Wednesday, November 30, 2011

So Long November, December is on Her Merry Way!

November was a much more active month for me than I initially thought it was going to be.  At the beginning of the month, I was afraid that I was not going to be able to run again till the end of the month, because of my then-recent eye surgery.  I thought I was restricted to some walking and resigned myself to that, knowing I could still take part in the Pile on the Miles Challenge from November 1st through the 25th.

But, after seeing the doctor I was given the go-ahead to resume my normal activities and that made me very happy.... to put it mildly.  I was ecstatic!  I was allowed to run and also resume lifting some weight, too.

So in November:
  • I ran 48.67 km
  • I walked 53 miles
  • I did Pilates a few times
  • I did my upper body routine with 8 lb dumbells and my lower body resistance routine a couple of times each week
All in all a good month, and December promises to be even better.

Along with The Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge, and The Winter 100 Challenge, I have taken on another that begins December 1st and runs till Christmas Day.

It is one that I found on Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans called The 25 Days of Christmas Challenge.  It involves doing some fitness and drinking 8 cups of water, every day.  There is a Christmas Tree pattern that you can print and hang on your wall... and give yourself a sticker ornament every day that you do some activity, just like an Advent calendar.  Only, this will be so much better for me than the one I usually have that offers up a piece of candy every day!

I have chosen to keep my tree on this blog so that it will be right in front of me.   Poor tree; it is sad-looking and unadorned right now, but I commit to putting an ornament on it every day, and make it look as pretty as a festive Christmas Tree should be.

If you are interested, go check it out and join in the fun. I think it will be great to watch the decorations appear on the tree as I work-out my way through December till Christmas!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Don't Forget Magnesium

That was the headline of a newpaper article that caught The Captain's eye yesterday morning, in our local paper.  The secondary headline read "Reduce leg cramps, hypertension, and diabetes".  He thought that I should probably read it as I have suffered from leg cramps in the past and do like to keep abreast of the health news about things that affect either of us.

The article goes on to say that studies show that many North Americans are not getting sufficient amounts of magnesium, but that most of us don't even think about it.  And that it can be a fatal error.

"Magnesium is nature's natural muscle relaxant, but this fact went unnoticed for years."

Without rewriting the article here, I will just summarize it by saying that low levels of magnesium can cause angina, and trigger irregular heart rate (auricular fibrillation).  It may also aggravate hypertention (high blood pressure) and is associated with increased insulin resistance.

"... a magnesium deficiency can result in hypertension, muscle cramps, restless leg syndrome, diabetes, migraine attacks, emotional trouble, fatigue and an irregular heart rate."

According to this article, 350 mg of magnesium per day is optimum for health benefits.  It also stated that most of us are not getting this much and should be taking supplements.

Here are the amounts of magnesium in common foods:
  • 1 baked potato with skin - 55 mg
  • 1/2 ounce almonds - 43 mg
  • 1 shredded wheat biscuit - 40 mg
  • 1 cup plain low-fat yogurt - 43 mg
  • 1/2 cup brown rice - 42 mg
  • 1 banana - 32 mg
  • 3 ounces grilled salmon - 23 mg
  • 1 slice whole wheat bread - 24 mg
  • 3-1/2 ounces edamame - 60 mg
For the sake of full disclosure, the article was written by Dr. Gifford-Jones, a medical journalist with a private medical practice in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  His web site is

I do journal my food every day and use a software package called FitDay.  I used it online, free, at their website for a while, but eventually bought it so that I could have it on my own PC, and not have to go online to make my entries.

Do you keep track of what you are eating?

Do you have particular nutrients that you like to make sure you are getting enough of?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Another Running Challenge.... and My Monday Run

Who is up for another running challenge?  If I am, then I know you must be, too!  I would love it if you would join me and the others who have already signed up for this fun event.  Come on, I dare ya!

The Running Mom is having a Winter 100 Challenge that begins on December 1st.

All you need to do is run 100 miles between December 1st and February 29th, keep a log of your mileage, and then send it to The Running Mom when you are done.

All of those running miles we are racking up for The HBBC might as well do double duty and count toward the Winter 100 Challenge, as well.  And if you need more motivation, I have it on good authority that there are some wonderful prizes involved, too.

For details check out Kristen's  Winter 100 Challenge post

I was so happy to wake up to a blue sky this morning.  After not doing much at all in the way of exercise on Sunday, I was chomping at the bit to get out and get moving in the sunshine today.  Even The Captain was ready for some action... so I packed us a bottle of water and put some CLIF SHOT BLOKS in my pocket, laced up my running shoes and off we went.

I love running near the water on a clear, windless, sunny and blue day.  There are so many happy people out and about and it is fun to greet everyone along the way.  That is such a nice benefit of living in a small town.  People are just friendly and seem happy to be out and about and alive!

We took it pretty slow... no walk breaks at all.  Just a leisurely, chatty, fun run in the morning sunshine.  And then, to extend it all a little longer and get some additional time on the feet, I took us home via a different route today, along a trail the runs adjacent to the highway... all in all it was 9.55 km.  (That works out to 5.97 miles.  1 km = 5/8 mile, right?)

We drank the water, and ate the BLOKS and arrived back at the marina just before noon.  A good looooong stretch for me today as my left hip socket was a little angry by the time we were done running.  I stretched for a full 10 minutes and loved every second of it.

W2 R79 W3
stretch 10 minutes

Chocolate milk and bananas whizzed in the blender were the reward for our run today.  Mmmmm.  Have you tried that yet?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

My Weekly Recap

I did pretty well this past week, I think, in spite of the rain and wind we had here.  I managed to get out and run twice and got in some good walks, and a couple of strength workouts, too.

Here is how it went:

  • walk .33 miles
  • run 8.75 km
  • stretch 5 minutes
  • N/A
  • walk 2 miles
  • upper body w/8 lb weights 10 minutes
  • walk .5 miles
  • run 5.8 km
  • stretch 5 minutes
  • N/A
  • walk 5 miles
  • upper body w/8 lb weights 10 minutes
  • lower body 10 minutes
  • walk 2 miles

Friday, November 25, 2011

Here's What I Have Been Wondering...

Does every run have to have a goal?  If I just lace up my running shoes and head out the door with no set goals, am I just wasting my time? 

I normally do have a goal in mind when I go for a run.  These include such things as:

1. Running for distance

Sometimes I have distance goals, such as 6 miles, or 10 km or 8 miles.  I know this will become more important as I get into my half marathon training program.  There will be a long run every weekend where I will want to cover a specified distance.

2.  Running for duration

Occasionally I want to just stay out there for a certain length of time.  For an hour or for an hour and a half. This was more important before I began keeping track of my mileage. I think it is particularly important for beginners or runners recovering from injury or layoffs.

3.  Practicing hill running

I did more of this when I was learning the Chi Running hill technique.  The neighborhood where we have been doing lots of house-sitting the past couple of years is very hilly so there is lots of opportunity for hill running, so it is not often my goal.

4.  Working on speed intervals

This goal has become more important to me.  I am a prettty slow runner and I do like to put faster intervals into my runs, hoping it will help me become faster overall.  I often go out on a run, planning to do some speedwork.

5.  Covering a specific distance within a certain amount of time

When I set out on one of the virtual 5 km races that I have taken part in, I usually have a finish time in mind.  I have done this with a few runs, but I don't do it regularly.  Again, as I begin half marthon training, this may become more important.

6. Having fun!

Sometimes I just want to get out there and go!  And just for the pure enjoyment of it.  I think this is important for me and do it fairly often, but in all honesty, I usually end up setting a goal on the fly.

What kinds of goals do you set for your runs?

Do you usually set goals?  Do you think running without goals is a waste of time?

Fitness Friday Blog Hop

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My Wednesday Run and A Request for Advice...

Are you loving these Ruby Red Rio grapefruit that are coming from Texas as much as we are?  The past couple of days, The Captain has been peeling us each one to munch on with our coffee in the morning, before we have breakfast.... they are SO sweet and juicy.

The weather has been pretty wild here the past couple of days.  We have had rain and wind in amounts and speeds to equal past records, and even though it was supposed to be a bit brighter today, I knew The Captain would not want to go for a walk or a run.  One of the young guys from the marina maintenance crew came by this  morning to let us know that he would be changing the cleats on the dock finger between us and our neighbor boat. 

They  just put new metal cleats on 2 years ago, but have had lots of complaints about them so they are removing them, and installing new wooden ones, the full length of the dock...  which is great, but The Captain would never leave the boat while someone is working so close to it with power tools! 

So, we whiled away the morning, and then we had lunch... and I started to get antsy.    The better the weather got, the edgier I got. The sky was a gorgeous blue, with barely a cloud, and I knew I had to get outside for a run... so I told The Captain I was going to go, and quickly dressed and headed out, making sure to wear my Road ID, which I always do when I go alone.

I wanted to try to get in a few faster intervals today.  So, I did a 9/1 run/walk routine, and during the 9th minute of each run interval, I turned it up a notch and ran just fast enough so that I knew I wouldn't be able to keep it up for more than a couple of minutes.... not all out, but fast enough to notice.  That made me feel like I had really earned the one-minute walk, and allowed me to catch my breath for the next run interval.

I completed my 5.8 km route in 44 minutes using that routine and that is a decent time for me. 

I also did a bit of experimenting with my breathing.   I am learning to breathe deeper into my belly, hoping that will give me more oxygen per breath. 

And I am also experimenting with my stride length.  When I start to feel like I am getting a bit winded, instead of slowing down, I am working on keeping the same cadence but taking shorter steps.  I am hoping that will have the same effect. 

Any thoughts you care to share about that?  I am so open to all your advice!

I did my stretches on shore today near the marina laundry room so that I didn't get in the way of production on our dock.

W3 R44 @10/1 W 4
stretch 5 minutes

When I came inside I ate a banana slathered with Nutella.  Mmmm... I think that was a great recovery snack!

I haven't picked up my dumbbells this week yet, but plan to do some work with them while I am watching the 2-hour Biggest Loser special about past contestants later tonight.

Are you taking part in the Pile on the Miles Challenge or the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge?

Are they motivating you to keep moving?
I did sign up for both of them and I know they are in the back of my mind when I am having a 'feeling lazy' moment!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Great Run on Our Very Special Day

I wanted to make French toast for breakfast this morning but we didn't have any milk in the fridge, and I didn't want to root around in a salon locker for a tetrapak of Almond Breeze so I got creative... I used some vanilla yogurt, mixed it with an egg and some cinnamon and then dipped the bread in that before frying it.  It was delicious!  And we are really enjoying some Ruby Red Texax grapefruit right now... we alveays get a big bag of them this time of  year when they arrive in our grocery stores.

It was a bit frosty again this morning but melting somewhat by the time we set off for our run at 10:45 a.m.  The promised sunshine was just beginning to poke through some cloud cover, and I let The Captain have his choice between two routes.

One was 8 km and the other was 8.75 km and I really expected him to pick the shorter one, but he opted for the longer as it would have more direct sunlight... I was delighted as this is my favorite route along the town waterfront.

I dressed a bit warmer today.  I wore tights and a tank with a built in bra, a long sleeved tee with a cowl neck over it, and then a tee shirt over that, under my light running jacket.  Then a headband, light gloves... and my waterbelt over the jacket.  Sheesh!  I would so much rather run in warm weather.... but off we went.

It was great!  The sun came out and did manage to warm us a bit and I removed my jacket for about a half hour stretch in the middle of the run.  We did a 10/1 run/walk routine today and finished in 71 minutes.  I was happy with that... 3 minutes faster than the last time out... it seemed odd to be drinking cold water, but I was glad to have taken it along.  I was kinda wishing I had packed a few of the CLIF SHOT BLOKS that I got last week, too.  Next time for sure.

Back at the marina we did our stetches on the dock 'finger' between our boat and the Catalina in the next slip.

W2 R71 @ 10/1 W3
stretch 5

Once inside I made us smoothies with chocolate  milk and bananas.  That got us through shower time easily and we ended up having a late lunch.

Today is a special day for us... it marks the anniversary of the day we met.  We do celebrate our wedding anniversary too, but this date has always been 'our' day.  Here are few happy memories...

Top Right and clockwise:
  • Our wedding at the Grand Floridian Hotel in Walt Disney World, Florida
  • Me on the beach at Glace Bay, Nova Scotia
  • The Captain with Penny on the top of The Bear's Hump at Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta
  • Me skiing at Panorama Resort, B.C.
  • Me and Penny at Christmas at the Chateau Lake Louise, Alberta

Top Right and clockwise:
  • Me at the helm during our sea trial in Vancouver, B.C.
  • Scout with her puppy, asleep in the cockpit
  • The Captain catching our first ever crab feed
  • Sailing on the Sidney Channel
  • Me on South Pender Island
  • Sunset at Montague Harbour, Galliano Island
  • The Captain and Scout at Sidney Spit Marine Park
We have done a lot of travelling over the years... a couple of trips to Europe and all over Canada and the U.S. and Mexico.  We have become nomads and are always up for an adventure.

We are never sure what is around the next corner and that is just fine with us... as long as we are together, it doesn't really matter!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

My Weekly Workout Recap and Saturday Stuff

We slept in till after 9 a.m. this morning... such an usual luxury!  I could see that the sky was bright blue as soon as I opened my eyes and I was delighted, although somewhat surprised because I really was expecting that there would be snow on the docks this morning..... dodged a bullet there cause it did not happen!

There was a bit of frost though, but it was gone by the time we started our Saturday pancake feed so the danger was past by the time we headed out for our walk to town centre today.  It was a glorious day on the waterfront...  lots of doggies out walking and we met a new black and white English Springer today... that is always a highlight for me.   I need a little doggy love every day. 

Late this afternoon, back on board, I cooked some rice and baked some potatoes to store away in the fridge... I like to have a few things made up ahead when there is forecast for a few rainy days in a row... and it looks like it's going to be wet Monday through Wednesday... very wet! 

I am planning a Sunday run in the promised sunshine.

So, my workout recap!  All, in all, a pretty good week I think. I got in some exercise every day and so am happy about that.

In light of beginning the HBBC Challenge today, I am posting more details about the length of the workouts, and not so much about what each one involved.

HBBC Challenge

Right now my upper body work is pretty consistent... a routine of 6 exercises of 10 reps each, done one after another.... then once or twice more.  The lower body routine is standing leg lifts, squats and rear lunges. I think I will stick pretty consistently to these workouts until we move off the boat in mid-December, when I will start doing more varied and longer strength workouts.

  • run 8 km/5 miles - 59 minutes
  • walk .33 mile - 5 minutes
  • stretch 5 minutes
  • walk 5 miles - 80 minutes
  • run 8.72 km/5.45 miles - 74 minutes
  • walk .33 mile - 5 minutes
  • stretch 7 minutes
  • upper body workout w/8lb dumbbells - 10 minutes
  • Pilates - 10 minutes
  • lower body resistance work - 10 minutes
  • walk 5 miles - 75 minutes
  • walk 2 miles - 30 minutes
  • walk 5 miles - 75 minutes

Friday, November 18, 2011

Pilates for Runners, Short Strength Routines, and Giveaway

I am determined to get in some strength and core workouts while we are still on the boat.... as you can imagine, my space is somewhat limited.  But, I just don't like packing up a gear bag and driving to the gym. 

So, I have put together a shortish routine that I can do for my upper body with my 8 lb. dumbbells.  It consists of 6 different exercises for my upper body and I think it hits the muscles I want to work, fairly evenly.

The exercises are:
  • bicep curls
  • tricep kickbacks
  • overhead presses
  • lateral raises
  • upright rows
  • delt raises
I do 10 reps of each, and then I repeat it another time, sometimes twice.

I wish I had room for pushups but it is a tight squeeze so I am leaving them out for now.  I actually love pushups.  They make me feel like I am really working hard!

For my lower body the routine is quicker and doesn't involve weights.  I am running and walking so don't want to overdo the leg work.  But I know I can help my hips and quads by doing some work so I have devised this:
  • standing abductors, 20 per leg
  • standing adductors, 10 per leg
  • 25 squats
  • rear lunges, 10 per leg
Along with the lower body work, I am doing some Pilates moves. I was going to get out my Pilates for Dummies DVD and do it a couple of times a week, but we seem to have a tv conflict!  And I don't like to play DVDs on my laptop. 

This DVD comes with 2 workouts... a beginner and an intermediate.

I created a list of the Pilates mat moves, and then went through them and checked off the ones I have ample space to do... there are 17 of them:
  • The Hundred
  • The Roll-Up
  • Single Leg Circles
  • Single Leg Stretch
  • Double Leg Stretch
  • Single Straight Leg Stretch
  • Double Straight Leg Stretch
  • Spine Stretch Forward
  • The Corkscrew
  • Single Leg Kicks
  • Double Leg Kicks
  • Side Kicks
    • Up/Down
    • Small Circles
    • Inner-Thigh Lifts
  • Swimming
  • The Leg Pull-Down
  • Leg Pull-Up
It gives me a pretty good core workout.  I do like doing Pilates and love the way it makes me feel like I have stretched myself an inch or two taller, after I am done.

I also think that Pilates is beneficial because I am a runner. Once we are moved into the house for the rest of the Winter and Spring, I will definitely be doing the full mat a couple of times a week.

Lynda Lippin, certified Pilates Teacher Trainer, Personal Trainer, and Reiki Master has this to say about it....

"Running is a high impact activity that puts great stress on the lower back and lower joints. Any imbalance in the muscular usage of the legs and hips can cause pain and injury to a runner, especially the knee and hip. Runners tend to be quite strong in their calf muscles, quadriceps and hip flexors, with tight IT Bands as a result of the impact. Pilates helps to balance things out in the legs by strengthening the hamstrings, inner thighs, and glutes to take pressure off the front and side of the leg, leading to better alignment and less chance of injury. Plus the pelvic, ab, and back strengthening help to maintain better stability and alignment through the entire body while running."

Have you ever done Pilates?  Are you a fan?

Do you think a short strength routine is better than none at all?  Do you strength train regularly? What does your routine look like?

I am currently hosting a Wasa Crispbread/Flatbread giveaway on my food blog

Wasa will send 5 packages of their Crispbreads and Flatbreads to one lucky winner.  If you like healthy snacks, please go have a look.  I would love it!

Fitness Friday Blog Hop

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Do You Know My Friends LUNA and CLIF?

On Monday I received a really nice and colorful surprise.... a box full of LUNA bars, CLIF bars and CLIF SHOT BLOKS... to sample and review.

There were 3 LUNA bars:
  • Lemon Zest
  • Nutz Over Chocolate
  • Chocolate Peppermint Stick
And 4 CLIF bars:
  • Peanut Toffee Buzz
  • Coolmint Chocolate
  • Chocolate Chip
  • Black Cherry Almond
  • Cran-razz
  • Citrus
  • Margarita
  • Mountain Berry
I was so excited to try them all, I had a tough time deciding where to start... but it was teatime on board The Goodship Lollipop just about the time I was opening the box, so The Captain poured us each a cup of spicy chai, and I opened up the Nutz Over Chocolate LUNA bar and cut it in half.

We savored every little bite, along with our tea.  Lovely!  I really like LUNA bars because they are not too sweet, and are full of organic, natural ingredients that I know are good for us.  They make a wholesome,  really delicious snack between meals, and satisfy the 'need' for a treat as well.   This bar has 9g of protein and 3g of fibre.  No wonder it is so satisfying.

After dinner, The Captain was wanting a little something, and knowing how much he loves lemon, I decided to open the Lemon Zest LUNA bar.  I cut it in half.

I opted to cut my half up into smaller bits and enjoyed it as a crunchy topping to some vanilla yogurt.

This bar is delightful!  The lemon flavor is very natural and has just the right amount of tang.  This bar also has 9 g of protein and 3 g of fibre.  No snacks needed tonight!

I was a little apprehensive about trying the CLIF SHOT BLOKS.  I have no experience at all with energy fuels... gus, gels, shots,  or these somewhat odd-looking SHOT BLOKS.  The package was cool in my hand and felt squishy, somewhat like large, very soft, gum drops.

I looked at the CLIF web site and learned that CLIF SHOT BLOKS are made with 95 percent organic ingredients, and they provide an optimum blend of carbohydrates and electrolytes for essential energy and proper muscle function.  Some have caffeine, and one has added sodium.

"Shaped like small cubes, BLOKS taste great and are easy to chew. Plus they’re simple to handle mid-run or mid-ride with their performance-friendly FASTPAK packaging that makes one-handed, on-the-go usage a breeze."

Okay then.  I decided to take a package along on our Tuesday run, so we could try them out to see how they go down while running and how they taste and how they make us feel.  There are 6 BLOKS in a package and each BLOK has about 30 - 35 calories. 

Before we set out, I reached into the goodie box and pulled out the Cran-Razz BLOKS and put the package into a small zip lock bag in my jacket pocket.  Our run was 74 minutes long and I decided we would do run/walk intervals of 9/1.   At the 39 minute point, during our walk break, I handed the package of SHOT BLOKS to The Captain. He opened it very easily and slid the first BLOK into his mouth and then I took one as well.... what a great surprise! 

The BLOK was soft and tasty and it was very easy to chew as I started into my next run interval.  It didn't stick to my teeth at all, as I had feared it might.  It went down very easily and didn't feel cloying or taste sickeningly sweet.  I quite enjoyed it and The Captain did too.  His favorite candies are gum drops and gummy bears and he said he really liked the BLOK... it reminded him of Turkish Delight.  And although we did both have a sip of water afterward,  neither of us felt like we had to wash the BLOK down with water.

At the 59 minute mark, we both ate another one.  Same good experience.  The BLOKS went down easy, tasted great and neither of us felt any ill effects stomach-wise, which I do know is a problem for some runners with some energy fuels.

Normally when we finish a run of this duration or more, I am ravenous afterwards... can hardly wait to get a nutritious snack down.  But today, I didn't feel that way.  I am sure it was because the BLOKS gave me just enough sugar and sodium and potassium to take the edge off as I ran and then completed my cooldown walk and stretches.  We are definitely going to be trying CLIF SHOT BLOKS on our longer runs as we go forward with our half marathon training.  And I am excited about all the other flavors, too.

We have been eating and enjoying CLIF bars for several years. I usually buy them by the case when they are on sale at a local grocers... and I always buy the same flavor, Crunchy Peanut Butter.  At about 250 calories, CLIF bars are almost a meal in themselves.  I always have some in the glove box of the car, and I take them along on long walks, bike rides, and hikes.  They are a handy, filling, and nutritioius snack when we are sailing and have our hands so busy that we couldn't possibly eat a regular meal. They don't melt and are not sticky.  I am confident in the ingredients and know from years of experience that they will satisfy me for a few hours.  When I am needing food and know that I am not going to get a real meal for some time, I will opt for a CLIF bar.

We opened the Peanut Toffee Buzz CLIF bar on Tuesday evening, for a snack while watching tv. 

I cut it up into several piece so we could take our time with it.

It really gives the Crunchy Peanut Butter a run for its money... not sure, but it could become my new favorite!

I hope you will take a few minutes to check out LUNA bars and CLIF SHOT BLOKS and CLIF bars for yourself. 

And thanks to LUNA and CLIF for all of these wonderful samples and for introducing me to the BLOKS - I know that they will be part of our running and working out regimen now, too.

I was given these products to sample and review at no cost to me, but the opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Good Run Today... and a Bit of History

When I got up and looked outside this morning at 7 a.m. there was a heavy frost on the wooden dock.  Yikes!  I think last night was the coldest so far this Fall.

But, as soon as the sun peeked her beautiful face over the boat sheds on the other side of that dock, the temperature seemed to rise with her, and the frost quickly melted away.

It was a beautiful morning!  We put on some warm gear and headed off for our run just before 11 o'clock.  I hoped to run at least 8 or 9 km today as we had some CLIF SHOT BLOKS that I wanted to try... .more about them tomorrow.

I made sure to carry water today.  I had to wear the water belt over my jacket which felt a bit cumbersome, but I didn't want to go without it. 

We did a nice run along the waterfront today... the sun was shining, the sky was blue and there was not a breath of wind.... a gorgeous day and I was so glad to be out there, bouncing along.  We did a 9/1 run/walk routine and ended up running 8.72 km.  I know that is an odd number, but that is what MapMyRun told me!

It took 74 minutes.   That is about right for a longish slow run, especially considering I had to stop and pet 4 or 5 dogs and wait for one crosswalk light to change.

I was really glad to have had the water along.  I am a mouth breather.  I need more water because of that, I am sure of it.

8.72 km
W2 R74 @9/1 W3
stretch 7 minutes

All in all a great run.  And a wonderful stretch afterwards.  I am inspired to do a strength workout tonight while I watch The Biggest Loser.  I tweeted Sara that I am going to do it, so now I have to!

Do you exercise while you watch tv?

And on another note....

Last night we realized that it was the 10th anniversary of the purchase of our sailboat.  When we first started looking to buy a boat of our own earlier that year we drove up and down Vancouver Island and all over greater Vancouver, looking at boats. 

We knew what we wanted but just couldn't find it... then, in early November that year, I found her on a brokerage web site, shortly after she was listed.  I contacted the broker, made an offer, made arrangements to go to Vancouver that weekend to take her out for a sea trial.... and told The Captain about it when he got home from work that night.  He was thrilled!  He thought I had made a really good deal and that it was good I had acted so quickly.  Whew!

We drove 10 hours to Vancouver,  did the sea trial, had all the inspections done, and a few days later she was ours... we had her taken to Vancouver Island and delivered to our marina, where we had made arrangements for a slip. 

Me at the helm, sailing in Burrard Inlet near

Then we started coming here very often to sail and stay... and finally, about 6 months later, decided we would come permanently.  We sold our house, furnished, to the first woman that looked at it... gave away a lot of stuff, packed a few boxes to bring along, and drove away... throwing away the key we still had, out the window, a couple of hundred miles down the road!  

The Captain taking Scout to shore for the first time ever in our dinghy. I think she didn't want to go. Look at her clinging to him!  Eventually we quit making her wear the lifejacket for short trips.

And we have never looked back.  I think we have become nomads, actually, and love the lifestyle and freedom that we have now.  Still miss my darling Scout though. She passed away, suddenly one night, about 4-1/2 years ago.

Do think you might ever completely change your lifestyle?

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Sunday Run, a New Read, and a Giveaway on My Food Blog

1.  My Sunday Run.

It rained overnight.  I got up a little concerned that we were not going to get out for a run again today due to wet, cold weather... but as the morning wore on, the temperatures rose a bit, and the rain stopped.  By the time we disembarked at 11:00 a.m. it was about 9°C (that is about 48°F) and quite nice.

I made sure we both had a few ounces of water to drink before we headed out as I was wearing a light jacket and didn't want to bother with a water belt.  I knew that I wanted to run about 8 km and thought that since it was cool and humid, that I wouldn't get thirsty.  That was a mistake.

We started out a bit too fast for me, which is going to happen about 100% of the time if I don't REMIND The Captain to go easy when we first make the switch from walking to running after warming up a bit.  The first kilometer went by in a flash of 6 minutes which is very fast for me.  And that is okay for a few kilometers, but 8?  No way, not right now. 

I started listening to my footsteps after I slowed to a more comfortable pace and a little jingle popped into my head as I ran

Plop plop fizz fizz
oh what a relief it is

It seemed to be just the right tempo for the pace I wanted to keep.

At that point I decided we were going to do 9/1 run/walk intervals.  If I was going to be running a bit faster than I would like, I was going to get a walk break occasionally.  We ran around the harbor on an out and back route that is almost exactly 8 km out and back.... just before the 4 km mark there is a fairly steep, but short hill and we got to that point at 39 minutes.

We turned, did our 1 minute walk break and I took off my gloves and my jacket... tying it around my waist.  I knew I had overdressed.  At this time of year it is hard not to as it is so cool starting out.  At the next 1 minute walk I was really wishing I had packed some water.  I was so thirsty and I know it affected my energy level.  And how unfair it seemed to me at the time, that I had a full bladder too!

I was working pretty hard to keep my pace even and not slow down.

Plop plop fizz fizz
oh what a relief it is

Every time that popped into my conscious thoughts, I would check my pace and carry on.  It really worked well and I found it put some bounce back into my steps!  And lucky for me that I was amused by it or it could have become quite annoying.

I put my jacket back on to do the last leg that brought us back to the marina parking lot, as the wind had picked up a bit.  We finished in 59 minutes which is pretty fair for me for 8 km at this point.  Then we walked around for a couple of minutes to cool down and then did our stretching on the dock 'finger' alongside our boat.

W2 R59 @9/1 W3
stretch 5 minutes

I made us each a smoothie before we had our showers (pb & banana for The Captain, spinach & banana for me) and it was about 3 p.m before either of us was hungry enough to eat lunch.  I quite liked that and it just may become a routine on run days.

Do you sing little songs in your head to help keep your pace even?

What is the longest run you will do without taking water along or making arrangements to have it along the way? 

2. My New Read.

I have been reading Run Your Butt Off! this past week.  It is a new book about learning to run and and about losing weight doing it, but it has very good information in it for any runner who is interested in nutrition and healthy eating.  I read it from cover to cover and really enjoyed it, including all the exercises to add more time to the run/walk intervals the authors use with new runners.

Learning the 'why' behind this information was a real eye-opener for me and I found it very interesting and helpful in formulating my plans for future runs.

If you have anyone in your life who is interested in becoming a runner, point them to this book!  It is set up beautifully as a workbook to take the reader through 12 weeks of running and learning about food as fuel for the body.  Very well laid out and a great reference.

3.  The Giveaway on My Food Blog.

I am doing a Wasa Crispbread/Flatbread review on my food blog

If you are interested, do check it out.  Wasa is giving 5 packages of Crispbreads/Flatbreads to the winner, and who doesn't love Wasa?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

My Weekly Workout Recap

Thank you so much, to everyone who left me comments on my last post.  I am so thankful, and motivated, by all the great advice and kindness you have shown by taking the time to read the post and offer your words of wisdom, and especially encouragement.  I am humbled and amazed at how wonderful and supportive you all have been to me.

I almost hated to publish another post after that one!

But, I made a commitment to do a post at the end of each week in November to publicly recap my workouts - I really think it keeps me more honest and working a bit harder toward my goals when I go public with plans and results.

  • walk 3 miles
  • Pilates - 10 minutes
  • upper body routine w/8 lb dumbbells
    • 6 exercises, 2 sets of 10 reps each
  • standing abductors 20 per leg
  • standing adductors 10 per leg
  • squats 20
  • rear lunges 10 per leg
  • run 4.85 km
  • walk 5 miles
  • walkupper body routine w/8 lb dumbbells
    • 6 exercises, 2 sets of 10 reps each
  • standing abcuctors 20 per leg
  • standing adductors 10 per leg
  • squats 20
  • rear lunges 10 per leg
  • walk 4 miles
  • walk 5 miles
  • nil, zip, nada
Not quite as much as I had written in my goals, but happy to have gotten the dumbbells out again and run at least once.  I wanted to run Saturday, but it poured buckets all day and it would have not been one bit enjoyable.

Weather permitting, I would like to run at least twice this next week, and plan to get out a Pilates DVD so that I spend more time with that.... oh yeah, and pick up those dumbbells more often, too.

Did you have a good week, fitness-wise?

Are you setting workout goals?

And on a  completely different note, on Thursday evening I ventured out to a WW meeting and without my sunglasses!  First time I had ventured out in public without them since my surgery - 3 weeks to the day.  There is still a bit of bruising under my eye but I am happy to report that I no longer look like I was on the losing end of a boxing match!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

My Road to 13.1

I cannot remember when I first thought about running a half marathon.

I first began running more than 20 years ago.  I was a smoker, and overweight. I picked up a book about 'jogging' (how I hate that word) and read that beginners should start with a walk/jog program of 440 yds walking, followed by 440 yds jogging.  There was a schedule that allowed for gradual increases in the jogging intervals.  I think the whole thing had about 200 pages and I do not recall seeing the words 'run' or 'running' in it at all.

But I did follow the plan.  There was a school with a huge yard of baseball diamonds a few blocks away from our house, and I would take our dog and get her to walk/run around the field 3 times a week.  I guess I thought I wouldn't look so dorky if I took the dog along.  She loved it.  I hated it but thought it was helping me lose some weight.

Over the next 9 or 10 years I continued to run. Always alone or with the dog. I learned to love it and embraced fitness and a healthier lifestyle with glee.  I had always been a bookworm and not very physically adept, and loved the newfound confidence I was experiencing through learning to move.  I began to think of myself as athletic.  I learned to cook.

I took up golf, roller blading, down hill skiing, snow-shoeing and biking.  I loved being outdoors and created/tended several flower gardens in our yard.  I embraced shovelling snow in the winter and refused to have a snow blower in our garage.

I did aerobics, and loved my Reebok STEP.  The Captain and I set up a home gym in our basement, in the room next to his workshop.  I had a tv there, a library of workout videos, manual treadmill,  real treadmill, a pulley/weight machine, a variety of dumbbells, skipping rope, mini-trampoline, chin-up bar, Thigh-Master and a device that was supposed to simuate lifting weights by pulling on handles.  I loved it.  I was obsessive.  I kept detailed logs of the exercise I was doing and the weight I was losing, and somewhere along the way I found Weight Watchers, got to my goal and became a Lifetime Member.

I was also working full time.  I had a high-stress career in IT and all the exercise countered the amount of stress I was under at work.  It all balanced.  I kept running.  The Captain began running with me occasionally, too, but most of my runs were, and still are, alone.

About 11 years ago, for about a 6-month stretch, I was running only once a week. It was a 10-miler every Saturday morning after my weekly Weight Watchers meeting.  I would leave my car parked in their lot, strap on the belt that held my water bottle and head off.  I had a circular route that I completed 3 times, and it passed by my parked car.  I could drop off empty water bottles and pick up full ones, and it also went by a service station, for obvious reasons!

Once we sold our house, moved South and took up part-time residence on the sailboat, running took a back seat to summers spent cruising, hiking, trying to keep up with my golf game and all the other activities we are involved in.  I have always done some running, but not nearly as far as 10 miles and not as regularly as before we moved. 

We have participated in a variety of fun runs over the years... some 5km and 10 km Terry Fox runs, some 5 km Running Room Resolution Runs, but nothing that could be called a race.  But somewhere along the way, I decided I wanted to take part in one.

I think I might have started thinking about half marathons this past Spring, when I first started blogging, and getting back to running after an 8-week layoff after surgery on both of my eyes. Maybe it was reading all the race reports and training logs that other bloggers published that ignited that fire.

I was very happy to find some virtual 5 km races and have done 3 of them now.  I like the camaraderie of doing an event with others and I loved spectating at the Victoria Marathon this year, so I think I will enjoy the excitement of being part of a real race.

So, knowing that I was likely going to have another eye surgery this Fall, I started looking at Spring races.  We will be house/kitty sitting for several months so travel is out of the question.  I found a local half marathon to be run on May 13th, which is Mother's Day, and mentioned to The Captain that I might like to run it... what did he think?  The route is one we have easy access to train on if we want, it is beautiful and mostly seaside, fairly level...  He said that if I want to do that, I should, and that if I would like him to come along, he would.  Of course that is exactly what I wanted to hear.

When the online registration opened, I signed us both up and made the commitment.  I was so excited but nervous at the same time.   The longest run I have done in the past several years is only 8 miles, and that took forever and my left hip was aching big time when we were done.  That is less than 2/3 of a half marathon... but I am pretty confident that with 6 months to go, I can be ready.

I was lucky enough to receive some excellent training advice from an experienced marathoner/half marathoner who has been a great source of inspiration as well.  And I am reading lots of blog posts and magazine articles about half marathons, too. 

I just read the August issue of Runner's World... it has a great article about preparing for your first half marathon and has some interesting bits about what to expect during  different weeks of your training, mentally and physically.  It was a real eye opener for me and I was very happy to have come across it.

And a very fun thing has happened for me this week too.... a couple of weeks ago I won a giveaway from Joanna Runs.  It was a sign, and Joanna had a picture on her blog of one she had made for herself... and after I won the giveaway, we had some email correspondence about the sign she would make for me.... this is what we came up with and this week it arrived in my mail box.  Joanna made this for me, herself, and I know it is going to be a great source of motivation when I start my training in December.  Isn't it great?  I do love it.  Thanks, Joanna, so much!

Do drop by and visit Joanna's blog and please tell her I sent you. She is a very busy and creative Mom, who among other things, runs, does yoga, crafts, blogs with touching sincerity, and along with her running blog, writes Joanna Scraps.

My training schedule starts out nice and easy, so I am going to enjoy my running through November and December, and start real training at the beginning of January.
I am very excited about it!  Having a written plan gives me a map to follow and satisfies my need for logic and order.  I certainly will be blogging about it along the way.

Do you have any advice for me about running or training for my first half marathon?
I feel like a sponge and will willingly soak up everything you have to tell me!

If you have done a blog post that I may have missed, about running/training for a half, please leave me the link. I would love to read it!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Life on the Boat in the Cooler Weather... and a Short Run

It is a grey drizzly day here on the Pacific Coast of BC... not windy, thank goodness.

I woke up early this morning... I knew it was going to be a run day when I went to bed last night so perhaps that is why I was ready to bounce out of the aft cabin and get the day started while it was still barely light outside.

We have fallen into a morning routine on board in this cool weather.... I put on my slippers and a sweater/fleece and take care of a little morning hygiene, then turn on the battery charger, turn the refrigerator to a bit colder setting, get us each a glass of water, our morning supplements, turn on the computer power, close the locker doors I opened before we went to bed so the dehumidifier could dry them out, and then sit down at the table in the salon.  By then The Captain has donned his slipppers and sweater, made the bed, turned the dehumidifier off and and a space heater on, taken his supplements and poured us each a cup of coffee from the thermos that he filled up the night before.  Pretty much the same routine every morning, and to someone watching, it would surely look a bit like a dance as we just naturally move around our small space, not getting in each other's way and never colliding.

When the temperatures drop down to freezing overnight, we do not run the dehumifier during the night (we set it to come on and off as needed) but run 2 space heaters instead.  Then, when it warms up during the day, we may open locker doors and go out for a while while the dehumidifier runs and does its magic.   The dehumidifier does give off heat while it runs as well.

Moisture is the biggest issue during cool/cold weather.  A moist environment is very uncomfortable in the cooler temps.  When you feel moist and cool, you can just never feel warm enough, no matter how much clothing you wear.
In the warm weather it is never an issue as we can just throw open the hatches and let a little air flow through... and we do that even on dry, cool days as well.  But when it is rainy or very cool and humid outside, there is not much point, as the air flowing through the hatches is already pretty saturated and doesn't take the moisture with it.

We are pretty careful about cooking inside during these rainy cool days.  If I know rain is coming, I often precook things to get us through a few wet days.  I will make up grains, hard boil eggs, cook pasta, and micowave potatoes, to have on hand for easy meals.  It makes such a difference in the amount of moisture inside.

The Captain puts the drip coffee maker out in the cockpit and we make coffee and tea in it out there to avoid having the steam inside.  Works great.  When we have the 'glass' and canvas enclosure up, all around the cockpit, it is like having an extra room... a sunroom, really.

The first winter we spent a few weeks on the boat, we didn't know about portable dehumidifiers and I thought we were were going to have to buy shares in Scott Paper to cover the costs of all the paper towels we were using to wipe condensation off the windows and from the insides of cupboards.  And if you don't keep the insides of cupboards dry, mildew forms very quickly... no one wants that!
The one we have looks just about like this:

It will hold about 20 pints of water in its reservoir, and if it gets to capacity it is supposed to shut itself off.  We have never let it go that long without emptying it.  You can also attach a hose to it so it would drain into the bilge, but we don't leave it running when we leave the boat for the winter...  no need for it.  The moisture comes from cooking, opening and closing the outside doors and windows, and from our breathing. When we are not on board, there is no moisture.

So... my run today!

Yes, just around 11 a.m. the rain stopped and we got our gear together.  The Captain held my running shoes in front of the heater for a couple of minutes and got them toasty warm for me... was lovely putting my feet into warm running shoes.  And off we went!

Did our 4.85 km route, very slowly, and it was great!  The drizzle started again just as we were finishing up so we did our stretching inside the cockpit enclosure and ditched our wet clothes out there too, before coming in and enjoying the smoothies I made for us....  Peanut butter and banana for The Captain, spinach and banana for me.  Mmmm.

I loved my hot shower today, even more than usual, after the run in the rain!

4.85 km
W2 R39 W3
stretch 5 minutes

Do you ever precook things so you have the makings for quick meals?

Do you run in the rain?

Do you have a morning routine?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Short Recap of My Week

Quickie recap of the little bit of work I did this past week:

  •  40 minute walk
  •  80 minute walk/5miles
  • 40 minute walk/2miles
  • 3km run
  • 30 minute walk/2miles

Friday I got the go ahead from my doctor to start working out and running again so this week will be more active!

I had a wonderful lazy morning, watching a live stream of the NYC marathon and then tracked 3 of my bloggy friends till they finished.  Fun!  And so inspiring.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Off and Running... and a Liebster Blog Award

I did it!  I ran today.... it was perfect!  I am so happy and so excited to be able to run again.

The Captain let me sleep in till almost 9 a.m. this morning.  I think all the stress and excitement of yesterday's events took a toll on me and I zonked.  But I woke up refreshed and hungry.

Naturally there were pancakes on the menu this morning.  It is Saturday after all.  Today's had pumpkin and cinnamon in them and were scrumptious and orange!

I did sudoku and crossword puzzles for a whole hour after breakfast, iin an effort to keep my brain occupied, waiting till my meal settled a bit before heading out.  It was kinda nippy so I wore tights instead of shorts, and a light jacket, but not cold enough for gloves or a headband... I ran my 3 km route, slowly and comfortably, in 21 minutes.  Then I did a 10 minute stretch while I chatted with another boater who stopped to visit on her way down the dock.

The boating community is so friendly and so casual.  It never occurred to me to stop my stretching while we talked and she never batted an eye.  I often see people doing yoga or tai chi on their docks, and no one cares or seems to even notice.  Love that.

3 km
W2 R21 W3
stretch 10 minutes

So, not a long run, but my first in 28 whole days so I wanted to ease into it and really enjoy every minte, which I did.  Hurray!

I also got out for a walk this afternoon, with The Captain... stopped by the library and picked up a copy of Run Your Butt Off!  Couldn't resist that title.

And on another happy and exciting note, yesterday I was awarded the Liebster Blog Award by my friend Sara who writes Words to Run By.  Sara is an experienced runner, a talented writer, and is currently a pace coach with MIT.  She is a kind and compassionate source of important information and on-going inspiration.  Sara is training for the Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge to be run in January 2012 at Walt Disney World.  It is a half marathon on Saturday, followed by a full marathon on Sunday.

It is likely that if you are reading my blog,  you already know Sara, but in the off-chance you haven't met her yet, please do go visit her blog and tell her I sent you!

Liebster means beloved in German and this awards is special because it specifically recognizes the generosity, support and encouragement that I have encountered throughout the blogging community.

Christy, at My Dirt Road Anthem.  Christy can jump higher than anyone and she has amazing guns!  She is very creative, and wonderfully energetic.

Jill, who writes One Tough Cookie and a Beer.  Jill is running the ING in NYC tomorrow and I am so excited for her, I am going to start watching a live stream at 6 a.m. just to see if I can spot her. 

Christina, who is The Athletarian.  Christina is the energizer bunny.  She is interested in everything and seems to have no fear!

Danielle, who blogs at Happy, Healthy, Strong.  Danielle is an all-round athlete, a foodie, and a sunset-lover!

I love reading all of your blogs... and that is why my blog roll is so long.  As you submit new posts, I get an instant notification.  Love that feature!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Good to Go! Hurray hurray hurray!

I am so excited to share this news that I can hardly stand it!

I saw my eye surgeon this morning and he gave me the go-ahead to run again!


We drove into the City this morning so I could keep my 2-week-post-surgery appointment with the miracle worker that performed my eye surgery on October 20th.  Since yesterday morning, I have not 'seen' any evidence of the gas bubble in  my eye.  The vision is pretty darn clear and I am feeling so energetic I can hardly sit still.  I walked 5 miles on Wednesday and another 2 on Thursday...  Thursday I came close to breaking out into a run and really had to reign myself in so that I didn't.

The eye itself is still somehwhat yellowish and and the tender skin underneath the eye still shows some purplish bruising (yes I am still hiding in my sunglasses in public).  But it feels good, which means it doesn't feel anything out of the ordinary.

I went into the appointment feeling hopeful that he would tell me that I can start sleeping on my back again, could lift some light weights and start doing Pilates again, but he did more than that... he told me that I could start running again.  I could have hugged him. (I didn't, but barely!) And he said I could remove the information bracelet that I have been wearing since the surgery.

It is an in-case-of-emergency hospital-style thing, that has his name and phone number on it, and says that I have a gas bubble in my eye and cannot travel in an airplane or go to higher elevations, without danger of damaging my vision permanently.  It is bright green, and very scratchy.   I also have had to carry a card in my wallet or my pocket with the same information. So glad to be rid of these things... that really makes it official for me!

So, I will see him again in January for a follow up - my vision should have improved as much as it is going to by then... if it doesn't get any better than it is now, I will still consider the surgery a success. 

I can now revamp my November goals to include running!  Thanks to all of you who have commented and ofteed kind words of encouragement and advice.  I really appreciate your support so much.

Did you see this new button on my sidebar?

I found this site yesterday and decided to join in.  If you are interested, do have a look.  It just might appeal to you as well.

Guess what I will be doing tomorrow?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

November Goals

I didn't set any goals for October.  I just wanted to stay healthy enough to have my eye surgery and then follow doctor's orders to heal and get the most successful results possible.

I ended up runnning 3 times for a grand total of 15.65 kilometers.  And I got in several upper body workouts with my 8lb dumbells, some core work, some leg work and lots of walking.  It is what it is. 

November looms dark and rainy and cool... I am not sure when I will be allowed to run again.  The vision in my right eye is still somewhat impaired and I would not trust my footing, even if allowed. 

The surgery took more out of my stamina than I thought it would but I am feeling pretty peppy and stronger now.  I want to do something..... so I signed up for the Pile on the Miles Challenge, which runs from November 1st through to U.S. Thanksgiving and it encourages walking and running at least 5 miles every week.  I can do that.  I will do that.

And I also signed up for the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge.  It starts November 19th and runs through January 6th.

November Goals
  • Walk minimun 60 miles in November
  • upon clearance from eye doc:
    • upper body work 3 X per week
    • lower body strength work 3 X per week
    • 20 minutes Pilates 2 X per week
  • Report progress as per challenge requirements
  • Weekly blog post progress/results
Have you signed up for either or both of these challenges?

If you live where there is 'real winter' do you do more indoor workouts when the weather gets colder?  Do you run less or just move it indoors?