WHOA lansi

francophile, oenophile, logophile, turophile

Tag: challenge

June in Instagram

I have been seriously neglecting this blog lately. I’ve taken so many photos and planned so many posts, but it just hasn’t come together for me when it comes to actually sitting and blogging. I’m even a few days behind on my Instagram recap here! 
Calgary was recently hit with some major flooding. It was unbelievable. I never thought it was possible for so much of the city to end up underwater. Luckily, we live up a huge hill (as do most of our friends) so we were virtually unaffected. Instead we volunteered our time to the families who were and I’m so proud of our city for coming together in such awesome ways. 
I have some flood pictures so let’s move on to the recap. I’m sure we’ll be talking about the Alberta Flood for a long time, but there were so many other great things that happened in June so I’m going to focus on those for now. 

1. We kicked off the month by climbing Ha Ling Peak. It was great start to the hiking season and I really hope it continues. There are so many great hikes in the area and sometimes there’s really nothing better than standing on top of mountain.
2. Fiasco Gelato opened a pop-up in the Bridgeland Market near our place. They gave out free scoops, so of course we had to check it out.
3. N and I celebrated 4 years together this month. We had a fantastic dinner at Cucina. I can’t say enough good things about this restaurant or about this amazing guy I’m with. Happy Anniversary!
4. Stumptown Coffee has opened up at Luke’s Drug Mart. It’s a stone’s throw from our house so it’s quickly becoming a Saturday ritual to stop in for some coffee and a treat.
5. The burpee challenge went on throughout June. I don’t love burpees. No one loves burpees. I hope I at least inspired some people to move a little bit more.
6. The flood. The photos are unreal, the damage is heartbreaking, the way the city came together is so inspiring. #CalgaryStrong.
7. I’ve been hanging out at Mission Fitness once a week, doing CrossFit. We did rope climbs last week and I loved it. (Obviously!)
8. Flood party with my Liver. She’s pretty freaking awesome. We played an #calgaryflooddrinkinggame cuz we’re…terrible people.
9. We spent the long weekend out at the lake with my parents. Lots of sun, boating, and wake boarding. I can’t get enough of it and am definitely disappointed to be back.

Alright, summer. Let’s do this. I’m more than ready for July, Stampede, my birthday, and all the awesome that comes with my favourite month!

June Burpee Challenge

I’ve talked a bit about the CrossFit-style workouts I organize every week at work in the past. It’s grown quite a bit since I first started it, which makes me so excited. I love that my work lets me run these Fitness Friday workouts every week. They’re really no longer than a smoke break and are significantly more healthy. It’s also expanded to include a Yoga practice what happens a few times a week already. I haven’t checked that out yet since it happens at the same time as Fitness Friday, but I definitely would like to in the future.

For June, I’ve also decided to put a Burpee Challenge out there. I sent this out not only to those on the Fitness Friday distribution, but also to our All Staff distribution list. Fitness Friday is still a relatively small group of us and I wanted to remind everyone that they are all welcome to join us anytime and also challenge them to a month of burpees. Anyone can do burpees! They’re tough, but easily modifiable to suit any level of fitness.

The challenge started today. Yes, I realize that it’s technically still May, but since this challenge is happening with coworkers, I thought it made more sense to start it on a workday. So May 31 it is. We’re starting at 5 burpees today. From there, we’ll be adding one burpee a day until June 30. That means on June 30 we’ll be doing 35 burpees. It’s pretty simple.

I’ve also added that you can break them up into sets. So when they numbers get higher, everyone can still get them done. Obviously, your fitness will improve more from doing them all in one go, but that can be a bit intimidating. I figure doing them at all is a step in the right direction, so I wanted to make it attainable.

Anyone reading this blog is also more than welcome to join us in this Burpee Challenge as well! I’ve already challenged N to it.

If you’re not sure what a burpee is, you can check out the video below. Emad’s burpees could use some work, especially towards the end, but mine are mostly ok.

The main rules are that your chest needs to touch the floor and you need to jump up at the end. In the video, I’m always jumping my feet forwards and back, but you don’t have to. You can step forwards and backwards and it still counts. You also don’t have to do a push up. You can get down the floor and then worm your way back up. Check You Tube for more variations. There are plenty out there.

I made a little calendar that makes it a bit easier to understand how the challenge works. Check it out if you’re interested and leave a comment if you’d like to participate!

Have a great weekend and Happy Burpee Month!

Meal Prep Monday

I’ve talked before about how important and helpful I find meal planning and prep. These tools are one of the only reasons I even come close to sticking to both a budget and a lifestyle. N and I have been following the Primal Blueprint since the end of our month of Paleo in December. The Primal Blueprint is very similar to Paleo except more lenient in terms of dairy, rice, wine, and beer.

Veggies for the week

This month we’ve decided to do 30 days of Paleo while also cutting out drinking. Not only does it save us some money (no cheese, no alcohol!), but I also feel a lot better cutting these things out. What’s a month, anyway?

We honestly didn’t get off to the best start with this challenge, but we’re back on track now. Sometimes I find myself looking at others and thinking they never have setbacks. I know this isn’t true though so I don’t want to come across as one of those people who never falls short. I do. Frequently. But I try to keep it in perspective. There’s no point in dwelling on a few beers or a couple french fries you shouldn’t have eaten.

Cutting up colourful peppers for snacks

One of the best ways we’ve found to be successful in our day to day lives is to prepare snacks in advance. This doesn’t always happen Monday, but usually early in the week. (Meal Prep Monday just sounds better than Meal Prep Sunday or Tuesday). I find it easiest to do everything for the week at once, so I’ll cook up any bacon we plan to eat for breakfasts, cut up veggies for snacks, make egg bites, or bake muffins. I’m lazy so this works for me.

Breakfast for the week: Bacon Acorn Squash Patties 

It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut so I’m more than grateful for websites like Civilized Caveman and PaleOMG and books like Practical Paleo. I would probably end up eating the same thing every week if it weren’t for these awesomely talented and creative people!

Bacon Beef Butternut Squash

Yup, we eat a lot of bacon. 

All of these sources have inspired me to be more creative and taught me how delicious life can be, even without my beloved grains. We tried a ridiculously good pasta recipe with George’s Sweet Potato Pasta and our own sauce creation. I’ll try and get some decent pictures of that one next time since it’s one of my new favourites and it’s ridiculously simple!


I tried to take a little break from the fitness talk, but with the 13.3 announcement coming up tomorrow at 5 pm PST I figured it was time for a little update.

We didn’t go skiing the Sunday of 13.1 so I redid the workout. I’m so happy I did because the snatches that had been nearly impossible that Thursday were suddenly so much easier. I went from 107 reps to 120 reps, which was a goal I didn’t expect to attain.

My ranking after 13.1
Canada West vs The World

My first thoughts when they announced 13.2 on Wednesday night were, “It looks simple. That definitely means it’s going to hurt a lot.”. That was a pretty accurate assessment.

Workout 13.2
AMRAP 10 min
5 shoulder to overhead (115#/75#)
10 deadlifts (115#/75#)
15 box jumps (24″/20″)

This was one of those workouts that forces you to question any thoughts you may have had about how strong your cardio is. I’ve always done well at cardio-based CrossFit WODs and this one destroyed me. After ten minutes, I was literally sprawled on the floor wondering why I’d put myself through that. One of the coaches came over to high five me and said something about how he guessed I’d be re-doing it Sunday. I didn’t understand what he meant at first since I had no idea about the number of reps that I’d done. 

It turns out that I’d done 197 reps. Obviously I was going to have a hard time accepting that as my final score. 

We went skiing on Saturday at Lake Louise, so I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel on Sunday. I put on my compression socks though and hoped my legs wouldn’t be too sore. N and I both knew I was going to try for 200 reps. 

I went in the second heat this time and watching the others do this WOD again made me wonder what was wrong with me. The look of pain of their faces had me second guessing my decision to do it over. What if I didn’t get a better score? What if I did the whole WOD over again and nothing changed? I had to try anyway. At least I’d know I’d be getting a good work out in. 

I beat my score by 12 reps. It hurt just as much and I ended the workout flat on my back again, but at least I got over that 200 mark. I know I would have been really disappointed if I hadn’t redone it. 
The best part of this whole story is probably the fact that I almost didn’t end up submitting my score. I watched one of my coaches do it (297 reps! Insane!) and then had to run home to shower and get ready to head to N’s parents’ for dinner. It was only once I got there and was showing him the video of my coach doing part of it that I realized I hadn’t actually submitted my new score. 
I added my score to the website from my iPhone with 38 minutes to spare. Fewf! 
Tomorrow they announce 13.3 and I’m excited to watch the showdown and see what’s in store for me this week. I’m betting on pull ups. There’s got to be some pull ups coming up somewhere. 
Until then, I’ve been having some fun on the Reebok and CrossFit websites. You can customize your own CrossFit shoe! I was bored the other day so this is what I came up with. 

Again Faster

I’ve been on a CrossFit posting kick lately. I apologize. This blog really isn’t going to be only about Fitness and CrossFit. It’s just a really exciting time for CrossFit right now! Don’t worry, I’ve got some recipes and photos and non fitness things coming.

The first CrossFit Open WOD (13.1) was announced on Wednesday and my first reaction was “Holy #$%*!”. Everyone had been dreading another rendition of last years 7 min of burpees or a snatch ladder. Those were the first two work outs of the Open last year: 12.1 and 12.2. Well, CrossFit did us one better and combined those two WODs to create a beast of a workout.

Workout 13.1

17 minute AMRAP of:
Round 1 – 40 Burpees
                   30 Snatch, 75 / 45 lbs
Round 2 – 30 Burpees
                   30 Snatch, 135 / 75 lbs
Round 3 – 20 Burpees
                   30 Snatch, 165 / 100 lbs
Round 4 – 10 burpees
                   Max rep Snatch, 210 / 120 lbs 

I tuned in right at 6 pm to watch Scott Panchik and Dan Bailey go head to head in this workout right after it was announced. It was intense. If you missed it, this is the only video I can currently find. 

Julie Foucher (the second fittest female in the games last year) also did a great demo of the workout. She is a pretty incredible lady. She’s toned down her training this year to focus on Med School and she still managed to score 195 reps. That’s nuts.
I did the Workout last night. I was pretty nervous and excited before it. I haven’t really done many snatches since last July so I’d practiced a few on Wednesday night, but I still wasn’t super confident about that 75 lb snatch. 

I scored 107 reps. I’m pretty proud of myself. I did really well on the first Round. A 45 lb snatch isn’t that heavy, but after 40 burpees it was significantly harder than usual. I finished that round in 6:27 and moved on to 30 burpees. That also went pretty well so I had plenty of time for the next set of snatches. I failed my first 3 snatches at 75 lbs. It was a bit discouraging. The best thing about CrossFit is that you always have a cheering section to get you going. All I could hear was “You can do it. You’re doing amazing! You’re so close, just get under that bar!”. On my fourth try, I finally got a successful rep. The next 5 or so minutes was a mixture of successful reps and failed reps. I got down to the last minute and got 2 reps in. With 10 seconds left, I tried for another, but just couldn’t lock out my arms at the top so I ended with 7 snatches. I got high fives all around and took my turn to cheer on the next heat. It was a pretty cool experience. 

Once I was able to breath again, I knew I wanted to try the workout again. They’re doing it on Sunday, so if we don’t go skiing I may just have to try again. I know I can get those snatches now! 
My score is officially up on the website, which is pretty cool. I will definitely move down in the standings, but for a time I was in the top 100 in Western Canada, so I’ll just focus on that for now. 

I obviously am not going to qualify for Regionals or the Games, but it was great to participate. I’m looking forward to the next WOD and hoping it doesn’t include things I can’t manage yet! Fingers crossed!

Paleo Challenge

Making Olive Tapenade

I’ve been hearing about the Palaeolithic Diet for a while now. When you do CrossFit, it’s only a matter of time until a Paleo Challenge comes up so I’d been reading and thinking quite a bit about it for a while.

I’ve never believed in diets. I don’t believe they work. I’ve always thought eating well and exercise were the only way to go. While I still believe this, what eating well means to me has changed significantly this year.

Cooking my first whole chicken

This summer, a friend recommended the book Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo. I was looking for a new cookbook with some good recipes and Diane’s book seemed great so I ordered it online. N and I had been making an effort to eat better and I’d already been introducing some paleo recipes to our meal plan. (Yes, we’re big nerds and do a weekly meal plan. It helps with budgeting.) Diane’s book is great. The recipes are beautiful and she does a great job of explaining a lot of the science behind paleo. Between her book and Mark’s Daily Apple, a lot of what I was reading was starting to make sense. I still wasn’t sold on the idea though. I’ll be the first to tell you, I love bread and cheese. Part of why I loved living in France so much was the food. I love everything about good food. The more I read though, the more I wanted to try 30 days of paleo. I just wasn’t sure if I could convince Nathan to give up his cereal in the morning. By the same token, he thought I’d never give up cheese.

One of our easy go-to recipes:
Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Two weeks into November, my friend told me her and her boyfriend were doing a 30 day paleo challenge. This was just the motivation I needed to propose it to N. He agreed and we ate through what we could of our grains and legumes before Nov 15. It wasn’t the best time to be doing a paleo challenge (we had Christmas and Birthday Parties and were training for a half marathon) but I figured there would always be a reason why now wasn’t the time. So we decided to cut grains, legumes, dairy products, potatoes, refined salt, refined sugar, and processed oils from our diet as much as possible. We knew that most weekends would probably involve a “cheat” meal of some sort, but during the week we stuck to paleo as much as possible.

One of N’s favourite foods is pizza, so I kick started our month with a paleo pizza. It turned out pretty well for a pizza without grains or cheese and it was definitely a fun experiment. We made a cauliflower crust and then topped it with some delicious tomato sauce, meat, mushrooms and asparagus. N still says it’s not really a pizza, but he enjoyed it anyway.

Paleo Pizza

We finished our paleo challenge Dec 15, just in time for my Christmas Party. I really enjoyed our month of paleo and it has definitely changed the way I think about the food I put in my mouth. We’ve since added back in a few things, namely dairy, but are mostly still excluding everything else. I found after the month was over, I didn’t want to go back to eating grains.

Feeling awesome! 

I would never say I’m gluten intolerant or that I’ll never eat gluten (we still love to go out for dinner!), but I’m definitely more aware of the effect both have on my body. A lot of people are horrified that we eat bacon every morning and cook with bacon fat and butter, but I honestly feel great eating this way. One of the biggest changes I noticed was the sluggish feeling I used to get after my lunchtime sandwich was gone.

I didn’t go into this thinking I was going to lose a ton of weight. I don’t really weigh myself that often anymore anyways, but I did take note of my weight at the beginning and then again at the end. I lost about 10 pounds, which was a wonderful side effect. I’m mostly just happy to feel like I look better. I’ve gotten a lot of compliments which also makes me feel amazing.

I really have nothing but great things to say about the experience. I know it’s not for everyone and I know a lot of paleo enthusiasts can get kind of preachy, so my goal is to stay far away from that. At the end of the day, I think everyone should do what makes them feel good.

So I’ll leave you with this: Try new recipes. Eat bacon. Experiment with food. 

Eat, drink, be merry. 

Here’s a few favourites for our month-long challenge. Check out Diane’s book for the actual recipes. 

Chinese Five Spice Lettuce Wraps

Spaghetti Squash Bolognese 

First delicious attempt at lamb chops with olive tapenade

Butternut Squash Sage Soup
Shrimp and Pesto Zucchini Fettuccine 

Lemon Artichoke Chicken

Typical Breakfast: Rutabaga Egg Nests with Avocado and Bacon

Run Run Run


One of my goals this year is to get faster at shorter distances, namely 5 km and 10 km. I’ve only run 5 km for training so I’ve never really pushed myself. Speed work is so important though, so I’m making an effort to be faster.

I went for a 5 km run at lunch today. I wasn’t expecting it to be very fast, but it felt good. I didn’t really pay attention to my watch until I hit 2 km in 10:05. I never run 2 km in less than eleven minutes. And it felt good, really good. I did a bit of a double take, I was so surprised. So I decided to consciously try and keep it up for the rest of my run. At 3 km, I was right at fifteen minutes. Holding that 5:00/km, I kept an eye on my watch and by 4 km, I was breathing hard. I came in under twenty minutes. All I had to do was hold on for one more kilometre and I’d reach a goal I hadn’t expected to attain until much later this year. I mean, it’s January 7. I only set these goals a week ago! I just tried to keep my feet moving quickly and stopped my watch at 5 km: 24:46. My first time running 5 km in under 25 minutes. Walking back to the office, I was pretty much grinning from ear to ear.

And doing a little happy dance.

Challenge Accepted

I am a competitive person. Seriously competitive.

Back in July, I was doing a Burpee challenge with my CrossFit box: 50 burpees a day, every day. It was brutal, but by the end of the month I was so good at burpees. I wish I could have gone back to being that good at burpees this morning.

One of my coworkers and I did our 50 burpees at the office pretty often and one of our other coworkers, Emad, said that he could do 200 burpees. We obviously did not believe him. Who does 200 burpees? (Not me. Challenge not accepted.)

So yesterday, Emad decided he was going to talk about burpees again…and somehow challenged me to 50 burpees. I’m not one to say no to stuff like this. I mean, it’s not like I love burpees or something. I just hate losing. So, challenge accepted.

I walked in this morning, threw off my jacket, sweater, sorels, and hat, and said, “Let’s do this. 50 burpees.”

This is how it went down: Emad vs Alanna

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