Friday, 1 March 2013

Simcoe Fitness Seeker Post #1

Welcome to Simcoe Fitness Seeker

Make a great "To Do" list. Do most of it.

(Breathe the Wind, Drink the Rain - Notes on Being Alive, by Douglas Wood)


A Little Background:

 I am a runner, a writer and some say they like my photography too. For over 20 years I have written on a freelance basis, while raising my family, in my home territory of Simcoe County, mostly about artists and other interesting individuals who live in our area. Four years ago I took up running. I met Ann Jackson, who at the time was the founder of Girls on the Run Simcoe County. Passionate about running and fitness, she began her own learn-to-run business, called The Running Experience. Turns out there are a lot of people in Simcoe County who either enjoy running or who want to learn how to incorporate it into their daily regime. Several half marathons, one full marathon, five trail runs and various short distance events later, I found myself signed up for membership at Thrive Fitness, a fantastic little business in Alliston, Ontario owned and operated by Ann Jackson (Certified Personal Trainer) and Steve Coons (Certified Kinesiologist).

Although always fairly slim (genetics) I was never really that strong, and like most of us, could use some advice on eating healthier. I certainly never imagined, early on in my treadmill running days, running 5 kilometres on the road, never mind 42.2. But with perseverance and regular training with a great group of motivated friends (backed by coaching and core training with both Ann and Steve), lo-and-behold, I became a little stronger every day, until signing up for running events became part of my regular routine.

Perhaps I should note, too, that in 2010 genetic testing revealed I had the BRCA2 gene mutation (BRCA being the abbreviation for breast cancer), which substantially increases one's risk of acquiring breast cancer and also ovarian cancer in one's lifetime. As a preventive move, I had a total hysterectomy that year in February, at the age of 46. I ran 15 km the day before my surgery as I was in training for a half marathon. Six weeks after my surgery, on my doctor's approval (apparently my recovery was  "off the charts" fast, due to my fitness level), I continued with my training and ran the Toronto Women's Half Marathon that May. Then in September I ran another half, followed by my first full marathon that October. Talk about motivation to stay fit: quick recovery from surgery!

The motivation to start this blog began in the gym. A few of us thought, hey, wouldn't it be great if there was some kind of medium out there where people could find out more about what is offered in our area when it comes to health and fitness? A new month is upon us so I dove in, which is a little unusual for me because I am a terrible procrastinator. Maybe I acted because I'm a year away from 50 and "enough of the procrastination already" finally kicked in. I thought of "Simcoe Fitness Seeker" in 10 minutes (a close runner-up was "The Running Batch" which will surely get a giggle out of my running pals but doesn't quite illustrate the full scope of what I want this blog to become.)

I would like this blog to inspire and to provide information. I imagine it will contain a combination of my own personal thoughts, as an "average Joe (Josephine?)" on fitness based on what I have learned (yes, humour will be part of this section), places in our area that offer fitness and/or health and wellness instruction, people profiles and perhaps even places that sell awesome fitness clothing/gear (I confess, I do love to shop). And as soon as I get my Mac fixed, I hope to add photos.

In the meantime, I'd like to start this first post with 10 things I have learned since beginning my journey towards better health and fitness. I will try to expand on each of these in upcoming posts, with advice from local experts and those adventurous, fit and happy people who live in our midst. Again, I wrote this list pretty quickly and I am sure as soon as I click "publish post" I will think of more, probably while I am on a run.

Ideas for stories are always welcome.

10 Things I Have Learned So Far During My Quest for Fitness:

  1. Exercise really does boost your spirits. After a run or a core workout, I feel like I can conquer anything for the rest of the day.
  2. After a day where I have incorporated a mid-to-long run (what that is, varies according to where you are in your own training) I sleep deeply and wake up refreshed.
  3. I actually DO have biceps.
  4. I may gain a couple of pounds in muscle weight, but my clothes fit better because lean muscle takes up less room than fat.
  5. If you surround yourself with positive, motivated friends who continuously sign up for (in my case) running events, that positivity and motivation will rub off, until you, too, will add your name to a few event rosters.
  6. Take one step at a time. You CAN do it. (Even if you're a girly-girl. Trust me on this one.)
  7. More of us need to embrace winter. Layer up and get out there! (Besides, after a couple of brisk kms, that cold air feels rather pleasant!)
  8. What we eat really, truly does affect how we perform.
  9. Personal trainers are not scary. Good ones are 100% there to help you progress at your own pace.
  10. Simcoe County has a fantastic, growing community of adventurous people.

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