Sunday, December 30, 2012

Welcoming in 2013

The year 2012 is coming to a close, and it was a wonderful one on SO many levels. I spent the year doing activities that I'd never done before but that always interested me, I made tons of new friends that share many of my interests and goals (and as a social extrovert, that's all good!), I spent lots of time with my tried and true blue buddies of forever, and I loved every moment of quality time with my family. On top of that, I got to write about it all on the "Losing it in Ottawa" blog, where I heard back from SO many of you about journeys you started on yourselves, or how I'd inspired, or how you just appreciated my writing. Seriously, does it get any better than that? I don't think so! But....I'm hoping it at least continues!

I'm very conscious of what I "put out into the world," and while definitely not perfect, I really strive to make sure not to engage in negativity. If someone chooses to poke digs in my direction, I choose to just let it go. I laugh, and let it roll off of my back. I don't have time for that drama and I'm not letting it in, any more. I've really worked hard on not being so "reactive" and I really take a moment (most of the time!) to feel what I'm feeling, and then release it into the Universe. I know, I'm all Zen and stuff now.

I will be continuing on into 2013 with the same attitude, and continuing to seek whatever comes my way. I, however, believe every year in ushering in the New Year with certain "rules" that add to the Karma of what's to come.
In no certain order, I give you my "Rules for New Years Eve."

1) Spend New Years Eve in contact with people you want to remain in contact with in 2013. If you spend the evening wishing you were elsewhere or doing something else, it sets the tone for the year ahead. I believe in spending the time with people I love, laughing and chatting and having a great time. I spend the day with my kids, talk to them at midnight, and make sure to touch base with everyone that I want to feature prominently in the next year.

2) Eat good food. I believe in eating a fantastic meal so that the year ahead is full of great meals and great times celebrating and sharing.

3) Have a clean house. On New Years Eve day, I make sure my house is cleaned from top to bottom. Starting a New Year with a messy house, in my opinion, is just bad Feng Shui!

4) Have epic sex. Ya, I went there. You HAVE to ring in the New Year in the best way possible! It doesn't have to be EPIC sex...but the idea is to set the tone for the next year and WHY THE HECK NOT?

5)Do what you love. Whether it's an activity for the evening, an outing New Year's Day, or just snuggling your loved ones....The year to come should be FULL of all that you love-people, places, food, activity, love, friends, home and family.

Now, obviously these rules are a little tongue in cheek, especially if you know me and my lack of belief in "Karma" in general. I do, however, think that starting off a year on the right foot is paramount to an ongoing attitude that should be pervasive every single day in your life. The attitude will set the way for your everyday. (but I honestly DO all of the above rules so....ahem)

I read something the other day about choosing a word or catch phrase to be the theme of your year. (I think it was from Sharon DV from YummyMummyClub) My theme for 2012 was "feel the fear and do it anyways!" and I really embraced it with each new challenge. I'm going to keep that momentum going for 2013, but I'm also going to think of a new theme for this New Year.  When I have it, I'll be sure to fill you all in!

For now, enjoy your New Year's Eve and day, drink responsibly, and usher in the beginning of something beautiful! 


Monday, December 17, 2012

So, About That 15k....

Yep, you are seeing that correctly! I TOTALLY DID IT!!!

On that chilly Saturday morning, my friend Katie was doing her long run of 28k. I had plans Sunday morning and would have to miss my Weekend Run Club, so I asked Katie if she'd like some company for part of that run. I figured it was a win/win situation for us both. Katie gets some company (albeit at a slower pace!) for some of her run, and I get to go out there with an experienced runner who is also super motivating to me.

Katie agreed and ran from her house to meet me at mine. We set out in a straight "out and back" with me setting the pace. Katie was also kind enough to bring me a Gu to try once we hit the 10k mark. I'd never needed any type of fuel on runs, so this was all new to me as well.

I set out with a million thoughts running through my head. I'd run a 10k distance several times and didn't flinch when even considering doing that again. However, I'd only ever run further than that the weekend previous, when I did the 12k! How was I going to add on ANOTHER 3k to a distance that may have been a fluke in the first place? I also didn't want to slow Katie down too much, but didn't want to burn myself out far from home and having to walk the distance back to my door. I was very anxious about aspects of it, but decided just to GO and do my best. I had a backup plan with my husband if I just couldn't cover the ground needed.

I started my Nike app and put it in my pocket. I didn't want to look at pace or distance, I just wanted to "go with" the run and how I was feeling. The app tells me at each mile where I'm at and what my average pace was so I knew it would update me soon enough. When I hit Mile 1, it said my pace was 9:34 for that mile. That was a whole minute faster than my planned "forever pace" I'd set previously. Never the less, I kept on trucking, with Mile 2 stating about the same. Katie and I were chatting away about everything under the sun and I was feeling pretty good until about Mile 3. (5k)  I decided to walk for a second to re-adjust my pants that were sort of slipping and to give my shoulders a bit of a shake out, as well as to take off my mitts and to open my jacket at the neck slightly. This was under 30 seconds I'd guess, and away we went once again.

Soon enough it was time for the GU and the turn around point. Since I'd never tried them before, and didn't bring any water, I wasn't sure how it would go. They are kind of like a pudding type thing, and after the first "YUCK" bite, I didn't find it too bad. We walked a minute while we pushed the Gu out of the packet and removed our neck warmers and wiped our noses.

I now knew we had to cover the distance all over again and it felt a little overwhelming. I told myself to just put one foot in front of the other and keep trucking. I also decided to slow my pace a little so that I'd get there and not burn out. I'm pretty (okay, a lot) stubborn, and I had told myself last weekend that I was GOING to get this 15k distance in the next week, and gosh darn it....I wasn't going to settle for anything less. We stayed around a 10:00 pace from then to my home, stopping for traffic lights occasionally, or traffic. I'm not sure if it's when the Gu hit, but all of a sudden I felt much lighter and much better. I KNEW I had this and would make it to my door with the distance not only covered, but at a faster clip than intended and feeling pretty fantastic all in all.

About 2k from home, Katie started my pep talk. She's good like that. She said she really struggled her first 15k, and that "9 miles" was one of those "milestone" run marks, and here I was doing it! She said she was impressed by my focus and my steady pace throughout, and that I didn't seem to be struggling. I was still chatting away and able to talk quite normally. I'd DEFINITELY had moments in there where that wasn't the case, but I honestly did feel like I'd caught my second wind.

We rounded the corner to "home" and I was just ecstatic! (but also happy it was done! LOL) We high-fived and hugged (I'm turning into a hugger now apparently! Who knew?) and Katie continued on her way.

As soon as I opened the door, my husband and my daughter were standing there asking, "Did you do it? Did you make it?"  I could barely speak with emotion, so I just showed them my ipod screen, as you see above. My daughter, who is really my best little cheerleader, hugged me tight and said, "I KNEW you'd do it Mummy!"  My husband gave a little grin and a "Well, I'll never catch you now! I keep trying and you keep going further! But I like the chase!"  He also told me he was very impressed and inspired by all the changes I'd been making-which is pretty motivating all on it's own.

There was no rest for the wicked though, I had to hit the stores after a shower and some food, and surprisingly, my legs felt totally fine. I haven't had any soreness or stiffness at all-except in my upper back and shoulders/neck area.  I assume it's from the way I hold myself when I run-which is likely rigid, a stance that's par for the course with me.

I'm doing the distance (hopefully!) again this weekend to support Katie's birthday (and her last long run before her marathon in January)with the fabulous, wonderful women in my little community of awesomeness. The incentive is to help Katie out, but brunch and beer at the end doesn't hurt either.

After riding that high for the day, I went to my sister's yesterday and was asking about borrowing a dress for a fancy dress evening coming up. No, I don't own a dress. I tried on many dresses and fit them all, including the dress that my 20 year old niece wore to her high school graduation a few years back!!! I also fit a few other dresses of hers-granted mostly stretchy ones and a gamut of sizes but I don't even care. I'm feeling on top of the world and I'm ready for 2013 and even bigger, bolder, better, scarier dreams.

My December challenge involved more gym time that made me nervous, and conquering the 15k. I have some January goals already set, several of which aren't fitness related at all.

I'm truly just getting started!!!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Still Runnin'!

It's been a pretty mild December up until I've still been enjoying lacing up my sneakers and running outside. A few days were a bit more tip-toeing in some parts where there was packed snow or ice, but mostly, it's been smooth sailing.

Last week, I had two 5k's planned and then a longer 10k run on the weekend. I guess I drank the Kool-Aid hardcore because I ended up hating my one 5k run so much I made it a 10k, ran with friends for Run Club and we all decided to change a 5k to a 10k, and I did a Forrest Gump and on my Sunday 10k run with Run Club (Weekend Edition) I just kept running all the way home, making it 13.45k on my Nike app.(which is always slightly off and probably closer to 12k)  In total, for those of you that aren't math savvy like me (ha!) that means last week alone I ran 32k. Whaaaaat?

Two of those runs were with my friend Katie, marathoner extraordinaire. She had a longer run to do on Sunday (25.7k or something equally as crazy!) so ran with me the extra distance to my home. That Katie. She's quite the motivator and is always encouraging me and making me believe I can do incredible things that even I don't believe I can do. As we were running along, she was saying that she really believed I was ready for 15k, easily. She said my pace was good, my mindset and inner fortitude strong, and that even after 10k that day and other days that week, I had picked up my pace, was still chatting, and still had gas in the tank to do that run home.  When I bid her adieu at my house, I walked in knowing that in the next week or so, weather conditions permitting, I'll be running a 15k. Simple as that.

Not only did I run 32k last week, I also did Pump classes, Yoga and Zumba. I feel like I'm really keeping my focus, fitness wise, and we're already mid-December. Not. Too. Shabby.

Don't get me wrong though, I'm still totally not sleeping up to par and am still indulging in the odd cookie or muffin and such. That's just how I roll.

In other exciting news, I went dress shopping last week and while I'm SO not a dress fan, I tried on some SINGLE digit dresses. Sizing is really quite ridiculous though, in general, so I'm not too hung up on that side of things. You can take a range of sizes depending on what the material is, what the cut is, and where an article of clothing is made, but it still made me do a little dance in the change room.

I'm fully prepared for the journey to get even slower as I get closer and closer to my goal. One of the things I look forward to with each step though is what NEW goals I'll be considering and what personal victories I'll be celebrating. It's more than just posting about my workouts, for me. It's a written reminder of where I've come from, where I am now, and where I'm hoping to see myself in future. It may seem like "just one more run," but to me, it's a reflection of a whole new person that a year ago wouldn't have been writing about anything remotely close to these posts.

As the future unfolds, I'm sure the posts will evolve with it....and I'm so excited about what that future will bring.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Workin' It Out, Winter Edition

Even though yesterday was a balmy +18C or something, I'm pretty sure that at some point the winds of winter will be howling their cold deathly breath down our collective backs and the mere thought of leaving the warmth of our cozy homes will fill us with dread. When that time comes, I move my workouts to the comfort of my living room or basement, pop in a kick butt DVD workout and the sweat starts flowin'!

As you've read on here before, I'm a big fan of Shaun T and I loved the "Insanity" workout. I didn't finish Month 2 because summer came and the living was easy, but there's something extra special about doing a workout so intense you feel like you *just* might not make it out alive. When you do, the sense of victory is almost superhero epic.

In the light of home workouts, when you open up your email and see one from Emily Coleman of Beachbody, with words like "I saw your blog has some awesome posts relating to fitness, exercise, and living a healthy lifestyle" and she asks if you'd like to check out some of their new products and talk about them on said "awesome" blog, you immediately do so. You don't need to twist my arm when it comes to Beachbody programs, that's just truth. I wasn't even paid to say that either!

She sent me some links to look at and get some feedback on and share with all of you, so you too can go and fall all sorts of in love with Beachbody and okay, Shaun T himself.

So, first there is this:

If anyone knows butts, it's the Brazilians, am I right? This looks like a well rounded (see what I did there? HA!) workout, but obviously with moves specifically targeting the glutes. I don't know one single woman that doesn't want a nice butt, and this looks like it's a good all over body workout but will definitely give you definition where you want it!

Next up is the Les Mills Pump Cross Training Deluxe Package.

As a frequenter of Goodlife Fitness, I've done many Les Mills workouts, including Pump. The package also contains DVD's for the Step, Attack and Combat workouts, the risers and the weights. I'm a HUGE fan of Pump so the ability to actually do this workout at home on days when I don't feel like trekking through the snow REALLY appealed to me. These workouts, in my opinion, are some of the most intense classes Goodlife offers, and I love, love, love that they are available from Beachbody for home consumption!

For all of you crazy P90X'ers, there's also a Certification Program that will allow you to bring a new facet of training to any of your clients in a workout that is known to be tough, and bring results. I personally don't have any experience with it and the thought of me teaching it kind of made me laugh out loud, but I know many of you hardcore trainers out there will jump on that STAT.

The next is a surprising one for me. If you read my blog at all, you know I'm not a fan of cleanses specifically because I don't think drinking shakes teaches you anything long term. You lose weight, sure, but you can't live on shakes and supplements and as a lifestyle, you need to eat real food and for some, that's trickier to figure out than not. However, you can only learn that skill when you practice it. So, when I checked out the link for the Beachbody Ultimate Reset, I was a little skeptical.

I was happy to see that the Reset involves eating REAL food at each meal, as well as supplements added to that. It's about eating whole, unprocessed foods and learning how to choose the best foods for our nutritional intake. Honestly, this is one cleanse that I'd actually consider doing-and that's really, really big coming from me.

Now, I saved the best for last. Can you guess??

Oh ya baby!!! Shaun T!! I love this video preview and how he says "You should be SCREAMING. Your neighbours should know you're working out because they can hear you!" Oh, so sadly accurate.

Shaun T asks if we think he's insane. Clearly the answer is YES, but don't we all love him for it? "You survived "Insanity", now I'm coming to GET YOU!"  That scares me in the best way possible. As I stated above, I'm kinda insane myself because I love me some Shaun T craziness. I love sweating so hard its pouring off my face onto my floor. I love completing a workout, being starving and then needing a nap. "Asylum" looks SO exciting to me that I reviewed this and then immediately put it on my Christmas List. No joke.

So, there ya go, some Winter Workouts to see you through the bluster into the sunshine of Spring! Can you imagine doing these programs in the privacy of your own home and then peeling off your sweater come warm temps and showing off how ripped you've become, while everyone else was hibernating and layering on an extra padding all winter? C'mon!

I wasn't paid for this post, and the words and reviews are totally my own personal opinion. I'm a big Beachbody lover, and these new programs are just some of the examples of why. I love the gym, I love running, but I also love home workouts. I also know that the gym isn't accessible to everyone, nor is tons of expensive equipment. These types of at home kits really provide all you need to work it out, spring, summer, fall or winter!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

'Tis The Season....

Christmas is a wonderful time of year, but also kind of a nutso one, right? I feel like the time flies by in a harried whirlwind from mid-November until at least end of January! It's mostly good stuff with merry making and kindness and stuff, but as a Mum and the one who "takes care of everything holiday related," it's a little crazy making!

For those of you that sent me emails or posted comments on my last blog post, thank you and I reassure you again-I'm A-OK.  I didn't mean to make anyone question my mental status (well, any more so than usual!) or worry any of you! I'm doing great in so many ways, I'm just always that girl that is on a quest for "more." I also, as I stated, really believe in seeking and searching and evolving, so I'm just trying to figure that piece out as well. I have loads more I want to do and accomplish, and I know what most of it entails, but just not all of it. That's clear as mud, right? Just know I'm on a path and it's an adventure I'm willingly undertaking so don't fret!

Now, back to the merry making.

I embraced November's challenges to try some new things by testing out my gym membership and trying new classes and new equipment. I was frankly terrified at the thought of Pump class (weights with literally 1000 repetitions? Sure, sounds fun!) but I went out and tried and went back some more! I also started some days a week where I'm working in TWO workouts instead of just one. Yesterday, for example, I did a Pump class and then ran 6.5k on snowy sidewalks. THAT was also a  new challenge that made me nervous but it was okay in the end. I guess winter running will be less about speed than it is endurance. I hate the thought of the treadmill but I know it's going to happen. Sigh. I DID manage to break my old 5k time and I'm feeling uber confident that I can totally do it in under 30 minutes come spring. I'm never cocky but there ya go!

I've also been hosting book club, going to Runner's Yoga and Yin, went to a play, travelled to Syracuse with girlfriends where I laughed more than I have in literally years, and been trying to maintain a household and do some holiday shopping and baking.

I have a Wine and Cookie Exchange coming up this Friday evening, a 7.5k run tomorrow night, another run on Sunday morning (8k?) and several holiday social events.

See what I mean when I said I'm all good? It's really nothing a girl can complain about, is it?

December's challenges will entail more classes that scare me (BodyCombat? CXworks?), more cold, snowy runs, and surviving holiday treats and nibbles!

The joy of the season will be giving to families in need with my kids, attending my favourite Church services, spending time with my family and loved ones, cherishing the incredible new and forever friendships and women in my life, brunch with old friends I haven't seen in years, and breathing in the end of one life changing, incredible year.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Who The Heck Are YOU?

Life is certainly a mystery, at least, if you're doing it right.  I just feel like even though I'm going to be 40 next year, and potentially should be all learned about myself, I'm constantly surprised by what I thought "was" and  turns out "is not."

I've felt for a long time like somehow, through the years and tears, I've lost that very essence of who I was when I was a kid. As the years went by and horrible crap happened, that fearless kid kinda got the fear of well....everything. To say I'm cautious is an understatement.

Throughout the last several, oh, decades, I've been telling myself multiple lies about who I am, how I react, what I'd do, and what I feel. I've lied so many times to myself that I now believe it to be truth when in fact, it couldn't be further from that reality.

Every now and then I realize that I'm just not being authentically who I am, and that scares me because most of the time, even at middle age, I feel like I don't know who the hell that is anyways! I just know that many times my reactions to things are not what is really going on in my heart or soul.

I think what I'm finding is, I play tough, but I'm sensitive. I play cold, because I don't want to be warm and get rejected. I play strong when I feel my weakest. I play bold when I feel meek. I don't risk because I feel like I have so much to lose and one more chance to fail, and I don't leap because I feel like there's no one to catch.  I don't share these types of feelings, mostly, because I'd rather die than look weak or self-pitying.

I have walls upon walls upon walls erected, and breaking them down is the most frightening prospect I've ever considered encountering.

One other thing also, as you change and grow,  it makes people uncomfortable. People that knew you, know you, a certain way....they don't necessarily like who you're becoming and question why you are changing so much?

I've been doing SO much work on my outside, which is great. My inside though, and I know this is a running theme lately, is being ignored because I'm scared of what I'm going to find, steps I'm going to have to take, and where I'll end up and what I'll need to do to get there.

Worse still, I'm terrified I won't like this person I've kept buried for so long, and I'll be coming to terms with qualities and traits I'm not comfortable facing. On the other hand, I have this one life and I think growing as a person is the key to a life well lived.

I think my journey is really just beginning, and there are going to be dips and drags, vents and tears. I hope you'll all help me along the way-if I open the door more than a crack to let you in! Right now, I'm beginning to leave the door ajar.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

October's Challenge And Headspace

That's me right there, running my first 10k race, this past weekend, at the Ottawa Rattle Me Bones. As I laid out on here before, my goal for this year is to do something every month leading up to 40 that is new to me, that scares me or challenges me, or that is just plain good for my soul.

In the month of October? I killed it! I not only did ONE thing to accomplish my goal, I upped the ante and did a few!

I signed up for the 10k without any real trepidation of being able to cover the distance. My Running Club has been awesome in ensuring that I'm out running every week, but we've also steadily increased the distance week to week so I had already covered the mileage more than once. The thing that made me nervous was all of the "extra" pieces. The whole week leading up to the 10k I wasn't feeling well. I had (and still have!) a horrible head cold that left me fatigued, stuffy and with an awful headache. On top of the physical discomfort, the weather was also rainy and cold. I didn't sleep well the night before the race, but no matter, I was going out there and I was going to give it my best shot!

It was by no means my fastest time, and I think I could definitely better that side of the equation. That being said, I'm not really hung up on that aspect. I don't think I'll EVER be the fastest runner, but I'm also not the slowest, which is good enough for me. More importantly, I DID it. My "Bucket List" has always said "Do a 5k" and I frankly thought THAT would be impossible. The idea that I've accomplished the 5k and added a 10k distance a month later is mind boggling to me! I'm not going to quibble over a few minutes.

I also attended my first heated yoga this month! My awesome group of fit, active friends attend a "Yin Yoga" class every Friday evening. It's in a heated room and is the perfect wind down to the week. The Yoga studio has a fantastic 30 day unlimited deal, so I signed up and went with them last week.

I was more nervous about heated yoga than I was about running the 10k! I was worried I might faint or get dizzy, toot or who knows what else! None of the above happened, by the way. It was absolutely relaxing and wonderful. I came home and had a nice half glass of wine and felt totally Zen.(did I mention that Yoga Club led to the discussion of  Wine Club?) I'll be going every Friday night to use up my pass, as well as Mondays to a Runner's Yoga. I haven't checked that one out yet, and of course I'm already stressing it, but I'm sure it'll feel as amazing as Yin.

Finally, I've signed on to do a 6 class "Swordplay" course with my friend Jay. The classes involve learning traditional sword skills, dagger skills, rapier and grappling. Three of the instruction days will be in a private class setting, and then three with a group. It was a Groupon offer, so Jay and I have until August to use it and I think we are looking at Spring.

Lastly, I'm signed up at Goodlife and will be trying out new fitness classes and maybe even some spinning as my "new and scary" challenges for November! My sister also got a membership so hopefully we'll be kicking some butt and learning some new things together while we work to get our fitness on! It usually results in lots of laughs as well, so I'm sure we'll make whatever it is we endeavour into fun!

I'm still trying to find some balance in here with work, life, fitness, food. My fitness has been high on the awesome scale, while my food has been on the lower end. I'm going to try and refocus that aspect throughout this next month. I'm lucky that I've been able to have the time this year to seek out these fitness goals and challenges, but I also am aware of time with my family and friends and making sure that I "do it all," (if that's even possible) and that no part of my all gets sacrificed. It's certainly more tricky than I imagined. Lastly, I need to bring work and spirit more front and center. I feel like I'm spinning a mile a minute most days but I'm avoiding those pieces, consciously and not. I guess, if I psychoanalyze, it's because those are the two parts of this whole that I'm least sure about and that have a less clear vision surrounding my future.

The work continues.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Workout Wear (ie not looking hideous while already looking hideous!)

The time has come where I need to actually go out and buy some semi-decent workout wear. I've been putting it off and putting it off because, really, I haven't really needed any besides what I had. It was warm weather, I own plenty of shorts and t-shirts!

Now, however, the cooler weather is upon us and I have nothing to wear for outdoor workouts. Couple in to that factor that most everything I own is about two sizes too big ain't pretty.

I'd like to get a pair of running tights and another long sleeve shirt or two. I think I can make my windproof jacket that I already own work with something warm underneath. I'd also like to get a tank or two for when I'm at the gym and indoors doing things like yoga or spin. I've never actually DONE spin, but it's "on the list."

It wouldn't hurt to also get a sports bra or two since mine is also now too loosey goosey and even though it's tightened as much as it can go, it's still not quite as supportive as I'd like. Are there any recommendations for an awesome, supportive sports bra that also makes your boobs look hot as hell? Lift and separate! Suggestions welcome!

Did you know that workout wear is RIDICULOUSLY expensive? I even avoid Lulu and still find it nuts! I refuse to pay that much for stuff that I just sweat in!

The most expensive purchase is also looming....runners. I hate buying running shoes for a thousand reasons, but the cost is right up there at the top. I got some Saucony's last year that I LOVE (green and blue for the win!) but they pinch my toes when I run and that doesn't feel great on 10k! My husband bought them for me while on a business trip to the US and he got them in my size (a 7-which frankly, good on him for knowing that!) but for running I think I need to go up a half size so that when my feet swell a little I'm not pushing on the edge. As we speak, I've got a black toe nail. It's cool and sick at the same time!

Lastly, I want a Fitbit or a Polar HRM really, really badly. I'd like to know the calorie burn for reals, as opposed to MyFitnessPal calculations, and where I am working in my target heart rate. The Fitbit is even more cool, because it also tells you how you are sleeping-how many times you woke up or tossed and turned, how long you were in REM sleep etc. I've mentioned on here a bazillion times before that sleep and I are not such a good couple. If I had a cool gadget though? C'MON!

I can't spend hundreds of dollars all at once on this stuff, so I'm going to have to buy a little here and there and prioritize my needs. It's hard enough to look half decent while purple faced and drenched in sweat, but I think it's time to lose the baggy, hanging clothes and step into something a little more funky, a little more spandex, and a little more practical.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

New Year, New Me, New Hair And Tats?

I've spent the last year working on really trying to put the puzzle pieces together about who I am and where I see myself going. Consequently, I've changed my lifestyle quite significantly, and in turn, it's altered my self perception and my confidence. I've been embracing the ideology of "just go for it" and have attempted to take many "leaps" even though, by nature, I'm not really the leaping type.

My husband, alternately to most males it seems, loves short hair. I shouldn't say "short hair" as such, but he loves "different" and edgy. He's been bugging me to cut my hair shorter for quite awhile now. He loves my long, messy hair as well-just the other night telling me his fav hairstyle on me is my bed head, but he'd definitely be in to me going for a whole new look than the one I've had pretty much for...forever.

I've been pinning some cuts that I like, and trying to give myself the courage to just "Go For It."  This would be a mega, huge, crazy change, so it's a bit scary! I'm thinking I just need to make the appointment and go before I can back out. Then again, maybe I need to let it simmer and decide how much I really want to do this!

Here's an idea of a cut I like. It's Posh and frankly, that chick can rock any 'do so I don't really think it's a fair comparison!

Next up on the 'ol Bucket List has been a tattoo. I've been talking about getting a tattoo forever and a day. Again, I've been pinning some ideas that inspire me, that I like the personal meaning, and that might look good, you know, forever imprinted on my flesh! I've waited a long time for a tat, so once again, this may be a "close your eyes and just do it!" kind of thing!

I'm thinking some appointments might be getting made in the not so distant future!

Right now, I'm just pinning away and dreaming and planning and scheming.

It's a whole new me emerging from this cocoon and making changes in how I look and feel is pushing me to spread these wings and fly.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Anyone Need A Girl Friday?

I hate to be a cliche but I seriously feel like I've hit some midlife crisis phase. I'm rockin out in so many ways,  but there's just something lacking and I need to find a satisfactory solution.

Physically-I'm feeling great. I'm working out, I'm doing things I love, I'm trying new things and I'm pretty impressed with my almost 40 year old self.

Emotionally, I've come to terms with many obstacles in my life and I'm choosing to ignore things that distract me from peace and happiness. The old sentiment about others bringing negativity to your door, but you have to open it to let them in is very true. I'm choosing to close the door. What I don't know or hear about can't affect me, so even if my every move and interest is stalked from here to eternity-I just won't even know about it. That's a HUGE leap in the right direction. Close and deadbolt. I'm changing and growing every day, and while there's constantly work to be done and anxieties to deal with, I'm doing the work and I'm becoming who I want to be and who I've always seen myself as being.

The problem boils down to work wise. I am VERY passionate about being home with and for my kids. On the other hand, some cash flow wouldn't hurt. I went to school for Early Childhood Education and graduated with Honours on the Dean's List. I LOVE kids and find them fascinating. All of that being said, after 10+ years with home daycare and raising my girls, I'm sort of feeling like I need a change. The problem is that-I still want to be home mornings to see the kids off to school, and by the afternoon to pick them up from school.

To get out of the house and find a job with other adults might be difficult with a 9-2pm availability. I don't drive, so I need somewhere relatively close that I can travel to quickly. None of these things, obviously, would be a "career" but I'm okay with that. I've actually never really been ambitious career wise. It just wasn't on my "needs" list.  I've always wanted to be a Mom and have a family. That's kind of actually it, that's all.

After being out of the work force, even in daycare centers, my resume is pretty slim as well. I don't even know if I'd know how to operate a fax machine or copier of "today." How sad is that? The good news is-I'm a quick study and I work diligently and am reliable. Plus, if you've worked with 20 year olds? I'd think many would rather someone with a bit of maturity.

I've looked at jobs from home and frankly, are any of them NOT scams? They seem like they'd be the perfect fit-but I don't even know where to start or which are on the up and up and would be worth my time!

I could look into getting a few more kids again, but I really don't know if my heart is in that endeavour. So, I need to find something, and sooner rather than later, while I puzzle out the rest, but again, it needs to fit my time frame.

Anyone have any leads? Do you know of any work at home type jobs that are actually paying and not soul sucking? Do you know of anywhere hiring for a 9-2 type of shift coverage? I'm not too proud to do just about anything-in fact-I've been considering overnight store shelf stocking just so that I'm at least home during the daytime hours!

I'm not looking for a career here....I don't have the desire to go back to school and spend thousands to start anew. I just want something to help my family out, to give me an outlet besides home life, and that works to keep my kids lives as similar as they've always known to now.

Any thoughts, ideas, or job offers will be considered! :)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Friends, Fitness and Gratitude

It's been a whirlwind weekend full of the very best of everything. If I could make a weekend to emulate repeatedly, this one would have been it. Well, maybe minus my new found extremely low tolerance for alcohol. When did I become such a lightweight?

We went to our friends on Friday night for a little get together with "the gang."  These friends have moved several times and have now settled back in town and wanted to have our old group back together again-kids and all. It was SUCH a fun night, I can't even tell you. Great food, great company, SO many laughs. We were there til 1am and I'm sure we could have talked and laughed into the morning if we weren't so darn responsible! There's talk of a Halloween party and I'm already planning out my costume! I know it'll be a good time for all, once again.

Sunday I decided to start the day with some running, before heading out to the pumpkin patch and then on to Thanksgiving dinner with more friends. I plan my running weeks with two runs of the same length, and then one at a new distance that I haven't yet reached. Last week I ran two runs at 7k and on Sunday, I did 8k. I no longer walk at all and I try to keep my pace steady, always watching my pace setting on my ipod. I felt awesome and I'm super stoked at how the running is going. I finished the 8k in 52 minutes, jumped in the shower and got ready for Thanksgiving feast #1.

Dinner that night was with my friend Claire and her family, and of course, in typical Claire fashion, everything looked just perfect. The food was delicious and special, as many of the recipes had been passed down from Claire's Mom. We had a really great night once again-our kids get along famously-but her husband is generous with pouring the wine and I'm apparently too polite to decline. Hiccup.

Monday we headed over to my sisters to have Thanksgiving lunch/dinner with my actual family. Everyone was kind of excited (okay, mostly my kids!) because they were going to get to meet my niece's boyfriend for the first time. My sister is the "have everything perfect" type as well, so of course it looked gorgeous. She had made this dip that was DELICIOUS. No description will do it justice but it was sweet potatoes and green onion with a touch of heat. I had to walk away from it eventually because I couldn't stop stuffing my face with it! I was glad for that 8k run at that moment! We had a great time with good food, and the kids got to play a HIGHLY COMPETITIVE board game with Granny. Why everyone in our family is so darn competitive is beyond me. It must be some darn stubborn genes or something.

It was such a fun and social weekend, mixed with fitness, that it truly felt perfect to me. I wish every single weekend could be like that. Well, maybe not that much food and wine know what I mean.

This week has been getting sort of back on track. I ran 9k in 59ish minutes on Tuesday and have another 8k run to do this evening. My knee has been "off" and not really sore but more just the fact that I'm aware that something is not quite right there. I'll see how tonight goes and how I'm feeling about it, but I might have to take the weekend off to let it rest a bit before pushing for that 10k next week.

I was supposed to have company for the weekend, but it didn't work out timing wise, so I'm looking forward to just hanging out with my family and getting some projects done around here before the winter weather strikes us into hibernation mode.

Thanksgiving weekend always makes me reflect on life, as well it should, and even when things are up in the air or worrisome, it allows me to focus on my blessings, of which there are many. I was supremely grateful this weekend to be surrounded by friends and family, to feel loved and accepted, to honour my hearts wishes and happiness even if it wasn't conventional (when am I ever, though, really?), to feel strong and healthy, and to know that even with the bumps that occur and will continue to challenge me....I will always keep pushing and seeking. My faith was renewed once more, and my cup runneth over.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Soundtrack To My New Life

Yesterday, my friend Katie posted a video to a song she'd been introduced to just recently. I took one watch and got goosebumps and started tearing up.

My personal theme song for a few years now has been Christina Aguilera's "Fighter."  I've felt like that song pretty much personifies all the cruddy things that have happened to me in my life and my attitude towards them, which is "thanks for making me stronger!" When that song comes on my playlist when I'm working out, I do a little fist pumping and my step speeds up a little.

Well, last night, I found another song to add to my soundtrack.

What I love about the message in this song is the statement of doing what you want to do, stepping out of your comfort zone and trying new things. When the naysayers say you can't, or shouldn't, or that it's silly to try one new activity after another, the answer is "I don't care what you think-if it makes me smile!" Exactly.

I also love that she takes a ballet class in the same Converse that I own and will forever be a staple of my wardrobe.

"I may just be a little girl, but I'm a girl with GREAT BIG PLANS!"

Take a look and listen. Hope you love it as much as I do.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Revamping And Re-Emerging

I've been trying to make some decisions the last little while, in case you've noticed my absence! Part of the deciding was what to do about the blog and about privacy and about where it all goes from here and what I want to do with it all.

I've had some issues with the blog and some of the readers who don't "follow," but do, if you get my meaning. It caused me enough emotional drama that I decided to shut 'er down for a bit. While this was all still swirling in my mind, I also had the ongoing debate about what this blog means to me personally, my plans for it in the year(s) to come, and how I want to totally revamp it to not just look like a cookie cutter "blogger" blog, but actually have my personal stamp on it's design as well as its' content.

I can't let random weirdos intent on copying my every move stop me from having this space. I'm just stubborn enough that I won't let that happen. It's MY life. It's MY blog. If they can't go out and get their own ideas and their own life, that's not my problem.

So, here I am.

The redesign is still very much on the forefront for me. I just need to work with somebody who actually, you know, knows how to do that. My addy might change, it may not. You may find me elsewhere. At this point, it's a work in progress but I'll keep you up to date.

We find ourselves in October now! OCTOBER! Is it just me or did September zoom by in the blink of an eye? Thanksgiving is around the corner, I have friends visiting from out of town, and family as well. It's going to be another fast and furious month!

Don't think I forgot about my monthly challenge as I jump into my last year of being in my thirties, either. I have plans for October that as usual scare me, challenge me, but will undoubtedly make me feel proud too.

Thanks for sticking with me. I hope you'll follow the journey as it changes and ebbs and flows and grows and wanes, replicating a life being lived in full.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Pivotal Posting

This has been a big, huge weekend for me, on all levels. I physically pushed it, I mentally prepared, and emotionally I rode the roller coaster and found peace. I don't want to be all cheesy, but it's hard not to be about everything that this weekend has meant to me, so you're just going to have to grin and bare it. Well, or stop reading, but how much fun would that be?

On Saturday, I did the Colour Vibe 5K event with my kids and a big group of supportive friends. It was a rainy, cold day but we made the best of it any way, laughing and dancing while we waited to get started. The atmosphere at the event was FANTASTIC! People were really friendly, saying hello, dancing with us, wishing us good luck. When my youngest and I ran by some groups, they high-fived her and said she was doing awesome. It was just a general "feel good" kind of run. My eldest sped ahead with friends, not having trained at all, and didn't walk once. My youngest did her best, but as she's also a bit OCD, was concerned about the powder going in her face, and specifically her mouth. That's Momma's little worrier! We did some walk/running and ran into the finish! I saw a bunch of people I knew coming in as we waited for our friends, about 5 minutes after we had arrived and already did some celebrating! Yes, we danced some more! All in all, it was just a great, great time.

After the event though, we had to make our way downtown to pick up our Army Race kits! I got the kids changed into dry clothes at the van, but didn't feel like peeling off my own so publicly! I took off my white shirt and threw my hoodie on top. Needless to say, I was chilled to the bone and soaking wet. We also got some interesting looks downtown, and even questions as to why we were covered in colour!

That night, I got prepared once again to run today! I packed my bag, laid out my clothes and tried to get to bed early for my Army Run 5K today. Umm, not so much. I fell asleep about 12:30am and had to be up for 5:30am! I also tossed and turned and looked at the clock a bazillion times! Needless to say, I was not well rested for today! I was, however, VERY excited.

I've been training for this run for about a solid, dedicated month now, maybe a little more. I've got my running to 45+minutes straight without walking and I have a good (slower!) pace going. I've done over 5K many times and feel comfortable doing more. I wasn't worried about that, really, but more about all the variables!

Once down at the event, I'm not going to lie, the waterworks started! I got teary watching the injured soldiers start the run. I got emotional hearing the National Anthem! Once the cannon went off, we started walking up to the Start line. The chip doesn't start measuring your time until you cross the Start, even though the race started several minutes before that! Hence why the two times : the "chip" time, and then the other time, with the chip being the accurate of the two.

I started running and realized my pace was too fast, faster than I normally go. I was worried about burning out but figured the adrenaline was pumping so I'd just go with it. I had a whole play list set up, but I ended up just playing my 10 or so power songs over and over again. It literally kept me going! I tried to keep my pace steady, even if it was a bit faster than normal and saved my tank of energy til the last kilometer. I pushed at the end but didn't sprint. My app showed me hitting the 5k mark at 32 minutes and 40 something seconds but the course was actually 5.25k and I finished by my chip at 35:12. My goal was 35 minutes so either of those times is A-OK with me!

The group I've been running with is SO uber positive and supportive and encouraging. I started my day with a ton of emails and texts and FB messages and Tweets-all giving me inspiration and belief in myself and my abilities. It's a great group of people, and I feel really lucky to have met them. We met at the end all together, full of high fives and kudos. I was literally riding Cloud 9.

Now here comes the cheese.

The whole event seemed kind of surreal to me, like I was present but sort of "out of body" as well. When I got home, I literally burst into tears that I'd been holding in since the anthem! This was a really, really big weekend for me.

One of my marathon friends (like,she does big, scary REAL marathons!) had told me that if I could run a 5k on Saturday, and another on Sunday, I could totally do a 10k. I'm not really sure that I could, yet, but I'm definitely in for giving it my all. So, next scary thing to tackle? A 10k, no walking.

The other reason this was emotional for me was because, and I wouldn't trade this for a second but, for years now I've been all about my kids. I've been centering my life and my routines and my energy around them. This year, I've started to really try and take some time for ME. I've started to look at activities that interest ME. I've taken time out of our schedules just to spend doing things that make me energized or happy. That might seem silly or obvious to many, but it hasn't been easy for me to take that time without considerable guilt. I started a Bucket List this year of activities I'd enjoy trying so that I'll actually get out there and DO them!( I'm a list maker and like checking things off!) I feel, in a way, like I've been living life on the sidelines, watching it all go by while others run and jump and play and seek interests. I've leaped back into life, and I'm pursuing it with gusto! I felt emotional today because I was OUT THERE, doing this thing! I set myself a goal, I pushed through the mind  games and scheduling and rain and difficult runs, and I did it. I MADE myself do it. I achieved the goal I had set, not for anyone else, not for bragging rights, not for glory....for MYSELF.

While I was listening to power song #3 for the umpteenth time, surrounded by SUCH positivity and inspiration-soldiers with one leg, on crutches, in wheelchairs....I started to think about other things in my life that need changing and need to be released because I just can't let them tie me down any more.

I'm doing so much to try and be positive and to live a full life for myself, and for my family. I've wrestled with myself mentally and physically and continue to astound myself with what I can accomplish and how I'm putting myself out there. I'm overcoming fears and walls that I've erected. My intentions are pure, and I just keep on the path, seeking to find some inner peace.

This year is about facing things head on and entering the next phase of my life with a happier, lighter, more content and well rounded heart and spirit.

I intend on pursuing, and conquering, all of my goals. Today was affirmation that nothing can stop me from doing so. It's not for my kids, not for my husband, not for my friends, not for my enemies that hope to see me fail.

This year is for me. As my friend Claire so aptly said, "The Year of Tracey."

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Best Week EVER!

This has been a whole week of  birthday, and who am I to complain? 

It started off with the Madonna concert and dinner with my friends. The Madonna concert itself was kinda weird. I wanted more old skool songs and to be able to dance and sing out loud, and this was more dark, violent kind of songs and imagery. Not all of it, mind. I just didn't find it enough of the fun. That said, I doubt I'll ever see Madonna in concert again, so it was a once in a lifetime opportunity-especially at the cost! (and we didn't even spend as much as others!) The greatest part of the night? Obviously, seeing my friends. I love hanging out with them, it's always interesting and silly. They've always had my back and sharing our lives for as long as we have, you can just be your crazy self and they get it. I can't imagine starting off my year in any better way than with them.

The next night, my friend Claire and I went to see Celtic Thunder. I've been a fan as long as they've been around, it seems, but seeing them perform has never happened for some reason. When they last toured, I was in the middle of a move. The time before that as well I think. I've watched all their specials and dvd's, I have CD's, I youtube on the regular...well, you get the point. I may or may not also have a gigantic, 15 year old girl crush on Ryan Kelly.

Claire and I were literally giddy as the concert started. This was Claire's gift to me, which is typical Claire. She's just that awesome and I can't say it enough. There is not another person that I would have liked to be at that concert with, because Claire is just as crazy as me, in a more subdued way. As the lights dimmed and the music started, I swear I got teary. What the? The show was great from start to finish, singing along, hooting and hollering (okay, that might have been all me) and basically crushing on Mr. Kelly and the rest of the boys-from the THIRD ROW!

After the concert, Claire and I decided we'd see if we could stalk,  I mean FIND, the tour bus and get an autograph. I'm not a nut case fan, but I'd seen online that many, many fans meet them afterwards, so I knew it wouldn't be *too* out of the norm. As we drove out from the underground parking, we saw the buses. We parked on the side of the road and freaked out for about 5 minutes. I kid you not. We decided to walk over to the bus area and see if anyone was around.

Let me preface this by stating-if you see your crush signing autographs and taking pictures, you MIGHT want to stop, take a breather, and compose yourself before rushing over talking a mile a minute and shaking like a leaf. Oh, my, I embarrass myself. Sigh. I spewed something out about the autograph not being for me, haha, no really....and told him I was happy he was healthy and back (he'd been in hospital in a coma over the summer!) and then...I have no idea what happened. We took a pic together and I died. I was sorta floating outside of my body somewhere. I wish I was joking here.

I look so calm here, no? Don't we look cute together though? No, really!

We got to meet some of the other members (Keith, Emmet, Neil) but I was FREAKING OUT for hours and hours about meeting Ryan. Okay, I'm lying. It was like days. It took some time to come out of my fog like insanity, but I'm back to normal life and not dreaming about what our children would look like. HA! That's not crazy talk at ALL. Nope. 

That was a fantastic, awesome night and I'm pretty sure Claire and I will do it all again sometime. Maybe I'll be more smooth next time. (doubtful) The thing I love about Claire, well one thing, is that she's open to all of these kinds of silly, crazy adventures. I call her my soul sista because we can talk seriously, we can cry, we can lean on each other, but we also do hilarious things that make memories that I'll never forget.

My friends mean the world to me, and while I can't always pay them back with cool concerts and dinners, I always make sure to let them know how much they mean to me, and they know that I'm always here for them, no matter what. 

This is like the longest blog post ever, no? 

My niece took me out on Friday and we had pedicures while we sipped my first Pumpkin Spice latte of the season. We did a little shopping and a little lunching. All in all-my birthday celebrations spread out into a week long event. I can't complain about that!

Somewhere in between the rock star late nights, lack of sleep and booze consumption, I managed Insanity workouts (Month 2 restart from where I left off!) and three 5k runs, one in the pouring rain. I'm pretty happy to report that I no longer have to do walking intervals and just run the 5k (and more!) without stopping. I've also made it in under 35 minutes. I'm not sure how it will be on race day (I've heard not to count on a fast pace because there are SO many people) but either way I'm feeling stoked.  When I run now, I'm not out of breath, I can chat the whole way, I sprint the last 1/2 mile. I just feel in the zone. 

As you can probably tell, I had an AMAZING start to this new year. I have so much on the go and so much to look forward to that I can't wait to just keep going. Not every week might look like this week, and a little emotional rain may fall, but I feel happier, stronger and more at peace with myself than I ever have before. 

I've got a lot of plans for the future, and it's just up to me now to make them happen.

Monday, September 10, 2012

365 Days To 40

It was my birthday yesterday, and I started the year off on exactly the note I had hoped for, wished for and planned.

I started the day with my longest run to date; 6.2km. My husband came with me, which I love. He doesn't like to chat while we run, but there might have been several booty slaps for encouragement. He did 2 miles and then took the route home while I continued on running. Of the 43 minutes I ran, I only walked 2 minutes, after the first 15 minute mark. I again watched my speed, trying to stay in the 11mph range. I felt awesome!

My daughters had made me beautiful artwork and jewellery and my husband also made me a personal gift. My sister and her family brought me a beautiful pink flower which I love! It brings such colour to my mostly white decor!

My Mom came over in the afternoon with her gift to me. She had prepared a whole feast for our family! My favourite: ribs! We also had rice and green and yellow beans and she had made my Granny's chili relish. We topped it off with some bumbleberry crumble. I still have TONS of leftovers too! Mmm mmmm!

The birthday celebrations continue for me all week with the Madonna concert tonight with some of my favourite best gals, tomorrow night I see Celtic Thunder with my soul sista, and another day I'm headed for a pedicure and coffee with my niece. I also have my women's running club Thursday night, which I consider a sort of gift to myself.

Here's the plan for the year, though. I haven't quite got the blog set up as I'd like yet (cause I'm a technological idiot!) but here's what I'm hoping you'll see for the year ahead. Starting RIGHT NOW, this month, and forward for the next 11 months right up to that magical 4-0 birthday, I'll be doing something new every month. Each month I'm hoping to challenge myself with a new task. That could be a new physical challenge, it could be emotional, it could be intellectual, or it might be philanthropic. The idea is that for the next year, I'm approaching 40 with a slew of firsts and dares under my belt. I want to go into the next forty feeling like the best me I possibly can-and what better way than to tackle as many Bucket List, wishes, dreams or fears as I can? I'm hoping to have headings under which I'll write what I'm endeavouring that month so it'll be easier to find. That's in the works and I hope to have it ready in the next week or so.

So, let's jump in right away, shall we?

September I will be doing an item that's been on my Bucket List forever and a day. I'll be running my first ever 5k at the Army Race. I hear it's a very inspiring run, so I think it's the perfect kick-off to this year of living fully and completely.  I warm up with the Colour Run with the fam first-which I think is also a great symbol of what I'd like this year to reflect: fun, fitness, family, friends. The Four F's.

I hope you'll all follow along on this journey with me. I hope it's inspiring to others also a little fearful of chasing their dreams, but knowing that the present is the only time to do so. NOW.

Let's do this thing!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Runnin' High

I know, ANOTHER post about running. Well, I'm floating above Cloud 9 somewhere so please just humour me!

Last night was my weekly running group and we were aiming for 5.5k. The last run I did with the group was CRAP and the run I did Monday on my own left me feeling underwhelmed.

I wore different sneakers for the run last night. I didn't eat dinner before going out. It was cooler outside than the previous steamy nights. I also promised myself I'd set my pace a bit slower and try to pace myself better.

I set my Nike App and the run began. I had to keep metering my pace. I typically naturally run around 10 something, and I was going to try to stay around 11 something pace wise. Right away, too fast. I slowed a bit. That was pretty much the refrain of the run.

I don't know what component of the above made the difference, or if it was the combination of them, but I had my BEST RUN TO DATE. I had planned on a 10:1 ratio but once I got to the 10 minute mark I still felt awesome so I kept going. By 15 minutes, I STILL felt great but decided I should probably take a minute or two to walk.

Once I started running again, I just kept going and going. I didn't feel tired, I wasn't really winded, I was still talking, no huffing and puffing. I got a small stitch in my side at one point but tried some breathing techniques and it was gone. I ran the rest of the 5.5k with no walking stops.

I finished 5k at 35 minutes (that was including my 2 minutes of walking time!) and 5.5k at 40 minutes! As we neared the end of the run, I honestly felt like I still had gas in the tank. If I had walked another minute or two, I wonder how far I could have gone?

Now, I realize not every run is going to be that good. I know some days will stink and I'll be mad at myself. But this time? I literally got back to our meeting place fist pumping myself! I was totally stoked and that feeling remained all night.

In fact, when I woke up this morning, I was still smiling thinking about it. I was also thinking about the possibility of me doing a 10k at some point.

ME! A 10K!

Next week we do 5.5k again, and then we move up to 6k. I'm so excited about it, I feel like going out right now and trying!

That running bug is BACK!!!!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Monday, Busy Monday...(sung to the tune of Bloody Sunday)

I almost wrote Sunday up above, which would have gone much better with the U2 song now stuck in my head. Hey, it FELT like a Sunday, so it's all good.

I preface this post by once again reiterating that I'm a huge keener, like order and routine, and love me a task  list like nobodies business.

I made a plan last night as I lay in bed of what my day would look like today and all that I wanted to accomplish. As I got up this morning, that plan seemed a lot less appealing, but get 'er done I would!

My first task, before breakfast, was to lace up my runners and get a run in before it got too hot out. It wasn't horrible out, but it was still stinkin' hot at 930am. I'm not a fan of heat, as we've also discussed.  I set out on my regular 5k loop, sun beaming down and feeling pretty good. I had set my Nike app with my play list, or so I thought. A few minutes into the run I realized I had hit "shuffle" and was listening to every tune on the ipod. Yuck. I didn't want to stop running to fiddle with tunes, so I just kept hitting fast forward. Let me tell you this, good music makes a HUGE difference in motivation. Sigh. I left that crappy music go the entire run, and I'm sure I hit fast forward more than I actually listened to any songs.

The first 15 mins of solid running were good. I had to keep slowing my pace because my tendency is to go faster and burn out sooner. It's not as easy as it seems to not run your "normal" pace! My body wanted to MOVE. My plan was run 15, walk 1-2, run 15 minutes. When I got to the walk part, I was ready for some walking! A minute went by and I felt like I hadn't walked at all, so I allowed another minute and then started running again. Somewhere in this second 15 I totally lost the motivation to run at all. My head was like, "meh, just go home. I'm not feeling it."  Of course I didn't. I kept on trucking. I definitely had to watch my speed, play with stupid music, and then did more walk/running than I wanted but finished 5k at 37 minutes. I totally could have done it much faster-my head just wasn't in the game today. Needless to say, it was an okay run but not my best and I was glad to get it done.

I came home, had a lovely breakfast and coffee on the deck, just sitting in the sunshine. It felt wonderful to just enjoy-but I'm not going to lie. I'm an Autumn girl and I'm ready for some cooler temps!

The next plan was putting laundry away, unloading and reloading the dishwasher and then doing a ton of baking for the next two weeks!

I'm trying not to buy baked goods like cookies and granola bars for my kids any more. The last few months of school and now starting back today, I take some time on the weekend to bake up the next week's batches of goodies.  Today was granola bars, chocolate chip cookies, a pumpkin spice cake with pumpkin spice icing, and a baked pumpkin oatmeal for quick breakfasts. I also had muffins in my plans but I decided to wait til next weekend to do those, once I see how long all of this stuff lasts!

I literally was on my feet from about 1pm to 530pm mixing, blending and baking. The plans for cleaning the house went out the window at that point-though my husband did vacuum! Phew! The cleaning will have to wait til later on in the week!

I then made dinner, tidied up, did my daughter's shower, got school bags and supplies all ready and labelled, and made lunches.

I'm totally exhausted and I know the week is going to be more of the same as we all adjust to this routine again! I always find the first week is a bit of a mess with everyone tired and out of sorts and with a hundred school notes and demands for $ !

I'm watching my friends 4 year old son for the next two days as well! I haven't had a son, and I haven't had a boy that age in my care in quite a few years! I imagine we'll have a blast-but I also can bet I'll be super sleepy come bedtime tomorrow! :)

I hope you all had a great long weekend, and  I hope the days ahead are full of great "firsts!"

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Running In Colour


I'm totally stoked about this Colour Run coming up in Ottawa on Sept 22nd, 2012. It's at the Rideau Carleton Racetrack, and a TON of my friends are running at various times. Since the venue is a racetrack, and there's a sort of "party" at the end, the venue will be smaller than say, city streets, and the chance that you'll see and be running with your buds, no matter what their "start time"  will be pretty likely. The start times are only 10 minutes apart, so obviously it won't be that impossible to imagine everyone will be caught up or surpass other runners with ease.

I'm doing the run with my family-and we're all really excited to be sharing this activity. We did a trial "family trail run" just to see how a 5k might feel for the kiddos. It was a crazy hot day, but they did great! The teen angst was even in full throttle, and yet, we still made it to the finish! We definitely won't be running the whole thing, but I've already said that skipping, walking,'s all good. This is a fun, silly run to do as a fam, not a serious timed PR.

Of course, the fact that we have lots of friends that are going to be there doing the same should make it all that more entertaining!

I've been trying to get back on the running schedule since the summer has eaten away at it somewhat. Treadmill running is NOT anything remotely the same as outdoors! I'm reminded of this fact every time I zoom out the door hoping to kill my run with the same pace and timing as I do on the treadmill. Umm. No.

My first run in over a month was with a group of women I joined with to meet once a week and put shoes to pavement! We're all at different levels in our running, from newbies to marathoners! The goal was to start at 5k and to increase our distance and endurance each week.

Let me repeat, I hadn't run in over a month. It was hot and humid out. Ew and ew.

I'm one of the speedier runners, my pace is quite quick. That being said, my endurance to maintain said speed and not crap out needs some work. I guess I need to slow down a bit and just try to hang in longer. I walked more intervals than I'd have liked, but I got some great encouragement and tips from one of the ladies that does marathons. I have a month (ish) to get my run I am hoping to do 3 runs a week-whether that's indoors or out (weather dependant) it's going to happen. I'd prefer out because...well, see paragraph #4.

My focus for the day is my family and my friends-all people out for fun and all people that are inspiring and encouraging. Nothing will stop our mojo that day!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Countdown Is ON!

It's the last week of summer holidays before the frenzy of the school year kicks into high gear once more. I actually pretty much live my life by the school calendar, still, so I get kind of excited for the new year to begin!

After my whirlwind last few weeks, this week seems tame in comparison. I need to take the kids school shopping, so that will require some extra strength Tylenol and a bank loan! Seriously, how is it possible that school hasn't even begun for the year and yet I have notes come in the mail with expectations of dropping almost 200 bucks? No joke. There's bus passes and "voluntary fees" (with the caveat that you don't HAVE to pay them, only if you're child wants to participate in ANY extra-curricular activities. Oh, well, then! Geeze) I usually love getting everything together and labelling it and all of that good stuff, but with a 13 year old, those days are sort of fading. Her needs seem to involve more money and less parental involvement. She also made me buy brown paper lunch bags as anything less is "nerdy."  I learn something new every day!

After the Labour Day weekend, school starts in earnest and everyone is usually tired and grumpy and a little stressed out. "I" won't be because I have BIG PLANS coming up once that pesky week is over. Namely, it's my BIRTHDAY and I'm also going to see Celtic Thunder and Madonna in concert!!! YA BABY! I've wanted to see Celtic Thunder for YEARS and my friend Claire jumped right in with taking me! I can't even believe it, really. She makes me cry-in the best way possible. Then for Madonna, there's NO WAY I'd be going, but my other awesome friend Karen scored tickets for my other besties and I, so the four of us are doing dinner and the concert! I'm so so so stoked for these events!


I have some big ideas for this last year before I turn 40. Things I'd like to do and how I want to spend the year counting down. I'm not positive what my path will look like this year, but I'm taking a hold of my own reins and hoping to steer my own course a little more than I have.

Stay tuned because I'm hoping to revamp the blog as I revamp my life.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012


It's a terrifically busy week and I've been struck by a case of insomnia. Really, universe? RIGHT NOW?

I'm not a great sleeper to begin with, but not being able to shut down my mind until 3am and then waking up again at 4, 5, 6 and finally at 730am? Not. Cool.

Luckily, this is a busy FUN week around the homestead.

Tonight I have my Book Club, which is always a fun gabfest about a hundred different topics, including the book. Last meeting was for "50 Shades of Grey", but I think tonight's "In Defense of Food" might be a little more tame. You never know, though. People get really heated about nutrition and diet and what to eat and what not to eat!  I usually get pretty jazzed up and energized by social gatherings, so that should perk me up a little. If I can make it to 8pm tonight!

Tomorrow night I'm headed out for dinner with three of my best friends. We've got some celebrating to do, so much good stuff going on, and we're trying out a new, funky pizza place downtown.

Thursday I'm taking my first Stand Up Paddling course. It may also be my last depending on how bad I am at staying on my board! I've been deliberating what to wear (or not wear!) and worrying about being the most awful person they've ever had to teach...but go I shall! It's all about trying things that look awesome to me! If I love it, GREAT. But if I don't, no biggie, I gave it a shot.

Friday is my 16 year anniversary! We've been together for 19 years now, since I was a young woman of 19 myself.  That seems crazy to me. We've weathered some pretty challenging things and we've both hurt and loved each other fiercely. It's been a roller coaster of sorts, but when you have two passionate, competitive, strong willed people...well, it's bound to not be ho hum, hum drum.  At the end of the day, we've grown up together and continue to grow.

Saturday my daughter is having her friend sleep over that is moving away to BC. She's so sad to see her friend go, they really bonded quickly over the fact that they both lived in Halifax, both have goldendoodles, both share Celtic names.

Sunday morning, when the sleepover is all said and's my daughter's 9th birthday. How I have a 9 and 13 year old, I do not know. The time has flown by, and every new year with them is a blessing to me. My daughters have been my #1 priority since their birth and I'm sure will continue to be as long as I'm living.

All of the "busy" this week is absolutely 100% enjoyable, fun, silly, romantic stuff. Not a bad thing in the mix. You can't really complain about one moment of I'll just go back to how I opened this whole thing and natter on about my one complaint right now....


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

What The Heck Am I Talking 'Bout?

                                                             I'm just SO mysterious.

When I started this 'lil 'ol blog, it was a private, closed sort of journal that encapsulated the many challenges, joys, triumphs and falls that were going on in my life at the time. I love writing, always have, so I wanted an outlet to be able to put thoughts to words but also to try and make sense of the jumble of things I was feeling back when.

I knew at the time my blog would contain a little bit of this, and a little bit of that-which is basically what my brain looks like daily. It would contain rants on politics and celebrity, it would have my oh so many varied opinions, it would talk about my home and family life, and it would be a work in progress on the biggest work in progress-ME.

These days, the blog seems to cover a lot about me being up in the gym just a workin' on my fitness. That IS a big part of what my life looks like currently, but that isn't the whole picture, and is really only a shred of the woven tapestry that makes me who I am.

My blog is never going to be a health and fitness blog. It's never going to be a weight loss blog. It's never going to be a lifestyle blog. It's just a blog about the crazy ramblings that go on in the head of a complicated girl trying to uncomplicate her life a little. (is that really even possible?)

I will be writing about all of the above, of course. It's just not the sum of my parts if you know what I mean. There will always be bits and pieces and snippets and stories and kids and family and love and hope and frustration.

All of it.

Hopefully, more frequently as well, once school is back.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Vacation and Upcoming Plans!

I know you've all been missing me like crazy and wondering where the heck I went, but it's summer and the livin' is loco! I'm totally lying. I had the plague which dragged on forever (I'm STILL coughing!) and then I started my two weeks of vacation with my family.

We did some travelling to see the in laws (haven't seen them since September! Yikes!), we have plans to visit our friends in North Bay, but it looks like a Halifax trip is on the back burner. For now, anyways. There's about 100 different reasons for that decision, but needless to say, the timing just isn't working out for us. We're hoping to still get there sooner than later, and I DO still have my Bluenose marathon registration for May that I had deferred from May 2011! We'll get there, my lovelies! Come hell or high water, one way or another....we'll be there.

Other than working on my sweet tan, I've been doing a lot of swimming laps thanks to my sister's pool, as well as walking. I don't know HOW people run in the heat. Like, at all. While at the in laws I swam, walked a lot, played badminton, jumped waves and "mostly" watched my diet. I didn't lose anything, but good news is, I also didn't gain! I take that as winning.

August is going to go by fast and furious! It's my daughters birthday and my anniversary, but I also have a bunch of physical activity plans-which I'm loving!

I'm taking a Stand Up Paddling course in August which I think will be a lot of fun, but also a big mess. We'll see how shaky I am with the whole balance thing! I also joined a group of women doing runs every Thursday  evening in my neighbourhood.  It will start at 4.5km and increase the distance from there. My goal is to run the whole 5k without stopping (I currently have been doing 15 mins run, 2 mins walk, 15 mins run) and to improve my speed as well. Second to that, I'd like to increase my distance to 10k. One step at a time, I know!

Lastly, I have some goals for the year ahead that will be starting just before my birthday in September and will be continuing throughout my 39th year. I'll tell you all about that as we get a little closer!

I'm SO excited about what's to come....but also trying to just live in the moment and savour every day individually. As my daughter would say, "YOLO!"

Friday, July 13, 2012

Beachy Keen

We had been in the pool all afternoon, and were back in the house, hair all salty and messy. I was reaching into the fridge to grab something to grill for dinner, with the plan of a salad on the side and some grilled veggies, when the feeling hit me. Standing there in my bare feet, no makeup on my face for the 10th day in a row, I realized, "I wish I lived like this every day." 

I'm not a heat girl, unless I'm by the water. If I'm beach or poolside, bring it on! I've been thinking a lot lately (I know, big surprise!) that I ache for a simple, beachy life. I would be ecstatically happy to spend days by the water, my hair a tangled wavy messy and with easy, comfy shorts and a tee thrown on, without a thought or care in the world about "outfits" and looking "put together."  It's truly when I'm happiest. I get up in the morning and I'm ready to go in less than 10 minutes. I quickly run a brush through my unruly mane, brush my teeth and go.

There was a Dalai Lama quote on Pinterest that really struck me, about how we're all living in bigger houses, with more things, but less time. We're all busy with so much in our lives, and we don't have time to enjoy any of it. Maybe it's nearing 40 and that whole "mid-life crisis" thing is for real, but I am at this point of re-evaluation. Is the daily rote what life is truly all about? Is this it for the next "however long?"

Moving back to Ottawa was supposed to be for a better quality of life, to be able to pursue "more."  I'm SO happy to be back with my oldest besties, with the capability of seeing them all whenever time and schedules allow, and I'd be sad to have to give that up yet again. On top of that, I really feel like it's time to let my kids have a bunch of years in one place, to finish school together with a group they know more than a year or two or maybe three. I'm not "unhappy" here. In a weird twist of events, I just want....less.....and Ottawa is all about "more."  Or so it seems, anyways.

I'd love a smaller, beachier house on the water. A place where I get up in the morning and throw on the same shorts and t-shirt as I wore yesterday to sip coffee by the waves. Where I could swim and sun and run.  Where I could make easy dinners in my bare feet. Where maybe I had less, but my soul felt free and like it could soar. It's Canada, so I know winter would change those bare feet into fuzzy socks, but maybe the months of hippy ease would linger to dull the winter's chill in my bones.

This really isn't about's more about redefining the "dream," I guess. Even though I'm an anxious OCD type, somewhere in there is a bit of a beach girl that doesn't care about what kind of car we drive or the size of our home or keeping up with the Jones. I've just realized that I'm halfway through my life-if I'm lucky-and my vision for the future is different than what it was 20, 15, 10, or 3 years ago.

I'm not sure where that dreaming will lead, or what will happen, because who ever knows these things,  but for now, I'm enjoying every messy, freckled, sun kissed, salty haired moment.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Sick As A Dog = Disjointed Blog

This blog post is going to be a 'lil bit 'o this and a 'lil bit 'o that because frankly I'm slightly delirious and yet felt like putting thoughts down for the world to see.

I felt exhausted and just not quite "right" all of this week. When I went to bed on Thursday night, my throat was starting to feel scratchy and I felt a little congested. I woke up the next morning with a horrible sore throat, barking cough, fever, and sinus congestion. If you add in some body aches, fatigue and a headache-you're the winner in the "guess how crappy Tracey feels" contest!

I'm a horrible sick person. I get super frustrated and impatient to be better. I don't like taking meds of any type, so I go by my own little beliefs which include Pho, tea, toast and honey, ginger ale, and anything hot. It works, and never a medicated hazy moment! I'm hoping that tomorrow I'm feeling way, way, way more like myself because frankly, who has time to be sick? I especially don't have time to be sick in July! What the?

In other news, I'm still on the Insanity crazy train. I didn't get all of my workouts in this week for various reasons, but let me just say-Month 2? It's NUTS. The "Max Cardio" workout? I can't even begin to describe it to you. It's 48 minutes of nonstop jumping and punching and squats and planks. There is *maybe* one water break in the whole thing. I was swearing, grunting, lying on the ground. I'm actually nervous for the next time it's in my rotation.(umm, this week) I have three more weeks to go of Insanity. I have to say though, I am seeing LOTS of changes and I feel pretty bad ass/hard core for even doing it in the first place! I'm down a total of 26 lbs as of this week, since January. That's not too shabby!

I also ran twice this week. Some of my runs lately have left me feeling like a rock star, in that I was pretty sure I can do 5k in 30 minutes or so. See how I said "was" there? This week was a total disaster. Maybe it was the heat, or the fact I ran at night after eating dinner, or the fact that my body knew it was going to have a total sick breakdown-but two of my runs were BRUTAL and felt like I was moving through molasses. Honestly, everyone tells me the race I'm doing in the fall isn't one to worry about time and speed-it's just a run to soak in everything around you. That's weird for me, because honestly, I don't feel like there's a point in doing it if I'm not kicking my own butt, know what I mean? Guess we'll see come race day.

I have a big Bucket List both for summer and for the year ahead, but I'll leave you hanging until I post allll about it. Right now, top of my list is to stop coughing like my lungs are exploding and to clear the jackhammers from inside my skull!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Is June Over Yet?

Holy Moly it's been a busy week and now two!

I've been on 4 field trips in the last 3 weeks, and might I add, two of those were in 45C heat! It was a time, I tell ya!

This is the last week of the school year, and I couldn't be more thankful! I have a Book Club meeting tonight,  I still have to buy teacher gifts, and my eldest is turning 13 on Friday, topped off with a sleepover with 9 of her friends.


My husband was also travelling for much of the month, gone to Newfoundland and Montreal and then Toronto for a week.

I'm starting Month 2 of Insanity today which I hear is an HOUR long of crazy, sweat pouring off you mess. Month 1 started shaky but I ended up getting used to it and even though I was super hungry (like, mad fiend hungry) and more exhausted than usual (there may have been naps! Me! Naps!) I felt super powerful when it was done. I took a Recovery week last week and now am back hammering it out for the next four, coupled with running.

I did a 5k run with my husband yesterday (thankfully in fall like weather, which I LOVE) and somehow (I don't understand how this is possible!) did it in 34 minutes, with 4 of those minutes being walking. I ran 15, walked 2, ran 15, walked 2 home. It was actually 5.6km according to my mapping. That seems impossible to me. I got the Nike+ app so I'll try that out next run and see what it says in terms of pace and distance. If I can get to the point where I don't walk at all, and I can do the 5k in 30 minutes-I'll be a happy camper. I'd like to do it in under 30 but that might be stretching it!

Did I forget to mention? The reason for all of this frantic 5k stuff is because I signed up for my first ever 5k race! I'm doing the Army Marathon in September! This has been on my Bucket List forever and a day so I'm both psyched and terrified. Somehow, I'm also thinking I could do a 10k at some point. Who the heck am I?

That's my June scoop! Now, on to July and hopefully less stress, more fun, more sitting by the pool (my sisters that is!) and more training to be the best me by 40!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Father's Day

I'm looking at the above photo of my Dad, and I really still can't believe he's gone. It's surreal to me, probably because I also didn't get to physically be with him near or at the end, nor did I get to attend any final service for him so closure, as you will, didn't really happen.

Anyhoo. I digress.

It's Father's Day this Sunday, and my girls will have a fantastic day with their Dad. My youngest is making something at school for him, and we always let the "Person of the Day" sleep in, and then have breakfast in bed. From there, he'll choose how he wants to spend the remainder of the day and I'm sure it'll look something like swimming and BBQ'ing.

I tell my girls all of the time that they are extremely lucky and blessed to have the Daddy that they do. He's been hands on since Day 1. They go to him with everything and anything, sometimes to his male chagrin. They aren't shy around him, aren't embarrassed to ask him anything, and enjoy time just sitting with him holding his hand.  It makes my heart clench when I think of the relationship they have with him.

My Father/Daughter relationship was much more complicated. That being said, Father's Day was one of those days where I was sure I'd either see or talk to him. We didn't get together that regularly, so knowing I could count on that day was important to me.

My Dad wasn't a bad person, he didn't have ill intent and he wasn't mean.  He was just selfish, I guess, and too wrapped up in his own wants and needs. At the end of the day though, I knew he loved me. On Father's Day, I got that reassurance and his "Hi Sweetie."  How I miss hearing those simple words.

If you're lucky enough to have your Father still in your life this Father's Day, take the time to let him know what he means to you. I will be spending a moment doing the same.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Peace of my Heart

I know what you are thinking, " Not ANOTHER post about Halifax."  Well, you'll be pleased to know it sort of is, but not specifically. That's as clear as mud, huh?

I went to a Book Club meeting awhile back and we started talking about various places many of us have lived in our lives. One of the ladies was from the North, near where I lived previously. A few had lived in BC, where I also lived for a bit. Some of them were from the East Coast even, but now live here. Many of those that had lived "away" were from my home town.

What caught my interest from the conversation was that no matter where we originated, it didn't always translate to our hearts' home.

The women from the East Coast? They said they'd never live back there. They were surprised I loved it so much and said that coming from a "big city," I probably liked that it was a bit more relaxed, where they were so happy to have the many cultural events, shopping, shows and activities for their kids.  I, personally, didn't find that lacking on the East Coast but it's all a matter of perspective, right?

One lady was from Ontario but felt like Victoria was where she was meant to be. She said she just felt completely differently in her soul when there. She said she needed the mountains and the water and the weather to feel total contentment.

It's a funny thing isn't it? I guess it boils down to personal aesthetic and priorities and what your experience in  each place resembles.

I've lived in or visited most of this great country-even if just to pass through. I've lived in Kelowna, I've stayed in Victoria, I've driven across from there to Banff, to Winnipeg, to the North of Ontario. I've been to Quebec City and Montreal and surroundings. I've visited New Brunswick, swam at Parlee Beach, did Magnetic Hill a billion times, walked on the ocean floor. I've renewed vows and relaxed completely in PEI. I grew up in Ontario in a beautiful city with tons of green space and amenities and culture and safety.

I'm so happy to be surrounded by my friends here. It's been wonderful getting to be a part of their daily lives, their joys, supported in their sorrows. I wish I could pack them all up with me and take them everywhere my wanderlust heart wishes to travel.

My soul though? (here's the part you were dreading) It's still in Halifax. I can't accurately describe it-and much of those women mentioned above couldn't either. It's just an inner peace, a quietude. It was a sense of "THIS, this is where I'm supposed to be."

I was telling someone recently about my time there and how much it meant to be, how important it is to me to go back, and she answered, "You fell in love with the ocean, didn't you? You're an ocean girl with the wind in your hair. I can totally see it in your eyes."

I guess that's it, and I guess it's written all over my face.

I'm an ocean girl, with the wind in my hair.

Where do YOU feel most like yourself? Is there a place that you feel yourself completely relax and settle contentedly?