Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Return of Resolutions

I haven't made any resolutions for the past few years.  Frankly, it's because I knew that I would gravitate toward my old/typical behaviors and then have to justify them.  But I guess there is nothing wrong with that, and I should just be kind to myself while still looking toward the future.  Better to try than not!

I have high hopes for 2016, mostly because 2015 was basically titled "The Year I Did Not Sleep," and with any luck, things can only improve.  (Right??!) 

2016 Resolutions (Goals?)

1. Give more compliments

I feel this requires no explanation -- makes everyone happier, the world a more positive place.  Positivity sounds cheezy, but in a world full of otherwise, it is needed.  I suck at this, so any conscious effort will be quantifiable -- for now, I will arbitrarily target 5 per week.

2. Complete a round of Focus T-25

This is a stretch-goal that I debated putting on here.  I bought these DVDs two years ago and have tried to complete the program two distinct times, only to stop in the first two weeks.  As it stands, I have trouble committing to anything that requires full weekday participation!  A few months back, I did a 30-Day Squat Challenge and am currently finishing up another one (entry to come later!), but this is another level for some reason.

3. Clean out my closet/overhaul wardrobe

Maybe this isn't "resolution"-worthy, but I am hoping that tackling this will result in me dressing better in the upcoming year.  There are quite a few things that don't really fit well, and maybe it's because they didn't fit well before I had a baby.  Outside of that, I only wear a small percentage of stuff I've been saving for waaaaay too long and need to purge... not good when you share a small closet with your husband.  I think I need to get rid of/replace about 25%.

4. Donate blood

I almost did this last month, since I knew the pressure of producing milk was definitely on the decline with Baby Tuesday reaching a year old.  However, the time change and teething caused a period of pretty awful exhaustion, so I tabled it.  I'm going to guess this will be something for later in the year.

5. Read a book (or more) per month

Mark Zuckerberg (who read a book a week, something I only might have been able to do pre-baby) I am not.  I definitely read more than 12 books this past year, though I'm terrible at keeping track.  For 2016, I want to be realistic and just keep reading.  I have been struggling with the cadence due to work and staying on top of Overdrive, so I'm giving myself permission to make more purchases of the books I really want to read. 

Edit: I am going to attempt to study for a certification in 2016, so I'm going to "allow" the study materials to count as one of the books

6. Weight

Yep, this one made it on here, even though I don't foresee a lot of extra time opening up toward this purpose, but I'm up for the challenge.  I'm aiming to lose those last 5-ish pregnancy pounds (I somehow lost a few pounds in the month prior to this, probably due to a sudden drop in appetite I didn't expect), which I'm hoping will not be as hard as it seems when (hopefully!) I have more energy and the baby-feeding situation changes.  On that, I don't have a timetable for complete weaning, as since we passed the 1-year mark, there have been periods of thinking it will happen and then not, so I'm mostly just going with the flow.  Honestly, I don't think this impacts my efforts much, less so than, say avoiding muffins, general overeating, and staying consistent with exercise even if I can't spend a lot of time on it.

7. Focus on relationship with husband

I think I only have one photo with just us two from 2015.  Now, I admit I am not the best at documenting stuff, but that is kind of... telling.  "The Ukrainian" and I went on maybe four dates the entire first year, which were mostly rushed lunches while I was working from home.  Frankly, I have been too sleepy to actually enjoy being out.  We try to keep each other updated on life (mostly work, blah) at home while we are with the baby, but it is usually very much out of focus.  In addition, with things as crazy (and hormonal) as they have been, I have not always been the best to be around, particularly to him.  I am hoping things get easier, and I will be more pleasant -- mostly!  It is easy to get wrapped up with the baby, but we need to role model a good relationship, too!  So that means... more fun and getting my camera ready!


So I do realize that running did not get mentioned in these.  I don't expect there won't be running, though at the moment, I don't have a measureable goal for it.  I definitely want to get back out there in some capacity, though!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

My Lonely Home Gym

When we first moved into our house, one thing I learned pretty quickly was that plyometric/high-impact just wasn't going to fly.  As you might know, I've mostly been a home exerciser because I didn't have a gym membership for two years.  We used to live in a carpeted apartment above someone who was rarely there, so we were able to do whatever we wanted without complaint.  Suddenly, I was unable to jump without creaking the entire place, which I was certain was not a good thing.  Also, talk about a lack of shock-absorption!

It took over two years for me to start a home gym outside of our living room.  The impetus for this was not just having a baby but having a commute that eats up a lot of the old workout time I used to have.  I didn't work out consistently until six months later when I finally joined a gym that is super close to work and resorted (still do) to quickie lunchtime workouts.  Still, when I was working out more on the weekend or working from home, a home gym seemed like a better solution.  "The Ukrainian" also has a gym membership, but is at his work (so no weekends/holidays) and sometimes it is just easier to have something here for when he can't make it.

I long decided that I didn't have the parking skills needed to use our garage for parking, so with a little clean up, we managed to fit...

  • a bicycle trainer (I got this one)... bikes were existing
  • cyclometer (basically a little meter to tell you how "far" you've pedaled -- I haven't been able to get this to work yet (pending)... so I just bike for time for now
  • our old TV after we had a better one handed down to us
  • a mat that I had previously used indoors (from Sport Chalet); it doesn't slip on concrete!
  • a large storage bin for all the miscellaneous stuff I have accumulated over the years -- resistance bands, kettlebells, jump ropes, etc. 
  • a fan for hot days
  • a sunshade (unloaded from our old neighbors when they moved) that hangs outside of the garage that we can lower if the sun is shining in
  • wet wipes!
  • weight bench that was "The Ukrainian"'s when he was a teenager... still has some life left in it! 
  • a medicine ball (purchased recently)...
... and we've called it a day for now.  We actually did this back in the summer... it's taken this long for me to write about it.

It'll do!

Admittedly, I am not in here a lot these days, and I'm hoping that writing this post will inspire me to get back in there and maybe work on it more.  I have been hanging onto the "exercise wagon" by a thread after I started feeling burnt out in September (just three months after I was really getting semi-serious about exercising again!).  By this, I mean that I don't always get my 5 workouts a week in... which is no good if I'm usually only topping out at 30 minutes per workout.  Work and low energy (sleep is still precarious around here) are my excuses... so although I used to utilize naptime for workouts, I finally just decided I'd actually nap during his naptimes just like all the "advice" says.  So I stopped working out on the weekends altogether, using the "oh, I'll walk the baby to the park instead" or "I'll just do some Pilates while the baby is playing around me" excuse that doesn't always pan out.  More to come.

Please excuse the garage-ness (and blurriness) of this photo.

As for future modifications, I know I have a random radio and old iPod speakers somewhere... so if I find it, maybe I can put on some music to get me motivated!  I guess my phone would work, too.  An elliptical trainer would be nice, but after going to some local stores, I decided to wait and see whether I can commit to a home gym before making that kind of upgrade.  And who knows... maybe a home-made ballet barre?!  Also, when the baby is older, maybe we can have a little sports center nearby, too???

The good news is that this "home gym" is there whenever I'm ready.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Things I've Tried That Might be Great Holiday Gifts

When you aren't constantly going to a bunch of race expos or reading running magazines anymore, it's hard to tell what's new in the world of "gear." 

Then, when you obtain said-gear, it takes a while to test because it's not like I'm running very much lately.  In fact, prior to this week, I hadn't really run in over a month.  Then, I ran twice in a week out of the blue.  I'm hoping I will keep at it.

Meanwhile, here are some fitness-inspired items that might spark some holiday gift ideas!

Milestone Pod

The testing of this thing has been pretty slow due to a lack of running, but I strung this onto my new shoes and love that it is basically counting the miles for me!  I used to be more paranoid about tracking the mileage on my shoes as an indicator of when to change them because I injured easily.  This also syncs with your phone via an app, though I was more interested in a simple mileage count than anything else.  When I tap the screen, it shows me the number of miles, which seems to be pretty accurate so far!

SaltStick FastChews

I have had major cramping issues in the past that have ruined many a marathon, and SaltStick tablets were part of my plan of attack on them.  However, I've fumbled with the pills and have had them break/dissolve on me during races.  Now they make a chew form that comes in a foil packet that doesn't break down as easily.  These have flavors so that you're not just eating salt -- it kind of tastes like an energy drink!

BeetsBlu Heart Rate Monitor and Key Finder

I tried out these Bluetooth products and was never able to get the HR Monitor to sync.  I've mostly given up on HR monitors because I hate having something wet and strapped to my chest, and wrist kinds are inaccurate.  This one, no matter what I did, didn't sync on my app, and I'm still working that out as I type.  However, the key finder connected very easily.  I am usually pretty good about keeping my keys in the same place, so I'm still trying to decide what to adhere this to.  It basically will sound an alarm from the attached device.

BackJoy SitSmart Plus, SleepSound Pillow and Trigger Point Massager

I really like BackJoy stuff!  I am constantly battling posture issues since I had my son (due to fatigue, holding, hunkering down at the office, etc.), so these items -- posture seat, self-massager, and pillow, have been great objects to use.  The self-massager really gets at your back without having to ask someone for a massage or laying on tennis balls on the floor.  I've been using the pillow, which has a posture-friendly shape and has a firmness comparable to an expensive pillow that I got a few years ago.  

Between December 1-24th, anyone who uses #GiveBackJoy hashtag and shares how they are giving back this holiday season will be entered to win a sweet prize pack of self-care products from BackJoy.

FTC Disclaimer: I was sent samples of these products but was not otherwise compensated to write positive things about them!