Monday, February 25, 2013

Things I am Loving Lately

I feel incredibly blessed these days to be feeling great, eating well, enjoying time with my sweet and awesome husband, havinng fun at my new job, with lots of time to work out and try some new exercise classes and routines.

Here are a few things are bringing a s mile to my faces these days:

Feb 25 apple muffin
Healthy Microwave Apple Muffin
with almond butter and slivered almonds on top

Summer Bodies are Made in the Winter Workouts
from Renesha @ Renewed Fitness 

Feb 25 Bobble
My new Bobble water bottle
more to come about this very soon….
Feb 2 signs of spring 015
Spring flowers in my neighborhood

Feb 16 Triathlon 008
Practising yoga at the gym and at home and all of the other new classes I am taking

Feb 16 Triathlon 005
After workout smoothies made with FRS Healthy Defense, banana and powdered egg whites
Feb 2 Anniversary dinner 002
Enjoying dinner and a few glasses of wine with the love of my life….
What are you loving lately?  Anything in particular making you smile?

Sunday, February 24, 2013

And the Stretching Continues...

I have had a few more new gym adventures the past few days...

On Friday I attended my first Body Flow class.  It is a combination of Tai Chi, Pilates and Yoga and is also a Les Mills 'product'... and this session was about 50 minutes long.  It was led by a really enthusiastic female intstructor and I did enjoy it, although not as much as the Yoga Flow that I took part in on Wednesday.

It was a more disjointed class - didn't FLOW - but it certainly opened my eyes and hip joints to some new moves and effort.  I came away feeling like I am making gains in that area for sure.

On Saturday I joined three other women, all a bit older than me, in an orientation to the Fit Fix circuit equipment.  It was fun but this is not something I am particularly interested in. If I never did any other weight or strength training, perhaps.  Then we also had an orientation to some of the cardio machines... the recumbant bikes, ellipticals, and treadmills.

These machines are technical miracles. They have umpteen dozen different settings and programs, and they all have heart rate monitors, and cable tv screens, and I-Pod chargers. 

This was the first elliptical that I have tried that I really felt comfortable on... and it has an additional feature that I really liked.  The faceplate shows a drawing of a man running, and different parts of his body are highlighted with a green light, depending on which muscles are being worked based on the settings on the machine.  If a particular setting is lowered, his glutes and hamstrings light up... and when that setting is raised, the light on the glutes goes out but the calves and lower leg light up. Very cool.  And I could certainly feel the changes in my own body as atttested to by the lights.

It took me a few minutes to adjust to my arms going back and forth with each rotation of my feet but then I did notice that there are alternate hand holds so you don't have to have that arm motion if you don't want.  I felt quite uncoordinated for a couple of minutes but then I got really into it and felt like I could get a really enjoyable and satisfying workout on that  machine.  Who knew?

After that I left the other 3 women to the rowing machines, which don't hold any interest for me at all.

I really enjoyed this session and it was fun to chat with the others and get their take on things.  They are not interested in the classes at all, only in the 20 minute Fit Fix circuit training, recumbant bikes and rowing machines... one told me that she actually doesn't like to exercise and is only doing it to keep her friend company and get out of the house a couple of days a week.  I wonder how common that might be....

So, I planned to NOT go to the gym today, and get in a nice outdoor run, but the sky is gloomy and the cold wind is blowing... and I think that that treadmill is beckoning me back....

What is your alternate exercise when you don't want to run outside?

Have you ever trained on an elliptical?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Stretching Myself Beyond My Comfort Zone

I have never been a gym rat... I have had a couple of different short term memberships at gyms, or health spas or fitness centres.. whatever they were called, having been talked into going by friends who needed someome to accompany them and motivate them to go... I recall doing some circuit training on a couple of different systems of machines, and sitting in steamy saunas, mostly.  I didn't like the smelly locker rooms full of sweaty bodies in various stages of undress... and I disliked either hurrying to get cleaned up and presentable to go back to work, or dressing and making the drive home, only to need to shower once I got there.

Nope, doesn't appeal to me. NEVER has.

I have also done some group fitness classes over the years... ballet for adults, Jazzercise, and various aerobics classes... all fun enough but the same things annoyed me about it as going to the gym.

So I have become an at home exerciser.  It is so handy.  I can do it whenever I like. I don't need a group to motivate me.  I don't need to fit into a given schedule.  I do like a DVD or a utube video as it turns out, though. I do sometimes print a workout from Pinterest and go through it but I prefer the company of an instructor.   I have done STEP, aerobics, boxercise, yoga, Pilates, and all kinds of strength routines and bootcamps. I like them and because I like to change things up, I don't get too bored.

So, when I recently won a one-month membership to Canada's most prominent fitness facility and gym I didn't really even think about actually using it.... then, as the expiry date started to grow closer, I looked at their web site and found that they not only have incredible facilities about a 20 minute walk from home, but they also offer a wide array of exercise classes.

My interest peaked considerably.  I called and made an appointment to meet with a woman (who I knew would basically be a salesman, and she was) to get signed up.  She was very nice, and didn't get aggressive when I explained to her that I really was there to take advantage of my free time and make a decision LATER about continuing my membership.... Then I changed my clothes in the nick of time to attend a Body Pump class at noon.

I managed to get into the group exercise room just as the Body Pump class was starting.  The leader was energetic and very fun and knowledgable and I thoroughly enjoyed the class.  When it was over, I was spent... my arms felt like jelly and after I rested a bit, drank a bottle of water and ate a banana, some dates, and some almonds, I was able to enjoy my 20 minute walk  home and relax for the rest of the afternoon. 

If you don't know what Body Pump is, check out the Les Mills web site... it is a simple weight lifting routine set to awesome loud energetic pop music and led by a trained instructor who will shout and sing and yell 'BOOM' a lot.. and the hour flies by.   It reminded me a lot of a DVD called Get Ripped by a Calgary-based trainer named Jari Love.. except the Body Pump music is so much better, and apparently they change it up every month or so.

I expected to be very sore today, judging from the way my shoulders and glutes felt yesterday... but I wasn't.  Oh, my biceps can tell they were shredded yesterday, but it is a good used feeling, not really soreness, thankfully.

So today, I got myself ready and walked back to the fitness centre to take part in my first ever yoga flow class.  I was pretty excited about it... arriving in the room about 15 minutes early along with another woman, and we chatted for a few minutes... she is new runner but a longtime yoga practioner so we had a few things to talk about and she gave me some tips, which were very helpful.

The yoga flow class is a style of Hatha yoga and uses breathing to aid and enhance the poses.  I really enjoyed it although I did find it quite long.  I couldn't do all of the poses... and didn't expect to.. and I can see now, how continuing a yoga practice would really help me open up my stiff and inflexible hip joints and inner thighs and quads.  

This was my first time attending a class. I have done this style of yoga with a DVD so wasn't at a complete loss, and I liked knowing the instructor was there to look over and check postures and offer encouragement.

The class was quite full, apparently, mostly women, about 20 bodies in all.  I liked that everyone used a special cleaner and paper towels to wipe off their studio-owned yoga mats before putting them away.  I had wiped mine down before I used it, not knowing that would be the routine.  I also noticed that a few people had brought their own mats with them.

I spoke with the young instructor after the class for a few minutes and she was very nice and very encouraging... and then, by the time I walked over to the locker room, all of the women from the class, and several others who had been working out in the gym or using the cardio machines were already there... and yes, in various stages of undress and the room smelled really rank and it hit me like a ton of bricks!  BOOM. 

I got changed as quickly as I could, stopped on the way out to check the schedule and thoroughly enjoyed my 20 minute walk home in the fresh moist air.

I am glad I am taking the opportunity to expose myself to these new-to-me kinds of workouts... and that I took advantage of the free membership...  will keep ya posted!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

I am a TRI-er Now!

This weekend I am participating in a triathlon of sorts... and one that I am thoroughly enjoying.

Joanna is hosting a triathon from Friday, February 15th through Sunday, February 17th, wherein the entrants are to take part in a yoga session, go for a run, and do some baking.  You can read all about it on her blog Joanna Runs.


I have done yoga twice this past week. I borrowed a couple of DVDs from the library and tried them both.  They are both Hatha yoga, and being a newb that doesn't mean anything to me, but it might to you if you are yoga-savvy.  I didn't care for the first session... too many eye exercises and breathing before the movements started... but I did find out that I love the CORPSE pose and the deep relaxation at the end of the session.  I almost fell asleep.

Then yesterday, as part of this triatholon, I tried the second DVD. It was more to my liking and again, I loved the deep relaxation at the end. I actually looked up at the tv screen once to see if the DVD had stopped because it felt like I had been laying there idle for so long.


Our run today was the ususal 5km around the neighborhood... the sun was shining so brilliantly and warmly through our windows this morning... just beautiful. The Captain asked if I would be willing to run a bit earlier than we normally do so he could be home to watch the opening draw of the Scotties Tournament of Hearts on tv at 11 a.m.   That is a national ladies curling competition in Canada and for curling fans, a very big deal!

So we had breakfast by 8:15 and were out the door at 9:30.  It was sunny and beautiful but there was a really strong wind coming from the S.W. - about 35 kmp - and it was into our faces for much of the first half of the route.  But in spite of that, we finished in 35:12 which is a good time for me.

My legs are feeling really strong lately and I wish my breathing was easier... that is what holds me back. Great to be out there though and it was a good run.

W3 R 35:12 @ 10.5/1 W3
stretch 10 minutes

Not the best picture to show off my new bobbed hair.

He loves this FRS Healthy Defense.

After peeling off our jackets and shoes and drinking some water, I made us each a smoothie with some FRS Healthy Defense.  I won 5 cases recently in a giveaway and we both really like it.  The Captain's smoothie was made with one bottle of FRS, a banana, and a scoop of vanilla whey protein powder... I made mine with powdered egg whites instead of the protein powder.

Love the color... and the taste.


I decided to make a batch of peanut butter cookies, using a very simple, flourless recipe. It's been a while since I made cookies and I am now at the point with my new food plan where I know they won't tempt me at all, so I thought it might be nice to make some for The Captain... who has not given up peanut butter or sugar!  I made them with Adams natural chunky peanut butter and he seemed quite pleased... ate 5 of them almost immediately....  Guess that is his way of participating in the BAKE leg of the triathlon.

|Peanut Butter Cookies
makes 22 cookies
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  1. Cream the peanut butter and white sugar together.
  2. Add the egg and vanilla and mix well.
  3. Scoop dough with a 1 Tbs measure and make golf ball sized mounds and place about an inch apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  4. Lightly flatten each with a fork.
  5. Bake for 10 to 11 minutes at 325F.
  6. When they come out of the oven they will be soft so leave them on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before removing to a cooling rack.
Per cookie.
Weight Watchers P+ = 3.
Calories 111; Protein 3g; Carbohydrate 11g; Fat 6g; Fibre 1g.

I cooked the first batch at 350 F but I think the bottoms are a bit dark... not burned but dark.

The second, smaller batch was cooked at 325 F and they look more like a caramel color.

So what fun stuff are you up to this weekend?

Are you taking part in Joanna's Triathlon?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

My Valentine to My Favorite Workout - 5 Reasons I Love Running

I fell in love with running many many years ago, when I was about 40 pounds heavier and a heavy smoker.  Sounds odd, doesn’t it?  But it’s true.

I began by running 440 yards and then walking 440 yards, and repeating that pattern as I made my way around a local school yard, accompanied by our faithful English Spring Spaniel  named Penny.  I am not sure who looked forward to it more, Penny or me.  As we progressed we began to run for 10 minutes and then walk for 1 minute and repeated those intervals till we were running a few miles together, 2 or 3 times a week.

Eventually I quit smoking, and I lost the weight, and said a tearful goodbye to my furry girl when she left us behind to go where all good dogs go… but I never lost my love for running.  Sometimes The Captain would come out with me but I usually ran alone.  I often did 10 to 12 miles on Saturday mornings after I attended a Weight Watchers meeting.

Running has helped me through some sad times in my life… the loss of both of my parents as well as 2 wonderful dogs.  I run when I am happy, when I am anxious, when I am angry and when I am sad.  It gives me the time and space I need to sort out my feelings, and sometimes to just escape from them as well.  I cannot imagine that the day will eventually come when I am no longer able to run.

Here is my Valentine to Running....

Spit 001
Here are the 5 things I love about Running most:

1. I can run anytime and anywhere

And I have… at sunrise on beaches in Mexico; on a rainy Spring afternoon along the seawalk in Monterrey, California; on the bridges that connect the Florida Keys; on city streets in Toronto, Canada and in Copenhagen, Denmark; on small mountain roads in the Australian Alps; around a hockey rink concourse in the dead of winter in central B.C.; in the middle of the night on treadmills in hotel gyms when travelling for business; and up and down the hills of Seattle, WA and along flat prairie roads in Southern Alberta when visiting family; on mountain lake trails in our Canadian National Parks; on the canal-lined streets in Amsterdam, Holland…  and so many more places too numerous to mention.

All I need is a pair of running shoes and I am set to go.   If the weather is bad or I am hesitant to go out for safety reasons, I can run indoors and at the very worst, I can run on the spot if it comes to that.  There is never a time or a place that I cannot run, if I choose to do it.

2. I can set my own schedule

I don’t have to show up at any special time at any special place to run.  I run when I want to and if I decide to delay my run for 15 or 20 minutes, or even a few hours, I can do that too.  I am never late for my own run. 

On Sunday I was set to go out for a run about an hour after breakfast… then The Captain mentioned that if I waited till noon, he would like to come along with me, so I decided to delay and go with him instead.

And if I plan a 6 km run but it starts to rain while I am out there, I can cut it short and come home early… and by the same token, if I am having a glorious time… I can extend it to 8 or 9 km and enjoy it longer.

It is all up to me.

3.  Running is simple and there is nothing complicated to learn

The hardest part about starting to run is getting fitted for a pair of good running shoes…  after that, there is nothing special to learn… walking and running are natural motions.  All you need to do is put one foot in front of the other and pick up the pace.  It really is that simple.

4.  Running makes me feel connected to a larger community 

When I look out my windows and as I travel around my neighborhood, I see other people running.  And when I am running too, they wave to me or say hello to me or nod to me as we pass each other and I experience a friendly feeling of belonging.
When I strike up a conversation with someone new and I mention running, the other person is often a runner or has a family member or friend who runs, too, and there is an instant common bond between us.

When I read blog posts written by other runners, I can relate to their stories, or share their feelings.  I know I am not alone in my experiences and my struggles and my triumphs.  Someone else has already felt my aches and pains and is ready to offer advice or just commiserate with me.

I can join in virtual races online, look up a Twitter hashtag #runchat, or drop in to my local running shoe store and instantly connect to other runners.

5.  Running gives me an enormous sense of accomplishment

I am not a competitive runner.  I run recreationally because I love to sweat and breathe hard and to feel tired and spent from a gruelling physical workout.  But I don’t generally compare my times or distances to anyone else’s.  And because I don’t, I am always happy with my runs…whatever the distance, or whatever the time, I am thrilled that I have just done it.

What do you love most about running?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

We Ran the Virtual Race For Grandma Lill’s 96th Birthday

Today we ran in honor of Rachelle’s Grandma Lill. 

I am not sure it was the inspiration from a lovely lady who is turning 96 soon, or if it was the Mizuno shoes, or the Tommie Copper calf sleeve and long-sleeved tee that I wore under my Running Diva shirt, or the fact that I have been feeling so great lately… or some combination of all of these things… but today I ran 5 km in 34 minutes and 39 seconds and I am thrilled!

I cannot recall the last time I ran 5km in under 35 minutes and I was really starting to wonder if it was ever going to happen again.  Thank Goodness that monkey is off my back.  I like to think that time doesn’t matter to me, but apparently it really does.

It started out like any other run.  I was going to head out alone while The Captain watched several curling draws on several different channels all at the same time… who says men cannot multi-task… and then he announced that if I could wait till 11 o’clock he would like to come with me.  Well, how could I turn that down?

So I made sure I was dressed and ready to go and just before 11 we set out to run what has become our usual 5k around our neighborhood.  It was about 5 C and calm and overcast and off we went… it felt a bit speedier, and my legs were feeling good so I thought I would just keep that pace as long as I could.  Our first 10 minute segment took us about  a block further than normal and we did a one-minute walk break. 

The next 10 minute segment took us through my favorite off-leash area on the path that parallels the Strait of Juan de Fuca and I was so happy running along watching so many different dogs running and jumping and playing with each other.  I know I picked up my pace a bit more there and the end of that 10 minutes found us a few blocks past our normal point.  Another one minute walk break and we were off again.

The third 10 minute segment was harder but I kept it up and by the time that one was done, we were only a few blocks from our 5 km mark.  I took the one-minute walk break anyway and then it was an easy 2 block sprint to the finish.

I knew it was going to be close to 35 minutes but was so excited when I checked my watch realized it was well under!  The last time we ran this same route was this past Monday and I struggled to get it done in 37:15… today was 34:39 . 


W3 R34:39 @ 10/1 W3
stretch 10 minutes

I made sure to stretch out gooood and drink lots of water when we finished, and I got The Captain to take a celebratory picture, too.

Feb 10 Run 001

Happy 96th Birthday, Grandma Lill!  You made my day.
Are you running the Virtual Race for Grandma Lill's 96th Birthday?
Check out the details at Livin the Sweat Life and get yourself entered.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Grandma Lill's Happy 96th Birthday Virtual 5K

Have you heard?

Rachelle, who has changed her blog name to Livin' the Sweat Life, is hosting a second annual virtual run for her Grandma Lill's birthday... this year she will be a sweet and beautiful 96.

You can run your 5km any day up until February 21st... so get on over to Rachelle's blog and enter - be sure to use the Rafflecopter form as she has some great prizes lined up this year, too.

g-lill 2013
Did you run last year? 
Are you entered yet to run this year?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wordless Wednesday... Wow!





Anything special land in your mail box this last week or so?

Monday, February 4, 2013

February 5 by the 5th

Are you taking part in the 5 by 5th virtual run series that is being hosted by Laura from Mommy Run Fast

Today we got out and ran our 5km... my quads have been very stiff for the past several days and I knew it was going to be tough, but we headed out about 10:15, into a light breeze but a very pleasant 8C.... overcast but bright just the same.

I was right. It was a slow slog today but I used 11/1 walk breaks and got it done so I am happy for that.

And I made sure to get in a few extra minutes of stretching out my quads after I went through the rest of my stretching routine. I learned how important stretching is and am always sorry if I don't take enough time with it... besides.. it just feels so good!

And The Captain is has learned the benefits of it too, but doesn't really enjoy it all that much.
He is always more interested in the protein smoothie that awaits him when he is finished!
W3 R37:15 W3
stretch 15 minutes
Are you doing the 5 by the 5th virtual series?
Do you take to stretch out well after you run?
What is your favorite or most worthwhile stretch?

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sunday Stuff... Signs of Spring and Our Wedding Anniversary

Yesterday we went for a 2 hour walk around the neighborhood and along the strait, looking for signs of Spring. The past couple of weeks we have been noticing that some of the flowering shrubs are budding out and there are bulbs pushing up their green leaves everywhere so we grabbed the camera and went out for a walk.



Snow Drops


Peacocks growing new seasonal plumage.


Checkerboard Lillies
I have to say that this is one of the reasons I love living on the Island.  Winter was its normal mild here this year with only a couple of nights of frost and no snow at all.
Tuesday is going to be our 22nd wedding anniversary... but because that is the day I am scheduled to have my permanent crown (see, I am a princess) put in place, we decided to celebrate last night instead....
We stayed in with some martinis, our favorite sushi, prawn and avocado salads and some candlelight and music and wine.
Why yes, I did eat some rice and drank some alcohol! 

This seating arrangement looks kind of odd but we moved the chairs so we were both facing our window wall which opens to the park... the bridge is lit up at night and it is a lovely view.
Would your prefer to go out to celebrate or do you like to stay in?
It is Spring in your corner of the World yet?