Saturday, November 29, 2014

Fitness Recap and a Workout Advent Calendar

I haven’t posted about fitness in a while, so of course, the recap. Scroll down to the bottom for the printable calendar.

This summer I did the 60 classes in 90 day hot yoga challenge at the studio I go to. It was good and bad all at the same time. Positives were that it was nice to not have to think of when or where or how I was going to work out, I just had to show up at certain times and do the moves. It was also nice to not have to worry about caloric intake all summer. Doing that much yoga balances even the most delicious food truck food. I didn’t really lose any weight but my body fat did drop over the challenge and has stayed relatively the same since (I have stopped tracking anything seriously as I know I am in a healthy range for stuff). I also was one of the 12 people who actually completed the challenge. Wahoo!

Camel Pose, 1/2 way class of the challenge

Some of the negatives were that I got kind of sick of yoga. Don’t get me wrong I still love it, but going every single day near the end, plus doing a lot of double classes made me want a few new moves thrown into the standard series. I also found that my practice didn’t improve that much because I was often so exhausted that I wasn’t willing to push myself past my comfort zone. It also took a heck of a lot of time, and wasn’t as fulfilling as finishing training and then doing a race. There was no real finish line, just a check box. Triathlon training was way more rewarding for me.

The end of the challenge I needed a yoga break and the timing coincided with moving, and starting tutoring again. Life got busy. I switched my focus to exercises I could do on my own time, especially running as I did the 5 km Electro Dash (in early September). 
Dance PARTY before the 5km
It was during a MAJOR thunderstorm, so I think the race was cut short, if not, I ran a ridiculously fast time. In general though I did way better for it than expected, especially considering I did ran twice in the 3 month period leading up to it. I wasn’t a huge fan of Electro Dash, it didn’t seem worth the registration costs, but that could have been due to the storm. I will stick with Mud Hero!

Yoga definitely helped with my cardio, and doing HIIT running intervals over the winter has allowed me to get my speed up. I hit my first under 30 min 5km treadmill right before during a training run for the next race. 

The training was for the 5 km in the Scotia Bank Water Front Marathon. I realized this was my first official timed 5 km race, which is funny to think about all the other events I have done over the past few years. 
5km 1st wave start
As mentioned in my last post, it was the morning after a wedding, so I was motivated by the thought of coffee and food at the end of the race. That allowed me to finish in 27:16, which is pretty good considering 4 years ago a 5km run wasn't even possible, let alone a sub 30 min 5 km. 

Considering doing a 5 km seems pretty manageable now, I would like to try a 10 km at some point once I get over my hatred of running more than 30 minutes. The hatred of running unfortunately spread over to most fitness related things for the past few months. I back to loving yoga again, but can only go once in a while due to scheduling. I tried to fit in outside stuff while the weather was  still warm like hiking. 

Ohhh heyy Bruce Trail

Since it got colder, I have been doing a variety of stuff at the gym, but it is a struggle to motivate myself to go. Unless it is a dance class, then I love going. I have started playing soccer again, which is a great way to fit in exercise that doesn’t feel like exercise. And I am walking a ton, which is great, but I’m definitely not doing 4-5x a week like I was for the past year or so.

I need motivation to get me through for a few more months (then I will have “I have to fit into a wedding dress motivation”). This is always the hardest time of year for me to be motivated for anything especially working out. So the WORKOUT ADVENT CALENDAR WAS BORN.

24 exercises, 25 days. Go. There is no order, so if I want to have 4 active rest days right now I can, but that would be foolish. I’m aiming to do at least 45 minutes of exercising per session. I’ll come back on Monday with a post about some suggestions for each type of workout. It is short comparatively to the 12 week fitness and food tracking I did in the spring, and the 90 day Yoga challenge, but I feel like this one is going to be tricky to do! We will see how it goes!!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

How Two Engineering Grads Install Shelves

You may be wondering why installing shelves merits a blog post (especially since I was MIA for the past 6 weeks). Well shelves take a larger amount of effort than anticipated...(scroll down to the bottom for shelf bit, I had to do a life update first.)

Backing up a bit, we moved in to our house at the end of September.

It was bittersweet saying good bye to the condo, but we were definitely ready to move into our house. Looking back Mike and I both feel that our summer was non-existent due to the whole house hunting process, so we anxious to feel settled again.


Goodbye Condo!

We had a house warming party the last warm weekend of September and got to enjoy the back yard. 
Housewarming Party!
As I sit writing this post on a drizzly (albeit warm) grey November day, I am already looking forward to spring.

After that October was a blur. We had jam packed weekends full of birthday celebrations for friends, last minute thanksgiving, a wedding, a 5km run (the day after the wedding...not the best), visits from old friends and a visit from my family! Whew. (oh yah, and work, tutoring etc.) It the midst of all that we managed to get some wedding "milestones" done, and started to put our house together.

One of the tasks we knew we needed ASAP were curtains and blinds. We had those up Thankgiving weekend. Notice the curtains? They were the ones from this post, where I dyed cheap Ikea curtains the right colour. I had them up in my condo for about 1 week before they fell down and I had them in a box since then. Finally they get their rightful place!

Yay curtains!

While we were at IKEA getting curtains we got some shelving for our kitchen. Our inspiration was something like this:
Oh Ikea...I lurve you. (The pot set is 59.99, shelving was around $20)

We then got distracted from installing the shelving until 2 weeks ago, when we tried to install them late on a Saturday night. Mike and I are both engineering grads. We are "smart people". We got this. We figured we would have the shelves up in less than an hour.

We used our handy dandy stud finder, and marked where we would install them. After drilling in a few (ahem...8) test holes we realized that our shelves were about 3 mm too short to be placed on studs on both sides. So then we had to go and buy wall anchors the next day. Time spent: 1 hour to realize this.  Geniusous right here.

There are 9 million different types of wall anchors depending what the shelf is being installed into. After a heated discussion about shear forces and loading weights Mike and I settled on a giant tub of EZ anchors for drywall (#8).
We headed home with plans to install the shelves that evening after Mike got back from a Bike ride. Well, Mike got into an accident on that bike ride, and we spent the evening at the ER. He is fine, (pulled muscle in his shoulder), but obviously this meant no shelves were installed.

FINALLY, 2 weeks later after Mike was able to lift his arm, we got around to putting up the shelves (and patching up the test holes).


Material Needed:
EZ Wall Anchors (or equivalent)
Measuring tape
An assistant who can lift his/her arm
Electric Drill (recommended)
Stuff to put on the shelf

Putty Knife

<1 hour once you know what you are doing, 2 weeks otherwise

1. Assemble the shelves, and use a level to figure out where they are going to go on the wall.

2. Mark where you are going to drill. Try to line this up with a stud.
3. Drill pilot holes, you will need these if using the wall anchors, but also benefits in determining if you have hit a stud.

4. Install wall anchors.
5. Align shelf again, double check level again. Screw shelf into pilot holes/anchors.

6. Measure location of second shelf, repeat steps 2-5.
7. Decorate the shelf.

Those jars won't say empty for long!
If you make any bad pilot holes, no worries! We used a small amount of spackle/putty and a putty knife to fix the holes. I took a lightly damp cloth to wash away the excess, and you can't even tell the hole was there!

Even though this was a slap of reality that simple tasks aren't really that simple, it made us more savy for future bigger renovations. Since we have no tools/supplies etc. we really need to plan out our actions, and make sure we have the required materials. On to the next project!

(Disclaimer, I have no affiliation with any of the products used in this blog, my blog isn't legit enough for that...yet)