Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

As I write this I am waiting for my kids to fall asleep as we wait for Santa to arrive.
After a crazy month of planning, shopping, baking, crafting and more shopping, I can finally breathe a sigh of relief...there is nothing left to do but enjoy family, friends and of course food!

With the 30 day challenge, I can thoroughly enjoy the food part of it too. I enter into the holidays with a sense of accomplishment and with loose fitting clothes. I can indulge without guilt (or postponed guilt). But the best thing about this 30 challenge is that I did it without too much sacrifice overall.

The most challenging part was a couple of early mornings scheduled when there was no other reasonable time to get a workout in. In 24 days I've learned to schedule my time to get time for me...if that makes any sense. I have stuck to the workouts and planned for them. I think the 30 day challenge could extend to a 60 challenge...maybe.

In January I am hoping to launch a new challenge, one that is for the whole year, and something to do with running, as my goal is to keep a good running schedule this year. I have high hopes for 2011!

Tomorrow is Christmas day and with it comes a crazy morning of gift unwrapping and family feasting...somewhere I also am planning a sweat session with Jillian Michaels, once the kids are settled with their new playthings. Best wishes for your special day. How will you take time for yourself with such a crazy day?

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Day 16

I am proud as punch!

I have manged to fit in a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise EVERYDAY since Dec. 1st. The best part is...that it really hasn't been that hard to do.

I admit, there have been days were I would rather not have Jillian Michaels yell at me, but overall it just come to planning. The best workouts are when my kids join me, using stuffed animals and Barbies as hand weights!

I have been really good at taking a look at the family calendar and seeing all the craziness planned for the week ahead, then figuring out the best time for me to create a little sweat. Now, this was where the challenge part of the 30 Day challenge came in. It wasn't the 30 minutes part (that's easy), it was waking up at 6:30am in order to do said 30 minutes. Realizing that the only time I have for myself is at 6:30am is kinda sad...but really, that's the life I chose (as a working mom).

So yesterday and today I woke up early, found a movie playing on TMN and tuned in for half and hour while peddling my little heart out on the bike. The bike is about the only form of exercise my body is capable of at such an hour.

Now....I can be rewarded for my efforts. Tonight I will be enjoying a work Christmas party completely guilt free!
Keep in mind, I didn't start this challenge to lose weight over the holidays, I just didn't want to gain any. I wanted to be able to enjoy the pleasures of the season (mostly those pleasures that come in chocolate or alcohol form) without feeling like a beached whale by Jan. 1.

So onward we go! The real challenge will be amped up on Christmas eve and Christmas day, but I will worry about that then.

I still have tons of shopping and gift finding to do, so right now most of my mental state is focused on that. That and trying to give subtle hints to hubby that I want a new running watch this Christmas!

How's your challenge going? Are the holidays getting the best of you yet?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Day 9 and weekend recap

The weekend proved to be challenging for the 30 day program I set up for myself. With the increase of family get togethers and the pressure of getting holiday 'stuff' organized, I am finding less time to exercise. But that was the whole point of this 30 mins/day challenge.

It is the craziest time of the year and it's just too easy to put everything on hold unitl after the holidays. The problem is, after the holidays is when I regret that I put everything on hold. Enough whining and sweat already.

Saturday was the Santa Claus Parade and even though I was planning on counting the parade walking as my 'workout' I did sneak in a quick upper body weight workout...just for fun. Although later I came to regret that ( more on that later). The parade was great and after spending 3 hours in the cold weather walking up and down (even jogging a little) a 5Km route I was so tired and spent. But we had to clean up the rec. centre and I helped put away tables. Which were too heavy for me after my 'fun' upper body workout earlier in the day.

Sunday was a family get together and I fit in a 30 min. run...exactly 30mins. because that is all I had time for. It was very cold and crisp and I was pretty tired still from the day before.  However, I did it and had no second thoughts of having two desserts that night.

Monday I was plagued by a nagging sore neck that I attributed to the lifitng of tables after having a long tiring day. I figured if I laid off the weights for a bit it would work itself out. WRONG (more on that later).!!
I rode the stationary bike for an hour, watching re-run of Glee, which kept me groovin'.
Tuesday I thought I should ease up a bit as my neck was still sore, so I kept it to deep yoga stretches for my legs and hips...staying away from anything with my neck.
Tuesday night my little one woke up at 10pm vomiting and continued to vomit every half hour until 6am. We were both exhausted. She bounced back during the day, but I admit that I'm not as 'bouncy' as I should be.

Heading into this weekend I hope that:
  • everyone in my family remains healthy
  • I get majority of my holiday shopping done
  • I get at least one run in
  • my neck starts to feel better
I also have a dinner out with Mr. B. planned inter-mixed with some shopping. And possibly getting some baking done with a friend on Sunday. Busy, busy, busy!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Day 3

Got my run in...finally! After a two week (eek!) hiatus from the road I hit it hard today. No, I didn't fall flat on my face, but I was determined to get out there and make the most of it.
As with most of my chilly weather runs, I overdressed, which I only discovered at about 3.5 mins. into my warm up. It was cold, and even a few snowflakes fell around me.
Managed to get through the 'getting out of school for the weekend' crowd and made good use of the local crossing guards.
And...I did it all without music. Not on purpose. I was quite looking forward to crankin' up some Jay-Z.  I guess I left my ipod on the last time I used it (two weeks ago) and the batteries were dead. I only discovered that approximately 30 seconds into my run.
And...I figured out that I am going to need new shoes soon. My plan was to wait until spring, but I don't think my hips, knees and ankles can.

Tomorrow is the local Santa Claus Parade, of which I am the co-chair of the planning committee. Just a little something I do in my spare time. It's a fun community event and it's at night, so the floats look great all lit up.
It's hectic and cold and I do A LOT of walking/running for about 3 hours. So I am using all that activity as my 30minutes. By the end of the night my legs are sore and my feet ache, so I figure I must be getting some exercise.
On Sunday is my extended family's christmas dinner. I have to make squash and be at the party (with the entire family looking great) by 1pm. Mr. B informed me just today that he is going to a ball hockey practice at 10am. Soooo if I want to get a run in it has to be by 8:30 AM!! I'm not a morning person, especially on weekends. I might have company, so I'll keep you posted on what happens.

What are your exercise plans for the weekend?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Day 2

I know it's only the second day into this challenge, but I got it done and I'm proud that I haven't already fallen off the wagon!

45 mins. of an old yoga/cardio (oxymoron?) video that I dusted off and really enjoyed!

Itchn' to go for a run. Got one planned for tomorrow so hopefully the weather co-operates. We've been getting light flurries for a few days and I have not been outside running since the leaves were still clinging to the trees.
Should be interesting...and chilly.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

30 Day Challenge

So here's the deal....

Today marks the beginning of the end. Not to sound so dramatic but it is the first day of the last month of the year. And what a year. As I look back I am proud of my accomplishments in the past year. I've had a healthy happy family, I have a job (or two) that I enjoy and more importantly enjoy the people at said jobs. Also I've made 'strides' in my fitness goals. As mentioned before I've overcome some minor milestones in my running, but I've also maintained a level of fitness throughout the year and I attribute that to running.

Also, as I've mentioned before the frequency of my running takes a serious nosedive in the winter months. It's dark, it's cold and really, after a summer of 'training' for something every six weeks, I just need a break. But....not too long of a break. Usually I don't start running again until sometime in February and by then all the holiday 'cheer' has made my clothes too tight and the lack of exercise had made this mama miserable.

In comes the challenge. Inspired by a co-worker that is doing the P90X (which is crazy commitment and I can't do that) I thought that I should kick up my routine a notch during this month. I was also inspired by the regular postings of my two favourite mom/runners/writers at Run Like a Mother, who challenged readers to make a goal for December to help with the mind/body/motherhood balance during the holidays.

So, now that I've kept you waiting....I have challenged myself, and anyone else who is up for this, to perform some form of exercise at least 30 minutes a day for 30 days. I am giving myself if the gift of health, by making time for myself (well, 30 minutes) everyday, to take care of me.

I have to say when I first thought of it I didn't consider that it would include Christmas day, but yes, why not? I'm sure my kids don't mind waiting to open gifts until mommy has finished a 5 miler, right? All part of the challenge.

I will try to track my progress through this blog but I also hope the others will join me on this as I know there will be days that 30 minutes will seem impossible and I will need a kick in the a$$ friend.

There are really no rules, just the ones you put on yourself. I have set these 'guidelines' for myself:
  • Exercise can include cardiovascular, yoga/Pilate's stretching or weight/strength training or combinations of everything.
  • 30 minutes is the time of actual movement (not the changing, showering, hunting for dusty hand weights) and it's only a minimum time, ideally I'm aiming for 45-60mins.
  • 30 minutes can also come in 3 10 minute segments through the day. I know this seems like cheating but there is proof it works well.
  • I am also looking to maintain a running schedule. I'm not sure how that will go yet, but hopefully one short (4-5K) and one long (7-10K) per week. But even as I'm writing this I'm skeptical.
The goal is to come out of the holidays happy, healthy, sane and celebrating the end of a great year.

There it is....30 minutes for 30 days.
Are you in?

1/12: 35 mins riding a bike nowhere followed by some deep stretching for ITB and hams.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Casablanca Classic Re-Cap

In Niagara there is a popular race series of 7 races that occur throughout the year and throughout the region. They are growing in size and offer great races for us locals that don't want to travel very far and they offer travellers great races with some tourist attractions.

The last of the series was the Casablanca Classic 5 Miler on November 13th.  I have never done this race, nor had I raced this distance before, so I was looking at an instant PR. But realistically I knew my 10K capabilities and knew where I should be running this race too.

I only signed up for it because I wanted to make sure my motivation and enthusiasm for running didn't waiver as it started to get cold. I really don't mind running in all types of weather, but its the transition seasons that are most challenging. I have a hard time figuring out my clothes (which is a common non-running problem too). I usually dress too warm for those early chilly days and end up uncomfortable. The November date gave me enough cool weather running to practice dressing.

So....race day is less than a week away and I get hit with the worst cold I've had all year! It figures. I stayed healthy through the summer and even through September, when kids are back at school and bringing home all kinds of germs. Not only did I get sick, but everyone in the house was out. I even missed a day of work...and I don't do that unless I'm REALLY ill. I was so tired and achy and miserable. I considered not racing at all. But Mr. B (hubby) convinced me that I would feel better by the weekend.

After a very rough week, lots of Buckley's and Advil Sinus, I decided to run anyway...what did I have to lose. If anything the cold gave me a reason to not put pressure on myself and just to go out and enjoy running again.
It was a very cold and foggy morning, a little damp in the air, but not windy. Looking back, I couldn't have asked for better weather in November. I decided on just a long sleeve t-shirt and capri's. I wanted to wear my new running skirt, but I figured it was too cold (you will hear more about running skirts if you keep reading this blog).
I went to the race alone. My family isn't keen on standing on the sidelines to watch me go by and none of my friends had signed up for the race. I don't mind going alone. I like having my own timeline and not feeling that I'm throwing off someone else's pre-race rituals either. My pre-race rituals usually going to the washroom several times (and as close to the gun time as possible).

I actually didn't know the route of the race, but I knew there were two 'aide' stations, so my plan was to take water and walk 1 minute at each station. The first being at 2.5k which was a little early for a break, but I'm glad I did and the next at 5.5k was much needed. It was a beautiful route that took runners through a conservation park (with big trees and leaves on the gravel path). It was also very quiet for a race, not many fans out on a foggy fall morning. Although, I may have found it less quiet if I was a faster runner and had more people to run with. It's kinda why I've learned to like really big races- there is always someone around!

In the end I ran a 50:11 8k. My pace was slower than I planned, but the excuses of being ill all week was all I needed. I ended up meeting a friend from high school (who had a baby 10months ago and is already racing!!) so it made for a nice morning. I went straight home, took a hot shower, ate and then took a long nap...I guess my body wasn't quite ready for a race.

Hopefully this is enough inspiration to keep running and chasing down those KMS!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Elusive sub-30

Considering I only started my running 'career' just over two years ago, I should not be concerned with breaking records. Unless they are my own. I have been frustrated with the fact that although I can put one foot in front of the other, and I can do it without tripping or fainting from exhaustion, I thought that I could slowly improve the efficiency at which I can run. In other words, I thought that I would be running faster by now.
In the beginning I was so proud to be able to finish a 5K run. Once I got the distance down, I figured I should be able to do it faster but no matter what I did I was always running a plus 30min. 5K. Every race, that 30mins was staring at me...laughing at me as I crossed the finish line.

I started challenging myself to get faster. When that didn't really pan out, I figured I was more the slow and steady type. I challenged myself to train and run a 10K. That training made me realize just how do-able longer distances are (for the average person).
In 2010 my goals were to race more often in order to get rid of the race day jitters. I planned out several 5Ks and one 10K to really focus on. I stuck to the training schedule and in June I managed to shave off 9 minutes off of my first 10K!!
Then the light went on...ah-ha! I have to train hard and consistantly to get the results I want.

In September I raced my favourite 5K. The Run for the Grapes. It's my favourite because
  • 1) it was my first (you always remember your first)
  • 2) it is during grape and wine festival (reason to celebrate with wine afterwards)
  • 3) it's flat ('nuf said).
Although I didn't specificially train for the 5K, I kept up my long runs from my summer training. And lo and behold a new PR. I took almost 2 minutes off my previous PR and took at least 3 minutes off my usual time.
2010 turned out to be a year of Personal Records (for me!)
Never again should I have an excuse to do a plus 30 5K race. I say that now, but come spring I will have lots of excuses.

I raced on November 13th. The last race of the season. I wanted to make sure I tried to get as many races in as I could before the snow comes. I'll do a race re-cap of that soon.
So that's a little history of my running/racing. I can move forward with my goals/dreams for next year (or next week). 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Post One

Okay, so this is new.
I have been inspired by other blogs and by my brother (who also started a blog) to attempt this for myself. I don't know where it will go, but I have hopes that it will give me an outlet for inspiration and motivation.

I guess I should explain the title. Chasing k(m)s...I enjoy running, although I am easily frustrated by the pain and suffering of it all. I am also Canadian so I register Kms (not miles). I am in pursuit of chasing down more kms to add to my running experience.
I am also a mom, so the K also refers to my two kids. I also chase kids. Get it?

So between two jobs, two kids, a husband and my own personal goals ...I am always chasing something. Hopefully, this creative outlet can give me the motivation and encouragement to keep giving chase, even when I feel I would rather not (i.e. sit on the couch and watch tv for four hours).

So, thanks for checking in...hope you come back. Let me know what you think.