six months

Today my wee little blog turns six months old!! Conveniently, it’s also World Vegetarian Day. Go blog and veg!

[source]

And that, my friends, is ‘sheepy birthday.’ You know you’re laughing inside right now.

Who knew that when I signed up my blog, that six months would pass like that….like that! I didn’t. But here it is. Can I get some honesty out there??

Let’s hope you said yes, because here it goes! I wish I would have put more time and effort into my blog in the past 6 months, but it’s also good opportunity to realize what I wish I would have done, and fix it.

I wanted to establish more routine and rhythm and haven’t managed to do that…just yet. With that being said, I plan to keep going and stay true to it, and hopefully develop that rhythm! Although 6 months is still somewhat new, I still have more to accomplish and do. But, I’m ok with that – it’s a work in progress 😉

Keeping with the moving forward theme, it’s time for some October goals. I’ve been seriously slacking on the goal front – I’ve actually been slacking on a lot lately (do those chapters really need to be read for chemistry?!). So this is my attempt to get back on track and keep this train a-chuggin’!

  • Have the most amazing second anniversary with my husband.
  • Study at least 2 hours for each midterm (or more if needed).
  • Start meal planning and meal budgeting –> less eating out, more eating in.
  • Have readily available meals (like soups, stews, desserts that can easily be frozen ;))
  • Run 3 times a week, weights 2 times a week.
  • Cutback on Starbucks (every ounce of me is disappointed in making this goal visible, but intervention is needed) – once a week, twice at most!
  • Find a volunteer position

I think that’s a pretty good start. I don’t want to commit to too much (because if one had to get cut above, let’s be honest, it’d be the Starbucks one :P).

What are your goals for the month?!?! Am I missing anything important? Is it bad that I have to ask my invisible audience that?!

*****

In spirit of World Vegetarian Day, I thought I’d leave some links with you that are all veggie related!

I love veggies and animals, so the less animals you can eat, the better!

Have a great weekend and hope your start to October is an amazing one (and yes, I’m in comfy and a blanket because the weather is really proving itself autumn)!

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first half marathon race recap

I never thought I loved running enough to race for it.
I never thought I loved running enough to do it for over an hour, almost two.
I never thought I loved running enough to watch my pace.
I never thought I loved running enough to want to do it every week.

But, then something changed.

I started getting curious about races and how they work.
I started enjoying running for longer periods of time without stopping.
I started racing home after running to see how my paces were and if they had improved.
I started planning running into my weekly routines.

And, then I entered my very first half marathon.


The Oakville Half Marathon to be exact. Here’s my full race recap of it, which took place on Sunday, September 25th, 2011:

My goal time
My plan was to follow the 2:00 pace bunny, which is exactly where I started. With the 2 hour pace bunny, it was a run/walk combo – I wasn’t looking for the walk part, though. So I started off following her, but when she stopped to walk, I kept running.

I thought my pace was fairly good from there on, but about 5 minutes later, I noticed she had caught up to me even with her stopping to walk – this didn’t fly well with me. So I kept up running with her until her next walk break and I then never saw her again. My new pace marker was 1:55 – hello guy in short shorts (seriously?!?!).


How I felt the day of
Ok, so the crappy thing is, I caught this cold about a week before the race. Stuffy and runny nose combo, morning cough and just the feel of being sick. I don’t know about you, but I like to breathe out of my nose for the majority of my run because it reduces the energy I have to use breathing out my mouth (or is this just me making stuff up?), so when I say that I woke up Sunday morning with a running/stuffy nose, you know what I’m getting at.

Do you think I remembered to bring kleenex with me to the actual race? If you said, no, then you’re correct.

I had hoped thought this would have been gone by race day, but it wasn’t, so I just had to deal with it.

Overall, it sucked and I had to run with my mouth opened the whole time (just reiterating that fact that PB for breakfast was not a good decision), but I made it! (The answer is yes – I’m still sniffling three days later).

My pace
I managed to keep behind the 1:55 pace bunny for the majority of the run – sometimes closer to him, sometimes farther…and this probably gives you some indication of my finish time.


My pace was pretty constant, but I don’t know exact numbers since I don’t have a running watch and rely on a program on my phone to do that jazz (read: total bummer, since pace is pretty important to me now). But, I wasn’t about to carry around a blackberry for almost 2 hours, so I just ended up averaging total distance with my finish time to figure out pace.

Fueling up
I stopped at pretty much every drink station (remember: PB mouth!!), which consisted of gatorade and water. I usually only drank water, but double fisted the one time. This really meant one sip of gatorade and then 10 sips of water. I felt so rebellious tossing those cups to the curb – go me!

I think oatmeal was the perfect pre-run fuel (for me) because I didn’t feel hungry the entire run…just thirsty (have to fix that con for next time!)

The course
Thank goodness I didn’t end up doing a lot of hill training because the only hill that existed was a very small that didn’t last long at all. I kind of figured the track would be mainly flat, and flat it was! This was a huge advantage to me!

It was also nice to run in a very rich town. I ran by at least 30 million dollar houses – all huge, gorgeous and home-drool worthy. I had lingering gazes at the house, where other runners probably thought I was looking at them!

Fears?
One of my fears was a shoelace coming undone (which happened on my 7 mile run today), but luckily, this never happened on race day (yessssss, I can tie my shoes properly!). Because you know what stopping means…speeding back up to where you should have been if you hadn’t stopped! What do people do when they have to use the porta-potty during the race – did I seriously just go there??!!

Mu-saaac (aka music)
One thing I did want to do before race day was complete a race playlist in iTunes, but I didn’t get around to it and just randomly shuffled all songs in my library.
Pro: Everything has a chance of getting selected – new or old.
Con: I have about 100 motivation audio files on there which has a high chance of getting selected.

As much as I like my motivational audio shhtuff for long drives, I do not like it for long runs. It’s awkward trying to press the next button, but I somehow manage every. single. run.

Another pro: new music gives you the ‘omphf’ you need to almost repush you. The new Rihanna song came on at 14k (woulda preferred it at 20k iTunes, but we’ll talk about that later!), and put a little hop in my step run.

Nerves-be-gone
Was I nervous to run?


I think so. There’s that moment that you’ve waited so long for something and then you just want it to begin/be over with. The picture above pretty much sums up the ‘get this thing started already!’ idea. Or was I looking for the husband in the totally wrong spot? Let’s play, “guess what’s going on in this photo.”

The weather
Signing up for this back in July, I was a little worried what the weather might be like at the end of September – sometimes it can be super warm, but other times it can surprise and lead into an early winter.

I didn’t really check the weekly forecast leading up to the race because I didn’t want to get disappointed if rain was anywhere remotely around Sunday…so, I checked on Saturday. It said rain in the morning (doh!), but I shrugged it off. And good thing I did because go figure, the weather was wrong. Again.

It was the most beautiful morning ever – I actually overdressed (you’ll see how I reworked my running outfit to get some airflow).

Run, Forrest, run!
I like running in miles, but being in Canada and all, they do the km thing. So the race was technically 13.2 miles, but was marked with km’s (for a total of 21).

The first 5k breezed by, and even til the 10 I was fine. It was the next 11 where I was fine keeping up my pace, but I knew it was going to get harder if I wanted to pick up my pace closer to the finish line.


(stolen from the race website – I didn’t wanna pay for it, so don’t mind the writing through me…more to come)

My goal was to pick up pace for the last 5km, but once those last 5k approached, I changed it to 3, and then to 2, and then to 1, and then it was like…just really run the final stretch. So I did just that.

I think I started fading a bit after 15k, which is when there was a station that was giving out gu’s followed by gatorade and water. I grabbed a gu and had planned to have it after the water. Water was drank and then when I was trying to open the gu package, I dropped it. Like stopping to tie a shoelace, there was no time to stop and pick up the gu. I silently screamed ‘noooooooooo!‘ in my head and kept going.

When I saw the 20k marker I was pretty stoked to know there was only 1km left because by this time I was thirsty, feeling a little sick-ish and getting pretty tired. I actually contemplated walking for a bit, but thought running was more efficient to make it to the finish line 😉

Finally, I knew the line was coming up. There was no time to look around for the husband and the mother…my eyes were on that wee little pad I had to step on in order for the chip on my shoe to record my time. A lovely little pad it was. It signified the end to not only a great race, but a great accomplishment.

Total
Total running distance: 13.2 mi / 21k
Total running time: 1:55:11
Finish standings:

  • placed 13/33 for my age category (25-29)
  • placed 83/321 for gender, and
  • placed 307/715 overall

Overall
It was a great, great experience (enjoyed by the husband as well), and I’m so happy I chose this as my first half to enter in. Just another goal to cross off the list. I definitely want to run another one – preferably the Princess Half Marathon at Disney World in Florida in February, which just so happens to take place during my reading week from school. I think that would be a more manageable goal than the next one on the list – trip to Europe!

Here’s a few pictures to summarize this awesome day! Happy running!


I did it!!!


(can you tell the husband was amused by this guy? good thing I didn’t pick up my pace or I woulda finished close to him and might have missed getting my picture snapped!)


(me and the chicken – what a coincidence :P)


pre-race freak outs

What did you do yesterday?

Me?!



Oh, just ran my very first half marathon. No biggie. Just one of those defining moments in my life, that’s all.

But really, you know defining moments aren’t complete without a few freak outs; the ones you can laugh at after it’s all said and done. Here are a few of mine:

Pre-race freak out #1: I forgot my ipod.

If you’re gearing up to run 13.2 miles (!!!!!! – or 21k if you will), I’m pretty sure you’d want some music to pass the time. Specifically, if you got a new ‘clip on’ ipod (ie: nano) for your birthday to replace the bulky ipod touch that you used to run with. Did I mention you traded this bulky ipod for the new nano specifically for running purposes?! So, when you arrive at your run destination (read: staying at the g-rents because they live in run destination, plus they’re away and live right on the water…sweet deal), and find headphones unattached to ipod, you might freak out…just a little bit. You curse; curse yourself for being in such a rush to leave home, curse the headphones for not reattaching themselves back to the ipod after charging, and curse the ipod itself for being so small and dumb.

You might contemplate driving back home, even if it is an hour away because 13.2 miles without music is a loooong time. Until, wait, could it be?


Thanks for the freak out, little guy.

Pre-race freak out #2: Where do I pick up my race kit?

It’s all nice and lovely that the race started and ended in a park, but to have the race kit pick-up there, as well, when you’re new to the area (read: haven’t set foot in the park since your grandma used to take you there when you were three) isn’t so lovely. Oh, did I forget to add that I was in a time-crunch to head to work after picking up said race kit?!

Yes, I enjoy nature, being on the water, and perfect weather. Yes, I enjoy kids laughing in the park. But, no I don’t enjoy being rushed while witnessing these things, especially when work is in the near future. After walking around the park (witnessing some family bbq’s – nice for them), I finally found the tents tucked away in the back. Picked up my race kit as quick as I could and jetted.

Pre-race freak out #3: Starbucks it OUT of the way to go to before the race.

And yes, I actually lost sleep over this. I think I dreamt in map routes to minimize travel time to the race from Starbucks. But whatever, I got my ‘bucks and drank about 5% of it. Successful fail.

Pre-race freak out #4: My mouth is so dry from the PB I put in my oatmeal.

Damn, peanut butter. My obsession was also my demise yesterday – pretty much a mouth hazard! Such a hazard that I made the husband run back to the car and get my water bottle, which I shouldn’t have left there in the first place (oops!). Which leads me into freak out #5…

Pre-race freak out #5: Where is the husband?!?! The race is about to start!

Did I forget to mention that I started complaining about forgetting my water bottle ten minutes before my race was scheduled to start?! My bad…

The overly generous and speed-walker husband went back to the car and then made it back in time to sprint to the start line with me. Ok, I exaggerate. He made it back in time to walk with me to the starting line and even managed to snap a few pics. My peanut butter mouth thanked him.

Even with the freak outs, we made it there safe and sound and I ran my little heart out. With ipod. With my bib from the race kit. With 5% of an iced coffee in me. And lastly, with a PB mouth still intact.

Thank goodness for drink stations.


*****
Full race review coming at ya tomorrow!

 


first day of fall

Today is officially the first day of fall. Do you want to know how I feel about that? Kind of sad.


I am a lover of summer and everything warm. Fall is just a sad reminder that I did not get a good enough tan this summer, did not get to the beach once, and did not go away nearly as much as I should have. I’ll try to forgive you summer for leaving me as quickly as you came.

But, I may go wallow in my pumpkin oats.

And play in the leaves.


And even go to Starbucks to get a warm drink.


I might even run a half marathon on Sunday just in spite – you know, exercise is the best way to reduce tension, right?

Maybe after that I’ll fully forgive summer for leaving me, but if not, I’ll just repeat everything again. That’s right, everything.

Questions of the day:
Are you a fall lover or hater?
What is your favourite thing about fall?



countdown is on

The very thing that I was scared to sign up and complete in the first place is now quickly approaching. I think you know what that is – my first half marathon.


How I Got Here:
It had always been in the back of my mind to make one of my goal’s related to running, but the idea of making it reality was harder than actually putting it on my goal board. And what running goal did I exactly want to put on my goal board to begin with?!

I had been trying to increase my running time and distance at this time, and had always known that a half marathon intrigued me, but could I do it?! Was I a good enough runner to attempt it? Did I have it in me to do it?

Because I questioned myself, I kept putting it off and putting it off. I would glance at races online being held in and around my area, but a) they scared me, b) were being held at a bad time or c) I was just making excuses. Luckily, I was able to see the ‘excuses’ part and knew that I had to narrow down my goal a bit more (so that I’d actually do it – and stop with the excuses).

So, I came up with the place that I wanted to do my first marathon, and from there the search was greatly narrowed and now, unavoidable – no if’s, and’s or but’s this time!

It didn’t take me long to find not a 5K, not a 10K, but a half marathon in the town I wanted to complete my first half marathon (next to Disney World, which would make for a sweet first marathon spot!). Was it meant to be? I bet many would say ‘no,’ but in my eyes, things work out for the right reasons. It took a little hesitation, but after a few meltdowns talking myself into it, I registered.


Which brings me to exactly one week before this will all be over.

How I’ve Trained:
I’ve said before that I didn’t actually follow a training guide. I had glanced at a few, and got some ideas from them, but I’m such a rebel and just beat to the sound of my own drum (that’s how the expression goes, right?). I don’t encourage everyone to do this, but if you feel like you have some idea of how to train without injuring yourself, then go for it! It’s weird that I decided not to follow a training guide because I’m such a scheduler…figure that one out!

As far as running goes, I worked on gradually increasing my speed (probably the thing I succeeded best at), increasing my overall distance (always a work in progress ;)) and climbing those hills (ugh – that’s really all you need to say!). Here’s a quick summary of how I’ve done the above three things.

Increasing my speed: The only way I’ve found to successfully increase running speed is by incorporating sprints or speed intervals into your workout. This is exactly what race training guides tell you, too. I’m a huge fan of interval training, but more so, with a half marathon on the horizon (I’ve posted some of my interval times here and here). These not only test your endurance, but increase your stamina and overall speedy ability ;). I think that these are so important for any running you do!

Increasing my distance: I’d first like to say that even when you’re increasing your distance and gaining miles, living by the numbers isn’t worth it. Some days you might only be able to do a 3-miler or maybe even 2 – the important thing is don’t beat yourself up; at least you’re out there! And, once you increase your speed, the distance follows closely behind. Because my stamina and endurance were increasing, I was able to increase my distance, as well. Also, while I was increasing distance, I would allow my body to go at the pace it needed to push through (this is exactly what I did on my long run yesterday) – even if this meant running slower than a typical shorter run. Listen to your body!

Climbing hills: Ok, can I be totally honest with you? I’ve avoided running on the one road near me because I knew it would test my hill running ability – until yesterday. And you know the funny thing? The hills weren’t even that bad! Who knows if it’s because of my gradual running progression, but all that worry for nothing! Just from one run, hills no longer scare me – and I did about 6 good ones yesterday! Just take your time, run slower if you need to going up and then my rule of thumb is ‘give ‘er’ on the way down the hill! Once you’re on a flat plain, you can recovery and catch your breath. The quick run down is so worth all the work you put into it getting up!

How I’m Going To Run:
I think next Sunday will be such a major life accomplishment for me and I honestly am just going to go out there, have fun and run. I have minor goals for myself the day of, but I’d rather leaves those untouched until after the run. My only worry is the weather. It’s started getting cooler here now, and I’m just hoping I won’t be freezing my butt off since the race starts at 7:40am.

Other than that, show me the finish line!!



getting into it

Well, this is my first full week as a student. Although, I can hardly say ‘full’ because my class schedule consists of me going on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I purposely planned it that way so I wouldn’t have to commute everyday, because let’s be honest – that just sucks.

While getting into the swing of school, I’m also cramming in some extra hours at work, while I still can (read: before I’m boggled down with a ton of school work and my social + work life no longer exist).

So, being a new student again, how the heck do you get into a routine?! I’m trying to remember what worked for me before and how I can be that person again. I pretty much am setting the bar as low as I can so that I don’t get overwhelmed with myself and my progress.

The last time I was in school (Summer ’09), I took on a full summer course load, worked and was planning my wedding (see the low bar?), so this should be easy, right? I’m at least eliminating the wedding part, unless…

In other news, I successfully went to the Farmer’s Market this past Saturday. Since they’re winding down, I needed to go at least one more time (plus, I work this coming Saturday, so I knew that one was out of the picture). Due to poor planning and lack of cash flow on me, I only collected a few goods:


But, these chili peppers were free!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I guess the growers had way too many, so they were giving them away like candy. Lucky for me, spicy food is candy. And when do you refuse free delicious, fresh, local produce? Exactly, you don’t.

Thanks to mom’s and their spare change, I swung back about an hour later and picked up two more items:


Green cauliflower! I haven’t used it yet, but am interested to see how the taste varies from it’s friend. And roma tomatoes – the reason for my return to the market. I had saw them when I went the hour earlier, but was $1 short. Luckily they were still there when I went back, and if they weren’t, you bet an unhappy camper I would have been!

Going to the Farmer’s Market not only makes my Saturday’s off work delightful, but gives me the freedom to bum-it-up (or go au natural, as some might say).


I’m sure other girls out there can agree/vouch for me on this one, that it is amazing. And now, I guess I can add two more days of it to the mix since I’m only a school-goer 3 times a weeks. Sweet.

Annnnd, I’m pretty sure I’ve reached my ‘blogging’ time limit – I am needed elsewhere, like in my chemistry textbook *barf*

Question of the day:
How you plan for the important things in your life?

 


my school must haves + goals

I’m a pretty picky precise person – just ask the husband. So when I say my school must-haves, I mean my school must-haves. Here are the things I was all over for this year:

  • A new bag. I’m over the whole backpack thing and needed a more ‘grown-up’ bag (sorry little sis who was desperately trying to make me stick with a backpack!). A grown-up bag to me is a crossbody bag. When the husband asked me what kind of bag I wanted the convo went a little something like this:

Husband: What kind of bag do you want for school?

Me: Well, I kind of want something like a brown leather crossbody bag.

The husband laughs.

Me: What?

Husband: You said you ‘kind of’ wanted something and then just described the exact bag you wanted.

Oh brother 😛 I’m so indecisive that I can’t separate it from when I’m actually being decisive – how does he put up with me?!

I don’t know where I got the idea that I wanted that style of bag (read: I’m genius), so I googled it for images, and this was the first one that came up:


Naturally, I love Reese and since she was proof that the bag in my head was a rad idea (naturally), the hunt was on.

Here’s the one I ended up finding the day I started school. Talk about cutting it short!


It must have been meant to be or how else would I have conveniently found it in the last store I was stopping at before heading to school?! And, it passes the ‘laptop’ test (otherwise known as: laptop fits in it).


Next on the list…

  • Colourful folders. I don’t know why I’m such a sucker for these things, but I absolutely love them. Not even for just school, I used them for everything (it’s actually where our marriage certificate sat for a while – placed in the pink folder!)

  • Highlighters. So if you haven’t gathered by now that I’m a colour queen, then I’ll just send you my highlighted study notes and that should do the trick 😉

  • Sharpie pens. I think I tried these because my mom had them one time and instantly fell in love. I’m kinda pen-picky (new saying?), so when I find a good one, I tend to stick by it. Also, I prefer black to blue ink – I know by now you probably are thinking I’m the weirdest person you know…whythankyou.

  • A daytimer. Again, enter the weirdness – back when I was completing my first degree, I bought a daytimer from the university bookstore and it had a full page month map for each month.


This came in so handy for me (since I’m a visual person) to write down all my assignments/midterms/papers due each month and be able to see what was due when and how I would budget my time each month. I loved this monthly calendar page so much that I really didn’t settle for daytimer’s that didn’t have it, after that. So, of course, finding a daytimer I liked for this school year was tough, but alas, I found one:


Is still isn’t completely my style (ya, you wouldn’t chose that as the cover either), but it will do. I’m sure in time I’ll get over the flowers on every. single. page.


Why couldn’t they have at least made them stars?!

There you have it…that pretty much sums up my school must-haves!

This post wouldn’t be complete without listing some goals – these probably should be more picky than my school must-haves, but for some reason I have it all backwards!

Goals for school:

  • Never purchase any meals on campus. Always bring my own, unless I’m making a stop at Starbucks – that’s the only exception (isn’t it always!). This university has already taken enough money from me! Plus, where on campus would you be able to find a kick ass salad like this…

  • Try as hard as I must to guarantee 85% or higher for my GPA.
  • Use my time between classes to get work done.
  • Find at least two volunteer positions this year to build my resume.
  • Try to be sensible with the material I print (can I be honest with you? I’m a printing ski-zank…I tend to print anything and everything I think I might need – makes for an expensive ink cartridge bill!)

Questions of the day:

Are you picky about certain things like I am?

What was/is your fav subject in college or university?