A Tale of a Run

Good morning, friends!

I had a crazy long training run yesterday. Like, ridiculously long and I’m amazed that I can still stand this morning. You know those runs when you set out and are like, “oh, this’ll be fine. I’ll just blast through this and totally have time for my life at the end of it.” completely underestimating how long these miles will actually take? Yeah, it was one of those.

It’s been a goal since I moved to the East Bay to hike around Lake Chabot. The route is 9 miles, and I had always intended to make it a 3ish-hour hike. Once I started half marathon training, I realized that eventually I would be able to run it, and I was sort of excited about that. Because I get excited about weird things.

The opportunity presented itself this weekeend, when I was scheduled to do a long training run. I’m using the Aaptiv app (<– affiliate link!) for my training program, and according to the plan I was supposed to run around 10 miles in 100 minutes. Ha, that’s cute. But I figured I could do 7.5-8 miles in that amount of time. And I thought I could run around the lake until the run time was up, then just walk the rest of the way as a cool-down.

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It started out like that. But I had never been to the other side of the lake before. I headed out on the Eastside trail as I usually like to do, with no idea what I was in for.

Hills. I was in for hills.

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And it was a legit trail back there. At some point the paved path turns into dirt, and then it starts switchbacks up and down the ridge behind the lake. I was warned by my friend that there was a beast of a hill around Mile 4, but I was not anticipating all of the rough terrain and climbing. My calves started getting tight and cramping, despite all the water  I was throwing down from my Camelbak. After I passed Mile 4 I did a lot of walking up the hills and jogging back down for quite some time. After Mile 6.5 I was almost walking the entire way. My legs were just done.

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At some point I realized I was in the trail system, and I wasn’t sure which trail I was supposed to be on. That’s okay, I just need to make sure the lake is always to my left, and I should make it back to the Marina. And the views were getting more and more gorgeous as the sun burned through the clouds.

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Eventually I made it to a parking lot. And it wasn’t the parking lot I had parked in. In fact, I had no idea this lot existed, or exactly where I was. Crap, I took a wrong trail somewhere. I had been running Strava to track my mileage, and I looked on my map to see what was going on.

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Well double crap. I was supposed to pick up the end of the red line, and I was about a half mile off the trail that took me back to my car. At this point I realized that there was no way I was making it back home anytime soon. I had plans to head up to Healdsburg for some wine tasting, and I realized I was in no way going to be home in time for my friend to pick me up. So I texted my apologies and strategized a new plan for getting a ride as I hiked back to the main trail.

By the time I was done, I had completed 9.6 miles, averaging a 14 min/mile pace. Good lord, I felt so slow. But most of it was because I was walking up every stupid hill for five miles. At least I got some good hill training in?

I finally made it back to my car, my 100-minute run now transformed to nearly 2 1/2 hours of slogging through trails, and I was ridiculously late in meeting up my friend. I blasted back home, boiled some eggs as I took the fasted shower ever followed by a quick cold bath to cool down my legs, slammed the eggs down as I put myself together in some cute “wine tasting tourist” attire, and skipped off to BART to meet up my friend.

Happy ending time, we got our wine.

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I would love to hike the lake loop again some day when I have the time and not under the marathon training pressure, but I think for my next (and last!) long run I’ll find a different course so I can try to run the distance instead of having to pepper so many walk breaks in. I’m still not exactly sure where my endurance is for 13 whole miles yet, and race day is looming ever closer. But at this point, the only way out is through! I’ll just show up, run as much as my stumpy little legs can, and see what happens.

Go make it a great day!

Survival Mode Thursdays

Good morning, friends! And it actually is morning over here, haha! I heard my alarm this morning (yay!), and not ten seconds after I sat down to write Buttercup zombied into the kitchen demanding to know why I wasn’t in bed – she had gotten up to come in my room and snuggle with me, and I had already retreated to the kitchen to do my hour of “me-time”. So now she’s snuggled in front of “umizoomi” and I’m snuggled with my coffee. Cheers!

The other day I talked about how I’m approaching the first “5 to Thrive” habit of waking up early and having an hour of time to myself every day (well, most days, haha!), so today we move on to the next habit, exercise at least 30 Minutes every day.

I know what you’re probably thinking. I sort of thought it too – “Uggh. Like, every day every day?”

I’m a pretty active person, but even I don’t think I’ve ever actually consistently exercised daily before. Life just happens. But progress over perfection, we’ll give this a go.

Since I have the Big Sur Half coming up, pretty much any spare time for exercising needs to be running or recovering from running. So I’m putting CrossFit on hold until after November 11th so I can maximize my mileage. I know that some strength training will improve my running, but we’re a bit too close to race day for any real gains so I’m just going to focus on mileage with the goal that I don’t die.

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(this is me not dying after a weekday run)

But running every day? That is a bit much for my legs to take right now. I just finally finished my Couch-to-5k in August after taking nearly a five-year hiatus from running and I know I don’t have the strength or stamina to take a road beating every day. Right now I’ve worked myself up to 1 long run and 2-3 short runs per week, and that’s after months of working out maybe 1-2 days a week, maybe.

The first few mornings I didn’t run, I ended up starting the Commit30 monthly challenge (yeah, I know, another challenge!) to do 30 air squats, 30 push-ups, and 30 sit-ups every morning for 30 days. I would do it in my living room, then do some stretching/core work/foam rolling. Just 30 minutes, and done!

But I didn’t keep it up every morning. For example, Thursdays are the worst for any activity that isn’t 100% vital. Those are the days I am crunched with both single-parenting and work, and I can barely get my kids and myself fed, schooled, homeworked, and to bed on time let alone squeeze in 30 minutes for myself. For a while that was the sticking point in my week – how do I get everything done on Thursdays? Then it hit me … I don’t! That’s my one day to not do all the things. So I make sure that I crush it the other 6 days a week, and keep Thursdays as strictly “survival mode.” If I can squeeze in a quick walk over my lunch break, then it is a more fabulous day than I had planned.

Progress over perfection, my friends. If I can go from working out for 1-2 days a week to a consistent 6 days a week over the last 90 days of the year, this is going to be such a huge win for me.

Any tips for squeezing in activity into a richly scheduled day? I’m always on the lookout for fun new organization techniques!

Go make it a great day!

 

 

So Done: Rewriting Unhelpful Patterns

So, I treadmilled last night.

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I didn’t really want to. I mean, who wants to run on a treadmill when there’s the whole outside to run in? But I really, really felt like moving my body in some way, and I had Buttercup with me so running outside wasn’t an option. I also didn’t really want to pay the $5 for childcare at the gym, and it was getting late in the evening and I knew we wouldn’t make it to CrossFit in time. So, I put on my run gear, handed Buttercup her tablet to keep her occupied, and did my run on the treadmill in the apartment gym. We got it done, and treated ourselves to sushi afterwords.

Honestly, I was sort of surprised at myself. Who is this woman?!? Normally I would look at the clock and say, “Whelp, I guess a workout isn’t happening tonight!” and go watch Netflix. But I’m sort of tired of being that person. To be clear, there’s certainly nothing wrong with foregoing a workout for downtime, and I do enjoy those nights where I spontaneously clear my calendar and turn my to-do list over so I can veg out and stop thinking about responsible things for awhile. But I found that “Ignore All the Things” has been becoming less about de-stressing and more about an unhealthy coping mechanism for me. And I don’t like it.

So I’ve been noticing all the reasons that inspire me to let my healthy habits slide – a late night, a grumpy mood, an unexpected engagement that throws my schedule off – and how I choose to respond to those stimuli. And so much of it is about just not being prepared. So I’m slowly figuring out what systems no longer serve me, and rewriting them. I mean, this is what I do for a living, guys – process engineering. And yesterday, the first thought system to be rewritten is “It’s too hard to work out when I have the kids home.” Because I totally figured out how to get a decent run in, spend time with my kiddo, and still have a great evening together.

What patterns in your behavior are you so done with? Any thought systems or other systems in your life you want to set out to rewrite?

Go make it a great day, friends!

Just Stop Already

It’s another beautiful day in the neighborhood.

I hadn’t worked out in almost a week, so I blasted to the park the other morning for a quick run before I clocked into work. It was a glorious 3 miles, and it felt so good to get my body moving again. I drove the kids up to Oregon for the week, and both work and all the smoke from the wildfires kept me from getting my run on. I am also way overdue for a drop-in to CrossFit GP, so I totally owe you guys! 😉

In other CrossFit news, my L1 certification is only two weeks away! Eek! I also realized that I chose to attend a fitness certification in the mountains. At altitude. And I am a coastal girl. This won’t be painful at all. No worries, it’ll just be two days of sucking wind under a pvc pipe, what could possibly go wrong?

Also coming up, the kids start school next week! Squish has leveled up to First Grade (!!) and will be attending the same local elementary school as last year. I’ve chatted with him about it, and he seems pretty nonchalant about the upcoming year. Buttercup has me a little concerned. She’s starting a brand new school this year, since her current one is closing. While some of her friends will be moving to the school with her, I know she’s had a really rough year as it is with all the changes in her little life (PSA: divorce is hard on everyone, yo) and transitions have never been her forte. I’m anticipating a few rough weeks of tear-streaked drop offs until she settles back in to the new-new-NEW normal. But kids are resilient, and I’m almost certain I’ll have a harder time with it than she will.

Stop growing up. Just stop already.

That’s all from my side of the mountain, have a most wonderful week, and go make it a great day!

Happy Donut Day!

Happy National Donut Day, everyone! I would like to play it off like I totally knew about this and had everything planned, but the truth is we showed up at our usual Friday donut spot and were informed of our festive contribution by the large publicity poster.

So we celebrated, like the good Americans we are.

Meanwhile, on the home front, everything is crazy. I’ve been traveling a lot lately for various reasons, and with my upcoming trip to Australia nothing is going to change anytime soon. My apartment is a mess, and I finally did laundry which means there are now 4 clean loads piled on my bed. The kids have been complaining, “I don’t have any underwear in my drawers!” To which my reply is, “go look in The Pile!” I’m sure I’m the only irresponsible adult that does this and no one can relate. 😉

But I am a creature that prefers to thrive in order rather than chaos, so I did clean out one corner of my bedroom as my “clutter sanctuary” and finally got around to setting up the hanging pot for my sad neglected philodendron. Is it too cliche to name him Phil?

Workouts from the Week

Since I’m now in running training mode, I want to start logging my training from the past week. This will be the boring part of the post, so you can stop here if you’d like.

Saturday 5/26: C25K run, Week 5 Day 1 of the program. Run/walked 2.09 miles in 31″ up around my folks’ neighborhood in Oregon.

Sunday 5/27: Recovery day with a 4 mile hike along the Rogue River to Rainie Falls.

Monday 5/28: Drove home from Oregon, but I did stop at a couple of rest stops to stretch and work on my mobility to break up the drive.

Tuesday 5/29: C25K run, Week 5 Day 2 of the program. Run/walked 2.23 miles in 31″ in my neighborhood. I was crunched for time, otherwise I would have zipped over to Lake Chabot, which is way more scenic than the auto repair garages and medical buildings that dot the landscape of my backyard.

Wednesday 5/30: I had some bodywork done with my chiropractor. Holy cow, they went to town on my glutes.

Thursday 5/31: Example of “You fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Stayed up super late on a work project, so I slept in and the whole day was a rushed blur. Collapsed into pizza, beer, and a movie with the kids for the evening’s activities. Note to self: you’re never too tired for a little living room yoga or a few kettlebell swings!

That’s all for now, go make it a great day!

Reality Sets In

Happy Wednesday, friends! How is your week shaping up? Mine is utter chaos. It’s good to know that life is full of consistency.

At least I got out of bed and squeezed in a run this morning.

I say “squeezed in,” but really I meant “accepted that I’m going to have a two minute shower and still be late for work.” Because goals, people.

I had a moment of panic the other day, realizing that I signed myself up for a half marathon wth am I thinking everything hurts when I run holy cow. So I need to take this seriously if I want even moderate mobility left come mid-November. My ailments are nothing unusual, just your basic I-spend-12-hours-a-day-sitting symptoms. I saw a PT about it a while back, and the recommendation was to work on core strength and hip mobility. Of which I’ve done none of it. Because core work annoys me. And I forget to stretch. Buuuut, I think I have to be a big girl now and work it in, because being able to functionally move >> sitting around. Or so I’m told.

In other news, I bought a new car last month, and I just found out it has the most perfectly sized snack holder in the door. I like it when the Universe has my back.

That’s all for today, go make it a great day!

She Did What Now??

What is up, beautiful people? I’m taking advantage of the downtime that resulted in a delayed flight to say hi and check in. How are things going?

I traveled to central Oregon this week for my company’s offsite retreat. We had gorgeous weather, and I had such a great time getting to know all of my coworkers better and participating in all the activities and shenanigans planned. And my hotel was GORGEOUS.

You couldn’t beat the view from the back porch.

Since I had a bit of downtime between sessions, I took advantage of the fitness center while I was there. I forgot to pack my gym shoes, so I decided to work out in my Converse and see how I liked it.

The verdict? I kinda liked it.

They’re actually quite comfy, and stable.

I hadn’t been working out consistently in a while, so it was great to have a full fitness facility at my disposal. I just roamed and played around with kettlebells, dumbbells, and even found an oly bar. I finished up with some core work and a good stretch.

I think I need to join a gym, since it’s hard to work out at home; I get too distracted with all the other millions of things I should be doing. And CrossFit has been difficult because my schedule gets weird and I can never make the class times. If I joined the local 24 Hour Fitness, I would have the distraction-free fitness focus with the flexible hours just 10 minutes away. And there’s a facility near me that has child care too, so on the days I have the kids that might be an option to me.

Oh, in other news, I signed up for a half marathon.

WHO AM I WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME??

Realize the last half I ran was four years ago, and I have yet to finish my full Couch-to-5k plan. So I’m going with the strategy of putting money down on a deadline, and see if that gets me motivated. Plus one of my friends is also signed up for the same race, so I can use the accountabili-buddy system as well.

Amy tips for easing back into a consistent running routine? I just know I’m going to go too hard too soon and end up with overuse injuries. Wish me luck!

Go make it a great weekend!

The Life and Times of Unemployment

Whew! Has this time flown by, or what? It’s hard to believe that a little over a month ago I was laid off, and now I’m looking at accepting an offer and going back to work this week! As much as I can’t wait to get into money makin’ mode again, I’ve really enjoyed this little break from the 9-5. It’s given me a lot of time to do things I enjoy doing, and some perspective on the classic line, “wherever you go, there you are!” Even when I don’t have a job to go to and a whole day is stretched out in front of me, it still fills up pretty fast. I joked with a friend that I felt busier unemployed than I did when I had the structure of a job to frame my day!

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Take a typical day in Unemploymentville for me. On days where I don’t have the kids, I lay in bed for like an hour and a half after I wake up just zoning out on my phone, not ready to get out of bed yet mostly because I can, and the day is WIDE OPEN so what’s the rush? Then when I feel like I’ve exercised my reluctant laziness enough I stumble downstairs to make my beloved coffee. Favorite mug in hand, I return to my computer to check my email and respond to any job posting replies. I’ll also look at my planner and review my to-do list for the week to see if I feel like doing any of the options on there. I always throw stuff like “clean out the closet!” or “get a car wash!” in case I want to take care of chores on a whim. Haha, probably nope.

After I feel like my email and job search leads are well handled, I will do some sort of exercise. It’s either a run in the park or yoga. I found an ah-mazing yoga studio near my apartment, so I’ve been practicing 2-3 times a week. It’s kundalini yoga, so more of the meditative/woo-type rather than the sporty fitness type, which is exactly what I need these days. If I can’t fit a yoga class into my schedule, I’ll do my couch-to-5k run at nearby Lake Chabot. I keep restarting my program because I’m not super consistent, and when I try to amp up the mileage all my old injuries start to nag me, so I’ll do a few weeks, then back it down again to Week 1. I’m not seriously considering any actual races in the near future, so it’s more of a semi-structured tool to get me outside and moving.

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After exercise, it’s back home to get cleaned up, eat some lunch, and prepare for any interviews or appointment I have for the day. If I don’t have any interviews, I’ll either run errands, do more email/job searching, or take a nap. Because let’s be honest, if you’re not napping at least once a week when you’re at home, I don’t think you’re doing it right, and it does all those people who wish they could nap in the middle of the day a disservice. So I nap for those who can’t.

At dinnertime and in the evening, I usually try to be social. After sitting around alone all day trying to not stress about my current life situation, I know it’s good for my mental health to get out. I’ll go to a friend’s house for dinner, pick up a yoga class, or meet up some friends at local event. Anything to get me out and around people, and not sitting at home polishing off a bottle of wine I can’t afford while watching reruns of Netflix shows I’ve already seen. Not that that doesn’t happen now and then, but I try not to let it become the default setting. I’ll save the couch-and-wine for the nights I really need to introvert it up.

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Overall it hasn’t been a terrible experience being unemployed. I’ve been very lucky that I had enough savings and residual income to keep the lights on and rent paid, and being out of work for six weeks is not at all bad considering most people in my situation end up job hunting for months. It’s been quite the blessing to be able to slow down, take care of myself, do some fun stuff with my kids that I don’t normally get to do when I’m working, and trust that everything will work itself out in the end.

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Go make it a great day!

 

When Workout Routines Change

Happy Fri-yay to you! I meant to post this last night, but the kids got the better of me. Which is fine; sometimes in the evenings I prefer kiddo snuggles to scrapping together the latest “create, not consume” campaign!

I haven’t been going to CrossFit lately, and as a result have been looking for other avenues to maintain my fitness within my budget and time constraints. As much as I LOVE CrossFit, it’s really challenging to fit it in my schedule right now, especially the days I have the kids. Plus, I was nailed with a mild flu over Thanksgiving, and I still feel really worn down. So I’m trying to listen to my body right now and choose more low-impact activities until I feel more energetic again. I know I have the tendency to run myself into the ground if I don’t pay attention, and these days I can’t afford to let my tank run dry.

One of the things I’ve been working on is my own personal yoga practice. It’s a rough go, because I have the attention span of a goldfish when left to my own devices, but it’s kind of nice just doing what flows I want to do with what feels good to me today, and not having to listen to someone else. I just put on some music, set my timer for 20 minutes, and stay on the mat until the bell rings. This is fitting nicely with my current goal of doing stuff at home without having to pack the kids up and haul them to the gym. And in the evening after a day of huddled over my laptop OMG it feels soooooo good to stretch!

The other thing I’ve been working on is getting into running again. For the longest time after Buttercup was born, running just felt awful to me. Slowly I’ve been testing it out here and there, and my body finally seems to be starting to adapt to it again. I’m sure the CrossFit has helped a lot with this, because we often have short runs in the workouts that’s just enough to get my body used to the motion and stress again. So I’ve re-re-started my Couch to 5k program, and am about 2 weeks into it. I find that the amount of time spent actually running so far is just enough to get my body moving without introducing too much stress, and I really like the freedom of itm that it doesn’t take any planning or prep; I just decide, “I want to go run right now,” and I throw on the shoes and go.

Finally, on the rare mornings I wake up before the kids and feel like a bit of morning movement is in order, I am a HUGE fan of my kettlebell. I also have my barbell in my apartment, so I can put together a nice little interval workout with kettlebell and unloaded barbell moves. My favorite these days is:

3 rounds of:

  • 10 American KB swings
  • 10 goblet squats
  • 10 single-leg deadlift (each side)
  • 10 barbell shoulder press
  • 10 KB snatch (5 each side)

Usually in the middle of the third round Buttercup comes downstairs demanding, “I’m hungry!” so I may or may not finish the circuit.

That’s all for now, go make it a great day!

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

I LOVE CHRISTMAS!

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I totally live in the camp where Christmas carols are for all year singing enjoyment, and when the Holiday Creep launches Santa-themed end caps at Target in September I do a bit of an internal jolly elf happy dance. The holidays are my jam.

Now that I am all moved into my new place, I was SO EXCITED to start decorating just in time for the holidays! Since the kids and I were traveling over Thanksgiving week, we decorated the week before Thanksgiving. Horrifyingly delightful, amiright? At this point you either want to shoot me or grab my hands jumping around in circles squeee-ing with me. You know what side of that line you fall.

But I think we did a great job. I found the absolute cheapest artificial tree at Target on my divorced-single-income-mom-on-a-shoestring-budget budget, and after the kids took turns breaking hanging up their ornaments, I think it came together quite nicely!

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Hulk and I agreed that I would have the kids Christmas Eve and bring them to his house on Christmas Day, so I wrote to Santa and let him know that we would be at Mommy’s House this year.

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I also found this festive bouquet at Trader Joe’s last night. Always buy yourself flowers. That’s a Melissa Hartwig mandate for ya.

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So I think we’re all set for Santa! Oh, and I am re-re-starting my Couch to 5k program. The other day I treadmilled. Really. I know, who am I?

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Always cover up the console, otherwise you’ll know how little and how slowly you really ran.

But I really want to get back into running again. It’s the easiest way for me to experience sweat therapy, doesn’t cost me anything, and with the apartment gym just across from my unit I can even treadmill when the weather’s lousy.

That’s all for now, go make it a great day!