Backcountry hiking, half-marathon running, fat-reducing is-it-summer-yet PLAN

I love winter.

I really, really do love winter. I play outside on my snowshoes. I find excuses to buy really awesome winter socks, and I now own three winter coats. I like frost and cold. I love the stillness of being in the woods, branches heavy with snow.

And, in the depths of this delightful deep freeze, I love, really love, planning for the summer.

I’ve had my maps out since December trying to figure out where to hike this summer, and how to work those trips around my running schedule and my girls’ adventure to Iceland and Scotland…

And the over-arching issue for all of these grand plans is simply to get in shape.

So, starting with my fabulous 37.9% body fat (erg – I should really just be calling that 38%) I need yet another plan…

Having blogged for about a year now, I’m seeing a bit of repetition… that there’s more plotting and planning than actual DOING going on a lot of the time. But being in a bit of a bind – getting chubbier again and having some big goals to kick this year – I need to get on with that DOING part.

The basic strategy for the next few months is to increase weight training and cardio while cutting calories via “clean eating”. Tah-dah. Yep, that’s it.

I’ve gone old school again, and printed out a calendar, upon which I’ve penciled in my workout schedule.  The training is essentially worked backwards from my half-marathon trail race in July and my half-marathon road race in August.  And the best part is that I reward myself with stickers on the days I work out. Oh yes, stickers work for me. And I work for stickers. (Who doesn’t love happy face stickers??)

So far, I have FOUR stickers!!!!!!!  WOOT!  And let the positive visualization begin :)

37% Fat Tuesday

Happy Fat Tuesday to you and you and YOU.  Throw me some beads, would ya?  And I’ll reveal… that I had waffles ALL DAY LONG today.

Waffles with strawberry compote.

Waffles with vanilla ice cream and blackberries.

Waffles with a tropical fruit salad and coconut yogurt.

Waffles with saffron & rosewater ice cream and pistachios.

Palate cleanser: Havarti.

Waffles with more vanilla ice cream, bananas and maple syrup.

Waffles with strawberry Jello.

Palate cleanser: a pancake and more Havarti.

Waffles with vanilla yogurt, raisins and walnuts.

Palate cleanser: Havarti and Brie.

Seriously.  Shrove Tuesday is OVER, thank goodness, and the delightfully Spartan season of Lent is upon us. Forty days and forty nights of thinking about what I’ve done/become…lol.

On another fat note, I had my fat composition done by some great scientific types over at the University of Alberta.  They do public testing on Wednesdays, and I took the plunge (literally) to find out where I stand, all scale-battles aside.

The process is really kinda cool. You are first weighed.  Then you are tested to see how much air you can expel from your lungs.  THEN the real fun begins as you shimmy into your bathing costume, sit on a metal chair with a weight belt across your lap, blow out every last breath and are then lowered UNDERWATER for 10 seconds while they get a reading.

Yes, there is math involved in all this.

Long story short, my body fat composition is sitting at a hefty 37%. I’ve got some work to do!  Let’s make a plan……….

Happy FAT TUESDAY!  Woot!

 

 

 

Stretchy pants, cabin fever & other anniversary adventures

Let’s just say that the mountain/wedding anniversary celebrations have passed and the era of the stretchy pants has begun.

Seriously, that’s all I’ve been wearing since being away for a week in the Canadian Rockies. Things with elastic waists.  It was a daily struggle between “I want to look good naked” and “C’mon, treat yourself.”

BearStrTavernx I did have quite a bit of control over food the majority of the holiday which was spent at Baker Creek, with a kitchen to prep our own food.  Baker Creek consisted of delightful log cabins in the woods with absolute peace and quiet. So much P&Q that I was getting FAR TOO MUCH SLEEP and a little edgy by the time I finished two novels in four days (The Girl on the Train and A Man Called Ove), and played all the solitaire I could handle, and was wrinkly from hot-tubbing in the wonderful Jacuzzi in our cabin.

No TVs, no telephones and the WiFi on our various gadgets was very limited. Funny how my modern-day decompression habits include scrolling FB or IG.

I lacked the ability to fully chill, and I bugged my husband daily about going out for snowshoe treks.  Yep, I was a complete pest. Our first snowshoe day out was across frozen Lake Louise to the ice waterfall, back again to the Chateau, then up to Mirror Lake, just below Lake Agnes. He thought he was going to die.  He thought I was trying to kill him. Not exactly romantic anniversary stuff.  The trail WAS steep, but we’d done that route a gazillion times before. I guess on snowshoes was a little more challenging. Or it was the altitude. Or maybe because we are not in fab shape. Or the last time we did that was 20 years ago. Or something.KickingitonPtarmiganx

So, by the next day, he was committing to only short snowshoe excursions (which caused me to pout, stomp and act like a child) because he knew at the end of the week I’d booked us into Skoki Lodge and the only way in to the backcountry was to snowshoe for 11K and he’d have no choice at that point.  I need to rest, he said.  It drove me batty.  He was calm and cool as a cucumber.  (How does he do it??)

Returning to Skoki Lodge (read about my last foray into the snowbound backcountry with Miz J.) was an exciting prospect, as I wanted to introduce my husband to these kinds of adventures that are near and dear to my heart.  He was wary.  Very wary. No running water. No electricity.  His biggest fear was sleeping quarters.

Do I have to sleep next to a stranger, he asked.  He was recalling the summer I took him and the boys to several of the Alpine Club of Canada backcountry huts, where everyone bunks down on padded sleeping platforms right next to one another, and God forbid you’re next to the dude who farts sausage stink all night or snores like a freight train. (He experienced both).

I assured him that no, he didn’t have to share a room, and in fact I’d booked the Honeymoon Cabin – a little log cabin completely separate from the main lodge.  He was quite thrilled about that.  And then when I told him all of our food was provided by stellar backcountry chefs, he perked up even more. No noisy people, no cooking and no cleaning… all good.

FirstlookxBlessed with a bluebird day and crazy warm temperatures for January, our Skoki day couldn’t have been more perfect.  We checked out of our  little cabin at Baker Creek and prepared to go every more rustic.  I was SUPER PROUD of him for making the trek out to the lodge.  Not only was he chipper, but he booked it along and we snowshoed up and over two mountain passes and down into Skoki Valley to the lodge in 3.5 hrs arriving mid-afternoon in time for tea. Not bad!! Well deserving of a night in our very own wee cabin.

Skoki’s honeymoon cabin is – by all means – the way to go. The lodge, built in the 1920s, is charming but squeaky, with the ability to hear all of your neighbours in the adjoining rooms. The cabin’s resounding silence conjured up the epic depth and aloneness of the being the only two people in the world on a fluffy king bed with a softer than soft duvet.  Totally amorous if you had any energy left after snowshoeing in, scarfing down multiple bowls of soul-defying tomato orzo soup with homemade biscuits, guzzling lemonade, snacking on cheddar and brie and pecans and blackberries, and polishing off every last crumb of both the gingerbread AND the lemon tea cakes because you couldn’t quite make up your mind which would go better with your third steaming cup of apple raspberry tea.

We completely passed out in that cozy bed until the sun set, and we found ourselves hurriedly throwing on hut booties and sweaters a few minutes before the dinner bell at 7:00 pm. Like we could fit more food in.Firesburningx

The lodge’s great room transformed into a candlelit haven, with staff moving quietly to and fro, preparing for the evening meal.  The menu board promised halibut, spanakopita, Skoki salad, roasted vegetables and chocolate cake.  We selected seats at the long, polished table and were soon joined by our fellow inmates. My dear extroverted husband took over our social obligations and I sweetly faded into the background, observing.  We met folks from Calgary (tell me a time at Skoki where you don’t meet someone from Calgary…) and a couple from the States. There was the obligatory teen, and a few groups of friends, along with some Aussies for good measure.  Most everyone was lovely, and only a few you’d like to short-sheet their beds. Which could actually be done because there are no locks on the doors at Skoki.

A delightful affair, is dinner at Skoki Lodge. Not only because of the stellar menus created and prepared by Katie Mitzel and her staff, but because it is communal, taking us all back to the art of conversation.

I’d like to say after a leisurely dinner that we fell into a fitful sleep from all that mountain air and good food, but alas we did not.  Bedtime at Skoki tends to take place between 9:00 – 10:00 pm, but we were wide awake following our afternoon nap and dinner.  We warmed up the cabin and did a bit of an electronic cheat, listening to the CBC’s Vinyl Cafe on my iPod, watching the battery operated twinkle lights we’d hung in the cabin windows.  It was after 1:00 am and several chilly excursions to the outhouse that we finally fell asleep….just in time to get up for our 8:00 am breakfast. Yes, breakfast.

SkokiteaxAll about the food.  The Skoki kitchen serves up both a cold and hot breakfast (second breakfast!) followed quickly by the make-your-own-lunch accouterments for either your day trips around the lodge or your trip back to reality.  We only stayed the one night, so we made off with cookies and pockets of trail mix, not bothering with the sandwiches this go around.

Our journey back was a slog up Deception Pass and then the long-haul to Skiing Louise and an endless trudge down the ski-out.  Last time, lifties put us over the mountain but this year, snowshoers had to use the ski-out…which added a ridiculous amount of time and effort. Any shine from the lodge might have worn off DH at this point. In fact, yes, yes it was most certainly gone.  There was a lot of cursing about snowshoes and walking and inconsiderate people making other people snowshoe so far just to reach cars where there are heated seats and mobile chargers.

Despite all the tromping around in the wilderness, I still managed to eat my weight in food, and upon arriving back in Banff (and massaging my legs back to life) we had a celebratory (as in, we’re alive!) steak dinner. Mmmm steak.

Hence the stretchy pants.

It might take some time to recover. I might need another week.

 

 

 

Inside out: the real workout plan

Soooo thinking about mind over matter, getting fit, yada yada yada…

It really is all on the inside, isn’t it?

Like, when I have logical discussions with Brain, and Brain is, like, “You should really relax with Netflix tonight and skip that workout. After all, that could be a cold coming on.”  Or, “You really deserve that birthday cake TimBit. After all, you’ve HEARD the rumours, they might DO AWAY with TimBits and this could be YOUR VERY LAST ONE. Ever.” Or simply, “Why bother.”

I coasted through last year depending on a lot of weird motivations to get me through.  Some of it was about not letting my friends down. Or being a good example to others who also wanted to get in shape and lose some weight.  Some of it was about saving face all together, or not dying in the wilderness.  {I don’t think I really was alone to battle it out until I ran that half marathon road race in the Fall.  That might have been my proudest moment of 2014.}

I’ve been trying to pin down my exact WHY behind everything. And every time I speak about it, or write it down, it doesn’t quite seem solid or motivational enough. Digging deep. Etc. Blah Blah.  But how does one start that journey to discover all the answers that are (apparently) on the inside [seriously, how do I get there?]?

The body – whole foods, good stuff only is allowed in.  Okay, that’s a start.  I know what to do. I just need to be consistent. Nourish the body and Brain.

The mind – [Are you listening, Brain???] happy thoughts, happy thoughts…. visualization, meditation, yoga?  Positive self talk?  Maybe I need some Stuart Smally affirmations (I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me…) or some Help help (you is kind, you is smart, you is important…).

The emotions – believing in oneself…right? Confidence? Ditch fear and embrace the unknown? Surround myself with people who genuinely want me to succeed, and learn to accept praise.  Explore some personal development…oh man, do I need to visit that section of Chapters??

So, there are some categories to work on. Somehow. Notes to self.

And when in doubt, there’s always Crave cupcakes. Alright – I know. Not the solution. But I did eat this over the weekend. Um, Brain said I deserved a treat…  Confessional over.

Cupcakex

 

Planting milestones for 2015

Almost two weeks into the fabulous NEW YEAR and I’ve discovered that oh yeah, I’m still me.

It’s like when you get married. Or have a birthday with a zero at the end. And everyone’s like, “Do you feel different??”

Well – I’m still me. Disorganized. Like beer. Love sugar. Need to think a little more highly of myself. And other vaguely endearing traits. But traits that aren’t winning me a kick ass new body so far this year.

That is, after all, what I’ve decided my goal is for 2015: to be, like, uber fit. Yes, the scale will always haunt me and I’ll keep standing on the damn thing (aka I want to lose 50 lbs) but overall, the idea is that I get FIT. Reduce fat, increase muscle. Look awesome. Be strong.

Measurables? Erg. Yes. This is the hard part.

Well, let’s start with some milestones. January: weekend in the mountains full of winter sports, including snowshoeing (yep – another trip out to Skoki Lodge, but this time only one night, so that’s 11 kilometres, 2 mountain passes and a bunch of elevation times two.  Just enough time in between to eat and get a good nights sleep).

May: trail racing! The trail racing season will kick off in the Spring and I’m already signed up for a 10K, with a few others in the pipeline. June: Epic (oh yes, very epic) National Three Peaks Challenge = flying to the UK with my girls to hike the highest tippity-top mountains in each Scotland, Wales and Britain…all in 24 hours. WOOT.

July: Running a half-mara, trail style in the mountains, Powderface. Hiking the West Coast Trail with my most awesome blood relatives who are dear enough to put up with me and give me rides to all the very best trailheads. August: More Rocky Mountain hiking and a half-mara road race in Van, Seawheeze.

Oh, and I did sign up for some online “run 2,015 miles in 2015″ thing, too. But they’re PURPOSEFUL miles, not just all my FitBit steps.  Let’s just say, I’m currently a little behind on that goal.

Did you catch all that blank space? Sort of between February and May? That’s gonna require some serious training….However, my KNEE (and I’m so sorry that I’m going to go on and on about this to the point of boredom) is killing me.  The doctor says to go get orthotics and new runners.  Apparently my issues are due to the fact that my feet turn in.  The rehab guru gave me 10+ boring but important exercises to do to strengthen the glutes.  Apparently my issues are due to the glutes not firing…putting pressure on other parts of my legs.  Soo.. being a good girl I’m just doing it all.

new shooze

I need my knee back so that I can walk, run and hike.

I suppose in many ways getting an injury is beneficial. It gives the opportunity to learn more about your body and be more careful. It’s also upping the ante right now, making nutrition my #1 star, not sweaty workouts.  Insert sad face = I LOVE sweaty workouts.

The shock of going back to work (no more 8-hours-a-night) has made me all lethargic.  Last week, I only made dinner once, and left the family to fend for themselves.  We all ate poorly.  One day, I think I ate nothing but carbs. It was so weird.

With that top of mind, on the verge of a new week, I decided to ensure that THIS week was not going to be a nutrition disaster.  Today was BEAUTIFUL out = sun + blue sky. I was dying to go for a snowshoe or over to the winter festival…but I promised myself that I would go shopping (Costco!) and prep meals for the week.

Meal prep January 2015

Now, this meal prep actually took me HOURS. The sun set and I was still prepping!!! Maybe it’s because it was my first time to really do it on a grand scale?? I hope this gets shorter…!  I made 5 lunches + snacks for myself based on the 21 Day Fix nutrition plan, then a set of grab + go snacks for the boys for lunch or after school. Then, I started in on the meal prep for suppers. I posted the menu on the family blackboard, so I’m sticking to it.

MON – Shredded chicken tacos & salad
TUE – Shepherd’s pie & broccoli on the side
WED – Caribbean beef stew
THU – Turkey quinoa taco bake & salad
FRI – Pasta w/Sicilian meatballs & Caesar salad

All of these have healthy and not-as-healthy options. I’ll go heavy on the greens and light on the optional carbs on most of these for myself.

The good news is that in this process I re-discovered what was in the depths of the freezer, and another goal is to use up what we have before buying new stuff.

Now, it’s like, bedtime, and no snowshoeing, no frolicking outdoors…etc.  Sigh. But I think I did the responsible thing… Until next time, some snowshoe shots from LAST week :)  Have a fabulous week out there!

Snowshoe awesomesauce

 

A year in pictures

Looking back to 2014 with pride. And a whole lotta iPod selfies. Let’s blow it out of the water for 2015.

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...”  ― Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You'll Go!

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”
~ Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

Down with moderation – and other 2014 reflections

“It’s better to burn out than to fade away” ~Neil Young

TOTALLY have mixed feelings looking back at 2014.

Love love love love all this:

  • Two amazingly awesome incredible this-is-so-me/can-I-do-this-forever backcountry hiking trips with my coz
  • A 25K trail run, a half-marathon road race, and a handful of smaller trail races
  • A winter snowshoeing backcountry adventure; a crazy road trip to off-season Glacier National Park in Montana; an #unexpecteddrive to Alberta’s badlands = all with my girl, J.
  • Losing 30ish pounds

Not so in love with this:

  • ONLY losing 30ish pounds (it should have been more)

But now I just sound greedy.

Last year I wrote: “2014 is about getting fit, and getting outside.  Losing weight is the icing on the cake + the foam on my beer, but the ultimate goal is to be healthy and fit.”

Anyway, I DID GET OUTSIDE which was my main goal for 2014.  And I had SOOOO much fun.

But I think in my heart of hearts, I didn’t JUST want to get outside. I wanted to be in crazy good shape, have muscles, no body fat and of course, continue to explore the mountains and weigh a whole lot less.  So – I think I need to revamp my goals for this coming year to reflect those thoughts!

If that’s what I really want, I’m going to have to work really hard and be super committed for #LeanMean2015.

[insert whine here] I was really trying to do that “everything in moderation” stuff in 2014 and balance the h-e-double-hockey-sticks out of my life, but oddly enough when I stopped going balls to the wall with the weight loss in around June and just followed a ‘program,’ my results were not as dramatic.  True? False?  Hm. Or did I get lazy?

Down with moderation!  Go big or go home.  Will this work in 2015??  WE SHALL SEE.

Game plan to follow!!  Have a DELIGHTFUL New Year’s Eve.