Sunday, June 12, 2016

Weekend Recap

This weekend I was fortunate to be able to run in a 10k here in Calgary. It was the Calgary Run for Water, and was held on Saturday, June 11th.

I have to say that it was tough! The run started at 10:30 a.m. and I only finished at about 11:42 a.m. I ran fairly slowly. I got a cramp in my right side after about 3k and it didn't really go away.

I was so happy to finish, I headed right for the water station. I hadn't brought a water bottle with me during the run, and there were only two water stations on the path, so I don't think I hydrated enough.

On Sunday I did a walk with my partner, it was the JDRF/Telus Walk to Cure Diabetes. This walk was 5k and raised funds for type 1 diabetes research. Since two of my little nieces have this condition, it's a cause very near to my heart. Thus I was happy to be able to participate.

Charley & I waiting for the walk to begin on Sunday.
Other than these two events, I took it pretty easy this weekend. I found I was pretty weak after the run on Saturday and my legs were sore on Sunday (I'm not an especially great runner yet haha).

How was your weekend?


Sunday, June 5, 2016

Weekend Trip to Spokane, Washington

I wanted to do a little recap about a recent roadtrip I took with my partner. We went to Spokane, Washington over the May long weekend, May 21-23, 2016. It was a lot of fun! We had never visited Spokane before and were impressed by its beauty. It was a very rainy weekend, but that didn't dampen our spirits.

We left early on Saturday morning, driving through B.C. to get there. It took about 7.5 hours total. We were able to go through Idaho, which was just gorgeous (especially going through Sandpoint). I would love to go back there sometime. Spokane is just inside the Washington border.

We stayed at the Ruby2, details here. Although it turned out to be a motel, it was still pretty decent. Affordable rates, and a great location. Breakfast was included as well, however it turned out to be pretty basic. Nevertheless, I would probably stay there again because of the proximity to downtown.

On Saturday afternoon we ate lunch at O'Doherty's Irish Pub. It was charming, with dollar bills taped all over the walls. The service was good and we enjoyed our meals. It is located in the downtown of Spokane and is worth a visit.

While we were eating lunch, we overheard that there would be a parade that evening. This parade ended up being part of the Spokane Lilac Festival. We decided to attend, and it was a lot of fun. There were many, many different floats! A lot of people came out to watch.

One of our favourite parts of our visit was to Manito Park. It is one of the most beautiful parks I have ever seen. It is very large and very well maintained, with many lovely flowers and plants. I especially loved the peonies.

Admiring the peonies in Manito Park - don't worry I did not pick this flower, just wanted to hold it out for the photo.
Posing in the Nishinomiya Tsutakawa Japanese Garden, part of Manito Park
We also were able to visit Riverside Park while in the Spokane area, it was gorgeous as well, despite the rain. I felt bad for the campers there, though! We were able to walk around a bit, with our umbrella, and enjoy nature.

Enjoying a walk through Riverside Park. 
Riverside Park, Spokane, Washington
Beautiful plants under the rain
Of course, a trip to the United States isn't complete for us Canadians without a little bit of shopping. I got to stock up on Trader Joe's products, La Croix water (from Target), and some other goodies which I have been enjoying since I returned home.

All in all, a great weekend. Being in nature is always relaxing, and it was nice to get out of Calgary for a few days. We look forward to going back to Spokane as soon as we can.

Giving Up/Starting Over

Well, needless to say (from lack of posts), I gave up half way through my Whole 30. Things are quite busy right now and for me, doing the Whole 30 was adding to my stress. Thus I am taking a hiatus while I get through some things in my life right now, and then I will start again.

I am working on training for my first ever half marathon, which is (for me) a daunting task! I am also preparing to write the DELF B2. For those who aren't aware, this is an exam to certify your level of knowledge in French. I am also still working on a course for my Human Resources certificate, and it is turning out to be quite difficult - Labour Law in Canada. For those who study law, I salute you - this is not easy stuff.

Right now, wellness wise, I am focusing on eating lots of fruits and vegetables, and making sure that I am eating enough. It's hard to get through a run if you aren't fueling your body properly. I am also trying to get lots of sleep.

What are you doing to work on your wellness today?


Monday, May 9, 2016

Soldiering On - Day 6

I am on day 6 of my Whole 30. I have sort of settled into a routine now with what I eat, but that does not mean it is easy! I long to snack on some sort of baked good in the afternoon, as I often did, but of course right now I cannot. I do have some almond flour on hand but on the Whole 30 you are not supposed to have baked goods, there is a specific rule about not replicating desserts with Whole 30 compliant ingredients. Thus, I am trying to comply. But it is hard!

Another challenge for me is that my partner is not doing the Whole 30, and so he is still eating whatever he likes. That means I have to watch him eat doritos while I eat frozen pineapple. I love pineapple and fruit in general, but when you haven't had chips in over a week, you tend to get a craving for them. Oh well, that just means I am building up more willpower, I guess!

I checked out the Whole 30 timeline and apparently days 6 & 7 are generally the "I just want to nap" phase. I do feel a bit more tired than usual, but I have had a pretty bad cold for the past week so I blame that. I'm just waiting for days 16-27 which sound pretty great - tiger blood. Apparently this is when your energy levels skyrocket, and you generally just feel awesome. Can't wait!

What I ate today: green smoothie, mashed potatoes, chicken breast, frozen pineapple, dried apple rings, dates with coconut butter, blackberries. Again, nothing exciting or particularly beautiful, but it did the trick! Do what you can with what you have.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Whole 30 Day 1 - Take Two

Hello!
Well, unfortunately the last two days did not go as planned. I ate as per the Whole 30 guidelines all day on Monday (which was technically day 2), but then for dinner my parents were in town. They live out of province and I don't get to see them often. Anyways, we had dinner with them and since I didn't want to make a fuss, I ate what my sister had prepared. It was delicious but sadly non-whole 30. That one slip turned into more slips yesterday. 

The whole 30 guidelines suggest that if you mess up (by eating or drinking something non-compliant), then you should start over. Of course, that is for each person to decide, depending on what the situation is, or how bad the slip up was, etc. For me, though, I want to do this as honestly as I can, so I decided to start over. Thus, today is day 1. 

I had a smoothie for breakfast made up of pineapple, frozen banana, and coconut milk, along with a couple spinach ice cubes. Smoothies are not recommended or encouraged during the whole 30, but as long as the ingredients are compliant, technically they are allowed. 

My 'sad desk lunch' is pictured below. I made some meatballs yesterday out of ground beef, chopped fresh basil, chopped tomatoes, and chopped red onion. For my first attempt at meatballs, they turned out alright. Their taste is better than their appearance. I am also having some veggies and pistachios.
Whole 30 Meal - aka sad desk lunch

I am trying to go about this journey by being as frugal and non-wasteful as I can be. I have seen some really lovely Whole 30 meals around the internet, mine tend to look more like this picture. But that's okay. 

If anyone has any tips for the Whole 30, or tips for eating better in general, I would love to hear them. 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Whole 30 Day 1

Good evening!
I wasn't sure I'd get this written tonight but thought it was important to try to be consistent. Today, May 1st, was the first day of my whole 30. I have to say, based on what I had read from other people's experiences with this plan, I thought that day 1 would be easy. Unfortunately, for me, it was not.

I had eaten lots of treats last night (in preparation for 30 days without them) so I woke up this morning feeling not hungry at all - in fact, a bit stuffed, still. Thus I did not eat breakfast right away. Around 10 a.m. I ate five dried dates stuffed with coconut butter (by the way, if you have not tasted this yet, you should try it - they are delicious). I also had a coffee with a bit of coconut milk, and some lemon water.

For lunch I had some chopped orange and apple in a bowl. Again, I was not that hungry because I had eaten so much late in the evening yesterday. Then headed out for a walk. It was very hot out today! I think it was at least 20 degrees Celsius out. I foolishly did not bring water with me so by the time I got home I was famished and quite cranky. I wanted to have a fudgesicle (like my partner was doing) but instead I made myself a whole 30 compliant smoothie with some pineapple, spinach, coconut milk, and ice cubes. It was very filling, likely because of the fat in the coconut milk.

Dinner was some lemon roasted potatoes - I will have to share my recipe sometime because they are delicious. I meant to make some meatballs out of ground beef, tomato, red onion, and basil, but didn't get to it because the meat was still thawing (I took it out of the freezer too late). I would have also liked to eat some kettle corn tonight but I didn't think I should give up so soon.

I also took some "before" pictures and weighed myself. I know I am not supposed to weigh myself during the 30 days, so we will see how that goes, as I am used to doing it everyday. I have heard however that weighing yourself everyday can be a bad thing, especially for some people. Thus if this is something that has a negative effect on your self-esteem or your body image, I would suggest trying to cut back on how often you step on the scale. Maybe try for once per week instead of everyday.

Tomorrow will be day 2 of my whole 30, I'm looking forward to see how it turns out!
Stephanie


Springtime Volunteering


Currently I'm on the lookout for a volunteering opportunity. I have volunteered on and off in the past, but it's been years since I did so regularly. Lately I have been taking advantage of volunteering opportunities through my work, but those are not on a regular basis, and I would like to do something more consistently. I am trying to choose between the following organizations:

The Elizabeth Fry Society
This organization helps women in tough situations, particularly marginalized women who are incarcerated. My sister is working there at the moment and it seems like a great place to give back. I like the idea of working with an organization that benefits women. I'm not sure how helpful I could be at this organization, though, so I'm not sure yet. I want to make sure I choose a place where I can actually be useful.

The Kerby Centre
The Kerby Centre is a non-profit which aims to improve quality of life for older adults. I really like the thought of working with seniors. I've heard that older adults can often face difficult situations, such as being isolated (or even worse, elder abuse), so if I could give back in this way and help make a few people's lives better, I would be very happy.

Distress Centre
This organization helps people in crisis, responding to calls from those who are having a hard time. Although I think this might be difficult at times, I think it would be very worthwhile and rewarding. I think I am a good listener, and I like talking to people. I have considered going into the counselling field in the past and this might be a good chance to explore that.

Well, those are the three I'm looking at for now. If you know of another organization in the Calgary area that's looking for volunteers, I'd love to hear about it.


Have a fabulous day!
Stephanie