Running is Funning!

Ya, I never thought I’d say it but running IS fun.  I’m training for a half marathon and I’ve been trying to be more consistent with my training than I’ve been in the past.  When I did half marathons in the past, I basically ran one run per week – the long run.  This time around, I’ve been trying to do a run or two during the week in addition to the long run.  In an ideal week, I’d do one run at a decent pace, one speedwork session (where I push myself to go faster than my normal pace but for shorter distances), and one easy going, slow paced long run.  Each week I add more time to the runs, particularly the weekend long run.  It’s nowhere near as hard as it used to be.  It ain’t easy but it’s not destroying me either.

I’m slow.  I know I’m slow.  But that’s ok – I’m doing it, right?  And I’m enjoying it along the way.  In particular, I’m really liking the long runs.  Although now that I’m moving into the long distances, it is definitely getting harder.  In the last few weeks I’ve fallen behind.  We had rain two weekends in a row and then I did a long 7 miler (with an additional mile walking) and then didn’t do my run this weekend.  Yikes.  I need to somehow fit in two 8 mile runs between now and Sunday.  Argh.  Gotta do this.

I do like the long runs because it brings on the runner’s high.  I’m out there feeling the wind on my face, smelling the smells of being outside, and your senses become heightened.  The music in my ears seems better – it gets me pumped, makes me happy, and makes me think of happy times.  I’m reminded that it’s nice to get a smile of encouragement from other runners and the look of “you can do it, girl!” from other women on the trail and that it’s nice to smile and wave at strangers.  I usually run on a trail that has a lot of traffic – you see kids on bikes, people walking and talking, runners running fast, bikers biking, and once I even saw someone riding a big ol’ unicycle.  It’s pretty cool actually.

What’s hard to describe is the feeling of well being that you get when you run and feel good.  I’m going to try anyway.  When you’re having a good run, you feel strong, you feel proud because you’re able to do something that’s not easy, you feel like you want to keep doing this.  As gross as this sounds, I LOVE seeing the sweat caked to the inside of my hats and visors.  I LOVE it when sweat drips into my eye.  I LOVE it when I go to scratch my ear and I’m grossed out because it’s salty.  Why?  Because it’s proof that I worked hard.  Gross, I know.  I really love it when my heart rate monitor/gps says that I burned over 700 calories.  So fantastic.

And yet, I’ve been really bad about getting my runs done.  For a while, I was doing good – running a couple times a week at the gym and again on the weekend.  Ugh.  Why is it so damn hard to just get out there and go?  I don’t think there’s an excuse for the shorter weekly runs.  I can do those with baby in her jogging stroller or I can go to the gym after she goes to sleep.  Luckily she enjoys being in her stroller so she’s good for about an hour.  The longer runs are a little trickier.  If I don’t get out the door early enough, I won’t have enough time.  Miss K. has class on Sunday mornings.  Then there are other factors like weather (it’s raining or it’s too hot or whatever).  And this weekend I had a bridal shower I had to prep for.  I don’t know.  It feels like excuses – I just need to do it.  A couple times the odds were against me.  A few weeks ago I needed to do six miles (plus one walking) but I didn’t do it Saturday morning.  And I didn’t do it Sunday morning.  And it was starting to really cool down but I dragged myself out on Sunday afternoon and actually had a fantastic run.  Last weekend I needed to do seven (plus one walking).  Same thing…it was getting late.  It looked like rain.  It sprinkled on the drive to the trail.  There was a cop car where I normally park.  But I dragged myself out there and the cool weather worked to my benefit.  Again, great (but tough) run but I was so happy I did it.  Not like this week where I’m pissed I didn’t run.  Ugh.  The feeling of well being that comes with these runs is indescribable – I just need to get it done.

What do you do to motivate yourself to work out?

I can’t believe I actually enjoy running.

 

#13 on The LIST – Exercise

I didn’t really exercise at all for the last two years.  I wish it was an exaggeration but unfortunately it’s not.  Literally didn’t exercise for pretty much all of 2010 and 2011.  Ridiculous.  So in 2012, I’m starting up again.  It’s hard.  I’m out of shape and weigh more than I wish I did and my body is weak (or if you prefer, I have a weak body – that one’s for you, puppy).  And it’s a little tougher to exercise with Miss K.  She’s a little amused when I’m trying to exercise but mostly, she tries to climb on me or cling to my legs.  It just doesn’t work.  The alternative is to go to the gym after she goes to sleep but an hour work out ends up being a two hour affair, between changing clothes, driving, showering, etc. and usually that’s not until at least 8:30 because after she goes to bed, usually I’m cleaning up the dinner aftermath, working on the other blog, and generally wasting time.  🙂

Despite that, I’m happy to say that I’ve been making time to exercise over the last few weeks.  Nine workouts in the last 14 days – last week I logged 245 minutes of working out.  Not bad for me.  I’ve been squeezing it in wherever possible.  I’ve done a few run/walks with Miss K in the jogging stroller.  Running is a lot harder when you’re pushing 20 pounds of baby + another 20 pounds of stroller.  It doesn’t help that I’m so out of shape or that I need to lose 10 pounds or that I’m stiff as a board (but not light as a feather).  I remember when I was running more regularly, it would take a mile or so to “shake off the rust.”  This was the period where my body was warming up, I was working through the mental battle with myself (“I hate running!  Why am I doing this!” “Don’t be a baby!  It’s good for you!”  “But I don’t wanna!”  “Shut up, do it!”).  But I’m getting out there and doing what I can.  When I don’t walk/run, I’m doing workout videos at home.  So far I’ve done several yoga videos (in different levels of difficulty), the p90x cardio workout (tough but actually kind of fun), and Zumba.  Zumba is a funny thing.  I break a sweat every time and I do think it’s challenging.  I feel like an idiot a lot of the time, but I’m catching on.  It’s kind of cheesy but it’s keeping me moving for 40-60 minutes (which HAS to be good for me).  So I guess where there’s a will there’s a way.

I do think it would benefit me to get myself to the gym once or twice a week, though.  I tend to step my intensity up when I go to the gym and it’s good just to get sometimes.  Also, I’m not really doing much resistance training.  If I don’t make it to the gym, I’ll need to work in pushups, planks, squats, etc.  Some sort of weight training.  I’m tired though.  🙁  Maybe I will do an extra 20 minutes of pushups, planks, squats, etc. if I only do a 40 minute cardio workout.  The nice part is that I can do something canned with the Wii.  It doesn’t have to be exciting; I just need to do it.  Cardio for me has to be exciting.

So my goal with exercising is doing something 4 times a week.  That something has to be more than 30 minutes at once.  Most days I need to break a sweat for it to count, the exception being yoga.  I need to do yoga to loosen up my tense muscles.

The sucky part about this whole thing is that I haven’t dropped an ounce of weight (yet).  I’m disappointed about that.  I don’t know if it’s my age or my post-baby body but in the past I would have seen some return for this level of effort.  Maybe I just need to be more patient.  I think I can!  I think I can!  I think I can!

 

A Week of Trials and Errors

I realize today’s post may be a bit of a downer.  But sometimes I have to shine a light on what’s bad in order to get to what’s good.  This week I had a lot of intentions and not a lot of them came to fruition.  That’s always a downer.  It’s especially disheartening when it’s the beginning of a new year and you really really REALLY want to be good.  Here are a few things that went awry:

1.  I was supposed to drink more water.  I didn’t.  I had a few glasses here and there but nowhere near the 64 ounces per day I’d like to be at.  I think I even felt a bit light headed a few times.  Argh.  So hold on just a second while I go fill up my water bottle and take a big swig.  Ok.  At least I can now say that I’ve had 16 ounces of water today (a little earlier and a little just now.  Ya, I actually did go fill up my water bottle and drink some).

2.  My husband has this super duper awesome blog, www.irvinehousingblog.com.  It’s going through some changes and I wanted to help him with it.  I want to be able to take some of the workload off.  But I didn’t do a very good job.  I wrote a post for it.  But then my pictures sucked so he couldn’t even use it.  I wanted to go take a second set of pictures to use today.  But that didn’t happen.  Sucks.  He does so much for me and here’s a way I can help and I failed him.  Now it’s 3:35 and my baby’s going to wake up soon and she will need to eat.  Maybe I can still go take a few shots but the lighting isn’t usually quite right…I know the camera can compensate but I don’t know to make it do that.  Darn.  Maybe tomorrow.

3.  I wanted to do a few test runs of some cookies with flooded frosting for my baby girl’s birthday next week.  I did one batch that’s drying right now.  So far they’re ok but not great.  Had I done a few more batches, I think I’d be more confident going into next week.  And to make things worse, I ate a whole lot of cookie dough.  Now I feel like I’m made out of cookie dough.  Soft, buttery and simply sweet.  What can I do now?  Well, I know i have a cookie recipe that I like.  I need to practice baking at least one more batch to the get the thickness right.  Otherwise, I can whip up another couple batches of icing and practice.  Maybe I’ll just trace the cookie cutter onto some paper and use that to practice on.  I think that’ll go a long way because making the icing is one of the stressors and then using a pastry tip and doing the decorations is also up there.  I’m not throwing in the towel yet!

3.  Remember how I mentioned the crazy burrito at taco bell with spicy fritos in it?  Ya, I had a bad headache on Wednesday night and not only did I have that burrito, but I asked my husband to pick it up for us on the way home, after he had worked a long day at work, thereby cutting into his time with Karina.  He only gets a few hours a day with her and I ate into that by not being prepared.

4.  I wanted to make it to the gym a few times this week.  But I didn’t.  I did a yoga video (well, it was sort of yoga but my muscles are so tight and out of shape that it was hardly recognizable!) and we went on a long walk on Monday but that was it.  On the bright side of things, though, that’s two more workouts than the week before!  And there’s nothing stopping me from getting in another video or time on the wii fit board tonight.

Sorry for the negativity but the nice part is that we’re heading into a new week and I’m still hopeful!  I got my eyebrows threaded, I made an appointment to get a haircut, and my baby is turning one next week.  I’m gonna keep trying.  I think I can…I think I can…I think I can!

Oh ya, one last bit of humiliation I just have to get out of my system.  This morning I was diligently frosting cookies (very focused).  My daughter pulled my pants down.  Like all the way to my ankles.  That kid punks me in ways that I never imagined.

Two-Zero-One-Two…Now Whatcha Gonna Do?

It wouldn’t be a new year without some mention of resolutions or goals of some sort and I’m no different.  I don’t think I’ve ever made the “I’m gonna lose 10 pounds this year” goal but weight loss is definitely on my mind.  I gained somewhere between 22-25 pounds with my pregnancy and then in 2011, I dropped about 30 pounds, so i was in pretty good shape.  Unfortunately I’ve since put on some pounds and would like to lose about 10.  The good news is that several of the goals I put on THE List align with that (drink more water, reduce fast food, reduce soda, eat at home, exercise).  So I think it’s possible.  Here is a run-down of what I’m going to tackle next:

#4 – Begin using a natural toothpaste

I was going to wait until we were all done with the toothpaste in the house to start this but I probably should keep a couple tubes of “normal” toothpaste around just in case.  Just in case of what?  I don’t know.  Anyhoo, I do want to start using a natural toothpaste because I want to reduce the amount of chemicals I’m using but I want to make sure our teeth aren’t suffering.  So I’ll need to find one endorsed by the ADA (Tom’s of Maine is) and figure out if I want one with Fluoride or not.  Unfortunately there is no clear definition of what “natural” means in this space but it seems that it’s generally agreed that it’s free of dyes, preservatives, artificial flavors or sweeteners.  I want to find one that is free of SLS, menthols and eucalyptols.  Almost all commercial toothpastes have SLS, which makes it so latherific.  I think I read that there’s a link between SLS and canker sores, too.  And I’ve suffered from canker sores for a long time, especially during times of stress.  If all else fails, I could always try just plain ol’ baking soda and water.  Didn’t work for my hair but might work on my teeth.

#12 – Reduce the amount of high fructose corn syrup in my diet

HFCS is considered unhealthy because it causes nicks in your arteries.  Weakened arteries can collapse or become clogged and then you have fun situations like heart attacks and strokes.  And I think HFCS has contributed to my gut (that now expanded to encircle my entire trunk).  I don’t know exactly how much HFCS I consume but I want to be more aware.  So step one will be figuring out where it’s popping up in my diet and finding substitutions or eliminations.  Soda was a big culprit and now I drink flavored iced teas.  Well the flavor comes from a syrup that I’m quite certain is made with HFCS.  Sigh.  Will likely need to eliminate those too.  And of course HFCS shows up in all kinds of salad dressings, breads, sweet treats, ketchup, etc.  The good news is if I continue to eliminate  processed foods from diet, I’ll cut this out too.  It starts with awareness, I guess.

#13 – Exercise

I’ve been avoiding this one.  Why?  Don’t know.  I went to the gym a few weeks ago and it felt really really good.  Not just while I was there but for two days afterwards.  Yet I haven’t returned.  Lame.  So here’s the goal: yoga once a week (I have videos and a Wii that might help with that), gym twice a week (for at least 45 minutes) and a walk/run once a week that is a minimum of 2 miles.  I’m supposed to run a half marathon this summer so I need to start training anyway.  My baby likes being in her stroller so the walk/run will be nice with her.  We took her for a 3 mile walk yesterday.  There are a lot of hills where we live so it’s good exercise; I break a sweat every time and I was tired afterwards.

#14 – Switch to cloth wipes

I have about eight more packs of disposable wipes that I need to get through before I do this.  I wash diapers anyway, so why not use wipes too?  I’ll still need disposable wipes for traveling and emergencies so maybe I’ll start making the switch when we’re down to four packs.  I have to research what kind of solution to use…some people just use water, others make a solution of soap, essential oils, and water, others use some tea tree oil in it.  Just need to see what will work best for our baby.  I was shocked when I started reading about wipes.  I thought they were safe to wipe my baby’s face with but then it turns out that most wipes have benzyl alcohol in them, which is toxic when inhaled.  I used to wipe her face and nose with them until I learned this.  Yucko.

#15 – Drink more water

I have so many water bottles.  Plastic, stainless steel, combo.  Yet I drink hardly any water.  This one SHOULD be easy but it’s not for me.  So I have to come up with a plan to make sure I do this one.  The goal is to drink 64 ounces per day.  I have had no water today.  Better get to drinkin’!

I think I can.  I think I can.  I think I can.  What’s on your list this year?  Conversely, what are you going to KEEP doing this year?