Ever onward

The general tone of 2016 wrap-up-posts is pretty clear: this was a dumpster fire of a year, and no one will be sorry to see the end of it. Celebrities dying certainly stir up conversation, but I think it’s safe to say that 2016 will show up in the history books because of the Pulse nightclub shooting (among many, many other shootings), because of the fall of Aleppo, and because the most powerful country in the world chose to elect a xenophobic cheeto as its next president, instead of a competent woman.

So: yeah. A lot was pretty shitty in 2016, and I’m having trouble reconciling the deep horror and sadness I feel about the world with the absolute rapture I’ve felt this year as I became a parent. Y’all: motherhood is for me. I knew I’d enjoy it, but I didn’t imagine how deeply satisfied I would be with every single little aspect of it. I have been fulfilled, contented, and delighted by the life I’ve been living. This has been the best year of my life.

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I mean, lookit this sweet face!!

But events close to home and far afield have both left me with this: a longing for peace unlike anything I have ever experienced before.  It’s far away and insurmountable and so, so vague, but I want it for myself and for my son and for the whole dang world, which has been in so much pain.

So I’ll be figuring that out, nbd.

There are many more tangible things I want to accomplish in 2017, but with the major changes coming our way next week (back to work!), I’m pretty sure “surviving and adapting and adjusting” should be my main aim.

Still, I do love, on the brink of a new year, to imagine what that might look like. What would make me feel proud of our adjustment? How would I like us to be this year? January 1st isn’t some magical day that will change me, but it’s a welcome chance to think about the ways I’d like to focus my energies.

I’ve come up with the following:

putting family time first. I’m going to spend significantly less time with my family than I did in 2016. Ouch. It hurts to even write that, but it is absolutely going to be true. And this means it’s going to be really important to focus on the way that little things can mean a lot. I already fight the urge to hurry things up, to find little efficiencies, in so many of our daily rituals, and this is something I’ve got to work on calming. Eating breakfast, folding laundry, or taking a bath can be fun things when you slow them down and do them together. The walk to daycare is an opportunity, if we take the time for it. And in the evening, drinking a beer and sharing our days with my husband is exactly how I should spend my time. This all sounds obvious, but if I don’t keep it at the front of my consciousness, I fear I’ll forget.

working deeply, on the clock, and shutting off completely at the end of the day. I love my job, and I want to come in in the morning and be engaged and focused. And then I want to walk away from it. Hahahaha, right? I’ve been doing a lot of reading on this subject while on leave, and I’m ready to try out a few different things in the name of making this happen.

having time for myself. I didn’t do much running in 2016, and I’m not embarrassed or sad about it (I was doing other shit!), but I’m ready for 2017 to be different. Time to run and time to read are the two things I’d like most for myself. (LONG-FORM READING, JACQUELINE. NOT INTERNET READING.) See you on the trails!

Those three paragraphs are the dream, which I’m sure sounds naive to the seasoned working mums. But: I want to try! It’s not that I think I’m going to find a perfect balance, only that I want to be conscious of working towards it. And I’ve got the whole dang year (and, well, the year after that, and many more after that) to find ways and means of making it happen.

So: farewell 2016, the year my son was born, the year I became a mother. You were just wonderful and I wish I could stay in you, but 2017 is hurtling towards us with no regard for such wishes. How lucky to be here to face it.

Hello, world.

 

 

The first year

Just like that, I’ve been a married person for a year. And I never even shared any wedding photos on here! Indulge me, or look away. I can’t help it. It was such a fun day, and it really set the tone for an even, peaceful year. We didn’t have a theme per se, but our love of Toronto,  of cycling and transit, of music and books, fed into many of the decision we made for the day. Thanks to Frances Beatty for capturing the magic!

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Two adults. One female, dressed in a white dress and holding a bouquet of flowers. The other, male, has his arm around her and is wearing a suit.

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I can’t pretend to have any special wisdom after a year, but I really, really like being married. I like the stability and certainty of it. I like that energy I might once have put into the terrifying “what is our future?” question has been reassigned to making our future as solid as it can be.

Sooo…how’s your #CLEmarathon training going?

It’s been awhile, huh? Remember when I was diligently writing up every run I did? Me neither, it’s been that long.

It’s only four days until Jonathan and I run the Cleveland half marathon and, well, I’m undertrained. I’ve been running, I swear! I even ran a 10k race! But I haven’t been running as much as I should have been, or as far as it would have been smart to, and now I’m getting nervous.

I’ve got some pretty good excuses, I swear! But my body is not going to take those into consideration when it’s yowling to quit on Sunday. I’m anxious. I peaked at 15 km. I missed a full long run. It’s supposed to be 25 degrees celsius on Sunday and I’ve never run more than a 5k in heat. What if I wear the wrong thing? What if I get dehydrated? As a beginner, so many runs feel like a test, but this will be a big one, both physically and mentally. A tiny voice says, “yeah, you probably can’t do this.”

But dang it, I worked for months! From icy, slippery February nights in Toronto to sunny morning hill climbs in California, I ran a lot, and I want to run this race!
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This is especially the case because we’ve decided to use the race to fundraise for Ten Oaks. (Hey, how about a dollar for each excruciating mile? Every little bit helps, friends!)

Anyway, stuff that voice. I couldn’t run a mile this time last year. I finished my 10k race in under 56 minutes feeling great. If I really, truly can’t do it, I want to find that out on Sunday at mile 12. I want to puke and have to sit down on the road, and to walk to the side of the road in embarrassment while people call “you can do it Jacqueline!,” as they always do to the saddest looking runner with their name on their bib. I’ll be really, really sorry if that happens, but at least I’ll know it’s really true.

But I hope that doesn’t happen! See you soon, Cleveland!

#CLEmarathon half training – weeks 3 & 4

I had my first fall-off-the-wagon day (i.e. didn’t do the training I was supposed to do). I dreaded this happening, because I worried it might be a slippery slope. Welp, it happened, and it wasn’t. I sucked at training for a little while, and then I got the motivation to stop sucking, and I’m back at it.

Week 3 (March 8-14)

Sunday (March 8) – 7.5 km – I was worried about how my legs would feel the day after my first ski of the season and, well, yup. They hurt. But the weather was glorious and I had a very exciting destination in mind (Nadege for Croissunday!), so once I loosened up, around the start of kilometre 4, this was a great run.

 

Photo of two white women in black tank tops. They are looking a bit smugly at the camera. The one on the left Ainsley) has red hair and wears a pink toque. The one on the right, me, has long hair and a yellow toque.

What I wish we wore to the gym.

Monday – gym night – My friend Ainsley has almost the exact combination of determination and blase distaste for the gym. We got married within a month of each other and did a lot of planning (and bitching and moaning) on the JCC elliptical trainers in the months leading up to our big days. Now that we’re wives on budgets, we hang out at the Planet Fitness in Galleria Mall. I am lucky to have her in my workout corner.

Tuesday – morning 5km – This was less brutal than last week, but still a fairly miserable slog. Given my Sunday long run/Monday night gym combo, I would definitely benefit from pushing this to the evening, but choir calls! I just…I hate running in the morning. I never warm up, and running on empty just feels like crap.

Wednesday – …. – Whoops. If I wanted to really stretch the definition of cross-training, I’d say I took a half hour walk and a 15 minute bike ride. An 8 PM meeting (over drinks!) put the lid on an evening run.

Thursday – 6.7 km – I didn’t get home from work til 7, but I still managed to watch the glorious sky change colour along St. Clair during this run. The week after daylight savings time is rough, but the longer evening is such a gift.

Friday and Saturday were flops, and that’s all there is to say about that. Friday’s excuses were pretty stacked and buyable. I’ve got nothing but an embarrassed shrug for Saturday.

Week 4 (March 15-21)

Sunday – 8.6 km & gym – Back on my A game. Breakfast of oatmeal and coffee, then a long run at a fairly even pace. Home for a smoothie and some kale salad, laundry, trip prep (10 days to go!). Then an evening at the gym on the weight machines. Lots of abs.

A photo of a road next to railway tracks. On the right of the road is a factory. To the left of the road and further away are two tall apartment towers. The sky takes up two thirds of this photo and is very blue, with white clouds.

Sunday run along the West Toronto Railpath

 

Monday – 7 km – This was one of those runs that just felt great. I was properly fueled, it was raining but not too hard, I had a lot on my mind, and I just ran and thought and planned and it was three quarters of an hour of perfect simplicity. It was a “why I run” run. Coming home to find my husband had opened a bottle of wine and put on some oxtail stew and gnocci didn’t hurt my vibe either.

An overhead photo of a bowl of pasta, with a glass of wine next to it.

Points for taste and presentation to Jonathan.

Tuesday – rest

Wednesday – gym night – Ainsley and I did some stretching and sit-ups, then a medium-intense 30 minute bicycle (non-recumbent–is that what spinning is?)

Thursday – 6 km –  Absolutely miserable. The opposite of Monday— a run where nothing felt good at all the entire time. I’m proud of myself for not quitting, because I really, really wanted to. I’m not sure what was up—a bit of PMS, legs tired from cycling, improper fueling (though I felt I had some good snacks!), maybe just one of those random off-nights. Anyway, I got home and felt very glad I had a couple of easy days ahead.

Self-taken photo of me in a long mirror. I am dressed up to run, but frowning.

Don’t wanna run

Friday – rest – Did 45 minutes of walking. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Saturday – 8.4 km –  Decided to do my long run a day early, as we’re having overnight guests whose presence…erm…probably won’t encourage going to bed at a reasonable hour tonight. I wasn’t super in the mood so I listened to music, a rarity, and set a destination (the city’s best liquor store, wahoo!). And then the sun came out and everything felt great, except I had to pee the whole damn time.

I made pretty good time (for me), with an average pace of 6:34/km! I’m realizing  I need a lot of warm-up to feel good while I’m out.

I’m heading to Portland on Wednesday for a week, then two weeks of vacation in California. I’m really, truly planning to keep this schedule up while we’re out west, but nervous I might have too good a time…

 

#CLEmarathon half training – week 2

Nothing exciting over here, though it’s sunny and maybe only minus 2 today. It’s a lot of exercise, but so far it hasn’t been hard to fit in.

Sunday – long run –  The long, slow, run that wasn’t slow (in an elated state, I wrote about it here).

Monday – gym night

Tuesday – 5 km – An incredibly slow and painful morning venture. I felt the opposite of everything I felt on Sunday. I’m not a great morning runner, and some combo of that, weakness after Sunday’s enthusiasm, and the gym the night before made this a truly unrewarding slog.

Wednesday – 4.5 km – Evening runs are always better. And I managed to work an errand and a quick visit to a friend into the route. A destination sure helps!

Thursday – 5.8 km –  Average pace of 6:47/km a little faster than I’ve been, though still not very consistent.

Screenshot of my running app's timing. Six blue bars represent the pace of each kilometer. The blue bars are different lengths, signaling that I did not run at a consistent pace.

Then again, the only kilometre that’s a real outlier  is the one down a hill—so perhaps I’m not so far off?

Friday – Rest – And lo, not a kilometre was run that night.

Saturday – Cross training – My mom and her partner invited us to go skiing with them at Horseshoe Valley. Umm, yes! It was sunny and not too crowded when we got there, and only about -4. Perhaps unsurprisingly, towards the afternoon my glute started hurting. Oh, and also everything else.

A close-up shot of two people (myself and my husband) on a chair lift. We are both smiling at the camera, wearing oversized goggles and helmets.

Wrapping up week 2 on the slopes!

 

I’m coming for you, March!

I love new beginnings of any and all sorts (well, except birthdays). When a new week and a new month start together, I get especially excited about the possibilities. Hello, March!

Today I only wanted to stay inside and look at the internet, but I kicked myself out the door, and found that my legs had never felt more ready. For the first time since I was on Couch to 5k, it was my lungs holding me back, rather than my muscles. And in the end, I had three astonishing new records!

Screenshot of a watch face. It reads: "Records: 1 km 4:53.86 Today"

wow, Jacqueline, how did you do this!?

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#CLEMarathon half training – week 1

screenshot of a phones lock screen. An alert has popped up that reads "Half marathon training starts tomorrow"

This is it, the beginning of my half marathon training! I’m following a slightly modified Hal Higdon Novice program. The Higdon program is a bit low on mileage, compared to a lot of other training plans. I chose it because I still have occasional niggling glute pain, which made me very nervous and cautious in getting ramped up, and my base is not what it should be. With this in mind, my main goal for my first half marathon is to feel good. If I could feel good and come in at under 2 hours and 15 minutes, that would be a sweet bonus.

 

You can view the unadulterated plan here, but it basically consists of doing the following each week:

  • 1 day –  long run (starting at 6.5 km, gradually going up to about 17 km)
  • 1 day – shorter run (starting at 5km, going up to 9 km)
  • 1 day – shorter run (3-4 km) and strength training
  • 1 day – stretching and strength training
  • 1 day – cross-training (eliptical, cycling, or brisk walking in a pinch)
  • 1 day – either a short run (4 or 5 km) or cross training

Yup, that’s six days a week. Eek! I’m a little worried about fitting it all in, but lots of people with busy lives do it, so I need to make a solid effort!  This will be especially hard when I’m on the west coast for three weeks, though running in California sounds like a total dream about now.

Anyway, that’s the plan! So how did week 1 go?

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