My Pursuit of Happiness and Skinny Jeans

My journey to a smaller jean size

September Writing Challenge #30: Goals for October

It is the last day of Fitness Cheerleader’s Writing Challenge.  I have really enjoyed this writing challenge.  It has given me good topics to write about for the whole month, which I love since it is often tough to come up with something to write about every day.  I have also enjoyed reading other people’s responses to the challenge where I have discovered new blogs to read, new workouts and some great fitness tips and ideas.

The final topic for the month is looking ahead to next month and listing out our goals for October.

My goals for October are:

1.  Run the Niagara Falls Half Marathon is 2:30 or better.  If you’ve been following along, you know that I have been training for the Niagara Falls Half.  My training has been going very well and I really think that hitting my goal of a 2:30 is very possible.  Today was my last big long run of my training program.  The next few weeks are all about the taper and reducing the mileage.  Today my sister and I ran 20 very hilly kilometres.  It ended up taking us 2:27 to complete the 20k.

20k

Although this last big long run was a little slower than I will need to run on race day, I’m pretty sure it will be okay.  Today’s run was VERY hilly, and I could feel my pace on the hills really dragging.  On the flats my running felt good and I felt in a groove and was often running at a 6:15/km pace.  That is much faster than I need to run on race day.  Hopefully it will work out.

Plus an added bonus for race day, there is a good chance that my friend Kathy (who I refer to as Jack Rabbit, since she is such a speedy runner) may come and pace me on race day.  She actually just ran the Wine Glass Marathon in Corning, NY today and did it in 3:55!   How awesome is that!  She even thinks I could do my half in 2:20.  That would be totally awesome!

2.  Eat Clean!  Although I have been trying to eat clean, there is lots of room for improvement.  I need to do a better job of planning my menus out, getting the needed groceries for my recipes for the week, and then actually sticking to the plan and making it happen.

Saying all that, realistically this will be a challenge for October, since I’m still training during the week, which often messes with my dinner times.  Also, I’ll be away for 3 weekends this month:  next weekend is Thanksgiving and we will be at the cottage, the following weekend I’m going on a scrapbook retreat where we are fed very well, but not necessarily clean recipes, and then it is race weekend.  Keeping this is mind, I’m not going to beat myself up if October isn’t as clean as it could be.

eat-clean-get-lean_thumb

3.  Get more sleep!  Getting to bed at a decent time is often a challenge for me.  Despite wanting to get to bed at 11pm or so, by the time we get dinner made and eaten, deal with homework, get the kids to bed, do any chores that need to be done, and have a bit of time to relax, watch some TV and write my blog, it is usually well after 11 by the time I go up to bed.  I know I need more sleep.  Some days I feel like I am absolutely running on empty. Hopefully I will do better at this in October…especially since I will need to be well rested with lots of energy for the half marathon.

eat train sleep repeat

I’m sure I could come up with some more goals, but I figure I will have a better chance of reaching/fulfilling my goals if I keep them focused and manageable!  Wish me luck.  I will try to remember to check how I did in achieving them at the end of October.

What are your goals for October?

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September Writing Challenge #29: Recipe Time!

It is Day 29 of the September Writing Challenge.  Today’s topic:  Share your favourite fall recipe.

The recipe I am going to share is one that I discovered this summer, but it would be a great recipe for the fall.  It is from Clean Eating Comfort Foods 2012.  I have raved about this recipe each time I have made/eaten it..it is Ham, Cheese & Broccoli Casserole.  It is seriously one of the best things I have EVER eaten!

ham-cheese-broccoli-bake

There is a bit of prep work involved for this recipe, but trust me…it is totally worth it!  The recipe can be found here:  Eat Clean Ham, Cheese & Broccoli Casserole.

Do you have a favourite fall recipe?

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The Friday Five

Welcome to the last Friday of September.  Seriously…where did the month go?

friday-five2

Here are this week’s Friday Five:

1.  My friend Amy sent me this quote the other day.  It made me laugh.

jogger

2.  My cute Nike Free Run shoes are driving me crazy one step at a time.  The foot bed of the shoe has a crazy squeak right around where the Nike sensor is supposed to sit in the shoe under the insole.  I don’t have the Nike sensor, so just left the piece of foam they ship with the shoes in the spot.

shoe sensor

I have tried everything to make the squeak stop.  I’ve removed the piece of foam, I’ve tried to push the plastic sensor holder more into the shoe, I’ve tried to pull it out.  I’ve taken the insole out of my shoes about 40 times trying to adjust it…but still, this is the noise that it makes:

The squeak…driving me crazy one step at a time!

I love the shoes…they are so cute and comfy…but that squeak!!!

3. Only 3 weeks until race day!  This weekend will be my last really long run of my training program for the Niagara Falls Half Marathon on Oct 21.  The schedule calls for 20k this weekend, and I will be running them once again with my sister.  We have been doing really well with our long runs, so hopefully the trend continues for this 20k, which will be the furthest we’ve gone.  After this weekend we start to taper. We drop to 12k next weekend and then the week before the race we’ve only got an 8k long run to do.  I’m hoping this week’s run goes well and sets me in the right frame of mind to be just as successful on race day.

go for it

4  I’m going scrapbooking with my sister tomorrow.  It has been a very long time since I spent any time scrapbooking, and I am getting further and further behind.  Hopefully I will be able to get a lots of pages completed tomorrow and get my mind back into it.  In 2 weeks my sister and I are actually going for a scrapbooking retreat with 8 other friends.  I need tomorrow’s day to get me back on track so when I’m away for the weekend I can get even more done and not waste time getting organized.

5.  I’m going for a massage after work today!  I know you could probably care less about this, but I am so looking forward to it!  I’ve got aches and pains from running, plus I seem to have done something to my shoulder and lower back at hockey last night, so an hour on the massage table is just what I need.  My massage therapist is awesome.  I know I will walk out of there feeling relaxed, much less achy, and ready for a nap!  I can’t wait!

Keep-Calm-and-Get-a-Massage

The only way this massage would be any better is if this guy were giving it to me!

ryan gosling massage

Happy Friday, everyone.  Hope you have an awesome weekend!

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September Writing Challenge #28: Home Workout Videos

Hard to believe this is my third last post in the September Writing Challenge…this month has just flown by!  Today’s topic:  Have you ever done a home workout video?  if so, which ones are your favourite?

When I first started to think about this post, the only video I remember using for workouts was P90X, then I remembered years ago doing some Pilates DVD’s in the living room with my sister and my husband.  I really only remember doing it a few times.  The only thing I really remember about the video was sitting in some sort of V-Sit with our arms out past our legs and pumping them up and down while doing some crazy breathing technique.   

pilates v-sit

The move was supposed to look something like this, although I’m pretty sure none of us were even close!  We did not last long with this video, and maybe only did it a couple of times.

A few years ago I did P90X for a summer. 

p90x

I would get up at about 5am and do the workouts before my family got up.  It was tough and I was exhausted all of the time.  Along with P90X I was playing soccer, ice hockey, ball hockey and golfing.  The workouts did seem to be making me stronger and I think my shape changed a bit, but I didn’t lose a pound!  I’m pretty sure it was because my diet was crap and I wasn’t putting the proper nutrition into my body.  The program suggested taking all sorts of supplements and I didn’t use anything like that, so I’m not really surprised. 

I’ve still got all the videos on my computer.  Maybe after I run my half marathon I will see about doing the workouts again.  Some of them were fun…others were torture! 

Do you do any home workout videos?  What are your favourites?

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September Writing Challenge #27: Meal Replacements and Shakes

We are in the home stretch of September and up to Day 27 of Fitness Cheerleader’s Writing Challenge.  Today’s topic: Do you use any meal replacements or shakes?

I don’t really use meal replacements or shakes. Once in a while I will make a smoothie for breakfast or a snack and throw in a scoop of protein powder, but that’s about as far as I go.  I like eating real food too much to replace a meal with only a drink or shake.

Speaking of food…tonight I made a delicious Clean Eating Hearty Sausage & Cheese Frittata from the Comfort Foods 2012.

frittata It looked delicious even before the eggs were added in!  As with all Clean Eating recipes, this one was a hit with the kids…my youngest just loves frittata!  And this one was loaded with turkey sausage, broccoli, and peppers.  Yummo!  Plus, there are 3 good size pieces left over…there’s my lunch for tomorrow.  🙂

Tonight is the second game of my winter hockey season.  I can’t wait to hit the ice.  It is good exercise, I get to see all my best buds, and there may be a parking lot beer in my future!  Fun, Fun, Fun!!!

Do you play hockey?  Don’t you just love it!

Do you use meal replacements or shakes?

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September Writing Challenge Catch Up: #25 and #26

I missed yesterday’s post.  I had a family thing that took me unexpectedly out of town.  So, today I’m playing a little catch up.

#25:  What is something you do well? This is a tough one for me.  I don’t spend too much time thinking about what I’m good at, but a couple of things come to mind.

Multi-tasking.  Both at work and at home, but especially at work.  I have a number of projects going on around the world (Spain, Italy, Great Britain, Russia, Canada, USA, France, and Brazil to name a few).  My projects are all at different phases and dealing with all these different time zones is a bit of fun…but I’m managing to keep everything going, and for the most part, going without too many hiccups!

Running Slow!  I am not built for speed. I’ve accepted that.  I’ve got short legs and not very good running form.  But, I am your girl for long slow runs on Sunday morning!  I like to think I am helping my sister in her training by keeping her out there longer than she would take if she ran alone!

running slow 

#26:  What is one area of your fitness that you’d like to improve upon?  This list is much longer…but I will only list my top two here.

Increase the distance that I can run without stopping.  I have gotten up to being able to run 6k without stopping now. I might be able to run further than that, but I’ve been missing most of my steady runs lately so not sure how far I could go now.  I should try to get out there next Tuesday for a steady run.  Now that golf is finished for the year my Tuesday evenings are one again free to run. 

Sticking to Clean Eating.  I am really enjoying all the clean dishes that I have been making.  I just wish I could do it a bit more frequently.  Things seem to creep up on me and often my menu for the week doesn’t exactly go as planned.  I’m staring to think I should start batch cooking on Sundays and get many dishes prepared for the coming week.  This would also be good as it would give me things that I could take for lunch too.

eat-clean-get-lean_thumb

What about you?  What are you good at and what would you like to improve?

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September Writing Challenge #24: Fitness “Gimmicks”

We are quickly approaching the end of September.  This month is just flying by!  Today is Day 24 of the writing challenge hosted by Fitness Cheerleader.  Today’s topic:  Have you even fallen for a fitness “gimmick”?

It’s not like there is a shortage of gimmicks out there, but I’ve never really fallen for any.  I’ve been tempted by a few…most recently the HCG Diet…but it just seemed too good to be true, and I like to eat WAY too much to only consume 500 calories a day!

A few years ago, I did do P90X for a summer.  I got up at the crack of dawn every day, jumped around my family room like a crazy person, and ended up exhausted.  I wasn’t eating properly to support all the exercise I was getting.  Along with the full P90X schedule, I was playing golf, ball hockey, ice hockey and soccer.  I just got so wiped out, I couldn’t keep it going.  And, through all of this, I didn’t drop a pound!  I did lose a few inches and I felt like I was getting stronger, but without the proper diet and nutrition to support it, I couldn’t maintain it.

Now, I run, try to eat clean, healthy meals, and it works just fine for me.  No gimmicks, just sensible food and exercise.  Eating clean is easy and tastes great.  My kids even love the clean recipes I make.  Two examples of this:

1.  On the weekend I made Ingredients of a Fit Chick Pumpkin Pie Blondies.  These are AMAZING!!!  I made a double batch and was able to share some with my sister (who shared some delicious pumpkin muffins that she made last week!). 

blondies

2.  Tonight I made Eat Clean Mexican Lasagna for dinner.  This recipe is from the Comfort Foods Edition of Clean Eating Magazine.  It was quick and easy, was absolutely delicious, and made the house smell amazing. 

mexican lasagna And the best part, as always with Clean Eating recipes…lots of leftovers! 

mex lasagna leftoversI even gave one to my sister to enjoy.  She came over to pick up some pumpkin pie blondies that I was sharing with her from my double batch.  When she walked in the door, she was immediately asking what smelled so good.  She was pretty excited when I gave her one of the meals to take home for dinner tomorrow. 

Have you fallen for any “gimmicks”?

Do you eat clean?  What’s your favourite recipe?

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September Writing Challenge #23: Sleep

Happy Sunday, everyone.  It’s day 23 of Fitness Cheerleader’s writing challenge.  Today’s topic:  how many hours do you sleep at night?

My short answer to this:  not nearly enough! 

On an average night, I get maybe 6 hours of sleep.  I know I should get more, and I really want to, but it just never seems to happen.

By the time I get home from work, get the kid’s organized with any homework, make dinner, clean up after dinner, finish up kid’s homework, get the kids showered and into bed, do any laundry and try to get a bit of time to relax, watch TV and write my blog, it is usually quite late.  It also seems that when I do finally get to bed, my brain is not quite ready to turn off yet, so I usually read a bit in bed.

When I read a book, I usually last a few pages and then I’m ready to go to sleep.  The same is not true when I start reading blogs.  I can get so into reading the various blogs that I subscribe to and others that I stumble upon, that before I know it, it is well after midnight and I’m back down to 6 hours of sleep max.

If you’ve been following along with my blog before, you will know that I often mention that I need more sleep.  I know I’m not alone in this quest for sleep.  Here is a great infographic from mhealthtalk.com that I have referred to before.  It’s a bit small here, so go to the link to see it full size…it’s kind of scary how little sleep we are getting, compared to how much we really need, and how greatly it can impact our well-being.

you-need-sleep

What about you?  Are you getting enough sleep?

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September Writing Challenge #22: Fitness Survival Kit

Welcome to the first day of Fall, and Day 22 of Fitness Cheerleader’s writing challenge.  Today’s topic is what would you put in your fitness survival kit.

Since all of my fitness lately has revolved around running, my survival kit would be filled with my go to running essentials.

My Running Shoes.  I am still waiting to wear my new shoes on a run.  Hopefully tomorrow is the day!

my fast shoes

My Garmin.  I never go for a run without it.  I’m kind of obsessed with my pace, distance, calories burned…all the good details. 

garmin survival

My run nutrition.  Anything more than a 45 minute run and I will be taking my run nutrition along with me. 

run nutrition

My tunes.  If I am running alone, I need my iPod.  While I’m getting better at running alone, I need some help to keep moving, and that’s where my run tunes come in. 

ipod

My fuel belt.  Any run over 45 minutes or so, I need water.  So, my fuel belt is a staple for most of my runs.  It carries my water bottles, but I’ve also got a little pouch on it that holds my nutrition and iPod.  I don’t really like wearing it, but I am too nervous to run without water, so I just suck it up and wear it. 

fuel belt

I will get to put all of my fitness survival kit essentials into good use tomorrow (except the iPod) as my sister and I head out for this week’s 18k long run.

What’s in your fitness survival kit?

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The Friday Five

Hello Friday!  I seriously LOVE you!  Here is this week’s Friday Five!friday-five2

1.  I have not run at all this week Sad smile  I was supposed to run the last hill training session of this training program on Wednesday night, but I had a function to go to at my son’s school and wasn’t able to run.  Then last night I had hockey, so didn’t get out then either.  My next run will be Sunday for a long run of 18k.  My sister and I have our awesome 18k route and will be heading out Sunday morning to kick some long run ass!  I can’t wait.  I am a bit surprised by how much I missed my runs this week…normally I don’t care if I miss a run.  I guess I am turning into a runner!  You are a runner

2.  I picked up some new shoes today.  My son has been dying for a pair of Nike Free Run shoes…you know…the ones with no tongue.  He knows EXACTLY what he wants, and when he wants something, nothing else will do.  He has had his heart set on a pair of these shoes since he first laid eyes on them a while ago.  We have been looking for a pair for him for a couple of weeks now, but he’s got pretty small feet and the stores don’t seem to carry the shoes that small.  Well, today I went to buy a pair for me, to just wear as a comfortable show to kick around in…and they had some kid’s in a size that I think might just fit him.  So, now we’ve got Mom and Son matching Nike Free Runs.  He is going to flip when he sees these when he gets home from school today!  I hope they fit!  (this picture makes his shoes look bigger than they are!)mom and son nike

3. I played my first game of winter hockey last night!  I didn’t realize how much I missed playing hockey this summer until I got back out on the ice last night.  It was so much fun.  We won, I scored a goal, and I think all the running I’ve been doing lately has helped my skating.  I felt faster and didn’t get winded out there at all.  Good stuff!  Oh, and the parking lot beer after the game was pretty good too! 

i_love_hockey_this_much_card

4.  I’m playing in a fundraiser golf tourney tomorrow.  My son’s school is holding a fundraising golf tournament tomorrow at Angus Glen Golf Club.  I’m golfing with 3 girlfriends and it should be a ton of fun…but the weather is calling for some rain in the afternoon.weather markham tourneyThis forecast is actually an improvement over what it was calling for yesterday.  Fingers crossed it doesn’t rain too much.

5. Check out this super cool dogCultFit posted this video the other day.  It made me smile.  Hopefully it makes you smile too.  Meet Mudd.  He’s awesome!

Mudd, the WonderDog!

Have a good weekend, everyone.

Got any big plans?

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