Random Friday Thoughts

Man, I feel like I have some much that I need/want to do and there just are not enough naps in the day to get everything done. Besides a hundred things around the house,  I’ve got a ton of blog posts waiting to be written about our trip, how Baby S is doing these days and our home repairs. While those are in the works, here is a quick catch up about everything else that I’ve been up to and what I’m looking forward to.

I finally started working out again post-pregnancy.

It’s been over 10 weeks since the little guy joined us and I finally got my act together enough to start working out again. While I was able to walk right up until he was born (I even went for a 20 minute dog walk during labour to help things along) and started walking again the day after, it has been quite a while since I’ve worked out (some time in the third trimester I gave it up).  My workouts are still a far cry from my pre-pregnancy workouts but are definitely a step in the right direction.

My plan for June is to work out at least every second day doing weights and a ride on my trainer. In July and August I’ll start adding back in some P90X and hopefully by September be back to running and working out consistently 5 days a week. Then we’ll have to see how I can fit it in while being back at work and a mom. Right now I’m fitting my workouts in during naps so sometimes it can take me all afternoon to fit it in.

I fit in (most of) my pre-pregnancy clothes!

Working out (and so many other things) are easier because I fit in my pre-pregnancy clothes again! They don’t fit exactly the way they used to (I’ve still got about 9 lbs hanging around that I don’t really want) but I’m OK with that. I haven’t tried everything on and I know there are some things that won’t be wearable for a while but having most of my wardrobe back has been great.

I got our garden planted – for the second time

Before we left for our vacation I planted beans, lettuce, chard and kale and set up my sprinkler systems to look after everything while we were gone. Three weeks later and only the kale and some of the chard has sprouted. I’ve been using the seeds that we bought in 2012 so I think that maybe they have reached their expiry date!

Last weekend we went to the garden centre and I bought a few packages of seeds to fill in the gaps and a couple of mature kale and squash plants. We’re keeping the garden really simple this year – just lettuce, two kinds of kale, swiss chard, two kinds of bean and a spaghetti squash. These tend to be the veggies that are most successful and that we use the most of so I figured they would be the best bang for our buck with the limited space and time we have.

In just a few weeks Jon will be off with me for the summer

He doesn’t normally get the summer off with his job but we decided to take concurrent parental leave and have a summer together. We’ll both go back to work in the fall but for the next few months we’re going to enjoy it! Yes we will be as poor as we were when we were students but having two months off together isn’t something we’ll probably do again for a long time. We have no big plans (California was our big trip for the year) but we’re hoping to get out camping and hiking during the week to avoid some of the crowds.

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Road Ride: Sheep River Valley

One of my Q2 goals was to get out on our bikes more so going for a long ride on the weekends has seemed like the perfect way to take advantage of the amazing weather we’ve been having. We’ve been trying to find some new routes, so even though we had a late start to the day we decided to try a ride out of Turner Valley on Hwy. 546 as our long ride last Saturday.

We arrived in Turner Valley at about 1:30 pm and parked in the lot at the Community Centre. The route starts just south of there at the four-way stop near the Esso and Chuckwagon Cafe and is very easy to follow. Turn right (west) at the four-way stop and follow the road as it curves up the hill (it is signed for Kananaskis campgrounds). Then all you have to do is follow the highway as it winds towards the mountains.

The first part of the ride is through beautiful farm land. Because the end of the road is closed at this time of the year, traffic was pretty minimal and the road was quiet. There is lots of up and down, but nothing really major.

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The road enters Kananaskis country and after about 12 miles (20 km) ends at the winter gate at Sandy McNabb campground. The gate is closed until May 14 so we walked our bikes around it and continued on the closed road. There is parking at the gate but there weren’t very many cars and all we passed were a few walkers along the first km of the road before we basically had it to ourselves.

There was brand new pavement starting near the park boundary and it extended a few km past the gate before getting a little rougher. We stopped to take in the view at the overlook and enjoy the fact that we could ride wherever on the road.

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The road continues to get rougher as you travel further into the park. There are also several cattle guards to cross and lots of potholes to dodge. Around 19 miles we came to the steepest hill on the route and also the roughest. Unfortunately, we had to ride the hill at a snail’s pace to avoid the deteriorating pavement and loose gravel, so the uphill that immediately follows was rough as well. Luckily, once you’re at the top it isn’t too far to go until you reach Sheep River Falls and finally where we turned around at Bluerock Campground just a little bit further on. This whole time we only saw 5 other cyclists on the route and some researchers from the university – I guess one of the benefits of the terrible pavement is the quiet riding.

The turn off to Blueock Campground is at approximately 23 miles and a little clearing along the river offers beautiful views. You can continue another few km to Junction Creek (the official turn around point) but we decided we’d gone far enough and the road was already in really terrible shape that we didn’t need to experience the last little bit. We had our snack and enjoyed the sunshine above the river. Hard to believe that it is only April!

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Then it was time to retrace our route back to Turner Valley. The terrible hill is slightly less awful on the way down and overall the route is downhill. The pavement isn’t any better, but we made much better time even with a head wind.

We stopped briefly before leaving the park at Big Horn lookout, where there were indeed some big horn sheep on the side of the road as well as lovely mountain views.

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Then it was back into the open farmland for the rest of the ride, and the point where I felt things started to be a bit of a slog. I was tired (it was our longest ride to date) and the wind was making what should have been an easy ride very tiring. I was pretty happy when we finally rode into Turner Valley. We pulled into our parking space to find a group of the cyclists from earlier just on their way out. It turned out to be their lucky day – the set of car keys I’d picked up off the road while crossing a cattle guard unlocked their second vehicle. Jon drank my reward beer and I had a cream soda slurpie as my treat while we drove back to the city.

Overall, it was an interesting ride. I would definitely go back – but only while the road was still closed since I wouldn’t want to navigate that pavement with others on the road. I’m looking forward to getting out on our bikes again soon – but also heading out to explore in Kananaskis by foot. Bring on summer!

 

Early Spring Weekends

This was definitely a spectacular weekend here in Calgary. Warm, sunny – perfect. It was my last weekend of break so we took advantage of the nice weather to enjoy a weekend outside.

On Friday we started off the weekend with drinks downtown. I rode my bike and it was warm enough to just wear a t-shirt to bike in. Bliss…

Saturday morning we took Patches for a walk on Nose Hill so he could get some outside time before it got too warm. It was windy on the hill but we spotted lots of early spring flowers and Patches always loves being outside.

Our big adventure for the day was an afternoon bike ride. We headed out from our house and worked our way downtown and further south to Glenmore Reservoir. We’ve never actually been around the reservoir before (either on foot or by bike) and so even though it was very busy on the pathways we enjoyed a chance to explore a new area. We took it pretty slow around the reservoir so it took us close to two hours. There were  lots of great views.

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The weather was still warm but it got very windy in the afternoon. Our ride home was a bit of a slog with a headwind but still nice. We arrived home pretty tired from our adventure and ready for a relaxing evening.

Sunday started cloudy but cleared off by the time we’d met up for a dog walk and coffee. The lawn bowling green was open so we spent the afternoon playing our first game of the season. I definitely need some practice but I wasn’t as rusty as I thought I’d be.

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We got some use out of our new patio area visiting with my Dad and then BBQed up some steaks. Even after two weeks off I’m not quite ready to return to work but this weekend was a good way to end vacation.

This Week in Workouts – March 11 to 17, 2016

Now that I’m finally (knock on wood) starting to beat this injury, I’m back training again.  Its’ been good, but busy trying to fit in my workouts. I’m linking up with Canadian Girl Runs‘ Fitness Friday to share what I got up to this week.

Friday – 6 mile “commuter” ride

After our post-work dog walk, I hopped on my bike to meet Jon for a glass of wine and some cheese. It is uphill on the way home, so I always count this as a workout.

Saturday – 30 minute trainer ride + 2.25. mile run (brick)

Jon went to work and I cleaned the house – it was filthy and took me way longer than I thought so it was late afternoon by the time I got around to my workout. I rode on the trainer for 30 minutes (5 minute warm up, 3 minutes hard, 2 minutes easy (repeat 5 times)) and then headed out for a quick run. This was my first brick of the season and it felt good – I love doing a short run off the bike. We took Patches for a long walk as a cool down.

Sunday – 12 km hike at Sibbald Lake

We hiked an easy 12 km at Sibbald Lake.

Monday – 1000 m swim + 30 minute bike + weights

After our post work dog walk I rode the trainer for 30 minutes (same workout as Saturday) and then lifted weights. Later in the evening we hit the pool for a quick swim. I was super tired and my form felt terrible but it was good to be in the pool.

Tuesday – 2.5 mile run

I caught a cold and was feeling pretty run down by the end of the day. I managed to fit in my run after our walk. It snowed so it was a pretty miserable run but I’m glad I got out there. I couldn’t summon the energy for a trip to the pool so Instead we took Patches for another walk and I headed to bed early.

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Wednesday – 2.5 mile run + weights

I was pretty tired when I got home from work but I forced myself out the door after our walk and did my 2.5 miles. Then I lifted some weights before crashing on the couch for the rest of the evening.

Thursday – Rest

I had a chiro appointment after work (things are going well – we did some Graston and some stretching) and then was just so exhausted that we took Patches for a walk, ate oatmeal for dinner and crashed. I’d planned it to be a rest day and I definitely needed it.

This week was definitely a little more exercise than I’ve been used to but getting closer to what I’d like. I was pretty good about doing my physio exercises and foam rolling every evening so not too many aches and pains. Next week is spring break so I’m looking forward to having a little more time to work out and hopefully getting in some longer activities.

My Current Training Plan

My physio has not only given me the green light to run, but actually told me I need to run more. Along with my physio exercises I’m required to run 4 times a week – which means I can finally execute a training plan for an early season triathlon!

I’m keeping things pretty simple since while I’m allowed to run more times in a week, I’m still supposed to keep distance and intensity pretty low. I’m using the 15 week sprint distance training plan swim workouts from my Swim Training for Triathletes book and then trying to do a variety of bike rides to round out my training. Things are certainly less structured than I usually plan, but I’m still working on building my fitness after a slower few months.

My plan is to get most of my training in Monday to Thursday, with flexibility to arrange things depending on what else I have going on in the evenings. This means that every day I’ve got a couple of work outs, plus my two daily dog walks to fit in so it is busy but maneagable!

Swimming – two swim sessions of approximately 30 to 45 minutes each (around 1000 m to 1500 m) on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. The pool is open from 8:30 pm to 10:00 pm on those evenings so there is enough time for a pre and post swim hot tub and a shower afterwards.

Running – three runs during the week. Last week I started with two miles at a time, this week I’ve increased it to 2.5 miles, then hopefully 3 miles next week if things are still feeling good. After that I’d like to make one of those runs a little further (maybe up to 6 miles) and one run a little faster.

Biking –  one hour ride, and then a shorter ride is my goal during the week. I’ve still got my road bike on the trainer so it is easy to fit in a ride in the basement after work. My other bike is good for riding outside right now so I’ve been using that for my outdoor rides.

Weights – again, twice a week I’m trying to fit in a quick weights session. It usually takes me about 20 minutes to do my routine so if I’m up early enough I can fit it in before work.

Other – I have daily physio exercises (clamshells, leg raises and leg circles) plus a set of exercises I add in every other day (single leg squats, single leg dead lifts and toe-taps). I’m trying to get in the habit of foam rolling every day too.

Friday through Sunday are for cross-training or longer bike rides. I haven’t had much success following through with structured workouts on the weekend so I’ve marked it as outdoor adventures in my planner and am just trying to be active.  Last weekend we did a long ride on Friday and this past weekend we hiked as our long activity. I also plan to fit in my fourth run on which ever day we don’t have something planned and we usually do a couple of longer dog walks on Nose Hill or something similar.

I’m still seeing my physio, with occasional chiro and the odd massage in there and I’m hopeful that by continuing my strengthening exercises things will get back to normal. So far my increased activity isn’t causing an increase in pain, and I’m actually having pair free days now. Here’s to an injury healing round of training!