cycling · fitness · sailing

Labour Day weekend, last summer days cramming in all the fun

On Saturday Martha suggested that we aim for a labour day long weekend triathlon, one in which we walk, breathe, and connect.

If you substitute “biking” for “walking” (which given the state of my left knee, I have to do) I think our long weekend worked out pretty well. We rode bikes, raced sailboats, and connected with friends. It’s the weekend before the university opens to students and classes and so it wasn’t all leisure. But I feel like the work/rest blend was pretty balanced.

On Friday after work we biked in Prince Edward County with our friend Alex. The trip included three of my favourite things–connection and conversation, observing alpacas, and eating ice cream. The Millennium Trail is pretty wonderful. This time we rode from Wellington to Bloomfield and back, just over 20 km all told.

And then on Saturday Sarah and I raced our Snipe in the Guelph Community Boating Club flat water race. Usually it’s out to the damn and back but the wind died and the course was cut short. We’re getting better and working lots on our boat speed. We finished in the middle of the pack, 5th out of 10 boats.

And then we snuck in a short 15 km ride on the riverside bike trails in Guelph with our friend Rob who stopped by for a bike ride and pizza.

Sam, Rob, and Sarah riding bikes

Sunday was a fun day on campus for me. I was part of the team greeting parents and first year students moving into residence. I rode my pink Brompton. My sparkly bike helmet got a lot of positive attention. The bike allowed me to move between residences saying hi to a lot of the new University of Guelph students.

Sam’s pink bike and sparkly helmet in front of Zavitz Hall at the U of G

I know the next few weeks will be much less balanced. More work and more stress as we navigate our way back onto campus for the fall semester. It’s a time of vaccine mandates and hybrid meetings and long work days. But it sure felt good to get outside and have some fun this long weekend.

How did your weekend work out on the balance front?

fitness · fun

Christine is Taking Fitness Outdoors for the Summer

Today is the first of June and we have already had a few days of delightful weather.

Perhaps people who live in places where there is an actual Spring might not find that worthy of note but here in NL, it’s kind of a big deal.

And those few fine days mean I have my yard mostly tidy, and my deck furniture arranged and I am all set up to maximize my outdoor fun this summer.

A photo of the corner of a wooden back deck, a lawn chair and two upright tables can be seen. A third table lies on its side on the left of the photo.
Well, it’s all set up except for the white table that needs to be hung on the deck rail but my rail is too wide so I need to invent a solution. Image description: a corner of an outdoor deck made with a brown lawn chair in the corner. The chair has a red cushion on it and it sits between a small blue table with a mug and a pot for plant on it, and another plant holder that also contains a pot for plant. The pots contain dirt but no flowers (yet!) there is a white metal table lying on its side on the left of the photo. A string of silver, star-shaped patio lights is hanging off the railing.

Every summer, I do some outdoor yoga, I practice my TKD patterns outdoors, and I keep my hula hoop handy, but this year I am expanding my ideas a bit.

I’m thinking of setting up some sort of outdoor circuit so I add some extra variety to my exercise AND I can spice up my outdoor workdays with some quick fitness breaks.

When my kids were small, I used to set up obstacle courses/circuits for them in the yard and I am using that for inspiration but I’d also love to hear your ideas.

A GIF of a black dog on a deck trying to catch multiple balls at once
Maybe not this. Too overwhelming. Image description: GIF of a black dog on a deck chasing a single ball at first but then many, many balls are released at once and the poor dog can’t catch them all.

Have you ever set up a circuit in your yard? What did you include?

Have you got any ideas for stuff that I can leave out most of the time? (I know me and I probably will quickly talk myself out of anything that needs setting up over and over.)

Bonus points if your ideas are goofy and/or add significant fun.

If you haven’t got any ideas for the circuit, feel free to just cheer me on. 😉

clothing · fashion · fun · gadgets · gear

Christine H. Finds Fun in Small Things

Even though I felt ridiculous about it, I bought a winter hat with built-in wireless headphones and it has turned out to be a terrific and useful purchase. (I can listen to my fave podcasts while I shovel snow!)

Owning this item has also spawned three new things that delight me:

1) My son J connected my hat headphones via Bluetooth to my phone under the name ‘hatphones.’ It makes me laugh every time I see it. HATPHONES! HA!

2) I get to say ‘Oh, I have to remember to charge my hat!’

3) I get to say ‘Hang on, I can’t hear you yet, my hat is still talking to me.’

Yes, I find my fun where I can.

Don’t you?

PS – I sometimes wear my hat inside for practicing TKD patterns or doing yoga. Unlike my other wireless (in-ear) earphones, my hatphones are sitting comfortably OVER my ears and while they reduce how well I can hear other sounds they don’t block them entirely. Also, I can easily pause (by pressing on the button over my ear) the video without having to scramble for my phone or for the remote control.

A drawing of black hat with a wire attached that extends to a plug and a drawing of a phone screen with a few icons and the word 'hatphones' displayed next to bluetooth symbol.
Not my greatest sketch ever but you get the point. 😉 Image description: A drawing of black hat with a wire attached that extends to a plug and a drawing of a phone screen with a few icons and the word ‘hatphones’ displayed next to bluetooth symbol.

fun · habits · health · motivation

Christine works out with Wakeout

I’ve been having big fun with the Wakeout app.

Wakeout, which bills itself as ‘Exercise for busy people,’ delivers exactly what it promises – short, fun workouts to do in a variety of settings.  

As you probably know, I find it challenging to decide what exercise to do when and how long to do it for. Wakeout helps me sidestep those issues because I can set a reminder in advance (always useful for me!) and then I only have to choose the location and duration of my exercise. 

The duration choices are short  – one, three, or six 30-sec exercises (although you can do multiple Wakeouts in a row) and the settings are limited – you can choose home, office, travel, or outdoors and then select different categories within each. Even though there is a lot of possibility contained within each category, I find the process of choosing to be quite straightforward in this case. 

A light haired dog sleeps on a partially-made bed. There are bookshelves in the background.
This morning, I had to do my Wakeout on my chair instead of the edge of the bed because Khalee had made other plans.

I really like that the exercises are done in 30 second bursts instead of by reps – I love a timer but I hate counting reps. I appreciate just sinking into the movement and not having to focus on counting.

And I like the types of movements the app gets me to do.  

It’s not just bicep curls or squats, it’s movements on all sorts of different planes. For example, 

In a recent Wakeout, I was holding a pillow and moving sort of sideways figure eight with my arms – as if I were in a pillow fight and had an opponent on either side of me. This exercise had me moving my arms in a whole different way than I would normally do and I felt like my range of movement increased over all. 

I am much too used to working forward, sideways, or up-and-down and I forget about making more circular sorts of movements. Wakeout’s prompt to move different, helped me to engage different muscles or at least to engages the same muscles in different ways and that really really felt great.

One of my favourite exercises that I had to do involved standing in front of the counter in the kitchen and reaching upward into a high cupboard. That specific movement felt great for my arms, my back and my legs and I have repeated it often even when I wasn’t doing the app – sure, sometimes I was just reaching for something in the cupboard but mostly it was for a little extra stretch.

The app keeps track of your workouts and tells you your accumulated minutes and how many minutes it will take to reach the next level. I also enjoy this encouraging feature and it’s rewarding to push a little hard to get that visible (on the screen) result.  One of my ongoing challenges with consistent exercise is how hard it is to SEE the benefits of my efforts. This small visual makes a big difference for me. 

A screen cap of the Wakeout app.  A black background with green text and images. It says 'Awesome' at the top and then shows an image of a green bear with sunglasses surfing through some planets. Below the image are some stats revealing that the user is at Activity level 5 and that they can reach the next level  in 12.5 active minutes.  They have 6 total wakeouts, a 6 day streak, and 9 active minutes. At the bottom is a green button inviting them to wakeout again.
Sure, it’s only a small thing but I love seeing these numbers and knowing exactly what I have to do to get to the next level. Even if the level itself only has meaning inside the app, it coaxes me to keep moving.

Often, I will shy away from short workouts because of the decisions involved – trying to figure out what is ‘enough’ to do is especially tricky for people with ADHD. The Wakeout app removes some of my obstacles to bothering with a short workout – I can just open the app and do what it says and not have to think too much about it. 

Obviously, I would have to either do a lot of Wakeouts to become seriously fit but I find these small bursts of activity encouraging and rewarding and they really feel great.

I haven’t been through all of the workouts yet, of course, but from the ones I have seen so far, I would like to see a greater variety of body types/sizes and abilities represented in the demos. (To be fair, though there may be greater variety than there currently appears to be. I may just not have seen everyone yet.)  

I like that the demo models aren’t all white but not having seen the entire range of workouts yet I cannot comment on whether the diversity of the models is truly representative or just a nod to inclusion. I am hoping that it is the former rather than the latter.

Overall, I really enjoy the workouts and features in this app. I didn’t it like it much when one of the reminders made me feel entirely responsible for our sedentary society but that’s on my overdeveloped guilt reflex, not on the makers of the app!

I don’t know if it would be helpful or frustrating for someone who already spends a large part of their day exercising. It might be enjoyable to try some different movements – especially if any part of their day was spent at desk work – or it might be annoying to do these small exercises that might not work their bodies hard enough for their liking. 

As far as I can tell, Wakeout is only available for Apple products so far. You get a 7 day free trial and then you can purchase a monthly plan for $6.99 which you can share with up to 6 people. I enjoyed it enough to sign up for the monthly plan but I wish I could include my family members who use other non-Apple devices. 

cycling · eating · feminism · fit at mid-life

Happy book launch dance! Sam’s wonderful weekend

Thanks Google for animating the images of me celebrating the book launch on Sarah’s front porch. Photos taken before breakfast and the drive to London.

This was a great weekend. So good. Very very good.

It began with an interview on live television, on Global TV’s morning show. Tracy will tell you more on Tuesday but for my part I need to let you know that the experience was actually fun. Even the make up part wasn’t awful. Tracy and I are getting pretty good at communicating our body positive, age inclusive fitness message!

Here’s me wearing television make up. It was fine.

And here’s a link to the interview. You can watch us here.

Then I went to get a haircut and color with the wonderful Grace who also has her own TV show as it turns out.

I’m so blonde. Spring is here!

Then I went out in the evening to see a movie at the Hot Docs film festival. It was called “The Artist and the Pervert.” Here’s the description: “Georg is a famous Austrian composer, his wife Mollena a renowned American kink educator. Together they live in a public kinky relationship. This film documents their lives between perversion, art, love and radical self-determination.” I recommend it.

Saturday began with breakfast at my favorite Toronto breakfast place, Bonjour Brioche. Here’s blogger Cate and our friend Steve basking under the patio heat lamps.

I found out an interesting fact about Bonjour Brioche over breakfast. It turns out this is the location where they filmed the scene in the Handmaid’s Tale where Elisabeth Moss discovers that women no longer have credit when her credit card is declined. It’s a bit ironic to locals because this breakfast place is a cash-only establishment and never takes credit cards.

After breakfast we drove to London for the London launch of our book. I’ll let Tracy tell you more about that too but it was a super moving event was standing room only they sold out of books but more importantly there was a real warmth and energy in the room

Here are some photos of us signing books talking and standing around with our mothers. I love that photo best.

Tracy reading. Me listening, hands on hips.

Tracy and Sam carrying cupcakes and supplies.

Tracy and me and our mothers.

Signing all the books!

On Saturday night I went out to BROADWAY BOUND!, put on by the Pride Men’s Chorus London. 

My son sings in the choir. So much fun.

Sunday was the second bike ride of the season. We ramped it up a little bit from 50 km last week to 60 km this week but I say that the wind was the bigger challenge rather than increased distance. The wind was pretty intense. We all got some Strava personal-bests on the downhill tailwind segments and really struggled into the wind on the way back. I was also sad to discover that the local Starbucks in Byron has closed and so we had to ride back under caffeinated and a little bit late for our movie.

map

Dinner was a quick slice of pizza and popcorn with the movie, not the healthiest choices, but hey Infinity Wars was a lot of fun.

This chart might help!

“I was explaining the MCU to my coworker and she asked me to just write it down for her.”

From Reddit
No #infintywar spoilers

Guest Post

Fun, fun, fun (Guest post)

In the last two days, I’ve had flashes of childhood fun that have made me really happy about moving more.

A last-minute invitation to go to family roller skating at a local arena led to me feeling like this:

WWWWWHHHHHHHHHHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!

image

Rollerskating is fun.  Wobbly, old school fun. Family roller skating is a mix of ages and skill levels, and proof that “YMCA” by The Village People gets everyone skating at the same time. It hardly feels like exercise, but somehow two hours happens and you leave the rink with your legs wanting to skate instead of walk.

Then, yesterday, a last-minute change by the Bootcamp instructor to use weighted skipping ropes had me smiling for a full hour of interval training. I love skipping. Having the rope in my hand brought me back to being on the playground. I haven’t skipped that much in years – but the body remembers. Pretty soon, I was doing pretzel crosses (where you cross your arms in front of the body and jump through the space of the ropes) — eventually with my left (non-dominant) arm remembering what it was supposed to do in order to lead the cross. I was playing.

It was so much fun.