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June 2014 Goal Check-In and 3 for July

Posted Jun 30 2014 8:30am

Hey guys!

How was your weekend? If you’re Canadian, you might be enjoying a nice long 4-day one since Canada Day has fallen on a Tuesday this year, and if that’s the case, I’m jealous! I’m actually taking this Friday, July 4th off and working the rest of the week because my team is small and someone’s gotta be there to keep the lights on! No grand plans yet, but I’m sure they’ll materialize over the course of the week.

Speaking of July, it’ll be here tomorrow which means it’s time for one of these:

monthly goal check-in

June was a month of many firsts, and a lot of great memories too. Summer took long enough to get here, so each day I’ve been trying to soak in as much as possible. The Subaru Guelph Lake Duathlon was by far the highlight, and my next racing challenge isn’t far away. Let’s check out the progress, shall we?

1. Do at least one trail run per week. B-

Ok, not quite. To be honest, I did a total of 2 – one short and one long – and managed to incorporate little bits of (very flat) trails in some of my outdoor runs. Trail running is something I’m thoroughly enjoying, but I find it really hard to do throughout the week.

out for a trail run

As I mentioned on Friday, this weekend I met up with a new running group coordinated through  Runner’s Choice Waterloo . The ability levels were mixed – some newbies, some super crazy advanced ultra trail runners. I found myself somewhere in the middle and opted to stay back with the slower group, running ahead and looping back rather than trying to push harder than I was comfortable with amongst the faster ones. (At this point, injuries are the last thing I want to deal with!)

post-long trail run at crawford lake

According to my Garmin we did a total of 14.75 miles, which included some very rocky parts that we couldn’t help but walk at the beginning and end of our route. It was longer than my upcoming half marathon, but I was happy to log the extra distance because apparently  The North Face Endurance Challenge at Blue Mountain has a very challenging course. It’s only 2 weeks away, and I’m feeling more prepared than when I started but I know the hills will be steeper than anything I’ve trained on yet. Just like the  duathlonI’m going into this with only two goals, which are to finish and to have fun.  This will be my first trail race, so I guess no matter what happens, it’ll be a PR!

after face planting on the hydrocut trails

Post-face plant with a very dirty shirt and soon-to-be very bruised knees.

2. Mix up my cross training to include more upper body muscle recruitment. A-

Yep, this happened! Strength training wasn’t brilliant but cardio cross training was. I said at the beginning of the month that swimming and rowing were going to replace a lot of stair climbing and elliptical sessions, and while my dislike for the rowing machine has been reaffirmed, swimming has been one of my favourite parts of the week. Tuesday is ‘swim day’, so after a nice sweaty cycling session, I head down to the pool. It feels so good to stretch out in the water and I’ve noticed that any muscle soreness or stiffness the next day seems to be reduced in comparison to other cycling days when I don’t swim after. I’m feeling more efficient in the water than back at the beginning of June and have also managed to increase my distance covered in the 30 minutes I spend splashing about! Maybe I’ll have to give triathlon a go one of these days…. ;)

3. Start my patio garden! A+

This has been so much fun! At the beginning of June I made a rather expensive trip to a local nursery and bought a bunch of plants (mostly greens and herbs), as well as  this vertical planter . These were the before photos:

my garden at beginning of june

And this is what it looks like now:

herbs - june 30

This photo was taken on a really hot day (hence a bit of wilting) after having harvested lots of the herbs for a recipe. Everything seems to be growing well except the two lettuces on the bottom, which would have probably done better in their own pot.

kale spinach and wheatgrass

Kale (which I wish I’d planted more of), spinach (which doesn’t seem to be growing as fast as expected), and wheatgrass (which I’ve been adding to smoothies… but there’s a lot more there than I need!)

swiss chard and mesclun mix - june 29

Rainbow chard and mesclun mix – both growing like weeds. YAY!

This is going to sound ridiculous, but I’m going to say it anyway at the risk of you thinking I’m crazy: This rainbow chard amazes me. Each morning when I get home from the gym, I’ll make a trip out to my patio to grab some greens if I’m in a smoothie-for-breakfast mood, or herbs and greens if I’m in an omelette mood. The rainbow chard is so delicious, and the part that’s amazing is the randomocity of it all. I’ll go out to pick some and I swear, there are new stems that shoot up every day – bright pinky-red ones and orangey-yellow ones. It’s like down in that soil, a little chard brain is going, “hmm.. maybe I’ll grow a pink one today”, or “maybe I’m in more of a yellow mood”. Yeah, see? I’m nuts.

I had some leftover potting soil so I also bought a blueberry plant, which I’m told will have some lovely blueberries growing on it mid-summer. In the meantime, I’ve been watering it as instructed and leaving it in (mostly) full sun during the day. No bloobs yet but I’m hopeful for August!

blueberry plant

And now that it’s nearly a brand new month…

3 goals for July

1. Complete the North Face Endurance Challenge half marathon.

You’ve read enough about this race already for one post, but I can’t not have it as one of my focuses this month. There are 2 weeks to go and I don’t plan to log really hard workouts between now and race day because my right Achilles tendon has been giving me some mild stiffness issues.

2. Save $$$!

Every summer I look forward to a number of things, including but not limited to: sunshine, flip flops, sundresses, outdoor workouts, watermelon, BBQ everything, my birthday, the Lululemon  SeaWheeze  half marathon, and spontaneous road trips. Unfortunately though, there’s one thing that comes up every August that I don’t look forward to, and that’s my annual insurance renewal. I prefer to get it all out of the way at once (rather than monthly payments) but that means a pretty big hit to my bank account. It’s been a rather spendy summer already, so I know I need to smarten up and do a better job at saving.

Big Batch Meal Prep - Lemony Chickpea Tabbouleh Salad - Eat Spin Run Repeat

 The plan is:

  • Mix more plant-based proteins in to meals (specifically beans) because they’re cheaper than animal-based sources
  • Get back into the habit of planning out my dinners at the beginning of the week. Normally I get all of my lunches made on Sundays, but lately dinners have been a “whatever I feel like when I get home” sort of deal, which often means an extra stop at the grocery store.
  • Better planning of blog recipes. Guys, I would buy the whole grocery store if I could each time I visit. Inspiration runs through my head like crazy whenever I step inside and before I know it, I’ve got the ingredients for 5+ unplanned kitchen creations. The new plan is to pick 2 per weekend maximum, aiming to use similar ingredients in each. (This is also one of my general meal planning tricks – it helps to keep the number of items in your grocery cart down, and allows you to buy in bulk which tends to be cheaper.)
  • Take a break from buying running shoes. It pains me to say it, but I’ve gotta cut myself off from this obsession… for a while. ;)

I sat down over the weekend to take a look at my summer budget, set some saving goals for the next 2 months, and now I just have to focus on the three things above. As always, I’ll report back at the end of the month with my progress!

3. De-stress for at least 15 minutes each day.

One of my goals for 2014 was to manage daily stress more effectively, and let’s just say June was not an exemplary month of that! I’ve been working some pretty long hours recently and while my morning workouts set me up with a huge boost of energy for the day, I’d be lying if I said that I’m not finishing the day with a million things on my mind – not just work-related. The thing is, situations are only stressful because we choose to interpret them that way. If you’re like me, you probably worry about things you can’t control even though you know it’s silly to do so.

(Source)

(Source)

The consequences of not slowing down a bit have hit me hard, specifically my digestive system. (Yes, again. Fun times – not!) I don’t know if “stress belly” is already a coined term, but I’m using it to describe the painful bloated feeling that I get when I’m feeling particularly tense and on-edge. I’m sure stress is the culprit because on weekends when I’m relaxing, it goes away. Have you ever experienced the same thing? To combat said stress belly, I’m going to do the following:

  • Go for walks at lunch time if it’s nice outside (and yes, that means I’ll be taking my lunch breaks rather than working through them whenever possible)
  • Meditate and/or stretch before bed at least 3x per week – something I’ve had reasonable success with in the past, but I’m going to try really hard this time!
  • Make a list before going to bed of the things I want to do the next day so I’m not constantly thinking about them.

Phew, ok that’s it. Now it’s over to you! Tell me…

  • How did you do on your June goals? Anything big and exciting to shout from the rooftops? Please do!
  • What are you aiming for in July?
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