Sunday, January 26, 2014

Race Goals

My main goal is to be healthy and fit but it's always fun to do a race, so I am planning to do some kind of running race before the end of June.  My pie-in-the-sky goal was to do the Run for Water Marathon on May 25, but that was very dependent on my having perfect health all year and never missing a long run.  My secondary goal is to run a half marathon - it could be the at the same venue, or it could be local if there's anything on the schedule, or it could even just be a fun, self-supported race, I'm pretty flexible.


So the plan is, I am trying to run 3 times a week and do a weight routine 3 times a week.  Once the weather warms up, I'll get back on my bike as well, but I'm not planning to ride the trainer this winter. I want to have fun. :)

Over the past year, I've had quite a few flareups with my low back and once again, it reared its ugly head last week and stopped me from working out for a week.  When it didn't settle down after 2-3 days of rest, I made an appt with my chiropractor and she fixed me up.  After the 2nd appt, I was able to run again and so today, I managed to get out for an 8 km "long" run.  I missed my 10k last weekend, and this weekend was supposed to be 12 km so clearly my marathon plan is already in the toilet. Ah well, as much as I want to do it, I didn't have my heart set on it, so I'm ok with that. I'll just keep on training and make a half marathon my focus for now.


I've managed to keep to my healthy eating plan quite well and I'm down 3-4 lbs over the past 3 weeks. Yay me.  There's nothing like success to keep you one track.  This is usually the time when resolutions become more difficult to maintain so I am ready for that and making sure I still get the week's veggies cuts, my soup and paleo muffins made, and the week's dinners roughly planned. I've checked my calendar and looked to see where my workouts might be compromised so I can be proactive and plan ahead.  I think I'm set for another week.  It would be nice to be down a total of 5 lbs by the end of 4 weeks, wouldn't it?


If you have begun to start wavering on the goals you set a few weeks ago, STOP right now. It's never too late to get back on track. Re-adjust, re-evaluate, be proactive and figure out your stumbling blocks, and get back on track. Now!

Sunday, January 19, 2014


A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned my focus has changed over the past year and I'm not as "in" to racing as I once was. However, that does not mean I no longer have goals. Here are a few things I'm focusing on right now.

Walking in the Cotswolds
* get fit, stay fit (eat well, exercise regularly)

* run a race before June

* travel in England/Scotland for 3 weeks this July 2014, including a 7(ish) day backpacking walk

* take one term off work (Sept-Dec 2015) to see what it's like to be retired

* walk the Camino de Santiago in Spain In Sept/Oct 2015 (500 miles/800km, 30-35 days)

Over the next few weeks, I will write about each of these goals as Erik and I begin to flesh out our plan. However, it is clear that most of my goals depend on the first goal and so I still must begin with 'base training' of sorts. I'm two weeks in and things are going well.  I have been able to stick to my healthy eating plan, I've lost a couple of pounds, and I've done quite well with regular exercise.

My only problem is that this week, my SI joint in my low back decided to give me some grief and I wasn't able to run or lift weights from Wednesday-Sunday. I went to my chiro on Saturday and one hip was at least an inch higher than the other. She 'fixed' it but not surprisingly, it slipped back out a little today.  I have another appointment on Thursday and I hope that will stabilize it so I can get back to working out.  Until then, I'm going to walk and do yoga.

And so, on I go. When life throws little problems, you just re-adjust and keep moving forward.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Planning is Crucial

I've hit on a fairly simple eating plan that is working well for me right now.  It's leans towards Paleo in that I'm trying very hard not to eat sugar or grains most of the time because I know that works when I want to lose weight, but I do eat dairy - mainly greek yogurt, coffee cream, and a little cheese. Knowing what to eat and getting the exercise in is one thing - but trying to stick with it is another when you get busy with work and family.  I've found that if I identify the potential problems I may have along the way, I can be proactive and plan ahead, increasing my chances of success

Things I find hard

Coffee without sugar - this is probably the toughest part for me - I love my coffee with cream and sugar. However Erik started making me a cappuccino every morning, instead of brewed coffee, and that has really helped.  I have a 2 shot cappuccino with 1-1/2 oz of cream, no sugar.  The espresso and foamed cream make the coffee much more palatable.

Next I had to find a way to deal with no second cup of coffee to sip on at work so I've managed to switch to plain tea.  I find it much easier to drink tea without cream and sugar so that's been working for me.

Diet Pop - Normally, I drink 5-6 cans of diet tonic water a week (I know that's weird but I like tonic water) but I really didn't want to be drinking diet pop any more so I have switched to plain soda water, on the rocks, often with a squeeze of lime. Once in awhile, I will have 1/4 orange juice and 3/4 soda water.  This seems to quench my craving for something fizzy.

Dessert aka something sweet after dinner - evening is the hardest time for me to not snack or eat sweets.  I allow myself 4 little squares of 72% dark chocolate most days. It's 100 calories with 9 grams of carbs and under 5 grams of sugar. This is probably the only sugar I eat each day so I figure that's ok.

My other other comfort food is some amazing paleo banana muffins that I adapted from a recipe that Jake and Lybbe posted on Facebook.  They have no flour and no sugar but taste just like regular banana nut bread. One muffin is a whopping 190 calories though so one a day is plenty. Still, it's a real treat to eat one after lunch. 

Making poor food choices when I'm tried or hungry - once a week, I wash and cut all the fruit and veggies I will need for the week and I make a pot of soup for my lunches. The more food prep I do ahead of time, the less likely I am to make a bad decision.  I also find it helpful to plan dinner meals ahead and make sure I have all the ingredients I will need.

Here's my regular menu for a typical work day.

Breakfast - double espresso with cream. That's it. I don't like eating breakfast. I've tried for years and don't like it. I drink regular plain tea during the morning until my lunch break which is at 11am.

Lunch - a large container of raw veggies (carrots, red peppers, snap peas, cherry tomatoes, celery), 1-1/2 cups of homemade pumpkin soup (tasty but only 100 cals), and a paleo banana muffin (both recipes will be posted on my food blog later this week.)

After school - 3/4 cup plain greek yogurt and 1 cup thawed berries

Dinner - Some kind of meat (beef, chicken, pork), a large salad, 1-2 veggie. I tend to eat whatever the family eats but I avoid heavy sauces, and I skip the potatoes/rice/pasta. I use a simple homemade oil and vinegar dressing.

Evening Snack - 100 calories of dark chocolate most days (4 squares) and if I'm hungry sometimes I'll have an apple, a muffin, 1/4 cup mixed nuts, a slice of cheese, or plain popcorn.

On Friday nights, I have steak, salad, veggies, 2 glasses of wine, and sometimes a few slices of baguette with oil/vinegar.  I don't worry too much about the calorie count, as this is my cheat meal for the week. 

I keep track of my food on and I find that really helps.

So - if you are trying to get your eating back on track, figure out what YOUR stumbling blocks might be and plan for them!  It can make a big difference.

Sunday, January 12, 2014


Somehow this year I feel like I'm back at the starting gate. I wouldn't go so far to say last year was a complete waste, but it definitely wasn't a banner year for me in terms of training. And as the year went on, it seemed to be a downward spiral of illness coupled with lack of training.

I have always prided myself in rarely getting sick, despite my constant contact with runny noses at school, and most years, I get one or two mild colds that only last a few days. In part, I chalked that up to a strong immune system due to being fit and healthy. But in 2013, I seemed to get one cold after another, each one bad enough to interfere with my running.  When my training suffered, I became less fit, and subsequently my immune system weakened, making me more likely to catch the next bug that comes along. So what came first? The lack of fitness or the illness?  I don't know, but it's a vicious cycle, one that I need to break. Now.

I am trying hard to get back on track this year.  I'm trying to build up slowly because I've learned over the years that bumping up my miles too quickly only causes trouble and injury.  So I will start slowly and try hard not to get injured.

I also have a plan for illness. I catch another cold before I can get fit and rebuild my immune system, my plan is to continue to exercise in a gentle way, rather than stop completely. I will walk instead of run and I will do yoga instead of lift weights at the gym. That makes sense to me.

This past week, January 6, was my New Year.  I started back to work on Monday and all week I ate healthy (essentially no sugar or grains, and maximum 1400-1500 calories per day), and I did some form of exercise almost every day. Now, before you suggest I need to eat more calories, or that I should/should not be eating grain products or meat or ?? , please remember that as Chris Russell says, we are all an experiment of one. I have tried all of the diets and this is what I know what works for me.

My running is slowly coming along. I'm doing a run/walk right now - usually 4 min run, 1 min walk - and it is allowing me to get back to three runs a week fairly quickly. However, as usual, the tendon over my right ankle is always the first niggle to flare up so I have been careful to ease back whenever it starts to hurt.  Despite lots of physio work and advice, it continues to be an issue and I've just learn to live with it and manage it. I've run 3 times a week for 2 weeks now, but on Friday, I went out for a short easy run and after 2km it was hurting enough that I decided to cut my losses and stop the run so that it would be rested enough for a more important run this weekend.  I am on my way out right now and am hoping that it doesn't bother me during what I hope is my "long" run of 8km.  We shall see.

So that's where I am right now.  Back on track with healthy eating (and with 15 lbs to lose, I am very motivated) and back on track with regular gentle exercise. It'll happen.

Training in last 2 1/2 weeks

Dec. 27 - weights, 3km walk in 30 min on treadmill
Dec. 28 - 5.5 km walk 1 hour (outside)
Dec. 29 - 5.2 km run in 36 min (long run)

Dec. 30 - weights
Dec. 31 - 1 hour snowshoeing, 4km
Jan. 1 - core work
Jan. 2 - 5 km run in 36 min
Jan. 3 - weights
Jan. 4 - off
Jan. 5 - 6.4 km run in 45 min (long run)

Jan. 6 - weights
Jan. 7 - off
Jan. 8 - 5 km run in 39 min
Jan. 9 - weights
Jan. 10 - 16 min run (sore ankle)
Jan. 11 - off
Jan. 12 - 8.4 km run in 1:03 (long run)

Saturday, January 4, 2014


I know that six months ago, I said I was going to revitalize my blog but that didn't happen. My life has been in flux for the past year marked by indecision and inconsistency in my training, but also marked by enthusiasm associated with new interests and new ideas.  As I begin 2014, and my seventh year of blogging, I realize that I am going through another transition in my life and I want this blog to reflect the varied aspects of my life.

I decided to start fresh with a new banner - a picture of me writing in my travel diary by the window of our chambre d'hote in L'Isle sur la Sorgue, southern France this past summer - a new title, a simplified, cleaner look, and a new direction.  Of course, I'll always use my blog as a training journal, but from time to time, I also want to include other interests such as travel, retirement, genealogy, education, gardening, simple living, and more.

So if these topics interest you, please continue to read and post your comments, ideas, and feedback as I switch gears and prepare for the next phase of my life.

Kelownagurl is Off and Running in all Directions.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

January 2, 2014

A new year, a new direction.  Stay tuned for a new blog post!

Snowshoeing on New Year's Eve