Mea Culpa

Sorry, I know I’ve been MIA for a few days – it’s been a crazy week.  

I’ve still been getting workouts in for the most part.  Monday was a holiday, so my partner and i took the dog for a nice long walk along the waterfront,  then went and heled my parents clear some trees up at their property.  

Tuesday I rode 12.8 miles on my bike, and even checked out a mountain biking trail I found online – I had forgotten how much fun technical mountain biking is! 

I missed Wednesday because of several appointments and a tight work schedule,  so when yesterday rolled around and I wasn’t feeling up to working out (really upset stomach) I did a yoga session instead just to stay active – after all,  I can’t miss 2 in a row!

Today I did 11.8 miles on the bike, 3x plowed some further trails, and even got “lost”(I knew where I was in proximit to the highway and could have followed the same path back, but I didn’t really know where I was in general) – resulting in me having to carry my bike up a steep embankment to get back to civilization – lol.

I’m doing not too badly at getting my cycling miles in, but I need to work on my “Run/Walk to Mordor” challenge – we’ve decided that my reward for that will be a road bike, and I have my eye on one already 🙂  I’m hoping to run tomorrow morning early, then bike to work the long way.  My first 10k of the year – a fundraiser for the local humane society where we got our beautiful dog – is next Saturday! 

New Shoes, Crazy Exercise Day and Cycling Loot

I tried to make my “new” Salomon shoes work, I really did.  I stretched them multiple times in the freezer, and tried to break them in gradually, but nothing worked, and so Thursday night, my partner and I headed out to Sport Chek to get new shoes.  It’s not easy for me to find good shoes with my size 11.5 feet, and almost every pair I tried was too small (the biggest any of the brands had was an 11, which fits sometimes,  but not always).  I tried several beautiful pairs of Asics, but they were just snug enough that I knew I wouldn’t be able to run in them.  Then I tried on a pair of New Balance and oh my god.  Damn.  Okay, those are comfy.  Not as flashy or pretty as some of the others, but not ugly, either, and so comfy!   I got a pair, and we got a good pair of Asics for my partner, both of which were on sale.  Then we had enough Scene points for $50 off, and I had a coupon for 10% off the entire purchase.  All in all, a pretty good score.

I decided to start breaking in the new shoes as soon as possible, with  three 10k races coming up – so I ran 3 miles yesterday morning with them, and it was amazing!  Beautiful weather for running, although it started to get hot towards the end, so I dumped some of my water over my head to cool off.

We had guys digging up our yard Thursday and Friday, so I was trying to spend as little time at home as possible.  I got home, cooled down for a bit, then headed back out on my bike.  I did 9 miles.

I saw this in the water under a bridge. It might be one of the creepiest, saddest things I have ever seen. (Don’t worry, I looked around, I didn’t see any children in the water. Thank God.)

One of the challenges that Nerd Fitness suggests is Walking to Mordor – a journey of 1779 miles.  There have been many articles written on this task – even websites and apps dedicated to it.  In fact, my partner is currently walking to Mordor to earn going back to school (another story) – it’s win-win-win, because it’s a good way for them to work on leveling up fitness while working towards leveling up career at the same time, it forms healthy habits, and it buys some time to save the money we need.  

I want to get a SmartHalo for my bike, and decided that I would have to cycle a certain distance to earn it – rather than just saving up stones for it, which would take far too long.  I decided Mordor was too far – if it’s worth a full education for my partner, it seems a little excessive for a bike accessory – even though it’s faster to ride than to walk.  I decided to see how far the Hogwarts Express would have travelled in the Harry Potter stories.  Using this article, and then this map,

I figured out that the ride from King’s Cross Station to the estimated location of the mythical school would be a distance of 612 miles by bicycle.  Perfect.  I want to get the SmartHalo before its official release in December,  because I can save a bunch of money by preordering. I picked November 25th as a deadline, and I officially started tracking on September 1st, which means 86 days for 612 miles.  That amounts to an average of 7.11 miles per day.  Now: I have three 10k race days in there, and 2 “away” weekends, so I know there are going to be missed days.  To make up for those, I plan on averaging 10 miles a day when I do ride, and hopefully that will give me enough of a buffer to hit my goal in time.

Now I just have to figure out a goal reward for my own walk to Mordor.  Maybe I should run instead…

Who Says You Can’t Run from Your Problems?

I finally got back out for a run today after more than a week “off” (I’ve done a lot of cycling over the past week, but no running).  I covered 6k today in walk/run intervals, but went back to a 2 minute running/1 minute walking schedule.  I actually realized just yesterday that the walk/run program I’m doing right now never has me doing more than 3 minutes running at a time, it just increases the number of intervals, so I figured that a few more days of 2 minute intervals would probably be worth it after my break from running.  

Once again, I didn’t want to go.  Today was a rough day financially and mental-health-wise, we got some very bad news, which I will not get into, but it upset me, and I didn’t feel like getting off my butt.  All I wanted to do was sit and eat junk food, but my brain wouldn’t let me.  I put it off until 5pm, then finally got up and headed out the door – grumbling the whole way.  I hated every second, and it felt amazing.  When I got home, I wasn’t stressed any more.  Que sera, sera.  Everything will work itself out, and there  isn’t much I can do, so why make myself sick?  

What it with that?  I’m not actually a masochist, why do I love running so much when it hurts so badly?  Why does it make my head so much clearer?  How is it better at reducing stress and anxiety than all my meds combined? 

Apparently,  the cycling has been paying off.  My legs and lungs are stronger, and tonight felt easier.

I made a decision yesterday too – I have a fun run coming up on September 18th, and it has a 5k option and a 10k.  I was going to do the 5, but I decided on the 10 instead – despite the fact that I have a 10k run 6 days later in Toronto.  I’ll just do some easy runs and rides in between, and I’ll be fine.

I met my first goal reward too – the new Warcraft expansion pack comes out tomorrow morning and I preordered it, because I have stayed away from the vending machine at work this month.  Now if only I was going to have time tomorrow to play it. 

Confession

Time for me to ‘fess up: I missed a workout.  I didn’t run yesterday.  

I got home last night from work just after 9:00, with the intention of running,  and then cleaning the birds’ cage (we have 5 adorable tiny zebra finches) but by the time I got in the door I barely had the energy to microwave the plate my partner had put in the fridge for me.  I ate, crawled into bed, and passed out cold. 

I got up at 5 this morning, cleaned the bird cage, and went back to lay on the bed for a second before getting ready to go and make up yesterday’s run – and my back went into spasm. Wonderful.  I couldn’t move, and actually had to call my doctor’s office and cancel my appointment for today because I knew I wouldn’t be able to drive the 3-hour round trip to her office with my back the way it was. 

Now I had a problem.  By not running yesterday or making up the run today, I would have officially missed a workout.   According to my goal rewards, I can’t miss 2 in a row between now and the end of September – and if I didn’t do today’s scheduled workout or my run I would be two behind.  But what to do when you have a legitimate reason not to work out?  By later this morning I was doing better, but still not in running shape, so I decided to ride my bike to work.   It was perfect!  Great weather, and my back held up okay.

For a little bit of back story (see what I did there?) – my back has always been sensitive. The extra weight I carry – and the fact that it’s largely in my – uh – upper body  – puts a strain on it.  Then, in 2007, the car I was driving was rear-ended by a drunk driver while I was stopped at an intersection.  I was the first car at the intersection,  and I was so terrified of being pushed into oncoming traffic that I had my feet pushed on the brakes hard as I possibly could (yes, logically I know that wouldn’t really help,  but I didn’t have much time to consider my options at the time).  I  was braced so hard that with my back, I managed to twist the driver’s seat out of shape.  The glasses I was wearing were thrown from my face and found by the body shop under the back windshield, beside the brake light.  I went home that night after the accident,  but went to the hospital the next day (and stayed for two days) with abdominal pain that we later discovered was due to bruised internal organs.  My back has given me a lot more trouble since then.

I’m going to cut my losses on yesterday’s run, and move on.  One workout missed, back on track, and all is right with the world.  I usually get hung up on trying to make up missed workouts,  but I am really trying to get past it.

Bonus!  I discovered that where I work actually has bike racks!

Loot! (AKA Rewards)

One of the things that the Nerd Fitness Academy emphasizes is that there have to be rewards for achievements.  In video games, achievements get you prizes/tools/etc., and in life, we need motivation to keep pushing through the hard work.  It’s easy to fall into the trap, however, of rewarding healthy habits with unhealthy behaviours – junk food, etc – so it’s important to have a game plan beforehand.

I have come up with my personalized loot system to share, and I have a couple of different levels of loot.

The first level is for daily healthy habits.  I have created a jar with ribbon tape marking points along its side.  Each ribbon marks a level of approximately 50 stones, and I can earn up to 5 stones a day for meeting my goals.

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My daily goals are to eat at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables, to drink 3 litres of water, to get at least 7 hours of sleep, to work out (biking to work, running, going for a swim, a hike, whatever), and to meditate or do yoga.  Each 50-stone line on the jar represents a $15 reward.  I can either redeem those stones as soon as they hit the mark, or I can keep saving them until I reach a higher reward level.  While it will be up to me to decide at the time what I want to use my loot rewards for, I have come up with a few ideas for some of the levels.

$15 – New book (digital or paperback), World of Warcraft mount/pet, inexpensive computer game

$30 – New nerdy t-shirt 

$45 – New running outfit

$60 – New bike tires or accessory

$75 – New craft supplies

$90 – New running skirt

$105 – New running shoes

$195 – SmartHalo for my bike (this is a major loot goal for me right now, it combines so many features I want to add to my bike into one device)

I also have major achievement goals.  

  • There is a new WoW pack coming out that I would like to buy – it costs about $70 USD.  Since I didn’t start my loot quest early enough to earn it before the release date, I have set a goal of not purchasing any candy at work (one of my biggest weaknesses – stupid vending machine…) from now until it releases on August 30.
  • There are a couple of piercings I want to get. Two, in fact, which will be hidden… *ahem*…  Anyway, I can get them if I don’t miss any two workouts in a row between now and the end of September.
  • I have my heart set on a running skirt from Sparkle Skirts, but they’re expensive.  If I complete my trail run in November in less than 1:45:00, I will be ordering one.
  • I am planning on running a half-marathon next June (more on that in a future post).  When I complete that, I will be getting a tattoo on my foot, which is going to be reflective of my running. I am going to post some design ideas later as well for feedback.

Lastly, for completing all of my workouts in a week, I will be rewarding myself with a long, hot candlelit bath.  It won’t cost me anything, but it’s something I don’t often take the time to do for myself.

I’m already noticing a difference in my behaviours with these rewards.  I look longingly at the vending machine at work, then remind myself that I want the game.  I almost didn’t get up yesterday morning to run, but then reminded myself that if I miss one workout, I’m more likely to miss two, and then I won’t get my piercings at the end of September (plus I get Epic Quest points if I stick with all of my workouts for long enough, so there’s another motivator).

So many things to work for, and I’m psyched!  Bring on the loot!

WTF Shoes?!

So last year, sometime shortly before the kilt run, I wore through my very first pair of shoes.

Don’t get me wrong.  I have worn out shoes before, but not running shoes. Not from running.  Not from actually putting so many miles on a pair of shoes that the tread was gone and my toes were wearing through the tops.  

I finally caved and had my partner – who was working for a company that owned an athletic shoe company – order me two pairs of new shoes.  I got a good price on them, but they were still expensive, although well worth it.  

On Tuesday this week, I noticed a chunk of foam falling out of my shoe when I took it off after my run.  Yesterday, my heel was raw from the shoe rubbing it where the stuffing was gone.  When I picked the shoes up to examine just how bad they were, I noticed that they too are low on tread.

I have now officially run through two pairs of quality running shoes.

Who even am I?

I have one pair left, but they don’t fit quite right.  I’ve had success stretching shoes in the freezer before, so I froze these last night and am going to try them again.

Wish me luck!  My partner no longer works for the same company and shoes are expensive!