Friday, March 30, 2012

Federal Budget

I'll admit that I don't pay a lot of attention to politics, but as I get older, I am trying to pay closer attention as I am starting to really see how politicians really affect my life. So, for the first time ever, I actually paid attention yesterday when the federal budget was released. The main points that jumped out at me were the change in OAS and the cut in jobs.

While I'm not directly affected by these changes, it made me think about my own retirement and the real potential in this market to find myself affected by job cuts in the future. In this market, we can never be 100% sure we'll have a job forever. It is quite possible (maybe even probable) that we will, at some point, find ourselves in a position of unemployment for some period of time. Right now, I am very pleased that my resolution this year is to get myself in a better financial position, with a real plan in place for my future.

As for OAS, I wasn't really going to be relying on it for retirement. Who knows what could happen in the next  few decades before I'm near the age of really thinking about OAS. I'll keep socking money away every pay into my retirement fund, and not count on having that extra cash from the government. Besides, just paid up my office lotto pool for the next few weeks. Maybe I'll still get that Freedom 35 plan. I'm feeling lucky.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Other Shoe Drops

After writing about the training not going so well lately, I went for an awesome run last night. 8k outside in the cold, with only the goal of not taking walk breaks. I had recently made a new playlist of songs with approximately 158 beats per minute, and I played that (2 times) when I was running. It's a great new playlist for running, I just need to add to it so I don't have to stop to restart it!

But then last night, I noticed that my foot was sore. This morning, it is really sore. I think I just pulled a muscle in the side of my foot, nothing serious. However, I don't think I should run hill repeats tonight, or run at all. Just walking around my house was hurting. It's a little annoying that after a great run, when I'm excited to run more, I have to take a break. However, I'll remind myself that a little break now to heal is much better than running through it and being out of commission for a lot longer.

Tonight, maybe I'll use the time I would have been running to find some more songs to add to that playlist. I really like for finding new songs to buy! I'd have never bought Cage the Elephant's Ain't No Rest for the Wicked, or Ben Folds' Fired if I hadn't heard them on!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

59 Days...

... until go time at my "A" race for the spring. How's my training going? <<crickets>>

I really thought the motivation would have kicked in by now, but it just hasn't. In January, I started running regularly again with the idea that I'd start "training" in February. (Training for me means running with intention - i.e. tempo runs, hills, speed work, easy runs, etc. Most times, if not training, I just run whatever I want and for however long I want.) In February, transit went on strike, so I was just in survival mode. I commuted by foot with a backpack, so that threw out the idea of any focused runs. Transit has been back and free for the last two weeks. I reworked my training schedule to a 10 week plan that started last Monday.

So far, I've skipped two runs and shortened another. Last week, I attempted a 3k run home with a backpack during the heat wave, the day after running hill repeats in 27 degree heat. I was too hot, so I just walked. I don't mind taking a bit of an extra break. Yesterday, I skipped the planned 5k. I also don't mind that - I'm used to Mondays being rest days, and I think I  might just plan on skipping Mondays and turning them into rest days. I prefer two rest days a week over just one.

This week, it's cold. But, I'm not skipping tonight's run due to cold (windchill of -12, and gusts of 40ish km/hr). I may just move it inside to the treadmill, but I will run it. Tomorrow, I will enjoy the cooler temps for the hill repeats compared to last week.

While I'm feeling like I'm not going to be ready for my "A" race, I'm reminding myself that I still have 59 days. That's a lot of time to get ready. I will be ready. I will try to remember that tonight as I struggle with my decision of treadmill or cold, and think of just skipping another run....

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Day 25

Today is the 25th day of the 40 days of Lent. (For those of you wondering on the math, Sundays aren't included in the count - they are a day of reprieve from Lent.) So, how am I doing? I won't lie, this is when it gets tough. The first half sails by easily, and I wonder if it was a difficult enough task to give up my three favorite social media sites. For the last five or so days, I've been itching to cheat.

This year has been a little easier and a little tougher because of one thing. A colleague left and I've taken over the social media aspect of her job, which requires me to log on to facebook and twitter for work. Since this is not for personal use, I feel it is ok. When I have to log on to facebook to post something on the work page, I do take a quick peak at what's going on without searching around too much. Twitter, I don't log on as myself, but as the work account. Funny how I've now decided that it is important for me to look at Twitter numerous times a day, you know, in case there is something I NEED to re-tweet. This stops now. There. I just logged out.

Sundays are a free for all. I'm allowed to surf my sites. I haven't been posting on facebook or twitter, just looking to see what has been happening. Funny, when I'm allowing myself on there, I'm bored of it. At work, I'm feeling a lot more engaged. I am no longer the person in the office who knows what is going on as it happens, and that's great. I turn on the news when I get home instead. You know, it's ok to not know what is going on immediately when it is going on... Evenings at home, I'm getting more cooking, cleaning, planning done. And I am getting more sleep. Again, I will hope to make this a more permanent change once Lent is over in another 15 days (plus two Sundays).

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Transit Strike Ends

Finally. The strike is over. Tomorrow, the ferry starts running again, and buses on Friday. I am happy that today is the last day that I have to commute via foot. It won't be the last day that I commute by foot, but at least I'll have a choice to take transit on those yucky days (like today).

I thought I'd look back at some of the numbers to reflect on my strike experience (not counting the kilometers run as they would have been run anyway):

  • 42 days with no transit
  • 192 km walked
  • ~32 hours walking 
  • 12,000 calories burned
  • 24 days getting to/from work
  • 140 km walking to/from work with a backpack
  • 5.5 audiobooks listened to
  • 3 rides bummed accepted from friends/coworkers
  • 1 shuttle across the bridge with the bridge commission when it was too windy for pedestrians
  • $100 not spent on transit pass and tickets
  • $65 spent on a new running vest
  • $35 spent on new tires for my bike
  • $30 spent on a new bike helmet (now I'm all set to start bike commuting again)
  • $0 spent on cabs
  • 3 missed social engagements
  • 1 email to my city councilor
  • ~10 slips on ice
  • 0 falls (knock wood, I still have to walk home tonight)
  • 0 days I hated the commute (despite some really cold winds on the bridge deck)
Now that transit will be back up and running, the things I am most looking forward to:
  • drinks after work with friends
  • running without the weight of a backpack
  • not walking in freezing rain/drizzle
  • walking to work
  • biking to work (when the weather warms up a bit - I'm a fair weather cyclist)
  • getting to the gym before/after work
  • visiting friends/family on weekends/evenings
All in all, it really wasn't that bad for me. Most days, I enjoyed the walk. Some days, I really did not enjoy it (rain, wind, sleet, hail, ice). I really noticed the increase in numbers of people walking. I hope to continue to see some of them out there. But, I am really happy that the people who rely on the bus will be able to get out and about again. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Under My Desk

My desk is usually fairly organized, no files laying everywhere or anything. But my personal effects tend to migrate under my desk. When I come in in the morning, I kick off whatever shoes I've worn in and put on my "office shoes".  Due to the transit strike, I also tend to have running gear lying around in my office, and extra coats. (I always have a spare coat in case I run in and need to wear a coat to go to a meeting outside the office.) But, I try to keep it all hidden, so things pile up under my desk, on the hook on the back of my door, and in all the little nooks and crannies in my office. (Some day, maybe I'll post a pic of my drawer of shoes.... All Most of my dressy shoes live at my office in a cabinet drawer, or under the desk.)

Under my desk right now
Anyway, I had a few colleagues meeting in my office today, so I tidied up first. I just thought it was funny that I have three separate pairs of running shoes under my desk, and had to take a picture. The ones on the left are my walking shoes (I put over 100km on those in February commuting to/from work.) In the middle are the pair that I leave at the office to wear to the gym. And, on the right (next to the bag of running gear) are the ones I run in. Three pairs of runners, all different purposes.