Monthly Favourites: Christmas Edition!

I absolutely love the Christmas season. I have been surrounded by some amazingly kind friends and strangers this season, it’s so wonderful! For instance, last week I was driving to meet friends for a beer and couldn’t find a parking spot. Finally, after circling the block a couple of times, I found a spot, though it required me to parallel park on a one-way street on the left side of the street. I knew it would be tight, but I inched back bit by bit until I heard the back of my car touch the car behind me. Instantly, I felt sick to my stomach. As I look in my rearview mirror at the vehicle behind me, I realize there is a woman sitting in it. I pull ahead I open my driver door, as she does the same. I get out and apologize profusely, expecting the worst, and she says, “Oh, it’s fine, my Jeep’s tough, I doubt that did a thing to it. If anything, we should look at your back bumper.” What? For real lady? You’re not even upset? We both pulled up the flashlights on our phones, surveyed for any damage, and upon seeing none on either car she said, “Hey, want me to stand out here and guide you back into the spot?”

UM, YES PLEASE.

She waved me back into a flawless second attempt and after I parked and hopped out of the car, thanking her and sharing my appreciation for both her kindness and her willingness to help she said, “No problem! Have an amazing night!” Seriously, this whole situation renewed so much of my faith in humanity. I feel like ‘Christmas spirit’ has such a magical element to it, which is what this incident made me think of. Today I’m sharing some my monthly favourites, Christmas edition!

What are my favourite Christmas movies?

Elf, for the laugh. Jack Frost, for the cry. A Christmas Story, for the tradition.

What is my favourite Christmas treat?

Dark chocolate almond biscotti. With a latte, dark roast coffee, or americano, YUM. My mom’s nanaimo bars also have a very special place in my heart. I swear, you haven’t had a good nanaimo bar unless you’ve tried hers.

True or false – I own a Christmas onesie?

You tell me.

What is my favourite Christmas drink?

I have never been one for egg nog. I think I am slowly coming around to it but only when ordering a short eggnog chai latte from Starbucks because it’s so full of sugar and fat that it’s bound to taste good. My favourite is peppermint hot chocolate.

What is my favourite Christmas song?

Really, any song from the N’Sync Christmas album. Everyone tosses the good ol’ N’Sync Christmas CD in every December, right? No? Just me? Like most Canadians, I’m also a sucker for some Michael Buble Christmas tunage.

What is one thing that I’m embarrassed I wanted for Christmas?

I don’t actually recall asking for these, but my parents gave me math booklets for Christmas and instead of playing with other toys and dolls, I spent all of Christmas day doing math problems. WTF is wrong with me?

What is my favourite Christmas Eve memory?

One year, when I was super young, probably 6 years old, my Aunt was visiting for Christmas and staying in my room with me. She was in my bed and I was on a foam mattress on the floor and as I was falling asleep, I woke up and heard bells and something on the roof. I was CONVINCED I had heard Santa. I didn’t want to show I was awake because then he wouldn’t be able to deliver presents, but I couldn’t keep it a secret that I had been a lucky child to hear SANTA CLAUSE, so I woke up my Aunt and told her that he was on the roof. I can’t imagine how hard she had to try and keep her composure, because I was SO EXCITED.

What is one of my favourite Christmas traditions?

I think everything about Christmas morning is my favourite. It’s always been so relaxed in my family. We have never lived in the same city, even province, as my grandparents or extended family, so it has mostly been a quiet Christmas with my parents and brother each year – and I wouldn’t change a thing. We spend as much time as possible in our pajamas, eat gingerbread pancakes or cinnamon buns for breakfast, and play board games all day. Heaven.

What is the latest ornament to adorn my Christmas tree?

My newest angel from Nicole (Haute Runner) that I received from the Canadian Christmas blogger ornament exchange! She also gave me christmas flavours of David’s tea that I’ve had every night this week!

What is on the top of my tree?

On my fake tree in my apartment, nothing. On my parents’ real tree, an angel.

What is my favourite Christmas chocolate?

Toblerone. I associate it with Christmas because my parents’ use Toblerone for their annual Christmas Eve chocolate fondue. *drools*

Now on to you! Tell me about your Christmas season!

Does anyone remember the last time we saw daylight?

Having lived in Edmonton for over five years I am not new to the dark and cold days that drag between November and February. This winter somehow feels a lot harder. I find myself more and more tired and lower energy and it’s been really tough to go five days a week without seeing the daylight. I walk to work in the dark, work all day inside, and walk home after the sun sets and it’s pitch black again.

I moved desks at work and get a lot less light in me new work space (fancy term for carboard-esque cubicle… seriously, someone leaned on my half-wall the other day and it almost fell over) and have been super busy in the past month at work, so much so that a lot of my lunch breaks have been forfeited for conference calls, research, writing, and desk lunches. It has definitely come at a noticeable price and I am taking action to step away from my desk and ignore emails and work for at least 10-15 minutes at lunch to see the sunshine!

One of the best parts of being on the prairies in the winter is the open gorgeous blue skies. Unlike where I used to live in BC, the sun DOES shine bright on cold winter days and puts a big smile on my face. Clearly, I don’t do well without it! For any lunch meetings that I had this past week I booked our ONLY meeting room with windows so we could at least see the daylight.

I was thinking about work culture, at least in my current job, and how different the policy is compared to the practice. I feel that like most modern workplaces, our senior leadership messaging and top-down policies promote workplace wellness, work-life balance, stepping away from your desk and taking time to meet your health and wellness needs. I do feel a sense of contradiction in the workplace practice however. It seems that people are praised for working late, considered ‘dedicated’ if they don’t take a break throughout the day, and get a slight side-eye for requesting a day off that isn’t part of an extensive holiday. I think it’s definitely a shifting social narrative… and perhaps I am just surrounded by a team of slow adapters. Research has show how important wellness is to workplace innovation and productivity and organizational policies have relatively quickly changed to support this, but the workplace culture is taking much longer to change.

I also recognize the responsibility I have as an employee to be part of this shift. It is taking my time away from my desk, going for lunch walks, and getting in activity throughout the day… and not feeling internal guilt about not working 9 hours straight for doing so. In my effort to set intentions for 2018, I have recognized how important this is to me and how much I need to walk my talk about wellness, activity, and work-life balance. It means surrounding myself with colleagues, supervisors, and friends who support this.

Just two more weeks until the days start getting longer again!

TransRockies Run Training Recap: Weeks 13-16!

It’s kind of shocking how quickly it feels like four weeks passes and I’m writing another training recap. This one isn’t the most fun because I have had two weeks off of running now and am trying to rid myself of some shin splints, but it’s been a good reminder to slow my roll and enjoy a little off season. I think I’ve had more ‘off days’ in a row in the last two weeks than I’ve had in the last two years. The icy, slipper, cold streets have reduced my FOMO a ton and I’m just looking forward to getting back to some easy runs and finishing off the year as strong as possible.

From the highest of mileage to the lowest of mileage, this recap has it all. I’m super duper excited for 2018 and every possibility that it will bring. I’m comfortable with letting any ache or pain disappear in this last month of year so I can tackle all big plans in 2018. Let’s jump into the boring number stuff that only my mom (maybe) and my future self are reading. 😉

Week 13 – November 6 – 12, 2017 – 36.15 miles

Monday: 60 minute spin class + 50 minutes strength training

Tuesday: 2 X 60 minute spin class

Wednesday: 10.70 miles (9:12 min/mile)

Thursday: OFF

Friday: 9.46 miles (9:09 min/mile)

Saturday: 10.24 miles (9:12 min/mile) + 50 minutes strength training

Sunday: 5.75 miles (9:27 min/mile) + 35 minutes strength training

Week 14 – November 13 – 19, 2017 – 30.23 miles

Monday: 60 minute spin class + 4.32 miles (9:22 min/mile) + 25 minutes core

Tuesday: 60 minute spin class + 3.12 miles (9:23 min/mile)

Wednesday: 7.01 miles (9:12 min/mile)

Thursday: OFF

Friday: OFF

Saturday: 6.25 miles (9:11 min/mile) + 35 minutes strength training + yoga

Sunday: 9.53 miles (9:36 min/mile) + 15km walking

Week 15 – November 20 – 26, 2017 – 2.03 miles

Monday: 60 minute spin class + 45 minutes strength training

Tuesday: 2 X 60 minute spin class

Wednesday: 2.03 miles (9:43 min/mile)

Thursday: OFF + foam rolling

Friday: OFF + foam rolling

Saturday: OFF + foam rolling

Sunday: OFF + foam rolling

Week 13 – November 6 – 12, 2017 – 0 miles

Monday: 60 minute spin class

Tuesday: 2 X 60 minute spin class

Wednesday: Physiotherapy + foam rolling

Thursday: OFF + foam rolling

Friday: OFF + foam rolling

Saturday: 60 minutes cycling + yoga

Sunday: 65 minutes rowing and strength circuit + foam rolling

CURRENTLY…

Latest gear purchase: Brooks Cascadia 11 trail shoes! I have had one run in them, a solid 2 miles, so really got that feel for them. I’m hoping to test them out a lot more on these icy streets soon as I am a huge Brooks fan and can’t wait to fall for their trail gear!

Favourite fuel: Lara bars. The coconut cream ones are my favourite!

Proudest moment: Stopping at 2 miles when I felt stabbing shin pain. The diagnosis ‘stress fracture’ flashed before my eyes and I knew I needed to stop. It’s a good thing I did too, because I think I finally got ahead of an injury for once and my physiotherapist warned me that any more running would have likely lead to a stress fracture after a bit more time. At least, ahead enough that it likely won’t be months off of running! Hurrah!!

What I’m working to improve: Consistent foam rolling. It’s improved in the last two weeks… free time gained from not running will do that to you… but I know I can improve more.

Feeling about TRR: Nervous! My ego was knocked back a bit with these stupid shin splints, but I’m super thrilled with what 2018 will bring!