A week of many activities: bootcamp, kayaking, and more!

I’ve had a pretty busy week in terms of physical activity, so here is a quick recap to spare you many many blog posts!

Monday: To round off the May Kilometer Challenge, my coworker invited several of us at work to an outdoor bootcamp! She arranged with the instructor to have us visit the class for free, which was really amazing. The class is called “Hill Killers Outdoor Bootcamp” and boy, did it live up to its name.

When we arrived, we just had to fill out a little waiver basically saying a doctor hadn’t told us we would die when doing exercise. Then we got down to it! I should mention that I rode my bike from Waterloo to Kitchener, where the class was (the park used to be a garbage dump!). It was only 8km away and I had to get some kilometers in! In retrospect, it might have been a better idea to start with fresh legs…

To start, we did a “warm up”, which consisted of: 50 jumping jacks, ladder agility, 10 push ups, more ladder agility, 10 more push ups, more ladder agility, 10 more push ups, kettlebell walking lunges for about 15m, pull-ups on the soccer posts, “prisoner crossovers” (I think that’s what they are called! Hands behind head, running sideways while crossing your feet over top of each other) to the next soccer posts, more pull ups, more prisoner crossovers…then repeat ALL OF THAT in reverse. Yikes.

I am not so great with coordination, and had never really done ladder agility drills or prisoner crossovers, so I needed explicit directions on what to do, which slowed me right down. I was one of the last to finish. The instructor had stressed at the start that we are not competing with anyone else, but I still felt a bit stressed to be one of the last ones done the warm up. Plus, it completely kicked my butt, as there was no rest between any of the sets.

The rest of the workout involved hill repeats on this GIANT, steep hill (I didn’t take a photo – oops! – but the following is from the Hill Killers Facebook page):

The hills were interspersed with more strength work, mostly on lower body and core. I was absolutely toasted at the end. Then I realized I still needed to drag my butt back home on my bike. Eeek.

So was it a great workout? Definitely. Would I do it again? I’m not sure. To be honest, I’m not convinced the bootcamp structure is right for me. I like more rest in between sets in my strength workouts, and I’m not convinced I can turn off the slight competitive streak in me (for better or for worse). Still, it was fun to try it out, especially with some friends.

Tuesday: I got out for my first real outdoor bike ride in Waterloo. I mapped out a 21km route that took me by a conservation area and through some “country roads” (compared to Toronto anyways). It was enjoyable, but it is definitely strange to be cycling in a city where motorists fully expect most cyclists to be on the sidewalk. The cycling infrastructure here, where it exists, is very hit and miss. I prefer to stick to the roads, but many of them are quite potholed here, and I feel a bit stressed about taking my space when I know motorists aren’t used to bikes on the road. Still, I know the best thing is to act predictably, signal my intentions, and keep my attention on my surroundings. I’ll have to do a bit of sleuthing to find some nice smooth routes.


Country roads on my bike ride

Wednesday: A leisurely 5k run in honour of Global Running Day!

Thursday: On Thursday morning, Kevin and I headed up to Silent Lake Provincial Park for an extra-long weekend of camping with his parents. When we got there, one of the first things we did after setting up camp was take his parents’ kayaks out for a spin! I’ve been in a kayak a couple of times before, but it’s been a looong time. It was a lot of fun, and harder work than I was expecting. I felt a lot of it in my forearm, which I suspect means I was doing it wrong. Kevin’s dad mentioned a “push/pull” aspect to the paddling stroke, and I think I was more of a “pull/pull” kind of paddler. Still, neither of us tipped over, and we got up close and personal with a very lovely loon.


That’s a paddlin’!

Friday: Kevin and I ran the Bonnie’s Pond trail, a 3km loop, plus 2km through the campground to get there. The trail was fun but somewhat poorly marked. We lost the blazons a couple of times, oops. Then we ended the run with a jump in the lake.

Saturday: To be honest, this one actually might get its own blog post. We did the 15km trail around Silent Lake and it was tough. It’s probably the most technical trail I’ve run on. Plus the mosquitoes were relentless. I was in a pretty rough place by the end of this. We also ended it with a swim in the lake. Later on in the day we went for another peaceful kayak at the golden hour.

Sunday: It was raining in the morning, so we just packed up camp and headed back to the city. However, the rain cleared up, and our early departure meant I was back in time to play soccer with my favourite Team Nice Friends. Unfortunately, one of our awesome teammates went down with a knee injury, and that took the wind out of our sails a bit. Wishing you a speedy recovery, Laura!

I enjoyed being so active all week, but it was also a lot! So today has been deemed a well-deserved rest day. 🙂


May Kilometer Challenge

I am fortunate to work at an organization that places an emphasis on employee health and wellness. It’s truly built right into the core of the institute, which has a gym, squash court, change rooms, and showers in the actual building. Throughout the year, staff are encouraged to participate in various health and wellness challenges. In January we set goals for minutes of physical activity, and the team with members that met their personal goals and scored the highest average minutes per member was awarded a lunch at the bistro.

This month, we’ve been participating in a kilometer challenge. Participants sent in their personal goals for number of kilometers they hoped to walk, run, bike, or swim in the month of May, and then teams of roughly equal total goals were made based on those numbers.


I started the month off by cycling around the city supporting my friend Casey as she ran her first marathon!

The one slightly odd thing about the challenge is that all kilometers count equally, no matter how they are traveled: swimming a kilometer counts just the same as cycling a kilometer. Of course, the former would take me at least half an hour, and the latter would take me around 2 and a half minutes, so there’s a bit of an advantage for the cyclists out there! As it turns out, one of the staff members does a lot of cycling, and he is his own one-person team. In 2015, he apparently covered 1300 kilometers in the month!

I decided to set my personal goal somewhat “low” in case I had a rough month for whatever reason. I really don’t like to miss out on goals I set for myself! I decided 6.4km/day was fair considering I usually walk around a kilometer and a half to and from work each day. An extra 5km/day seemed very doable, especially because I knew there would be some days when I would be running upwards of 15km.


The team standings as of Week 4

I can have a bit of a competitive streak in me at times, and participating in this challenge this month has pushed me to walk, run, or bike a little bit more than I otherwise would have. There were evenings in early May, when it wasn’t very nice out yet, that I would hop on my bike trainer and watch some TV instead of watching TV at my desk. As the weather got nicer, I was inspired to change my trainer tire over (there’s a blog post about that coming soon!) so that I could take my bike outside and explore the city. Any excuse to get to and from a destination using my own two legs was motivation for me!


My kilometer tracking spreadsheet

And how have I done with respect to my goal? Well, I reached the 200km mark about halfway through the challenge! Assuming my bike ride tonight goes as planned, my total will be 401 kilometers for the month. (And yes – I planned my bike ride distance so as to double my original goal.) Regardless of whether my team “wins” (it doesn’t look like we will, as we’re currently in third, and the one-man team has about 200kms on us!), it was a great challenge, lots of fun, and for me, a good motivator to get out and move!