30 000 Plus

…..just a quick note of thanks

One of my blogging goals was to reach 30 000 views on my second anniversary with WordPress. I didn’t quite make it but yesterday, almost two months later I finally reached that magic number. Thank you to all my followers. Without you it wouldn’t happen.

I’ve been incredibly busy this month and I haven’t been able to keep up with all my emails. No matter how hard I try to keep up I can’t get my emails below 100. Those of you who write longer posts are sitting in a back log. I’ve saved them because I really do want to read them. I haven’t forgotten about you and when I do get to them you’ll probably notice a spike in views from Canada. Love you all.

Goals Met

….after two years I’ve met and surpassed most of my blogging goals

Back in February (here) I wrote that I had already met many of my blogging goals before the anniversary of my second year. I reset some of my goals and set my target date to be April 30th. Well today is the day and I’m happy to report that I’ve met most of my goals and surpassed some of them again.

Here are my original goals and where I stood in February and where I stand now.

200 views for one day (currently sitting at 159) I reached 303 views on June 7th – I’ve reached 360 views for one day

600 followers one year from today I reached 600 followers 10 weeks early – I’m now over 675 followers

30 000 views one year from today I am 5500 views away from this goal – That would be 550 views a week, 79 views a day – right now I average about 50 views a day- this is the only goal I didn’t reach – I’m sitting at 27 500 views

300 new posts in the next year I’m at 262 so I have 38 posts to go – that’s 3.8 posts a week….very doable. My magic number will be 614 posts in total. – this is my 650th post

Again none of this would be possible without the support of my loyal followers. When I started this journey two years ago I had no idea how long I would do this. Now I don’t see myself stopping. I love writing, taking photographs, setting goals and participating in new challenges. I’ve enjoyed reading blogs from all around the world and I take great pleasure reading your comments.

A Beautiful Saturday – Why am I Creating a To Do List?

….am I crazy or just practical?

I suspect I’m doing this because it needs to be done

To Do List for April 12, 2014

rake front lawn
sprinkle bone meal on garden
take out garden furniture
clean out bird cage
do laundry – started
take out summer clothes and put away winter clothes
clean oven – started
write post – started
go for a walk
dust living room floor and shelves – floors done
vacuum carpets upstairs and down – started
take photographs

As you can see I’ve already started some of these chores. I think I need to fill the gaps with some fun stuff.

My husband must be feeling my energy this morning because he’s started raking the back yard and he’s taken out our bikes and cleaned them off. Maybe we can get out for a ride this afternoon. Well, I’m off to start some work outside as well. Maybe by putting this out there for the world to see I might actually accomplish all of the things on my To Do List or at least get 90% of it done. Wish me luck. I’ll report later today to let you know how I successful I’ve been.

On the fitness and weight loss journey: I’m struggling. Up 3 and down 2. Today’s goal is to get out and move and drink at least 4 large glasses of water. One glass down and 3 to go.

I thought I posted this 2 hours ago. Apparently not. In the meantime I’m down 3 glasses of water, 2 loads of laundry, raked the front and the back yard, finished cleaning the oven, sprinkled bone meal on the garden, and took out the garden furniture. I also took down the Christmas lights, trimmed the yew and bagged 2 bags of yard waste. Now let’s see if I can get this thing posted…..an ongoing problem.

Time to Come Clean

……about my weight

It’s been almost 2 years since I started this blog and it quickly became a platform for documenting my weight loss. I never divulged my beginning weight and only talked about the number of pounds that came off. I just couldn’t bring myself to say that number. Somehow it brought me shame and I was afraid that people who knew me would judge me differently if they knew exactly how much I weighed. It didn’t help that all the doctors that I’ve ever been to have always said that I don’t look as heavy as I am. I haven’t even told my husband how much I weigh.

I lost a total of 32 pounds and managed to maintain that loss for about a year. I lost a few more pounds here and there but I always put them back on. Last year I told people that I had lost 30 pounds because the weight started to creep back on. I gained a few pounds and I lost a few but slowly I started not losing all the pounds I gained back. Last summer I was up six pounds, down four, back up four when I went on holiday and then back down four before I went back to work.

Stress has always been killer for me when it comes to weight gain. Also I have some psychological barrier that seems to keep me from getting below a certain weight. In the last 20 years every time I get close to that goal weight my weight loss stops. Periodically, in the last year I’ve talked about getting serious and getting back on track. I never want to gain back those 32 pounds I worked so hard at losing but my drive is in low gear right now and try as I might it just isn’t enough.

Last week when I put myself on the scale (which I avoided since Christmas) I was up eight pounds from September. I watched my food intake all week and when I put myself on the scale again I was up three more pounds. Yikes! I wanted to lose most of that weight before I went to see my sister in Calgary next week. Part of my problem is my lack of movement. I can’t believe how much I let this winter keep me on the couch ( in front of this computer).

My middle sister sent me an interesting article this morning on why we gain weight that has nothing to do with what we put in our bodies. I am guilty on all counts. Lack of sleep and having light from computers and electronic devises in front of us before we go to bed actually causes weight gain. I guess she noticed my weight gain and was too polite to mention it to me. Come to think of it no one has actually said anything to me about my weight gain, even when I’ve complained about my coat being too tight and putting on weight over a weekend. Here is the link from the Epoch Times for the article Two Common Weight Loss Mistakes.

As much as I love teaching, it is a stressful job. In the past, September was the month where my weight gain would start. I would lose ten pounds or more in the summer and then when school started it would all come back. Two years ago that didn’t happen but my weight loss stopped. Part of my problem was that I was happy with how I looked and felt. I loved all the compliments.

I can’t let this continue. So I’m going to start with the two things that the article talked about: sleep and light.

Before my 30 pound weight loss

Before my 30 pound weight loss

Down 32 pounds.

Down 32 pounds.

My goal is to stop working on the computer and watching TV by 10:00 every night. Maybe I’ll read more and organize my clothes, lunch and school bags from 10:00 to 11:00 so I’m not in such a rush in the morning. Hopefully that way I can be in bed by 11:00 and get a solid 7 1/2 hours sleep instead of the five to six that I get now.

Today, still down 20 pounds  but up 12.

Today, still down 20 pounds but up 12.

In the past I weighed myself everyday. I know that some people believe you should only weigh yourself once a week or even less frequently but I find that I put off what I need to do if I don’t check my weight more often. Look what happened when I didn’t weigh myself in almost three months.

I’m still not ready to reveal my actual weight. If only strangers read this blog I wouldn’t care but my family, friends, colleagues and even some of my students read my posts. Some day, but not today.

The most difficult part will be turning off this computer and not constantly checking my emails and stats. I have to admit I’ve become a bit of an addict. I’ll also start using this blog as a platform to record my progress with my weight loss journey, again. It helped last time and It kept me motivated to succeed. If you don’t hear from me on this front please feel free to ask how I’m doing.

I haven’t weighed myself in a couple of days so I’ll start tomorrow and then see how regular sleep and cutting back on the light before bedtime affects my weight. Of course I’ll watch what I eat and for now I’ll aim to get out and walk at least four times a week. I’m not sure how spending five days with my sisters will affect my weight but I won’t use that as an excuse. I’ll enjoy myself but I don’t have to be excessive with food or drink. Maybe I should aim to maintain rather than lose for those five days.

The three sisters taken 6 weeks ago.

The three sisters taken 6 weeks ago.

Hallowe’en Night at the Book Fair

….the one I stay open late so that the parents can shop while the children play

Last Friday the halls were decorated with cobwebs, zombies, witches, skeletons and ghosts and several classrooms were set up with interesting and engaging activities for the kids. The party started at 6:30 and 150 children and their parents came dressed in costume. There were scary masks, long wigs, bushy beards, and store bought and handmade costumes.

I took a few pictures of some of the children when they came to the book fair. Posting them is always somewhat tricky but a number of the parents gave me permission to include them in this blog and others are so covered up that no one would know who’s behind the mask or the beard.

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Some of the kids are former students who came back to celebrate with their younger siblings. It always amazes me how much some of them grow over the summer. The book fair has been a big success so far and it was definitely worthwhile having it open during the party. Our goal this year is to sell $7000 worth of merchandise. So far, after 3 days we’ve brought in over $4800. Four more days to go. The library will get about 60% of the total sales back in books when all is said and done. Not bad for a week’s work.

Here I am with my talking witch’s hat and my number one ‘go to guy’ at this year’s book fair. Thank you M all your help.Image

Back to Running and Back to Work

….running is like riding a bike, once you start again it’s like you never stopped

On Sunday I started running again. I didn’t plan on it, it just happened.

My husband, Frances and I started on our usual morning walk but we barely left the house when my husband started to run. Frances kept putting on the brakes when she didn’t sense that I was right behind her so I started to run as well. And I kept running and running and didn’t stop until I hit the 4k mark.

We stopped at the Tim Horton’s in the park, where I bought a small coffee, asked for a cup of water and used the restroom. K wanted to run some more so I agreed to take the dog and the two of us walked the remaining 2k home. I was amazed that I was able to run so far after not running for about two months.

Today we started with a walk and started running at the entrance to Col. Sam Smith Park. Again, once I started running, it felt so natural and comfortable that I continued to run until we reached the point, turned around and ran all the way home. Another 4k of running and 1k of walking.

If someone had told me 18 months ago that I would become a runner I would have scoffed at them. I remember trying to run with my husband when I was in my 20s and put my back out. I was about 50 pounds lighter than I am now and I just couldn’t get into it. So why is it easier now? Shouldn’t it be harder? After all I’m 30 some years older and heavier.

I think the difference is that this time I started out slowly. Literally, I started with only running 50 metres on the first day and then going 100 metres the next. Slowly I added more distance and as the weight came off it became easier. The other difference is that I had a goal. I was coaching young girls to run and we were all training to do a 5k run. My goal was to finish the race and try to run half of it and walk the rest.

My first 5k wasn’t pretty but I did finish. I was exhausted, emotional and anxious about my health, all at the same time. When I realized that I wasn’t going to die from running, I continued to run periodically for the rest of that summer and in the fall I ran with the cross country team. It got easier and easier. During the winter, when running became too difficult my husband and I walked regularly in the evenings despite the cold and  the record breaking amounts of snow that we encountered last winter.

I agreed to coach the girls at school again this spring and we worked toward completing another 5k race. This time I wanted to run the entire race without stopping and in under 45 minutes. It turned out to be a very warm day and I needed to stop 3 times, once for water and then again a couple of times to re-energize. Each time I walked I went for about 100 metres and then started to run again. I finished in 47 minutes and ran most of the 5k.

My plan was to run over the summer but for some reason it just didn’t happen. I did a lot of walking, especially when we were in Ireland and we continued to walk when I was in the city but for some reason when I went to the cottage I didn’t run at all and some days I didn’t walk very far either. As some of you know, we’ve had bears inhabit our island this year and even though I’ve never seen them I do know people who have. My biggest phobia in life is meeting up with a bear. I don’t know where that comes from because I’ve never had an encounter with a bear but I think the possibility of meeting a bear in the woods or on the beach kept me from wandering too far from the cottage.

This fall my goal is to run with the cross country team again and I think it’s time to search out another 5k race this fall. I started back to work today but I got in that run before I left for school. Next week it won’t be as easy to do that because I have to be at school earlier but I know in the first week back the gym teacher will start recruiting the students for this years cross country team. I’ll be right there with them at 7:45 every morning.

Girls on the Run 5k

….today was the day

I woke up early, 6:07 to be exact. I put on my running clothes and made my way downstairs to make coffee. I checked my emails as I enjoyed my Crema and protein bar. It was lovely and quiet in the house, just what I needed before heading out to meet my fellow coaches, L and C.

We had decided ahead of time to meet at L’s house and go together in one car. There was very little traffic at 7:30 on a Sunday morning so we made good time getting to the race venue. The race this year was being held at the Vaughn Mills mall. When we got there, there was already a sea of pink t-shirts.

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Our school was assigned a flag where our girls had to meet us. We handed out their numbers and safety pins and the moms and dads pitched in pinning the numbers to the fronts of their shirts.

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It was great seeing so many parents get involved, not just by being there but also registering for the run so that they could run with their daughters.

There  weren’t as many pre-race activities as last year but some of the moms had brought along coloured hair spray so that the girls could have racing stripes put into their hair. Even some of their teachers got into the spirit.

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I’m not sure how many times I’m going to have to wash my hair to remove the pink dye. One mom, who’s a hairdresser, said that it might take three or more washes. Hmmmm!!!!!

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Two hours after arriving at the mall, the race finally started and about 1000 little girls and their coaches and parents started on the 5k run.

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I had set a goal for myself to run the 5k without stopping and try to do it in 45 minutes or less. Last year I think it took me about 55 minutes and I walked at least half of it. It was very warm and humid today. Before I left my husband asked me not to overdo it and to be careful not to get caught up in the excitement of the race. I know that the recent heart attack of a very close friend who lives out west was leaving him feeling a little apprehensive about me running today. I have to admit that the our friend’s heart attack was also in the back of my mind. The attack was a mild one and she’s doing much better but she’s the last person we would ever have suspected of having a heart condition.

I set a very reasonable pace for myself and was able to run the first half without stopping to walk. When I did stop it was at the water station but I started to run again almost immediately.  The heat did bother me and I walked a couple more times but never for more than a minute. In the end I finished in a time of 47:27, 2 1/2 minutes slower than I hoped for but this year I felt so much better than I did last year. I didn’t experience those moments of dread like I did last year and I wasn’t as emotional….no tears.

Now that I have an official time I can work on getting that number down. I should plan to do another 5k sometime this summer. It’s good to have a goal.

Time to work on my art piece.

Cheers!