With every last ounce of effort I ran to the finish line. I did not make my 5:00 hrs but it doesn't matter. I was 4th last in my age category and finished around the 5:43 mark. The last runner in my age category finished at 7:10 minutes (I believe).

It was an amazing experience, I knew this was something that I needed to do, and I would not give up until I had a marathon medal.

I will NEVER do a full marathon again.

I have learned that it's the moments that are the most challenging that define us as human beings. And I can say I am a changed person.

I can say that this chapter of my life is closed. I will never look back and have any regrets, in fact this is closure for me. It taught me that a person at the very bottom, who just refuses to to give up, can change their whole life around and come out on top.

I am thankful for the experience, I am thankful for those who stuck by me and never gave up on me and I am also thankful for the knowledge that I can face ANYTHING life throws my way!"
I am very proud of this friend of mine. But what I love most about her story (and being able to see it unfold before my very own eyes has been amazing) is what she said earlier about a person who refuses to give up can chage their whole life around, and that our most challenging moments are the ones that define us as human beings. Isn't that the truth?

I had my own 'revelation' at this event. The year before this, I completed the 10K and was so proud of myself. After that race, I knew I wanted to do a half-marathon the next year, and so I trained for it.

The revelation was this: In one way, as we were lining up for the start this weekend, it seemed to me that the half-marathon was this crazy distance and I couldn't believe that I was doing this (even though I was only walking it). But it dawned on me that because I had trained for this, I had absolutely no doubt that I would finish. I knew it may be tougher towards the end but there was no question I was prepared and I could handle it. In that moment, I thought of some wise words that go like this: "The absolute, most sure-fire way of physically moving in the direction of your dreams, is living them, now, to ANY degree that you can" (Mike Dooley).

Here's the point...(and an event such as a race is such a good analogy). You may think that something you want is out of your reach (and it probably is at the beginning - if it's a goal that causes you to stretch yourself). BUT - all you have to do is to begin. That's all. Begin by doing one thing that pulls you closer to your goal or your dream. You don't have to know exactly HOW this will happen, you just have to do SOMETHING!

Too many times we get frustrated because the goal or dream seems too overwhelming to us. Of course it is! Because we have soooo many steps to take before we get closer to realizing it. But the point is that EVERY STEP gets you that much closer. In this case, every time you train and go one extra kilometer, or add an extra 10 minutes to your workout, you are moving closer and closer.

I don't profess to want to complete a marathon anytime soon - that's not something I am interested in working on right now. And of course from where I sit today with my current perspective, that seems incredibly out of my reach. I could not have imagined after finishing yesterday, turning around and re-doing that entire distance OVER again - which is what my friend did basically! But I do know that if that ever was a goal of mine, that I could do it....By putting one foot in front of the other, and completing smaller, "bite-sized" goals along the way. And that my friends, is how we accomplish ANYTHING in life.

What do you want to do? Start today. By doing one tiny thing that makes yesterday a little bit different than today. That's all you have to do.

Here's a photo of Syl finishing!

And here's a photo of me with my medal...


Friday, May 25, 2012

Lifestyle Eating

Remember not that long ago when I talked about how diets just don't work for me? How I hate feeling restricted, and that I just can't "follow" a plan?

Well I recently stumbled accross a book that I am so excited to share with you all because it basically details my own eating philosophy (and rejection of diets). Just because it's my own philosophy doesn't mean I do it all time - but it's what I "aim for" and what I think makes the most sense so that you can actually enjoy all sorts of food. The book is called "Naturally Thin: Unleash Your Skinny Girl and Free Yourself From a Lifetime of Dieting".

The eating "philospohy" talked about in this book is one that allows you to enjoy food and makes YOU (that's right -- YOU) the food expert in your own life. Like so many women, I used to think of food belonging to two categories: Good and Bad. When I ate a food from the "bad" category, I would feel guilty or negatively about myself, wondering why I didn't seem to have the same good self-dicipline that others had - I'm sure we can all relate to this to some degree. But besides the terribly over-processed foods (which nutritionally speaking are not good for your health, but don't make you a bad person if you eat them) the idea of foods being bad or good; of food being off limits because a diet book makes them so or because people say they are "fattening" is just not true. The truth is that food is food (and I am talking real food). Nothing more, nothing less.

There's the question of whether or not some diet plans are even healthy!? Here's an example for you....and one that I have a particular issue with: Some diets encourage you to use heavily processed foods (or "fake" foods as I call them)...These products claim to be healthy for you because they are low fat, fat free, etc. I encourage you to take a look at the ingredient list on these products. This is not food. This is a blend of disgusting chemicals. And in the end, because it isn't food - it doesn't fill you up. Or maybe it leaves you still craving what you wanted in the first place. Have what you want people! Everything in moderation.

The author of this book I found, Bethenny Frankel (YES - from the Real Housewives talks about common sense things that seem not so common somtimes: Giving into food you really want - but not overdoing it; downsizing portions; paying attention to what you are tasting; and practicing good self care (among many other things). What I love most about this book is that it allows you to take back control of your own life and makes YOU (NOT some "diet expert") the person making decisions about what you want to eat, how much to eat, and how much (and what type) of exercising to do. We too often give our own power away to an author or an expert of a diet that tells us exactly what to eat and when. Just like our bodies, none of these are a one-size-fits-all solution.

Bethenny offers so many practical tips and suggestions on how "Naturally Skinny" people eat. It may be a bit scary for those who may be so used to following a plan. Anyway, I just thought I would share it with you. It makes sense to me - but can also be easier said than done. It can be hard to "stop" when you are enjoying a particular food that you love; or not eat out of emotion at times. I personally need to follow some things a little removing distractions when eating and reducing portion sizes. All I know is that I truly enjoy food and don't ever want to feel like I am "missing out" because I am on some crappy diet....that (BTW) ultimately is supposed to make me happy in the end. You know what would make ME happy? Feeling like I have self-control and can eat whatever the hell I bloody well want. That's it.

lol....Happy Friday Everyone!


Sunday, May 20, 2012

"Riced" Cauliflower

Cauliflower may not make a very good pizza crust (remember this?) but it does make one hell of a good side dish for people who are off grains or watching their carbs. (Kar, this post is for you).

All you do is take one head of cauliflower, cut it up into smaller little pieces and roast it in a fairly generous amount of olive oil and salt & pepper for about 20 minutes - or until it's browned to your liking. (When I roast vegetables, I do like them to be fairly dark). Anyway, once this is done (and the cauliflower is slightly cooled) you throw them into a food processor and PULSE away until it's almost reached the consistency of rice. It's really quite good. I recently came across a recipe that also said to toss the cauliflower with a few chopped capers. I'll bet that would be delicious.

Here's a photo of the roasted veg...

And what it looked like once I was done with it.

I hope everyone is having a great weekend. I am "kid-free" so last night I was able to just relax on the couch - something that I haven't been able to do in far too long. In addition to being able to catch up on the Real Housewives of Orange County, I also watched the "King's Speech" - a great movie.

Talk to you soon!


Monday, May 14, 2012

Mothers Day Weekend

First of all - I hope all you mothers out there (mothers-to-be and mothers-of-pets included!) had a great Mothers Day. Mine was great. It was spent with my own mom and two sisters out in Canmore.

The weekend included a 12K Race (Rocky Mountain Soap Co.) with my cousin's girlfriend and a good friend who completed the half; a few delicious meals; some massages for my sisters and mom; another Pizza - this time - with the Double Zero Flour; and a nice afternoon baking cookies with my little girl; getting special photos of us taken by a great local photographer; and finally a trip to the park with my little girl and our pups.

I'll start with the race...It was challenging for me because I ran most of it but have been mostly walking for my half-marathon training. The main complaint was my knees: They weren't used to pounding the pavement quite like that, and they sure let me know they weren't impressed. Otherwise, the race was great - haven't ever done a 12K before and it was an ALL WOMEN event! Love it! The event was in our backyard: The Rocky Mountains. I LOVE Canmore. It's only about a 45minute drive outside of Calgary and it is a lovely little town. I'm actually going back there in about a month for a hiking trip with my best friend - something we have made into a yearly event around her birthday.

Here's a photo taken just before the start:

A photo "during"

My cousin's beautiful lady (who I luckily found around the 7K mark! We couldn't find eachother at the start!)

A terrible photo of me and a moutain!

My AMAZING friend crossing the finish line after climbing 7K uphill during the last bit of her HALF Marathon - her third!!

Okay - let's talk about the Pizza now. I mentioned that I finally found the Double Zero flour. I took this with me to Canmore to try out - and it worked out OK. Part of the reason for it not working out quite as good as I wanted was that I didn't have good measuring cups and the oven was terrible! Anyway, I would like to try it again here with the flour and see what happens. I made enough for two large pizzas, so I froze one half of it and I think it will turn out even better here because I am familiar with my own oven. It needs to be baked at a really high heat quickly.

My pizza dough! All risen up and ready to be "stretched"!

My sister Kari stretching out the dough and helping me add toppings. For this pizza we used pizza sauce, spinach, roasted red peppers, grilled zucchini, mozza & parm cheeses and a bit of shredded basil.


And finally, a shot of the "Three Sisters" behind the "The Sisters" (Mountain)

Have a great week everyone!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Longest Shortest Distance

In my last post, I had mentioned that during the upcoming weekend ahead (now last weekend), that my dear friend Jenn and I were going to complete a 5K walk with our darling children and that I would report back the success (or lack thereof) of the said adventure. And I am here to tell you tell you that the 2.5K we managed to accomplish (yes, that would indeed be half of the distance -- thank the Lord for loops) was actually one of the longest distances I have completed. Even the 18K yesterday was not nearly as grueling as that distance on Sunday. Okay.....I am almost kidding. Almost.

Let me explain why. The "darling children" decided that they would walk wherever they pleased; wanted to stop and watch ducks; chase eachother near the road; cry to be picked up and carried; call out for snacks, juices, get the picture. You might think that having the wagon was a smart call...that it would be convenient if the little ones legs got tired from all the walking. Well - I'll tell you what it was good for: holding all of our "stuff". The wind was STRONG as we huffed it up minor inclines which seemed like mountains at the time. Pulling that damn thing with the girls in it more than 2.5K was quite a task!

So here's the "race recap": We finished the distance in 45 minutes. That's right. 2.5K in 45 long minutes. And despite all that I have reported.....we had fun! It was a lot of work, but we laughed a lot and the girls had fun running about! Here are a few shots:

I told you the wind was crazy!!

Ok - I did leave out mentioning that at the end we made the girls haul the wagon on their own ;)

Hav a great day!


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Training for a Half Marathon

Hello Everyone!!

It's been a long week for me. I had a bit of the flu mid-week which came at the most inopportune time of course. I am feeling like myself again - thank goodness - but had to catch up on some things that I missed when I was "down and out". Anyway, I wanted to talk about my half-marathon training....I can't remember if I mentioned this earlier, but I signed up for the "Calgary Marathon" half-marathon race this year - the same event that I ran a 10K in at last year. I am still doing the half but instead of running it, it will be a combo of walking and some running. I just don't feel that I have trained enough to run it, and have really enjoyed walking to be honest. There's a good group of people that walk instead of run at the Running Room, and you still get a hell of a workout by longer distance walking a good pace.

Erin, one of my walking friends and I were talking about the differences between walking and running since we have done both. Admittedly, there is a "high" that you get from running that you don't get from walking. But walking is great because sometimes you just don't feel like running. That's what started it for me. I wanted to do the distance but just didn't feel like I could get my butt in gear to do it. I told myself instead that I at least needed to get the distance in, and just run when I started feeling like it again. Only I never got that urge. Actually last weekend while we were doing our 18K walk, was the first time in a while that I did feel like running (and not to shorten the time up -- took us about 3 hours!). It was because of a LARGE group of half-marathoners who were doing their race in the same place we were walking. There's just something about the energy of running in  a race!

So I did get in an 18K distance last weekend. I think that on race day that we will be walking even a bit faster, and if there's a few running bursts (from all the excitement) thrown in for good measure, I imagine that it will take right around 3 hours to finish the entire distance.

I'm headed off to Medicine Hat to see a wonderful friend and help celebrate her daughter's 4th birthday. We'll be doing a 5K walk for charity this weekend with our kids. This will be the first event my daughter has ever been in - so I will let you know how that goes. Don't worry - we're bringing a wagon. If she feels like it, she can pull me ;)

Happy Saturday everyone!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

May is about Money

Well if April was about taxes, then May is about money. Only because after the task of completing these taxes, it dawned on me that I have no idea where my money goes! How is it that you can make "x" amount of dollars and not have a clue where the hell it went?

This is a sentiment shared by friends around me - and because of this, I thought it would be interesting to do an experiment: During the entire month of May I am going to track every penny I spend (other than regular bills, mortgage, etc.) so I can try to find out where my "spending" money goes and hopefully keep a little more with me ;)

I'll document everything paid with cash; debit or credit card and total up every week into categories.

Wish me luck! I'll let you know what I find!


Tips for Managing Stress & Anxiety (plus a smoothie recipe!)

Read my latest blog post on You Ate: And my smoothie recipe!