Sunday, August 31, 2014

My September Simple RE-Start

I am so very excited for September this year... August came and went in a flurry of travel.. site-seeing, visiting old friends and shopping.  It was wonderful but very helter skelter.  I had no real focus but concentrated on transitioning from one vacation to the next.

September is traditionally a month where I knuckle down and get serious about ditching the couple of pounds I normally gain every Summer... start real workouts on a consistent basis, and enjoy running again.  I expect nothing less this year and am actually starting today!

I love the Weight Watchers Simple Start Plan... good clean eats.. lots of lean protein, freggies, lean dairy, along with a few indulgences.  And it goes hand in hand very nicely with The 21 Day Fix, which helps with portion control.  I am also tracking my macros on FitDay... I know this all sounds a bit obsessive, but I am determined!

And I also really love the Metabolic Aftershock bodyweight workouts.  They are only 15 minutes long, and then a short stretch and half-hour walk finish them off.  There are 3 workouts each week.  I feel energized and strong after I finish a session.

So these will be the backbone of my September Simple RE-Start Program... and on the 'in-between' days I want to run, play tennis, perhaps golf a bit, swim, get in some yoga and Pilates and do lots of walking.

It all begins today!  And I am very excited to get rolling...

p.s. I loved our vacation to Colorado.  

Do you have a focus for the month of September?

Sunday, August 17, 2014

And She is Off...

Again... already.

We are leaving tomorrow morning, to take a ferry ride through the beautiful San Juan Islands to Anacortes, WA... then will spend the night at a hotel before flying from Bellingham to Denver, CO.

I am so excited... and actually quite nervous about staying with folks we don't know very well. The Captain is so confidant that we are going to have a wonderful time and that it will all just... flow.

And he is usually right.  And if I get in another trip to Trader Joe's, so much the better.

When I get back, I will probably tell you all about it... or at least the best parts!

See ya in September...

Who sang THAT song?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Early Edition... New Faves and Raves

I have been floating through August…. since we came back from our vacation to Portland last week, I have been all over the place with my fitness and my eats.  I was so pleased to have made it home without gaining any weight, in spite of eating and drinking things I normally don’t.

And now we are getting ready to leave for Colorado already.  I have done some Metabolic Aftershock workouts, some 21 Day Fix yoga sessions, a shortish run, LOTS of walking, and lots of stretching… but I am overeating. I am excited, and stress eating.  And yet not really too upset about it all because I know that when I get home at the end of the month, that I am going to spend the month of September really focussing on both my fitness and cleaning up my diet.  I have a plan!

I picked up a jar of PB2 and a jar of Chocolate PB2 when we were in Portland… I have been reading about these products for so long now and just couldn’t resist when I saw them on a shelf in Target.  When I first did a Whole30 (strict Paleo) in January of 2013, I gave up peanut butter in favor of almond butter… and just started eating peanut butter again a couple of months ago. I don’t feel any ill effects from it and do love the taste.

Aug 13 loving 002

So this PB2 is peanut butter with most of the fat content removed.  It is a flour of sorts.  I have had it several different ways and really like it.  I have reconstituted it with water and used it as peanut butter mixed with mashed banana; I have mixed it directly into Greek yogurt; I have mixed it into whey protein powder.  I love it.  And I will be purchasing more if I find some on this next trip to the U.S. I bought the Chocolate PB2 as well, but am not quite as taken with it.  Okay.... little update to that last sentence... I just made some up with water and spread it on a banana.  Yowzers!  Delicious.

Another thing I found in the U.S. that I am really enjoying is canned sauerkraut. This one from Wal-mart is made only from cabbage and salt and water.  It tastes great.  Most of the sauerkrauts I find here where I live contain a lot of additives.  I like it cold with ham (and sweet potatoes) or pulled pork. I understand that fermented foods are good for us so I am trying to eat more of the ones I do like.

Aug 13 loving 003

I also found these canned Dolmas at Trader Joe’s. Now, I could give you a list as long as my arm of things I love that I can only purchase at TJ’s… but I won’t. I just wanted to share these ‘cause they are a new find for me.

Aug 13 loving 004

Aug 14 Dolmas 001

Aug 14 Dolmas 003
The Captain mixed his into the pulled pork.

Normally I only eat rice when I have sushi.  But this looked too good to pass up… and they are fabulous.  We enjoyed them right out of the can with some pulled pork.  Mmmmm.  A couple of years ago I spent a great deal of time and effort making dolmas from scratch.  I plan to stock up on these, too, when we are in the U.S. over the next couple of weeks.  Grapeleaf sushi?

Some of my favorite posts and articles from the week:

And a pod cast about running marathons:


And a quote I found on Twitter:

Twitter Quote

What are you loving this week?

Is there a TJ's where you live?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

This One’s For The Kids… The Sears Great Canadian Run

I recently became aware of a series of Canadian events called the Sears Great Canadian Run that raise funds for children’s hospitals in various parts of our country, and when they asked if I would help promote them on my blog, I readily agreed. No, I am not being compensated, and unfortunately, will not be able to take part in any of them… but I do want to help spread the word.

The Sears Great Canadian Run has had three successful years of events in Ottawa and Toronto and they are coming to Calgary for the first time this year! The Run is 100km relay with teams of up to 20 people. You can check out their blog: and website: for some more info or visit their social media pages.


The event began in 2011 with the objective of raising awareness for childhood cancer, fundraising and creating a sense of community for kids and families affected by the disease. It is a national series and all funds are donated to the Sears Canada Charitable Foundation which supports the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario in Ottawa, the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, the Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation, the Kids Cancer Care Foundation of Alberta and the Stollery Children's Hospital as well as national pediatric oncology research.

Their videos:
Event details:

Calgary to Camp Kindle Run - August 23, 2014
The Calgary Run will start in Cochrane and end at Camp Kindle near Water Valley, Alberta
Toronto to Blue Mountain - September 20, 2014
The Toronto Run will start in Caledon, Ontario and will finish at Blue Mountain Resort in Collingwood, Ontario.
Ottawa to Montebello - October 4, 2014
The Ottawa Run will start in Ottawa, Ontario and will finish in Montebello, Quebec.
I would urge anyone who is going to be in these areas during the even times, to check out the web site and get signed up! 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

I'm a Foam Roller

I want to sing that title to the tune of "I'm a Wheel watcher"... silly me.  It's the end of a long week and I am trying to get back into the groove of normal after vacation.

Once upon a time, I trained to run a half marathon… and along the way I read some interesting advice about using a foam roller to help my leg and hip muscles recover after the longer runs during the training.

There were so many different kinds of rollers available, and I was quite confused about the whole issue, but did want to try it out, so I polled some of my running blogger friends and got lots of different responses.  I even wrote about them at the time. (Check it out, there is some good advice here.)  I found a great web site about Self-Myofascial Release and read it thoroughly.

And after all of that I chose to try some of the techniques on my legs and hips with a good old-fashioned rolling pin!  It was quite effective, I have to admit.

Rolling Pin

After my half marathon was over and I cut way back on the amount of running I am doing, I basically forgot all about rolling…  until I saw a contest on Facebook, by Suzanne Digre of Workout Nirvana, who was giving away a Rumble Roller. I jumped at the chance to have it… and was lucky enough to win it and have Suzanne send it to me.

Well, I have to admit I was very VERY intimidated by this baby when I first opened the package!  I immediately nick-named it The Beast.

Aug 7 Rumble Roller 001
you can see how large it is, even compared to my running shoes

But I have had so much trouble with leg cramps after running, that I was willing to do whatever it might take to prevent them.  I have special supplements that I think help, and I make sure to stay well-hydrated, and I stretch an enormous amount, and yes, I foam roll with The Beast!

In all honesty, it took me some time before I was brave enough to try it out.  I put 2 of my yoga mats side by side on the floor and practise my rolling while laying on top of them… and I do mean practise. I may never get the various techniques down just right.

I don’t enjoy it.  I think I look ridiculous doing it. I know I FEEL ridiculous doing it.  But I am sure it helps and I am so thankful every time I finish up a rolling session that Suzanne graced my life with The Beast.

This graphic shows the exercises I do with the Rumble Roller… and I was given permission to use it on my own blog… it is from an article you can find on FIX called Stepping Up the Pace: 19 Ways To Shave Down Your Race Time  - have a look!  They suggest that foam rolling is a way to increase your running pace.


I also roll my calves.  They love me for it.

If you are working your muscles hard… whether it be running, or strength training, or cross fit, or even if you just like massage… I urge you to get yourself one of the many tools available and get rolling! 

One of the blog posts I read this week was about all the different kinds of rolling weapons tools that are available:
Here are some others you shouldn’t miss:

Well, are you a ‘roller’?  What’s your weapon of choice?

Monday, August 4, 2014

And we’re back!

We arrived home last night on the late ferry from Port Angeles… and it was a lovely boat ride in the dark.  We saw the Symphony Splash fireworks over the Inner Harbour in Victoria from about 15 miles away… sensational… and passed very close by a cruise ship all lit up in blue and white deck lights, that had slowed down to allow the passengers to enjoy the distant fireworks, too.

Was good to get home and sleep in our own bed… and of course today the work of putting everything away begins… and also a trip to the market to get a few freggies to get us through the next couple of days.  Coming home is hard work!  But I am doing it a bit at a time and not getting all stressed over it.

There were two packages awaiting me upon our arrival… one from One Bar and another from NuNaturals.  Jody at Truth 2 Being Fit hosted a NuNaturals giveaway recently and I was one of the lucky winners.  I am always on the lookout for them because we cannot purchase NuNaturals in Canada and I do love their products.

Aug 4 NuNaturals OneBar 001

And the One Bars were a nice surprise.  I didn’t win the giveaway that Laura from Mommy Run Fast hosted a while back, but the pr representative contacted me and asked me if I would like to try them…. they are fruit bars and couldn’t have come at a better time for me. 

I am back on the clean eats train for a couple of weeks now till it is time to head back to Washington to get our flight to Colorado.

So… all in all, our trip to Portland was great. I always enjoy visiting new places, and sampling a bit of what is local.  It was quite different from what I had expected.  Here are some highlights and lowlights, in my opinion.

What I loved:
  • The Oregon Zoo and Washington Park
    • we spent almost a whole day – we both love zoos and this one is really nice – lovely enclosures and habitats and there is some construction happening right now that will make things even better for some of the resident animals
  • The public transit system
    • there are commuter trains, buses, and street cars and we used it quite a bit – the prices are very reasonable an the connections are good – very easy to understand and use - much better than trying to park in the congested downtown area and so much better than getting caught up in freeway snarls
  • The weather 
    • it was in the upper 80s and low 90s the whole time we were there and it was great because the air is quite dry – apparently it rains there a lot but we did not see any sign of that at all - just blue and amazing
  • The shopping
    • I won’t bore you with all the of the details but there is no state sales tax in Oregon and everything was on sale everywhere we went – we especially loved the outlet mall South of the city and of course found a big Trader Joe’s – we were newbies to Dick’s Sporting goods and I think that I have to tell you that The Captain found a great pair of Under Armour kicks there on sale clearance for $7.48  !!  we filled up the trunk of the car … enough said about that.
  • Our hotel was great… we stayed on Hayden Island on the North side of the city 
    • it’s kind of a resort style community with lots of marinas and some small beaches and I loved watching the sailboats on the Columbia River… very new to me – our hotel was really nice, even if very busy and popular
  • The architecture
    • Portland is an older city than I was expecting and much of the downtown core is very old… some beautiful detail on the buildings… and some wonderful old mansions near Washington Park
A few things I didn’t care for:
  • The traffic
    • OMG!  I know it is a big city but wow!  so many cranky people on the BUSY, CONGESTED freeways... here we think nothing of waving people in to a lineup or hitting the brakes if someone makes a mistake... we didn't see any of that there
  • Voodoo Donuts
    • okay, not the donuts themselves… cause we never did get to try them – the lineup outside the store was over 3 hours long and it was 90+ outside and there was no shade… there is no donut in the world worth that wait, is there?
We had a wonderful time…walked our feet off; didn’t run because it was too hot, and never did use the fitness facilities or the hotel pool.

Now, I had better get back to my unpacking!

Have you ever been to Portland, OR?