Tag Archives: New Year

January Goals: Laying The Foundation

9 Jan

launchpadSo, now that I have started 2012 off with a week of inspiration from guest bloggers, it is time for me to solidify my own goals for this year. In short, this year is going to be about me. That does not mean that I will ignore my children, refuse to cook dinner for my family, and let everyone go around in dirty clothes. It simply means that I will do a better job of taking care of myself.

Since becoming a mother, I have put the needs of my family first. Which is fine – the truth is that ultimately, everything I do is for my kids. The problem is that I have been taking care of everyone else at the expense of myself. This has led to me being overwhelmed, exhausted, and in many instances, frustrated and unhappy. In a way, I have allowed the essence of me to get lost, to be buried underneath all of the layers of responsibility that I have imposed upon myself.

And so, this year, I am going to find some balance. I am going to pursue some dreams that have been in the horizon of my mind for some time. I believe that being more balanced, less tired, and more in tune with myself will benefit everyone around me.

In 2012, I am aiming to make great strides in my running. With the help of my friend and coach Phaedra Kennedy, I am going to break 2:10:00 in my Run for Autism in October. I am going to make inroads in the world of writing. And come hell or high water, I am going to develop a positive relationship with food that allows me to build good nutritional habits. The old pattern of alternating binge eating with starving myself is going to come to an end. Sometimes I’m thin, sometimes I’m fat, sometimes I’m in between. I’m tired of the yo-yo, and it makes clothes shopping impossible.

My focus in January will be to lay the groundwork for success. This is my plan:

  • I will realign my sleeping habits to go to bed earlier, so I can wake up early in the mornings to run without feeling like I’ve been hit by a Mack truck. When I start my training program on January 30th, I will be used to getting up at five in the morning. My body will have already made that adjustment.
  • I will learn how to do the strength training exercises that Phaedra gave me, so I can incorporate them in my training program right off the bat.
  • I have ordered my Precision Nutrition kit (thanks, Phaedra, for the tip). When it arrives, I will not just dive into it like an overexcited puppy. I will take the time to look over it properly, learn how to use it, and plan appropriately.
  • I will contact a web designer about revamping my site to incorporate both my blog and a general writing component. That will make it easier for me to market myself as a freelance writer.
  • Since I already have a day job, I will start to use my commutes for writing. That’s exactly why Santa brought me this nifty little ’puter that I am writing this post on.

By the end of this month, I will have built myself a launch pad, and I will be able to spend the rest of the year in pursuit of my goals.

Hop on, it’s going to be a wild ride!

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Rain and Orange Jackets

4 Jan

On New Years Day, I woke up feeling a little tired, but without any trace of a hangover.  This has less to do with any miracle cure than with the fact that our festivities (a word I use very loosely for lack of a better term) were somewhat restrained in nature.  I got dressed in my running clothes, and while the rest of my household was still sleeping, I drove out to Whitby to take part in the 2011 Resolution Run.

The weather was absolutely foul.  It was cold, and there was so much rain that when I got to the venue, I almost needed a canoe in order to cross the parking lot.  On a day like that, I was grateful that the event was starting and ending at a community centre with enough real washrooms to accommodate the crowd.  This is a big deal for female runners.  I mean, have you ever tried peeing in a Porta-potty while it’s raining cats and dogs?  If you haven’t, don’t.  It’s not pleasant.

I was struck by how many runners there were.  This was New Years Day, the day after what was, for many, a long night of hard partying.  Among a couple of thousand runners, there must have been more than a few hangovers or, at the least, people feeling totally exhausted.  And it was cold.  And raining so much that at the end of the 5km my shoes were squelching.  All of the runners who were there were showing some pretty incredible insanity obsession dedication.

I was also struck by the sea of orange.  Every year, the Running Room gives away running jackets to Resolution Run registrants.  The jackets are always different: this year, they were orange.  And because the vast majority of us were running in our new jackets, the crowd as a whole looked kind of – well, flourescent.  We were probably visible from the moon, like some kind of beacon.  I felt sorry for anyone with a hangover who had to look at that.

The jacket is really very nice, though.

The run itself went well.  It’s been a long time since I ran in a 5km event, and it was kind of nice to just be able to go hell-for-leather and not worry about pacing strategies.  I finished the run in just over 32 minutes, which I was happy with considering what the weather was like.  Hell, I was happy to just get out and run, considering what the weather was like.  If I hadn’t been registered for this event, there’s no way I would have gone out for a run.

What did you do on New Years Day?  Were you nursing a hangover or starting to make good on your New Years Resolutions?

The Ghost of New Years Past

1 Jan

We rang in the new year without incident last night.  Although it must be said, the term “rang in” is a little grand for what we did.  It implies activity other than Gerard and I lounging on the couch in our bathrobes, watching TV and drinking wine.  We tuned in to CNN about seven seconds before midnight, had a kiss and exchanged Happy New Year greetings, and that was  that.  We did call my Mom right after midnight.  For her it was seven in the morning and she was up and about, so we were able to have a lovely chat.

New Year celebrations when I was a kid were always a family affair.  My Mom has two siblings: a brother (now deceased) and a sister, who back then lived with my grandmother, who was still alive at the time.  Every year we would rotate the celebrations: one household would host Christmas, a second would host New Year, and the third would have a break for the year.  On the evening of December 31st, aunts, uncles, cousins, and Granny would assemble at the designated home, and we would all have dinner (comprised primarily of leftovers from Christmas).  Before midnight we would head outside with our bottles of sparkling wine (us kids were allowed a small amount to see in the New Year with).

Bear in mind that this was in South Africa, when New Years Day falls slap bang in the middle of summer.  Being outside at midnight at that time of year is actually very pleasant.  It’s not something I would voluntarily try in Canada unless I was on my way from one indoor place to another.

We would have the TV on in the living room, not to watch but to listen to.  We would form a big circle, everyone would be given their glass of sparkling wine, and we would count down with the TV.  At the stroke of midnight, we would drink our toast to the New Year, join hands and sing Auld Lang Syne.  There would be hugs and kisses, and then out of respect for tradition, the first person to step into the house would be my cousin Ivan, who was the male with the darkest hair.

I used to love our family New Year celebrations.  I had a very close friendship with the two cousins closest to me in age, and we always loved spending the time together (funny that the three of us each live in separate countries now).  The sense of family and togetherness was wonderful.  There were sometimes episodes of family drama at other times of the year, but somehow, on that day, we would all come together as a harmonious unit.

As we got older and started getting boyfriends and girlfriends and lives of our own, the family New Year celebrations started to fall by the wayside.  I think the passing of Granny when I was 14 or 15 had an effect as well.  The family celebrations did continue for a couple of years after that, but they were never the same.  Add the fact that at that time, the older of the cousins started getting jobs, going to colleges, and moving away from home.  The simple progression of life had the effect of fragmenting the family.

Now that I have a husband-to-be and kids of my own, it is time for me to form my own New Years traditions.  Maybe our family celebrations will not evolve beyond the four of us hanging out in our PJ’s until midnight, and I’m OK with that.  Whatever we do, I would love for my kids to grow up with fond memories of the celebrations, just as I did.

Happy New Year to anyone reading this.  May 2011 be the year for you to accomplish all you wish for.

2011: Aiming for 1:59:59

30 Dec

Today is the first anniversary of my pinched nerves.  I am almost tempted to go out and buy a cake with one candle, in recognition of the day I went to the chiropractor and left with a bundle of pinched nerves in my neck and going down my left arm, that put me out of action for three months.  I would not want to celebrate the incident itself, but the fact that I got through it and am now in the process of planning out my 2011 running season.  Or maybe I just want cake and I cannot come up with a better excuse.

Either way, I am oddly superstitious about this day.  I feel that if I can get through today without incident, I will be fine.  I just have to avoid walking under ladders and avoid the cracks in the sidewalk.  I am planning a treadmill run at the gym later on, on the assumption that I am not tempting fate.

Be that as it may, my running has taken a little bit of a dive over the last few weeks.  I had a bout of bronchitis that sidelined me for three weeks, and getting back into it has been surprisingly difficult.  It’s not that I’m in bad physical shape.  It’s that I came back from my illness setting ridiculous paces at the start of my runs that I can only sustain for 5km or so.  I’ve always been perfectly happy to start slow and build up to my target pace.  Why the sudden need to be a speed demon?  It’s not like I’m winning the Olympic Marathon anytime soon.

My poor pacing has the effect of making me feel a bit despondant about my running.  I fade at the fifth or sixth kilometre, and one of two things happens.  Either I finish my planned distance a lot more slowly than intended.  Or I simply cut the run short.  Neither scenario goes well with my psyche.  Both make me feel like I have a big red L on my forehead.

It is time now for me to pick myself up, dust myself off, and start running again properly.  That means proper planning, proper pacing, proper nutrition, and not being too lazy to take five minutes to stretch at the end of each run.

I have just gone online to order the 2011 Runners World calendar.  This calendar is amazing.  It has gorgeous photographs of “Rave Runs” – beautiful trails and paths that people run on.  It has race listings, running tips, inspirational quotes, and space to plan.  Simply having this thing on my wall on 2010 has been a great motivator for me.

Now I am planning my racing calendar for the year.  I am going to start out this coming Saturday, New Years Day, with the Running Room Resolution Run.  This is really more of a fun run than a race.  It is not chip timed, and I don’t even think the course is officially certified for the distance.  But that’s OK.  What better way could there be for a struggling runner to start off the new year?

My next racing event will be Harry’s Spring Run-Off on April 2nd.  It is only 8km, but the location – High Park – has so many big hills that it will feel like 10km.  I am doing this race specifically to have hills to train for.  I need the discipline, and when I am registered for races, I am actually pretty good at sticking to the right kinds of training programs for them.  Here is a promo video for the race.

Usually I would do the Sporting Life 10K down Yonge Street on the first Sunday in May, but since I am getting married the day before this year’s event, I should probably give it a miss for 2011.  So my next run will be the Toronto Women’s Half-Marathon in Sunnybrook Park.  I am really looking forward to this, not only because a fellow member of my running club is running it with me, but because the water station manned by shirtless firefighters.  Not to mention the chocolate station.

After that, I will do either the Acura Ten-Miler (which I hated in 2010, and feel the need to conquer) or the Midsummer Nights Run 15km (follows the same course as the Ten-Miler, so it will be just as much of a victory).

In late September I will do one of my favourite runs ever – the 10km Oasis Zoo Run.  I had a blast at this event a couple of months ago, and it has earned a permanent place in my annual racing calendar.  I cannot find a promo video for it, but here’s a montage of pictures I found of the 2009 event.

Then, on October 16th, I will run in what is by far the most important event in my race calendar.  It is the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half-Marathon, and this is my reason for running.  This is my Run for Autism, the race I do for my son George who has autism, and his little brother James, who is experiencing the challenges of being sibling to a child with autism.  This event is loaded with emotional meaning for me.  Every step I take is for my boys, these beautiful people without whom my life would be empty.  Here is a nice video showing some highlights of the 2010 event.

I have a lofty goal for this year: to break two hours for the half-marathon.  That means shaving 22 minutes off my best time.  I’m going to have to train my ass off.  Literally.  With the amount of training I will have to do, I have no doubt that part of my ass will indeed come off.  Which is a good thing.

Anyway. I am excited about the new year.  Just planning it out is helping me break out of this funk I am in.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone all the best for 2011.  Aim high and whatever you want to achieve, go for it.