10 ways to stay on track, even when you can’t work out

’tis the season for flus, colds, and all kinds of ways to feel yucky that can derail even the most committed New Years resolution-ers who’ve decided to make 2015 their year to get fit. I was sick over Christmas with some form of bronchitis/pneumonia/bug that is finally starting to clear up.

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While I was definitely frustrated–I hate being sidelined whether it’s because my schedule is crazy, I’m sick, or I’m dealing with some kind of injury–I actually appreciate the time off that forced me to get organized out of sheer boredom. The experience got me to thinking, because in the past when I’ve gotten hurt I’ve been absolutely miserable about it.

So what are some things we can do to stay positive and even to set ourselves up for a healthier start when we do get back to our normal selves? If you’re sick, snowed in, or just finding yourself with free time, here are ten of my best ideas for getting yourself on track towards healthy:

  1. Make a playlist for your first workout back. It’s probably going to be a struggle, so you might as well have something to motivate you in the background. Bonus points if you also delete the same old playlist you’ve been using for 5 years and download lots of Britney in its place.
  2. Organize your workout clothes. I’m going to guess that yours could use a re-folding. There’s something so nice about opening up your closet and being able to find the top you want or the tights you need, especially if you workout in the morning and have approximately 10 seconds to do this before your partner wakes up and grunts.
  3. Clean out your gym bag. I am the queen of carrying too many things–lugging my workout bag to the gym is part of my workout. With my toys for CrossFit and weightlifting, two or sometimes three pairs of shoes, and then my shower necessities, it can be hard to fit a water bottle or a set of clothes in my (large) bag. For this reason, I need to clean out anything extraneous in the darn thing on the regular to make sure I don’t lose a shoe in the parking lot (again).
  4. Set a fitness goal or two. What is that big goal that you really wish you could achieve when it comes to your fitness? Is it lifting a certain amount of weight or finishing a certain race? Is it beating an old PR? Write down what you want to do and when you want to do it–it’s the first step in making it happen.
  5. Make a vision board. If you’re crafty and in the habit of setting goals, a vision board is a great way to make yourself a visual reminder of what you want to create in your life. You’ll love the feeling of looking at it every day–think instant motivation plus a feeling of pride when you start to see those things becoming your reality!

    My most recent vision board (right next to a reminder I need). It could use some updating, because things on there keep on happening in my life! Imagine that...

    My most recent vision board (right next to a reminder I need). It could use some updating, because things on there keep on happening in my life! Imagine that…

  6. Organize your tupperware situation. This trivial task is actually really important: if you don’t have anywhere to store your healthy food, how the heck will you make it? There’s nothing better than having a fridge stocked with healthy food that’s ready to grab when you’re hangry or rushed out the door and there is nothing worse than packing chili in a ziploc bag because all your tupperwares are in your trunk.
  7. Find a few healthy recipes to try. We are all creatures of habit, but variety is the spice of life. With the interwebs, there’s no excuse for not trying new recipes. Type in what you have in your cupboard and fridge and ta-dah!, you’ll have a recipe that works. I prefer cookbooks however, so if you’re like me, why not bookmark some recipes you’ve been meaning to try and make a point of planning them into your meals for the next week? Nomnomnom.
  8. Read an inspirational biography. If you’re pretty sick, you’re going to be spending a lot of time on the couch. Rather than watching the whole Harry Potter series start to finish, why not mix in some reading of the type that motivates you? Some of my favourites are people’s stories, like Dara Torres’ (Age is Just a Number), Chrissie Wellington’s (A Life Without Limits), Cheryl Strayed’s (Wild), and Kathryn Bertine’s (The Road Less Taken). 
  9. Watch a sports documentary. I don’t mountain bike or snowboard, but my boyfriend is into these sports and so I’ve caught myself watching a video or two of them and getting fired up. Whatever you do, seeing someone do what they do at their best can be supremely motivating. Try this one…
  10. Get some rest. There’s a reason you’re sick, and the sooner you take a nap, the sooner you’ll be back at it–whatever it is.
    don't feel good

If you are feeling sick, I hope you feel better in a jiffy. I also hope that even if you’re not, you’ll do one of these things–you’ll be fitter for it!

What keeps you positive when you can’t work out?

Good and bad and everything in between

Hi! I’m back to London (and a computer) and I’ve been dying to make a real post, but there’s a lot on my mind so it could get messy.

I think a quote is in order to start this off and to let you know what page I’m on:

“I believe that everything happens for a reason.
People change so that you can learn to let go,
things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they’re right,
you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself,
and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”

– Marilyn Monroe

Tough Mudder was in a word: tough. I don’t even think I can do a full race recap right now because I’ve blocked it out of my memory…but I’ll try ;)!

We got up bright and early and hit the road after some breakfast–our drive was supposed to be about an hour and a half and it was a nice morning with a pretty sunrise.

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Nina, Andrew and I carpooled and met up with Sonya and Sarah and their spectator friends to go to the race site (on a school bus — fun right?).

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Once we got there it was all about getting pumped up (aka waiting around for our 9:50 start time).

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To start, you actually had to hop over a mini wall. Funny. I used a boost.

After they totally pumped us up (lots of cheering, some anthem-singing, high fives, etc.), we were on our merry 16km way. Up and down and up and down and up and down and then up and down hills. Our 6th member, Steve, found us right away — and we were off! Ski hills, not bunny hills. So when I say that we “ran” the course, you can infer that it was a mix of running, walking, trudging, and crawling. Plus swimming, technically…

There were 20 obstacles (I think) and the ones that stick out as the most fun were the arctic enema, funky monkey (monkey bars over water which I totally made it across with a smile!) and the mud mile. There was also essentially a giant slip and slide down mud on a hill which was just plain old fun, but I’m not sure what that one was called!

For those 3 fun obstacles, there was also plenty of hills to climb and some really shitty obstacles. Like being zapped. Over and over again in two different obstacles — electric eel and electroshock therapy. Yeah, I survived, but I won’t lie to you — I cried. And I got cranky. And I had to apologize to my team for it and move on and thank god the hardest of the shocks came at the end. I literally crawled to the finish but whatever. Done and done.

We were lucky enough to have spectators who snapped some photos of us in action, but we look pretty dirty (and you can see my cranky face ;)!).

after you…into the ice!

In the ice bath, Sarah popped her shoulder out. Then she put it back in and went on with the race. Definition of epic.

The venue was gorgeous!

Those wires look little…but don’t be fooled. OW

Beer helped bring back the smiles.

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I probably wouldn’t do another tough mudder real soon. I’m not just shook up by the electroshock, it was also expensive (over 150$) and one of those things I think you can check off your bucket list 😉 and be done with! I am glad I did it — but I heard a story about a guy who did it 3x this weekend in Toronto and I think he is psycho. That is all. We did have fun hanging out after the race with our matching shirts and sunburns!

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After we kind of relived (whined about) the race for a while, we packed up and hit the road. The traffic back to Mississauga sucked, to put it nicely.

We pulled over for snacks (it was almost 3 and breakfast and the bananas, LARA bar, and apples I’d eaten weren’t cutting it). I had chili at Tim Horton’s and was much less hangry driving the rest of the route to drop Nina off. 20120820-171813.jpg

Even though we were late getting back to London, we met up for sushi. It was my first time! And it was delicious, but I’m not a big rice girl so I mostly ate meat and tempura. It is what it is.

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Afterwards, some of us went out for drinks. I don’t know how I was still awake–but I guess the coffee (which may or may not have had Bailey’s in it) did the trick. Today I had nothing important to get up for so I was in bed til lunchtime. So lunch was breakfast! I hung out with Angela and got my car checked out (it was making a hella funny sound but it’s okay and all fixed up), rebuilt my bike, and half-unpacked/repacked for Pennsylvania).

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lunch: sausage over kale, apples, and some maple dressing with dried cranberries

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snack at Starbucks

 

Now I just finished a quick dinner and am going to head to yoga. My body is NOT in the state to feel good teaching spin–my hip was a mess after the hills and the car ride yesterday and I feel like a train hit me (or like I got tough muddered…). I did get to the chiropractor today which left me feeling energized (though it might have been the positivity and the fact that I got to whine for a few minutes about how tough the race was ;)!) and like I can move my neck again! 🙂

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pork over swiss chard with raspberry vinaigrette

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Dessert: digging into my awesome chocolate find from the conference and trying out some cranberry tea!

Things I’m sick of include living out of a suitcase and eating tons of dried fruit and nuts. I am craving a little bit of routine but I know going to my grandma’s for a few days is going to be fun and relaxing. I’m looking forward to getting away–if that makes any sense since I’ve hardly been home–since where she lives is so rural and simple. I plan on reading, journalling, blogging, etc….all the good stuff I feel like I’ve been missing out on lately! I am bringing my TRX and my kettlebell and leaving my bike here–if I do much I think I’ll take it to the park or find a trail to run on while I’m there. I’m still tired from everything that’s been going on I think and one thing I am learning to take to heart is that if you’re tired or sick or injured, what’s the point in stressing yourself out with a workout that you feel like you SHOULD do? (Hint: there’s not much point for me!).

Anyways, it’s zen time! I hope you enjoyed my whining and ranting about the race and that you’re all happy since I’m back. 🙂

Have you ever done a Tough Mudder Race? What’d you think?
Do you do well with travelling?

It’s about time

Nah, I’m not talking about my race time from tonight’s Go the Distance race, but I do feel pretty content with my 41:36 8km time. I also feel good knowing that the money raised from the event went to such a good cause. I saw quite a few familiar faces at the race, including one friend who raised over $1000 for Hope’s Garden. AMAZING! She ROCKS.

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They sent home the age group winners (2nd and 3rd too) with gift cards for Runner’s Choice (a running store here in London) so I have $10 to buy…something. Suggestions? I felt pretty sick during the race. My stomach is off and I found the chest cold I thought was pretty much gone. Things were clicking and snapping and hurting so you better believe I have a date with my foam roller and I think I need to rededicate not just to doing those awesome strength workouts I’m so fired up about (I started a box of WODs and ripped out routines from magazines and posted a teaser about bootcamp on Facebook today) but also to stretching, foam rolling, wearing my compression socks, and doing the little muscle work that I know is important for injury prevention. Promise!

I’m not sure what was up with my stomach. Nerves? I found myself nibbling all kinds of things this afternoon–I’m definitely one of those stress eaters. I did a pretty good job of fuelling today though, I’d say. I went to yoga this morning. I blogged. I sort of cleaned. My mom came for a quick visit and ran some errands and read some magazines with me (I’m a sucker for this month’s fitness mags since they’ve all got Olympic specials in them!). I sat around. 🙂

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Now I am so glad to be done for the day. I’m pooped and my stomach feels off! Must be a combination of a busy week, weird eats, the race, and everything catching up to me but I just want to foam roll and face plant into bed. Laundry can wait. Dishes can wait. Sleep is essential! I just had some chocolate (dark–bring on those antioxidants) so cravings are satisfied. I am thinking cough syrup and bedtime are in order. Not going to get sucked into Facebook, into another Jillian Michaels podcast (I think I’ve heard 5 today–catching up on old ones!), or into reading blogs (sorry guys). I am hoping to go home for a bike ride in the morning tomorrow and then come back for some fun with friends in London tomorrow. Somewhere in the next 4 days I’ve got a lot of studying to do…gonna worry about that later! 🙂 I’m preoccupied with how excited I am for finishing the tasks on my summer bucket list, having time to read non-school things at my leisure, for the opening of the outdoor pool (sweet one piece tan, let’s go), and for starting bootcamp<–especially this, but I guess if you’re going to be distracted it might as well be distracted by awesome.

How do you unwind after a long week?
Have you ever raced an 8k? What’d you think of the distance? – For me, I prefer 10k because it’s a bit more comfortable. Or maybe just familiar and I wasn’t sure how hard to push, or maybe it was the cold, or maybe I’m over thinking this! I had a good run and I was on the edge of my comfort zone and those kinds of workouts are important so I’m going to call it all a success. 😀
What are you doing this weekend?

  

Migraines make me cranky

Migraines stress me out.

My migraines, though they don’t come that often, come often enough to send me into a little bit of anxiety–Am I going to get one today? What if I’m out driving and I get an aura? What if it happens while I’m working or before an exam?--but I’ve also come to realize that I can kind of predict them: I always get them AFTER an exciting or stressful time. Never during, which I guess is a blessing, but after, when I should be slowing down. When I get frantic and running around and my mind is racing to 1o1212109 things I need to do in the next few weeks (i.e. how I felt yesterday), then I can be almost certain I’m going to get one. Of course, I get random attacks that I can’t trace to much (maybe the weather?), but for the most part, managing my stress before it gets out of hand so I don’t have something to come down from is a wise bet for me, I think.

Oh, PS, I got a migraine last night, in case you didn’t guess. I tried a new medicine and while my headache is gone, I do NOT feel good. Tired, fuzzy, emotional…you get the gist. I want to go home to bed but I’m hanging out and keeping my eyes open til I teach bootcamp tonight. I love teaching, but I really just want a heating pad, my futon, and wonderful sleep.

Missing swim this morning was hard, but when I woke up at 4am and knew what was up, all I could do was turn off my alarm, take my pills, and sleep this bad boy off. So I did. I also had a snack of dried papaya (last night I was into it before bed and had an apple for the sweetness I apparently wanted)–which is a habit I probably don’t need. Migraines make me nauseas but the stress always sends me reeling for sweet–candy, dried fruit, whatever is on hand. That just turns into emotional eating that leaves me feeling guilty and gross and to be honest, it makes the next day, which needs to involve plenty of rest and sleep, more nerve wracking. Good thing I read that there are still nutrients in that treat in this article about dried fruit that came up on my facebook news feed today.

I’m going to stop rambling, but I’m not done with this migraine talk yet–if you get them, you know how much they can really rock you. I was lucky to read a piece by Joan Didion (which I didn’t realize was written way back when in 1968) that I could totally relate to. You can read the whole thing online, but these points I especially relate to:

“We have reached a certain understanding, my migraine and I. It never comes when I am in real trouble. Tell me that my house is burned down, my husband has left me, that there is gunfighting in the streets and panic in the banks, and I will not respond by getting a headache. It comes instead when I am fighting not an open but a guerrilla war with my own life, during weeks of small household confusions, lost laundry, unhappy help, canceled appointments, on days when the telephone rings too much and I get no work done and the wind is coming up. On days like that my friend comes uninvited.”

Sound familiar?

She also writes:

“And once it comes, now that I am wise in its ways, I no longer fight it. I lie down and let it happen. At first every small apprehension is magnified, every anxiety a pounding terror. Then the pain comes, and I concentrate only on that. Right there is the usefulness of migraine, there in that imposed yoga, the concentration on the pain. For when the pain recedes, ten or twelve hours later, everything goes with it, all the hidden resentments, all the vain anxieties. The migraine has acted as a circuit breaker, and the fuses have emerged intact. There is a pleasant convalescent euphoria. I open the windows and feel the air, eat gratefully, sleep well. I notice the particular nature of a flower in a glass on the stair landing. I count my blessings.”

Yupp, migraine works like that for me. The slap in the face to remind me that even though I’m injured and cranky and can’t do all the things I want to, I can do a lot. I can enjoy the sun. I don’t have to be a bear just because I don’t feel like myself all the time right now. I can be happy in spite of, and even BECAUSE of all of it!

What doesn’t kill ya makes ya stronger, and in my case more grateful.

It also helped that my overnight oats in a jar (with banana and almond milk) were amazing — lots of leftovers in the bottom of that almond butter jar), and that I made a delicious salad with my leftover portobellos from last night’s yummy dinner.

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So there, migraine.

I’m focusing on how this is just one day of my life. This injury is just 7 weeks of my year. I can and will run again. I can and will have days where I feel good — thinking of all the days I don’t get migraines is always helpful when I start to get anxious about them. Slowing down, not trying to get any of the assignments (including a new one for Canadian Cycling Magazine that literally found me without me having to ask–yahoo!) or projects I “should” be working on done right now, and trying to smile a bit is my best course of action! Happy by choice, which reminds me of a quote:

“Some days there won’t be a song in your heart. Sing anyway.”

Have you ever had a migraine?
How do you move on when you’re feeling blah?
When do you know it’s time for a day off?