Posted in Blogging, Parenting

Woot Woot!

You know how there are some days where you can’t seem to get anything done and there are others where everything seems to go your way?  Well today was one of those days.  Today, I felt like a superstar.

It all started at 6:30 with a run.  I ran for 30 minutes consecutively for the first time!  It was sooooo awesome.  I managed to get just over 4km in that time.  I’m really happy (in case you haven’t already noticed) because I had set the goal to run 30 consecutive minutes or run 5k by the end of July and I did it (with 13 days to spare!).

First 30 min run

When I got back, the kiddos were finishing up their breakfast with their dad and I sat down with them.  We played downstairs while I took care of some laundry until it was time for Amélie’s nap.  Once she was down, Charles helped me wash the windows in his room (he was quite proud and started washing everything else in sight in his room as I finished up).  Amélie woke up, we had a little snack and then we left for the grocery store to buy a few things that we were missing for lunch.

Waiting at the red light for our turn to cross.
Waiting at the red light for our turn to cross.

I realized that though these little wagons are super practical, they are also quite hard to pull with 50lbs of kids inside.  Oh well, second workout of the day LOL!.

When we got back, we got lunch going, they took their nap and then, we went to the water park.  It wasn’t super duper hot, but it was hot enough for a bit of water to be refreshing.  And since I can’t go in our pool with two kids at the same time, it was a great alternative.  Charles got wet…and then he got dirty.

He didn’t really care though and his sister was having a blast looking at her brother playing in the sand while she was in the swing.

Notice the feet inside the swing.  This is her preferred method.
Notice the feet inside the swing. This is her preferred method.

It was really great because I saw Charles interact with kids his own age.  This isn’t something that I’m accustomed to seeing because he is usually really shy.  I think that having something in common with his friend helped break the ice though.

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Can anyone spot the common theme?

Both kids were all smiles on our way home…

image…and ready to keep playing once we reached our destination.  Charles kept himself busy with a branch he found (seriously, what *is* it with boys and branches?).

And Amélie was her cute and silly self (when she realized that she wasn’t going to be able to grab my phone from me, she tried to remove her hat, but missed and pinched her cheek instead).

Charles decided to help me finish up my laundry by gathering all of our remaining clothespins in the same spot…

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Posted in fitness

Finding My Fitness: Part 2 (Running)

Back in high school, we had a 5k race at the end of each school year and I would always hate that time of the year.  First of all, we weren’t given a training plan (as if a teenager who isn’t interested in running is going to look up how to train for a race).  Second of all, though the teacher told us we would be training in gym class, we only ever ended up doing a few (read: 2 or 3) practice runs before the teacher would forget to have us do them.  Thirdly, the practice we had in class consisted of “run as many laps of the gym as you can in 20 minutes”.  No run/walk intervals, nothing.

Needless to say, I didn’t train on any of the years.  I would do my “run” (which had more walk than run) in about 40  minutes and would only just get the passing grade.  I would always end up cramping up while I ran and would have trouble walking for the next two days.

“I hate running” and “running just isn’t for me” are two of the most common things I would have to say about the sport.

Fast forward a few years later and I’m out of the house every two days training for my first voluntary 5k. I never thought I would say this ever, but I love running.

So, what has changed?

First off, I decided that I wanted to run.  The motivation for it was intrinsic this time around.  Secondly, I took the time to set up some S.M.A.R.T. goals to maintain my motivation to get in shape.  Lastly, I am following an awesome training plan: the C25K running program.  I am currently half-way through the training and I am amazed at what I have accomplished so far.

Besides the fact that I have not been sore following any of my running days, I have been able to increase my running time in a very short amount of time.  Whereas two months ago I had trouble running 1 minute without getting out of breath [week 1 has you doing 8 intervals of 1 minute of running followed by 1.5 minutes of recovery (walking)], yesterday I was able to run 5 minutes straight without a problem.  (On a side note, I noticed that I don’t really get out of breath when I breathe through my nose, whereas I get out of breath rather quickly when I breathe through my mouth, does anyone know why?).

I’m also really enjoying my running watch (soon to be reviewed) which is helping me keep track of a whole bunch of stuff.  My achievements so far:

  • Fastest 1 km: 7:41
  • Fastest 1 mi: 12:37
  • Longest run: 1.65 mi/2.65 km (21:30 min)

The plan for the next weeks:

  1. Keep training to work up to 30 minutes of continuous running.
  2. Work on prolonging my run to 5 km (which I estimate will take me about 37 minutes).
  3. Work on reducing the time it takes me to run 5 km.

For the record, this is the race I’m aiming to take part in.

Have you tried the C25K running program?  Which week was/has been the hardest for you?

Posted in fitness

Finding Your Fitness, Part 1: Keys to (My) Success (And Maybe Yours).

As I mentioned about a week ago, I recently found the motivation to really get into gear and start exercising. Today, I want to share with you what I did after that “kick in the butt” moment to stay the course.

1.  Know yourself

What are your strengths?  What about your weaknesses?  Let me put it this way: which parts of your personality are stopping you from 1. getting into gear and 2. staying in gear?

You want to know the truth about me?  I am a procrastinator.  I honestly do not know many people who are worse than me.  I can also be quite compulsive and intense (*ahem* I don’t know who I get that from *ahem) which means that once I get excited about something, I’ll want to do it all. the. time.  Until I don’t (either because I’m sick of it or because I’ve found something else to do), then I’ll stop.  These two traits are what have been stopping me from being in better shape than I am.

On the flip side, I am also a perfectionist.  This can be both good and bad, but in my case, it is good because it means that it is important for me to focus on my form when I workout.  Finally, I am competitive.  I hate losing.  I hate failing.  This too is going to help me reach my goal of becoming fitter.

2.  Know you constraints

And I mean your actual ones, not the ones that come out of your I’ve-got-a-collection-of-excuses hat.  For me, I don’t currently have the money to pay for a gym membership (which is fine, by the way, because there are other ways to get in shape than going to the gym).  Time is also an issue.  I need something that I can do regardless of if I’m working or on maternity leave, regardless of if my brother’s home or not to watch my daughter, regardless of if it’s income tax season and I’m as good as a single mom.  Basically, I need something that is flexible and allows me to work out at home (see, I told you that not being able to go to the gym wasn’t really a problem).

3.  Be flexible…

Say you planned to work out today.  Say that during the night, your daughter was up every 1.5 h from 8:30 pm to 5:30 am when you just gave up and got her up for the day.  Say that between your precious daughter, your toddler who woke up with nightmares a couple of times during the night and your snoring husband, you got maybe 4 hours of sleep during the night during which your longest bout of uninterrupted sleep was about 45 minutes.  Say that you have trouble putting foot in front of the other in the morning and the idea of actually working out is enough to make you want to curl up into a ball in the corner of the room and cry.  It’s OK to shorten your workout.  Heck, it’s even OK to skip the day.  Really.  No guilt needed.

4.  …But not too flexible

Plan, plan, plan.  Take out a calendar and circle the days that you want to workout on.  That way, if you actually did have to skip a day, you can catch up on one of your “off” days.  If it’s written, you will want to do it.

5.  Find something that inspires you.

For me, the winner was crossfit.  What attracted me to it?

For starters, every single exercise is scalable.  Can’t do a burpee (let alone 4 x 25)?  Do a modified one.  Don’t have time to do 5 rounds?  Do only 2 or 3.  Don’t have any weights, use your body weight.  This has the insane advantage that a 18 year old at the top of his game and a badly out of shape 60 year old can do the same workout.  Either the number of reps, the number of rounds, the amount of weight…will be different for both of them.

I also like it because the program changes all the  time.  I’m not going to the gym to do the same routine each and every time.  Nope.  Each day is different…and I’m always finding myself looking forward to the next day.

Finally, the workout of the day is short.  It scarcely ever takes more time than 15 minutes.  And you know what the best part it?  In that 15 minutes you feel like you just spent 75 of them at the gym (or I do in any event).

6.  Set some smart goals

No seriously, make sure your goals are S.M.A.R.T.: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.  Also, make sure you have some short and long-term goals.  For instance, my general goal is to become fitter.  My four SMART goals are:

  • By the end of the month (T), make sure to have trained (S) on average (A, R) three times a week (M).
  • Improve in at least one domain per training session when I restart the training cycle.  (More about this in my next post)
  • Be able to run 5km or 30 minutes without stopping by the end of July 2015.
  • Compete in a 5km race in September 2015 (I’ve already signed up for this so I can’t back out now 😉 ).

Notice there is nothing in there about weight?  That is because I realized that setting a weight goal was too discouraging for me.  I’ve done it before and I hated getting up on the scale each week.  I’m concentrating on eating right (without weighing or measuring my portions) and being active at least three times per week.  If the weight changes, then good.  But I’m not tracking it at all.

7.  Go for it!

Go, go, go!  You can do it!

Care to share your fitness journey?  What do you like to do to stay active?  What is keeping you from being as active or as fit as you’d like?

Posted in Infant, Parenting

Breastfeeding With Teeth (His, Not Mine)

I’ve recently started to wonder when I’d start to wean my son off the breast.  You see, when I found out I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to at least try to breastfeed.  I say “try” because I didn’t want to put any pressure on myself if it didn’t work out and didn’t want to feel like a failure if I ended up resorting to formula from the start.  As I’ve discussed previously, my desire to breastfeed wasn’t just based on the fact that research shows that it has many health benefits both for mom and baby, but also because I found it more practical and definitely less expensive.

I was thrilled when my milk came in and my son thrived (and is still thriving) on my milk.  It fills me with pride every day to see my “little chunkster”, as I call him, continue to grow and develop so well on “mommy milk”.

With my first goal of trying (and succeeding) to breastfeed met, I decided to set another goal.  I figured that I would exclusively breastfeed at least six months (the suggested minimal amount of time) and then start weaning right away.  However, as time went by, I realized that I really treasured the time I spent nursing my son (even if it wasn’t always easy), and so, I decided that I would continue past six months but would stop when he had teeth.  Well, now that he has teeth (very ouchy teeth, I should say) and is nearing the six month mark, I find myself needing to reevaluate my goal.

To be honest, I’m not ready to give up breastfeeding yet and, as the time for solids approaches, I’m feeling both the natural excitement at seeing my son reach another milestone and a sadness at the fact that I will no longer be his only source of nourishment.  Now don’t get me wrong, I know that milk will still be his primary source of nourishment until he is a year old “food before one is just for fun”, but still, he won’t be getting just milk…

It would seem that I am in need of a new goal…

Now you see, my official day back at work is on August 26th.  At that time, Little Dude will be just past the 9 month mark.  He’ll be staying with his dad for the last week of August and first week of September and then will start daycare.  What want to say is that I’ll keep breastfeeding until mid-August and then start introducing formula.  The fact of the matter is, I just don’t think that I will have the energy necessary to pump to make it to one year.  I think that I want to continue to nurse when it’s feeding time and I’m at home, but will give formula to the sitter and his father.

Sounds like a plan!

Except there’s something tugging at the back of my brain…

  • Me: “It’s a logical decision, I’m totally OK with it”.
  • My brain: “Are you sure?  I mean, you could pump”.
  • Me: “You’re right, but I don’t think I’ll have the energy to pump”.
  • My brain: “It’s just for three months, I’m sure you’ll find the energy”.
  • Me: “You don’t understand, my job is tough”.
  • My brain: “But you’ll only be working part-time.  Besides, breast milk is free and formula is expensive”.

Me: “I know, I know”.

*Bleh*, seems I haven’t made up my mind after all.

Oh well, *sigh* guess I’ll just have to take it one day at a time.