TWIR #106: back to life, back to reality

I’m not even a little bit sorry that song is probably stuck in your head right now.

After a week in sunny Mexico, being all lazy with my workouts, it was back to reality for me this week, which meant full on work days, full on workouts, and full on withdrawal from daily sunshine (I suspect it will never really be Spring here).  Let’s see if I was successful in getting back into gear.

Saturday
Activity:  strength training
Relevant Stats: 45 minutes
Observations: Can I tell you how freaking fantastic it felt to be back in my own bed? And to take a shower in my own shower? The only downside of coming home was the time change which caused me to be wake up fully at 6am on a Saturday. On the plus side, that meant fitting in a workout before heading out for our wine weekend. I worked those glutes and legs hard to make up for a slacker week in Mexico. And then I drank a million wine samples, took a 4 o’clock nap, woke up to drink more and cram pizza in my face, only to fall asleep before 10 pm, which really irked me because I missed the ending of my 48 Hours Mystery.

Sunday
Activity: unplanned rest day
Relevant Stats: all the wine = no workout
Observations: I could’ve woken up and forced myself to the hotel gym, but instead I laid in bed with coffee and stared out the window at our lake view until it was time to go for breakfast. You win some, you lose some. I spent the rest of the day on my ass travelling between a few more wineries before driving home where I took yet another afternoon nap. Wine weekends are hard y’all.

Monday
Activity: strength training
Relevant Stats: 45 minutes
Observations: After a weekend of overindulgence, I pretty much felt like a bag of crap by Monday morning. I forced myself to go to the gym and do some more serious leg work. While the workout itself was great, by the time I got home I felt absolutely awful. The afternoon was a struggle, friends. All I wanted was a nap, but I figured that napping during the workday would not be easily accepted by my employer.

Tuesday
Activity: spin
Relevant Stats: 45 minutes
Observations:  I’m not sure why I thought a spin day would be a great follow up to a tough leg day. It was not. I struggled on this spin ride, particularly with sprints, but I persevered and somehow knocked out a 45 minute spin, which is the longest spin ride I’ve had in months.  Now if I could just get back to 45 minutes of running…

Wednesday
Activity: personal training session
Relevant Stats: 45 min.
Observations: My trainer knocked it up a notch this week. There were a lot of bear crawls, some seriously heavy prowler work, and a few arm exercises that made me wish I didn’t have arms. On the plus side, I changed my training session time to mid-morning which made the workout a hundred times more enjoyable than starting at 6am. I have no idea why I ever thought a 6am training session was a good idea when I work from home and have considerable flexibility in my calendar. I’m just glad I’ve come to my senses.

Thursday
Activity: strength training
Relevant Stats: 45 min.
Observations: I can’t lie. My legs and glutes were not feeling it today. I did most of my step ups without any weight at all, and modified a lot of other exercises so that I wouldn’t aggravate my sciatic. I can tell when it’s on the verge of causing me issues, and it was certainly giving me early warning signs during this workout. Still, I survived a full workout and walked away with even sorer muscles. Sidenote: is sorer even a word? It’s also possible the workout was extra hard because we had a friend in town on Wednesday and we drank considerably more than we typically would on a work night, but who can be sure?

Friday
Activity: spin + core
Relevant Stats: 45 min. spin + 10 min. core
Observations: Oh man, today was a good one. Like I was climbing hills like a champ and even sprinting like a champ. I still have no idea why some days I seem to have endless energy while other days I can barely make it through my workouts, but I’m going to take this one as a the pinnacle of my workout week. I earned my wine tonight in sweat equity.

And just like that another week comes to its end. We might actually get some sunshine this weekend, which could mean some outdoors adventures are on the horizon, and also some patio furniture shopping because, you know, we don’t want to be those people who sit on their patio in camping chairs all summer. Happy weekend to all and to all a good night.

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Mid-Week Tangent: Wine Wednesdays

One of the reasons we moved to our new place was proximity to BC’s wine country. I mean, technically we’re in BC wine country, but the Northern Okanagan is mostly white wines and, while I’m game to drink a white wine every now and again on a blistering hot day, I’m mostly team red and red wines are rarer this far North.  That said, instead of being a 5ish hour drive to our favourite wineries farther South, we’re now 1.5-3 hours. That’s a game changer. Thus, I proclaim this the summer of all the wines.

I have dabbled in this space with attempting to find the perfect cake and the perfect gelato, all to no avail I might add. Now I’m setting my targets on wines. Rest assured, I’m not seeking perfection here. Tastes in wine are far too personal for me to label anything as perfect.  However, as we explore more and more wineries in the area, I thought it would be fun to share fun surprises and finds as we spend increasingly more time stocking our wine cellar (sidenote: our “wine cellar” is just the storage room in our basement aka the coolest room in our house…although one day we dream of a legit wine cellar. Sigh.). So whenever we visit wineries, I’ll try to pick a personal fave from the day and share with you some of the highlights of the wine and the whole vineyard experience.

An important caveat:  I’m not a wine expert by any means. I have no wine jargon and lingo to offer you. I’ve watched all the sommelier documentaries on Netflix and can safely say that I will never describe a wine as tasting like freshly cut rubber hose, nor do I think anyone other than a master sommelier could ever appreciate what that means (and really, what does that mean???).  I am lucky if I can discern an obvious flavour note like cherry or cassis.  Mostly, my wine strategy is as follows:

1. taste wine
2. see if it makes me think “yum!”
3. buy wine and enjoy in large quantities whenever the mood strikes

See? Really high criteria I’ve got, isn’t it? So with that out of the way, let’s take a look at one of my favourite finds from our most recent wine weekend.

Region: Naramata

Winery: Deep Roots 

Varietal: Gamay Noir

Price Point: $24 (including tax). It’s not cheap, but nothing in the Okanagan is really cheap anymore, but it’s also far more reasonable than other wineries where prices are often creeping into the mid-$30s.

Brief and non-technical Tasting Notes:  A gamay is essentially a beaujolais, which means it’s light and fruity and perfect for sipping on its own or with food. I love me a good gamay, but if lighter style wines aren’t your jam, this wine won’t blow your mind. To be truthful, it didn’t blow my mind either, but it was very tasty and even refreshing, which isn’t often a word I use to describe a red wine. I imagine this wine alongside a wide array of cheeses, while sitting in the sunshine on my new patio, staring at the orchards across the valley.  When I imagine this, it seems to be a rather perfect moment and, therefore, I recommend this wine.

Winery Vibes:  Winery vibes are super important yet underrated. This is the feeling that you get when you walk into a space, and is influenced by things such as: aesthetics, decor, set up, staff friendliness and knowledge, sampling protocol (free vs. fees, sampling variety, etc.), snobbiness vs. accessibility, etc.

Deep Roots gets an A+ for me on winery vibes. From the second I walked in this door (actually, from the second I saw their logo), I knew I would like this winery. There is no pretentiousness here. You will be welcomed by two winery dogs (who are also completely friendly, in case dogs are not your jam), and by the winemaker’s father. He is clearly proud of his son and it shows in how he speaks about the history of the winery, and the wines they produce. It is a refreshing contrast to some of the wineries in our region where you sometimes encounter staff who appear to know nothing more about the wine than what’s written on the paper in front of them.

You will sample up to 6 wines, which is fairly generous, and there is no talk of tasting fees. I appreciate this as I’ve found the BC wineries to be getting more and more in your face about tasting fees. I am not opposed to paying for tasting. I simply don’t want to be hammered over the head with talk of fees before I even get wine in my face.  There was a community feel to the tasting as we crowded around the small tasting bar with perfect strangers.  Although I usually despise talking to strangers, it is somehow okay and even enjoyable when wine is involved. Bottom line: this is a friendly and generous wine tasting environment and worth visiting if you’re passing through Naramata.*

 

*It probably goes without saying, but I have received no compensation for writing this. Deep Roots has no idea who I am, nor do I have a followership on this blog that would inspire anyway to pay me for writing nice things about them.

 

 

 

 

Monday Musings: when you accidentally give up twitter

In my last job I was so incredibly bored and so remarkably un-busy that I often checked Twitter hourly. Okay, if I’m being really honest, sometimes it was every 15 minutes. So basically I checked Twitter way too often. But then I got busy in my new job, so busy in fact that I cold-turkey stopped checking Twitter almost two months ago.  It’s been an enlightening experience to let go of something that used dominate a fair bit of my time and mental energy, and today I share that enlightenment with you.

For the most part, I followed a pretty light crowd, a pop culture hodge-podge of musicians, movie stars and athletes. Still, there’s enough going on in the world today that it was easy to fall down the Twitter rabbit hole of infuriating tweets and retweets and sub-threads. Often, I’d walk away from my brief but frequent forays into the Twitter-scape with feelings running the gamut from mildly irritated to disgusted with the state of the world. In other words, Twitter was bad news for my emotional well-being.

At first it was difficult to let go.  Sure, I was busy, but I wondered what  Chrissie Teigen was cooking that day or whether Ryan Adams was hanging out with his cats.  I felt disconnected from the world at large.  But then when I realized I also wasn’t reading Donald Trump retweets or endless and increasingly illogical arguments between the anti-NRA and the pro-NRA, suddenly I realized that my mental energy was staying more balanced. I was getting less worked up. The world was looking brighter. Twitter was in grave danger of being forgotten.

But the best part of this whole unintended Twitter breakup was that Twitter knew it was on the verge of being ghosted. They clearly have a game plan in place for when frequent users experience a drastic drop off. It started with the daily emails, that ones that kindly informed me that I had 29 updates from a handful of whatever Twitter’s algorithm had determined were my favourite celebrities du jour. I could live with that. I liked to know Twitter was still thinking about me.

But then they added a second daily email, these ones a little more focused on just one celebrity. They were putting all their eggs in one basket.  They were willing to bet that if I knew Ryan Adams tweet was featured in the news, I’d have to get back into that app. I mean, I might be missing kitten pictures. I was sort of impressed with this strategy. I am a highly curious person. I did want to look, but my new job has kept me so much busier that I often simply forgot.

Never ones to accept defeat, Twitter then unleashed its unleashed the ultimate FOMO-inducing strategy. Feast your eyes on this one:

It’s so supremely mysterious, so very deliciously vague. I mean, what is this one message that is waiting just for me??? I actually give Twitter a huge kudos for this one. It’s one thing to tell me that someone I follow has just tweeted, or to let me know that his or her tweet has somehow gone viral, but it’s a whole different ballgame to create the illusion of personally curated tweets that only my eyes might see.

It’s a total lie, of course, but for just one brief moment I imagined a world in which Twitter might somehow know that what I needed that very moment was a picture of Ryan Adam’s cats and not the inane political ramblings of a bunch of total strangers. But although it was a nice dream, it was also a flawed one, and so I ignored even this most coy of click bait and continued without Twitter. On the other side of two months Twitter-free, I can honestly say that almost nothing could tempt me to come back.*  I might finally have cracked the code on my own sense of FOMO. Thanks, Twitter, I’ve been working on that one for a while.

 

*It also helps that I finally unsubscribed from all their “you’re missing out” emails. 

TWIR #105: Mexico!

As the post title suggests, I was in Mexico this week (for work, not fun…although our villa had a private pool so it’s not like there was no fun). I expected to do zero exercise so I consider it a major win that I managed to fit some legitimate exercise in, although I’d like to note that applying zinc-based SPF 50 to my entire body is also quite the workout.  Let’s see what I got up to.

Saturday
Activity: strength training
Relevant Stats: 40 min.
Observations: Determined to work out one last time before I was forced to wear a bathing suit in front of coworkers, something I am still 100% uncomfortable with, I hit the gym for a solid strength training workout. Cold or not, I had to push myself. I mixed in lots of glute work, some box jumps, a few arm moves for good measure, and then a ton of ab work, as though it would somehow transform my flabby mid-section into something…less flabby. Sigh. And then I proceeded to eat the world’s largest plate of nachos while watching the Masters. And then some gelato. And by some gelato, I mean the equivalent of half a pint. This is why I can’t handle wearing a bathing suit in front of others. In my defense, Patrick Reed was in the lead at the Masters and that’s pretty much my worst case scenario, especially knowing I’d be stuck on a place while my dear Rory tried to kick his ass on Sunday. Totally uncool and even more unfair.

Sunday
Activity: planned rest day
Relevant Stats: travel, travel, travel
Observations: It sometimes amazes me how long it takes to travel. I don’t mean the flight parts. I get that it takes to time to fly. I mean all the other crap–the arriving at the airport early, the waiting around at the airport because you arrived early, the layovers in between flights, the waiting around at the airport after you’ve arrived for your ground transport.  It was about a 12-hour trip for 6 hours of flying time. Ugh. Needless to say, I didn’t work out and I was okay with that.

Monday
Activity: semi-planned rest day
Relevant Stats: does a beach walk count?
Observations: I thought I’d do a workout, I really did. A few people from my work were getting up to do one, but I could not sleep on Sunday night. By the time I drifted off to sleep, I knew that there was no way I was getting up in time to work out.  I did stand in a pool…and walk on the beach. That’s gotta count for something, right?

Tuesday
Activity: body-weight strength session
Relevant Stats: 25 min.
Observations: Can I blame humidity or the fact that I didn’t sleep well for the fact that I could not even do a full set of 15 tricep dips? I should have known better than to join in on arms day. I mean, seriously, 25 minutes straight of arm exercises, even when they only used my own body weight, was about 23 minutes too long for me. Still, I was proud to have dragged my butt out of bed to actually do it.

Wednesday
Activity: body-weight strength training
Relevant Stats: 28 min.
Observations: Thank God this workout didn’t involve all arms. I wasn’t sure I could do any more tricep dips. Instead, this workout was a mix of step ups, squat presses (with an industrial-sized bottle of pine sol for a weight, thankyouverymuch), some arm work, and lots of sit up variations. Though short, it felt like a legit workout.

Thursday
Activity: body-weight strength training
Relevant Stats: 25 min.
Observations: Ugh, more arms. It was supposed to be an all leg day, the one workout I was most pumped for, but our usual workout ringleader slept through her alarm so we had to use a different workout app, which sadly meant an all-body workout. I don’t think I’ve done this many pushups ever and I know with certainty that I don’t want to do more pushups for a very long time.

Friday
Activity: semi-planned rest day
Relevant Stats: sleeping in > everything
Observations: Once again, I couldn’t fall asleep and, since I didn’t have to get up for work stuff, I opted to sleep in instead of work out. I had no regrets, even though I spent the rest of the day on planes.  YOLO, right?

At long last, I am on my way home just in time to pack up and leave for a weekend in wine country. This week has felt like a whirlwind and utterly exhausting, so a weekend of wine sampling seems like the perfect way to unwind. Happy weekend y’all. May your weekends involve a lot of whatever you love.

Training Tuesdays: 2 Year Injury-versary

My oh my, how the time flies.  It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost two years since the day I went for what I thought would be an innocuous 10 km run that ended up turning my workout world upside down.

A mere 6 months after my injury, I wrote an anniversary post lamenting the change to my lifestyle and identity. Little did I know that another 1.5 years would follow, another 1.5 years in which I would continue to experience improvements followed by setbacks, over and over again; another 1.5 years in which I would struggle to work back to even the shortest of runs; another 1.5 years in which I would have to reimagine what an active lifestyle would look like for me.

Then after a full year, I wrote another anniversary post, as if I wasn’t still in the throes of injury recovery. Ah, naivety. Now, a full two years later, I feel so much wiser (about my injury and my fitness, not in general). Though there have been a lot of ups and downs, I’ve learned so much about what it takes to maintain my fitness without further injury. It hasn’t been easy and I still have a ton to learn, but the sum total of my acquired knowledge after 2 years of injury comes down to this:

1. Injuries really can last a long time, and it doesn’t mean you’re weak or lazy: Let’s be honest, sometimes I still struggle with this one, but the reality is that I’ve been working hard to build strength and despite this my injury is not 100% gone.  Some injuries are just more persistent and challenging to address than others.

2. Taking it slow is always the best approach: For the longest time, I was using past injuries as a benchmark for this injury. All my other injuries had healed relatively quickly. Not so this time. I had to take a ride on the patience train and recognize I was in recovery mode for the long haul.

3. Getting to know your own body’s aches, pains and responses is critical: I thought I knew all the early warning signs, but I didn’t. Two years in, I can see most of my injury regressions a mile away. I can tell the difference between pain I can work through and pain that tells me to stop. Noticing that difference has kept me from major setbacks (knock on wood) for most of this last year.

So happy anniversary, you broken old SI. You’ve taught me a lot about myself in these two years, and I’m coming to terms with you more and more every day. Salut!

TWIR #104: I fought the cold and the cold won

By cold, I mean the immune system breakdown kind, not the weather kind…although, come to think of it, it’s also been unseasonably cold this week.  I mean, we had snow Sunday and Monday. In April. In what’s supposed to be one of the warmest spots in the province. Sigh.  But I also have a cold, which is highly irritating because who gets sick during Spring time? And also, I barely leave the house anymore, so where on earth did I catch it?

Saturday
Activity: mini hike!
Relevant Stats: 7.5 km loop
Observations:  If you want tips on hiking, ask my better half. His grand plan was to park by the lakeside bar for our loop hike so that we’d conveniently finish by the lakeside bar, making post-hiking beer and wings so much easier. I can’t say it was a bad plan. However, I can say that I have a lot of work to do before hiking season. This wasn’t even a real hike and I was dying. My legs and lungs are not used to uphill walking anymore.

Sunday
Activity: planned rest day
Relevant Stats: Easter hunt!!!!!
Observations: Like a five year old, I got to follow a trail of chocolate eggs all the way from our bedroom to our living room, where I then got to hunt for way more chocolate than a 38 year old who only eats sugar once a week should ever have in her possession. It was wonderful.  Sadly, our Easter joy was clouded by the emergence of my better half’s sore throat (his telltale first symptom of a cold) and my broken toe.

Monday
Activity: spin
Relevant Stats: 40 min. spin + 10 min. core
Observations: I had hoped to run this week, but I figured that was asking a bit much of my poor toe, so I opted for spin instead. I killed it on the spin bike before wrapping up my workout with some ab work.  I then spent most of the rest of the day running back and forth to grocery and drug stores to load up on soup and Nyquil to nurse my partner back to health.

Tuesday
Activity: strength training
Relevant Stats: 50 min.
Observations: This was my last good workout of the week. I killed my legs and glutes. Like killed them. I upped my weights and did so many sets of step ups and squats and lunges and dead lifts that by the end of the workout, my legs were done like dinner. I’m glad I got this one good workout in because by the end of the night, I felt a little concerned that my immune system was finally crapping out.

Wednesday
Activity: personal training session
Relevant Stats: 50 min.
Observations: I’m still not sure how I feel about my new trainer. I mean, she’s very nice and all, but I’m not sure about her approach. I really do think that my last trainer’s kinesiology background made a big difference to her approach and ability to guide me through exercises that were targeted toward building strength to support my injury recovery. With my new trainer, I feel like I’m getting training, but nothing customized to getting me back on track. Also, by the end of the day my cold had fully arrived, and so had my partner’s parents, (after offering us six hours’ notice for their arrival, no less!). There is nothing like last minute cleaning and tidying when you’re not feeling 100%.

Thursday
Activity: unplanned rest day
Relevant Stats: the cold cometh
Observations: There is no better way to describe how I felt all day than like a sack of crap.  Thankfully, my partner took his parents out for the day so I could sit at home and work while feeling sorry for myself.  I contemplated going to the gym anyway, but every time I stood up my body told me, in no uncertain terms, that the gym would be a bad idea. I dragged my ass through the whole day, including an after dinner social visit with friends in town, and have never been happier to see my bed by the end of the night.

Friday
Activity: cardio warm-up + light strength training
Relevant Stats: 10 min. spin + 25 min. strength training
Observations: I decided I had sufficient energy to attempt a workout today. All things considered, it wasn’t terrible. I certainly had nothing in the tank as far as cardio was concerned (hence the very short spin warm up), but the strength training wasn’t as terrible as I thought it might be. Now I’ll just wait and see if this was a big mistake for my cold…

Now it’s the weekend and I’m staring down the barrel of a Friday night without wine (stupid cold!). It’s a sad, sad thought for me, but I need to kick this cold before I head to Mexico (for work) on Sunday. Nobody wants to be sick on an airplane. On that note, there may be a bit more radio silence here next week, but I’m hoping I can still pull out a couple of posts.  Happy weekend y’all!  May your immune systems stay strong, and please have an extra glass of wine for me.

Mid-Week Tangent: the great hot cross bun debate

I’m a little late to the party on this one given that Easter is over and bakeries are probably already clearing out space for the next holiday’s baked good of choice. Still, I noticed this year a lot of heated debate about the hot cross bun. Who knew that it was such a contentious topic?  Apparently hot cross buns are either dearly loved or bitterly loathed. Our national news publication even wrote a whole article about it (which, brief side note, come on CBC, you can do better with ‘news’).

When I pause to think about it, I suppose we have the candied fruit to blame. It seems to have a divisive power wherever it shows up (fruit cake, I’m looking at you).  Personally, I’m candied fruit agnostic. It shows up in a number of baked goods that I like and an equal number of baked goods that I do not like. Therefore, I can only assume that the candied fruit itself is not a problem for me.  However, I won’t take away the candied fruit haters’ opportunity to vehemently oppose that which they hate. Food aversions are real.

Where am I going with this? Today, I am entering myself into the hot cross bun debate as staunchly pro-hot cross bun. I am not here to convince the hot cross bun haters that they should hop on board the hot cross bun train. I support your need to hate them, even if your hatred has nothing to do with candied fruit. However, I also reserve the right to share my reasons for loving the hot cross bun, which are few and simple:

1. They are a sweet(ish) bread product eaten for breakfast. Any opportunity to eat sweets at breakfast is welcome in my books.

2. They are occasionally glazed. See above point.

3. My mother bakes them from scratch and they are not only infinitely more delicious than any store-bought hot cross bun I’ve ever had (even without glaze…which she inexplicably stopped making years ago…hmph), but also twice the size of a standard hot cross bun. Go big or go home, particularly with anything remotely sweet. If you don’t believe me, read my post on my beloved apple fritter.

4. You can add copious amounts of butter to them when toasted. Butter on hot toasted bread products is pretty much at the pinnacle of my personal food pyramid.

So there you have it, one more vote cast in the hot cross bun debate. You can agree or disagree, but my voice shall be heard! And now, yours can too! What do you say? Hot cross bun, yay or nay?