Work it out, even while you work

by Alicia on April 17, 2014

Last summer when I started running, I did it for solitude. This winter I added a couple layers to my running practice, for much the same reason: I needed it. I don’t need to lose weight, truth be told if I lose more I’ll be worried. Worth noting: Being thin isn’t simple either, folks. I start to look emaciated pretty quickly if I don’t keep up with eating. The more I work out, the more attention I pay to the food I eat, the water I drink and the way my body feels about those two things. It’s not lost on me that I’m only just now, at nearly 32, learning to listen to the cues my body gives out about what it needs…and actually doing something about it.

Part of my problem before was time. The devil, when you’re a working mom. Or is it? Because I’m telling you…I had the time all along, I just thought too deep about it. I don’t need to put in an hour at the gym to work out. If your goals are more drastic, perhaps you do. And you’ll make that work for you. I have three kids, a job, a house and a very active social life. And here’s what my workout week looks like:

workout timetable for the week

Per day = 10mins – 1.5hrs

Running| 20-45 minutes: In general, having the time for a 5K run (45 mins from running gear to sweat pants) only happens when the girls are in bed, certainly must happen after work. When Ryan works late, or is gone for business or we have plans, I run on my lunch- this means I do like 2.5K or juuuuust until I start to sweat. Usually I can get changed, run 2.5, and make it back to my desk back in my work clothes all in 35 minutes. I get an hour for lunch, and am able to eat at my desk, so I have it pretty good in terms of flexibility. When it rains, I run the stairs. Takes me like 20 minutes (including a dance routine at the top because I lack shame and I like to dance and I have an awesome playlist) and then I usually stretch in a cool area so I can calm down and cool down before I get dressed.

Yoga | 5- 75 minutes: only happens on days where Ryan doesn’t work late. Or at 7am Saturday mornings…seriously. Classes are mostly 1 hour long. I will do my own practice at home occasionally, but I lack the focus to go for an hour. There are some great YouTube videos that are all around the 20-30 minute mark. Sometimes I follow an app I have on my phone (<- it’s boring and limited in terms of poses, but when I’ve got 15 mins and need some guidance, it works well). Yoga is my running antithesis. It’s low impact, keeps me stretched and toned and mentally focused. The best part about yoga is you can make it your own, in fact that is the point of yoga, your practice is yours. Only have 5 minutes? Sit down in a comfortable position and breathe in & out through your nose, focussing on your breath. Congratulations, you’re a yogi. ::wipes hands::

Plank | seconds or minutes: Seems so simple, when in reality is damn hard work. Basically, you are your own clock, just hold it for as long as you can. Then the next day try to hold it for longer. C’mon, a few seconds longer. I want some abs, I’ve never really had any, so planks in my office (with the door closed and hiding around the corner from the window) seem like a good place to start. Now, I have done a 2 minute plank and I have done a 6 minute plank. Brandy and I have a little challenge going on to see how tough we are and so far we keep trading places. My trick for longer planks is simple: change it up. I go as long as I can up on my hands, then switch to a side plank on my right, switch to left side plank, back to up on my hands, then finish down on my elbows. My abs are screaming by the end, my lower back is usually about to give out and I lay around on the floor deep breathing like I’m in transitional labour. It’s so attractive. Brandy gets pictures. Not you fools.

three styles of planking

Wall Sit | seconds or minutes: same deal as above, but make like you’re sitting on a chair only you’re not, you’re leaning your back against a wall. I have strong legs, so this one is easier for me than planking. Brandy and I have added it to our “how long can you hold this nonsense?” routine every day at work. Both the planking and the wall sitting together take me like 10 minutes tops- and that’s on my best day. I don’t even have to change for those, I’m usually not sweaty.

Other| up to 15 minutes: sometimes I can’t run or get to yoga. We have a stationary bike in the basement and I’ll ride on that occasionally, but I find it hard to get motivated. Ryan and I have been competing a little which makes it more fun- when he does 5K, I outdo him with an 8K…then he blows me out of the water with a 10K and I mope about it because he just had knee surgery and how can I not beat a guy with holes in his knee??! Sometimes I count a swift walk around campus as my “other” workout for the day. Sometimes I stop halfway up the stair run and do 30 pushups against the wall. Give yourself a break- if you’re trying, that’s more than most.

Some days all the workout I can get in is a plank & a wall sit. Guess what? I’m pretty proud of that. I’m taking the time and making myself important to myself. If you think you have like 4 minutes to stand and flip through your Twitter timeline while you’re waiting for toast to pop? Park your back against the fridge and do a wall sit whilst flipping. Challenge your husband to a planking contest…and win. Or when he beats you, figure out how that can be the last time that ever happens. You’d be surprised at how far a little competition can motivate you to go. Need companionship? See if someone in your neighbourhood wants to walk for 15 minutes with you, it doesn’t have to take all night. You have time. You’re worth 10 minutes, right? I am. And I’m gonna get me a cute butt instead of this one that looks stupid in a pair of jeans. BOOM.

{ 5 comments }

#ohMaë

by Alicia on April 14, 2014

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The girl is pure pull-my-hair-out hilarity and I love her. Maëlle’s little brain is unlike anything I’ve ever come across. Call  her third child, call her spunky, call her difficult, call her whatever you want cause here’s a newsflash: she gives zero fucks. And that? I love about her. It’s way difficult to raise her because she is so determined and can be utterly defiant, but I’m impressed by her resolve. Also? She’s hysterical. I have haphazardly started an #ohMaë hashtag on Twitter and Instagram and it’s a lukewarm hit. I present to you now, some Maëlle gems:

1) 04/10/2014, 7:38am, Mom & Maë in the Flex driving to school/work: Maë, trying to convince me the car was in fact driving itself, speaking veeerrryyy sloooowly to me (not unlike one would do to a foreigner…) “Mom, it’s ok, just slooooooowly take you hands off da wheel…just…try it…it’s ok.” I point out to her that there is a police car in front of us and if I take my hands off the wheel, we will crash into something and the policeman will take our car and how will we even get to school? She thinks on this for awhile. “What colour is da police car?” I answer that it’s white and has red, blue and black on it with a light on top. She thinks on this for awhile. A few minutes later: “Mom? If da police takes our nice grey new car, he will let us take his white and red and blue and black car and that’s ok because his car has a light and our car don’t hab a light and could we get a light?” #ohMaë

2) Maë’s daycare teachers gave each kid a book for the Raise a Reader campaign. I was told they chose the book “Olivia” especially for Maë “it reminds me so much of her”. At the end of the book there is a line which made the whole choice make total sense. #ohMaë

(It’s 4 minutes, but pure awesome IMHO)

 3) 03/27/2014, 7:48am, Mom & Maë in the Flex again on our way to school/work, discussing books: Maë was describing books she wanted to buy, all of them were books we already own. At one point she excitedly goes “OH! You know what book is my favourite favourite eber Mumma?” No little love, you tell me about your favourite ever book please. “Da one where dat baby hates dat watch so he frows it in da toilet and it’s gone foreber.” #ohMaë

book cover page of Love You Forever by Robert Munsch

AHEM.

“She’s mad but she’s magic. There’s no lie in her fire.”   – Charles Bukowski

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Bare with me here, this is about to take a sad turn.

When my cousin died last summer, do you know how his family found out? By a picture of his crushed car posted on the internet.

Read that again. READ IT AGAIN. Let the reality of that sink in for a minute…you probably can’t. Because it’s unthinkable. Your mind probably won’t let you go there, right? Because it’s protecting you. Be thankful for that.

I respect journalism, as a profession. The ability to quickly report what is often rapidly changing, dramatic and stressful events into a short series of straightforward sentences to inform the public? That’s hard work. It takes skill, it takes experience, it takes a certain kind of mental resolve. I’m certain that I could not do it myself and I’m thankful for the people who can.

However, there has been a change in the way our local media here approaches stories of apparent duress. And I think it parallels quite remarkably to the way the international news media has changed as well, on a grander scale. Social media, with it’s immediate response time and truncated ways of delivery, lends itself now to what used to be certain death in journalism: incomplete facts and sensationalized story details. Get it out quick, make it juicy, or people will follow someone else. “We’ll just tweet an edit” carries less weight than “we’ll have to print a retraction” but you’re essentially saying the same thing. And when you only have effectively 140 characters and a picture speaks a thousand words? You’ll run the picture.

But what if the picture is an overturned vehicle, and the story line is “21 year old LaSalle girl dies in rollover accident”?

Riddle me this, journalist: You get the call “rollover on Lauzon Road, get there”. You grab your gear and drive to the scene. It’s chaos, you’re all business. You’re at the police barricades, getting information from the officers for the story. Speed racing? Drunk driving? A roll over, a 21yr old girl is dead, the cars are both totalled. You’re tweeting, all facts out there. You put down your phone, reach for your camera, searching the scene. Your expert eye looking for “The Shot”. You see the horrific vision of a rolled over SUV. You pull your viewfinder up to your face, focus your lens. You’re framing your shot dramatically, with purpose. Focus, focus, focus…then it hits you: that’s your sister’s car.

Riddle me this: do you take the shot?

Riddle me this: do you post that picture?

 

 

Somewhere between public service and profiting shareholders, respect is lost.

What we have instead is now lasting, indelible images that cut deep into the hearts of those who have lost a loved one. And I am speaking not just of the loved one lost in that particular picture, but all the ones who came before it as well. I have managed, through no small feat, to have never laid eyes on the picture of Blake’s crushed car. It was printed so damn many times, it lives on the internet forever and I have had to avoid every written story about his death in order to avoid the photo. It’s worked so far, but it’s a lot of work. And quite frankly: I shouldn’t have to do it.

Stop printing the pictures.

They are not the story.

The story is the tragic facts. Tell me about how it happened so that I think twice about driving fast. Tell me about the victim so I can mourn for their family. Tell me where it happened so I can remain vigilant while driving there myself. The picture is emotionally devastating…and that is not your story to tell, journalists. My aunt and uncle and cousins should never have had to see that photo. Lord knows it’ll never leave their minds now. Insult to incredible injury, and for what? Because you needed more depth to your story? Because you needed to sensationalize it so you would get more clicks? A young man with the world in his hands died tragically and suddenly and THAT is not enough? Too bad. Do your job and you won’t need the photo. Tell me about the picture you see, tell me all the things the picture won’t ever tell you- and that’s impressive journalism. Respect the family and the friends involved. Counter the weight of their sorrow with the depth of your words and tell the story.

Stop printing the pictures.

They are not the story.

Be a reputable journalist. Be a source for news. And only news. Trust that your reputation for facts, human decency, and integrity will keep readers coming back. It has worked for me.

Stop printing the pictures.

They are not the story.

{ 12 comments }

Everything is better with a Soundtrack

April 7, 2014

Soundtracks are pretty transformative. One of the first things I do when I get to work & log in to my computer is open my Rdio app and find a song that makes me dance. Yeah, I said dance. I’m a hands-in-the-air dancer straight up at 8-something in the morning and I don’t care who [...]

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Goals. Stretchy, bendy, fast & far goals.

March 5, 2014

This winter has been brutal. Trust. Just a crushing season. If I see one more snowflake fall on top of the already-5-foot tower of snow monstrosity in my front yard, I will take a flame thrower to it. Suffice to say at these temperatures, and in these conditions, I haven’t been running. Well, not much. [...]

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