Friday, December 30, 2016

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas everyone!  Hope the past few days have been wonderfully relaxing and full of happiness.
 All 4 of my kids back under our roof,  lots of giggles, gaming, grooving with Just dance, sledding, skating, skiing, board game, coffee with friends, late night movie fun around here.  How do kids manage to dirty so many dishes?
As the New Year is just around the corner, I like to reflect on the past year and all the things that made it great and all the improvements/challenges I have made in my life.  On Jan 1st, I look forward to all the great things I want to tackle in 2017.  The truth is, a lot of my fitness events have been already booked so now I get the calendar out and start counting back weeks and planning my workouts.  I also make plans for other areas of my life.  I'm not a resolution person but instead someone who picks a few things on my someday list and puts them on this year's list.
I am super excited about 2017- so many great plans already in place.

A bit of the past few days around our place.  
Not much beats fresh cinnamon buns! Yum

Making gingerbread houses

Outdoor skating in the back yard.

Just heading out for a ski

An amazing dessert that takes chocolate lovers to another universe

Riding on the tobaggan behind the snowmobile.

 Hill work on skis

Waiting so patiently for me to get my skis on.

A quick hello

So much fun skiing with my guy.

A grocery run today got us all the snacks and goodies we needed for our par-t-ay tonight.  My youngest daughter (15) is a Ronda Rousey fan and we have the fight on pay per view tonight ready to go.  

Enjoy your weekend!

And Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from our family to yours.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Pre Christmas Randomness

Merry week before Christmas everyone!

Tree up, gifts wrapped, board games ready, cookies baked and family coming to take over the house.  And of course for us northern people, Christmas wouldn't be complete without it being deep freeze temperatures here.  Interesting enough, as I write this, it is super windy and the temp has risen to a balmy -4 C.  Bring out the shorts honey, let's hit the beach!  

The past 3 weeks, temps have not gotten warmer than -20 C and have been as cold as -35 C.  Supposed to be warmer for a couple days, then cooling a bit.  I only wish we would get a dump load of snow right now.  If it is going to be winter then do it right so we can ski, snowmobile and cross country ski.  Am I right? 
 All you guys still running outside in shorts right now make me sick.  

Last year at this time, our family was doing just that.  Running in shorts in sunny California as we attempted to skip Christmas.  Actually we were just skipping our families.  Oops, did I say that out loud?  Maybe I should rephrase that- we were skipping the stress.  I love Christmas and I love that both our families are close by and we don't ever need to travel through the holidays but it makes for so darn much jumping around from house to house.  Being away received a mixed bag of acceptance from the kids; a couple hated to miss the normal traditions of being home through the holidays and the other 2 were fine with trying something different.  This year, now looking back, they all thought it was a good idea.  Guess we will be trying it again sometime.  

Our boys are coming home mid week and it seems they have survived most of their exams.  If you have ever had the opportunity to experience post secondary exam time- it's something you never forget.  I feel for them.  But a necessary part of growing up, struggling a bit then getting stronger and more confident.
Speaking of struggles, this has been especially helpful for me lately.   

And now some randomness.

I went for a bike fitting a couple weeks ago.  The guys at Dutch Cycle in Regina know how to treat people right.  I told my husband they have a good business by doing good business.  Freddy took all my questions in stride and I learned a ton about both road cycling and triathlon bike fits. My position on the bike was drastically changed.  My saddle moved up and back a lot.  I was told I may feel a bit sore or different after a few rides as my positioning before had me so scrunched up I never really got full extension.  30 ish miles on Saturday and I knew getting out of bed Sunday morning was going to be a rest day.  But faster and more powerful- can't beat that.

My bike on the left and the retul bike for fitting on the right.

Electrodes on me to track the position of my foot, knee, hips, shoulders and arms.

I was at the bike fitting for over 4 hours and came out with a ton of information.  So much appreciation for quality assistance.

We ordered some new furniture and it finally arrived.  With kids leaving home and sending stuff with them, we had only the odd chair and a love seat in our main family room.  Can you see anything odd about our set up?

A beautiful day with hoar frost on the trees.  Love it.

My husband loves peanuts through Christmas.  He went looking for some and couldn't find any.  I accidentally found them and asked him how many bags he wanted.  He thought 10 but settled for 3.

I also found this floating around on social media.  Makes me smile every time.

Have a wonderful week before Christmas.  Next post I will be laying out my 2017 endurance event plans as well as how I am planning to train for them.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

When Life is Tough

Are you ever cruising along life's highway and things are going pretty well when all of a sudden the curves start coming at you so fast you are overwhelmed, weighed down and soon you find yourself on the outskirts of "Defeatville"or maybe thinking you should put a down payment on a place at the "Funny Farm."

It's crazy how quickly life changes and things that can be good one day are hard the next.

 Miscommunication and relationships are strained.  A funny feeling head and grandma is in the hospital having suffered a stroke, and then another and another.  Cold temperatures and vehicles don't start.  A mild fever and your child has migraine headaches for a week.  A family member decides to change up Christmas plans. Kids in post secondary stressed with final exams. Extra projects expected at work. Try to do something good and it back fires and bites you in the butt.  And the kicker is sometimes the things we do for enjoyment,our stress relievers also add to the pile.  A bike ride and the shifters don't work, a run that ends in a sore knee.

The point is we all have things that cause us stress or maybe cause us frustration or worry and most of the time they are kind enough to spread themselves out so we can recover a bit and get ready for the next one.  What do you do when it all comes at once?

I don't know.
Ya that's right.  I don't know.
It's easy to get sad, unhappy, frustrated, and wallow in self pity for awhile.  Maybe get hopeful when there is signs of improvement then hit the bottom again when there isn't.  What a roller coaster ride it is and if you don't like roller coasters, then prepare for a uncomfortable journey.

I found this encouragement online through a google search.

Image result for when things are tough

Now I know the author means well and with a positive mindset, these are doable things.  But when you are on overload, not so easy.  Let me state the reasons this does not work for me.  When you are in the midst of adversity, it does seem like finding peace, health, harmony, money etc is impossible.  There is no way in heck that I believe in myself or am kind to myself; there is usually a beatdown happening.  Typically, I question everything I do, withdraw, feel down and out or grab the chips or ice cream a bit too much.  Make a plan?  Who's thinking straight enough to do this?  And the nerves part, I am probably 1 nerve away from losing my mind. And most of all, when you are neck deep, I'm not sure I can ever count to 10 never mind remember 10 things.

So the only thing that really helped me was knowing that nothing lasts forever.  I may not make the right choices and handle everything perfectly, but I will try my best with what I have at this time. Thanks Teddy;)

And as time passes a bit, I do start thinking about the strength I am gaining from a tough time and the kind of character I want to see in myself.

And somewhere along the way, a friend, relative, co-worker or complete stranger shows some kindness and you have a good cry or you hear about someone else's struggles and you gain perspective and realize that you will survive.  And you will be stronger.

For the past 2 weeks, my greatest accomplishment has been not completely losing my mind.

What has helped me has been trying to stay somewhat to routine.  I still get up and run or bike in the mornings.  It hasn't been as long or as intense as normal but I still stay to routine.

I try to get extra sleep.  Sometimes it is hard to eat and some people have trouble sleeping when they are in a crisis but I have tried hard to be in bed an hour earlier every night than my usual.  I make better decisions and cope better with more rest.

If I need to cry, I do.

Don't think too far ahead.

Do something productive each day/evening.  My ambition is in the negative numbers so it has been a push doing this but doing laundry or sorting through a drawer, making Christmas cookies, wrapping gifts.  These have all helped me kept me busy but not too much and helped me think about something else but not too hard.

When the chips are calling my name- I go walk on the treadmill or read a book by the fire.

I try to give people the benefit of the doubt.  It is very easy to start blaming mostly just out of frustration.

I have listened to a LOT of podcasts.  Inspirational stories, nutrition, spiritual well-being, triathlon or running.  I can turn them off when I want to and again, it helps take my mind off things and hopefully impacts my mojo to point upward.

 Sometimes life is tough.  I have little advice except to say that if you have a heaping load of worry and stress, you aren't alone.

What are your best ways of coping in tough times?

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Weekend Roundup #8

Hello All

Are the weeks flying by for everyone else too? Total craziness.  I have almost 3 weeks of work until my Christmas break (a teacher gets such great holidays- don't hate me).  I am sure ready for a break in schedule.
One of the best things about a break from the day job is a chance to be more active.  Generally, instead of gaining some weight over Christmas, I lose a bit because I am moving more.  I am looking forward to doing some cross country skiing, snow shoeing, biking and running and doing it whenever I please.

Speaking of weight gain, it is so strange that at this time every year I all of a sudden develop a bit of a gut. Like a few pounds worth of weight that comes out of no where.  It seems to be a hormone issue in my opinion but why it occurs at the same time is still beyond me.  A little bit of training and schedule in January and it disappears.  It does drive me crazy though because a couple pounds is such a bit deal to a lot of women (me included) and I have to work really hard to not let it throw me mentally.  You know the, "I feel less sexy", "I hate the way I look in my jeans", "I can't get into these jeans, jeepers", "better change the 2 piece for the 1 piece for awhile".  It is so frustrating and can be discouraging so I work really hard to love me at every shape and size.  There is more to me than a number or the fit of my jeans!

My "off season" usually begins mid to late Aug until our harvest is done sometime in October. I am still exercising and working out, it is very inconsistent though.  Typically in the past few years, there is an early season triathlon on our calendars in around the end of March or April and so training picks up in Dec and ramps up in January.  This year, we had a bike event the end of Oct and so the off season training was more than it usually is.  I feel like I have maintained my fitness better this year.  And I was motivated to keep moving.  Kona in Oct keep me engaged and Ironman Arizona also helped.  Since then though,  I have been in a bit of a slump.  Tired more than usual, lazy, unmotivated, don't want to get up in the morning,  too tired in the evening,  you get the picture.  The miles tick by so slowly and time crawls.  I hate that feeling.  It is good to honor the down time with some relaxation but too much leads to bad habits and frustration.  I am intentionally going to push things this week in terms of getting up earlier again to get a bit of a routine going.  What do you guys do when you are unmotivated?

A few random things from my week.

I saw this picture somewhere and I think it describes my closet to a tee.

Made some chocolate chip cookies and scuffles one evening last week.  Took some to the son in Regina we went to visit this past weekend.  The other son begged me to hide the rest for him.

I can't seem to get enough blueberries lately.  My oatmeal each morning looks like this with a chaser of blueberries because you can never have too many.  And I usually have more later in the day.  As I said, CAN"T. GET. ENOUGH

It is officially Christmas when you have a poinsettia on the table
and the kids get to start their chocolate advent calendars.  Even the big kids in my family were looking for their calendar last week.

I really like this.  Not sure my kids shared my sentiments.

It is more like winter around here now.  A bit of snow on the ground and below freezing temperatures.  More snow and much colder temperatures coming in the later part of this week.  Looking forward especially to the rock hard vehicle seat after work each day.

Spent from Friday to Sunday in Regina and did a few of my favorite things. (your welcome for humming that song now for the rest of the day)

A couple hours in a bike shop looking at bikes.  Forgot to take any pictures as I was too busy talking and listening, and seriously, I did do my fair share of listening.  I tried to keep my questions to under say, 20 or 30.  I am going back in a week to get fitted on a bike they are right now building!!! So exciting.

Saturday and Sunday both started with a walk to a favourite spot for oatmeal and coffee/tea with my favourite guy.

Spent an evening in a hockey arena at a WHL hockey game.  Both our boys played hockey and both girls were in figure skating so for many years, I spent at least 5 days a week in the evening at the rink from Oct to April, sometimes longer for hockey.  There has been no hockey or skating for about 4 years now and I sometimes miss it;) Hanging out with the other parents watching our kids, planning tournaments or carnivals.
We watched the Regina Pats play Prince Albert Raiders.  Nice time, good seats, cheap night ($15 a ticket), good entertainment  and lots of laughing.

Training this Week:
Monday; rest
Tuesday: 13 mile ride
                 4 mile treadmill run
Wednesday: 2 mile walk
Thursday: nothing
Friday: 16 mile ride
Saturday: 3 mile walk
Sunday: 2.5 mile walk

Also completed 2 strength training sessions about 15 min each but a very low mileage week.  Seem tired more than usual and my get up and go seems to have got up and gone without me.

Event for the Future:

Antelope Canyon Ultra Marathon

Antelope Canyon offers a 50 mile, 50 km or half marathon option and for Feb 25, 2017, this event is already sold out.  Antelope Canyon Ultra is part of the Grand Circle Trail series that offers 7 events in the Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico state areas.

The course is introduced from the event website with this statement.

 "50 miler- On this course you will experience two of the most photographed land features in the country- Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend of the Colorado River. After traversing the desert sand and slickrock to reach these unbelievable features, the run finishes out on smooth single track around the plateau that the city of Page, AZ is built upon, with jaw-dropping views of Lake Powell.  "

Here is a video for the events.

I googled images from the event and they are breathtaking.

You can find more information about the Antelope Canyon Ultra here.