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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Yoga, not

I've been a member of my new gym for about a day now, and it's pretty awesome! Below is a long-winded and boring group of sentences describing my first impressions, as well as a detailed description of my failed-but-saved evening work-out. Feel free to skip this one, but I want to remember the experience of being brand new to a gym :)

I love gyms that exist for the sole purpose of making fitness/exercise accessible and fun. My new gym has squash courts (one day!), towel service, lots of group classes, 4 different weight rooms (upper body, lower, free weights and heavy, heavy weights), towel service, a steam room and a sauna (in the past any facility had either or, not both), and a cardio THEATRE! including a stair machine. They probably have more, but that's what my short tour to the changing rooms included, haha.

I know this is still a little gym and I don't think it's a franchise, but their sole purpose is to create a space for people to workout. Compared to my university gym, this one's spacious, less crowded, friendly and consumer-focused. It's refreshing for sure :)

In my last post I talked about trying the Rise & Shine circuit class. This evening I was determined to try out Yoga Flow. I made sure to have a snack, fill up my bottle and leave plenty of time to bike the 6km there. I kept forgetting things and I turned around twice. I was caught waiting after a train that seemed to be going backwards and forwards. Against all odds, haha I made it to the gym with 10 minutes to spare and sweatily asked the front desk lady where the class was held. Oh - there's no yoga today. Oops - I must have gotten the schedule wrong. For some reason they already switched their schedule and are operating on the August line-up and now there's an earlier class on Tuesdays.

Saddened, I decided that I was already there, so I might as well make the most of it and try out their cardio theater. I sneaked in a lock in the changing room (I'll pay the $6.50 for locker rental next time) and shoved my bag and helmet into a locker. I dropped some soup on my ipod in the bathroom and I only realised once I felt the gooey-ness heading to the cardio room. I made my way back to the bathroom to wipe it off, leaving my water bottle on the sink counter. My ipod is super clean now and working great, but I obviously forgot my water bottle there.
Skip ahead, because I'm already bored. I did 2 miles @ 6.0 and another .6, walking, at 5.0 incline. I figured out their TV system too late - I'll use it next time. You plug in your headphones to a little receiver thing that connects to the TVs, and you can switch which 'channel' TV you're connected to. It's SO NEAT! No more watching silent news and trying to guess who won which medals from facial expressions again, ha.

Anyway. I biked home. I didn't fall down. No more train waiting. I was sweaty. The end?
Oh - I found a running partner! In real life. We have a running date this Friday, so we'll see how things go. Having a newbie that will keep me accountable and entertained shouldn't be too bad.

Circuit training- 45 mins
Cycling- 24km - ~1h20min
Running/jogging/walking - 30min
Total: ~2.75hours in one day! Excuse me while I take a nap for two days...

Circuit Training #1

Last night before bed I set 6 alarms for the morning, ranging from 05:30-06:00. After terrible dreams and lots of un-restful turning over and over again, I awoke to a dark sky and determined that I was not going to get up, and I felt okay with my decision.
Trying to get back to sleep I realised I was thirsty. So I got up and turned the kitchen light on, poured some delicious water. Got back into bed. Then the cats started being annoying. Then I felt bad for being a slacker.
So I got up, got ready, had a banana and headed off. I was about 10 minutes behind schedule but I knew I'd be mad if I woke up this early for nothing.

So off to the gym I headed, where I was just in time to join a female instructor and 3 lovely gentlemen for circuit training. For 45 seconds each, with 15s to get to the next one. We did the circuit 4 times, with 60s rest in between.
  1. One was a 25lb barbell plate on a towel, and you had to push it across the room.
  2. Tri dips
  3. Medicine ball, throws on each side over your head
  4. Step-ups with a bar weight
  5. Bosu ball and bicep curls (6lb then 12lb, 12lb, 10lb)
  6. Plank on an exercise ball
  7. Dumbbell shoulder press on an exercise ball
My favourite was the medicine ball! Getting to throw that thing around was fun and it made a super awesome sound. Pushing the plate on the floor was neat too - the record is 4.5times around the room, and I managed 4. It's hard, yo. I'm convinced that the towel gets sweaty each time someone's on it and it gets more friction each round. My least favourite was the tri-dip station - ouch! I ended up having to use a tiny (10lb?) weight instead of my body weight. Planks are another thing I could really improve....

I am extremely happy I went! It kicked my ass and my arms feel like jelly. I also biked there & back (12km roundtrip) so I've already worked out AND showered before 8am, which is earlier than I would usually wake up. Time for some yummy oatmeal (with shredded coconut) and a movie.

After 45mins circuit training + 12km cycling

Monday, July 30, 2012

August 2012

As we step into August, new and exciting things are happening!
I received an unexpected surprise in the mail today: my work permit! I was hoping to hear back via email, but this is so much better. Bright and shiny, it's mine for 3 years. Meaning a job is next, as are adult responsabilities. Which leads to signing a new lease in September. We found a neat 2-bedroom apartment for a decent price, and we're moving at the end of the summer. Perhaps pictures will follow, maybe not.

I participated in a volleyball fundraiser yesterday. It was a lovely, sunny Sunday and 5 beautiful people were able to dedicate their day to being on my team. Together we raised about $200 for the cause and we came 5th of 8 teams. Considering some of the team members hadn't ever met before, I think our team worked extremely well together and everyone reports to have had fun, which is all the matters!
There was a raffle draw, and I split my tickets between a 1hr massage, a gym membership and a printer (because Calvin really wanted it). I won the printer! And was able to make Calvin happy by handing it to him. Then I won two of the one-month memberships, which is kind of silly, so they drew again. But I was allowed to keep a one-month $100 value membership to a local gym. While it doesn't have a swimming pool, it does have amazing machines, NO STUDENT CROWDS, and lots of group fitness classes. I signed up this morning and left with the schedule - I'm allowed to be in AS MANY of the classes as I want for 4 whole weeks. Of course, I plan to go everyday. There's 3 or 4 different kinds of yoga that they have (flow, hatha, power, and an all-ages beginner one). I want to try circuit training and MAYBE pilates. I want to try a spin class, although I'm worried about not being able to spin fast enough and the music being too loud.

I'm super excited! The place is about 6km away from me, which is great for cycling, and maybe even possible for running. It's my August goal to make the most of this prize as possible, and I hope to be able to update you after trying everything!
Oh and I also have ONE personal training session which I don't know what to do with! Weights? Core exercises? I've been thinking about this all day: what are my fitness goals? I kind of just have cycling goals right now; I'd like to get faster at swimming? I'm taking an unofficial break from running just to let me knee chill out.

I'll keep thinking. Thanks for reading my rambles, haha.

Friday, July 20, 2012


This isn't really going to be a post about swimming goals, but it IS an attempt to record a delicious swim I experienced this afternoon.

So swimming at my university gym is scheduled and they have the STUPIDEST times. Noon-2pm on some days, with lane swimming on 3 days in the evening 7:30-8pm and 'normal' swimming most afternoons 8-9:30pm. A swim last week proved that the evening sessions were getting too intense and violent for me, when I left after 8 minutes in the pool and being kicked, unintentionally groped and scratched on the face. NOT HAVING IT! I was tempted to angrily scream at some kids at the front desk and demand my money back, but we pay through tuition and having worked there, I'm pretty sure we don't give money back. The whole system is geared to steal money from students - most don't even know that some of their tuition money goes to paying for a 12-month membership EVERY single year they attend school, even if they're part-time.

Anyway. I decided to try out the after-noon swim, as I was free and what the hell.
It was awesome! I mean, it started out uncertain - I jumped into a seemingly free lane, only to have a kid stare at me and his dad rudely say that his kid was swimming there. Umm... nope. That lane was completely free until I stepped in and they decided to take it over. I even waited a couple minutes and they weren't SWIMMING, they were talking about swimming. So I looked around for another free lane, but it looked like most people were actually swimming laps, and I didn't want to take that away.

Until this elderly gentleman (anyone that is polite and helpful earns that title) yelled at me that the person in his lane would be leaving soon, and I should join their lane. Fantastic! The pool is split into 3 big sections, with 3 swimming lanes each. In real life, each of the sections can have 4 people swimming nicely next to each other. Apparently this guy goes swimming so often that he knows everyone's schedule. Sure enough, that person left and I took over his lane!!

I did a couple laps in great time (around 50 seconds per 50m) and noticed a (somewhat) fatty looking for a space. I offered to share my lane with him, and everything worked out beautifully. He was a FAST swimmer, and was really mindful of keeping in a straight line. Let's just say that everything worked out, my face isn't scratched, I had the best swim I've had in a while and all is right with the world. My love for swimming hasn't been smooshed, and I will go back.

1600m (1mile); 34mins.
Might as well try to screw back the gym and go everyday... twice a day? Get my money's worth?

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Hey everyone that still reads this space!
It looks like my last post was over a month ago and I'm sorry about that. The truth is that I haven't been running too much and I haven't made it a priority to come into this space for a while. I do miss some of the lovely bloggers that I read regularly - and I will catch up with you all tomorrow.

What's been going on lately? Calvin was working in Windsor for a whole week, and then had a week's vacation so that accounted for half the time. We usually spend our time watching TV, going for walks, running errands, playing pool and fighting over which movies to watch on Netflix (documentaries often win, as well as not-too-dumb comedies).

 Looking back through my posts I've noticed that HM training only reached week 4. While it has almost definitely ended (for now) it's hard to pinpoint why. I guess my dumb speed challenge side-tracked it as my knee had a rough time after it. And then it became clear that I wouldn't be in town for the race weekend of the race I'd chosen. I might start again for a September race if I feel like it, but don't hold your breath :)

I've been keeping active by cycling though, as I bike to almost everywhere I have to go. I've run out of bus tickets and biking sure beats paying $2.50 each time I jump on the bus. As I spend about 20-40minutes cycling everywhere everyday, I decided that I wanted to do a long ride with a friend. This is the same friend I went to Malden with another time and fell and hurt my hip a little and acquired a massive bruise on my thigh. Anyway, we've done a couple of trail rides together and we've been waiting for HIS hip to heal from a fall he had ages ago. We decided to head out at some point this week to say we rode to Amherstburg. We had to settle on Thursday, as Ramadan starts on Friday (tomorrow).

I woke up at 0530 and we headed out at 6am. It was a perfect day with clouds overhead and a few showers as we reached each destination. There wasn't really anything to see in Amherstburg at 07:30 in the morning, so after a stop at Tim's we headed back. We managed 36miles (58km) in just under 3 hours, which is just as good a starting point as any. My bum quite hurts, but I'm pleased to say that most things worked out. For next time, I would try to remember that Gatorade doesn't sit well in my tummy after an hour and that I'd like to bring sunglasses if it was sunny outside.

I have been waiting to see how this ride goes (I should really wait to see how my legs feel tomorrow morning) to set down some goals, and here they are! They make up a list of goals I'd like to see accomplished on the bike, but I am setting no order (other than logic, shorter/easiest first) or time limit on them (perhaps before snow falls?).
  • Bike from Windsor-Point Pelee-Windsor, ~150km roundtrip, but I'd like to camp for a night there.
  • (Metric) Century Ride, September 29th, 2012.
  • Bike from Windsor-Lambeth, 198km (~10hours)
I would like to buy a pair of padded shorts soon, as my bum HURTS after 3 hours on the bike. I'd also love to have a new bike, preferably one who's front tyre doesn't wobble and with brakes that work perfectly. While this bike is in good enough condition that I feel confident cycling with it for 50km, I feel that a road bike would be infinitely smoother and a little faster :)

I don't suppose anyone has a road bike they don't use sitting in their basement, and be willing to ship it to me?