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 and...well...it 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 but...you 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.