Thursday, January 31, 2013

Playlist Thursday - Don't Stop with the Hip Hop

I have to say, when I saw that Hip Hop was the theme for this weeks Playlist Thursday, I thought it was going to be a stretch for me to find 3 tunes that I'd put on my playlist.  Once I started going through my library I was incredibly surprised at just how much of this genre I actually have already.  And just how much of it is on or has been on my playlist.  I even managed to pull out two "something to consider" because I simply couldn't decide which one I liked more.  Love it when I surprise myself, ha ha.

The "Rules" of Playlist Thursday:

Something Old: Songs that are at least 5 years old.
Something Current: Songs that have been released within the past year.
Something to Consider: This is the wild card category. Feel free to list any song: old, current, guilty pleasure, underground, whatever floats yer boat.

And whatever you do, don't forget to head over to Pavement Runner's blog to check out the other participants posts!

Something Old
Artist: L.L. Cool J
Title:  Phenomenon
NotableWho doesn't love L.L.?  You cannot have a hip hop playlist without this man on it.  This song was on my running playlist for ages.  I think I removed it late in 2011.  I think it might be time for a re-introduction.
Quotable: "All these emotions flowing inside the club, do you really wanna thug or do ya want love?"

Something New
Artist: Classified
Title:  Inner Ninja featuring David Myles
NotableGotta be honest, I'm not up on much new hip hop music, but that's what I love about Playlist Thursday, it gives me the opportunity to check out music I might not normally listen to.  I spent a good chunk of time perusing some new releases on iTunes and as soon as I heard this, I thought oh yeah, I dig it, so, onto my playlist it went.
Quotable: "I read the rules before I broke 'em, I broke the chains before they choked me out"

Something to Consider #1
Artist: K-OS
Title:  Crabbuckit
NotableI flipping loved this song when it came outI had it on my spinning playlist and I'd often hit repeat and do a little bike dancing.   And he's a Canuck.  Go Canada!  
Quotable: "Took a trip on a bus that didn't know, met a girl sellin' drinks at the disco said, "Truth comes back when you let it go" seems complicated cause it's really so simple"

Something to Consider #2
Artist: Jay Z vs. The Beatles (Danger Mouse mash up)
Title:  Encore
Notable:  The Beatles were my favourite band when I was a kid and I still love them to this day.  Never in a million years would I have thought that I'd like a mash up of their music with Jay Z but I gotta say, it works.   
Quotable: "So for one last time I need y'all to roar, now what the hell are you waiting for, after me there shall be no more".

Anything on here that you'd add to your playlist?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Verdict #2 & A Plan of Action

Good News!  My athletic world as I know it is not going to end.   Yesterday, I had two appointments to have my knees looked at.  In the morning I met with a physiotherapist at the same sports medicine clinic I went to on Friday and in the afternoon, because I am all about getting a second opinion, I went to see another sports medicine doctor at another clinic that I go to from time to time.  Both ladies said similar things to me which is a huge relief.

The physiotherapist did a bunch of tests on my knees and quads to determine flexibility and range of motion.  My knees are actually in pretty good shape with the exception of my left one.  It wasn't quite sitting the way it should be.  She then did some manipulation on my quads and discovered a whole bunch of knots.  Especially in my left leg.  Surprise! She then tested my hip strength.  Oh my god.  It was absolutely DISMAL.  I had suspected that was the case.  My right side was worse than my left.  Weird since I'm right side dominant but whatever.   She opted to tape up my left knee so it would get used to being in its proper place.  I've been told to leave the tape on for 3-4 days.  It's definitely taken some getting used to, especially at first because it didn't bend.  It's given me quite the gangsta style strut that's for sure.  I am scheduled to go back and see her tomorrow for some A.R.T work on my quads which I suspect will be hideously painful.  She'll also give me some hip strengthening exercises to do.   I've got my trusty thera band with me today so I can do some glute work in my office.  Thank goodness I'm not terribly busy right now. 
All taped up and ready to go.
 Sports doc number 2 basically said the same thing.  She said my knees looked good but that my quads seemed to be very dominant and that my hips were quite weak.  She did a couple of tests on me and said that I don't seem to be able to engage my gluteus medius very well, if at all.  She agreed that some A.R.T work and some hip strengthening exercises would be the way to go.  Funny, I've been having issues with all my glute muscles not really wanting to work properly.   Guess I need to work at turning my butt into a useful part of this machine vs. mere decoration, ha ha.

 The good news is, I should be able to run.  THANK. FREAKING. GOODNESS because I just got yet another pair of Mizunos that need to be worn.  Ha. ha.  I'm going to name these ones Yellow Birds.  Some people name their cars or their bikes, I happen to name my shoes.  Is that so wrong? 

The Yellow Birds - cause I'm going to fly in these babies!

Am I the only crazy person out there that names their shoes?

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Sunday Ritual: Umami Burgers & Beach Time

Since I am reluctantly taking some self imposed time off until my knee issues get sorted out, I had a fair bit of spare time this weekend.  It's amazing how that happens when you take roughly 3.5 to 4 hours of exercise plus the stretching, showering and post workout food prep out of your weekend.  Not to mention the post run lounging / napping I like to do.  So, since I had the time, I made myself a rather ambitious to do list, most of it revolving around meal prep for the week.  I have to admit, once marathon training starts, I tend to wing it, relying mostly on leftovers or my favourite easy go to salad:  broccoli slaw with peppers, green onions, cucumbers, cilantro, peanuts, canned tuna all topped with either a sesame dressing or a peanut sauce dressing.  Incredibly easy with minimal prep.  And, it's pretty "clean" other than the dressing.  If I was uber organized, I'd make my own dressing but right now, that's a wee bit ambitious.  Although if I'm off for much longer, I will probably go down that road.  I do have a cupboard full of empty mason jars that are just begging to be used.

I usually make a big batch of turkey burgers along with some salmon cakes and then G will grill up a bunch of chicken breasts.  I also try to cook up a bunch of veggies as well.  I've almost run out of the turkey burgers and I didn't bother buying any canned salmon this week so there won't be any salmon cakes.  Since I bought a couple of packages of extra lean ground beef, I spent Sunday afternoon making some Umami burgers.  Oh yes.  I've been messing around with this recipe for a while and I think I've finally nailed it but I'll let you know once I actually have one of the burgers.  If it knocks my socks off, I'll post the recipe.  

What is umami you ask? 

Umami is defined as a savoury taste.  It is one of the 5 basic tastes along with sweet, sour, bitter & salty.  It is a Japanese word that means "pleasant savoury taste".  There is actually quite a science behind this taste as well and you can read all about it here.

Because I had all this extra energy and spare time, I spent Saturday afternoon roasting a huge pile of veggies & cooking some quinoa.  I roasted some zucchini, peppers, sweet onion & cremini mushrooms that I plan on adding to quinoa for a quick post workout dinner.  Top it with some feta cheese and a splash of balsamic vinegar and you're good to go.  I also roasted a sweet potato for some post work out carbs.  Then I got into the white veggies:  parsnips and cauliflower.  I cut the parsnips up like fries, tossed them with a bit of olive oil and salt and popped them in the oven for about 20-25 minutes at 375 degrees.  Amazing.  The cauliflower was cut up, tossed with olive oil, garlic and lemon juice.  Also amazing and so. freaking. easy.  Now I have a ton of veggies that I can either toss on a salad, or use as a side dish in my lunch.  Love it.

Veggies:  roasted and ready to go!
Umami burgers...ooh yeah baby.

I'm setting myself a little challenge for the next couple of weeks and it's being fueled completely by vanity.  In two weeks, G and I will be sitting on a beach in Mexico, soaking up the sun.  That means it's bikini time.  For someone who's in her early 40's, I think I look alright.  I'm pretty lean but my goal is to fine tune my abs.  Anyone that knows me that's reading this is probably ready to smack me up the side of the head.  I know, I very vain.  But I don't care.  I've never had really well defined abs so my goal is to get as close as I can to that state by the time we get to Mexico.  That is going to mean I need to step up the #plankAday work (I've been doing it about 3-4 times a week) and I am going to have to be really diligent about what I eat.  Especially in terms of sugar.  So that means no afternoon chocolate.  Whenever I feel like having something sweet, I am going to make myself a cup of tea instead.  I have a couple of awesome teas from Harney and Sons that satisfy my sweet tooth perfectly: Pomegranate Oolong and Hot Cinnamon Sunset.   It's like dessert in a cup.

I'm going to have to be extra diligent food wise because it looks like this will be a week of no running or cycling.  I have a sneaking suspicion that I may be given orders to rest my knee as much as possible when I see the PT tomorrow.  That means I'm really going to have to tighten up my nutrition belt for the next couple of weeks.  I'm always up for a challenge so lets see how I do with this one!

Do you take time on the weekend to prep meals for the week or do you just wing it?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Verdict #1

A few days ago I was moaning about how my knees were bugging me and that I was starting to get a little worried.   I was so freaked out I made two appointments with two different sports medicine doctors.  I had my first appointment this afternoon.  While I wasn't given any definite answers as to what exactly I may have, I was reassured that it wasn't serious.


This doc suspects that I have either patella femoral syndrome or patella tendonitis.  Either way, it means that I'm not running the 29km I had scheduled for tomorrow.  The good news is that he felt that with some good physiotherapy I'd be back up and running relatively quickly.  So Tuesday morning I have an appointment with a physiotherapist.  Then, because a second opinion is never a bad thing, I have another appointment with a second sports medicine doctor.  I suspect that her answers will probably be the same and if that's the case at least I'll have some peace of mind.

I really hate not being able to run but I know that if I ignore these symptoms and keep training then I'll risk doing some serious damage.  Knee issues are not to be taken lightly.  No siree.  So, I will suck it up and either spend some quality time with my bike or finally get my butt to a hot yoga class or two.  Given the amount of cracking my hips are doing every time I stand up, I think I'm overdue for a good stretching session.

I suppose that taking tomorrow off running won't necessarily be a bad thing, especially since it's supposed to be -11 and snowing in the morning.   Hmmm...the idea of spending an hour sweating in a steamy hot room is sounding better and better every minute. 

How far are you running this weekend?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Playlist Thursday - Rock On with Yo Big Bad Self!

I'm sooooooo diggin' this weeks Playlist Thursday theme cause really, I'm an alt-rock girl at heart.  Yup, get your Rock On fingers ready and brush up on your air guitar because this weeks Playlist Thursday theme is RAAWWWWK!  Yeah, that's right.  Without further adieu, let's ROCK ON, shall we?

The "Rules" of Playlist Thursday:

Something Old: Songs that are at least 5 years old.
Something Current: Songs that have been released within the past year.
Something to Consider: This is the wild card category. Feel free to list any song: old, current, guilty pleasure, underground, whatever floats yer boat.

Something Old
Artist: Lenny Kravitz
Title:  Are You Gonna Go My Way
Notable:   I just started listening to Lenny again a couple of weeks ago and this song along with Rock and Roll is Dead and Always on the Run have found their way onto my playlist.  Crank. IT. UP.
Quotable: "Though I'm not paid I play this game and I won't stop until I'm done"

Something New
Artist: The Sheepdogs
Title:  Feeling Good
NotableLove love LOVE this song by this Canadian "hair" band.  On a side note, one of the photographers that I work with in the studio directed this video.  You can check out the hilarious behind the scenes footage here, you just need to scroll down to the bottom of the post. 
Quotable: "Well I'm here to say I got a better way, nothing brings me down, with how I feel today"

Something to Consider
Artist: Soundgarden
Title:  Rusty Cage
NotableThis has made it on to a previous playlist Thursday post I'm sure.  It's one of my favourite Soundgarden songs and I find it's a kick a$$ song to run to, especially if you need to pick up the pace a bit. 
Quotable: "But I'm gonna break, I'm gonna break my, I'm gonna break my rusty cage and run."

Are you rockin' on with your big bad self???

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Not What I Kneed Right Now....

For the last couple of weeks, I've been feeling a lot creakier than normal, especially around my knees.  G said it's just because I'm getting old.  I'm sure that's probably a part of it but of course, I'm worried that it might be a bit more than that.  For the last 3 weeks my knees have been achy and I've found the going up and down the stairs seems to really bother them.  I am generally ok when I'm running however.  It's afterwards when they feel sore.  My left one especially.   I figured it was probably due to my incredibly tight muscles so I finally went it for a massage last Wednesday after taking the previous Thursday off from running.  My run group was scheduled to do hill repeats that day and I didn't think that sort of pounding would be good for my knees so I skipped it and spent some quality time with the ice pack and some advil.  I still felt a bit creaky when I started my long run that Saturday but I was fine by the end.  I had hoped that some good stretching would help so I foam rolled and stretched really well when I finished.  Walking was fine but the stairs were an issue once again.  Despite that, I went out to do my group tempo run last Tuesday and it wasn't pure misery but it was pretty close.  I took it really easy going up and down the hills (of course it was a hilly route).  I stretched and iced my knees when I got home and hoped that my massage would sort everything out.

My massage was 90 minutes of pain.  He did a lot of work on my upper body and then focused on the area around my right knee (which was the area that was most bothersome at the time).  He did some work on my hamstrings, quads and calves and just skimmed over my IT band because we ran out of time.   I had high hopes that my knee pain would be gone.  The stairs didn't really bother me when I went down them so I figured that was a plus.  I probably should have just taken Thursday off completely but no, I'm stubborn.  I figured speed work wasn't the best idea since my legs were still healing but an easy run should be fine.  So I went out and ran an easy 11km.  Of course my legs felt like crap.  My knees seemed to be somewhat ok.  There was a bit of creaking and tweaking but I thought that was just things getting "settled" so to speak.  I had hoped all would be fine by my run on Saturday but alas it was not to be.  As soon as I started running, my knees started creaking.  After about 15 minutes in, they settled down but then throughout the course of the run, I had all sorts of weird little tweaks and pains.  Then they just ached for the rest of the day.  However, I got on the Computrainer on Sunday and had a great ride, which was strange.  I figured it would probably suck.  But, my knee seemed to be settling down so I was happy.  I figured a swim on Monday would do me good.  Monday was fin work and by the end of that 2600m swim, my knees were bugging me again.  My 15 minutes on the treadmill yesterday was not good.  I had all sorts of weird pain going on.  So much so that at one point I actually had to change my gait.  Not. Good.  Needless to say I skipped last nights tempo run.  I got on the bike instead.  While my knees feel a lot better today, I am still a bit worried that something is up.  So, to cover my bases, I've got 2 appointments at 2 different sports medicine clinics.  Paranoid much?

It almost feels like my kneecaps aren't tracking properly.   To say that I am freaking out would be an understatement.  My physiotherapist made a comment about how quad dominant I was and when I look at my legs, especially when I am flexing or engaging my quad muscles, I have to agree.  Having stronger quads than hamstrings is not the best thing  if you're a runner.  Little did I know that most women are naturally more quad dominant than hamstring dominant (so I found out when reading the New Rules of Lifting for Women).  Having stronger quads than hamstrings can end up pulling your knee caps out of alignment, especially if the quads and IT band get really right.  If there is anything that I'm incredibly paranoid about it's knee issues.  In my mind muscle issues are generally an easier fix than joint issues.  A few massages or ART sessions and you're back to normal in a couple of weeks.  When it comes to your knees, well, if you start feeling constant ache or pain in them that can never be a good thing.   It's all bone and cartilage in there and that has to be treated right! 

I suspect some of it was due to running too long in my old shoes.  I also suspect that my quads are starting to overpower my hamstrings in terms of strength so I've decided to step away from the squat rack for a few weeks and focus on adding some more hamstring work into my routine (the only thing I currently do for them is dead lifts).  I'm not going to stop squatting altogether, I'm just going to do some variations so I can work on strengthening my vastus medialis.  That little bugger is the key to balancing out your quads and keeping your knee where it needs to be.  A nicely developed vastus medialis looks pretty sexy too. 
Since I decided to part ways with the squat rack, I spent some time wandering around the big boys area in the gym checking out the variety of machines I could use to do leg work.  I settled on one leg press machine that had individual foot plates that swung independently of each other.  I checked the little icon to see what muscles it worked and sure enough it said, glutes, hamstrings and quads.  I loaded a couple of 35lb plates on and went to work.  Knee felt fine.  I think I need to take my hips out of the squatting equation and just isolate my legs.  I'm not going to get the same amount of muscle engagement since you don't really use your core to stabilize yourself too much when you're sitting down vs when you're balancing a barbell on your shoulders but, if it helps save my knees then I'll take it. 

I also re-introduced another old favourite of mine into my workout.  I call it the wall squat but I think it's also known as the ski squat.  The key is to make sure your legs are at 90 degrees so when I am at the gym, I always do this by a mirror so I can check my form.   This is a great isometric exercise that can be done anywhere. I have been known to do these at work from time to time just for the hell of it.  Why not?

When I got up this morning, my knees felt better.  Not 100%.  Probably about 80%.  There is still some discomfort going down the stairs, especially after I've been sitting for a while but, it's definitely better than it has been.  I think I'm going to take tomorrow off from running as well.  Another day of rest couldn't hurt.  Then we'll see what this musculoskeletal doctor I'm seeing on Friday has to say.  Fingers crossed it's nothing bad.

Have you ever had any knee issues?  If so, what was the outcome? 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Countdown to Beantown - 12 Weeks to Go!

I can't believe I'm already 4 weeks in to my 16 week training program for Boston.  That means Beantown is only 12 weeks away.  Geez.  I am really liking the "Run Less, Run Faster" plan that I am on.   As much as I love to run, my body can't seem to handle more than 3-4 runs a week so this works out perfectly for me.

I started off really well.  I followed the program to a T.  At least for the first week.  These last 3 weeks, well, I've been free-styling it.  I've been doing my prescribed Tuesday tempo runs at their appropriate paces and I've been doing my long runs at close to my appropriate pace but my track workouts have vanished.   I know, I know.  They are an integral part to this program.  It's not like I'm not running on Thursdays.   I've just been doing whatever workout that my club is doing.  It's just easier.  That and the track I like to run at isn't lit so until it starts staying lighter later or I luck out and find a good indoor track, I'll be doing interval work with my run group.  Sure it's not going to be the prescribed workout but, it's still speed work so hopefully that will count for something.

I finally went for a long overdue massage on Wednesday.  It had been 6 weeks since the last time I had one.  Far.  too. long.  Especially with the amount of abuse I pile on my body.  I was a total disaster area.  My shoulders and back were actually crunching while my therapist was working on them.  CRUNCHING.  I had little knots everywhere throughout my shoulders.  My calves were super tight and my quads and IT band were also in pretty rough shape.  I don't think it was any coincidence that my knees started to bother me a few weeks ago either - all those tight muscles are going to start pulling things out of whack.  They seem to be somewhat better but I can't say 100% just yet. 

This plan is definitely a bit more aggressive in terms of long run pace and mileage than I'm used to.  There are six 20 milers in it.  Yes, you read that correctly, SIX.  The most I've ever had in a training plan has been 3.  My long run pace is also about 15 seconds faster per km than what I normally run.  I've been responding fairly well to it so far though, until this week.   I had 3 great long runs and then was smacked up the side of the head with a horrible run yesterday.  I was supposed to slow it down and run 5:20 km's for 32km.  I started off slow and then found a pace that felt easy and comfortable and stayed there but my legs just didn't have it to go the distance so I stopped at just over 30km.  I don't think I had fully recovered from my massage on Wednesday.  My legs just felt tired and sore.   I figured I was due for a crappy run after having 4 weeks in a row of awesomeness.  Sometimes, that's just what happens in training.  You've got to learn to take the good with the bad and move on.  Tuesday will be another day to be better.

Week 2 Long Run.  Wicked Awesome.

Week 3 Long Run - Hellz Yeah.

Week 4 Long Run:  Ouch.  Although this did include a 5 minute pit stop so I can't complain TOO much.
One of my New Year's resolutions was to get back on the bike once a week.  That has just started to happen.  I think the cycling will help with my leg turnover when it comes to running.  If I plan on doing as many triathlons as I've indicated on my race schedule, then I really should get on the bike at least once a week.  So I figure Sunday afternoons or Wednesday nights will be my bike days.  Once Boston is done, then I can work at getting more cycling in and scale back on my running (gasp!).

So far, I'm feeling pretty good about everything.  I am chomping at the bit for race season to start though.  I can't wait to get started on my 13 in 2013.  I'm also curious to see what these legs of mine will be capable of on this more aggressive training plan.  March 3rd can't come soon enough! 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Playlist Thursday - Bust A Move

Oh hello Thursday so nice to see you again!   Yes folks, it's Playlist Thursday once again.  This one is dedicated to songs that make you want to bust a move while running.  Come on, you know you've done it.  I know I have.  I've got the funky hand moves down pat.  Still no video to prove it but perhaps one day.  

The "Rules" of Playlist Thursday:

Something Old: Songs that are at least 5 years old.
Something Current: Songs that have been released within the past year.  I'm going to bend the rules a bit with this one.
Something to Consider: This is the wild card category. Feel free to list any song: old, current, guilty pleasure, underground, whatever floats yer boat.

And whatever you do, don't forget to head over to Pavement Runner's blog to check out the Playlist Thursday catalog for more musical inspiration.

Something Old
Artist: MC Hammer
Title:  U Can't Touch This
NotableWho doesn't want to dance when they hear this song??  If this song doesn't move you then I don't think you have a funky bone in your body.  I have been known to do the infamous dance from time to time, usually at the start of my taper (I blame early tapermadness).   I've even done it in a wetsuit on a floating dock in the middle of Lake Zurich.  The Swiss didn't know what hit them.  True Story.
Quotable:  "Fresh new kicks, advance you gotta like that, now, you know you wanna dance So move, outta your seat and get a fly girl and catch this beat."

Something New (to me)
Artist: Common
Title:  Universal Mind Control
Notable: Thanks to Pavement Runner for introducing this song to me last year via Playlist Thursday.  Technically it's not a "new release" but it's new to me so that's going to have to cut it for this week.  I have been known to hit repeat several times in a row when this song comes during a run.  It really gets the funky hands going. 
Quotable:  "This is that automatic I stay fresh like I'm wrapped in plastic.  Beat goes fast, exceed galactic."

Somethingto Consider
Artist: Gorillaz
Title:  Feel Good Inc.
Notable:    These guys had some great tunes but this is one of my faves.  Definitely puts some pep in my step when I'm out running.
Quotable:  Love forever, love is free, let's turn forever, you and me

What do you think? Are you ready to bust a move?

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Scenes From A Saturday Morning Run

Those of you that follow me on Instagram know that I constantly take pictures when I'm out on my long runs.  In fact, it's rare for me to do a long run without my phone.  Sure it adds roughly 15-20 minutes to the time I'm actually out but I don't mind, especially if it's nice out.  We live right by Lake Ontario, it's literally at the bottom of our street so you can see it if you stand on our driveway and look down the street.  That's part of what attracted us to our neighbourhood.  I can run down the street and in less than 5 minutes I'm in a park, on a bike path that winds it's way along the lake.  You can't beat that.  I love running along the lake so I generally run the same out and back route every weekend, unless I feel like getting some hill work in. 

This is a collection of images from my Saturday Morning Runs from the last year.  Enjoy!

Birds in Port Credit

Butterfly - Marie Curtis Park

Bench: Col. Samuel Smith Spit

Clouds at Lakefront Promenade

Makeshift Inukshuks Humber Bay Park West

Old Mill Bridge

Colonel Samuel Smith Park

Marie Curtis Park

Humber Bay Park East

Off the Bridge in Marie Curtis Park

Heading into Port Credit

Snowy Day in Colonel Samuel Smith Park

Fall Colours outside Lakefront Promenade Park.

Do you run with your phone?  If so are you a picture taker?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Playlist Thursday-Top 10

I can't believe it's Thursday already!  Where has this week gone?  If every week flies by like this one 2013 will be over before I know it!  I missed out on last week's Playlist Thursday due to a lack of organization on my part but I'm back this week.  Pavement Runner decided to have some fun with numbers this week and base this weeks theme on the number 10 since it's the 10th.  So, our mission this week is to pick the best of the best; the top 3 songs that would make our top 10 list.  That means you're probably going to see at least one Rush tune from me.  Sorry Rush haters. 

The "Rules" of Playlist Thursday:

Something Old: Songs that are at least 5 years old.
Something Current: Songs that have been released within the past year.
Something to Consider: This is the wild card category. Feel free to list any song: old, current, guilty pleasure, underground, whatever floats yer boat.

And whatever you do, don't forget to head over to Pavement Runner's blog to check out the Playlist Thursday catalog for more musical inspiration.

Something Old
Title:  Driven
NotableThis song will always make a top 10 running songs list for me.  Especially a race day playlist.  That opening guitar riff signals all systems go for me.  Boogity boogity boogity let's go racin'
Quotable: "The road unwinds towards me, what was there is gone, the road unwinds before me
and I go riding on"

Something New
Artist: Serena Ryder
Title:  Stompa
NotableSo this technically isn't a 2013 release but it was late enough in 2012 that I think it counts.  I just discovered this song a few weeks ago while perusing iTunes and it went straight into my running playlist.  Love it.  Her vocal style kind of reminds me of Adele, plus she's a Canadian.  woohoo!
Quotable: "Slow down; open up your big brown eyes, Feel the rhythm in your heart, you don’t even need to try"

Something To Consider
Artist: Mumford and Sons
Title:  Below My Feet
NotableSeriously, the title says it all. 
Quotable:  "Keep the earth below my feet, from my sweat, my blood runs weak, let me learn from where I have been."

What do you think?  Would you put any of these on your playlist?  Does Serena Ryder remind you of Adele or am I hearing things?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

How to get Habitual-Goal Getters 2013

Well here we are, the first full week of the New Year.  I'm sure there are many of you that have made resolutions or set goals for 2013.  The big question is, when life starts to get crazy, will you be able to keep them?   Many resolutions tend to be vague things like, I am going to lose 10 lbs which is immediately followed by a restrictive diet and crazy foray into exercise because that's what you feel you need to do.  After a few weeks, you feel deprived and want just one treat.  That one treat turns into 5 and then you feel guilty. Somewhere along the way working out becomes a chore and you're back on the couch, right where you started.

STOP THE INSANITY!!!  It doesn't have to be that way.  With a little bit of planning and focus you can make your goals a reality.  It's all about getting habitual.

Break it down to Baby Steps

When people make resolutions, they tend to be grandiose in nature, they want to make a complete overhaul of everything.  They don't really think about the change that is actually needed to get to where they want to be.  Once they start to think about it, it usually results in analysis paralysis.  You feel like perhaps you've taken on too much and don't know how to go about getting there so, you end up saying "screw it".   In my experience, I've found that in order to be successful at keeping your resolutions or goals, you need to break it down into smaller steps that you can work at making into habits.  For example:  I want to lose 10 lbs.   How are you going to do that?   Take the time to look at your diet.  Do you drink pop with lunch?  If so, replace it with water.  Make one small change and keep at that change until it becomes a habit.  Once you've got that down, pick something else and keep at that until it becomes a habit.  No, it's not easy.  If it was everyone would do it. Sometimes you need to take baby steps.

Find Something You Love to do and JUST DO IT  

I can't tell you the number of times I've had people tell me that they wished they loved running.   I always ask them why and the response is generally the same:  "It just seems like such an easy thing to do".  This is true, you don't need a membership, you don't really need any fancy gear (I can't believe I'm saying this with a straight face) all you need is a decent pair of running shoes and some comfortable clothing to get started.  I get it.  That was me when I started.  That's why I chose running. From an effort level, it was easy, all I had to do was go out my front door and put one foot in front of the other.  From an intimidation standpoint, it was also easy.  I could go out by myself.  I wasn't worried about walking into a gym full of uber fit people and fumbling my way around the machines and free weights.

It wasn't love at first step when I started running.  My first attempt at running was much like losing my virginity:  awkward with a lot of fumbling around.  And much like "bumping uglies", it takes some practice before you actually start to enjoy it.  I wasn't born the runner that I am now.  Persistence (mixed with a healthy dose of stubbornness) is what made me into the runner I am today.  I guess what I'm saying is that although I didn't love it right away, I liked the appeal of running enough that I wanted to keep at it and that, my friends is the KEY.   To quote my favourite band (Rush) "It takes a little more persistence to get up and go the distance."   Find something that appeals to you enough that you'll keep at it. 

If you always have to force yourself to go to the gym or get to that Body Pump class on a regular basis, chances are you won't stick with it.  Sure there are going to be days where you just don't feel like going.  I have days like that with running.  Funnily enough, those end up being the days that I have some of my best workouts.  It's a fine line between finding something appealing enough that you want to stick with it and forcing yourself to like it because you think it's what you need to do to lose weight, get stronger, or whatever.  Getting fit doesn't need to be complicated, you really just need to get off the couch and get moving.  You need to find *your* thing and do it.  I guarantee that once you love (or at least stop hating) what you're doing, it will just become another thing you do.  Your thing.  Once you find your thing, chances are you'll meet others who also share your passion. 

Buddy Up 

There's nothing like being held accountable by a friend to keep you motivated.   That's why I find group training runs so great.  People are expecting you to be there and when you're not, you always get grilled a little.  At least that's how it goes down in my run group.  Making a regular workout date with someone is a sure fire way to make sure you don't skip your workout.  The friendship and cameraderie are an added bonus.

Sign up for Something

Sometimes this can be the only kick in the pants that you need.  If you've started running, bite the bullet and register for a 5k race.  The reality of an impending event can be a great motivator to get out and train and crossing that finish line will be something that you will always be proud of.  Don't be afraid to let people know your plans either.  You may be surprised at just how many cheerleaders come out of the woodwork to support you.

Speaking of which, if you're looking for a little help and support in achieving your 2013 goals, then I strongly suggest you get on Instagram (if you're not already) and get in on the #GoalGetter2013 action.  The lovely ladies that brought you the December #HolidayADay challenge have gotten together again and put this challenge out there to help people stay accountable to their 2013 goals.
Instead of a month long challenge, they've broken in out to focusing on a goal a month.  So, you pick your goal and take a picture of you working toward your goal and hash tag it with #goalgetter2013progress.  Easy.  And, as an added bonus, these ladies are putting together a monthly newsletter with all sorts of tips & success stories that you can subscribe to.  Genius!

So, if you're looking for a little extra help check out these ladies blogs and follow them on Instagram. 

  I'm up for the challenge, are you?