Sunday, April 13, 2014
I am loving the spring weather that suddenly arrived, at least for a couple of days, but wow, 70 degrees felt like 80 degrees when I went out to run. I guess I just got used to the big chill. Couldn't believe how sluggish I felt. But the major sweat felt good, despite the fact that I had to take some extra walk breaks to wipe my dripping face.
But ... Maybe not just the temp. I didn't sleep too well last night or the night before. Had a hard time getting moving this morning, but figured some good exercise was the best way to ensure a good sleep tonight. I need it!
Also, I did the run today that I probably should have done last week. I bought a new pair of running shoes last Saturday, and on Sunday did 7.5 miles in them. On some mean hills. I kept going because the shoes felt so comfy. Felt great and nothing hurt when I finished, but throughout last week I was getting a swollen calf and ankle when I stood too long. No bruise or injury I could blame it on, so I'm guessing it was from not breaking in the shoes. They feel great, but fit differently, which means my feet hit the pavement differently and stress spots will be different, I suppose. Anyway, felt good today, but I did some extra walk breaks in the beginning just to be sure, and by the end I was needing them because I felt zapped. Maybe I just never got my rhythm because I stopped too much. Oh well, got in an hour of exercise and worked up a good sweat!
Planning a 10k next weekend, but I have not committed with a signup yet. Want to see first if I notice any swelling this week. I'd rather work the distance up slowly than push too hard and end up hurt. It is a hilly course, too, which I have been working toward, but it won't be an easy one. So ... We'll see.
I am ignoring all weather forecasts because people are saying it's supposed to snow tomorrow, and I do NOT want to hear that! But there was a stiff breeze during my jog/walk, so change is in the air. Ugh!
Sunday, April 06, 2014
I need to do some thinking and set out a plan again.
I was in a good groove with logging nutrition and exercise, staying on track with my daily goals/ to-dos, received a consistency award for March and immediately bailed for a week. Oops! Was on vacation the first week in April, with plenty of exercise and pretty good nutrition considering how difficult it can be when on the road, eating out and off schedule. But now I am finding it hard to refocus. Have a few different goals in mind and need to decide which to focus on.
I finished Meatless March (a challenge from my niece) and had my first taste of meat in more than a month yesterday, only because I was running around with my teen boys and they really wanted Chick-Fil-A for lunch. Seriously, I discovered that I don't like meat very much. Didn't really miss it at all. So I think I will mostly continue to go meatless. It isn't so much about the meat for me, but going meatless makes me focus so much more on eating a variety of vegetables. I think I just eat healthier that way. It easier when making family meals to eat meat if it's mixed into the main course, so I don't plan to make life inconvenient or difficult to make it work, but I have added a lot of meatless recipes to our regular dinners so it won't be very often.
I am still running and enjoying that. Plan to do a 10k coming up and hopefully a 15k before too long, still doing a yoga class once a week and LOVING that both on its own and because it helps me stay strong and flexible for running. But I need to get back in the groove on my 20 minutes of daily exercise. I have been skipping my early am exercise too often lately. Sometimes due to work conflicts, but sometimes just because I've broken the habit and am letting myself decide when the alarm goes off if I'm going to get moving and do it. 5 am is no time to be making such a decision! :-/ I love the running, but I only can get a run in twice a week right now. I don't want to let myself get in that bad habit of thinking I did a long run on Sunday, so I can sleep in on Wednesday. I worked too long to get into the daily exercise habit, and I don't want to ditch it!
Despite a small pile of snow along our driveway that just refuses to melt away, spring is in the air and I am considering taking on a garden again. It's been a few years, and was mostly my husbands project when we had one. So I'm still just thinking about it because I'm wondering if I really want to commit the daily time to plant, weed, water and pick. But the idea of fresh veggies from the garden sounds so yummy right now!
Also, my husband has been wanting me to take up golf (his favorite sport) and mentioned one of the local courses giving lessons. Golf appeals to my love of being outdoors, and it is a good sport that we could do together. But ... It is time consuming and expensive. I usually use my husbands's golf time to either get work done around the house or do a long run. It would be nice to have an activity to do together, especially now that the kids are older and our time of attending all of their activities is winding down. Just not sure I have the time for golf right now, though.
And, I've been reading a book about and practicing mindfulness meditation. Really feel that it is something I want to do. I spend much of my days in a race against time and my to do list, and it is important to slow down, focus and just BE. It is something I can use through my day to help me focus on the task at hand, be a good noticer and a good listener, and not get stressed. But I'm not yet into a routine of doing it every day or at a regular time.
So ... it is definitively time to rethink my daily, weekly and spring/summer goals and make a plan to fit in all the things I really want to do. I am hoping to do a half-marathon this summer, but am beginning to wonder if a 15k would be enough of a goal. I definitely want to keep jogging, but thinking of all the other things I'd like to do, I wonder if working up to that distance will exclude too many other activities. And diversity is good.
No decisions yet. Going to think about it for a bit, see what I can fit in, and then decide what is just a passing interest and what I really want to make a priority.
I think every spring I get into this mood of blossoming possibilities, which can be fun if I don't overwhelm myself. :-)
Sunday, March 23, 2014
I was so excited when my local running store posted that their running group had done a run early last week on the bike trail and it was all clear. Couldn't wait to get out there myself today, off roads, off sidewalks, away from all traffic and into quiet, nature areas. Yay!
It was such a peaceful jog. I did 7 miles today. Passed by brown fields, bare branch woods and saw no flowers yet, but it still seemed so pretty after a few months of running around my neighborhood roads. Which still have some snow from the plowed-up piles at intersections and next to driveways.
Was really pleased that I kept up a pretty good pace, too. Thought, and told myself I would allow for, going back to a slower pace as I added miles back on, but didn't need to. It was so motivating to see the quiet trail stretching out before me that it didn't even feel like a long run. Also I was able to have music on my earbuds, which I won't do if running on roads since I want to hear traffic, so that really helped me to "find my groove" and just keep going.
We are taking a mini-vacation next weekend, so I bet there will be green and flowers by the time I hit the trail again in two weeks. Happy spring is on it's way! I want to do some trail runs once things dry out a little. Hiking trails are very soggy now, but will be dry before long.
Sunday, March 16, 2014
My goal weight is still 5lbs or so away, but I am very happy where I am. Not because it's the perfect weight on any scale (because it isn't) or because I look incredibly fit and fabulous (although I like the way I look now).
I just feel like I have established so many good habits. Healthy eating and regular exercise are a just a part of my life now. Sure, I still have to plan my week of menus and activities so I know where I can fit them in, and yes, my plans get derailed more often than I'd like, but these are no longer things I have to give a lot of thought to. It's just what I DO now.
I would never have guessed in the beginning that exercise would become my way of relaxing. I don't need to flop on the couch after exercising, or have a snack, or buy a new workout outfit. The exercise is now the reward in itself. Same with healthy eating. I WANT those vegetables with every meal. I took a Meatless March challenge and have not really noticed a difference--my focus at meals is already on vegetables, fruits and healthy grains.
It's not that I couldn't do more. It's just that I like where I'm at. I'm doing an amount of exercise that fits well into my life and my schedule--a routine I can easily live with and keep up over time. And I'm eating and cooking food in a way that is healthy but easy on my family life (the boys did not go meatless--I am just adding meat for them after I take my portion).
I still have some goals I want to meet. I want to run a 15k in a month or so and a half-marathon this summer or early fall. But that may be the limit of what I can safely do while jogging just a couple times per week. I like the idea of running a marathon, but think that would take more time than I can realistically devote for now without risking injury from inadequate training.
I also want to lose those last few pounds just so I have some "wiggle room" with a clear range to stay under. Experienced the slow, steady weight creep once, and I am not going there again!
Still thinking about work, which seems to be my biggest challenge to staying consistent with my healthy habits. I like my job (well, most of it), but after 12 years, thinking I might like to try something new with a more predictable schedule. But since I'm not sure what I want to do next and it's nearly impossible to do a proper job search given my schedule, I am just plugging along and debating what my goals really are in terms of work.
So life isn't perfect, and I don't expect it ever will be. I'm not the perfect weight, I'm not the fittest person around (but I think now fitter than average), and I don't always eat the most nutritious option.
But the important thing is I FEEL good. I have energy, I am fit and healthy, and I LIKE the path I'm on. Which doesn't mean I am at the end of my journey--just that I'm ready to hold steady for a while.
After those few more pounds, that is. Those are going soon, I hope! Things will move slowly, I know, since I'm no longer making drastic changes to eating and exercise, but I'll get there. And since I'm already happy, seeing those last few pounds drop will just be the icing OFF the cake! :-)
Sunday, March 09, 2014
I have just started reading Mindfulness for Beginners by Jon Kabat-Zinn, and yesterday came across the following: "If we are not careful, it is all too easy to fall into becoming a human DOING rather than a human BEING, and to forget WHO is doing all the doing, and why."
That really made me stop and think. Over the past few years of using Spark People to set and reach a variety of goals, I have learned to align my to do list better with my goals. I am more efficient with my time, and spend more time on things that are important to me, such as getting fit and eating healthy. But still, I spend a lot of my time planning and juggling my to do list. I am proud of being productive and getting a lot done each day.
Which isn't a bad thing, but I definitely can get caught up in thinking about my next to do and the one after, and forget to stop and BE in the moment where I am. There are times when I do find this focus, and love it. Jogging, especially longer distances, helps me clear my mind and concentrate on body, breath and the world I am traveling through. When I work with children and get caught up in their stories and their play, I can concentrate wholly on the activities around me for a time--as if being surrounded by children takes me back to my own childhood concentration (remember when the day seemed to last forever?) When reading, I can get totally caught up in a plot and its characters.
But usually? Usually, I am thinking about one thing, doing another, and sometimes talking with someone about a third. I amaze myself with my ability to multitask. Yet I know it isn't the best way to turn out anything of quality. I have to block out my day and save tasks that require concentration for the "slower" times.And all that multitasking wears me out. Sometimes my brain just shuts down. I feel like I can't think clearly or talk straight--I go immediately form ultra productive to burnt out and done.
And is this any way to enjoy life? Always thinking of the next thing coming up? How often do we say we can't wait for the weekend, can't wait for something to be done and over, can't wait to accomplish some goal. Doing this constantly makes you overlook the present moment, continuously. And life is too short to fast-forward through it.
I do enjoy my life. I'm not someone who wishes to be somewhere, someone or something else. But I think I am guilty of rushing life along.
I am just beginning this book, but am looking forward to getting some practice at slowing down and just BEING in the now.
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