Monday, September 22, 2014

The post about a London adventure, feeling shite and getting back to reality

Flight from Stockholm to London...then at my lodging in London!

  • What an adventure I have had. Time to return to reality:-) And trust me, I'm so happy to be home with my family. It was definitely hard being away from Julien. Especially since he was cast a few days before I left. He is no longer in a cast. Turned out his broken fibula was just a sprain. Thank goodness!!!!
  • I traveled from Stockholm to London on the 16th. I had a hard time that day. I was missing my family. And I was nervous to be traveling to London alone. Getting from Heathrow to Central London seemed a daunting task. And it was. I landed at the most inopportune time. Five pm. That's right. I got into London during rush hour. I was stuck in a subway car with no escape at 6:30pm. Luckily some Londoner in a suit took pity on me and got me out of the Tube at my stop. I think crying uncontrollably helped!
  • I stayed in Camden in Central London. Which was awesome. Walking distance to everywhere. And surprisingly enough I knew about a lot of places in London from the historic romance novels I read. Hangs head in shame...

Sites seen around London:-)

  • I was blessed to meet some really awesome people in London. I was treated like a Queen. I met up with Frank whom I follow on Twitter. He took me around London on foot. I honestly have no idea how far we walked, but we walked a lot. Such a gentleman Frank was. We've been friends on Twitter for a while and it was a pleasure to finally meet him.
  • I also met with my best friend's cousin. We haven't seen each other since the "wedding party" seven years ago, so it was super great to catch up! Val took me to Cafe Rouge at Hays Galleria for salad and wine. Lots of laughing an a fun evening!
  • I also had the very humbling privilege of meeting with a couple of my favorite bloggers Tanvee and Ayesha. Such an awesome experience and such beautiful women inside and out. And I got to meet Tanvee's extremely lovely husband Terrence. Such a great person and they are so incredibly cute together! 

Clockwise: Ayesha, Tanvee and Terrence, Val, Frank

  • Something that was not on point during my vacation? My exercise and food consumption. I ran the half marathon with Tanya on the 13th...and that's it. Yes I walked a lot, but didn't run again until yesterday morning. I ran a pretty brutal 6K. I knew it wasn't going to be fun, but I sucked it up and did it. I felt better for having gotten out there. This evening I'm cycling 21K up the escarpment and back down. Need to just get right back into doing what I need to do. 
  • While away I definitely over indulged. In wine and cheese. No grains, but wine, cheese and sauces. In Sweden the cheese is ridiculously delicious. Cheese and dates and wine. And in London, the blue cheese is equally delicious. I have eaten more cheese in the past couple of weeks than I have in the last year before that! So how did my digestive system do with all this cheese? It got used to it. Dairy no longer bothers me. This is not good! So starting yesterday...No more dairy! And wine only on the weekend again. And only protein and veggies grown above ground for the next month. I feel bloated and ugh! My clothing still fits, but doesn't feel right. I don't have a scale since we moved but I will be weighing in at the gym. I need to detoxify.
  • And I need to start running regularly again. Running is my favorite exercise. It's what works me the hardest and I felt best physically and emotionally when I ran 5 days a week. So starting yesterday, I'm going back to my 5-day running schedule. Mondays and Fridays are my running rest days. Today I'm going to cycle, but in the future those are the days I'll be going to the gym. So I aim to be active everyday of the week. 
  • Next month I find out if I'm going to be heading back over the pond in April to run the London Marathon. If I get a lottery spot, it will be my first and likely only marathon. My Morton's Neuroma makes it very difficult for me to run long distance. The half marathon and 30K is doable for me. Doable but painful. Adding another 12K onto that could be torturous. But if given the opportunity, I'd have to do it. It will be a challenge and I won't back down from a challenge.
  • So here I am. Back in reality. It's great to be home with my family again. I missed them loads. And Skype is an awesome thing. Even when you're far away, you don't feel like it. Back to work today. A crisp fall day it's going to be. My favorite time of year for the clothing options. And I'm bringing my lunch. Two cans of salmon, broccoli and lots of cucumber. Today is day 2 of Operation Detoxify European Vacation. I'm not even going to remotely whine or complain. I could have done things differently and chose not to. So now it's time to pay the piper. And I need to just do it:-)

Drank cappuccino every day here in London. Apparently I am the nations favorite coffee place:-)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The post about an epic run and a bra jobbat at the Stockholm Halv

Before, during and after the race.

  • Ran an epic race with my gal Tanya yesterday. What made this race epic? The fact that it was Tanya's first half marathon, and my first international race. I wore a Canada shirt that I bought at the Running Room. I had to represent!
  • It was a strange start time for me. Four o'clock in the afternoon! I have never done a long run late in the day. I am a morning runner. I'm not sure it worked out well for me. I wasn't sure what I should eat. I didn't want to have any stomach issues during the race. Running for 2+ hours can really suck if you have indigestion. 
  • I came to Stockholm to run with Tanya so the plan was that we would stay together and take our time. We had fun. That was the whole point. I don't even know what our time was. We crossed the start line together and crossed the finish line together. We probably did a 2.5 hour half. That is a great time for a first half and truth be told, I was not in my best running form.
  • I took scale back week to the extreme. I ran 18K on the Sunday before the half...then didn't run again until I ran the half. NOT A GOOD PLAN and an important lesson learned. My hammies were so tight by around 15K it wasn't funny. My toes were also cramped up real good by this time. The last 6K was pretty painful with the  Morton's Neuroma. I could feel the neuroma pressing down into my shoe every step I took.
  • Some interesting observations during this race. There were lots of spectators. We ran through very touristy areas of Stockholm. The people were an excited and high energy group. But no one makes poster board signs. Not a sign to be seen anywhere. Everyone yelled "bra jobbat" pronounced bra yobbit which means "good job".
  • Stockholm is a very hilly city. We ran up and down so may hills. We walked around all day Friday and I didn't really take note of the hills until I had to run them. Hilly but beautiful.
  • We started the race by running through a tunnel for about 700m. I've decided that I do not like running through tunnels. It was freaking hot in there! No air flow and boy did I sweat...then got immediately chilled once we ran outdoors again.
  • The refreshment stations served water, sports drinks, Pepsi, bananas, energy bars and some candies that reminded me of Sweet Tarts. I'm sure they had electrolites in them but they were powdery. It seemed strange to not get any gels. I can't eat food while I run because if anyone's gonna expire during a run, it will be me trying to choke down an energy bar. I did take a bite and they were yummy peanut butter flavor, but I couldn't have more than a small nibble.
  • There was a station near the end of the race where they sprayed your legs with a special muscle spray. It made my calves tingle and the jury's still out on whether or not I liked it.Throughout the course were live bands set up on stages with different genres of music. The Garmin Power Station had a metal band which made me immediately think of Linda:-)
  • After the race we got a bag of goodies which included a banana, cashews, raisins, Pepsi, a Swedish chocolate bar and cooling muscle gel. We also got water and sweet buns (which I declined). 
  • All in all the race was well organized. They did staggered starts. The elites started at 3:30 pm, I was supposed to start at 3:55 pm, but started at 4:05 pm with Tanya. When I tried to go into her corral, they kept telling me I had to go to F. Strict! But I got to stay with Tanya. There were lots of water stations and toilets. And baggage check was a dream.
  • This was an awesome experience. I am so proud of Tanya for completing her first half marathon upright and smiling...which was our ultimate goal. Stockholm is a beautiful city to run through and the weather was perfect fall weather to run in. Once we got home, we opened a Red California Zinfandel to celebrate and ate a couple squares  of dark chocolate each with it. Well deserved treats for an awesome run and a bra jobbat:-)

Medals and California zinfandel. A winning combination!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Greetings from Sweden:-)

My flight from Toronto to Newark to Stockholm.

Hej hej! I'm here! The land of Vikings and fair haired beautiful blond people:-)  A quick picture post. The first group is my journey here, the second what I saw around Stockholm today. Also a pic of my running bib and the best smoked salmon I've ever had!

Swedish pigeons eat ice cream:-) And they have Metro here too!!!

Some observations I've made while here. In general, people are quite fit. I've encountered very few smokers. Swedes do not greet strangers, but they are very polite and helpful. The coffee here is awesome...even the stuff sold at the gas station. But they don't use cream, only milk. Many, many fathers take on the role of caretaker, which is pretty hot. Plastic is the main form of currency here. The biggest atrocity you can commit here is to harm a child or animal. Stockholm is beautiful:-)
This was sooooooo yummy. I could eat this every day!!!
There's a Canadian flag on my that!!!!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The post about a European vacation

Well, I am leaving for Stockholm today with a very heavy heart. I am leaving my family for 4 days. And on Sunday...almost 1 year to the day that I broke my fibula, Julien broke his while playing at a neighbor's house. I know he'll be fine because my husband is going to be awesome, but what timing! I'm anxious enough leaving him for 10 days...

My poor Boo getting cast at Urgent Care on Sunday.

Just a real quick post to let you all know that I won't have access to a laptop. Any brief posts I do will be off of my phone. Probably just pictures and a few words. Stockholm Halv is on Saturday. Although my head is all over the place right now, I'm excited to see Tanya and her boy. And I'm excited to run in Sweden. Got a Canada running shirt to make sure I'm representing:-) I will be Tweeting and Instagraming and my posts will show up on my Poonapalooza Facebook page. Feel free to follow along:-) Back to regular blogging when I get back on the 20th and life has had time to settle down! Now gotta get ready because I'm leaving on a jet plane:-)

Friday, September 5, 2014

No grains, no gains - Is eating Paleo more expensive?

A group of Primal/Paleo/Grain Free women who blog about their experiences/life/benefits without grains. A great way for others (who may be wanting to lose weight, reverse an acute/chronic health trend, and/or transition from commercial weight loss programs) to read about real life women who are living the life and succeeding.

This month's topic is about whether eating grain free, low carb, high protein is expensive. That is a fair question and an easy assumption to make. Following the Paleo lifestyle means that my food expenses are taken up mostly by produce and protein. The most expensive things on any shopping list. I have had to live on a very tight budget through the years. My son is still quite young (6 yrs old) and we're currently a one income household and have been since he was a year old. So how do I afford to eat the way I do? Savvy shopping!

First off, I do not eat organic. I know there are laws around selling organic, but unless I grow it my own garden, how do I really know? Horrible attitude I know. And the other reason I don't eat organic? I can't afford it! Lets face it, processed carbs, refined sugar and prepared foods are easy and cheaper. The foods I buy are made up of one ingredient. Chicken, cabbage, beets, tomatoes, onions, get the gist. It's up to me to make it into something. 

Prior to my lifestyle change, I wanted meals to be quick and easy. Anything that required prep before hand was considered too much work. I also ate crappy,processed prepared food. Eating the way I do takes little planning. Throw some protein in a marinade (olive oil, garlic and lemon juice go a long way), grill it with a couple of veggie sides and I've got myself a meal! Easy...but back to food costs.

Since I'm not made of money, and meat and produce can be pricey, I have become quite the frugal shopper. I live in Southern Ontario, Canada. There are several grocery stores that do something called price matching. Every Wednesday night in my neighborhood is flyer night. A roll of store flyers are delivered door to door. I love flyer night. I get a glass of wine, pull out all the grocery flyers and a black marker and get to work. I circle all the advertised specials of the week for meat/fish and produce. Doesn't matter where the deal is, if it's in a flyer, it's fair game. 

After completing this task, I make my grocery list. Whatever is on sale for the week, makes my list. Then I take the list, and the circled flyers (you have to show the advertised price) to the grocery store that does price matching and they will give me the sale items for the prices advertised regardless of whether or not they have the item on sale or not. I have been doing this for years now. Since I started on Dr. Poon 3 years ago. On meat alone, I can save upwards of $30 per week. But on average my food bill for a family of 3 is around $100 per week. This past week it was only $75. That's pretty decent since our staple is meat.

I've become quite efficient at price matching and have a pretty smooth system worked out. And I price match non food items too. Even if I'm saving just a little per item, it all adds up! We also keep eating out to a minimum. Once every other week. One restaurant bill is a half week's worth of groceries. But it's fun to have a family meal out once in a while as a treat. I hear the excuse that eating healthy is expensive. It doesn't have to be. All it takes is some planning and a bit of time. It's so worth it though. The changes in your health are worth it. You're worth it. 

Check out my blogging buddies. They're gonna share their opinions on whether or not eating grain free is expensive. I'm sure they have tips on keeping the costs down as well. 

Garden Girl
The Sunny Coconut

What eating grain free has done for me. Just got my new health card. I have a neck again:-)

Friday, August 29, 2014

The post about a summer vacation, time ticking away and car repairs

Having fun at Cedar Point.

We had a great trip to Sandusky Ohio. Julien had a blast. I will share more when I get there during my catch-up posts. I will say that I went on some scary shit rides. And I saw a few people turned away because they were too big to fit on rides. I know that feeling all too well. Sometimes it's hard to get my head around the fact that I'm small enough to fit in ride restraints...and they don't touch me at all. The shoulder restraints make me feel unsafe. They're so roomy, it feels like they're loose. But, I went, I rode, I didn't say no regardless of how scary it was. This is why I changed my lifestyle. To do stuff like this with my son. We had an awesome time!

Time is ticking away. Before I know it I'll be on a plane headed to Stockholm. This makes me anxious. I've never been away from Julien for more than a night. I know I'll have a great time, and I feel a lot selfish, but this is a great opportunity for me. One I'll likely never repeat (unless I win the lottery for the London Marathon in April). If I don't get into London, I'll not be too heartbroken, and I won't be entering again. Next year all of my trips will be of the family variety!

My car died. It's in the garage right now getting a new engine. I can't even talk about it. Because I drive so much for work, my car goes through a lot of wear and tear. I didn't want to pay for the repairs and if I wasn't still paying for it, I'd have dumped it and just gotten a new car. But I have a year of payments left, so I had to bite the bullet. Can't make 3 car payments at once. I'm still paying for my husband's car too.

I leave you with some more video of my trip up to Cutler to visit my birth mother's final resting place. Again, lots of silliness and lip syncing. Proud of the fact that I know all the words to Mack the Knife:-)



Friday, August 22, 2014

The post about some upcoming rain and lip syncing

Been a busy couple of days. We did the Canadian National Exhibition and the Canadian Wartime Heritage Museum. My dad's visiting for a couple of days and Julien is sick...only a couple days before we leave for Cedar Point in Sandusky Ohio:-( Poor Boo. He's just got a cold so he should be okay. Time is flying right now! Only a few more weeks before I board a plane headed for Stockholm. So excited to see Tanya again:-)

Here's a few videos from my road trip to Cutler to visit my birth mother's resting place. Everything I'm posting is in chronological order. Lots of silliness because there's nothing to do but make your own fun during a 5.5 hour car ride:-)