Thursday, November 29, 2012


I had my first game of ultimate frisbee on Saturday.

Keeping in mind that I get really anxious in new/unknown situations with new/unknown people, I was very nervous for hours before I even got to the game. I had just gotten my hair cut that afternoon, so I had no idea how to tie it back to get it out of my face - so that took awhile. Eventually I decided on just wearing a bandanna. I also took awhile to decide what shirts to wear - I wasn't comfortable wearing any of my tighter shirts, so the hunt was on for a loose shirt in both required colours. In the end I decided on my Montreal Canadiens t-shirt for red (really the only choice I had), and Gilles' 'Animal' shirt for black.

Once the attire decisions were made, I really had no excuse to trot around the house in my 'uniform' and my new cleats any more, so I packed up and headed to the field (indoor). I was near shaking with trepidation.

When I got there I had no idea where to go, having never been to the building before. It took me a bit of time to locate the appropriate parking lot, and then more time to locate my team. Luckily the friend of mine who invited me to play in the first place quickly told me where I was supposed to be, and also sat down with me to explain the rules of the game and how to play in general. I'm not sure how much of this information I actually retained, but it was very helpful in calming my nerves.

Retrospectively, the game went great and was brutal, in two different regards. On one hand, I was able to overcome my fear and actually play, when I wanted nothing more than to turn tail and run the entire time leading up to the game. On the other hand, I really need to learn how to catch a frisbee while running, and I also need to get into better 'sprinting' shape. It's amazing how different long distance running and speed running are. I lost my 'man' more than a couple times due to simply being unable to keep up. In the end, our team lost by a very large margin, and although I'm definitely to blame for several of the points, I will keep coming back - if they'll have me.

Every week I am doing a different fitness class. The intent is to get out of my shell, try new things, and overcome my fear of unfamiliar situations and talking to people that I don't know. My first class was Fitness Yoga for Beginners last week, and I will be trying Cardio Mixup II tonight. While these certainly do help me get out of my shell (it is hard to know what is required or expected for a class without talking to the other people in it), no one is relying on you. How hard you work (or not) is your own decision, and does not affect anyone in the class but you. No one cares if you are having an 'on' day, or an 'off' day. Team sports are different. You have to bring your 'A' game every time, or you let down your team. You are constantly striving to improve your skills, your fitness level, and your understanding of the game and strategies so that you can take that one step higher.

Doing a different fitness class every week is slowly getting me out of my shell, but because none of this 'extra' is required- no one cares if you are brutal at it- I wasn't and haven't ever been nearly as nervous as I was to play one game of Frisbee. Intended or not, I think Frisbee will be the biggest fitness experiment of all - maybe even the one that sticks.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Fitness Experiment 1: Beginner Yoga

Image courtesy: Journey To Myself

As promised, I took my first 'solo' fitness class today. Originally I was going to try a step class, or something more within my comfort zone for my first class. Might as well start slowly, right? Well Step didn't work into my schedule, and as my day planner started filling up for the week, it became clear that the only time I would have to add in a fitness class would be immediately after work on Thursday. I looked up the listing for the gyms that I have access to, and there was one class that fit that description: Yoga.

Now, those who know me personally know that two of my fitness... challenges...., are that I am not particularly flexible and have an utter lack of balance and/or grace. Simply put, I'm the girl who trips over her own two feet. Also, having never attempted yoga in any form, I had no idea what to expect. 

The evening started off like any other - putting on my freezing gym clothes (from sitting in my car overnight and all day), and heading up to the class. I was about fifteen minutes early... or so I thought. There was one other person in the room, laying on a yoga mat on the floor. I didn't see anything relevant to yoga around the room, so I grabbed a fitness mat from the front of the room, and started stretching. My muscles were quite sore from the night before, so the stretching did do me good. After about ten minutes of stretching though, there was no one else in the room yet, and the other girl decided that she didn't want to attend yoga any more and left. It was then that I realized that the class actually started at 5:45 and not 5:30, so I had actually arrived to the classroom a full half hour early. Yikes.

Other people started to arrive though, and pull out their yoga mats. I figured that it must mean that this was a self-equipped class. Fine with me.

As the class began to fill up, two things became apparent. One, I needed to take off my shoes, at a minimum. Everyone was barefoot. Two, as people sat down and went into what appeared to be trances, I was way out of my element.

The instructor arrived and proceeded to turn on small lamps around the room, and then turn off the lights. Oddly, it was after the lights were turned out that she noticed that there were three new people in the class; me and two other beginners. She told us that the mats we had chosen wouldn't work, and that we would have to get yoga equipment from the closet in the hall. Oops. We had disturbed the ...'yen'?

Once I had myself settled again and figured out how to position all the equipment, the class went quite well. I will admit, it was very peaceful and it was nice to take an hour to stretch our all of my muscles. That said - I am not sure I would classify it as a fitness class personally... in my mind it was more of a practice in calming the mind. 

Would I do it again?

Maybe. I can see it's purpose and how it works for other people, however it isn't something I could commit to doing regularly, at least at this point. 

All in all though, I'd say experiment 'week 1' was a success. 

What will it be next week? Who knows. I am not sure yet which day I will be experimenting next week - I may have to fit in two workouts in one day. Whatever it is though, I'm sure it will be great!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Christmas Baking

I love Christmas baking time. The smell of all the freshly baked goods almost makes me swoon, even though I can't eat most of it! This year I'm baking for both an exchange at work, as well as a baking fundraiser for our local cat shelter. My baking was spread across two different weekends, and resulted in...

Six pumpkin loaves
(I forgot to take another picture after I finished baking these... I was on a roll!)

154 pumpkin whoopie pies

48 miniature pumpkin cheesecakes

and three pans of chocolate fudge.

Monday, November 19, 2012

A delay, of sorts.

The last post that I set up was about how I'm going to go out of my comfort zone and add some more healthy living and fitness to my life by going to group classes at different gyms around the city every Tuesday.

I haven't changed my mind.

That said, I decided that I'm going to host a dinner party this Tuesday instead. 

See, I need to reduce the amount of stuff we have in our freezer by 2/3 by the end of next month, as we have to downsize when we move. So by having a bunch of friends over for supper I can legitimately cook two chickens at once and not have a bazillian pounds of leftovers (slight exaggeration, maybe.) So, instead of going to a group class on Tuesday I am cooking a big chicken, mashed potatoes, carrots, salad and stuffing meal for my friends. No, I'm not eating it myself - I have five more pounds to go before I can go off my meal plan (more on that in the next post). 

But that brings me back to the promise I made. One class per week. That's not so bad, right?

I will go on Thursday instead. This Thursday I will attend.... Beginner Fitness Yoga. Yikes! This is WAY out of my comfort zone. But that's what I wanted... right?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Challenge

I started and restarted this post several times, and didn't come up with anything appropriate, so you get this:

Two of the biggest mental/physical challenges in my life right now are my introvertedness and my weight. I don't pretend to believe that the two are not intertwined. 

I've come up with a way to challenge myself to 'go out of my comfort zone' for both, with one fell swoop. See, six months of the year I take ballroom dance classes with my husband every Thursday and second Tuesday  For the other six, he plays hockey while I have those evenings off. Until now.

Starting next week, I will be attending a different fitness class, often at a different gym, every Tuesday night, by myself. (Somebody from the comma police come arrest me but it really did need them all to get the point across...) This will force me not only to get out of my 'fitness bubble' and try new things, but also to talk to new people. I'll start this week with... Cardio & Sculpt I. Not only is it a new class, but at a new gym! I'll let you know how it goes. :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Remembering our Fallen

The weekend approaching marks Remembrance Day for Canadians, and Veteran's Day for Americans. They may go by a different name and include very different decorating customs, but the purpose of the two events are the same - to remember our fallen.

In Canadian tradition, Remembrance Day is marked by a poppy, worn over one's heart. It is a mark of allegiance worn through much of October and November, and often continuing on through Christmas. But what are some other ways that you can show your tribute to our current and past troops?

Aside from the obvious (purchased poppy wreaths from veteran halls and attending your local Remembrance Day memorial), there are several great ideas out there for decorating and other ways to honour your loved ones. Here are a few of my favorites:

Oversized Poppies: The Tangled Nest

Leave flowers at graves - Photo courtesy: Legion Magazine

Bouquet of poppies - Photo courtesy: Lifework Media blog

Write a letter to the troops - Photo courtesy: Rothamel Bratton
(More information here)