Suburban Running Problems

I think Norther California has finally accepted the fact that it’s fall. Even though it’s almost winter.
  
With the cold(ish) temps and foggy, rainy days also come the early darkness. This whole it’s-5:30-and-completely-nighttime-outside thing is really putting a cramp on my attempts at running. Hashtag “convenient excuses.” But lately I’ve had a lot of motivation and maybe an opportunity to lace up when I get home from work, but it’s now so dark I don’t feel safe. Our neighborhood planner wasn’t exactly a big fan of sidewalks it seems, so I have to run on the shoulder on many of my routes. I also like to run on the nearby trails, but that seems like the perfect recipe for a twisted ankle.

I was complaining brainstorming with Hulk about this the other day, and he suggested for the trails I get some legit, waterproof hiking shoes. That way I could go hike rain or shine and not worry about getting too wet. I love hiking in the rain, so that was a no-brainer, and some (hopefully) super sweet Merrill trail shoes are being delivered by the merry Amazon elf today.

My next hurdle besides the proper gear is lighting. I’ve ran with my iPhone flashlight on, and it’s annoying and lame. Hulk suggested I carry a real flashlight, and that seems slightly less lame. I have considered one of those geek-tastic headlamps for ultra running in the middle of the night which seems to fix my problem but I’ll feel like an idiot wearing one. Unless I’m running a 50k over a mountain at 11:00 pm I feel not “legit” enough to rock one of those. Silly, I know. 

Finally, safety. I have a white windbreaker I’ve been wearing for visibility. I might want to get some reflective stuff for it, too. I’m down with the blink light thing; coming from former bike commuting I could not put enough red blink lights on my person to feel confident I was visible to traffic. But even with all the reflection and blinky lights, I’m still betting that the driver of the car coming right at me will actually SEE me. I’m thinking I need to find some safe sidewalks to drive to for runs instead of heading out directly from my house and crossing my fingers as I trot down the shoulder of the dark road.

Ahh, suburban running problems. I’ll have to mull this all over for a bit. But I’ll take this any day over hassling through downtown SF crowds and the occasional crazy person aggressively screaming to themselves and possibly urinating on various street corners.

Are you cool with night running/walking? I’m comfortable in group runs, but solo is tough.

Blinky lights while running – yay or nay?

Go make it a great day!

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The Workit30, Days 1 & 2

While I’ve been feeling pretty good about life in general, I’ve noticed that a lot of healthy habits have been slipping. Despite constantly thinking about what I need to do, I’ve only been working out about once a week on average, and I may have had corn dogs for breakfast the other morning in a rush to get out the door. Darn adulty things and poor planning keep getting in the way.

I know I don’t have it in me to do a Whole30 yet. With the rabid Holiday season upon us now, I have some even to go to or host every weekend until New Year’s, including both of my kids’ birthdays.

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That’s right, bitchez. I’m almost a toddler now!

I know I need to do something to pull my healthy habits back on track. I’ve been listening to the audiobook version of Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin on my commute to try and inspire me, and decided a challenge with some at-home support sounded like a good idea. So Hulk and I cobbled together what I’m calling a Workit30 (in homage to the Whole30), a 30 day challenge to work out every day.

Here are the rules:

  1. Exercise every day for at least 30 minutes
  2. Any moderate to high intensity exercise counts – running, weights, power or flow yoga, HIIT drills, etc
  3. Low-impact stuff like walking only counts as a recovery day, and must be preceeded and followed by a moderately or high intense workout day
  4. Warm-up, mobility work, and stretching/light yoga are encouraged, but don’t count towards the 30 minute minimum time

We started on November 5th. I went on a 2 mile run/walk using my Couch to 5k app. I have literally been doing a couch to 5k for ten months now, because I never finish the program, and when I want to get back into it I just restart at Day 1.

This morning I threw some weights around in the home gym. Olive participated by selecting random trash bits on the floor to chew up in her favorite garage spot, the trampoline.

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You weren’t using this piece of cable, right?
  • Squats 3×10 @ 45lb
  • Bench press 3×10 @ 45lb
  • Assisted pull ups, 1×8
  •  deadlift, 3×10 @ 45lb
  • Kettlebell swings, 1×10 @ 35 lb

I’m hoping by the end of the 30 days I’ll have more of a rhythm going when it comes to working out, and maybe get a bit of my strength back. Let me know if you want to join in, or if you’re doing a similar challenge right now.

Go make it a great day!

Playing Catch-up: Parenting Rites of Passage and a Standing Desk Update

Greetings! I haven’t blogged all week, and I feel like I have so many updates now.

Filed under “parenting rites of passage achieved,” Buttercup threw my phone in the toilet last week. In the upstairs bathroom. Yes, while I was taking a nap, she crawled up the stairs, in my room, took my phone from the nightstand (which I had no idea she could even reach), crawled into the bathroom, opened the lid to the toilet (I think Squish just taught her how to do that one) and tossed my phone in. To quote Ron Burgundy, “I’m not even mad; I’m impressed!” This happened Thursday afternoon and thanks to a loaded schedule and me not being an authorized user on our phone plan, it took until Sunday night for Hulk and I to replace my phone. I actually really liked the unplanned electronic vacation, but I wish it wouldn’t have costed me the equivalent of a real vacation.

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The standing desk continues to work for me. It’s been a bit of an adjustment, mostly because I’m an idiot as usual very good at overestimating my abilities and figure I should just stand all day. And start up running again. My joints are very much “no, thank you” these days to put it politely. But it’s been very interesting to learn more about how my focus works. When I’m productive, I’m laser-focused. But when my brain just isn’t into it, since I’m standing I tend to get fidgety, and it’s very obvious that I need a break. When I was sitting, it’s easy to just sit and do nothing. It’s hard to stand and do nothing. So my productivity has gone up even though I find the need for more frequent breaks, which research shows isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

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Oh yeah, I’m trying to run again. Again. I keep going through this cycle of thinking, “I’m in rough shape, need to start working out again,” followed by an insane plot to do All The Workouts, and they only count if I do it at the crack of dawn, and I need to do them every day, then I burn out and can’t figure out why this isn’t sustainable. So I decided to take a step back and start small. What exercise makes me happy, do I enjoy doing, can be done whenever I have time, and can I see a lot of benefits from? For me, that’s running. So I’m committing to running three times a week to get back in the habit. Ideally, I want to add lifting and some yoga to the plan, but for right now my 30 minute runs three days a week is all I want to try to manage. So yesterday after work I went for a jaunt around the neighborhood to break in my new shoes.

And now we are sufficiently updated on the goings-on. Go make it a great day!

 

Whole30 Day 30!

Ahh! It’s Day 30! Holy crap, I made it!

I started out with a celebratory breakfast frittata topped with a perfectly ripe avocado, and coffee with coconut milk.

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Then a trail run. I did Day 3 of the Couch to 5k app and covered 1.97 miles. A smidge farther than last time!

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Oh, I also made the tangy bbq sauce from the Whole 30 book. I ate it with a spoon. Condiment or side dish?

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The last few days have been major “are we there yet” pains. When my family breaks out the snacks and beers, I may pout and whine a bit. But last night I thought to myself, “What if I’m doing a Whole60, or even a Whole100 and I’m nowhere near to being done yet?” I realized that if I was still in the middle of it, I wouldn’t feel so desperate to be done. I would happily prep and eat my compliant food just as before, since there would be no finish line taunting me with a guilt-free glass of wine and chocolate bar. Putting it into that perspective really helped manage the cravings for me. So I might not plunge face-first into a box of chocolate chip cookies tomorrow.

But tomorrow I am planning on reintroducing dairy. And by “dairy” I mean butter and cream. Not ice cream. Not yet, anyway. It stinks not being able to have cream in my coffee or to cook my veggies with butter, so I want to see how I handle it and make a decision on if it’s going to be a thing or not. Everything else I’m pretty okay with having on an as-needed basis, but milk or cream in coffee is a big deal for me, especially if I’m drinking coffee at work because I’m a total coffee snob and work coffee never tastes very good without it.

And I need to work on my did-it-for-real August Whole30 write up. It’ll be interesting once I start pondering things to put it all down in one place and see what happens.

Oh, and we’re leaving for Alaska this weekend. I’ll probably not be connected to social media, so if I don’t get eaten by bears, I’ll be back in a week!

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Go make it a great day!

Runday Funday (and a Rant)

So, the other day my friend texted me, “How about we do a half marathon together? In April? In Hawaii?”

Um, okay. Sounds like a horrible idea!

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So now I really do have to run and stuff. It’s no longer a “eh, I should probably get back into shape again” sort of deal. Now we’re in full-blown, “I have eight months to train and I’ve done NOTHING” mode. And even if Hawaii doesn’t happen, #gottahavegoals, right?

This morning was a 1.84 mile Couch-to-5k run. I’m on Day 2 (again)!

*This would be an inspiring running scene photo if I had remembered to take a picture, but I was too busy listening to “The Paleo Women Podcast” and dying trying to sprint up hills to do so because why run when you can sprint?*

I’m also going to focus on leg and core strength in these early stages of training, so last night after we put the kiddos to bed (early!) Hulk and I threw some weights around in the garage gym. Gym dates are back!

  • Back squat 3×10 @ 45 lbs, then 3×5 @ 65 lbs
  • Deadlift 1×5 @ 65 lbs
  • Kettlebell rows 3×8 @ 25 lbs
  • Some half-hearted kettlebell snatches that weren’t feeling it
  • Push ups 3×10

While we were lifting, I went on a rant about the “dad bod” thing. I’m super sensitive about society’s and the media’s shaming of women’s bodies, but now that it’s becoming more apparent with men too (not that it wasn’t always there, it just wasn’t on my radar) I can’t even anymore. I’m sorry that my six-pack-abs isn’t taking priority over sleepless nights trying to keep tiny humans alive. I get the whole “if it’s important to you, you’d do it” idea, but some things can’t be and are not everyone’s priority. Life is fluid, we will go through periods of motivation and focus on one thing or another, and that’s okay. We do not have to be perfect at everything all the time. And we all do stupid stuff that can hurt us. Don’t judge the overweight guy because he doesn’t prioritize diet and exercise, but he might have a great relationships with people close to him that make him happy. He has his own life to live. And this other guy with the six-pack might be eating right and working out a ton, but he can’t sleep because of work stress and has no real friends because he’s a total jerk. We all are working on our own version of ourselves, and there are so many other opportunities for growth and improvement other than body composition. Let’s focus on the good things that other people do and stop wasting time pointing out how others can do better. Okay, rant over.

Go make it a great day!

Snaps for September!

How can it be the last day of August already? I still think it’s June in my mind.

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(Side note: Calvin and Hobbes was the best part of my childhood. They practically raised me.)

I’m wrapping up my Whole30 this Friday (woot!) and now that the end of this challenge is in sights, I’m looking forward to the next one. Right now it feels good to be challenged, so I’m rolling with it. So for September, I’m going to get back to the gym and running again. What will be nice is having a whole week in Alaska that I can use to “reset” some habits. Do you use vacations or travel to try and adopt a new habit or mindset? I find that getting out of Dodge helps me to put things in perspective, and when I get back home I’m usually pretty recharged to tacking life again head-on. And it’ll totally be do-able to work out in Alaska given that we have no real plans or schedule yet. All I know is we’re flying into Anchorage, and if we don’t get eaten by wolves or bears or something we’ll fly home the following week. Real vacations don’t do plans.

I also want to knock out some goals for the month:

  1. Work out six days a week (one rest day in there)
  2. Do one pull-up (assisted somehow)
  3. Do a two minute plank
  4. Squat, deadlift, and bench 100# (this one might be tough for a month, but we’ll see)

Okay, now I feel really pumped and want to run like 10 miles now. But instead I’ll go to work and sit at a desk all day. That’s fun, too.

Go make it a great day!

Picking Up

Yesterday I picked up my Couch to 5k again and went for a run before work. I did 1.72 miles, and wished it was a bit longer. Once I get moving in the morning, I really like running. The trick is to talk myself into getting out of my warm, cozy bed when my brain still thinks it’s too early. Stop it, brain. We have things to do.

  
I’m on Day 20 of Whole30, and the past several days have been a struggle. I am having regular cheat dreams where I binge on whatever I want. Last night it was fun size candy bars on a sinking ship.  There’s a metaphor for you. I can’t make this stuff up. Anyway, this Whole30 has been easy to stick with only because I’m so doggedly determined to follow through. But I am pretty mentally exhausted from telling myself, “no, why don’t you have a can of tuna on some lettuce instead” all the time. I just want to nuke a frozen corn dog and call it good. But it’ll make me feel crappy, so I nuke a chicken apple sausage instead.

  
What do I do to feel better about food? Get new food! My Tin Star Foods ghee came, and I am now in blissful butter-flavored heaven. All the ghee. It’s stupid expensive – came out to around $16 per 1lb jar – but I am so happy for a different cooking fat other than coconut oil. Sometimes I use olive oil for variety, which contrary to other stuff I’ve read is perfectly safe to cook with. But I’m to the point where I need some variety, and ghee delivers.

  
Another way to keep it interesting when I’m feeling “meh” about a Whole30 meal is to indulge in favorites. I didn’t pack a lunch yesterday, and the thought of a tuna salad depressed me. So I threw in some almond butter, a fruit salad, and splurged on some Epic bacon bites which are a new obsession.

  
Bacon. In bite form. 100% compliant with no added sweeteners. Zghomg.

I can’t get anywhere better after that so go make it a great day!

Business as Usual

It’s been a while since I’ve talked about my meals and workouts. Mostly because I don’t think anyone cares. But my life is pretty boring, so without lots of chatting around pictures of bacon ‘n’ eggs and the obligatory “running shoes standing outside” to emphasize a run, I don’t have much to talk about.

 
“Lies! All lies!”

Anyway, I’d like to get back to tracking my meals and exercise again. Now that Buttercup has been here for a few months,  we’ve moved into our “forever house,” and I’m not traveling for work as much, I feel like I’m at a place now where I can get back to business as usual.

Yesterday I had to meet the carpool early and I knew I wouldn’t have time for breakfast, so I put my breakfast and lunch together the night before. That’s right ladies and gentlemen, I planned ahead. I cooked a cube of ground beef with some garlic and onion and portioned it out into two containers for each meal. Then I packed some snap peas to go with breakfast and a green salad for lunch. Plus some carrots and a bag of “trail mix” (coconut flakes and macadamia nuts) for a snack. Boom. 

  
This is my Tower o’ Food.

This morning I worked from home, so instead of commuting I got a great 2.84 mile trail run in. Upgrade.

 
Slightly better than sitting on the San Mateo bridge. 
Meanwhile, the latest in the “I freaking love this house” adventures is the first of the lemons on our lemon tree have ripened!

 
I am now putting lemon juice on EVERYTHING. Can life get better? I submit that it cannot. 

That’s what I’ve got for today. Go make it a great day!

The Life-Changing Magic of Clean All the Things

This morning was another great run.

 
I have just 4 workouts left in my Couch to 5k program, and one strength workout left in my Spitfire plan. I’m hoping to knock it all off and have a few “unplanned” workouts before we move over Memorial Weekend.

  

Oh yeah, the move. The plan is to sign papers today. Then we will officially be homeowners. Ahh! We are so pumped to finally have a little breathing room. Despite how much stuff I get rid of, a two bedroom apartment is just is too small for four humans and a dog. 

Speaking of too much stuff, I did pick up “The Life-Changing Magic of Tyding Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” by Marie Kendo after hearing good things about it. 

 
I thought I would start reading it last Saturday night when I went to bed. Nothing like a book on organizing to put one to sleep, right? Well, I polished off the entire book by 11:30, and was so jazzed and inspired to CLEAN ALL THE THINGS that I got to work on my closet and by 2:30 am had five trash bags of clothes and accessories destined for Goodwill. I told my neighbor about the book too, and now he has a small pile of stuff gleaned from his place thats’s probably sufficient to furnish another apartment. This book is good and I would totally recommend it if you feel like your place is too cluttered but you don’t know what to do about it.

Okay, now that I’m thinking about decluttering again I want to get back to work. Go make it a great day!

Le Weekend

i can’t believe it’s Monday already. That’s what happens when you actually have plans over the weekend, I suppose. It was still a blast, and I will most likely be paying for it for the next few days *cough* allthebeer.

Saturday started out innocent enough. While Hulk was out running errands, Squish and I had a lovely weekend breakfast involving Nutella.

  
Then we went to SF Oysterfest in Golden Gate Park. I had way more oysters and beer than what was probably recommended for my age group.

  
Sunday morning started off with more brunch and more Nutella. Hulk’s mom was visiting, so we had a nice Mother’s Day brunch at La Boulange then took Squish to the playground so he could burn off some Nutella. When we were cold and wanted to go home we were met with only minor protests.

  
Later we went and checked out the house we’ve almost bought. Two more weeks! 

Then we went home to lay around and eat leftovers.

  
  

After all that, I still managed to get my run in this morning. 

  
Woo-hoo! I finally broke 3 miles! 

And that is all.

Well, I still need to finish putting together my Whole30 wrap up. That’s on the bucket list for this week. And we got a dog on Wednesday, so I need to give you the proper introduction to her when I get the chance. So, I guess that’s all for now.

Go make it a great Monday!