Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Quick (for me) Update!

I meant to get on here for an update tonight but then I also meant to do a few household chores on my only night off this week... yeah, my bathroom floor will still be dirty tomorrow and I can live with that. I got in some quality cuddle time with my kitties and got a few other items off my 'when I have time' list that never seems to shrink. I did, however, have a few things to comment on so...

I made a joke a little over a week ago that eating at the Blue Nile always translates to a good week at my weigh-in. Well, there really must be something in the Ethiopian food because it held true again for a third time. I added another 5lbs star to my book. Obviously I need to start eating at the Blue Nile every week ;)

I had some potato chips on Monday. They were within my points so I didn't feel guilty about it but I wasn't really hungry, I just smelled them at someone else's desk and when they said 'help yourself' I did. Again, within my points so I didn't feel guilty. When it came time to run that evening, all I could feel inside me was the chips. I felt I must have eaten a pound of them, they just felt so heavy in my tummy, and it really made the last 1/2 mile of the run just seem to go forever and ever. It was a good reminder that just because something is within my points for the day, doesn't mean I need to eat it.

I have been hit and miss with the Water Challenge. Mostly hit, but occasionally I'll have a day like today where I didn't drink more than one glass at work. I tried to make up for it by drinking seven glasses in the last four hours but I've reached the point where any more water will just equal a 2am trip to the bathroom and I hate those even more than I hate missing my target. C'est la vie. Tomorrow is a new day. Every day is a chance to turn over a new leaf. A ten thousand mile journey begins with a single step. As God is my witness, I'll never go hungry again. Wait, what?

Good night... and try not to think about the Yankees in Tara.

I actually hate "Gone with the Wind" but it's hard to avoid when you love movies and history.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

I'm Working on a New Dance Move. It's Called "The Melt!"

With the week of Flamenco done and over, I'm back to training for the half-marathon and I have to be honest, I'm a little worried. It's not so much the running/walking that has me worried, it's the temperature outside during our usual run times. I happened to be walking outside yesterday and today during those times and it wasn't pretty. Again, Irish blood courses through this body. Heat is to us what water is to the Wicked Witch. Understandably, I'm a little apprehensive for tomorrow's run-walk and fear I may have to tether myself to THR with a rope and just let her drag my dying carcass along the route.

The sad thing is that it hasn't actually been that hot in Victoria but my apartment is on the top floor of on older building so come summer time, I'm pretty much living in a convection oven. My ceiling fan is on 24/7, I walk around the house in as little as possible (which is why I almost left the apartment today with no shirt on. I put on my shoes, threw my bag over my shoulder, grabbed my keys and walked to the door before realising I was topless!), and I pretty much agree to any movie date offered (Inception was incredible, but don't let people talk to you about it before you see it. Shrek Ever After was forgettable, I'm very glad I didn't pay full price).

In avoiding movement during the high heat times of the day, I've also had a lot of time to think about my life goals. That means not just the goals I talk about on here, but the ones that are part of the overall bigger picture. I've come to two very important decisions which affect these goals (directly and indirectly).

One: I'm cancelling my gym membership. Now, before you get all "no! But why?" let me explain. Since starting to dance again in January and especially this past week of intensive classes, I've realised how much I miss dance in my life and come September, I want to do as many dance classes as I can afford. West African and Flamenco are first and second on my list, but I'd gladly fit in any other ones that I could. Perhaps even a return to an adult ballet class might be in my future. If I'm struggling to get to the gym regularly when I don't have multiple dance classes, how am I going to make it happen when I do? I know enough about the exercises that I need to be doing to start doing workouts at home so that will be my goal in the Fall: sign up for multiple dance classes, get myself a new set of weights (because my old ones are too light now--yay!!) and bands for at home workouts.

If I'm working out at home, I can bust out a few Jane Fonda videos while I'm at it!

Two: a job opportunity has come up at work and I'm going to go after it. Sure, that might seem like a decent move but what does that have to do with these goals? Well, the training schedule is six months with no holidays. That means my intention of doing the Juan de Fuca at the end of September would have to be put on hold until next year. Despite the fact that this would be a nice sizable jump up the pay scale for me, I actually really debated about it because I made a commitment to my three year plan and I wanted to see myself stick to that. In the end, however, this job will make another life goal a reality so it's a short term sacrifice for long term gain. If I get this job, I will still do the Juan de Fuca next year, but I'll have to decide if I'm up for the JdF and the West Coast Trail in one year or if I move everything back a year.

I'm curious about short term sacrifices other people have had to make for long term gain? Did you feel it was worth it in the end?

Friday, July 23, 2010

He terminado una semana de flamenco. ¡Olé!

Today marked the very last day of my week long flirtation with Flamenco. I thought it would just be a summer romance, a fling of passion which I would regale my children with in future years as part 'your mom was young once too' and part cautionary tale, and then I would return to the loving embrace of my West African Dance leaving Flamenco for some other woman to discover, fall in love with and tame. I fear, however, that it was much more than just a passing fancy. It might even be *gasp* LOVE! Thankfully, WAD and I have an open relationship...

For all the silliness in the preceding paragraph, I really did enjoy Flamenco and I have the blisters to prove it. The only downside (isn't there always one?) is that one of the blisters caused me to have to do the last half of tonight's class shoe-less. Flamenco just isn't the same without the banging of the shoes sound of the golpe or the planta-tacon. Listen to me sounding like I know what the heck I'm talking about. I would really love to continue with Flamenco in September but I'm trying to write up a budget so I can do Spain-Morocco next year for a friend's wedding... hmm, maybe I could use my snazzy Flamenco moves to score up some busking money on the streets of Granada. They don't know what Flamenco is there, do they?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Stomping to a Dance Floor Near You

This is the week that I take a break from running to do a week-long intensive Intro to Flamenco dance class. For the record, as of writing this, I have only done one class (number two is tonight), but I love it! Having spent a better part of my childhood doing dances that involved being light and airy and hiding any sign of strength while still being strong, The fun of being able to stomp, stomp, stomp and being allowed to show strength in your movements is a great joy to me. Much of the pleasure I am deriving from the Flamenco is the same that I derive from my West African Dance. I was never the dainty dancer, always complimented by my teachers for my kicks and large jumps but never slight enough to be the lead girl. Both Flamenco and West African celebrate my strengths as a dancer, and although I feel great excitement at finding them, I wish I could have found them 10 or 15 years ago. How different my physical body might be now if I had. The other thing I am learning from Flamenco is that I need to find a sugar daddy and I need to find him now. All these classes I want to take in September (all two of them)? They aren't cheap. Also, I never knew that my fingers could feel this sore and yet still function. Typing is a bit of a challenge today! Seriously, fingers!?!

I totally look just like this when I do it except fatter and with short hair and no skirt and non-flamenco heeled shoes...
but other than all that exactly like this.

I stumbled a bit at the start of the week with my water challenge. I find drinking enough water on the weekends difficult because I'm moving about and so I can fill up my water bottle and then not see it for four hours. I found myself chugging a lot of water in the evenings to try and make up for the lack of it during the day. Then today and yesterday, I just plum forgot as I was sitting at my desk, despite the full water bottle right beside me. I was better today, but it's going to take a bit more effort to keep up with this.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

"Beer: The Cause of and Solution to All of Life's Problems" ~Homer J. Simpson

I had plans to blog last night, but then THR just had to twist my arm after our training run to go out to Christie's for dinner and a beer... which turned into two. Upon arriving home with the realisation that I have become an incredible light-weight over the past three years, I tried to write my post then. Thankfully, I never hit 'post' because when I re-read it this morning I noticed two things: 1) It in no way related to post I wanted to write, and 2) I ramble in stories when I'm sober, I really ramble when I'm drunk. Speaking of which...

There's been an increase in these the past two weeks.

I was very thankful for the night out with THR because Friday, quite frankly, was going to end on a downer otherwise (the original title I came up with was 'F#*$ Friday' and after such a great start to the week, who wants the weekend to start like that? Drunk and giggling about challenging a friend to a claw-plach is a much better start.) because work was being, well, work. I don't know why, after seven years, this still surprises me.

Other than the work issues, the week was fine. I have been rocking the water challenge. I haven't always it 64oz, but I'm coming close enough that I'm satisfied with what I've done. I've cut down on my snacking as a result of the increased water intake and it's become second habit to reach for the water bottle while sitting at my desk. That was a good thing from this week. Today, has been a bit of a cramming session to get it all in before bed, but I've still got time, I know I can get it done!

I learned that you really appreciate exactly how far 1 mile is when you have to add one to your run-walk distance. On Monday, I rocked the two miles and felt like I could have kept going. On Friday, the three miles kicked my ass by the end. I could have gone further, but not by much and not without some sort of goal at the end to spur me on (beer, anyone?). The run, though, felt great. Having a set goal always helps spur me on that little bit more so I run a little faster and  a little further than I'd go otherwise.

Today I spent the day wandering the length of Moss St (all 1.9km one way) with a few friends for the annual Moss St. Paint-In (screw you, TD, you're late on this bandwagon so I'm not calling it by your name). Artists from all over lower Vancouver Island partake in this celebration of art in the community complete with beer garden and a large selection of food. It really is a lovely way to spend a Saturday, especially when you live close enough that you don't have to try and find parking!

Tomorrow, I'm having dinner at the Blue Nile with a friend from Ghana. The last two times I ate at the Blue Nile, I had awesome weigh-in weeks at Weight Watchers. I feel the precedent* has been set and therefore, by convention*, I will have another good week which probably means saying 'no' to this at the Blue Nile this time around:

*This is what happens when a poli sci nerd writes a blog.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Accentuate the Positive!

I have completed my first training session for the half-marathon and I rocked it, if I may say so myself. I felt almost silly making myself walk after only running for two minutes. Two minutes?!? That's nothing to me now, but if that's what the training schedule says, that is what I will do. I also like how great it felt to finish those two minute segments and remember how difficult a two minute run used to be. Sometimes I feel like I'm not moving forward with my running, that I'm just spinning my wheels, but then I think back to that first night that THR and I headed out and how much I struggled. One minute felt like an eternity... and now I'm talking about tackling a half-marathon.

I did pretty well on my water challenge today. I was a little shy of my 64oz goal, and I might still make it if I don't mind getting up to pee in the middle of the night. Oh, wait, I hate getting up in the middle of the night... 58oz for day one it is. Still, well within pissing distance of my target. (Yes, I went there.)

I also had a great experience today when I was approached about contributing an article to FOCUS, a magazine put out by the Adopted Families Association of BC. A writer friend, who is currently going through the adoption process, knew about my history with adoption and suggested that I write a piece. I have two ideas for possible pieces I'm going to put forward, and I just really hope that one of them resonates with them.

All-in-all, I've had a great weekend (Spain won the World Cup, I got to see some friends from Switzerland, had dinner with my mom, the weather was gorgeous) and this week's shaping up to be pretty awesome too. Life is pretty darn fantastic right now!

It may not be Double Rainbow All the Way, but it's Partial Triple Rainbow with Elephants.

A Water-logged Runner

The countdown is on! There are only 13 weeks until the Royal Victoria Half-Marathon which means it's time to start training. The training schedule is only 12 weeks but next week is my intensive 5 day Flamenco class and running will take a back seat so we're starting a little early. I was hoping to bust out a good run yesterday morning to start tomorrow's training feeling great but a night of very shoddy sleep and no running partner kept me in bed. Still, despite that I'm feeling awesome for today's run. Why? Well, because the running time is 2-1 to start. I can do that in my sleep.

Today I will also start the Positive Effect Water Challenge hosted by Kenz from All the Weigh and Sean from Diary of a Winning Loser. Three weeks, 64oz of water a day. It's a win-win challenge for me to join at this point. Thanks to my mom buying me a second water bottle for work because I always forget mine at home, I'm sure to knock this one out of the park!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

So Long South Africa, Hello Brazil!

It's been an up-down week for me. I had a great weigh-in on Thursday with a loss of 2.3lbs so I was feeling great but then this morning I really struggled with my run. About five minutes into it, my calves decided they had better things to do and I was left walking. I tried to push through it, find my stride so to speak, but it just wasn't happening and I ended up speed walking most of it, just jogging a little bit at the end to feel better about the whole ordeal. I did bust it out in the speed walk and was very happy with the pace I kept, but I'm frustrated about the running. I'm not sure exactly why this happened. I have changed a few things today and hopefully I will see better results in my run tomorrow. I want to see better results because Monday night is my first official 'training to run-walk a half-marathon' and I don't really want to start that feeling bummed about my running in general.

Tomorrow also marks the end of the World Cup. Out of all my teams that I was cheering for at the start, only Ghana made it past the round robin (what can I say? I love to support the underdogs but it usually means they go home early). I will watch the finals tomorrow at a pub with some friends who are visiting from Switzerland. They're cheering for the Netherlands and I'm cheering for Spain. Let's just hope we're still friends at the end of the game!

Once the final is over, it's only 1433 days until the start of FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil... not that I'm counting or anything :)

Thursday, July 8, 2010

I like warm; I don't like hot

This pretty much sums up how the weather in Victoria makes me feel at the moment:

It hit 33C (with a 'feels like 36C') which I know isn't that hot compared to Tindouf, Algeria which is projected to it 47C tomorrow (!!!) but I have Irish blood coursing through my body. We don't really 'do' heat. I mean, we do it all right beside a pool with a drink in our hand and an umbrella above us but not when there's day-to-day chores activities to be done. The only beings who seemed even more unimpressed by this mini-heat wave are my cats who have taken to laying down with such a resounding thud, I am sure the people in the apartment below will complain at some point.

It was in the midst of this mini-heat wave that I began my doundoun dance class. What better way to spend the hottest day of the year so far than in a dance studio with no AC jumping around beating a drum while you dance? I really didn't dance as hard as I could have that day, going through the movements without adding the hops and skips that make it such an incredible cardio workout, but I still found myself drenched with sweat by the time the class was over. I can't tell you how relieved I was when my suggestion to THR that we forgo our run that night and instead meet up for a beer and gossip was met with a positive response.

If the weather stays like this, I'm going to have to find an indoor, air-conditioned track to do my training on. I wonder how work would feel about me doing laps around the office...

Saturday, July 3, 2010

FiveK wiser

Canada has come and gone and so has the 5K that THR and I signed up to do. We were saved from the Stupid O'clock start to the day by mom, the wonder-driver who willingly got out of bed at 6:00am to come pick us up and drive us out to Sidney. I can not put into words how much I love my mom for doing that; THR, an atheist, used the words "she is a saint" to describe her. I would agree.

The run, however, was less than sub par and I have no one to blame but myself. I stayed up too late the night before, I didn't properly hydrate in the 24 hours leading up to the run, and I forgot to grab my banana on my way out the door so I was running on, literally, empty. Just under two kilometres into the run, my legs decided they would run no more and I was left walking the rest of the way. Now, I knew going into this run, as did THR, that we weren't going to run the whole thing. Rough idea was the run the first 2K (roughly 15 minutes for us slow pokes), take a walk break, and then run the rest. At least, that was the goal, aiming to run 4/5s of it at least. Well, kudos to THR because she completed that goal and she rocked it. I was so happy for her. It was the first time she had ever participated in an official run and she should be very proud of her run. I regret that I wasn't able to cross the finish line with her. Next time, THR. Next time.

One of the first things that THR and I noticed when we arrived for the run was the fact that pretty much everyone else who was registered looked like they run a 5K each day for fun. We were easily the least athletic of the bunch. There were a couple of race walkers (and by a couple I mean, I think I counted four) and the rest where all uber-fit people who were aiming for a 20 min completion time. So much for our fun run! It also didn't help that after THR and I parted ways so she could continue to rock it, I found myself slowing down to admire the view or some of the houses that I fancied. Next time, running partner or not, I'm bringing my mp3 player so I keep up the pace, even when walking. At any rate, I now have times to beat for 5K and 10K so I'm happy with that. And I've learned my lesson to go to sleep early, hydrate properly and grab that banana.

This was me after the run was over.

I've looked at my plans for the summer and have elected that I will still train for the half-marathon in October, but I'm going to follow a training plan specifically to run/walk it. With the busy summer I have planned, I honestly don't think I could make the commitment to training that is needed to run it but I'm not willing to give up on the idea of doing the 10K.