My Pursuit of Happiness and Skinny Jeans

My journey to a smaller jean size

Testing, testing…

Today was the end of my work week. Yay!!!

Tomorrow I am heading down to the Niagara Falls area to play some golf with friends who I played slo-pitch with back in North Bay back when I was in university. They have all traded their ball gloves for golf clubs and for years have been having a friendly tournament known as the ‘Birdie Open’.

A couple of years ago they invited me to take part in Birdie. It was so much fun. Good golf, lots of laughs, good food, and even a cocktail or two. This will be my third year. So far the Birdie Cup has not come home with me. Hopefully, with my new driver, this will be my year.

So, the purpose of this post is just to see if I can write and post from my BlackBerry. So far, the writing seems okay. Inserting pictures is proving to be a bit more challenging. This is my second attempt at this post. Somehow I lost the first one it tried when I attempted to insert a picture. I want to be sure I can do it, since I’m sure there will be a few post-worthy pictures this weekend!

Hopefully this works this time! Here we go…

Nope….I can get as far as telling it where I want the picture to come from (file or take a new picture) but I can’t seem to get it to actually load into the post. I will do some research and see if I can figure it out…if anyone knows how to do this, feel free to leave me a comment with the instructions.

I’m not sure how regular my posts will be over the next three days, but I will do my best.

Cheers! Or maybe I should say FORE!!!

Crosby watching some Coach's Corner

Crosby watching some Coach’s Corner

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This Just Makes You Smile…and I Needed a Smile.

So, I’ve been feeling a little bummed about the race results on Sunday. I really wanted to hit 2:30 and I didn’t.  Everyone keeps telling me that 2:40 is still great and that it’s an accomplishment just to finish, since 12 weeks ago I wasn’t running at all.  I know all of this, but still it sucks a bit to miss my goal, especially since I feel like I let my sister down.  She gave up her sub-2 hour goal to get me across the line in 2:30. She really tried and did everything she could to get me moving, and I just couldn’t do it.  And that sucks.  So, while everyone is looking at the positives of the run, I’m still disappointed.

Anyway, that’s just a bit of background context about why I’m feeling down.

While driving into work today, and listening to Q107 as I do every day, they were talking about some flash mob proposal that was supposed to be just awesome and that you couldn’t help but smile when you saw it.  So, needing a smile, when I got into the office I took a look.

They were right.  This is awesome, and it did make me smile.  I hope it makes you smile too.

Have a great Wednesday everyone.

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I Must Be Crazy!

It’s Tuesday, and in my world that means my EWGA golf league and a ball hockey game.  It used to also mean going for a run.  Today is the first Tuesday in 12+ weeks that I don’t have a training run scheduled.  I’m kind of surprised, but it feels weird not to have to run today.

It also feels good, since my quads are still really sore from Sunday’s Half.  I’m hoping that a walk around the golf course, followed by some insane sprints and stops and starts at ball hockey will help to loosen them up.  After that I may even spend some quality time with my Trigger Point Grid Foam Roller trying out these moves and trying to get the legs back to normal:

 

Tonight is the first night that I get to use my new driver – Callaway Razr X Black.  I can’t wait!  I hope it works as great as it looks!  I’ll let you know.

Okay, lunch is over and I’ve got a few more things to tidy up at work before I sneak out to the golf course.

Hope your Tuesday is going well.

 

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And Now What?

Today is the “Day After”.  Yesterday was the half marathon and now I’m wondering what to do next.  I’m pretty sure my sister is going to get me to train for another run some time in the fall, but I don’t think we need to start back into it until a bit later in the summer.  So, now I need to figure out what I can do between now and when we start back into full-mode training again.

I’m hoping to keep running a couple of times a week.  Nothing too long, just 3 miles (5k) twice a week so I don’t have to start from scratch when the official training starts again.  I will also still be playing in my golf league for 9 holes every Tuesday and I will have my ball hockey game every Tuesday night.  Yet, I somehow don’t feel like this will be enough exercise to help me shed those last 5-6 lbs that I like to kick to the curb.

I have a full weight machine in the basement beside the treadmill.  Until now, it has been the place where the cat sat and watched while I ran on the treadmill.  I think maybe it’s time to actually use it and try to get stronger.  I think if I’m stronger it might make my running easier.

I have a few books with different workouts in them.

I am going to have another look at them and see which one seems to have the best looking workout.  On one of the blogs I read (donteatcrap blog), I learned about a book called The New Rules of Lifting for Women that made it sound like it might also be a good workout for me.  Here is the post that introduced me to the book:  http://donteatcrapblog.com/2012/05/13/the-new-rules-of-lifting-for-women/  I’ve placed a hold on the book from the library so I could take a look at it and see what it’s all about before I buy it.  I’ll spend the next few days going through the books and trying to make my decision.  If you have any good workouts, I’d love to hear about them.   I hope to add the weight lifting workouts to the routine starting next Monday.   I seem to have something going on tomorrow and Wednesday night, and then I’m away for a girls golf weekend, so Monday will be the first chance I have to get at it.

So, as the day after a race usually goes, I’m feeling a little stiff today.  I was forward thinking and had booked a massage for today.  It was awesome.  My quads are so tight…it kills to go up or down stairs.  Getting the massage hurt quite a bit, and I’m still a bit sore now, but I’m sure I will feel a bit better in the morning.  I sure hope so, I’ve got to walk around the golf course for 9 holes tomorrow and then go run around and play ball hockey!

One thing that seems to still be a challenge for me is getting more sleep.  It’s now already after 11pm and I’m still up.  I really need to work on that!

On that note…I’m signing off and heading to bed.  Good night, all!

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RACE DAY!

Today was the day.  Race Day for the Toronto Women’s Half Marathon.

I was up at 5:45 to shower and have breakfast before picking up my sister at her place and hitting the road down to Sunnybrook park for the start.  Breakfast was my usual pre-run bagel with peanut butter.  I was going to have an oatmeal pancake, but thought it might not be wise to change things up on race day.  So I stuck with the usual, and it hit the spot!

Hubby was a great guy and agreed to drive us down to the park so we wouldn’t have to worry about parking.  It was a good thing, because we got there around 7:15 and the place was packed!  Who knows where we would have had to park.  Jacko also came down to the race with us. The plan was for Rory and Jack to go grab breakfast somewhere, and then come back to the park and go for a bike ride along the trails and stop at a few spots to cheer us on.  More on that later.

We had time to hit the port-a-potties, take a few pre-race pics and then we got into the corrals.

For the half marathon there were 1500 ladies registered and another 500 for the 5 km race.  For the Half, they had us go off in three groups based on expected finish time.  Erin and I were in the second group to go off.  It was quite packed for the first few km as everyone was bunched up and hadn’t spread out yet, and the path was fairly narrow.  Once we got out of the pack and into our own space we moved along not too badly for the first bit.  I was feeling good, my hamstring wasn’t bothering me and we were making out not too badly time-wise for the first 5 miles or so.  Somewhere in here Rory and Jack were on the side of the path and were cheering us on.  Rory managed to get a picture of us in action.  At this point, we were both still smiling.

Then I seemed to lose a bit of steam.  I’m not sure what it was, but I really slowed down quite a bit. After running the first 5 miles in the 10-11 min/mile range, I was not able to keep up that pace.  I slowed down to the 12 minute range for miles 6-10.  Mile 11 was horrible at 14:19 pace.  I was so discouraged and although my brain was telling my legs to run they just wouldn’t go.  My sister did a great job trying to get me going again, and I was able to pick up the pace a bit for the last 2 miles, with mile 12 at 12:42 and the last mile was at 11:35 pace.  Overall we finished in 2:40, 10 minutes off my goal time.  I was a bit disappointed that I couldn’t pull it out and get it done, but I have to be happy that I did it, and didn’t finish last – which until now was really my goal for every race I’ve ever run.

I was so happy to be finished!  It was a tough run for me, but Erin and I still managed to be smiling at the end of it!

Notice our new bling?  The race medals were these awesome nickel necklaces by Foxy Jewelry.  Foxy was actually one of Oprah’s favourite things!  Check it out..they have some beautiful stuff http://www.foxyoriginals.com/index.asp

Thanks everyone for your positive sunshine vibes.  There was no rain during the race!

After the run it was home to shower and then it was time to chill out on the back deck.  We had crackers, cheese, fruit and other snacks to munch on while we enjoyed our well-earned Corona!

After burning over 1400 calories running this morning, I wasn’t worrying too much about what I ate today.  So, after an afternoon of beer and snacks, we ordered pizza for dinner.  I just didn’t have the energy to go shopping.  I will make a nice clean meal tomorrow, but tonight, that pizza tasted so good!

I’m guessing I might be a little stiff tomorrow.  Thankfully, I’ve got a massage booked to help with that.  My hamstring still feels good, so maybe whatever my massage therapist did to it Thursday night did the trick.  The worst ‘injury’ that I got on the run was three killer blisters – on both big toes, under the calluses that had built up during my training, and one other one on the side of my right foot.  They are a bit tender, but all in all, not too bad.

Before I sign off from this post, I have to thank my sister for running with me today.  I’m sure she could have finished in under 2 hours had she not decided to run with me.  She was awesome today, encouraging me and at times physically pulling my arm to get my legs moving again when they just didn’t want to go.  Erin, you are awesome!  I don’t think I could have done it without you.  You are the best sister, EVER!  xoxo

Now, all I want to do is go to bed.  I think I’m going to sleep like a rock.

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ONE!!!

One day until race day!

By tomorrow at this time, it will be over, and I will be sitting on the back deck enjoying a celebratory Corona!  I can’t wait!

This morning I had breakfast on the new patio set.  I think it’s going to be a great addition to the backyard.

It was SpringFest at my oldest’s school today.  We went down and the kids played in the various bouncy things they had, ate cotton candy, and the hit the water station.  Jack had a great time hitting the target and soaking Nick with the water that fills the bucket.

Now we are home and I’m just chillin’ on the deck, enjoying the sunshine, and writing my blog.

The plan for the rest of the afternoon is to do NOTHING!  Sit in the sun, maybe catch a bit of a nap, and then head over to my sister’s for our pre-race pasta dinner.  She is making Eat Clean Sausage and Pepper Penne.  Should be delicious, and a great carb-load for the race tomorrow.

I’m heading to bed early tonight so I am well rested and can get out of bed before the crack of dawn tomorrow.  My sister and I will have to figure out race day logistics tonight at dinner.  Hopefully we can find a place to park fairly close tomorrow.  I don’t really want to waste too much energy getting to the start line.

Enjoy the rest of your Saturday, everyone.  I will let you know how the race goes in tomorrow’s post.  Don’t forget to wish for sunshine and send positive race vibes my way!  

Cheers!

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The Friday Five

It’s Friday, so that means it’s time for another edition of The Friday Five!  Here we go:

1.  I’m resting until race day.  I was supposed to run 3 miles yesterday and another 3 tomorrow.  I did not run yesterday since I went straight from work to a massage and didn’t want to “waste” my massage by running after it.  I am not going to run tomorrow either.  My hamstring pain is still there, so rather than push it and risk it getting worse, I’m just going to rest it.  I’ve also heard that it’s a good idea to rest 60 hours before your run since you won’t be getting anything really beneficial out of these last few miles.  All the work has already been done.  I’m as ready as I’m gonna be.

2.  I tried a new Clean Eating recipe today.  On recommendation from my sister, I tried the Kung Pow chicken tonight.  Delicious!

I’m quite impressed with how good all of these clean recipes have been.  Other than that one dud turkey and chick pea burger recipe, the rest of them have all been fantastic.  See my sister’s blog for the recipe:  http://happierhealthiermorefitme.wordpress.com/2012/05/18/just-had-to-share-happy-friday/

3.  I picked up my race kit today.  There is no race day kit pick up, so this afternoon I headed down into Toronto to the Summerhill Running Room and grabbed my sister’s and my race kits.  We got a nice long sleeve technical shirt from Mizuno ( I love the colour), a collapsible water bottle, some heel spur balm, fisherman’s friends, a Luna bar, and lots and lots of advertising flyers.  Here’s the good stuff:

4.  We got some new deck bling.  We have been wanting to get some patio furniture for our back deck that we could lounge on.  We’ve got lots of Muskoka chairs, and we love them, but you can’t recline on them.  We’ve been looking at the flyers for the last few weeks and saw a set on for half price that we liked and thought would look great.  So, after dinner, it was off to Home Outfitters to check it out.  We liked what we saw so bought it.  We’ve spent most of the evening putting the thing together.  It is never as easy and it should be, but we got it finished.  It’s too dark outside to take a picture of it, so here’s the shot of the sale tag in the store.  I will post a pic of the real thing on the deck tomorrow.

We also got a hammock for the kids.  There are a couple of hammocks at the cottage and they love just chillin’ in them, so we picked one up so they can hang out at home too.

5.  The weather for Sunday is calling for rain.  I would rather not run in the rain, so I’m going to ask everyone to put on their sunshine hats and send sunny vibes to Toronto on Sunday.

Happy Friday, everyone.  I’m off to sit on my new deck furniture for a bit before I head to bed.  I get to sleep in tomorrow…WOHOOO!!!

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Two!

Two days until race day!

The focus for the next two days is to eat well and get lots of sleep.  I have to trust that all the prep I’ve done up to this point has worked and I’m ready to run 13.1 miles (21.1km).

I’m also going to spend the next two days thinking positive run thoughts:  I’m strong, light on my feet, with a smooth stride, and I’m going to kick ass!  I AM A CHEETAH…and I’m going to run like one.

Feel free to send positive vibes my way on Sunday.  I can use all the help from the universe I can get!

 

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Three!

Three days until race day!

Wow, it’s really getting close.  I’m starting to get excited and nervous about the big day.  I am going to try to do my best not to let my nerves get too out of control.  It’s just another long run, right?  I am entering this race with the same goals as usual when I race:  finish, and don’t be last – which I’ve managed to achieve in every race I have entered so far!  Yay me!

This race I’m also adding in my time goal of 2:30, and hopefully I will also be successful in achieving that goal too.  I’ve got my sister to help me with that…she is going to keep me moving and sticking to the 10&1 plan.  I’m so excited to run with her.  We have completed many races together, but never actually run them together – actually that might be a lie, I think we ran a 10k race together when we were training for another half marathon before.  Here’s a pic of us after the finish of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon back in 2007.

This was pretty much the last time I really ran.  I ended up with a hip/hamstring injury on my right leg that took over 4 years to go away.  It finally stopped hurting about 5 months ago!  We’ve got huge smiles on our faces since we were both so happy to just have the race be over!  Neither of us ran a great race, but still, we finished the full marathon and we weren’t last!  Hopefully this year we will be smiling because we had a great race and finished in under 2:30.  Feel free to send positive vibes our way on Sunday!

The weather Sunday is now calling for an 80% chance of rain.  Not ideal, so feel free to send some vibes to Mother Nature as well to hold off on he rain until after 11:30 or so, since we should be finished running well before then!

I’m off shortly to get a massage.  Hopefully my massage therapist will be able to do something about this crazy pain I’ve got high in my left leg.  Even if she can’t, I’m sure my legs will feel better in general after she is finished with them.

I’m thinking I may have half a chance at getting to bed at a decent hour tonight.  I’ve already got today’s post finished, there is likely nothing good on TV tonight since all my shows ended last week, and hubby has baseball so will be out.  Sounds like all I’m going to have to deal with is the various books I’ve got on the go and closing my iPad at a reasonable hour.

Hope your Thursday has been a good one.  Are you reading anything great?  Let me know, I’m always looking for more books to read.

Cheers!

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Four!

Four days until race day!

Today I got the call from Golf Town telling me my new driver was in!  After work, I swung by and picked it up.  It’s awesome!

I can’ wait to get out there and hit it, but that probably won’t be until my league night next Tuesday, since I’m a little busy this weekend!

Sticking with the golf theme…check out the latest book I got out of the library.

This is the book that Hank Haney wrote about his years as Tiger Wood’s coach.  Golf Digest and Twitter were abuzz before the release of the book as rumours and speculation about what Hank wrote flew around like mad.  There were a lot of negative comments before it was released.  Now that it has actually hit book stores, the reaction from people reading it seems to be positive (at least the ones that Hank replies to on Twitter!).  It’s supposed to be a very good read with many people saying they can’t put it down once they start.  Hopefully I will have some time this weekend as I’m resting up for the big race to sit and read a bit of it.

Tonight I got back on the Clean Eating train again, cooking a tasty clean meal for dinner – Curry Chicken with Zucchini & Cashews.  It was very easy to make and was pretty tasty.  Here’s what you do:

Ingredients
1/2 cup brown rice, cooked according to package directions
2 tsp safflower oil
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 can chickpeas, drained
2 zucchini, chopped
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
3 tbsp mild or hot red curry paste
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro (I didn’t have any, so just skipped it!)
2 tbsp roasted unsalted cashews

Directions
Add oil and heat pan to medium-high heat. Add chicken and garlic, cook until golden brown. Add chickpeas to pan, stir to combine.  In a small bowl, whisk the chicken broth, curry paste, salt and pepper. Add to skillet and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through and sauce starts to thicken up.  Remove from heat and add cilantro.  Divide rice among bowls and spoon chicken mixture over top.  Top with  cashews and more cilantro, if desired.

The dish was pretty tasty, but next time I make it, I will do something to kick up the spice level and flavour just a bit.  I will try to find a curry paste that’s a bit hotter and may throw in some peanut butter to give it more of a peanut curry flavour.  As is the case with most Clean Eating recipes, there was lots left, so I’ve got lunch for tomorrow in the fridge and all set to grab as I run out the door for work!

After dinner I went for a 3 mile run.  I really didn’t feel like going, but hubs convinced me to go.  He actually came with me.  Overall the run was pretty good.  In the end it was about 3.35 miles, and took me 37 minutes.  Not rocket fast, but not too bad.  My weird hip/hamstring thing is still there and really kicks in when I go up hills, even gradual ones.  I’m supposed to run 3 more miles tomorrow and again on Saturday.  I’m not sure I am going to do both runs.  As of now, I think I’m going to run tomorrow, and then skip Saturday’s run to give my legs a bit of a rest before Sunday’s race.  I will try to go for a walk to get some exercise in if I can.  I also need to start thinking about what my food will be Friday and Saturday so I can get fuelled up for the big race.  I should try to look online and see what’s recommended.

To help with all the aches and pains that have been creeping up over the last 12 weeks of training, today I got a foam roller.  I have been hearing a lot of good things about these things, so figured I would give it a try.  My sister picked us each up one today when she was out getting a new Garmin since hers died and she wanted to have one for the run on Sunday.  The roller is a Trigger Point Performance “The Grid”.  It came with a laminated sheet that shows some of the ways to work on different muscles.  I will also look online for some other videos about how to use the roller.  Hopefully I will find something to help deal with this weird hamstring thing I’ve got going on.

Well, once again it has gotten late and I really should be in bed.  I am doing a horrible job of getting lots of rest leading up to race day.  Hopefully tomorrow I will do better.  Wish me luck!

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