Overcoming Obstacles: Obstacle Course Race Running

Obstacle CourseHate is a word describing a strong dislike towards something. So I will begin by saying that I HATE running. I really hate it. I find it long, boring and monotonous.  I’ve tried so many times to get into it and each time I have failed miserably.  I’ve tried running in the park. Running on a track. Running on a treadmill. Running with a friend.  Running with an iPod.  Each time I ran, I have gotten bored after 10 minutes and wished I was doing something else or taken my bike out for a ride instead.

My Alternative to Running

So running isn’t for me. It isn’t for everyone. I commend the people who have the mental toughness and discipline to run every day.  I like to think I do have some mental toughness and discipline in me though just not when it comes to running.  I’m a gym rat. I enjoy working out at the gym and participating in group fitness classes. I enjoy it so much that my part-time job is teaching group fitness classes.

I thought about joining a running group to help me get into running but it never fit into my schedule. Ok, let me rephrase that. I never made an effort to fit it into my schedule.  My common law partner isn’t in running either. In fact, he hates it just as much as I do. We keep on saying that one day we’ll suffer through the pain together and go for a run.

It never happened.

Challenging Myself in a Different Way

Lately, I’ve been feeling like I’ve reached a plateau in terms of my fitness. Believe it or not, even people in the fitness industry need motivating.  Just as much as you guys.  Maybe even more.

This year was the year I decided to try an obstacle course race.

Obstacle course races are nothing new and have been around since the beginning of civilized society. We can thank the Ancient Greeks for that.  They had a race known as the Stadion, where competitors would complete obstacles as they ran around a track naked.  The Stadion was once part of the five events in the Olympic Pentathlon. These races also became an essential part of military training, preparing soldiers to maneuver their way through obstacles that they may come across in the battlefield.

These races come in a variety of distances and obstacles, ranging from easy (Mud Hero) to insanely tough (Tough Mudder).   Aside from running a certain distance, you have to muscle your way through obstacles such as crawling through a  narrow tube, climbing a cargo net and wading through pools of mud.   Tough Mudder is considered the toughest obstacle race on the planet. This is the one obstacle course you want to work your way up to. The course length is 10-12 miles with 25 military style courses that were designed by British Special Forces. These courses were designed to challenge your toughness, strength, stamina and mental grit. Obstacles include jumping into a dumpster filled with ice water (!) and wading through water with live electrical wires hanging above you.  Like the majority of obstacle course races, Tough Mudder is all about completion and having the bragging rights.

This is not for the faint of heart.

I decided Tough Mudder was too tough for a beginner like me, so I did Mud Hero instead. I did not actually take the time to train for Mud Hero, but I was lucky in a sense that I developed a decent fitness from working out regularly and teaching my fitness classes.  The course itself was not too bad. The only thing that wore me out was the uphill running, which is one of the things you should focus on when training for these races. Another aspect to focus on is upper body strength training to help you climb those cargo nets, and make your way  up those walls. What I liked about the race was that while you may be tired when you reached an obstacle, it was a nice break from running.  My curiosity as to what the next obstacle would be my motivation to keep me running.

The fact that there was free live music, free beer and food (unfortunately not free) to celebrate the event also helped my motivation.

With one obstacle course race under my belt, I’m ready to move on to the next level.  Warrior Dash is next on my list.

My goal is to put my limits to the ultimate test and complete Tough Mudder in a few years.

Have you done any obstacle course races? Would you do Tough Mudder? Am I crazy for wanting to do this? :)


Amortization Schedule Mortgage

Amrtization schedule mortgageIf you own real estate, whether it be a home or a business premises you will need to mage your investment. For most of us to buy any kind of real estate will require taking out a mortgage loan.

A mortgage loan is one of the biggest debts we will ever take on, so it’s always a good idea to keep a track of things.  Paying off a mortgage can take up to 25 – 30 years of you life and taking up a large amount of your salary.

However it is possible to shorten the term by making additional payments, this will, over time chip away at the bulk of the debt. You can monitor your progress using amortization schedule to track payments, interest and balance of the remaining debt.

What is an Amortization Schedule Mortgage?

Not to be confused with a mortgage calculator, an amortization schedule an accounting record or a table/chart of the periodic progress of mortgage loan payments, showing the loan payments, dates, amount of principal, interest and the balance owing after each payment until the loan is paid off – the final term. At the beginning of the schedule, the periodic payment is the same amount with the majority of each payment being the interest. As the schedule progress’s, a large bulk of each loan payment will cover the principal. The last row of the schedule shows the borrower’s total principal and interest payments for the total mortgage term.

The amortization table shows the percentage of payments that goes toward interest which reduces with each payment and the percentage that goes toward principal increases. For example, the first few entries of an amortization schedule for a $200,000 with a interest rate of 12% over 30-year mortgage based on a fixed-rate amortization starting June, 2017

(using an amortization formula):


Amortization schedule mortgage

  • r = rate per payment period
  • i = nominal annual interest rate
  • n = number of compounding periods per year
  • p = number of payment periods per year

Five bucks here, five bucks there

borrow moneyWhen someone asks to borrow money or asks for you to cover the cost of something since they don’t have enough cash on them, are you ready and willing to hand over whatever they need? If you said yes, then you are a kind, generous person. While I do say yes, a million things run through my mind:Is this the first time? How often have they asked to borrow money? What is their financial status? Would they pay the amount back in a timely manner, regardless of the amount? Am I crazy? Maybe, but surely you must think it too. (Not the part about me being crazy. ;) You’re just not willing to admit it. But what if you have seen them on several occasions and they have forgotten? Are they trying to avoid the topic?

Here is what I wonder: Should I try to forget about it too, because it is only a small amount? But that’s whatever x amount of dollars that you lost. It’s the principle. The next time the situation of owing money comes up should it be brought up saying that you only have to pay “x” amount, because so and so owes you “x” amount? It’s no secret that talking about money can often be a sensitive and awkward issue.  Your relationship with that person can also play a factor and what their attitudes are towards money. For me, every dollar counts. For others, not so much.

I don’t have a photographic memory, but on several occasions, people have told me I have good memory. I can be pretty scatter brained sometimes with way too many things on the go, so I like to think I have selective good memory.  I remember the things that matter the most.  While I do forget things here and there, the one thing I rarely seem to forget is who owes me money and the amount they owe.  It actually really bugs me if people say they forgot or don’t even bother to bring it up when they clearly owe me money. While I say, “Oh don’t worry about it, it’s okay. Just pay me whenever you can.” It really irks me. It irks me if I have to remind them more than once. Okay, so for two dollars, maybe I’ll let it slide. But when it has been four months and you still owe me $20, shouldn’t I say something? Inquire about it at least? Lending small amounts of money is fine here and there, but I don’t think I could go any bigger than that. I only say this, because I’ve never been in the situation of having to lend large amount of money to friends and family.

I find it interesting when people forget about owing friends and family money. You never forget you owe the big bad bank money, because of interest and such, but how easy it is to forget you owe someone closer to you a few bucks. I somehow try to casually bring it up in conversation, hoping it will trigger their memory. They’ll say, ” Oh yeah! I forgot I owed you $10 bucks from the last time we went to the bar. Good thing you reminded me!”

Yes. Good thing. ;)


How do you approach the process of lending and owing money to friends and family?


For Your Viewing Pleasure: Great Canadian Winter Ice Storm Edition

Canadian Winter Ice Storm

So many snowfalls.
A crazy ice storm that splits tree trunks in half.
Dangerously low temperatures that warrant a cold weather alert.

This is the great Canadian winter we haven’t had in awhile.

I’m getting sick of shoveling snow, but I look forward to cups of tea, hot showers and our gas fireplace to keep me warm.

Whatever Mother Nature throws at us, it’s nice knowing you can hide indoors and catch up on some reading.