Winter Fit is a series where I interview Canadian fitness/outdoors bloggers and get a first hand look into how they stay fit and motivated during the long cold winter months.
This week, we’re talking to Andrea from Je Me Souviens. I was stoked to find Andrea because she’s another Lethbridge fitness blogger and there aren’t very many of us!
I am Andrea Lammers-Pottage, a nearing 30-year-old high school math teacher. I live with my husband and our three pets—Snoopy, our beagle, and Faron & Woodstock, our cats. It is safe to say I am a huge Peanuts comic strip fan, and you actually know who Faron is without looking it up, good on you!
Where do you live and what are your winters like?
I grew up in a suburb of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, named Franklin. These winters were long and cold and full of wet, heavy snow. I have now lived in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada for just shy of 6 years. The winters are still long and cold, even colder actually, but less snowy. It is more of a dry, dusty consistency, which if you can handle the Chinook winds, I find it very easy to get around and stay active.
What are your go-to activities?
Running. Number 1 is running. I don’t even know a close number 2 anymore other than dancing. I use to be a dancer with a side of running (high school dance team, college dance team, coached, and also worked at a Pom Pon Camp for 5 years), and during these times running was just a casual thing. I was on high school track, but I always make note that I was a mediocre Varsity athlete for three years. It was when I was 19 and at college that I decided to venture into longer distances, like half and full marathons. And the past year and a half since starting my blog (since January 2013, so now close to 2 years) running has been my front-running activity of choice (no pun intended)
How do stay motivated in the dark, gloomy winter months to stick to a fitness routine?
I keep finding the random races that are held locally or in nearby Calgary. When I register for events, I then take ownership of that event and take my training more seriously. I am not going to register and pay for something to then not train for it. I also have been living large and taking some “run-cations” during those dreaded winter months. Last year , it was RunDisney Wine& Dine Half in November 2013, and the Dopey Challenge in January 2014. This year, it is a Beer Run Half Marathon outside of Milwaukee in November (but yes, it could be snowing…) and a Super Spartan Race & Sprint Spartan Race in Temecula, California this coming January. I have found some great flight deals, and have friends/family for accommodations, so it helps cut back the costs. And it makes me happy, and being happy is what matters!
Do you do any winter activities?
Running—that counts as a winter activity!? Honestly, to go back to the previous question about staying motivated, I went out on a limb and registered for a half marathon in Calgary during mid-March 2014. No clue what the weather would be like. Turns out, it was around 7 degrees Fahrenheit…plain bitter cold. However, I somehow managed to run my first ever sub 1:40 half marathon. The cold drives me and fires me up. Below is the link to my recap on that race, and also my favorite picture from after it!
Do you have a healthy comfort food recipe to share?
I love to cook, but am not good at following recipes. I usually wing-it based on ideas I get from watching the plethora of cooking shows on Food Network. I often do slow-cooker items during winter, as I am at work late and will usually do my run after finishing any school work, so having food ready when I get home is a plus. I made a chili last year and kicked it up a notch by adding quinoa into it during the day. We have a garden during the summer and when I harvest the carrots, I will Blanche them in water/ice so that was I can freeze them. Using garden veggies in a winter chili is a luxury, but I try to make those things happen when I can.
What advice would you give for someone struggling to get up and moving during the winter when hibernation mode sets in?
That it is worth it in the grand scheme of things. Last winter 2013/2014 was an extremely cold one, but I had my RunDisney Dopey Challenge training. I looked like an utter fool bundled and running outside, but it gave me more energy and focus at work, even though my school year first semester was crazy beyond belief. I am a firm believer that when one is stressed and extremely busy with work life, it is even more important to keep a workout regime, as it can help keep on sane!