Top three: outdoor winter cross training

It’s a beautiful day.

Blue sky, crazy warm temperatures, and here I am on a Saturday morning… in bed.  Still battling a cold.

I’ve been eating healthy food, drinking loads of fluids, sleeping like crazy, even took two days off work this week. The doctor claims my lungs are clear and I’m “fine” but it’s just that my body is fighting back hard, leaving me tired and sniffly. BOOOOOO on that!  I’m dying to get outside again.

Last weekend, I managed to squeeze in a whole whack of amazing winter activities.  Cross training at it’s finest.  Don’t let winter get you down – go outside and play!  This gives the bod the opportunity to use a few other muscles or parts you never knew you had.

Fat tire biking
It’s winter, only the crazies ride their bikes in the ice and snow, right? Well, I rented some fat tire bikes for me and Jim to try out, and boy –  felt like a kid all over again!  Those big fat tires make for a grippy but smooth ride whether on pavement or pathways. We hit the trails around Lac Beauvert in Jasper and had a blast zipping along the snowy pathways through the trees.  And bonus – you can burn up to 1,500 calories an hour on those suckers!  The only drawback – having not been on a bike in forever – was that my butt was totally busted after that ride due to the hard seat. Dude. Three days of aftermath for that one.

Snowshoeing
Since the purchase of my trekking/backcountry snowshoes about two years ago I’ve loved getting out both in the mountains and in Edmonton’s River Valley to explore and soak up some sunshine. This time, I tried out “fitness” snowshoes.  Streamlined, short and light, these snowshoes are ideal for walking and running.  I signed us up for a snowshoe race!  We trotted a couple of times but mostly just walked the 5K loop, stopping to snap photos and drink hot chocolate at the halfway point.  Depending on weight and terrain, you can burn up to 1,000 calories an hour snowshoeing (score!) and those hip flexors get quite the workout.

Cross country skiing
Cross country skiingDriving out to the Blackfoot Cooking Lake area for some late Sunday afternoon skiing, I should’ve known better.  I meant to just do a couple of loops on the lake near the staging area and then drive home, but the lure of the trails beckoned and soon enough I was gliding along through the trees. So fun!  Of course, being directionally challenged, by the time I checked the map I was waaaayyyy far away from the staging area, and the sun was beginning to set. While the average person burns about 500 calories an hour, I’m sure I was up at 700 just due to minor panic.  Sun setting. Coyotes howling. Wiping out on the icy trail hills where the track setting had long since been demolished by skiiers climbing up the other side.  I lived to tell the tale, and can’t wait to get back on my ratty old skis.

Which is why I have a cross country ski date this afternoon at 1:00 pm with Miz R.  And why I’m going to lounge in bed, resting some more, until that time.  Eeeeee!  Love winter!!

What’s your favourite winter cross training activity?  (And yes, cheese fondue is a correct answer…)

 

 

 

 

Mid-year goal check-in —-> are we there yet?

WELL – I’m having a GREAT summer so far!!

I’ve run a race in the mountains, been camping with old friends, hiked the three highest peaks in Scotland, England and Wales, gone on two multi-day backcountry hikes, enjoyed time with family and friends… quite spoiled, really.

But … in terms of dropping 50 pounds, I’m totally not there. At all. Not even close.

I’d actually forgotten I’d written that down as my 2015 goal to get lean (by 50 lbs!!!!) this year. Sooo July is done, and that’s a little more than halfway through 2015. In other words, I’ve not seriously been pursuing weight loss goals up to this point. That leaves me 5 months to get back on track.

What’s the plan? Damn good question!

My race training has been totally off lately due to all the hiking (and laziness).  My workouts have been hit and miss. My post hiking food has included a lot of grilled cheese and fries.  Mmm grilled cheese.  Sooo it’s time to turn that around.

My goal this week (baby steps) is to schedule my workouts and plan lunches & dinners for the week.

Boring, right?

But I know if I stick to it, it will work.

Stick. To. It.

One day at a time.

Loyalty vs. critical thinking: making the right choice for you

I’m a very loyal person.

Maybe it’s the Virgo in me.  Or perhaps simply because it’s a safe place to be – pick your team, support ’em, make it work. Be happy with your choice and be exclusive, no exceptions. Show everyone you are committed.

Well.  Perhaps loyalty can be slightly misguided.

I grew up with two kinds of pop (Coke or Pepsi), two kinds of toothpaste (Crest or Colgate), two kinds of gum (Dentyne or Trident), two teen hearthrobs (Leif Garrett or Scott Baio)…you get the picture.  When I was a kid, you staunchly defended one or the other. Never did you jump ship to the other side. (I still feel guilty that I like Pepsi now when I was a Coke girl all my life).  Now, I can stand for 20 minutes in front of a gum rack at the grocery store and still not know which one I want.  So many options.

Let’s take fitness: I want to believe that there’s one “right” way to get in shape, feel better and trim the fat. I like knowing I made the “right” choice, am following the plan and will get results. But that’s so far from the truth that I’m feeling a little foolish.  Not only is there NOT one way for everyone, there’s not even a single way for ME.

I suppose it’s all in perspective. I have to shift my thinking that I’m not cheating on running with yoga, but instead they’re both doing different, positive things for my body. That switching from one trainer to another will continue to build my strength and to try new things is probably good for me on a bunch of different levels. Just because I tried something and it didn’t work, the “failure” is a learning experience, not a reflection of a crappy choice.

Being practical, and thinking critically are habits I need to develop.  I want to be loyal. But I shouldn’t confuse loyalty with laziness (lazy to try, lazy to change, waiting for ideas to be handed to you….).  I have to face the fact that just because the marketing is good, or the concept worked for someone else, that certain fitness plans won’t always be the be-all, end-all solutions, and I need to be SMART about my choices.

I am here to be the best I can be.  So, I’ll continue to share my adventures… like trying out DietBet or Weight Watchers… this week I bought a new skipping rope and have been inspired to practice headstands.  Stay tuned.

 

 

 

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!

 

 

 

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!