monthly challenges recap: May edition

Welcome to the fifth installment of the 2014 Monthly Challenges Recap. And the second month in a row where I was unable to attain all the goals I set out for myself. Yay me! 😛

May Challenges

As a reminder, my May goals were as follows:

1. Run:

  • Run at least 60 kms in May — with a stretch goal of 75 kms.
  • Run a 10k in May


The month started off strong with the following runs:

  • May 4: 5k run / avg pace 7.30/km
  • May 5: 5k run – treadmill – total time 34:30
  • May 7: 5k run – treadmill – total time 35:28
  • May 8: 5k run – treadmill – total time 36:20
  • May 10: 2.6 k run / avg pace 7.27/km
  • May 11: 4.9k run / avg pace 7.52 /km

And I haven’t run a lick since May 11th.

So…what happened? Well, two things: I travelled to NYC for work May 12 – 14th and then began the crazy 3,400 km road trip on the 15th. I sat in a car all day from the 16th to the 18th.

Once I got settled at home in Vegas on the 19th, running was my lowest priority. I had just over a week to train for the killer hike at the Grand Canyon. You better believe I used all my allotted workout time to get VERY familiar with the Stairmaster, in my estimation the only piece of gym equipment that comes  even close to approximating the climbing of a mountain.

So I chose to do 45 – 60 minutes of that each day the first week instead of running on a treadmill. Because running outdoors in 100+ degree desert heat was not happening. Not in this lifetime. Nor in the next.

Needless to say, a sum total of 27.5 kms in May was a pitiful result against a goal of 60 kms. And, it also goes without saying that, I did NOT run a 10k in the month of May.

What might come as more of a shocker is that I’m actually really okay with both of those outcomes. I’m not beating myself up. I’m not feeling like a failure. I made choices, and I’m good with the choices I made.

2. Squat:

My dear, sweet friend, Sam, picked this particular squat challenge, The Bombshell Bottom 30 Day Squats. To save you the math (because Sam already did it for me), this is a total of 4,817 squats in a month, culminating in the pièce de résistance, 300 squats on the final day (all in a row, no breaks). GAH!



I did it!! Although having to do the final 300 squats days after the Grand Canyon hike was really not my favourite. Verdict on going forward: I’ve always loved squats – I think it’s a great all around exercise, and I especially love doing them with a heavy weighted barbell on my back for maximum results. I’m not sure that this much repetition of body weight squats is as effective as a smaller number of weighted squats, but I’ll definitely keep squats in my multiple-times-per-week regime.

3. Better Nutrition:

  • Kale or Spinach-based smoothie every morning
  • 1 tbsp. of Bee Pollen daily
  • 1 garlic supplement daily
  • 3 flaxseed oil supplements daily


Okay I’m calling this one a draw.

  • Green Smoothies: I managed to get lots of green drinks in before I left for my trip to NYC, then none while I was away that week, and then none during the 3 days road trip, and only one since I’ve been in Vegas. That said, I have been getting tons of fresh veg and fruit daily – so I’m good with that.
  • Bee Pollen: I threw that shit back like a champ every day in May that I was actually at home, which was exactly 12. So for 12 of 31 days I ate bee pollen, which I’ll remind you tastes like ASS. Once I got to Vegas I had no intention of buying more of that assiness. And I have no intention of eating another bite of it when I get back home to Toronto in 2 weeks. I’m over bee pollen. Over it.
  • Garlic Supplement: Yes – every day – and now fully stocked here in Vegas, too.
  • Flaxseed Oil Supplements: Yes, same as above.

In addition, due to the great feedback and suggestions I got in the original May Challenges post about supplement y’all are taking, I also invested in some other stuff here in Vegas. Specifically an MSM supplement which I take twice daily (it’s good for joint health and also for hair and nail growth/strength). I also added a Probiotic supplement which I take once/day. I love how I’ve been feeling so I plan to add those two to my regime at home in Toronto too.

4. Bonus Activity:

Remember when I originally plotted out what my 2014 health and fitness goals should look like? And how I wanted to take on “big challenges” but I struggled with how to define them? I actually knew exactly what I meant. I meant things like a rim-to-river (and back) hike at the Grand Canyon. I meant things like crazy outdoorsy vacations to Glacier National Park (on the wish list) or climbing Mt. Whitney (also on the wish list), but because I couldn’t pin down dates and specifics, it felt wrong to put them out there as goals without a clear plan for completing them.

So, while I didn’t declare a big hiking challenge for May, I knew I would take one on. And I did! My most challenging hike to date: 19.43 miles and a total elevation change of just under 9,000′. Want to get a glimpse of that action? Watch the youtube video here.


To recap: my original May goals were to Run, Squat and Ingest healthy things. Sure, I only did the squat & (mostly) ingest healthy things part, but I ALSO killed it on a killer hike. So I’m calling May a resounding success.

Running can go suck it.

And now for my favourite part of the Monthly Challenges recap post: 

Bad-Ass Round-up – May!



  • Kate at Did That Just Happen who increased her daily workouts from 30 minutes to 60 minutes through the month of May as well as a continued commitment to the dreaded wall sit!
  • Sam at Midsummer 365 Project for always being awesome and inspirational – and also for having some crazy May goals. Love this girl!
  • Helen at 26 to 12 who took on the massive goal of working out every single day in May, and is KILLING IT! Go girl!
  • Fi at Fi’s Mutterings who also took on the giant goal of working out every day in May!!
  • Rose at From 2 to 3 Kids who has gone 100% gluten-free and also took on a zero added-sugar challenge for May!
  • Kerry at Winding Road for setting great May goals. Kerry was hit with the unimaginable in May: a massive flood in which she lost her home. Kerry’s amazing spirit, in the face of so much loss, is truly remarkable. A warrior in every sense of the word.
  • Joanne at My Life Lived Full who competed in a 10k race and is still training for a half marathon in June.
  • J at As My Camera Sees It for signing up to a Fitness Photo challenge while she trains for a 5k walk in June, which she is committed to completing in under 1 hour. Go J!
  • BB at Bulging Buttons who hit the reboot button on her health and weight loss goals in May. She committed to rejoining Weight Watchers and kicking off healthier lifestyle choices!
  • John at A Napper’s Companion for declaring his goals to workout five days a week; row 12k meters in an hour; and inch nearer the illusive goal of having a fly booty! 🙂 How’d that work out for you, John?
  • El Guapo from Guapola for borrowing one of his wife’s hula hoops and hula hooping his heart out! I saw a picture, so it definitely happened. 🙂
  • Lisa at Northwest Frame of Mind for taking on the Bombshell Bottom Squat challenge AND the Les Mills Ab challenge!
  • Lynne at Curvy Roads for continuing her commitment to yoga both in a class and on her own.
  • Freebutfun (I’m so sorry, but I don’t know your name!) She took on a challenge to focus on the back muscle groups in May and also to continue her boot camp participation!
  • Maria at Brick House Chick who is awesome in so many ways(!), but rose to a new level of awesomeness with her commitment to walk 3x/week in May. Maria suffers from two chronic illnesses: Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia, which means each step can be a painful one. Maria is a my hero.

I am so sorry if I have forgotten anyone. If I have, PLEASE leave me a comment with a link to the bad-ass I inadvertently left out.

Carry on warriors!

Keep moving!

xoxo nancy

71 thoughts on “monthly challenges recap: May edition

  1. I like your style Nancy! It’s good to have goals, it’s great to reach goals but it is even more fantastic to be able to adjust challenges to where we are. I’m still in awe because of your hike! As for my challenges, they went a bit like yours: started out well but work and leisure trips put a pause on them, but I decided to pick them up were I left them and finish them by midsummer instead. Also, on my trips I still managed to go for a brisk walk every day, which made me feel really good! Baby steps are good enough 🙂 Vilma

    • Vilma! Yay, now I can chat with you by name! 🙂

      You know, it’s taken me a long, long time to get to this place: a place where I don’t see every miss as a massive failure. Perfectionism is in my DNA, so it’s a struggle to see anything less than 100% as good enough. But I’m glad I’m getting better at it.

      The hike was truly epic, and now it has left me hungry for another. I need to plan my time. 🙂 I’m headed to New York on business next week, then back home to Toronto for 6 weeks. Late July I’ll be back in the desert for 3 weeks…must find a fantastic hike to do then!!

      good for you, Vilma, for just pressing pause and restarting when life allowed for the continuation of the exercise goals. Great way to strike the right balance!

      • We used to do a fair bit of hiking before we got kids, not quite as tough as the one you did, but I loved it. It is such a great feel to do a bit more than usually especially when the scenery usually is something to cherish! When life is less busy, I’m sure we’ll get back to that again :).

        I look forward to reading about your next hike!

      • The best ones are up in the north but we hope to squeeze in some easy day walks further to the south this summer. We’ll see how far we get!

  2. Way to go Nancy! I must confess I fell (rolled) off my challenge wagon mid May due to a schedule that was packed with everyone else’s priorities and not my own. 😦 Good thing June is here, I’m restarting and ready for change! 🙂

  3. Fantastic! You really do embrace the warrior spirit…I think I need to start declaring some goals out loud. That way maybe they’d actually be more than a wish. 🙂 You really do inspire me, Nancy!

    • Debra, it’s actually pretty amazing what the act of declaring/writing down/announcing to yourself/others makes. I really helps me stay accountable.

      thank you for your kind words, as always!

      p.s. Loved the shot of you and Andra together this last weekend!

      p.p.s. If you haven’t already, have a peek at my previous post: it’s an 18 min video summary of my hike at the Grand Canyon. Caution: lots of bad language! 🙂

  4. Nancy!! Your rim to river challenge totally trumps all the other things! And anything I have done!!
    It makes up for and surpasses the fact that you didn’t run as much as planned (I didn’t either and I had no excuse!)
    I felt the same about the squats…I don’t know if it helped anything other than me get better at squats…
    But we did it 😀
    (Thanks for making me a bad ass again 😀 )

    • We did it Sam!! On those days I felt like shite and didn’t want to do squats, I’d see your updates on Twitter or Facebook and it served as my motivator! 🙂

      You, my dear, will always be a bad ass!

      • I am seriously considering doing it again!

        I think I achieved my “fit enough to dance in a mask” goal…

        but now I have to achieve the “get where I want to be and stay fit enough to dance in a mask” goal..

        It may be more focused…or sporadically focused…

      • Actually, I have just looked it up, day 365 is June 21st which is midsummer (I should have known that) so I will have to decide before the 22nd…

        mind you…I have a dance out on 22nd so I will do something then anyway 😀

      • I hope you have a little celebration planned for the 22nd!! 🙂

        I think I went 5 or 6 days after my 365, just because…why not. And then one day I was busy with other stuff to do, and just thought – hey I’m not OBLIGED to do this anymore, so I took a rest day. 🙂 that felt pretty good!

      • there is a dance out on the 22nd too, I shall celebrate by dancing 😀

        I like the idea of a rest day, but I also like the obligation of doing something every day…it is tricky…

      • You, I’m not worried about, Sam. You have that discipline now. If I go more than a day without some aggressive movement I get stir crazy. yesterday, after a long day of sitting at the dining room table working on my laptop, I announced to Ed, “let’s eat an early dinner and then we are walking… A LOT. I have to move. I feel like a lump!” And we did. We ate dinner and then walked 5 miles down on the strip and surrounding.

        You exercise now because you LOVE to do so. It’s the ones who sign up for a 30 day bootcamp, or a new fitness craze, etc – but never embrace the commitment to a healthy lifestyle…those are the ones I worry will fall off the wagon at the first opportunity.

        Sam, you will be forever in a healthy mindset because that’s just in your DNA now.

      • 😀 I really really hope you are right!

        I thought I was there once before. and then fell right back into old habits!

        I think you are probably right though, I love what I am doing too much to stop 😀

      • That’s the difference right there, Sam. It’s not enough to form habits. It’s about loving the life you’re living. I love how I feel when I exercise and move. I don’t ever want to lose that feeling.

  5. Huzzah for a successful May! That hike alone would have finished me off!
    Doesn’t using pilates flexibility to keep myself in a conversation a rude bitch tried to kick me out of count as badass? 😉 Probably not actually – maybe if I’d kicked her ass 😉

  6. You had a truly spectacular month, that hike was completely awesome! Thanks for making me a bad-ass again 😀

    • You earned your bad-ass status, Helen! Keep up the amazing work. You are a real inspiration.

      And thank you — the hike was awesome and epic…and now I’m dying for my next one! (See how we forget the pain as soon as it fades..?) 🙂

  7. I think you definitely kicked May’s ass with your goals! 300 squats in a row?? holy cow!
    Thanks for the shout out, very nice words. xo
    I love the hula hooping bad ass, gonna have to check him out, I’m intrigued 🙂

    • Guap is awesome! Got to meet him and his wife during my last trip to NYC – at a cool outdoor food festival. He’s taken a bit of a break from blogging for a bit – but his blog is a trip. Hilarious. 🙂

      And my words were an understatement, Kerry. You are a real inspiration with your attitude, grace and dignity. xoxo

  8. You had a better month than me. I forgot that we had a trip away planned for my Mum’s 70th birthday and half term put a little bit of a spanner in the works for daily exercising. I’ll be blogging about mine eventually but I have lots of deadlines coming up so it may take a while to get posted.

    • hey Fi…life happens, right? We can’t beat ourselves up over it too much. Can’t wait to catch up on what you’ve been up to. If you want to catch a glimpse of the hike I mentioned at the Grand Canyon, click on the previous post and have a look at the video. 🙂

    • The squats got horrible real fast, Kate. It went for like 90 a day to like 240 a day in the blink of an eye. And it was just REALLY poor planning having the last two days of the challenge occur AFTER my crazy hike. That was the real issue. 🙂

  9. WOW! Whatcha doing putting me on that fabulous list of motivated and driven people??? You are too sweet! You got it wrong though because YOU are the one who inspires me!! xo

  10. A Napper’s Companion reporting in. May was an absolute bust. I begin to wonder if this chap’s booty will ever be fly. Here’s hoping June is better. Peace and sweat, John

    • Hey…stuff happens! I know you’re busy working on your book (which I’m still excited to read, can’t wait!). June will be better! Onward and upward!!

      p.s. Speaking of onward and upward, have you seen my Grand Canyon hike recap post (previous post to this one)? You may find it ironic how many times I reference ‘salvation’, ‘god, ‘jesus’ in the video, especially considering I’m Miss Anti-religion. 🙂

    • Yes…still need to formulate my June goals and post them. This blogging thing is a lot of work! You’d think I was making money on it or something, for all the time and effort I put in. 🙂

  11. I’ve also just discovered that riding a motorcycle is an incredible workout for the wrists, ankles and legs.
    And I’m currently hoping mine all snap back from the strain.

  12. The line “And I haven’t run a lick since May 11th” made me legit laugh out loud. I can’t even relay how many goals I’ve had turn out, in a sense, exactly like that. It happens. Sometimes I beat myself up, finish anyway and get back on track, and sometimes I’m completely okay with it, like you said.

    I’m planning to do a smoothie every morning in July. Any tips? I’m considering month-prepped frozen green smoothie system.

    • Hmm…on the daily smoothie question. I know there are companies out there who will deliver straight to your door your daily smoothies (typically like 6 or 9 a day for those doing a cleanse) – but they are HELLA expensive!

      I’m not sure you can make fresh smoothies much beforehand because of the ingredients spoiling – but as you say, there are some frozen mixes you can pick up from the grocery store. Not sure their nutritional content will be as awesome as the ones you make fresh with the produce from your fridge though…

      What are you using for a blender? I bought a Magic Bullet at home in Toronto and a mini-version of a Cuisinart blender for the condo here in Vegas, and I find I’m much more apt to use them because clean up is so much faster and easier.

      Was that your concern, the length of time to clean up?

      I’ve found a bunch of great websites and blogs online that share delicious smoothie recipes. Great options out there!

      • Yeah, I definitely don’t want to do a delivery thing or pre-made store mixes. My concern would be the amount of time having to prep each morning and that it would probably make me more likely not to do it each morning.

        I did find a blog site where she cut up all the fresh fruits and greens beforehand for a month, froze them, and would take one out a day, add 1 cup of water and blend them. I think I’ll do a trial run to see how well that works.

        I just have a normal blender, but I am thinking of investing in a Magic Bullet or Ninja though.

      • Definitely pre-washing, chopping and freezing the fruits and veg would make prep faster. Good luck with your experiment! It really is a great start to your day, from a nutritional and metabolism-boosting perspective!

  13. Pingback: June goals/ hurt unit | Boring Broad Runs

  14. Nancy, you badass/sweetheart, thanks for the shout-out! I don’t care what you say, you had a seriously wonder-woman May, in my book.

    I am continuing the daily yoga, and since my studio is moving and expanding as we speak, more of it has been on my own than there. But it’s all good, the new North Georgia Yoga Center will be wonderful when it opens! 🙂

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