Thursday, July 31, 2008

dailymile Weekly Challenge

I signed up for the Weekly Challenge over at dailymile. The challenge was to find $1.00 in change on a run. And if you couldn't find change, you could submit a picture of an interesting discarded item. So on today's 5 mile run, I brought the camera.

I considered and rejected the idea of taking pictures of leaves (too common), sticks (ditto), garbage (yuck), dog poo (double yuck), and a discarded utility bill (because I'm not an identity thief). Here's what I did find:

This sweatshirt was at the elementary school playground. School's not even in session, and yet kids manage to misplace sweatshirts?!?!

I have no idea what this is, but it's metal and it was alongside the road. If it's a part of a car, I'm fairly certain the owner is missing it!

While both of these items are somewhat interesting, the item I chose to submit for the challenge was this:

I found it at the bottom of this hill.

Yep, I'm feeling like a CSI collecting evidence. Some teens had a lot of fun ice blocking that hill last night!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Mid-Year Evaluation

So I got this format from Kara of Between the Miles, who got it from Tom of Runners Lounge. It's 3 questions to consider at the half-way point of the year. I'm going to keep my answers fitness (not just running) focused.

1. What's going well?
  • I've run 710 miles so far this year. That means I'm 70% of the way to my goal of 1000 miles!!!
  • I LOVE my clients -- it is a joy to be a part of their lives!
  • I feel stronger now than I ever have in my whole entire life.
  • I'm on track to run a half-dozen half-marathons!
2. What's not going well?
  • I struggle with self-image. (Doesn't every woman?) This week I've felt enormous and unattractive. Last week I felt ok. I don't think things changed dramatically over the weekend. Actually I'm tempted to just erase this one, but it's really where my head's at.
3. What are you excited about?
  • The kettlebell seminar in September!
  • I'm considering signing up with Wellcoaches for their Wellness Coach Training Program.
  • I'm seriously considering transforming my last half marathon of the year into a full marathon, and running the California International Marathon in December. I've helped two friends run this marathon as their first marathon, so I'm very familiar with the second half of the course (!) and maybe this will be my turn to be the one in the spotlight. I'll keep y'all posted!

Sometimes the best workout... no workout. Today Tucker's at Marine World and it is absolutely beautiful outside. So with no responsibilities and beautiful weather, I put on my running clothes intending to go 5 or 6 (even though I'm supposed to be tapering for Sunday's race). I got out of our court and maybe 1/2 of a block from home, then turned around and headed back. My hips were hurting. (IT band stuff -- I've been foam rolling and it's getting much better.) My muscles were tired. And based on how I felt, the best workout was NO workout.

Feet pictures

These are my Ed Hardy shoes. Aren't they fun?

This is what you get when you let your 12-year-old choose your polish color. Yep, happy yellow toes!

Monday, July 28, 2008


Life is all about finding balance, right? Well I've made some decisions recently that I think will help create more balance in my life.

1. I'm not taking on any new clients. I LOVE what I do. But last spring, I think I took on a bit more than I could handle. This summer I've lost some clients (some due to gas prices, some due to scheduling) and that has been a good thing for achieving balance. And once the kids are back in school, I don't want to add any new training hours.

2. I'm no longer writing newsletters. For a while I was writing an e-newsletter, which was a lot of fun, and it made sense to do for many reasons:
  • I love writing about all things fitness.
  • If I wanted to start a group or bootcamp workout at some time in the future, it gave me a platform to promote it from, and a list of possibly interested people.
  • If I wanted to find new clients, it would be a great way to find them.
But I don't want to do a group workout, and I want to scale back a bit, and I write about fitness ALL THE TIME on this weblog! For a month now, I've been feeling guilty that I haven't sent another issue. But no more.

3. I'm attending a kettlebell workshop taught by Mark and Tracy Reifkind in September! I use kettlebells in my own workouts, and train my clients with them, and yes, I'm certified to train with kettlebells (through CrossFit). But the opportunity to learn from two amazing RKC instructors? PRICELESS!!!

Why I workout

Image courtesy of Kelly K. on

Sunday, July 27, 2008

More frequent updates

This week I will have more time on my hands than I know what to do with, as having no husband and only one kid means life will be pretty darned simple. So I plan to write more, both because of having more time, and because I promised my boyfriend (that's you, Tim) that I would!

The end of the birthday present

Today Tim and Austin left for JH Ranch for a week-long father/son adventure. And today, alas, marks the end of the birthday gift.

In any area of life, when you decide to commit to something -- anything -- a lot can be discovered. And we learned a lot during our 28-day adventure, and had a lot of fun in the process.

We do not plan to resume daily activity when Tim gets back because by the end of the experiment, it was starting to feel like a "have to" instead of a "get to" and that's not what we want our relationship to be about.

We both agree that we will do this experiment again in the future, but maybe for a shorter duration. And if you're wanting to experience some more intimacy in your relationship, I highly recommend you giving it a shot! :)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Some favorite things

There is a quote that reads "The best things in life -- are not things." And I really love that sentiment. But today I took some pictures of some of my favorite thing things.

These are my new pigs that I found in San Francisco a couple of weekends ago. Aren't they cool?

This is a leaf I found in Oakland that looks like a heart!

This is the Wheaties box I had made from the picture of me and Tucker running the last mile of my first half marathon of the year.

These are the toys at the base of my computer. The Gumby and Pokey are new, but the heart (a gift from my sister), the orange ring (from Tucker), and the pig (again, my lovely sister) have been favorites for a while now, which is why they get a place of honor.

My kids took an old tomato cage, used pliers to bend the wire, and spray painted it all different colors. It looks PERFECT on top of a bookcase in the office!

My mother gave me this Flensted mobile and it's sparked a total love of mobiles. This hangs above my computer.

These are the books and magazines that have been in my car this week, and they represent a pretty good cross-section of what I love: running (TrailRunner), being veganish (Vive le Vegan! and The Everyday Vegan), homemaking (Real Simple), and all things fashion and beauty (Vogue -- the Age(less) issue!).

Friday, July 25, 2008

Car dealership frustration workout

On Wednesday I took my car to the Toyota dealership to have them do work that they said would take 30 minutes. Well, the work ended up taking 2 hours (WTF?) and about 90 minutes in, I was just angry! I was dressed casually enough that I could channel my frustrations into a workout.

I found a 12" curb and used it to do this:
10 pushups
10 dips
10 squats (using curb as a reference point)
10 knee-ins (balanced on the curb)
10 pulsing lunges

I repeated this sequence 5 times. And I have no idea why I was surprised when my glutes were getting sore by that evening -- pulsing lunges ALWAYS break my a$$!

Dinner successes

You may want to sit down for this one. I've made dinner THREE NIGHTS IN A ROW for my family. But wait, it gets better. All dinners have been vegan. And (this is a huge thing) ALL have been given a thumbs up by every member of my family!!!

Tuesday night I made a black bean/pepper/fresh corn/tomato kind of chili and topped it with cornbread (made with soy milk and egg replacer) and baked it. I served this with a simple salad (homegrown tomatoes, mixed lettuce, fresh corn, and avocado) and called it good.

The next night was chili-lime glazed tofu that I served with quinoa and some steamed kale. Kids didn't like the kale much (next time I'll flavor it to make it more interesting), but loved the tofu and were ok with the quinoa.

Last night I made a lemon garlic pasta (a little less overtly vegan than the tofu night) from "Eat, Drink, and be Vegan" and served it with some leftover borscht that Tucker and I made on Sunday night and an everything salad (thanks Tim for making a killer salad).

Speaking of borscht, I got to take a cooking class last weekend from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau in Oakland. Once I take the time to download the pictures from the class, I'll write about that. The reason that relates to the soup is that Tucker took the class with me, and he made the soup from a recipe that Colleen demonstrated in class. Go Tucker!

Thursday, July 24, 2008


I've found a running site that I LOVE! It's called dailymile and it's a forum for runners, bikers, and triathletes. The design is clean and visually appealing, and it's fun getting in on a site that's relatively new but could be something big. If you're a runner or biker or tri-person, I highly recommend that you check it out. And if you decide to join, be sure to add me as a friend (I'm leslie g over there), ok?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

An answer to Tim's question

"When are you going to write in your weblog?" asked Tim.

I've said before that I'm appreciative that anyone reads what I write. And for Tim to want me to write more is like the flower on top of the heavily-buttercreamed piece of cake!

So Tim, in answer to your question, I will write when these two circumstances take place:
1. I have something to say, and
2. I have the time to say (write) it.

(Sure wish I knew how to make a cool Venn diagram to illustrate this! Yeah, my inner math geek is alive and well!)

Recently I've been in shorter supply of "the time to say it" but I did have a few days where all I would have written would have been emotional sewage, so I refrained from typing a single solitary word, which is a good thing.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Bday update

Today is day 19 and we are having fun!

The value of training logs

I was just about to leave for a 6 mile run, even though my lower body feels pretty tired. Then I looked at my Workouts column and realized I've run 21 miles in the last 4 days. Ummm yeah, a rest day would be advisable, right?

What's funny is that even as I type this, I still want to run. But a day off from running would be smart. And I have no intention of being a stupid fitness girl. So a day off (from running!) it is!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A strange and lovely week

This week we have something strange and lovely -- A WHOLE WEEK WITH NO KIDS! Tucker is at my sister's house in Santa Cruz (where he would spend the entire rest of the summer if he could!) and Austin is on a church houseboat trip with the high school group. And me and Tim? We're lovin' life! This has happened only one other time since we had kids, and so far it's amazingly peaceful and fun. Tucker left on Saturday and Austin left yesterday. Maybe I'll feel differently by the end of the week, but so far, it's just really really nice!

Some random thoughts...
  • The new season of The Closer started last night. I LOVE that show!!!
  • On Saturday I'm going to Oakland to take a cooking class from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, the voice of Vegetarian Food for Thought and author of the Compassionate Cooks website. I'm meeting my sister and Tucker there, and we're all taking the "Greens, Glorious Greens" class. I can't wait!
  • Today is my 23rd AA birthday. When I think of the desperation of my last day of drinking 23 years ago, it's inconceivable to me that I have MY LIFE today. I am beyond humble and grateful.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Notes on 13 miles

First run was tough, like I said. I went out at 7:00 and I walked some, lunge walked some, and just prayed it would be over. I think my average pace was 9:40.

Second run was fine. Went out around 9:45, and it felt good to be running again and it went fairly quickly. Average pace was 9:15.

Final run was mentally tough, plus it was 90 degrees outside. But at 5:40 tonight, I did five miles at an 8:45 pace. As my third run of the day, I'm thrilled with the pace and just happy to have 13 miles done!

Workouts that work

So far this year, I've done well with my running goal and with staying active. This week, however, has been one of the hardest weeks to stay on track. Unmotivated. Depressed. Tired. Those feelings don't work to fuel good workouts.

So I'm just working with what is. Last night I wanted to do my pushup workout, but didn't feel like doing it. So in between straightening my hair and putting on makeup, I did sets of plyo pushups on the edge of the bathtub. So they were elevated instead of on the ground, but the plyo aspect made them harder. And for whatever reason, I just didn't want to do pushups from the ground.

Today I decided to run long. But the body wouldn't cooperate. I did 4 miles this morning and it felt like 40! So I've decided to do 4 miles 3 times today. Again, I'm working with what I've got. And I just can't fathom doing a long run. But I can do 4 miles. So I just got back from my second run, and I'll plan on doing one more around dinnertime tonight. This may seem crazy, but I can assure you it's a lot less crazy than doing what I want to do, which is GO BACK TO BED!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Quick answers and comments

I just have a few minutes, and I thought I'd answer questions and reply to comments. As always, it is amazing to me that people read what I write, and it's just the icing on the cake when someone takes the time to write a comment -- thank you, friends!

Eileen asked a while back why I don't drink milk. There's an excellent podcast on iTunes that discusses the subject way better than I ever could, but here's my short answer:
  • I don't think we need to consume something that's intended as food for baby cows.
  • From what I've read, dairy cows live a horrible existence, and I don't want my food choices to support suffering.
  • The veal industry depends on the dairy industry, because in order for cows to produce milk, they have to become pregnant. And so that nothing (no one?) is "wasted" male calves are used for veal. So by supporting the dairy industry, we're also supporting the veal industry.
  • Almond milk tastes SO MUCH BETTER than "regular" milk.
Anthony asked about pulsing lunges. They're walking lunges where you pulse (bounce?) at the bottom, so you're staying in the lunge position for four counts, then taking a lunge step forward and doing the same thing on the other leg. Click here and select "Walking Lunges" to see them in action. They're surprisingly effective , and I was surprised at how sore I was, especially with all the running and lower body work I do!

Also, Tim just tried seeing how many he could do over the weekend. He did 60 with good form, and this was AFTER doing a P90X DVD!!! My numbers are improving, and I'll be sure to post the next time I do a max reps test.

Jennifer had suggestions on how to get mentally ready to jump at Kipu Falls next year. GREAT IDEAS, Jennifer -- thanks so much!

Evelyne asked if I got to meet up with Colette. YES and she and Ashley were so much fun! I don't have my pictures loaded, but it was delightful spending time with her. Her daughter is just beautiful (even prettier in person) and so sweet, and we all enjoyed every minute we had together. Then we said goodbyes, thinking we'd NEVER see each other at a 14,000 person concert. Well, who was in the souvenir line next to us? That's right -- we got ANOTHER chance to visit!

Katie-- your six words were fabulous! :) And your son will LOVE gymnastics, and what he'll learn will carry over to every other sport he ever does! I can't wait to hear about it. Is he at Technique? If so, we should go to their gymnastics meet in January. This will be the first year in 7 years that one or both of my kids won't be competing! :(

And finally, Matt -- as always, you are so appreciated!!!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

  • Tucker and I are heading out to see Idols on Tour in just a few minutes. Get to meet with Colette and her daughter beforehand -- hooray!
  • Air quality is in Hazardous zone. (If you click on the link right now, you'll notice that the top FIVE cities IN THE COUNTRY for poor air quality are my city and cities within 30 minutes or so of us. I really hope that changes soon.) Visibility is affected. So glad I got to run this morning, but if the air had been like it is now? Forget it! So we stay inside and run the air conditioner, which is all you can really do. If you have air that's healthy to breathe, be grateful for it!
  • Pulsing lunges with weights will break your ass. I know, cuz I broke mine yesterday and the day before. Hurts so good!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Six words about tomorrow

Regardless of air quality, I'm running.

(Inspired by my new book "Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs".)

Monday, July 07, 2008

Why didn't I think of this?!?!

New Wearable Feedbags Let Americans Eat More, Move Less

Moving the walls

Can't change air quality.
Can't change temperature.
Can't change my kids.
Only can change myself and my attitude -- starting now.

The walls are closing in

The air quality sucks.
The heat is oppressive.
My sons hate each other.
And I just hate summer.

No running for now

Air quality is VERY UNHEALTHY here, so no running for me. That's a bad news/good news thing -- I'm really digging running these days, so I'll miss it. But it forces me to get creative with indoor workouts, right?

Wish I could run though.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Stevie Wonder!

This is the two of us right before the concert. In a word, it was magnificent! Can you see the stage right behind our heads? That's where Stevie was for the entire concert, and we were close enough that it felt like we were in his living room!

Stevie played for TWO AND A HALF hours!!! There were lots of songs from A Time to Love, which I'm not that familiar with, but then he started playing some of his slow favorites (Ribbon in the Sky, Overjoyed, Isn't She Lovely, and more) and towards the end was rocking the house with Living for the City, Do I Do, Superstition, Higher Ground, and much much more.

We danced and sang and cheered at the top of our lungs. And we were on the Jumbotron during "I Just Called to say I Love You!"

Got home at 2:30 AM, tired and happy!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Why I do what I do

I've been thinking a lot recently about the WHY of fitness. There are many many reasons anyone does anything, reasons both known and unknown (like subconscious stuff). And during some of my longer runs, I've had a chance to think about my reasons for exercising and eating well.

WHY I EXERCISE (in order of importance)
1. So I can feel comfortable in my own skin.
2. To experience the joy of movement.
3. To help keep depression at bay.
4. For more ease in my diet.
5. For more ease in my clothes.
6. To be the best 47-year-old I can be.
7. For health.

When I look at my list, I think of the "form follows function" principle of design. (I hope I can make this make sense.) So while part of what I get from consistent exercise is that I get to wear clothes in sizes I NEVER would have dreamed possible at this point in my life, that's not the main reason I do it. It's just an ancillary benefit. Incidentally, a new shopping center just opened near us, and I went into a Chico's for the first time. I am happy to report that their smallest size fits me with ease!

WHY I EAT VEGANISH (in order of importance)
1. Because it makes me feel great.
2. Because I don't want to eat dead things.
3. Because I don't want my food choices to contribute to suffering, either for the animals, or for the people who work in slaughterhouses.
4. Because I like being different (getting really honest here).

Regarding #4, I have always thought of myself as not quite normal. As a kid, I only liked Barbies when we were setting up their houses or piercing their ears with sewing pins (anyone remember that?). When the actual play started, I was bored out of my mind, even though my friends could play that way for hours. I also had to be kicked out of the house to play, much preferring to sit on my bed with a huge stack of books, reading for hours. I could list many more examples. The point is that I've never felt like I quite fit in, and I always saw that as a negative. Now I'm choosing to see it as a positive. Yeah, I'm not mainstream, and THAT'S A GOOD THING!!!

Knowing my reasons for doing what I do enabled me to cook my family's favorite 4th of July beans yesterday. Yes, they have ground beef AND bacon in them. Both smelled revolting to me as they cooked (thank you, Tim, for cooking both and letting me handle the beans, veggies, and spices!). But I felt good about making them, because I know why I eat how I eat. And I value tradition and love more than my own comfort. Plus we're talking about one dish once a year here!

And finally, I've decided how to go about feeding my family. For months now I've not known what to do, and many times I've cooked chicken or beef for them, and just eating a salad for me. As I continue in my journey, I'm less and less ok with cooking animals. So I've decided to prepare delicious vegetarian (not vegan) food for my family, which I will eat too. I'm still avoiding milk, eggs, and cheese, where possible (and if anyone wants to know why, I have PLENTY of reasons!), but I think that overall my family's health will benefit more from this plan than from continuing to cook "normally" but eating something different myself. And I see it as keeping them more open to healthy eating, because it's a middle-ground sort of choice.

The other night I made some enchiladas filled with yellow squash, zucchini, and onions, and topped with a sauce of milk, cheese, tomatoes and chiles. Score 1 for mom -- everyone loved this!

Friday, July 04, 2008


In answer to several questions, NO I didn't jump at Kipu Falls. :( Two years ago, I did, but because I couldn't get myself to jump OUT very far, I touched rocks at the bottom when I went in. So this time with the degree of leg shaking that was going on, I was afraid that I would not be able to muster up the "mind over matter" required to jump far enough to be safe. We're heading back next summer, and my plan is to do the rope swing. I'm bummed that I didn't jump, but I think it was the right decision.

I started the 100 Push Up Challenge today. I'm doing the 3rd column, so today I did 5 sets like this: 10, 10, 8, 6, and 13. While I rested, I did assisted pullups (using my 2-1/2" giant rubber band) totaling 1/2 of the previous set. When combined with this morning's 9 mile run, this feels like a great overall workout, and I am ready for some holiday indulgences tonight!

Life's been moving VERY fast, so tomorrow night's activity kind of sneaked up on me, but guess who's going to be seeing Stevie Wonder at Shoreline Ampitheater tomorrow night???? I can't WAIT!!!

Finally, we're on day 6 of Tim's birthday gift, and both of us are having a great time! ;)

Happy 4th, friends!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Random Tuesday thoughts

  • I've been wanting to do Bikram yoga for a while, but can't seem to find a class that works for me. Well, Yoga Downloads may save me, as doing yoga outside these days in 90+ heat? I think that qualifies as hot yoga!!!
  • Remember Barbies that had hair that you could yank to make long, then yank again to make short. I wish there was a way to make that work with boobs. Wouldn't sport boobs and play boobs be a great thing, where you could choose the appropriate size for the occasion? You wouldn't yank on them to make them change (yikes!). Any inventors out there ready to help us sports-minded girls?
  • I'm in the process of going through my closet and getting rid of everything I don't like or wear. So I'm getting rid of a lot of stuff. Did anyone see the movie "The Fly" with Jeff Goldblum? In it, he had 7 suits that were all the same, and those were his clothes for the week. I remember seeing that and thinking "I want a uniform!!!" I do tend to wear the same shapes over and over, but I'm good with that.
  • A while back, a client and I came up with a list of the 7 Dwarves of PMS, when she came and was feeling out of sorts. We chose Crampy, Grumpy, Blimpy, Cranky, Whiney, Bitchy, and Tired. Whaddaya think?
  • Finally, I'm trying a new brain game site. I am highly committed to keeping my brain sharp as time goes on, and I think can and will help me. I'm in my 14 day free trial period, and I'm really having fun with it. (Katie, I think you especially would like it!)