Friday, July 29, 2011

Stinky Travel

In case you missed my big announcement over on the other blog I'm going to Ireland* for three weeks in a little under two months. This is the first time I've been 'home' in 10 years. Prior to that, my visits averaged out to every three years (and usually about six weeks long) so to say I'm excited is an understatement. I'm euphoric at the thought of seeing my aunts, uncles, cousins and cousin's children.

For the first time ever in my travels, I want to make a concerted effort to remain active. I've researched a few gyms with drop in options near locations I know I'll be staying but I'm not really a gym person. What I really want to do is run at least five times while I'm gone (ideally more than that, but that's my minimum). Keeping that in mind, I hit up MapmyRun and plotted out a couple of 5K routes from the houses I'll be staying at. This way I'll have no excuse not to run while I'm there other than "I'm lazy". Well, and maybe "I'm hungover".

I purposely cut off my starting location so you can't stalk me in (Greater) Dublin ;)
PS. So Irish people don't laugh at you, Dun Laoghaire is pronounced 'Dun Leary'.

These plans are all fine and dandy but it brings me to another issue: I'm travelling, moving fairly often, and I don't want to have to do laundry every other day but I also don't want to bring five (or more) different shirts just for running. That's a lot of space in my bag (which is already being taken up by my dad). Also, all those stinky shirts will just make everything else stinky. My big question is: does anyone have any tips for handling workout clothes while travelling?

In the meantime, I'm off to enjoy the summer weather we've finally received and make the most of my August Long Weekend. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend whatever you get up to.

*For clarification, when I say 'Ireland' I am referring to the island and not the country despite the fact that I often say 'country' for ease of understanding by those I am talking to. My 'Ireland' is the north and south. This is not a political statement, it is merely a lazy person's way of saying 'the Republic and the North' when she has family on both sides of the border and always goes to both.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Tackling the Healthy Living Mountain

Normally I'd do a little ramble prior to starting the Friend Makin' Monday but today's topic excites me and deserves it's own post because I get to talk about my favourite subject: ME! Tanzania (and travel). So, without further ado, it's FMM!

Guideline: Answer the question on your blog, link to it in the comments over at All The Weigh and then comment on other peoples. So simple the Geico Gecko could do it!

FMM: Defining Moments
Was there a defining moment in which you realized that you needed to lose weight? If so, will you elaborate? (If you experienced this moment in some other area of your life, please feel free to share that too!)

My plane touched down at Kilimanjaro International Airport at 10:30pm. Once we left the lights of the airport, the absolute darkness of the place hit me. There were no street lamps and the only thing we could see was what as illuminated by the headlights of the Landrover. I thought the excitement of my first day would keep me awake but after two days of travel to get there, I was asleep before my head hit the pillow.

Kara and my shared room until the volunteer quarters were completed. (I was the far bed.)

My first real look at my surroundings was the next morning when I rolled out of bed at 6:00am. I groggily wandered my way up to the Baby Home (fancy word for orphanage) for my first day of work. The first thing I saw was Mt. Meru beyond the compound walls.

Hand's down, this is the picture that most makes me ache for Tanzania.
Meru in the background, Baby Home on the right.

Every morning I looked at Mt. Meru as I made my way to the Home and I'd smile. It was my morning ritual. Even once we moved into the volunteer quarters and could cut into the home through the back door, I still walked the long way around so I could see Meru. It became my mountain. I searched for it from bus windows when returning from my holidays. I stared at it while contemplating life over a Coca baridi (coke cold). I wondered what the view was like from the top. While tourists to Tanzania talk about wanting to climb Kilimanjaro, I dreamed of Meru. For the first time in my life, I had to choose not to do something specifically because of my weight.

View of Meru from Deb's house. Her property ends at the start of Arusha National Park.

The kicker is that there is a very good chance I could have climbed Kilimanjaro but Meru was definitely beyond me. Kilimanjaro is not a physically difficult hike but it's a high hike. I am not saying it's a walk in the park, you still need to be relatively fit, but 90% of the time it's the altitude that does people in. If you have altitude experience and/or you take it slowly, you'll probably succeed.* Meru, however, is a difficult hike. The snob in me knew that for climbers, there's more climbers cred (if that actually exists) in saying you've done Meru than Kilimanjaro. This is one time I wanted to be a snob.

Mt. Meru and Jacaranda from roof top bar in Arusha during a day off.

When you summit Meru, you do it just before sunrise and then watch the sun rise over Kilimanjaro. I longed to do that. I still long to do that. And then I'll hug the ground and whisper sweet nothings to my mountain. You think I'm joking but I probably will do just that.

Unless there happens to be a nest of siafu near by. In that case, I'll whisper sweet nothings from the safety of my hiking booted feet. I've been bitten by them and they hurt!!

Every once and awhile, when I get into a 'why bother?' mood, I pull out my pictures of Meru and go through them. I honestly don't know if I'll ever get back to Tanzania (there's just so many awesome places I want to go to) but I want to know that if I do, I won't have to let Mt. Meru pass me by again.

Sunset on Meru

*My biggest piece of advice for climbing Kilimanjaro is this: each day you spend on the mountain raises the cost of the hike by a ridiculous amount (park fees alone are $100 per person for a 24 hour period) BUT it also greatly increases your chance of making it to the top. If you do not have a lot of altitude experience, take your time and choose a longer route. You may balk at the extra money the longer route costs but if you don't summit, then all your money will have been for nought.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Like a Fish

I love Chicken Run.*

I've been floundering lately with being healthy. I feel like a fish out of water. I've been reeled onto the deck and I'm flopping all over the place to get back into the water but to no avail.

While I sat down in late January and made a plan for fitness goals this year, I then promptly injured my knee and all those plans went out the window. I gave myself a 'free pass' for the months I wasn't able to run. While I'm back into the running, I've taken my sweet time sorting out the other healthy aspects on my life. My plans for cross training have been spotty and my healthy eating has changed on a day-to-day basis.

After my run yesterday morning, I started formulating my get-fit plan. I went through all the workout plans I've downloaded over the years, tossed a bunch, kept a few, and started writing up a schedule for the workouts.

After a bit of thought about food, I decided to follow a six week eating plan. I'm not one to advocate following a 'diet' or strict eating plan because I don't think it teaches you a healthy relationship with food, but I need a kick in the butt right now. Hopefully this will give me the one I need.

Partially because I still have a few kinks to work out and partially because I like things to start on Mondays, I won't be starting all this until next Monday. Which is a good thing because it means I can have a beer while I listen to Justin** (and Ian) tonight at the Bard and Banker and that at some point this weekend I can get an ice cream cone and watch Chicken Run while lounging in my pajamas.

After that I'll stop flopping aimlessly on deck and start flopping towards the ocean.

*I was living in Germany when it was released there and it made me deliriously happy that in German it's called Hennen Rennen. It rhymes!!

**Someone needs to update his site to show tonight's performance...

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Cra(m)ppy Friday and FMM

I headed out for my run on Friday night but about halfway through I got a really bad cramp. Cramps in my legs or sides are nothing new and usually when it comes to my walking portion, I just take a moment to stretch it out and then carry on. This cramp, however, was different. It was in my tummy area. More specifically, it was around the uterus area so I quickly stopped the running and just walked the rest of my route.

TMI warning!

I have been very lucky in my adult life that I don't cramp at any point during my menstrual cycle. Having a few friends who are almost confined to bed for a day or two, I am very happy that I don't. But when I suddenly start cramping for no discernible reason, it gives me cause for concern. A friend had a cyst on her uterus about 8 months ago and this thought flashed through my mind when the cramping started. When my running partner mentions uterine cysts, I felt my stomach drop. Every possible worst case scenario went through my mind before I pulled myself together and rationalized that it probably just was a wayward cramp given that my period was to start in four days.

I returned home with some chocolate milk (because that makes everything better), made a hot water bottle and curled up on the couch for the evening. After a few hours, the pain subsided and by the next morning it was totally gone.

Here's to it just being an unusual blip on the radar!

Anyway, it's Monday so that means Friend Makin' Monday!

Guidelines, etc here!

1. What do you like most about yourself? I'm a positive person with a great sense of humour.
2. List three characteristics that you like to have in your friends. Kind, Loyal, Upbeat
3. How often do you brush your teeth? When I wake up and before I go to bed. I'll also brush if I'm about to go out for dinner or if I ate something stinky (I can't help it, I love garlic in everything!)
4. If you could travel anywhere today, where would you go? Now that Ireland's booked, I'd be willing to go anywhere I could get a ticket to. South-East Asia or back to Africa are high on my list.
5. Have you ever met anyone from the blog world in person? Yes.
6. What is the last show you watched on TV? I don't have cable so 'on TV' would be the Simpson's when I was at my mom's a week ago.
7. What kind of perfume/cologne do you wear? Puma Aqua
8. How long ago did you complete your last workout? Due to a busy weekend, it was my thwarted Friday run but I'm heading out shortly for a workout :)
9. What will you eat for dinner tonight? Stir fry probably. Honestly haven't gotten that far in my through process today!
10. Share something fun that you did over the weekend. I met someone from my dad's home county!! I went to see the new Winnie-the-Pooh movie (which was so cute!) with my friend, E.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Laziest. Post. Ever.

I don't usually post just so I can crosspost from my other blog but I just wrote about something over there that I'm excited about and wanted to share.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

How Out of Shape Am I?

I went to turn off my alarm clock yesterday morning and I pulled a muscle in my arm in the process.

I'll give you a minute to let that sink in.

Reached for the alarm clock...

...pulled a muscle.


In my defence, I was facing away from said clock with two sizable kitties sleeping on my legs. (My cats are Maine Coons which means they are of the large-and-in-charge variety.) Rolling over wasn't really an option unless I wanted the hairball of death coughed up on the bedspread. Some slight hyperextension may have occurred. (It totally did; I felt it the exact moment when my elbow went that little bit too far.)

It was pretty much back to normal within a few hours but there were the occasional twinges when it reminds me of what I did. Usually when I go to lift something heavier than my jacket.

I've tried to explain to it that I'm sorry, could it please stop twinging? But it's having none of it. Maybe I should have just faced up to the hairball of death.

Summer arrived in Victoria, stuck around for about a week, and then decided it was vacation time. From a let's-go-do-sh!t point of view, I'm really bummed. From a hey-we're-running-outside-three-times-a-week point of view, I'm actually okay with it (just don't tell my fellow Victorians). I'm not a heat person and running with an overcast sky and a temperature that struggles to routinely hit 20C is fine by me.

Still, I would like to go camping at some point this summer (in the sense of "summer is a specific time of year", not "it's summer weather. Because it's totally not!) and for me camping = tent (because I'm old school, yo!). There's nothing fun about camping when the weather's like this.

Except maybe the built-in excuse to stay in your sleeping bag and just drink all day.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Worst Workout Partners Ever.

Meet Linden (light) and Tosio (dark).*

My little kitties recently turned 8 years old. As they get older, they're settling down. Their idea of activity is running to the food dish, eating three bits of kibble and then running back to sit beside me on the sofa while I type. Save for the occasional lap around the apartment while playing tag, they're very lazy cats.

Except for last Thursday night.

I went to bed later than I intended (thank you, Phil Plait) but was still on track for roughly six and a half hours of sleep... until the above innocent-looking-schadenfreude decided to play tag for twenty minutes at 4:00am. And this was no ordinary tag, this was hissing tag. They even hissed at me when I got out of bed to try and calm them down!

By the time they wrapped up the game at close to 4:30, I was wide awake and never did get back to sleep. I crawled out the door to work as the two little devils darlings decided to forgo their usual follow-the-food-lady-to-the-door routine and just sleep on my bed. I swear they were taunting me.

I texted my running partner and cancelled Friday's run. With only four hours of sleep, I was doubting my ability to walk home never mind going for a run. We did end up going for our run on Saturday morning, but Friday night was given over to sitting in a movie theatre instead. (I saw Super 8. I really enjoyed it and would recommend it but I don't know if it deserved all the rave reviews everyone was heaping on it.)

The only problem is that it's three days later and I still haven't really caught up on the sleep due to a busy weekend. Here's hoping I catch up tonight so I'm ready for tomorrow's run. If they wake me, I'm going to duct tape them to the wall.*

*They're named after hockey players. I almost named them Merry and Pippin. In hindsight, that would have been a better choice given their complete inability to comprehend what's going on around them.

**I'm not really going to do that.***

***I may, however, do something like wash their blanket because I know how much that pisses them off.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

If My Unmarried Biological Mother Hadn't Gotten Knocked Up...

I've just returned from my completely unplanned over-a-week-long non-blogging holiday. In short, oops! I'd love to say that the lack of blogging was due to being insanely busy and always on the go and just not having enough time to sit down and put pen fingers to paper keyboard, but I've already admitted elsewhere that this is not the case.

I even missed this week's Friend Makin' Monday... which is okay because the question was about your fourth of July plans and I'm Canadian, so... my plan was to spend it like any other Monday (crying in a corner wishing I was 20 years younger and had no responsibilities).

I did, however, keep up with running. It's been nice to have a running partner again, both for the social aspect and the accountability. (Speaking of social, I should probably get her a blog name... I know tonight's topic of discussion!) During Monday's run she mentioned that she never would have believed a year ago that she'd be running. This got me thinking about the decisions I've made which have landed me at this point in my life.

(I'd like to say 'great minds think alike' but really, coincidences occur in the blogging world. Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point wrote about this same idea this morning.)

Eventually, it became a fun game for me and I've started going back to look at some of the larger decisions in my life and things they have yielded which I may never would have otherwise discovered.

For example:
If I didn't decided to move to Tanzania four years ago then
I wouldn't have looked for an African community in Victoria to be apart of when I returned then
I wouldn't have found MoonDance then
I wouldn't have learned about Matoto then
I wouldn't have met AC then
I wouldn't be going to a baby shower in two weeks.

If I didn't accept an invitation to meet a guy in Switzerland (who ended up being my first real love) then
I wouldn't have studied German in university then
I wouldn't have met E then
I wouldn't have had someone to hike around Thetis with two weeks ago.

If I hadn't decided to blog then... well, the unknown results of that are still being discovered :)

How about you? What unexpected or interesting end results have your decisions brought you?