Thursday, June 30, 2016

Goals on Hold

We are halfway through 2016 and already deep into Summer, so I thought I'd give an update on the items from my "resolution" post so that I can spend the second half of the year catching up!

It has been a busy six months, so much so that I am struggling to remember most of it.  At the beginning of 2016, I was still nursing, which is hard for me to believe since that felt so long ago.  Tuesday (no longer a baby) has no recollection of nursing of course, since he won't even let me hold him that way for even a second, nor does he acknowledge that part of my body anymore.  He also learned how to walk and is now a total expert. 

The year, so far, has brought a lot of learning at work and cooking toddler meals at home.  It has brought on more sleep, thank goodness, since at the beginning of the year, it was still pretty choppy... and then it took me significant time to adjust once Tuesday started sleeping like a champ.  It has also involved shocking changes with "The Ukrainian"'s work, so we expect the second half of the year will be filled with even more transitions.

Anyway, onto the list:

1. Give more compliments

I don't feel like I've been doing as well at this as I should, mainly because I'm not always in the office, and social interactions outside of this are kind of limited.  (Maybe that should be another goal of mine... but alas.)  I will focus on this more regardless -- I think I said 5 per week, which is really not hard at all, and maybe I'm already hitting this target but need to be more aware of it.

2. Complete a round of Focus T-25

I'm currently on Month 2, Week 2, Day 2 of Insanity Max 30, which ain't T-25 (I guess I just got distracted by an infomercial or something), but the intention behind it is the same as my goal.  I'm doing the workouts in sequence, just not on the schedule since I have other workouts interspersed in there, so I can't really say I'm doing "the program," either.  However, I enjoy getting a great workout in 30 minutes and will likely start T-25 sometime after I'm done.

3. Clean up closet/wardrobe

I sold/got rid of some of my older stuff earlier this year, but somehow my closet still feels wayyy underutilized and still full of things I don't wear, but I think that's partly because I'm still feeling self-conscious about some items and am a creature of habit wearing the same few things over and over again.  I have not been buying clothing lately, so that should help the cause, but I do plan on doing one more clean-out this year.

4. Donate blood

I haven't been able to commit to this yet because I am still carrying my 25-30 lb toddler very regularly (hey, he's only little once, right!), though I'm hoping sometime toward the end of the year, I will feel up to it.

5. Read 1+ book a month

I have read 4 books and 6 (big) study books this year, so that technically puts me behind where I want to be.  I've been focused on an exam I'm taking next month, so after that's done, I hope to catch up.  I miss reading for fun.  One of the books I read so far is Orange is the New Black, which is on Netflix, though I don't really have time to watch... so I read the O-G version.  At some point, I hope to catch some of the episodes to see how it compares with the book, which was very interesting since I don't think I've read any other realistic works on female prison life.

6. Weight

This has been a struggle.  After weaning, I gained five pounds in a month, added on top of what was already an out-of-shape postpartum me, even though I was working out regularly.  I've been bouncing (hah!) back-and-forth over a few pounds, and I'm not getting any closer to my pre-baby weight.  For the past couple of months, I have overhauled my eating and started lifting weights again, so I am definitely better off than I was in terms of body composition (fat/muscle ratio), just not where I want to be yet. 

At the moment, I have been able to work out just a little bit more than before (I'm talking 40 min on the weekdays vs. 30, so nothing huge), though that can change with aforementioned transitions later on this year though with Tuesday up-and-about, I know there will always be activity.  However, I also know that this is the smaller part of the equation -- my diet is so much better than before, and I think it's because I can make better decisions with more rest.  Will I hit the "magic number" by year-end?

7. Focus on relationship with husband

They say that every cloud comes with a silver lining, and let's just say that the silver lining of the aforementioned circumstances has given us more time together.  We've been going out for lunch more, and since I don't have to sleep as early (though I should) as before since I can mostly get a reliable stretch of sleep at night, we've gained that time back even if I'm generally studying or working during it.  With more sleep also comes more patience on my part, so I'm hoping that this helps us ride through the next part of the year smoothly.  Maybe we'll even do a night outing.


Other:

As the year started, I decided to pursue running 366 miles this year, an average of one for every day of the year.  This did not make it onto my original list, but I've been hacking away at this goal for the past six months, so I'm putting it here.  As of now, I hit 256 of those miles, so I think I'm pretty well on my way to this goal.  This is not a lot of mileage, but I haven't really been motivated to run a lot, so in a way, it is. 

I had registered for a half-marathon, so that training did add to the mileage.  I did long runs of 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10, but as the race approached, I was feeling tired of running, probably due to Summer kicking in and the heat.  Well, the Monday before the race was scheduled, a few wildfires broke out, and ultimately, the race was postponed (supposedly until Fall).  I saw this coming because I had the same experience in 2008, and it's all for good reasons.  A part of me says I will train again and race in what will hopefully be much cooler conditions, but another part of me is disappointed that I will need to ramp up again, especially when I don't have as much motivation and time as I had before.  But until I see the new race date, I'll try not to worry about it and trrrryyyyy to stay in *just* enough shape to do the ramp-up again as needed.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Building Blocks

Since my last post, I've had quite a month.

So far, I've built up to 9 miles in my half-marathon training.  The race is coming up in a few weeks, and while the ramp-up hasn't been as bad as I had feared, I'm still struggling with finding the time and will to check off these kinds of distances.  My crazy mind has also started setting goals, even though my only real goal should be finishing the race.  I am just going to put it out there, though, that it would be really nice to come in under 2:10.  Yes, I've done better, but I haven't been focusing on speed at all, and based on my training paces, I think this is probably where I am going to land.  Now, let's just hope it isn't 90 degrees on race day, which in late June, is not out of the question!

In addition, this month was kind of rough, health-wise.  I had two separate bouts of illness that required a few different kinds of antibiotics to remedy, and I am not one to take medicine very often.  So I'm still trying to focus on boosting my health in the aftermath, although I am feeling pretty okay now.

On a higher note, we went on a family road-trip a couple of weeks ago.  Traveling with an 18-month-old is NOT easy, but it was worth the new experiences.  The little one visited his first amusement park, played on the beach, toured popular attractions, slept like a champ in hotel rooms, ate good food, and swam in a few pools.  I think I need a vacation from that vacation, though!

On a work front, things have been kind of crazy, though I'm still loving it.  We moved to a new office building last week, so now I get to spend my days at a standing desk, which I blogged about before, so we'll see what kind of impact that makes.  I've also been focusing on eating more protein... wayyy (whey?) more protein... which is hard when I'm a self-proclaimed carb-o-holic and dislike most protein sources.

Well, besides cheese, hah!  Oh, and while I know there is a lot of debate out there about protein consumption, I'm experimenting with this for a bit because I still feel like a postpartum blob sometimes, and it will also hopefully help when I take blood sugar tests in the future.

These protein bars from BPI Sports are an exception, though.  They sent me a Cookies n Cream and S'Mores flavor sample, and both were surprisingly soft and didn't have the aftertaste that I'm used to protein bars having.  I would buy these in the future, though these sample sizes are pretty neat, and I know I'm not going to find that size out in the world.  I've gotten pretty good at self-control, though, so cutting bars in half is not entirely out of the question!


I was also sent a sample of SlimSation's pants to review.  Like my lazy shoe pairing?  These did not really fit well on me, even though the design seemed awesome online.  I think I need to be taller and thinner...  I asked for a "small," though.  With summer coming, though, I like having a light-colored pant to wear.


Anyway, I know this post was kind of all over the place, but I'm about to run off to the next thing.  I'm hoping things slow down as summer starts in earnest.  I'm going to try to embrace the heat and longer days... well, as much as one could, anyway!!

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FTC Disclaimer: I was sent samples of the products and was not otherwise compensated for providing a positive review.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

A Running Post!

Two posts in one week?  This must means that I am publishing these on an automatic schedule, since I'm finding it verrrry difficult to keep up lately.  Still, this post is going to be a fun one for me to write because it has to do with running!!

I've mentioned this here before, but sometime after the new year, I saw that Mark Zuckerberg started a "year of running" in which he'd try to run at least 365 miles this year.  It took me more than halfway through the month to get on board with this, so I was running a lot of catch up and as of last week, I'm at 179 miles for the year, which I believe leaves me in good shape because it's still early May.

Most of my miles were on the treadmill, but I'm doing more outside now, carving out paths around my hilly neighborhood.  The weather has mostly been amenable to running outdoors (for now!), though sometimes it calls for this little number from CozyPhones that "The Ukrainian" is modeling nicely since it doesn't quite look right on my larger head and bunchy hair.  These are great because there aren't any ear-bud-falling-out moments, and it keeps the cord away pretty tidily.

www.acaseoftheruns.com

Also, I was recently sent the book below to review, and this one is kind of near-and-dear to me because I initially used Hal Higdon's training programs when I started running long distances.  Hal Higdon's Half Marathon Training is a compilation of many of his half-marathon training plans from novice to advanced, and it pretty much starts out from a pure-beginner's standpoint as to not intimidate.  Much of the content is familiar to me since I have followed Hal for years, but it was nice to refresh my memory...

 
 
...because I'm running a half-marathon next month.  I already announced this on Instagram, but now it's on the blog record.  It was sort of an impulse decision.  I had wanted to run my 30th half-marathon (which is what this will be) before I ended year 30, but alas, that did not pan out for various reasons, mostly because I didn't feel I was ready to train or wake up early.  Of course, I was also nowhere near in-shape, which also contributed.
 
So I'm STILL not totally in half-marathon shape, but I have done a 5, 6, and 7-milers in my ramp-up because my previous post-partum distance record was about 5 miles that I think I did once last year.  I'm going totally "novice" and am probably going to peak at 10 or 11 miles because I didn't have as many weeks as I would have liked to ramp up any higher.  So far, the runs have been going fairly well considering this is kind of uncharted territory for me again, and nowadays, I am training on much hillier terrain, which I hope will help carry me through my race since it's flatter. 
 
I feel like a beginning again in many ways, as I often second-guess myself.  For example, each week that I go another mile longer, I start feeling my favorite ole' right calf tightening.  I tweaked my ankle on my last long-run in the trail-y area.  Also, I haven't bothered to wear compression socks for this, mostly because I prefer running in pants these days, but I may consider wearing them again starting next week????  And I should probably start carrying hydration with me.  I also haven't decided if I want to try to train to finish the race without fuel or not, but whatever I decide, I better start incorporating soon, and all my old energy things are expired.  If this was Instagram, I'd be using a hashtag along the lines of #newoldrunnerproblems .
 
As for goals, I am not fast by any means, so I really just want to finish the race in one piece and preferably not be walking a lot.  I haven't been walking during my training but fully expect that things can go awry on race day.  More specifically, I am hoping I can run this at pace I've been training at so that I don't take forever.
 
Needless to say, I am excited about rounding out my half-marathon count and finally doing something that I missed in my two-ish years of gestating and being a mom.  I can't say whether this will be a one-time thing, since yes, my priorities have changed, and it really is a commitment in both time and energy when I do have other goals, too.  So we'll see how this next month or so goes.
 
 
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FTC Disclaimer: I was sent samples of the above-mentioned products to review but was not otherwise compensated to provide a positive opinion.