Monday, February 25, 2013

FuelBands and SportBands and Polars, OH MY!

I think I'm overthinking my blog posts.

Every time I log on to post, I just sit here and stare at the screen and end up just shutting the laptop down.

So tonight, I'm determined to get a post up.  I've been very productive and I know I'll be mad at myself later on for not even mentioning it!  You know, the memory isn't what she used to be since I turned 30...I have to write things down so I'll remember them after! *LOL*

CONFESSION: I totally started this post three Supernatural episodes and one BBM video chat with my mom ago.

So let's see, what's been going on in a nutshell?  My Skora's and I have been having a ball!  We are currently in our honeymoon phase where we just love each other and want to be with each other all the time and when we're together, I can do no wrong and everything is just lovely and sweaty and rose-coloured.  I'm not even being sarcastic, I am LOVING my shoes and the even more freaky part?  I am loving running!

Okay, wait, scratch that. That's not technically true.  I am loving that I CAN run.  That's actually closer to the reality of it.  It's taken me three years to get to this moment, but I still don't really like running.  I like the gadgets that come with running.  I like the outfits that come with running.  Definitely loving the shoes that go with running and I'm liking that I no longer suck at running.  But there still hasn't been a moment where I want to run just for the sheer joy of it.  I don't think that's going to happen any time soon, but I'll let you know in three years.

So a lot of my newfound feelings for running of course has to do with the stuff I've been getting.  It's weird how motivational getting running gear can be.  I mean, they all pretty much cost a pretty penny, so one of the motivational things about it is that if you're going to spend the money, you'd better use it.  Or your husband finds the receipts for one of the things that you bought and tried to pass off as something you've had forever and he pretty much says you'd better go out and run to make it worth the amount he's seeing and well...I mean, that's just an example.  It's not like it's a personal experience or anything...

The other motivational thing about it is seeing results!  Not results as in, oh wow, I feel great and ooooh look at all the energy I have.  Meh, that's for chumps and hippies.  Results as in NUMBERS and charts and stuff you can post to Facebook so you can say, "see world! I'm AWESOME!"

CONFESSION: I never really said I was all that humble... *wince*

But hey, whatever works for you!  Fortunately for me and unfortunately for my wallet, new gear is the BEST kind of motivation for me. 

Speaking of which:

Look at my new friends!!!! They're so PRETTY!!!

Actually, only one of them is mine (for now).  Besides the "see it, want it, have it" syndrome that I've got going on I've also got the 'now' syndrome.  So basically, you have to add 'now' after each of those...'see it now, want it now, have it now'.  Once I've got something in my head, I pretty much follow through ASAP.  It's like an obsession, I can't stop thinking about it until I own it.

Since I realized I can run for a long enough distance that it would be worth it to keep track, I've been wanting to have something to track it with.  A few years ago when I started running I was using micoach on my phone and the GPS would keep track for me when I ran outdoors, but unfortunately, two phone updates later and micoach wasn't able to keep up and I live in Canada and there's no way I'm running outside in the snow, so I didn't really have anything that would give me a good idea of how far I was running - well, you know, besides a treadmill. 

But I have recently discovered that my local rec centre has an indoor track and also offers free Wi-Fi, so I've been popping in there at lunch (okay, so technically I've only gone once, but I PLAN to go more often now that I know about it!) and the track length differs which lane you run.  Of course, it does give you an idea of distance, but - oh who cares, I saw that the SportBand can tell you distance and I just wanted it.  All the other stuff I mentioned were just added factors to the reasons behind me wanting it.  *LOL*

I saw it online retailing for $79 and thought I would just duck in to the Nike store nearby and just get it.  I understood that I would probably have to pay a bit more since I could have it right away (I really hate waiting for things to ship), but BONUS!  I get to the store and they're on sale for $24.99!!! WHAAAAAT?!  Bart was with me so I had to limit my purchase to one for myself, but I'm still having thoughts in my head about going back to get the black and lime green one to match my Skora shoes.  *wince* That's so bad.  Pretty soon, I'm certain I'm going to need an intervention for my gadget bingeing. 

Meh, who cares when you can see results and charts like this! YAY! That's ME!  Doing a 5K on a Monday night like it's no big deal!  The chip has me going a lot farther than I actually do so it does need some calibrating (that run is basically out of the package and running), so it's off by almost 1 km since I stopped the treadmill at exactly 3.2 miles.  Because the chip is basically just an accelerometer, I think it's using a stride rate much higher than what my stride actually is when calculating the distance.  But with the calibration, I should have that narrowed down a bit more and really, I just wanted a good idea of what I was running.  The distance accuracy will get better once I actually start running outside and get my GPS going on my other app.  That, or Nike can put in a place where we can enter our heights or ethnicity or something, so they can tell I'm a five foot nothing Asian and they can calculate a shorter stride length.

CONFESSION: I also can't run in the rain - all the watches and straps attached to me might ensure that I'll get struck by lightning or electrocuted or something.  I'll be sure to run with less techno gear when it's outdoor running time, I think!

Alright, I'm just gonna cut myself off while I'm ahead and looking pretty fantastic with my 5K run.  I'm trying to decide if going to the indoor track tomorrow at lunch time isn't overkill, but with the nice warm honeymoon glow from all my cool, new gear, I think we all know I'll be there tomorrow strutting my Asian shuffle with all these wires and watches and straps slapped on to me. 

Off to harass the hubby and pup for some cuddle time before bedtime! 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Score One for Skora...

If you know me, you may remember that a few years back, I tried to get into the running thing. 

My friend Tara and I used to go walking at lunch time and I had one of those moments where I talked before I thought about what I was saying and I told Tara all about this Couch to 5K program that I'd heard about that said it could get you to run 5K or half an hour straight in 9 weeks.  Apparently, Tara doesn't understand what making conversation is, so all of a sudden, we're actually doing the program.  Whaaaaat?

The only reason how I got suckered into it?  Because we promised ourselves we'd reward ourselves HUGE and we got to buy running gear.  Now, when I commit to something, I REALLY commit to it.  Which means that if there's something out there made for it, I want it.  So of course, to keep up the motivation, we had to keep getting ourselves running gear in order to want to go out and run so we could use what we just bought.  Of course, it didn't actually mean I wanted to go out and run, but knowing I could buy stuff made it bearable.

Unfortunately, we started the program well into the hottest summer EVER and since we ran over our lunch hour which is pretty much the hottest part of the day, I ended up copping out on the outdoor running and took to running on a treadmill.

I can't even explain to you how that is NOT the same as running outdoors.  Do not EVER do a majority of your runs on a treadmill and think you've got game outside because you don't.  The asphalt will own you, chew you up and spit you out gasping for your next breath next to your crap treadmill.  I'm just sayin'...

We finished the program and to make sure that we stuck with it, we signed up for a bunch of stuff.  The CIBC Walk/Run for the Cure, Running Room's Resolution Run and the 5K at the Niagara Falls International Marathon.  Granted, we only signed up for runs that gave us stuff - like medals or really awesome loot bags (hey, I never said I ran for fun or anything!) but they still got us out there running.  Then, like most of my habits do, I shook it loose and went on to other things and just like that, my being able to run for half an hour - even on the treadmill - went kaputz. 

The thing is, I just kept waiting and waiting for me to love running.  I would read people talk about how much they hated running and then all of a sudden magically love it.  Puh-LEASE, nobody magically loves running, man!  I like loot bags and medals and feeling all nice and happy after a run, but you know where you can feel all nice and happy and get loot bags? Birthday parties and there's no suffering outside on the streets involved.  Heck, you even get cake, too!

It took me a long time to get into my running stride and a big part of the uphill battle so to speak were my feet.  We could not for the life of me figure out what my feet needed in order to be able to run comfortably.  I said I could live with being out of breath and slow to a walk, but it was my feet and my legs that just made it so much harder.  We wouldn't even be 15 minutes into our warm-up/jog and I'd already be limping from shin splints or my feet would be doing this sort of flopping walk because it hurt too much to even walk properly.  I tried a lot of shoes, different brands that everyone swore by, I did walking tests at running shoe places, I tried insoles and different socks or a combination of insoles and socks, stretching, stretching some more and every single time, I would end up just needing to stop.  Even when I was able to push through and get a run finished, it wasn't without pain and just a plain, ol' hate for running.

I know this is sounding dangerously infomercial-y, but it's so hard to lay down the background info in any other way so that I can get across how big of a deal it is that I ran for half an hour yesterday.  Or I ran 2 miles.  Or I ran 2 miles in half an hour.  Whichever way I look at it, I did it.

CONFESSION: It was on the treadmill.  But I'm not knockin' it.  I didn't really even mean to run.

You know what I said about buying gear?  I'm a big fan of it!  Owning good gear makes me feel accomplished even if I don't actually do what it is that the gear was meant for.  I just want it. *LOL*  So when my friend Courtney (@treadmillrunway - or should I say, miss #fitfluential ambassador herself) started reviewing a pair of shoes on her blog, I didn't really even care what they were for or what they did.  I was just like...oooooh, those are funky.  So there's the seed already planted.  Once it's planted, it's hard for me to let it go.  I managed for quite a while actually.  I think a month perhaps since she only mentioned getting them online and I'm a big fan of having things right away.  But every once in a while, while lacing up my bulky runners for Insanity, I'd think to myself...hmmm...remember those Skora's Courtney mentioned?

One of those random thoughts hit me when I just happened to be near a computer and I decided to peek at their website and saw a store locator button.  Now this intrigued me.  Stores.  Stores mean I can walk right into them and just have them if I really wanted them.  Interesting...

Next thing I know, I find myself at an Athletic Locker and I'm pointing out a pair of blue Skora shoes to a very nice boy who has asked if I need any help.  I pointed to the blue pair even though my eyes kept straying to the beautiful, bright white shoes with the shock of green laces and pink accents.  But the blue pair were more in my budget range.  Out they came and onto my feet they went, but I wasn't really paying much attention.  Shoes all feel fine to me when trying them on.  Unless these nice kids were going to let me run around their store for half an hour or bust out a Shaun T workout right there, I figured I would just have to take them home and try them.  What's another pair of shoes that I could just wear casually, I figured.  That's usually what always happens anyway - and this pair would be nice.  They slip on and off easily enough. 

And then...something magical happened.  The sales associate helping me out said: "Did you know that all these shoes here are 50% off?" 

CONFESSION: I couldn't be sure, but I think thank goodness he's probably too young to have seen the Exorcist.  I feel like my head sloooooowly spun around the entire axis of my neck when he said that.  Do you know what that is?


I wasted no time asking for the beautiful white, neon green, pink and blue pair.  They were comin' home to MAMA!

I felt bad for the blue shoes.  It's not like there was anything wrong with them...but, you can't fight love at first sight though...I asked how long the sale was going on for and they thought it was going on throughout the week but he did mention that they only carry one size of each for Skora.  ONE size?  What?

Weeeeell, I was strong and I only brought the one pair home with me and that is the long story of how I ended up running 2 miles in half an hour (which, even though it's not that impressing, I'm PRETTY sure it's a PR for me!). 

CONFESSION: I totally went back the next day (today) with Bart and got the blue pair and tried to peer pressure him into getting a pair as well so we'd look cute with matching shoes.  He wasn't sold on them as he's not much of a runner due to his knees and he wanted more shoes with more cushion and support, but now I'm the proud mama of two awesome pairs of shoes!

Technically, I had meant for this post to be a review of the shoes, but considering that I've only tried them out once, I want to actually put it through its paces so I can give more info as I realize that not everyone is taken just by photos alone like I am *LOL*

And of course, not any one pair of shoes (no, not even Skora's) can automatically make you a runner if you've never run before (unless you're a freak in which case I hate you because I'm extremely jealous because we all know that I only hate running because I wasn't good at it right away).  For me, I think it's a combination of the Insanity program but mostly weekly ultimate Frisbee that's helped me out in the running department.  I know I'd heard that doing wind sprints or quick bursts of sprints in between runs helps with long distance running and I can't think of anything that comes closer to that than starting and stopping sprints and pivoting all over the Frisbee field.  So while Frisbee may be a factor in my having been able to run after a long time of not having done so, my new kicks still took away all the other excuses I used to find myself having when going for a run.  I couldn't stop myself and say, well, I should stop now because my shins hurt - because they didn't.  I couldn't convince myself to stop because my arches hurt - because they didn't.  Basically, just from the first trial run alone, those shoes took away any excuses I could have except to just RUN.  And run I did. 

We'll see how it holds up to the Shaun T test this week and I hope to be able to give a more thorough and detailed/factual review as opposed to me just talking about how pretty they are - even though they ARE! :P

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Work Weight-Loss Challenge and Livin' la Vida Vegas!

I have been a very bad blogger as of late and I'm hoping this post will put an end to that! 
I get into these moments were I have so much to blog, but I don't know how to write it up or I don't know where to start that I end up just not blogging anything.  Bad, Catherine! 
So there's this weight-loss challenge at work.  Last year when they ran it, I didn't even entertain the idea of entering it because me, myself and I all knew that I wasn't about to be putting down the cheeseburgers any time soon.  Wow, how things have changed since then! 
Because my posts have been so sporadic, I'm not sure if I've even mentioned it, but the weight-loss challenge is a 10-week challenge and the winner will be determined by the most % of weight lost.  So, basically they had a first weigh-in and this number will be used to determine the percentage of weight lost each week.  Percentage is being used so that peoples' weights can remain private.  Weighing in on this even though nobody asked, I think it's unnecessary.  I mean...especially/personally for me...the start of actually losing weight is to face it.  Letting your weight NOT be a secret makes you accountable for it.  Heck, I have before pictures of me floating out there on the WWW.  But, it is what it is.  You can't lose weight without first acknowledging that you have weight to lose.  Nothing makes me prouder than knowing what my original number was and how that compares to what the number is today.  Percentages doesn't do that since my losing 20 lbs pretty much looks the same as a lighter person losing 10 depending on the numbers.   
Which, by the way, is how my friend Tara told me that I'm kind of getting screwed over.  Percentage weight-loss challenges suck in that someone who weighs less than me does not have to lose as much in order for their percentage to be the same or pretty darn close.  At the time, I told her it didn't matter since I was always going to continue to lose weight even if this challenge didn't exist.  And I wasn't in it for losing quickly or fad diets, etc.  I sounded so noble and full of wisdom and all that jazz!  Too bad I forget my intense and slightly concerning competitive streak. *wince*  
CONFESSION: I'm the worst competitor ever.  I will demand recounts and second opinions.  I asked for the scale to be recalibrated.  I may have been joking...I think...  I asked to see the specific breakdown of the Excel sheet's formula to see exactly how our results were being calculated.  And then I threw a fit when I came in fourth place after week one because they were rounding to the sixth decimal place and that makes a difference as opposed to just using two decimal places.  Ugh.  I'm almost slightly ashamed of the fit I threw except for the fact that I'm still in fourth place. 
Seriously though, couldn't they have started this four months ago?   
I guess I've mellowed since then since I didn't have a meltdown as I am no longer in the top five this week.  Then again, I had a pretty good reason.  I wasn't at work during weigh-in day because I was too busy stuffing my face at a Vegas brunch buffet.  Key word: VEGAS.  Everyone knows calories don't count when you're in VEGAS, right!? 
As a result: 
and this 
As if that wasn't bad enough...

May have led to...

*closes eyes* ...THIS.
In my humble and somewhat weak defense, since I did bring up the old Catherine earlier.  Old Catherine would have had bread covered in layers of butter and pasta with cream sauces all over her plate.  I am really noticing a big difference in new Catherine's food choices.  Granted, they're still not 100% great, I think they're still better than what they would have been and that's gotta count for something, right?  If it also helps, we walked around a LOT on that trip and I even hit up the gym on one of the two free mornings that we had.  I'm gonna call snaps for me on that one - and on running all the way from Treasure Island to Harrah's to catch the last 2 am monorail in HEELS.  That's gotta be worth at least one crab leg if not four.
I was once again on my best behaviour as soon as we left Vegas.  We had a pretty long stopover in Chicago (P.S. WORST. airport. ever.  Who still charges for Wi-Fi in airports anymore!?) and I was back to drinking water and the healthier food options.  What I have learned in the last few months is that while I'm not trying to deprive myself of anything, it's knowing when I've had enough or let myself enjoy bad foods enough.  I did and I made the most of it, but now I'm back and that means it's back to the healthy lifestyle change I chose for myself.
Mother Nature also helped out by providing a bajillion centimetres of snow and my entire "snow" day turned into shovelling so many times that I had to take an actual pain killer for my arms.  Burned 818 shovelling snow today.  Booyah!
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