2014 Went Like This…

As I sit here thinking about the last year and so thankful for everything. 2014 has been a really really good year and when I set my goals for this past year I tried to be realistic. You can read that post here. 

Main goal: Live in the present. Be present. Laugh and Be Happy. Room for improvement 😉

Running: I ran a Personal Best/Records in 5 k, 10 k and Half Marathon over the course of the year. On top of that I reached my 1000 km on November 29th! I wrote down all my runs in my old fashion running book and am finally able to say that I am proud of my running!

Running Log Book

Total kilometers run in 2014: 1023 km

Family: It took me all year to not stress about doing “stuff” with and for my girls like crafts and music. I’m not talented in those areas and put way too much stress on trying to do it. I just have to keep things simple and share with them what I’m comfortable with. It was a hard year with Sai being away a lot but we got through it and hoping 2015 will be better.

Blog: I managed to write 4-5 posts a week; blog for TOTS Family here and followed a lot of new bloggers (and tried to comment).

Personal: I didn’t read more  or get better sleep. I did reach my ultimate weight by the spring somehow – completely unplanned at that point. Between family, people at work or people I haven’t seen in months I had many comments about my weight! At first it was nice and then it just got awkward for me…was I really THAT big before? You can only hear so many times “Wow, You’ve lost a lot of weight” or “Skinny mini” so many times before it’s starts to bother you.

Anna weight loss 2014

Sai and I managed to get out for a number of date nights or lunch dates when he was home – bonus! And I ran/worked out a lot 4-6 days a week!

All in all – not a bad year!

I also did monthly goals which kinda happened last-minute and completely unplanned but I went with it. A few of my top posts from each month:

January: My first race of the year was the MEC 5k in Halifax. A wet, wet run!

Me, excited to run in the rain!

February: I managed to get out cross-country skiing and snowshoeing for work! Love my job! Oh, and took Lilly skating for the first time!

Daddy's girls :)

March: I was able to  take Lilly skiing! I tried: Speed skating and Sledge Hockey and I ran my first SUB 30 Minute 5k 🙂

march 3 ski lilly

April: I ran my first ever Virtual 5k run (Keep Calm and Run On) on my treadmill and participated in Around The World Running Bloggers Relay Challenge. I also ran a new 5k PB during my lunch break and then later in the month got some new kicks! 

New PB Anna

May: This was a BIG month and I was working hard towards a sub 60 minute 10k. I managed it during a training run but then had a new 10k PB of 57:19 at the Bluenose Marathon I was so nervous for that race I actually got really emotional beforehand! Lilly also ran her first 2k run!

May 2014 PR

June: Is a special month for us as Lilly get’s to celebrate her birthday! She turned 4 this year! We also had a lot of soccer this summer 🙂  I ran the EPIC Canadian 10k and it kicked my butt!

PR The Sherwoods

July: This was the start of HOT summer days when running outside after 9 am or before 8 pm just wasn’t a good idea! I played in a soccer tournament and had a tone of fun at the Gunn Baldursson and turned 34 and felt like I was “Rungry” all the time. This could have been because I was starting my training for my half marathon.

PR Soccer Gunn Pool Hair Cut

August: August was supposed to be a month to focus on training but I ended up registering for a 10k pretty last-minute. I ran the “A Shore Thing” with my running buddy Krystol and a good friend who lives away. It was a lot of fun!

Oh, I almost forgot….July 29th my car died and we had to get a new one. This was an interesting few days – so glad that is behind us and I now have a safe car for my little family. We ended the summer with a family vacation in PEI… Cow’s Ice Cream, swimming at the hotel pool and just being together 🙂

PR Summer vacation

September: This was another exciting month! I ran my first double race at Maritime Race Weekend – the Tartan Twosome 5k and 10k. The plan wasn’t to go for a Personal Best in either race but somehow I managed to pull it off. It was such a fun event and well-organized/promoted! Then I got a little worried about not tapering and wrote Hal Higdon – he wrote me back!

PS – I’ve already signed up for the Maritime Race Weekend – Tartan Twosome 2015 – 5k and Half Marathon.

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October: This was the big month I was working towards all year-long! My Half Marathon month! My long runs had become routine in our family and I always had my gear ready to go. Our girls would help me stretch after I returned. I ran the Valley Harvest Half Marathon in 2:05:10, a 28 minute PB and ran the BLT Fun run

How Much Gear Does One Need For A Long Run?

November: My husband and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary and managed a trail run togetherI even managed to hit my 1000 kilometer goal for the year!

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Goal reached!

1000 Kilometers PR

December: This will be known as the month of the family flu and injury 😦 No pictures necessary!

I was aiming to run 111 km this month to have 1111 km for the year. However a soccer injury to my hamstring changed those plans and I only ran 23 km!!! Win some, lose some…at least I wasn’t training for a race and had the holidays to spend with my family!

More importantly, we celebrated Hilary’s 2nd birthday and Sai’s birthday too! We had a great Christmas together 🙂

PR Hilary's Birthday 2

 That’s it…that’s been my year!

medals monday

Lots of bling for 2014!

 If you are still reading……..Thanks!

How was YOUR year? 

What was your favourite moment/event of 2014?

Keeping any 2014 goals for 2015?

Happy New Year!

Posture Challenge ~Jodi Higgs~

My focus for January is getting my hamstring back in top form and strengthen my body so this doesn’t happen again. I’ll slowly get back into running and will be focusing on yoga and stretching with some more intense workouts in 2015 (guess that’s a new year’s resolution).

So for January, I’m going to give this Posture Challenge by Jodi Higgs a go!

Posture Challenge 

30 Day Posture Challenge Jodi Higgs

Anyone starting off 2015 with a monthly Challenge?

What’s your number one New Year’s Resolution/Goal for 2015? (I’m still planning mine)

New Year’s plans? 

Notes from Jodi Higgs:

Posture….the intricacies, importance, and benefits of good posture is where we’re going this month. The truth about good posture is that it involves a lot more than just standing up straighter, pulling those shoulders back, and tilting up your chin. The muscles engaged in finding and maintaining good posture involve muscles throughout the entire body: strong flexible abdominals, back, glutes, pelvis, legs, hips, shoulders and neck. The need for a powerful core, and a lengthened and strengthened back from neck down to the butt is necessary for the body’s natural positioning to all fall into perfect place.

The importance of good posture is evident when you consider the plentiful benefits:
1) The most obvious benefit involves avoiding overall health complications! Many painful difficulties with back aches, slipped discs, back pain, sciatica, shoulder pains, pelvis and hip misalignment, pressure inside our chest, poor blood circulation, compromised digestion issues and neck pain and headache are caused by poor posture.
2) Good posture facilitates breathing; enables us to breathe properly by opening up our ribs and lungs. Healthy lungs equal a healthy body.
3) This increases our ability to concentrate and think. The more air we provide our brain, the more oxygen it gets, and the more brain food it receives.
4) Good posture improves our image. It helps us to look thinner and taller. Research has stated that people with good posture appear smarter and are more attractive than those who don’t.
5) Having good posture makes us feel better about how we look. We know that good posture increases our self-confidence.
6) And finally…most importantly, a very recent study found that good posture even increases our sex drives and improves our sex lives, which just proves how interconnected this body of ours is! When we’re feeling stronger, looking better, and exuding confidence, it makes all kind of sense that our sexuality and sex appeal would also increase. Not only that though, this same study showed that good posture even changes our hormones, specifically a decrease in cortisol and an increase in testosterone. There’s actual science behind this sex drive claim.
And, if you still need convincing……http://www.medicaldaily.com/better-posture-better-sex-life-lower-energy-levels-slouching-may-lead-low-sex-drive-304488

So, really… this is the 30-Day Sexual Libido Challenge. Has a nice ring to it. Aren’t you glad you stopped by? I could have chosen a hundred exercises for us this month. Instead I chose 4. And together they form a very well-rounded and complete posture workout that should supplement nicely any other daily exercise routine you are already doing.
As always, please watch the videos I’ve linked to before getting started. Be conscious of proper form and listen closely to your bodies. Adapt and modify the Challenge as you please in order to find your own personal success.

Here we go:

Cat & Cow Sequence

This is the perfect place to start each day… warming up with a light flow movement, working to stretch and lengthen the entire spine, finding some nice rhythmic deep breathing, opening the hips, abdomen, shoulders, back and neck, and calming the mind, finding focus and emotional balance. It IS as good as it sounds. One of my absolute and ultimate favourites….one that everyone can do (even perfect for pregnancies!).
Inhale as you raise your head up into cow and exhale slowly and deeply as you fold in to cat.

Cat & Cow video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqnua4rHVVA

The Pilates Roll-Up

It is said that each pilates roll-up is equal to at least 6 regular sit-ups and will not come easily or naturally to some folks who may have been relying on the larger leg muscles, instead of the entire range of abdominal muscles. This is a highly effective core exercise that involves completely rolling up and down into a sit-up, vertebrae by vertebrae. The video link below demonstrates an early modification for you if you are not ready for a full roll-up with straightened legs. Bend your knees and use your arms to help you up, while focusing on that spinal curvature and engagement of the abdominal core. You’ll get it eventually!!

Video for the Pilates Roll-Up:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1pWz27ln-U

The Half and Full Locust Pose

This may be a weird one for you, if you’ve never practised Bikram yoga before. There are a number of variations of Locust pose that look a lot like Supermans, with both arms and legs raised while lying on your stomach. This incredible back strengthening exercise is odd for some because it actually is a mini backbend and most folks are not accustomed to bending any which way but forward. I like this variation of locust pose because it focuses on the legs only, while still benefiting the shoulders and upper back. The benefits are numerous: aside from strengthening the muscles of the middle and lower back, and increasing flexibility through the spine, this exercise also massages the internal organs, improves digestion, firms the buttocks and hips, increases circulation, may help cure tennis elbow issues, stimulates the endocrine, nervous and reproductive systems, and improves concentration. It is especially recommended therapeutically for lower back pain, sciatica, and even slipped discs..

Check out the video if you’re not familiar with this one. Be very aware of the set up of your arms and hands. They are placed palms down with pinkies together and fingers spread out wide almost gripping the floor. It’s a rather unusual set-up if you’re new to this one. We are going to do one leg, then the other leg, then both legs together. Also note in the video that your head position changes when you do a single leg (head looking up with chin on the floor) and when you lift both legs together (face must look straight down here with nose on the floor, in order to have safe spinal alignment as the legs rise up.)

Here’s the video. Watch it for sure:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uga4Cpn9aig

Wall Sits

Primarily, this exercise focuses big time on the quad muscles in your upper leg, but the wall sits truly do work the entire muscular system of the lower body. The quadriceps and butt work to hold the body in place, and this is necessary for overall body posture. Since this is an isometric exercise, the endurance in the lower body muscles improves the longer you hold the position. This is a safer version of squats for those with poor knees or hips, as the support of the wall helps take the pressure off those areas. Pay attention too to your upper body on the wall, making sure your shoulders are even and solid. Focus also on your lower back and slightly curve your tummy inward towards your spine, in order to decrease or eliminate any large gap that exists between your lower back and the wall. This is crucial to good posture; one where the pelvis is slightly tilted inward and the spine is lengthy and straight.
Our Challenge this month has us practising wall sits in a few different ways: sometimes higher repetitions but short 5 second holds, or fewer reps with longer holds. We also use a ALAYC approach – where you sit yourself down and hold the pose for “As Long As You Can”. (might be nice to record these times in order to see your improvement over the month).
If these don’t get your legs shaking, nothing will!!!

Here is the video demonstrating the wall sits:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y-wV4Venusw

Note from Piper’s Run: I’m not a fitness instructor, Doctor or certified personal trainer – just simply sharing a challenge I am doing.

 

T’was the Day After Christmas…..Time to Get Moving Again

T’was the day after Christmas (okay, four days after Christmas)

And no one had moved.

They sat on their butts eating chocolate and food.

In hopes that something would change their attitude.

The motivation to move just wasn’t there.

Laziness had taken over the desire to care.

The opportunity to get active was under the tree; new snowshoes, new mitts and new workout gear!

Outside there was no snow but cooler temps were here, so it’s now time to use your workout gear.

Time to get active and visit the Gym, GoodLife Fitness is a great place to begin.

You’ve got cardio, weights and classes galore.

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Don’t waste your time sitting or in front of the screens.

Post workout you feel the sensation of a high, your endorphins are running and reaching the sky.

Don’t lose sight of that feeling, that feeling of oh so great.

Tomorrow’s another day, so let’s get things straight,

2015 is a New Year so let’s make it the best.

It’s time to get off your butt and get rid of the stress.

Let’s have fun with being active and the rest is the test!

Running, Cross fit, Cycling or Walking,

It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you move.

Now that the holidays are quieting down,

Let’s commit to a healthy New Year ahead.

Pack up the decorations and start hitting the gym

You never know what mood it will put you in!

~~~~~~~~~~

Hope you all had a great holiday, enjoying time with family, good food and drinks! I’m trying to take advantage of my GoodLife Gym membership over the holidays while balance the hamstring injury! Fun times!

Anyone run over the holidays? 

Or did you take a break from working out?

OR – are you injured like me and thinking about running/working out?

Please note: This post was written as part of the GoodLife Fitness Blogger Ambassador Program.

Merry Christmas from Piper’s Run

Yeah, it’s Christmas! 

Hope you all have a lovely day!

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Merry Christmas from Piper's Run Family

 

Cheers from our family to your’s!

Little One Piper, Mama Piper, Big Sister Piper and Papa Piper 🙂

Baking, Stretching and Wishing for Snow!

Happy Christmas Eve!

It’s been quiet around here lately. No running but lots of baking and watching Netflix, what’s a girl to do? I guess there couldn’t be a better time to be injured. The girls helped me make chocolate peanut butter balls and short bread cookies dipped in chocolate, of course! They are not vegan, sorry Sai.

Pj's and baking Dec 14

They had Pajama Day at day care earlier this week and then they wanted to wear their Olaf shirts that my running buddy Krystol made 🙂 Too cute!

I’ve been trying to stretch a little and foam roll my hamstring and it’s slowly getting better. I’ve gone back to my physio exercises and some restorative yoga stretches I recently found in the Running Room’s Magazine (Volume 20, Issue 6). It’s funny when all you want to do is run and you can’t, you get frustrated. However when you are training and exhausted you just want a little break! I’m trying my best to soak this down time in.

Yoga Foam Roll Xmas

I’ve even managed to get most of my 30 Day Drawing Challenge completed 🙂 My husband arrived home in the wee hours of the morning so we are all excited now for Christmas to begin! All we need is a little snow outside but I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen. They are calling for +16c ON CHRISTMAS DAY!!!!!!WHAT? That never happens in Nova Scotia, guess we will just have to embrace it!

What have you been up to lately?

Feeling festive?

Are you expecting a White Christmas?

Cheers, Piper

Would you rather….Holiday Edition

It’s been a rough few days 😦 I thought my leg was better so I played in my soccer game Saturday night and within 10 minutes I was hurting again. By the end of the game, I couldn’t sprint or even kick the ball with my right leg. I.Was.Done 😦

Ice, Ice baby.

Ice, Ice baby.

Ice, Ice and more Ice…Ibuprofen and rest is all I have been up to. I couldn’t even play with Lilly at her last soccer session. Down in the dumps I am.

Play Time & Soccer

Play Time & Soccer

 

I am however really looking forward to Christmas with my husband and girls. We did get to build a gingerbread house with our good friends.

Gingerbread houses!

Gingerbread houses!

Some other fun stuff……… Would you rather…Holiday Edition!

I’m stealing this from Kristin at Run Away With Me – such a fun post!

Holiday would you rather

Photo from Run Away With Me

…run a Christmas themed event in the heat or the snow?

I’d rather run a Christmas themed event in the snow…heck, I’m Canadian!

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Winter Run 2014

 

…sing/listen to Christmas songs during your run or wear a Christmas outfit during your run?

I’d much rather wear a Christmas outfit during my run! (Done)

1000 Kilometers PR

…get a new running watch or a free race entry?

I’m good with my current running watch (for now) so FREE RACE ENTRY would be AWESOME!

Runners Christmas

…go for a run before your Christmas meal or after?

I’d rather go for a long run before our Christmas meal that way I can eat and relax after!

…listen to an audiobook/podcast while running or read a book about running?

I don’t listen to anything when I’m outside running (on the treadmill, I watch a show) so I’d rather read a book about running.

…have a year’s access to an online running coach or 5 one-on-one visits to a running coach?

I’d rather have 5 one-on-one visits with a running coach. Spread them out over the year.

…give up your Christmas to help those in need (like a soup kitchen) or spend your Christmas with ALL of your family?

That’s a tough one. Truly, I would love to spend Christmas with my entire family. This would include my little family (Saï, Lilly and Hilary), my parents and siblings, my husband parents and siblings/nieces and nephews as well. It would be absolutely amazing to have all these people together for Christmas but hard to do as my husband’s family are in England and we are in Canada.  Maybe if I win the millions I can make it happen 😉

Out little family Dec 2014

Out little family Dec 2014

…watch Love Actually or The Holiday?

Love Actually. Only because I have yet to see “The Holiday”.

…eat ham or turkey for your Christmas meal?

Christmas Turkey for sure and Tofurky for my vegan husband. I’m actually cooking my first turkey this Christmas! Fingers crossed that it turns out okay.

What would you rather do?

New running watch or Race Entry Fee?

Love Actually or The Holiday?

Run before your Christmas Meal or After?

Merry Christmas!

All I Want For Christmas Is…Gift Giving for Runners

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!!! Oh wait, is that September when kids go back to school or is that now? I dunno. Christmas in our house is getting really exciting! The girls are really getting into it this year. We’ve written letters to Santa, decorated our tree, bought presents for others and are getting ready to bake cookies!

Really, all I want for Christmas is my little family to be together and enjoy the craziness of our little ones! And maybe a new pair of winter running pants, dear Santa. I thought I would share few of my favourite items that could be stocking stuffers or go under the tree. I chose items that I actually LOVE and use all year round.

Piper’s Favourite Christmas Gifts Ideas!

Compression socks. Really, I just love my PRO Compression socks that much, I actually sleep in them (since I run mostly at night). I live in this things when I am training; I wear them to work, during my runs and to recover.

PROCompression SocksPS – who knew that I took so many photo’s of my legs/feet/compression socks!

Flip Belt (Purple Belt in photo). If I don’t have this packed with me for an outdoor run, I’m not a happy camper. I put my cell phone in it, keys and GU’s. It’s easy to put on and so comfortable you forget it’s there.

Flat Piper

Registration Fees, oh yeah! Last year, for my birthday my parents paid my registration fees for my Half Marathon. However, they really bought me 12 weeks of constant training, healthy living habits and helped me reach a big goal! Can’t lose there!

Runners Christmas

Road ID: Gotta be safe on the roads or trails!  Most people have a mantra on theirs but I have medical history (thank you to my Paramedic husband) 😉

road id pr 5

Body Glide For any body part. Honestly, body glide allowed me and my thunder thighs to enjoy short-shorts this summer. Something I thought I would NEVER wear at a running event!

body glide PR

Vega Electrolyte Drink: Lemon Lime is my favourite flavah! It’s one of those drinks that I actually look forward to drinking after my run. I’ve even made it as a smoothie (yet to share on the blog). I like that these are individual packages (sorry, environment), but these are great for traveling.

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Lemon Lime – my fav!

GU’s: I love my GU’s! I know some people dislike them, my husband included but they work for me!

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My favourite GU’s.

Gloves: With winter running upon us, I am now wearing gloves on my run. I actually got these last Christmas and love them. Light enough on the hands yet they keep me warm.

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My favourite Salamon gloves from Sai

Note to family members….I do not need any of these items. Well, registration fees couldn’t hurt or another pair of socks. Oh, and I’m almost out of Vega electrolyte drink…just sayin’ !!!

Excited about the holidays or not ?

Has anyone paid your Race Registration Fees ?

What’s your favourite go-to items for running (or cross fit, swimming, cycling etc)

Please note: None of these companies asked me to promote their products. These are my own opinions and products that I use on a regular basis (my own photo’s provided). 

Happy Holidays!

Piper 🙂