Thursday, March 19, 2015

BC Mountain #1 Completed

Ok ok, so maybe this isn't very impressive but I finally climbed a Canadian mountain. By mountain I say Burnaby Mountain. Sounds impressive but its not. 320m elevation total. That sounds tiny but to me it wasn't. I was originally planning to do another route that I showed on a previous post (now deleted, sorry). I will do that route another time as I seem to get some kind of sick pleasure from hiking steep hills and that route wasn't steep enough for me haha. So heres what my 'mountain' route looked like:

My starting point was at Craftsman Collision (a panel beater company) at the 3 way fork of St Johns Rd, Clarke Rd and Barnet Hwy. I then walked up Clarke Rd (a short but notoriously steep road that even cars have difficulty getting up). I then turned R) at Mt Royal Drive where the hill then plateau'ed which allowed my "warm up" to end and my legs could relax for 10 mins as I walked through a nice quiet suburb til I reached one of the tracks on the east side of the mountain. I originally planned to do a difficult level track called the "Gear Jammer" that goes directly west up the mountain in a zig zag fashion but signs said it was closed (maybe it's only open in the Summer months?) It is still technically early spring here and even though we've been having wonderfully sunny days, its still quite cold and wet at the top and as such a lot of rain water comes down this time of year. So anyway I was forced to pick a new route, perhaps that was for the best as I have not had a hill workout quite as much as this one. I ended up instead hiking around the North East face of the mountain and following the Trans-Canadian Trail a part of the way. That trail in its entirety spans from Vancouver Island all the way to the other side of the country in St John's (NewFoundland & Labrador).  The third trail that was off the Trans-Canadian was called 'Cardiac Hill'. Cardiac - HA! How true to its name. It looks short on the map but I believe of the four Burnaby Mt tracks that short hike took me the longest because it was nearly almost a vertical climb and I had to take a breather every 10m. I would have taken pictures of the track but I really had more important things on my mind - like breathing.

Heres a close up of the Burnaby Mountain track:

Heres a great shot of Port Moody (where I walked from) from on top of Burnaby Mountain:

Picture copyright:

Surely that photo proves that I was on top a mountain? Right? Hahaha.. We'll see.. Its a good start don't you think?

After this hike I burned 723 Calories! Whoa. It took me 1 hour 20 minutes total. Afterwards I had a healthy orange and peanut butter and banana sandwich to eat along with my bottle of water however I had the biggest craving for salt I had experienced in a long time! My husband picked me up at the SFU Campus and we agreed I have earned myself some small Burger King Fries (the best!) They're the closest thing I can find to taste and texture to New Zealand chips from a fish n chip shop.

Sigh - Happiness

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Unemployment = Lots of chances to get fit!

The thing about being unemployed is that you have a lot of spare time. Don't get me wrong I do spend a sizeable amount of time calling people, editing my resume and sending stuff out, but once all thats done Im still left with eons of spare time. And a few weeks ago I had a bit of an emotional meltdown. To cut it short I was frustrated. I was bored out of my mind and I probably wasn't doing much good by literally spending ALL day at my computer typing. And most of all I felt overwhelmed by the pressure of finding work, because getting work means we can find a house to live in and once we have a house we can move out of our in laws who no undoubtedly have been extremely generous having us live with them but I certainly don't want to over extend our welcome you know? Again I felt the pressure like a huge wage coming over me and all I had at my disposal was a little pathetic row boat. Much like this:

Finally I had had enough I needed to do SOMETHING! But what? My Mum and husband told me to do the things I love which I didn't have much time for when I was working. One of those things was cross stitching. I love love love cross stitching. Its essentially pixel art but with a needle and coloured thread and its relaxing while functional because you're making something with your hands and you get encouraged as you get certain sections completed, much like a giant jigsaw. So anyway, the hubby told me to buy a pattern and get on with it, so I bought the pattern of the picture above. Its a classical Japanese piece of art called 'The Great Wave off Kanagawa' that was done by a fellow called Hokusai and was completed sometime between 1830-33. Its a gorgeous painting and I felt it was very reflective of my life right now. 

The other thing I have always meant to jump into (but working 40 hrs a week for the first time in my life knocked me to the ground physically) was getting back into doing more physical activity, monitoring my diet and hopefully losing some weight. 10 kg to be exact. I currently weigh 84 kg which is about 186 lb I think. Anyway Ive felt overweight for the longest time and have always yo-yo'ed losing and gaining back 5 kg. I never seem to have lost more than 5kg. I'll admit, Ive had some bad eating habits sneak into my life and the thing with gaining weight is that it comes up on you in sneaky subtle ways to begin with. I won't go into detail as to how I got over weight except to say I went from an extremely trim 55 kg athletic high schooler to an 84 kg 26 year old. What happened? College. It became my life and my idol for a solid 3 years, then add another 2 years when it suddenly stopped being my idol to a torturous frustration that I just hoped would just end so I could graduate and move on with my life. Everything else came in last place to my schooling and grades and at the bottom of the trash pile was my physical health. So there you go. I realise now, that back then I had zero comprehension of how to look after my body while it was in constant survival mode. During a certain period I was so poor I could only afford to feed myself once a day, then once I returned home for the summer I just ate and ate and ate whatever I could find and put in my mouth.  Imagine that for 2 years straight. Not healthy.

So as of the 25th February I joined which is a fantastic website that helps you track the nutrition of what you're eating and the exercise that you do. I find the app on my smartphone extremely helpful because I could be out or cooking in the kitchen and I can take a quick picture of a barcode and it will send the product and the serving size I choose to my home page where I track my meals. You can also put in internet recipes or your own recipes and it will calculate the nutrition value of the serving. Essentially it does all the hard calculating for you. This is very helpful as Ive tried calorie counting in the past but it was so arduous. Ive found this website to be helpful in keeping me accountable to what I put in my body, particularly sugar and salt. Boy when you start reading the labels of all you're favorite foods you start thinking Yikes! When you join the website program asks you to state your gender, weight and height and level of current physical activity and how much weight you want to lose. Then it calculates what level of nutrition quotas you should aim for. To lose weight you essentially aim to be under your quota of calories, fat, sodium and sugar and strive for the right level in protein and vitamins etc. To do this well you have to be extremely truthful about what you eat, no cheating allowed! The system is of course cheatable as you can state you ate a piece of lettuce but in reality you ate a whole cake. But YOU know its cheating, YOU know it won't result in lost weight.  Heres a snap shot of what the daily meal counter looks like:

Keeping under your daily nutrition goal is also helped with exercise. Sweating in exercise and eating appropriately before and afterwards helps a long way. Because I grew up hiking a lot and walking trails Ive decided to get back into that. In January I made my New Years Resolution to complete the Grouse Grind which is a very steep 2 hour hike up Grouse Mountain in North Vancouver near where I live. So far Im well on my way to meeting that goal hopefully by late spring or early summer. Ive been 'training' on the foothills behind our house. The foothills are part of the same body of mountains that make up Mt Seymour, Grouse Mountain and Cypress Mountain which in turn become part of the North Shore Mountains.  I think the nearest mountain peak to my house is Eagle Mountain which towers over Buntzen Lake nearby.

So far Ive been hiking up two tracks, the first is a loop up and around Heritage Blvd in Port Moody where I live:

You can see on the picture that it gets quite steep from Jacobs Rd to Eagle Drive. That was a hard hike to get used to at the beginning but now I really enjoy it!
The second trail I take is called the Coquitlam Crunch which I tried out for the first time today. Boy I tell you the first 500 m are tough but after that it is really enjoyable. I accidentally left my headband near the top today and I didn't realised I left it til I was halfway down so I had to hike up again! Luckily I found it again, phew! It was a huge but awesome work out.

The section between the bottom part of Lansdowne Dr and David Ave was the tough bit. After that it was a walk in the park! Literally. Once I got to the top my legs were so used to it I would have loved to have walked further but by then I was really hungry and had to head home for lunch. Next time I'll bring some snacks.

Anyway, thats me for now. If I do more trails I'll add them here. Im trying to explore all sorts of different areas that the Greater Vancouver has to offer. Til next time!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

History TV

Ive been watching some fantastic stuff on tv lately, most have been WWII themed. Now having read a lot up on it Ive noticed that there are some gaps in the historical context of these programs not to mention Im aware that plenty of women got knocked up by Americans in the war but to me it appears that these producers went and took that fact and assumed that ALL women must have been pulling down their knickers in the war. I think this is a gross exaggeration, and speaks loudly that 21st century producers have to inject their over sexualised culture into any context. But hey what do I know I could be wrong on this, it wasn't as if I was actually there. Anyway here are the series:

'X Company': A refreshing Canadian perspective on WWII espionage. My only opinion on this show is, if one discovers a genius with photographic memory why wouldn't Canada send him off to Bletchley Park in the UK where he would have been of more use being a code breaker or something like that instead of sending him off to France to be a spy and having a nervous breakdown at the sound of gun fire? It seems a bit far fetched in my opinion but generally speaking Ive enjoyed the show, esp the female French-Canadian character. 

' Land Girls': A BBC series produced to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the end of the war. Ive rather enjoyed this series which features 4 women in various seasons and backgrounds of life join the Womens Land Army in the UK. In a nutshell, they fill in the farming roles that the men used to have. The only downside is how short this series is. And of course, it being a BBC series I love they they paint all the Americans as manipulative, charming, racist perverts hahaha. So typical of BBC to do that.

'Bomb Girls': Now I haven't watched this series yet but from the looks of it it looks like its about women working in a munitions factory, which I know a lot of women did in the war. I also know they faced a lot of harsh sexism and only got less than half of what the men were earning (although I think that is in part because they theorized men had families to support but then I wonder that the authorities didn't realise the women were most likely doing the exact same thing). And of course it looks like they added in lots of sex and a few good looking Italian men (hmm just like Land Girls, I see a trend here...)