My Pursuit of Happiness and Skinny Jeans

My journey to a smaller jean size

Long Run Monday

Today was long run day for me.  After yesterday’s long run being postponed due to rain, I was up at 8am today to get that long run crossed off my schedule.  After a breakfast of a Chocolate Outrage GU shot, I grabbed my water belt and my iPod freshly loaded with a my new running tunes and I was out the door.

I don’t know if it was the tunes, the perfect weather (warm, but not too hot), or the fact that I was ready for a good run, but this was the best 10km I have run in a long time.  I stuck to 10 & 1s the whole way, and finished in 1 hour and 11 minutes.  Not a land-speed record, for sure, but pretty good for me!

Tomorrow is supposed to be 4k steady, but since today was supposed to be a rest day, I might take tomorrow as a rest day to give me a little break after today’s long run and then just shift everything a day and run Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, rest Saturday and then get back on track with another long run next Sunday.  I’ll see how the week goes.  We’ve got a bunch of people showing up for the week up here at the cottage, so it might be a little crazy. Thankfully, a couple of the girls coming up are also runners, who are training, so hopefully we can out for a few runs together this week.

After my long run, I was home to shower up and then head to the running races that are part of the Civic Regatta in the village.  There are running races for girls and boys of all ages, and some novelty races as well (3 legged race, slow bicycle, potato race, etc) and we like to go and watch the kids run.  I took a pass on the 40-49 women’s race, since I figured running 10k was enough exercise for one day!

I had a lazy afternoon down on the dock, just relaxing, reading the latest Cottage Life magazine and soaking up some sun.  I really wanted a nap, but we don’t have any reclining lawn chairs here and the hammock is in the shade and I definitely wanted to sit in the sun.  The kids had a ball cruising the shore in the punt and going for kayak rides.  This is not the best picture, but here’s Jack giving Nick a lift on the back of the kayak.  They were headed to our cousins a few cottages over to pick up our tube that was left down at the other cottage earlier in the week.

We had a nice family dinner tonight to help celebrate Rory’s and my wedding anniversary.  Eighteen years!  In some ways it seems like so long ago, and in others it seems like just yesterday.  Any way you look at it, it’s been 18 great years and I’m looking forward to the next 18!  Love you, baby.

Tomorrow our friends start rolling in for our open house week at the cottage.  We need to get up early and get the kids off to sailing club, and then head into town and hit the grocery store.  I need to get supplies for a week’s worth of clean eating.  So, I better sign off here and hit my Clean Eating Magazines and build a yummy, healthy menu for the week.  I was hoping to do that yesterday, but it just didn’t happen.  Oh well, you’ve got to play it by ear at the cottage…there are no hard and fast schedules so sometimes things just don’t happen the way you think they will!

Here’s looking forward to a great week of holidays and lots of laughs with all of our friends.  I can’t wait!



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Rainy Sunday

Today I was planning on getting up early and going for my 10k long run.  I set my alarm for 6am, so I would have time for a quick bite, then hit the road and get my run in before it got too hot.

Well, when I was woken up at 5:30 by a huge thunderstorm with some pretty impressive lightning and heavy, heavy rain, I turned off my alarm and just rolled over and went back to sleep.  A few hours later, it had stopped raining, but there were still severe thunderstorm warnings for most of the day.  Bummer.  I checked the weather and it looks like tomorrow is supposed to be a much better day, so I will skip today and do my long run tomorrow instead, since I hate running in the rain – especially by myself.

To help with my running motivation and help keep me moving out there, I have been searching the internet for some running tunes.  I found a couple of sets that claim to be “the best running songs”.  I’ve downloaded them and put them into a running playlist on my iPod.  I will try them out tomorrow and see if it helps keep me going.  I will let you know.

It’s been raining off and on all day, so we’ve spent most of the day watching the Olympics.  I love watching the diving.  The Sprint in Track Cycling confuses me…it’s a cat and mouse game for two laps and then they just haul ass and go as fast as they can for one lap.  I guess it’s all about strategy.  All Canadians are quite proud of Rosie MacLennan and her Gold Medal performance on the Trampoline.  It was awesome to watch.

Tonight is the dinner and awards ceremony for SLSC Civic Regatta that the kids participated in yesterday.  Hopefully the rain stops long enough for the BBQ dinner as it is held on the lawn of a couple cottages and I’m not sure where they would put that many people if it rains.

My eating has not been very clean so far this weekend.  It hasn’t been horrible, but it could be better.  When I’m in charge of the meals next week, we will be eating much cleaner.  I am going to put together our menu for the week tonight when I dig into my clean eating magazines and find yummy mains, sides and snacks.  Hopefully the small Sobey’s in town will have all the ingredients I need for whatever I decide to cook.  Most things will be BBQ’d and lots of fresh veggies and salad ingredients.  I also saw a recipe for a really good looking Summer Pasta Salad that I want to make this week.  You can find the recipe here on InHerChuck’s blog.  Doesn’t it look good?

In Her Chuck’s Summer Pasta Salad

Hope your weekend is going well.  We’ve got one more day tomorrow since it’s a stat holiday here in Canada tomorrow.  Then our family heads home and our friends start rolling in for our holiday week. I can’t wait…it’s gonna be a great week!



One More Sleep

I’ve got one sleep and about 4 hours of work to get through before my vacation begins!  I can’t wait.

Today was a good day at work.  I think I’ve got everything under control and I can go on vacation and not stress (too much) about things back at the office.

After work, I had to run my tempo run.  I had set my alarm to get up and run before work, but my tummy felt a bit off and I didn’t think it would be wise to be out running in that state.  Right after work, I changed into my run gear, grabbed my Garmin and set up the virtual partner.  The schedule called for 4k.  I modified that down to 3k, since Jack Rabbit Kathy tells me I should not be stopping on my weekday steady or tempo runs.  So, since I can’t yet run 4k at my slow pace without stopping, I was pretty sure that trying to run 4k at Tempo pace would just be setting myself up for failure.  That didn’t sound like a good way to start my tempo run experience off, so I made the decision to drop it down to only 3k.  It would still be a challenge since I’m pretty sure I haven’t run 3k without stopping in quite a while other!

I set my Garmin for 3k at a pace of 6:40/km, since that’s the pace that Kathy says I should be running my tempos at.  It was pretty hot outside (27 degrees Celcius, feeling like 32)  so I wasn’t too crazy about that, but I had to run it, that’s all there was to it!   I made a decision to leave my iPod at home so I wouldn’t have to worry about skipping through songs that are not good to run to.   This just hammers home the fact that I need to get my iPod updated with some better running songs on it.  (More on that later.)

Overall, I think I had a pretty good first tempo run.  I managed to run the entire run without stopping (YAY ME!!!), and I came pretty close to my goal of 6:40/km.  My actual pace was 6:48/km, so only 8 seconds per km off target.  I think that’s pretty good.  I probably started off a bit too fast.  For the first km or so, I was ahead of my goal…and then came the hill part of my run.  It took a bit out of me and the heat started to get to me too, and I ended up slowing down a bit.  Still, overall I’m pretty pleased with the run.  Next week I will try for a 4k tempo run and see how that goes….but that’s a whole week away.  Lots of other runs to finish between now and then!

Tomorrow and Saturday are both rest days on my new schedule – how awesome is that!!!  

My next run will be Sunday’s long run, which I will do at the cottage.  I have to decide if I will try the scheduled 10k, or just do 8, since it will only be my second long run.  Maybe I should split the difference and run 9km.  I need to get my tunes lined up before then, since I don’t think I can listen to myself breath like I’m dying for and hour or so.  Listening to it for 3k today was bad enough!

My quest for good running tunes will definitely include a stop on a fellow blogger’s site.  Janice, over at The Fitness Cheerleader, is having an August Blogging Challenge.  I’m not personally participating in it, since I wasn’t sure I would have time this month, with vacation and the insanity of work, but my sister is doing it.  The topic of the first challenge was Top 5 Workout Tunes.  I am going to go over and check out what everyone said are their favourite tuns to workout/run to and try to find them and update my playlist.  Don’t get me wrong, I like all the songs I’ve got on my iPod, it’s just that many of them are not great tunes to run to.  Most of them are classic rock songs and I think I may need some more recent, upbeat stuff to help keep me going while I am out there hauling my ass all over town!

So, with my Tempo run done, this blog  post almost finished, and Big Brother waiting for me on the PVR, I think it’s time for me to sign off, go make some popcorn, park my butt on the couch, and watch some tube!

Do you have any great tunes that keep you going while you run?  Let me know what they are and I will add them to my new, upbeat playlist!


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I Can Smell the Weekend!

It’s Thursday night and the weekend is just around the corner.  One more day of work and then 2 days off…and I love days off!

Today was a busy day at work, and it flew by.  Once I got home, I got changed right away and headed down to the treadmill to get my 3 runs out-of-the-way before I parked my butt on the couch for the night.  Did you know that the Ramone’s “Hey Ho, Let’s go” has a perfect beat to run 7.5 mph.  I was running, trying to watch last week’s episode of Private Practice, but the CityTV app kept freezing and it was so irritating that I gave up and just listened to tunes.  My iPad was just on random and when the Ramone’s came on, the beat got me going and I kept cranking up the speed until I got to 7.5 and the beat matched my stride perfectly.  It was fun.  I put the song on repeat and listened to it a couple of times to get me to the end of my 3 miles.  This has just made me realize once again that I need to do some serious work on my race day playlist.  I need to get 2.5 hours of rocking, upbeat, keep-me-moving tunes.  I’m quickly running out of time to get that all organized.  I have a relatively quite weekend, so maybe I can devote some time to my race playlist.

After my 3 miles, I did another one of the core workouts that I missed.  3 circuits of 30 seconds back extensions, 30 seconds plank, 30 seconds leg lowers, 30 seconds bird dogs.  In total it was 6 minutes of ab work, but holy cow…what a workout.  I’ve got 2 more core workouts to do by Sunday.  I think I will take tomorrow as a true rest day and do one ab workout Saturday and the last one Sunday.

This weekend I have 2 runs to do.  One 3 mile short run, and my long run of the week, which is 12 miles!  My sister is able to run with me again this weekend, but only if I do my long run on Saturday.  Normally my long run day is Sunday, but she is teaching a Body Attack class at GoodLife Sunday morning, so that won’t work out for us.  So, Saturday is now long run day, and Sunday I will do a short recovery run of 3 miles to hopefully get some of the aches and pains that will no doubt show up after running 12 miles on Saturday.  I’m hoping that I will have a great long run like last time I ran with my sister.  I need a good run.  This is my last long run before the race.  Next week is the taper and I’m only running 6 easy miles.  So, I need a good long run this weekend to get me in the right frame of mind for the race.  I’m going to visualize the race like mad in the next two weeks and hopefully that will help get me through it too.

On a completely different note, I was watching tonight’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy on PVR while I wrote this post.  HOLY CRAP…can you believe that ending?  I was sure that was how they were going to end it for the season.  Thankfully, they showed previews of next week’s season finale, so I’ve got one more show to see how they are going to torture us through the summer, waiting to find out how things turn out next fall.  Man, I love TV!

Okay…it’s late and I should get some sleep.  Hope you all had a good day.  Tomorrow is Friday…wohoo!!



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5 Miles….and I Rocked It! Woo!

Today I got back on track with my clean cooking and my running…finally.  It’s been a tough week for me.  Early days at work, things going on in the evening, and just having trouble sticking to the plan.  Tonight things finally fell into place again.  I was home early enough from work to cook a clean dinner and go for a run before parking my butt on the couch and watching some Grey’s Anatomy.

Tonight’s clean meal was Baked Chicken and Asparagus Casserole.  It was such a simple dish to make.  It only had 5 ingredients and was quick to get ready.  To make this dish, you will need:

  • 1 can Campbell’s condensed 98% fat-free cream of broccoli soup
  • 1 1/4 cups cooked wild rice (I used some left over brown rice I had)
  • 24 asparagus spears
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 oz low-fat Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (I forgot to buy this on grocery day, so just used a cheddar/mozzarella mix)
  • 1 cup water

Preheat the oven to 350.  In a small bowl, whisk soup and water and set aside.  Spread rice in a 9×13 casserole dish.  Arrange asparagus spears lengthwise on top of rice, then top with chicken breasts.  Pour soup mix over everything and sprinkle with cheese.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Even though this was an easy recipe, I still managed to screw it up a bit.  First off, the water was not mentioned in the ingredient list in the cookbook.  I did find it mentioned when I poked around the net looking for a good picture, since I didn’t get a picture of the dish.  So, I just spread the condensed soup all over.  It was still very good, but I think it would be better with a more liquid-y soup.  One other thing…it did not cook in 40 minutes. The chicken was still pretty raw, so I cranked up the heat to 425 and cooked it for another half hour or so.  In the end, it was pretty tasty.  Another hit with the kids…they are looking forward to the leftovers.  The picture below is the pic from the cookbook.  My family ate when it was finally finished cooking, but I was out running, so didn’t get a picture of my dish as it came out of the oven.  I’m pretty sure mine looked just like this though!

Since the chicken didn’t cook in the originally scheduled time, I decided I would head out for my run while it finished cooking and would eat when I got home.  So, I got changed, grabbed Garmin and my iPod and was almost out the door when iPod died.  Ugh…I need to keep better track of the battery life of that thing…this is getting frustrating.  Anyways, I ended up listening to a couple of radio stations through my BlackBerry.  This actually turned out to well. I listened to The Edge and their nightly Top 30.  The tunes were pretty good, were ones that I hadn’t heard too much but recognized, and it kept me going…which is exactly what I want from my music when I run…keep me moving!

I also ran a completely new route tonight, which kept it interesting.  I ran on a new-ish trail through town.  It turns out, it is just about an exact 5 mile loop from my place if I take this trail.  Good to know…I will definitely be doing this route again.  It takes me off the streets and through a marsh and some park areas.  It’s not exactly a flat run, but it’s not too bad.  Overall, it was not a speedy run.  It took me just under an hour.  The first 2 miles, I pretty much ran straight…just one stop for a quick drink.  The middle 1.5 miles were okay.  I walked a few times, but I also tried to run faster when I did run.  I would run almost as fast as I could to some object I would pick out before I kicked it up.  This was actually quite fun.  The first time I decided to do this I kind of just did it by accident.  I was going down a hill and started to pick up speed and when I got to the bottom, I just decided to keep going fast until the turn in the trail.  I gave myself a little rest, and then picked out my next start/stop sprint targets.  My training program doesn’t identify any runs as tempo runs, hill runs, etc..they are all just runs, so I’m not sure if I’m helping or hurting my training by doing this, but it was a fun change in my routine and it seemed to make the run go by faster…and I’m all for that!

Tomorrow is a rest day…my favourite day!  Nothing major planned for the weekend.  I’ve got 2 runs to do – a 4 mile run Saturday and then 9 miles Sunday.  Better get my iPod charged!


Something’s Gotta Give.

Another crazy day comes to an end.  I don’t know what’s going on that every day is a complete zoo, and I’m not sure when things might settle down.  All I know, is that something’s gotta give.  I really don’t think I can keep this pace up for much longer.

So, with this in mind, I am taking today as an unscheduled rest day.  I didn’t have time to run before work, since I had to get my son to school by 7:30am for his soccer try-outs.  Then I had a meeting tonight for my golf league and didn’t get home from that until 8:30pm.  I was originally thinking I would do tomorrow’s 2 miles tonight since I was crunched for time, and then do today’s 5 tomorrow instead when I don’t have anything scheduled after work and can hit the road for an after work relaxing run.  Well tomorrow’s 5 miles still seem like a good idea, but I just didn’t have it in me to do the 2 miles today.  So, I’m giving myself and break and not running today…and I’ve decided not to feel guilty about it.  So far I have done very well sticking to my schedule, completing just about all of my runs. Missing the odd run here and there is actually much better than I thought I would be doing.  Originally I figured if I got 4 of 5 runs in each week that would be good, and I’m way ahead of that, so it’s all good as far as I’m concerned.

I mentioned last week that I’m using visualization to help me get through my runs.  I’m a Cheetah!  I always think of my sister as a Gazelle, with her long, smooth stride.  I’ve got a friend, Kathy, who I call Jack Rabbit since she is so speedy.  She is actually training for the Buffalo Marathon that she will run the same day I run my half.   She is trying to help with my motivation and gives me little pointers every now and then, which is great, since she’s a much better runner than I am.  Today she sent me a cute little running video.  I thought it was awesome, so I’m sharing it here.  Enjoy!

I think it’s a cute little tune that they sing.  Maybe I will try to find it to add to my run tunes on my iPod.

I’m still looking for more good run tunes, so if you’ve got any that help keep you moving, I’d love to hear what they are.



Killer Core

Wow…what a workout!  3 miles in 31:11.  That might be a new record for me.  It was tough, but I just wanted it to be over, so kept inching the speed up to get it over with!  Maybe not the best strategy, but it seemed to work for me!

As part of this week’s program, we are supposed to “change things up” a bit. I still did a treadmill run, but instead of watching a show, I listened to my iPod.  I haven’t listened to it for a while and it made me realize that I need to update my selection of tunes or at least create a run playlist with some good upbeat songs to keep me motivated and my legs moving.  Any suggestions for some good, get me moving/keep me moving run tunes?  

After the run I still had to do this week’s core workout.  The core program of the week consisted of 10x/10x Front-Back Lunges + 30sec/30sec Side Plank + 5x Burpees – repeat the circuit twice.  OH MY GOD!!!  This core workout just about killed me.  I could hardly keep my balance during the front-back lunges…I guess my legs were a bit tired from the run.  My kids were actually laughing at me as they were sneaking a peak out their bedroom doors since they were supposed to be in bed!  I’m not sure if I was more glad to be done the 3 miles or more glad to be done that last burpee.

Well, I better get to bed.  I’ve got to get up and run another 4 miles in a little over 6 hours! Yikes!

Goodnight all!

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