Same old story, not much to say

Got up early this morning. Went to yoga. Glute felt tender. Shin felt weird. The new normal.

Thought about the week ahead. It’s hard, lately, to make a fitness plan for the full week. I have no idea what will feel normal, what will hurt, what my energy levels will be like. I’m trying to roll with it, but it’s hard.

Made all the food. Got new casual shoes to walk in. Did all the laundry. Read the paper. Listened to American Top 40. It was a quiet day, but a good one.

Get up early. Get shit done. The pieces will fall into place eventually.

I’ll guess I’ll stumble on home to my cats

I’m still injured.

It still sucks.

I’m making progress, but not as fast as I’d like.

I’m doing strength training, but not as regularly as I’d like.

I’m working on being present, but I’m not buying into it as much as I’d like.

I need an attitude an adjustment. Work instead of wallow. Have gratitude instead of griping. But change is hard. Positivity is hard.

I’m trying. But not hard enough.

NYC Marathon Training Week #10

Marathon training. It’s happening. I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. I’m having a hard time being motivated, which was the same problem I had during Ottawa training. I do so much of my running solo, I think I need a training group to take me to the next level.

My week was fine, if uneventful. I got my workouts in: four runs, two Nike sessions, one swim. I’m not as fast as I should be, but have a hard time finding reasons to care. (I’ll care on race day.) I miss yoga. My stomach was a jerk all week. The revelation these past two weeks, however, has been basketball.

I love it. An obscene amount. More than I ever thought I would. My relationship with basketball is a weird one, and one I’ve overthought too much over the past 10 years. The university I chose to go to I chose for three reasons: the first-year program looked amazing, the school was in Halifax, and I could play university basketball. I played for two years. It was a huge part of my life. Then it stopped, and I wasn’t ready for it to be over. The first time I played – after it dominating my life from the ages of 13 to 19 – I was out of shape. I signed up for a rec league in grad school and it kicked my ass so hard. I hated it, and became convinced that playing basketball wasn’t a thing I was supposed to do anymore.

I’m in shape now. I’m 10 years removed from university bball. I’m 7 years removed from my last rec league. I knew I needed to get over these weird feelings. I chose the easiest, least intense league I could find. But what it has done is reminded me why I chose an education partially formed by a need to play a sport. Why I skipped so many pivotal university¬†experiences because I had practice or a game or needed to get in weight training. Why I wrote essays on buses. Sports are fun. Basketball is fun. Fitness is fun.

This is a feeling I’ve never had with running.

I like racing, don’t get me wrong. And I think running will always be part of my fitness life. But what this league has reminded me is that I need to find fitness activities that are fun, that I enjoy, that are more about the calories burned or the miles ran, in order to truly embrace living a fit life.

Or maybe I’m just high on being one of the better players on my team. That hasn’t happened since I was 17.

Basketball is the best.

 

 

NYC Marathon Training Week #4 – Tuesday

The forecast on Tuesday called for rain, rain, rain, thunderstorms and more rain. When I got up in the morning, that’s exactly what it looked like, so I opted to head to the gym instead and do my scheduled 3×1000 on a treadmill. I always feel like I’m cheating a bit when I use a treadmill, but it’s better than nothing, right?

My coach told me to not go all-out, but instead to practice race pace. My repeats were:

5:21
5:12
5:14

These felt tougher than race pace should feel. I also pushed myself more than I needed to because BUTTONS! I played games with myself and increased the pace every minute or so. I think I could sustain 5:15s for a 5k race, but no more than that.

Midsummer’s Night Run is Sunday. My goal is to keep my pace between 5:35 and 5:45 and see where I’m at. That’s what I did for Around the Bay last year, and it worked for the first 20k. Then I got tired.

I’m starting to think that 6 minute kms for NYC is a reasonable goal, and would bring me in around 4:15. I’d take that.

Last night, we had softball. We lost, again. They had FIVE lefthanders on their team, so I got a lot of action in right field. I went fly out, walk, strikeout, ground-out. Then the ump after the game told me that I have a good swing (YES!) but I’m standing too close to the plate and should use a lighter bat (NO!) and need to watch the pitches more closely (obviously). We only have one game left, so I need to remember that for next season.

The rain never came, by the way.

 

 

On a running break.

Tomorrow, it will be three weeks since I ran the Ottawa Marathon.

In these three weeks, I have not run once. Instead I have done the following:

1. Worked on a few writing projects.

2. Went to an art festival. Bought some art.

3. Bought the mirror our living room has needed since 2010.

Art! A mirror! These are both miracles.

Art! A mirror! These are both miracles.

4. Went to a Blue Jays game.

5. Accidentally stayed out until 3am guilt-free.

6. Slept in the next day.

7. Confirmed my NYC training plan with my coach.

8. Started tracking calories and food consumption, which is time consuming and ridiculous and I want to stop soon. But it’s been a good learning experience.

9. Framed my marathon bibs – a thing I once thought was ridiculous. Until I ran a marathon.

No shame. Oh and those frames are Dollarama hacks, not real floating frames. I am a craft master these days.

No shame. Oh and those frames are Dollarama hacks, not real floating frames. I am a craft master these days.

10. Went to two street festivals.

11. Went to Toronto Island.

12. Got a new phone! iPhone 5s, yes!

Basically, this list is proof of HOW MUCH FREE TIME one has when one isn’t marathon training. It’s mind boggling.

I’ll get back to running soon. But I’m not in a rush. Toronto in June is perfect and I want to make the best of it while I can.

Ay, ay, ay it’s Christmas!

Happy Holidays one and all!

Happy Holidays one and all!

I know Christmas was a few days ago, but with the new year still upon us I wanted to wish everyone a joyful holiday season and a very happy new year!… That and I haven’t had very much to say for quite some time. Sorry, I am still alive. Honestly!

As my travels continue on into 2014 I realized along the way how important family and friends really are, especially this time of year, so much so that I’ve been spending the holidays with my Papa in North Yorkshire in the United Kingdom. You’re never too old to miss your family. There I admitted it.

2014 is coming whether we’re ready for it or not. This will be a year of exploration and new adventures for me, but what will 2014 look like for you? Recapping the highlights of 2013 and looking at what lies ahead, Erin and I have a lot to talk about. I’m excited! I’m excited for new experiences, new races, new things to see, and new places to discover. A new year is a great time for a fresh, new start.

Happy Holidays!! Now please enjoy one of my favorite Christmas classics sent to me from Erin on Christmas Day. How did she know, this was the perfect gift!

Erin’s advent fitness failure

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree.

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree.

December, how did you get away from me? I had big plans. Lots of parties. Lots of fitness. Lots of fun.

Then I got sick. Really, really sick.

It started off as a simple cold. I decided to skip a fitness challenge day to recuperate. One day turned into several. I missed a party and Chris Hadfield at the Toronto Public Library in an attempt to get better.

It didn’t work.

I did go to one party after a few days of this — which was at my house. The next day I woke up, feeling disgusting and voiceless. I thought it was a hangover and forced myself to go to work.

It was bronchitis.

I missed four parties because of this bronchitis. I missed 20 (!!!!) planned workouts. I lost my voice and got pinkeye. Bronchitis is disgusting, people. I have never felt so gross. But I did get to watch the rest of Scandal and some of The Good Wife. And I got an obscene amount of sleep. Silver linings.

Getting better has been a slow process. I still have a cough and a sore throat and produce more mucus than any normal person should, but I feel relatively normal. I’ve given up on fitness for the rest of the month. I don’t want to relapse again. I want to get better and stronger for 2014. After all, I have a marathon to prep for. 2014 is going to be a good year. December is almost over — it’s time to look forward.

Happy holidays, everyone! I hope you were all safe and warm and surrounded by loved ones.

 

Back to Desa Seni we go

Aww Desa Seni, how I've missed you! Thanks Mandy for the Photo.

Aww Desa Seni, how I’ve missed you! Thanks Mandy for the Photo.

Cecilley and I are now in our last week. Our last week in Bali! And I can’t come to terms with leaving. After all the ups and downs and all arounds this place has a certain specialness about it that only took me over a month to find. Why is it that is always the way? But I suppose leaving on a good note with a bit of sadness and not pleading to escape is a good thing. I will always have a place for Bali in my heart. And who knows maybe I’ll end up back here again some day. I wouldn’t put it past me. I can see it happening. Especially if it means spending more time at Desa Seni.

Wednesday, November 27th has already happened on this side of the world (and everywhere else by now I know), but I like writing from the future, it’s seems kind of cool to me. I am after all 12+ hours ahead of everyone back home. But regardless of what day and time it is when you read this, the 27th was Dulice’s birthday. (Happy Birthday, Dulice!) Before I jump too far ahead, you need a super quick update. While in Bali and living in Ubud Cecilley and I have spent a lot of time at the Green School. In particular we’ve spent lots of time with Green School’s Head of Communications, Charris, and his beautiful family, Dulice being his amazingly,wonderful wife. And today (or the 27th rather) was no exception. For Dulcie’s birthday Cecilley and I were invited to spend the day with her at Desa Seni! Hooray!! Oh how I’ve been dying to see that beautiful eco & yoga oasis among the rice patties in Canggu one more time. It was Cecilley and I who suggested a perfect romantic spa/yoga/beauty getaway at Desa Seni for Dulice. It would make for an ideal way to spend a birthday and given it was a Wednesday, the boys (Dulcie and Charris’s two children) would be in school and Charris would be busy at work. Lucky for us the invitation to join Dulcie was extended to Cecilley and I and boy oh boy I could not have been happier. Correction. Cecilley could not have been happier! Before leaving Bali we were trying to figure out a way to get back to Desa Seni, but how was the question. This was our answer.

If anyone, and I seriously mean everyone, comes to Bali put Desa Seni on your list of things to do. Whether you stay for the day, a night, or an entire week for a yoga retreat, Desa Seni is not to be overlooked. This inspiring eco village has too many amazing qualities about it I could write for hours. And all I would cover in that time is the food! But instead I’ll just capture the essence of the yoga class Dulcie and I went to. For the other things you can ask me later or you could just go to Bali.

I love all yoga. Even if I don't think I like it at the time. (Thanks again Mandy)

I love all yoga. Even if I don’t think I like it at the time. (Thanks again Mandy for the picture)

We kicked started the beautiful birthday day with a little brunch and tea before Dulice and I went to the Dynamic Hatha yoga class that morning. I was excited to practice in Desa’s second studio for a change and take a class from a teacher I knew nothing about. Manuela was hilarious and put a fun, playful twist on a more gentler styled class. I was hoping for something super dymantic – I was feeling invigerious and ready to move, but there is something about taking your practice down a notich. Working with core aligment and energetic flow from the ground up, the connection you can create within each pose is astounding. At least that’s how I feel anyway. Call me crazy, but the strength you can generate with attention works your whole body. You do not need a vinyasa level 2 flow in order to have a good workout. Sometimes I forget that. Being there with Dulice and Cecilley in Bali, back at a place that melts my heart and holds a lot of great memories, everything felt in place. Like all of a sudden the pieces of the puzzle matched up, it was such a great feeling. It was a great feeling to practice as the rain came down and we were tucked under the bamboo yoga hut, looking out at the luscious greenery. It was as if it was my birthday. Because if someone would have have told me it was I would have believed them.

After spending the day reading by pool, swimming, eating a yummy lunch and a great dinner (with the whole family!) it was just the thing I needed to part ways with Bali. Thank you, Dulice and Charris for sharing this special day with me and Cecilley. I can not begin to thank you enough for everything you’ve done for us.

Beach Days in Ulu Watu

There is always time for yoga on the beach!

There’s always time for yoga when you’re on the beach!

Surf, sun, and Bintangs pretty much sums up the story behind our mini three day vacation, within our major getaway. After what felt like weeks in Ubud (it was a long time ago when I began writing this post) the retreat was long over and not to long after we settled into our first home stay in Ubud. We finally made the trip to see the Green School, found our first WWOOFing spot – which did not work out, a huge bummer, but it was for the best. Like moving to any place it takes time to get comfortable, for Bali it was taking longer then I anticipated. But we were becoming familiar with the major streets and side roads, discovered good places to eat, grocery shop, pick up essentials, that sort of thing, it was like we were almost becoming commoners. Almost.

During it all, all the moving around, watching things unravel, seeing Bali in its true form, and just thinking a lot, I was feeling trapped and unsettled and not very happy (but this went for both Cecilley and I). This feeling – all the feelings – really bothered me. I didn’t like not liking Bali and missing things. I was out on a grand adventure, don’t be a baby, Jill!

We realized it was time to see something new. Although Ubud has many great qualities, we just needed a break from the business and noise, a place to think and clear our heads. And some beaches! There is nothing wrong with needing an escape. But where would be go?!

After examining the Lonely Planet little book on Bali we decided on Bali’s southern most beach hub, Ulu Watu. If you’re a surfer listen up. The surf is grand in Ulu Watu, coming from a complete bystander’s opinion and word of mouth from actual surfers. The waves there are crazy cool. Apparently there are special reefs in these parts that make the wave break to the left(?), if I was real surfer I may know what that actually means. As for onlookers and people watchers these beaches are quite dainty, a little on the rocky side, but capture cliff side sunsets so wonderfully you will run out of space on your camera.

Ulu Watu is well worth discovering with your rash guard and surf board, but if you’re like Cecilley and I and don’t go for the waves but for the remote beaches instead, Bingin Beach was my favourite. With plenty of cute (and cheap) surfing hostels you will have no difficultly finding a place to store your things and rest your head. For all the other hours of the day you’ll be at the beach, eating the cheap and yummy eats, or like all the surfers do at the end of a long day enjoy a cold Bingtan.

Bingin Beach, Ulu Watu, Bali. So pretty!

Bingin Beach, Ulu Watu, Bali. So pretty!

There were many things to do at Bingin Beach, yoga and surfing being the two most popular activities. Although Cecilley and I didn’t take any classes, we did practice on our own. The beach is great for yoga! There was a spa and yoga place nearby and one hostel had sunrise classes, but only certain mornings of the week. We happened to be there at the wrong time, which was a huge bummer.

Ulu Watu is about an hour, if not a bit longer, south of Ubud. Cecilley and I caught a bus to Kuta then flagged a cab for the rest of the way. Buses are the cheapest mode of transport in Bali and going through a travel organization makes it pretty easy. Cabs here are tricky. It’s wise not to take a cab without a meter, otherwise you run the risk of getting scammed – Cecilley and I learned this the hard way. The cab company to use in Bali is Blue Bird, should you ever need one. Don’t make deals with the Taxi guys on the streets holding the signs (you’ll see these guys everywhere) unless you know what the cost of your trip should be and are up for barding. It can work, Cecilley and I learned the easy way.

At the beach there is always time to jump off things!

At the beach there is always time to jump off things!

Ulu Watu is a good destination point given there are three beaches very close to one another, Ulu Watu Beach, Bingin Beach, and Padang Padang Beach, all of which are beautiful but offer very different experiences. All reef beaches with cliffs and beautiful look offs, Bingin was by far the least busy, the best for soaking in the rays and feeling relaxed. I can’t say much for Padang Padang because we didn’t stay long. It was the busiest of the three and crowed in comparison. I wasn’t thrilled by it, but we also didn’t spend as much time there. But the reviews from people I’ve talked to say it’s beautiful you just have to find the right spot. I think we were in the wrong place. Ulu Watu, like Bingin, had lots of surfers. It too was a little more of the tourist spot with lots of surf shops, restaurants, and lots of beach spots to discover. We didn’t spend too much time at this one either, we had a bus to catch to get back to Ubud that night. But should you go take the time to explore all of it. If we had more time we would have. Some secret beach gems are located in these parts of Bali and I can only behind to picture how beautiful they’d be.

If you are traveling between beaches, going by foot is doable, but keep in mind you’ll be in for a long hike, which Cecilley and I ended up doing for part of the way. Cabs are scarce, so your best option is biking or going by scooter or motorbike. Or you can hire a driver for the day.

Other than a few bumps along the way – some very good traveling/learning experiences for the two of us – it was the perfect weekend escape. If more yoga had happened, or maybe even a beach run, that would have been perfect. But everyone needs a break from everything once in a while. So no yoga or running was completely acceptable.