Saturday, February 28, 2009

Like a ninja


Shhhhh. Don't tell, ok? But I'm a mom ninja. Honest. What makes me a mom ninja? I've found the perfect way to keep tabs on my kids without them knowing. How, you ask? By bringing them and their friends food!

For example, today both kids were at a park with their different groups of friends. And I just want to make sure all is well, you know? So I texted both of them and asked how many friends they were with. 10 minutes later I showed up with Taco Bell for everyone. It cost me $10. But I created goodwill with their friends, and I get to keep tabs on my precious boys without them feeling checked up on.

The other day it was Hostess Cupcakes. (Yeah, the vegan stuff doesn't go over good at all, sadly.) Next week it will be something else indulgent and oh so appreciated.

Changing Habits


Is is possible to change. Truly it is. I bear little resemblance to the drunk-every-single-day girl I was in my early 20s, and I believe for all of us who are truly living, a similar transformation has occurred over the years as well.

This week I've been attempting to change some habits, and though change is possible, it's anything but easy! I came back from Hawaii with a list, created on the airplane, of things I wanted to do. It was a very long list, but thankfully I'm grown-up enough to recognize (finally!) that this entire list probably won't happen in one short week. So I knew that picking one or two items would be a much better idea, with a greater likelihood of success, than bolding and underlining every single thing.

So I've had no Diet Pepsi this week, and I'm starting to drink green tea. These choices may not sound like much, but they are surprisingly difficult for this girl! I've been drinking Diet Pepsi in some quantity or other for over 30 years. No, I don't drink a six-pack a day, but I was a "3 Pepsi a day" girl when Tim and I met, and probably have averaged at least one soda per day since then. My justifications have been many: it doesn't have calories, it fills me up, I have to have at least ONE vice (oh the ignorance in THAT one!). And while those are all true, it feels like it's time to let go of this habit. Do I miss it? Heck yeah! But I haven't had a soda all week!

In conjunction with this change, I'm also starting to drink green tea. I don't like tea. I don't detest it either, but it just doesn't taste good to me. And yet I like the idea of tea -- it seems sophisticated and calming and very very cool somehow. And the health benefits are numerous and growing. So I've had a cup of green tea nearly every day this week. And I'm noticing that while I wouldn't say I like it yet, I'm starting to get used to it. Looks like familiarity breeds, not contempt, but maybe benign tolerance?

Oh, and speaking of tea, I'm not putting anything in it, as I've also decided to stay away from Splenda. Time to go polish my halo now. ;)

Despondex

Found this on Irene's blog -- enjoy!

Friday, February 27, 2009

So much to, but no time to...

Crazy busy life has kept me from writing, but I have a whole list of things that I want to talk about. Perhaps over the weekend???

In the meantime, I came across this amazing quote on Fitness Chick:

Self Discipline is when you tell yourself to do something and you don’t talk back.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Melange

I SO appreciate the comments from my last post -- smart, insightful people read what I write, that's for sure! More thoughts on the comments later this week.

For now, it's time for a brain dump (or "melange" which is French for "mixture" and sounds way classier, somehow, than "brain dump!").
  • I'm trying to decide if I'm running the AR50 in April. Yep, it's a 50 mile race. I'm so back and forth on it. The pros are that I'm probably close to being in shape to run it. Also I'd love to try a 50. And the timing of it is good. The cons? It's FIFTY MILES of running!!! There's a 31 mile training run with aid stations (how great is THAT?) two weeks before the race, and I'd love to just try that and then decide. But the entry deadline for the race is before that, and as this race is somewhat pricey (about $100) I only want to sign up if I'm sure I'm doing it. Stay tuned for details...
  • This month's Eating Well magazine (April 2009) has a salad dressing recipe that I LOVE! It's on page 66 for those who get the magazine. For those who don't, here's the recipe:
Honey-Tahini Dressing

1/2 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup tahini
2 tablespoons honey
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
  • After eating veg in Hawaii (which meant eating lots of great tofu) I may be ready to try some new ways to prepare tofu at home, rather than just ordering it when someone else fixes it. On today's menu is soy-lime roasted tofu (recipe from same issue of Eating Well). I'll let y'all know how it is.
  • To plan my days, I've been using a daily docket from simplemom.net. I'm using the mini version (I'll find the link and post it later). What I love about this is that it's flexible enough to work for my life, it has a space to plan what's for dinner (the saga continues, but it's getting better, little by little) and it's cute (which is important to me!).
That's it for now. Time to marinate the tofu, and then I'm off on a 7-mile run. As I have lots of new episodes of podcasts to listen to, I can't wait!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Fighting against -- me?


While on the plane, I had a chance to write down some ideas of how I'd like to change my diet and my training. And while nothing's set in stone, I already can feel resistance inside. So I think maybe my head needs a reality check. Because why would I resist doing things that move me towards what I want?

So as I'm considering a more structured approach to food (one that includes more whole foods and fewer processed vegan convenience stuff) and the addition of some good stuff (green tea) and reduction of some bad stuff (caffeine, refined sugar) I really need to take a look at approaching this with some maturity. Because once again, that little girl inside is threatening a temper tantrum (screaming something like, "I WANT IT BECAUSE I WANT IT!!!" over and over) at the very IDEA of limits or boundaries or structure.

Perhaps my focus needs to be on the end result I'm hoping for, rather than on the specifics of getting there. Really what I want is a healthful, sane, liveable approach to food and fitness. What I'm doing now is not bad -- not at all! But I really do feel like it's time to take it to the next level. And most of me is ready, with the exception of that tantrum-throwing little one who is part of the package that is me.

So if I focus on the end result, AND reassure the little one that she will get treats from time to time and no, we won't forget her, then maybe I can have some success with whatever kind of structure I decide to create.

Back to post-vacation laundry. I ran 10 miles today. Running in Maui is funner (which SHOULD be a word, even though it's not) than running in suburbia. :)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Vacation eating

I never quite know how to make sense of eating while on vacation. On the one hand, I eat WAY better than I eat at home, as I really do like healthy fresh foods, but find I lack motivation to prepare them for myself at home. On the other hand, I feel like "Hey -- it's vacation and I can indulge!". So I end up with ridiculous contrasts, like yesterday when I started the day with a tofu scramble (took some tofu from the miso soup area of the buffet and asked the omlette person to cook it with every vegetable she had) and lots of fresh fruit, but ended the day with a King Sized bag of M&Ms plus a pack of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Why? Because my inner three-year-old wanted them!

This bipolar eating wouldn't be a problem, I suppose, if not for how it affects my mood. Woke up this morning with my own personal rain cloud, and I know it was from the interaction between sugar and my brain. When did I start to feel better? After doing a P90X video with Tim. And then felt amazing after a 9 mile run and a nice swim in the pool.

The exercise thing I seem to have down as a habit (but after this week I'm going to be changing up what I do to get some different results -- stay tuned for more on that), but the food is a different story. I'm definitely eating better with every year that passes, and the years of the 3 Ds (Diet Pepsi, Doritos, and doughnuts) seem a very long time ago. But I'm feeling ready and willing to ... to ... I guess to uncover the next layer or go to the next level (don't really know what to call it). What I'm really saying is that it's time to tune up what I eat a little more. Why? Because I'm feeling ready.

Tonight's our last night on Maui and tomorrow we fly home. I'm feeling ready to get back to my kids and back to real life. But I'm happy I have one more night here with Tim. It's been a very romantic, very rejuvenating trip!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Paradise

Having a great time in Maui. You know how your iPod can have that little slice of red in the battery indicator when it desperately needs charging? That's kind of how I was feeling. But now? I'm feeling rejuvenated and happy!

My handsome husband on the balcony of our room.

On Valentine's Day I found that I could shape my hands to look like a heart, and because I'm still quite juvenile, I spent a lot of time annoying my husband by making the heart sign.

Me making the heart sign and Tim expressing his opinion!

On Sunday we took the ferry to Lanai, an island off the coast of Maui. Tim was playing golf and I decided to tag along and run. It was a blast! I walked/ran up to a water tower, then got on the road, and tried to make it to the top of the island. After 3 miles of up, I decided I'd gone far enough. (Lest anyone confuse me with Wonder Woman, there was way more walking than running on that part of the excursion.) (Now it's Tuesday and my quads are still painfully sore -- guess that's what 3 solid miles of running downhill will do.)

The view from about half-way up.

The Nathan backpack I used (Catra and Jo Lynn use the same one!) was WONDERFUL! It held everything from water to my phone to snacks to a book to sunscreen -- it worked out just great! But like I said, my pace was SLOW and I finished 15 miles in a little under 3 hours.

Yesterday we spent most of the day at the pool and the ocean.

Me heading back from filling Tim's water bottle.


My favorite picture of us. Sure do love that man!

Last night we went on a whale watching catamaran cruise. The boat left around 5:00 and we got back to shore right after sunset. We spent most of our time hanging out with a pod of about 10 humpback whales. I don't even have the words to express how amazing it was to watch them as they jumped, tail slapped, and generally played. Well, actually the captain said they were in competition over a female, so what we were watching was a giant game of king of the hill, where the prize would be the girl whale.

One of the best photos of the whales.

Us, windblown and very very happy!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Aloha!

We head to Hawaii in a few hours. My dad got a GREAT report from his doctor -- his arm is healing well and he is cleared to drive. I'm gonna miss my kids like crazy while I'm gone, but I'm sure Tim and I will have a great time together. I'll catch up with you from the land of sunshine and pineapples!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Shopping for bathing suits

Yesterday I went shopping for bathing suits. This is one of my least favorite activities -- in fact, picking up dog poop is higher on my list (for reals!) than shopping for the beach. I think the main problem is the fluorescent lights. They emphasize everything that's imperfect. Don't stores know they'd sell more suits if they had incandescent lights in the swimwear department dressing rooms?

So yeah, I shopped for suits and guess what? It didn't completely suck! I was actually able to just a teensy bit enjoy the process, and somehow found a way to focus on the positive instead of zeroing in on the negative. And guess what else? I bought a bikini! Yep, at age 48 I'll be sporting a bikini in Hawaii! Certainly the ultra race helped -- running 33 miles can't hurt when it comes to calorie burn, right? As did smaller food intake in January from stress about parents. But yeah, I'm pretty excited!

Today I take my dad for follow-up x-rays and a doctors appt. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that his arm will be as good as new and that he'll get what he wants -- clearance to drive!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Contradictions

I eat raw almonds and drink Diet Pepsi for breakfast.

I used to smoke cigarettes after doing aerobics classes. (This was many years ago, but completely true!)

I believe whole foods are the best thing you can do for your body, and I LOVE manufactured foods (protein bars in particular).

I'm a committed vegetarian who loves caffeine way more than the average bear!

The dissonance in my habits is starting to get annoying. I may be ready to make some changes soon. As awareness precedes change, I figured I should write this stuff down. Anyone else have any contradictory habits? I'd sure love to know that I'm not alone...

Monday, February 09, 2009

Something to ponder

We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about.

-Charles Kingsley

(I found this on PMKU today.)

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Jed Smith 50K, the long version

So it's the day after my first ultra, and the body is sore, but the spirit is elated! Let's take it from the beginning, shall we?

I packed up the night before, trying to remember all I'd learned both from my own training mistakes and from other people's suggestions. Remembering my post-marathon underarm chafing (two areas the size of an entire large bandaid, stickey part and all!!!) I resolved to Body Glide anything that might even hint at chafing! I also brought a spare pair of shoes and socks, as well as some shorts (although when it's cold I prefer to run in long pants). Food-wise, I figured the aid stations would be enough, but I also brought some Accelerade powder (it works really well for me), a couple of Clif gels, as well as some Clif Shot Blocks, the margarita kind with extra salt.

So I got to the race and it was COLD! Picked up reg stuff, then set up my chair and my backpack full of goodies. (The course was a 3 mile figure 8, so I'd be passing by my stuff every 30 minutes or so.) One thing I noticed was that there was a line for the MEN'S bathroom, but none for the women. Don't think I've ever seen that! I went back and sat in my car and cleaned out the console and the glove box (I never seem to find the time to do this) and listened to music. Got out of the car with 10 minutes till the race start and there was my birth father!

I may not have mentioned this, but my birth father, in addition to being a great guy, is a record-holding ultra runner. When he was 56 or 57, he set the North American record in his age group for the 48 hour race, running 214 miles! So having him out there was like being with a celebrity who knows everyone. We chatted before the starting gun, and then it was time to run. Jim stayed out there for 4 hours and it felt so good to have someone who was there for ME, you know? Plus he's great at reminding you to take care of yourself out there, as he has so much experience with running ultras.

So the first 10 miles were a blast! The day was perfect for running, crisp temps, a slight breeze, no rain. The course was 1/2 flat trails and 1/2 paved and there was lots to look at, but during these easy miles, I spent most of the time chatting with other runners. Each time I saw Jim, I'd stop for anywhere from 2 to 4 minutes and talk. (I was SERIOUS about this not being a race where I focused on time.) And eat a Fig Newton. And drink something.

After 10 miles I pulled out my iPod and started listening to music, mostly the stuff from the SF Marathon, with some new songs thrown in (Mr. Blue Sky by ELO and Next Phase by The Isley Brothers are current favorites). Since I almost always run to podcasts, the music was a nice change of pace.

By mile 15, I was toying with the idea of running the 50 mile distance, but as my brain was a little befuddled (which I find highly amusing) it took quite a while to do the simple math of "Ok, so if I run 10 minute miles, that's 6 miles per hour. I started at 8:30, so by 9:30 I'd be at 6, by 10:30 it would be 12..." and so on. But as I approached mile 20, all thoughts of going another 30 were out the window.

I knew that Tim would show up at some point during the day and I was looking forward to seeing him. Well, as I finished mile 21, there he was! It was so great to see him. He'd come out ready to run with me. At this pont, I decided to change shoes (turns out to have been a good decision as I had no blisters after the race.) Then he snapped a quick picture of me doing more math, indicating 21 miles:

...and then we headed out together. I'm used to Tim being the faster runner, but today as I already had some miles under my belt, I got to set the pace and it was a slow one. (My Garmin, which is set to turn off when I stop moving, showed my overall pace as a 10:05 for the entire race.) After about a half mile, he was able to hold back enough so that I wasn't just trotting behind him. (Thanks Tim!) We chatted and waved at fellow runners and it was just so fun to have my husband out there with me. He stayed for 6 miles and took some video as I ran:

video


After Tim left it started to get harder and I could tell I was slowing down. I'd started the race slowly, but still faster than I'd planned, but I think what made this race tough is that I really didn't train for it. Yes, I've been running this year, but my longest run was a 15 miler on January 3rd and finding the time to run while helping my parents with their stuff has not been easy. So while slowing down didn't come as a surprise, it had me questioning my "I'm gonna do 39.3 miles because I can!!!" goal.

I crossed the finish line, but I don't know how long I took, as my Garmin was stopping when I stopped, and I didn't check the clock time. A volunteer removed my shoe tag and I was done right? Nope! I changed into a fresh shirt and trotted back out again, only I'd underestimated how difficult it would be, emotionally, to start running again after I'd finished! Also my left hamstring was starting to feel a little twingey -- never a good thing. So once again I was trotting and doing mental math, and when I realized I'd be out there for more than an hour more to hit my goal, I decided to stop at a nice number (33.3 miles in case you're wondering) and call it good.

And you know what, I really do feel great about the race! At one point I was feeling kinda bad that I was only doing the 50K, but then I thought back to the race in November where I had so much respect for the 50K people, and I thought, "Hey, I'm one of those people today!"

This brings us to today. My lower back, hamstrings, glutes, quads, calves, knees and ankles all feel overworked. Well, duh! I just made them run 33.3 miles! After church this morning we stopped by Starbucks. The day after an ultra, when you can't decide between a glazed old-fashioned donut and an apple fritter, guess what you do? YOU GET BOTH!!!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Malaise de L'Orange

This made me smile. Hope you enjoy it too!

Jed Smith 50K

Done! Ran 33.3 miles. Very tired. Very happy. Very ready for a shower!

Friday, February 06, 2009

Melange



"Melange" is French for mixture, and that's what I'm about to create -- a mixture with no rhyme or reason except that these are the thoughts that have been passing through my head.
  • When you have NOTHING going on over the weekend, every cashier asks "So do you have any fun plans for the weekend?" Today as I was running errands (Vitamin Shoppe, Nordstrom, Buckle, Nugget Market, Sports Chalet) not one single person asked what I was doing, so I couldn't tell anyone. But in case you've forgotten, I'll tell you...
  • I'm running 39.3 miles tomorrow! I know I signed up for a 50K (31 miles) but I want to do just a little bit more. So the plan is to run 39.3 (a marathon plus a half marathon). I'll be starting at 8:30 and finishing up by 3:00 or 3:30, I think. (As I've never done this, that's just an educated guess based on an 11 minute mile pace.)
  • Running almost 40 miles doesn't seem like that big of a deal when the people I most want to be like when I grow up (Catra!) regularly run 100 miles. But when I step back and consider actually running for 6 or 7 hours, it strikes me that even though it's not 100 miles it's still a big deal! Right?!
  • I'm starting to get a little of ME back. For a while there, it really felt like I was disappearing under a crushing workload and too little sleep. But as my parents situation gets more manageable, I can feel my sense of humor and optimism start returning. And I feel like once again, I can breathe deeply.
  • Will I EVER feel thin? Probably not. I haven't been weighing myself, but my pants are all really loose, even the ones that I can only wear when I'm at my lightest. So I weighed myself this afternoon and the scale said 135.5. That makes me thin, as I've been carb loading for two days and not exercising, and afternoon weight is always heavier than morning weight, right? So I go into Abercrombie (I have a gift card I need to use) and try on a sweatshirt in a medium. It's too tight. So now I'm fat. And I buy nothing. Then I go to Sports Chalet to get a long sleeve shirt for tomorrow. I try on an Adidas medium. It fits just fine. But I'm still fat because the small is too tight, and if I'm not small, then I'm huge, right? (Please tell there's someone who can relate to this kind of thinking!!!)
  • The Chicken-less Chicken was wonderful! Texture was so much like how I remember chicken (I haven't eaten it in over 2 years) that I double checked the label.
  • One week from today Tim and I will be in Maui and I will be swimming in the warm Pacific Ocean!!! And one of the days we're there, we're taking a ferry to an island off the coast of Maui where Tim will be golfing and I'll be running for a couple of hours. I can't wait!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Trader Joe's unofficial ad

Does anyone else love Trader Joe's as much as I do? Great stuff. Great prices! I found this on Serious Eats and it cracked me up. Coincidentally, I went to TJ's today and bought one of their brand new products: Chicken-Less Pulled Chicken in BBQ sauce. I'll let y'all know how it is...

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Half Habits

If you're looking for ways to get healthier (and who isn't?) check out this post on Zen Habits titled "Two Simple Ways to Form New Habits Without Really Trying." For some of us the all or nothing approach works. But for most, a gentler approach is in order, and that's what I like about these ideas.

Heading out to do this CrossFit workout:
Run 1.5 miles
50 air squats
Run 1.5 miles
40 pushups
Run 1.5 miles
30 walking lunges
Run 1.5 miles
20 squat jumps
Run 1.5 miles
10 burpees
Run 1/2 mile

50K race is just 4 days away!!!