Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I'm baaaaack!

Hello all! Long time, no blog. I thought I might keep it up while on vacation, but that just didn't happen.

Rather then coming up with a thoughtful blog post, I'll just list a bunch of thoughts and observations from my trip...

1. Driving 36 hours with kids really isn't as bad as I thought it would be - providing you have a car with air conditioning, a portable dvd player and that 36 hours is broken up into three days.

2. I am lucky to live somewhere that is very bike friendly. A lot of places that we drove through looked like a nightmare to be a cyclist in.

3. I never really knew what flat was. I thought that some of my runs in downtown Calgary were on flat ground. No, flat ground is where the closest thing to a hill you get is the slight incline and decline to cross train tracks.

4. Interestingly enough, running on completely flat ground is a good lesson in keeping an even effort throughout your run.

5. Altitude does make a difference. Cochrane has a pretty high altitude. Winnipeg and Chatham are much lower. I ran considerably faster without even trying.

6. June is a good time to visit Ontario and my grandfather's garden. You get an overlap of asparagus and strawberry season.

7. Holy humidity! I never fully got what humidity was until I ran in it. I'm used to sweat evaporating off my skin to help cool me down. It doesn't work that way when it's really humid. (Even with the humidity and the heat though, I still ran faster in that altitude.)

8. Running on the side of the road is hard on your body if there is a cant to the road. My left leg was always the lower one, and after 3 straight days of running, I was getting some serious warning signs coming from everywhere between my knee and ankle. I had to take some time off.

9. Don't try to replace biking with extra running. Even with the different terrain, I probably could have kept running the whole time. Instead, I tried to run every day (normally run 3 days a week.) This meant that I had to take time off, and ended up running less then if I had just done a moderate 3-4 days a week.

10. Listen to your body. I've gotten better at paying attention to warning signs from my body. I have no doubt that if I had pushed through this particular pain, it would have become a nasty overuse injury. Instead, it just meant a bit of extra time off.

11. Open water swimming is fun!

12. As lucky as I am with my running and bike locations, I'm sadly lacking in nice swim spots. I sometimes joke about Manitoba being boring, but they have a pretty great beach.

13. You really do have to take the time to adjust your wetsuit. I did one open water swim in Ontario and one in Manitoba. The first time, I decided to rush things and didn't get the suit pulled up quite enough in the armpits and crotch. Yep, great place to collect water, making you feel awkward and slowing you down. The next time, I took a few extra minutes and felt like a fish once I had the suit on. I'm much less nervous about this open water swim thing now.

14. Swimming in a 50 metre pool takes some getting used to. It's a good thing, but when you're used to hitting a wall every 25 metres, it seems to take an awfully long time to cross the pool.

15. Don't people know that you are supposed to signal to change lanes? One of the states we drove through had a bunch of signs up saying so. They were obviously doing some kind of public awareness campaign, but people still didn't bother to signal.

16. Did you know that you can't take fruits and vegetables across the border? Well, you can't. It's a bit of a pain when it comes to healthy eating. On the way there, we stopped off at a grocery store and bought some pre-cut veggie sticks and grapes. On the way back, I ate a few too many crackers and pretzels.

17. Being out of your normal environment is a good opportunity to break some bad habits. I had been spending too much time on the computer, and I had a few foods that I habitually overdid the portions on. Being away from these things for 3 weeks allowed me to break the cycle of those habits.

18. I had ice cream a few too many times.

19. For me, being active is the best way to moderate my food intake. On days where I ran or swam, I did a much better job of eating what I needed. On days when I didn't/couldn't, I was far more likely to take a bigger portion, or have an unneeded desert.

20. I gained 2 pounds while away and I'm okay with that. My eating wasn't perfect, but it wasn't horrible either. For three weeks out of a place where I control the food, including 6 days of all day driving and stopping at restaurants, 2 pounds isn't so bad. It was worth it to have some of my grandmothers homemade peach and blueberry pie.

Phew! I could probably keep up the random rambling, but I'll leave it at 20! I hope everyone is doing well, and I'll try to visit your blogs over the next few days.


  1. Welcome home, Deb!!! THAT is a long time to be in the car with kids!

    Don't you love breaking bad habits?! It's the best...especially when it's done in an easy way like simply being away from home!

    Getting rid of our cable tv has helped me stop watching useless tv (I'm reading a lot more again) and also helped me to drink less. Apparently I'm more prone to have a glass in my hand while mindlessly watching tv, but not so much when I'm reading a book. WIN WIN!!

  2. Welcome back!

    Running in humidity blows. Big time. I hate how tired and icky I feel.

  3. Welcome back!! You were missed!

    Sounds like you had a great trip! You did better than I do on road trips- usually it's chocolate and chips that I consume! Two pounds is not bad at.all!!

    Good job on the runs. It's hard when you want to be active but know that it will lead to over training and injury. Running really is the best sport- you can do it anywhere!

  4. Many people believe that one can never have ice cream a few too many times. Revisit #18 please.

  5. Welcome back!! Hope you had a wonderful trip.

    I think only gaining 2 pounds is awesome!! I usually gain at least 5 pounds every time I get out of my normal routine, sometimes even if it's just a weekend.

    Yes, running or any kind of exercise in the humidity is complete and utter misery.

  6. Glad to see you back and sounds like a great time was had. Way to get in your runs while you were gone, and only 2 lbs is fantastic!