Thursday, May 29, 2014

Mulligan May

You guys....I am TIRED.  Since my last post there has been one four-day trip home, one three-day trip home, three house viewings, one company dinner cruise on Lake Michigan (I felt so fancy! :P ), home-buying pre-approval process adventures and meetings with realtors.  There has also been, however, a distinct lack of a regular exercise schedule and my diet can best be described as an unchaperoned child at a birthday party. (Thank you ecards....those are seriously addicting!)  So I am declaring this month Mulligan May.  The way I see it, I've managed to keep a normal schedule for roughly a year in a half taking a "rest week" here and there over holidays and such.  Losing track for a bit is something I shouldn't beat myself up for.  Right?.....RIGHT?!

Now, how come I can't convince my brain of that?

So yeah, yay guilt, but I've managed to get back on it (mostly) since getting back from the Memorial Day trip home. And the trips were a blast! (Although, kind of a blur at this point) I was able to visit with a ton of people that I hadn't seen in ages.  AND I ran my second "official" 5k race!  The Races for all Paces event is held by Sarah Bush, and my dad has been a volunteer for a couple years now.  When he found out I'd be home that weekend he offered to sign me up and I said sure!  Now...I don't know if it was the lack of working out giving my legs a rest or the extra carbs I had been consuming, or the race day adrenaline, but something very strange happened.  This was my first time running on pavement and not the treadmill since last fall, (Yes...I am a wuss) you would THINK that my time on the road would be slower than my normal treadmill time.  My personal best on the treadmill was timing chip for the race said 34:57.

You can see why I'm skeptical.

So, for all the reasons mentioned previously, I think the timing chip was being generous.  My muscles the next day however, said maaaaybe the chip was accurate.  I'll take it.  :)

So that was my main health-related accomplishment since my last post.  There are plenty of life-related accomplishments in the form of staying with mom for four days, celebrating our work accomplishments at a fancy dinner and getting to visit family and friends!  I won't call the house buying stuff an accomplishment YET.  I'll save that for when we find something.  That whole process is just fraught with anxiety for me, by the way.  I'm glad I have Nathan there to keep me calm through the whole thing.  I would include a photo barrage of recent events, but as I said before, I am LE I shall go to take a nap....

Or you know...just go to sleep...and I'm not firing any missiles. (Kudos to those who got the reference)  :)

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Races Races Races

I vaguely realize it's been almost three weeks since my last post, but honestly, things have been so chaotic that it hasn't felt that long.  The past couple weeks have kind of blended together in a mesh of chaos and the responsibilities of being an adult.  Among the mix of crazy other than the standard job crazy has been figuring out how soon we want to possibly be homeowners (a terrifyingly adult dilemma) and dealing with multiple vet visits for one of our cats.  It just so happened to be the cat that is the most "I'm a delicate princess" diva-cat, Jezebel.  She had to have surgery to remove a lump from her jaw, which meant she had to wear the cone-of-shame.  For 10 days.  Which, I can assure you was something she continued to let us know was unacceptable.  Her favorite method of notifying us of this fact was scratching incessantly at the cone for hours on end in the middle of the night.  I do not understand how some people say that cats have no personality.  Ours have very different and distinct personalities.  Now, people saying cats are assholes, I totally get.  But no personality?  Stay with us for a while and you will feel differently.  The whole thing was actually pretty comical once my feelings of extreme guilt during the first few days were over.

Day 1 right after getting home.  She got so tired trying to get out of the cone, she flopped over and fell asleep.
Also day 1.  Sleeping off the drugs

A couple days later.  She would not accept us not petting her at this point.  Like I said...Diva-cat.

One bonus to the crazy schedule has been that I've inadvertently re-established a running routine.  I had been doing a fairly good job fitting in my runs but they were kind of here and there and I hadn't been making a lot of progress on my PR time.  So busy weeks have given me a running schedule of one easy day and one day of sprints during the week and then a long run on Saturday where I run a 5k for time and then continue with my running intervals up through at least 50 minutes.  I've come to love sprint day.  I get a good workout that's really time-efficient and also does wonders for my endurance.  Case in point:  yesterday.  After doing sprints once a week for a few weeks (and also having some really REALLY good strong coffee) I managed a 5k time of 36:15.  That was almost a full minute off of my previous PR.  I felt like a total badass.  I desperately needed a win like that since my motivation to get the runs done had been taking many many hits lately.  It was pretty nice.  I also have been trying to include some extra strength training, which could have helped, but my lungs always seem to give out during my runs before my legs, so I'm giving the credit to the coffee and the sprints.  Also, a disclaimer:  my runs are 90% of the time done on the treadmill.  I know many runners who would scoff at me for doing as many of the workouts as I do on the treadmill, but the way I see it, improvement is improvement and it's better than not running at all.

That's right.  I'm a badass.  Also, seriously, if you can find that coffee, GET IT.
Races are coming up soon!  A 5k sponsored by Sarah Bush at home May 17th and then the Color Run in Racine May 24th.  I think it's safe to say I'm feeling a lot better about both of them after this weekend. :)

Monday, April 14, 2014

I dub thee, the winter that will never end.

It's April 14th and snowing.  I'm starting to resent Wisconsin for taking away my love of snow.  I used to ADORE snow, and just fall/winter in general.  Cozy sweaters, pretty snowfalls and hot chocolate.  Then came -45 below zero, months worth of it snowing at least once a week causing my 40 minutes one way commute to turn into closer to an hour FREAKING SNOW IN MID APRIL.  So really, maybe it's not Wisconsin so much as it is having to deal with winter weather as an adult.

In any case, we have had breaks from the weather here and there which has made the fact that the major project I've been on at work that has had me pulling all kinds of hours is essentially finished!  Well not finished so much as passed our major milestone.  It's a deadline we've been working towards for essentially two years so it feels good.  Last weekend was, in fact, the first weekend in six weeks where I did not have to work in any capacity.  It was pretty nice.  The previous weekend though was even better.

Nathan had a very rare weekend off, so while I did have to work from home for a few hours on Saturday, Sunday we made one of our trips to Milwaukee.  Our normal m.o. while up there is to head straight for a very awesome comic shop Lost World of Wonders.  However, we accidentally got there an hour before they opened which gave us a chance to explore the shop next door which is fast becoming one of my favorite stores to visit up there:  American Science and Surplus.  A very large store full of fun little science stuff.  Lab glass, chemistry kits, grow-your-own venus fly traps, telescopes, even random instrument parts.  They have old VCR and 8 track players.  Basically, it doesn't matter how many times I've been in there, I still have fun going.

Yes, that is a Tesla coil on the shelf.  This place is that cool.
I have purchased from there a 50 mL beaker to use as a shot glass.  I like to think I take my mixology seriously.

All in all, that day was GREAT for helping me hit the reset button from all the work stress.  After wandering through the store we made it back over to the comic shop then eventually made our way back home.  Next time, I hope to get to downtown Milwaukee know...when it's finally warm enough to walk around outside without freezing...

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Just call me chef.

After working late Friday evening and into Saturday, I awoke to find a Sunday that was blissfully work-free for the first time in roughly a month.  Nathan had to work all day, which left me to my own devices with nothing planned.  So what's a girl to do?  I cooked.  All freakin afternoon long.  Now, I know what you're thinking:  "All Sunday free and you choose COOKING?!  Where you snowed in?!"  And, that would be a logical question given it's Wisconsin and even though it's the beginning of April, we're still wearing winter coats.  But, no, I was not snowed in, and yes, I spent all day cooking.  And you know what?

I had a blast!

I never thought I would find cooking and baking a good form of stress relief, but recently I absolutely have.  I think it has something to do with feeling like I'm in a chemistry lab, except I have free reign to do whatever the hell I want without risk of blowing something up.  Well...without AS MUCH risk, anyway.  On Sunday's menu was a blueberry oatmeal bake, oatmeal raisin cookies, an avocado egg salad, and for dinner that night I made greek yogurt marinated chicken with balsamic sauteed mushrooms.  Everything turned out incredibly tasty!  All of it was a big hit with Nathan as well with the exception of the avocado egg salad, which he has not tried.  That's just because I've been hogging it all for my lunches to take to work and he's not big on avocado anyway.  Here's a rundown of the results! :)

The oatmeal raisin cookies!! Nathan was pouting like a five year old when I was loading up the tupperware to take some to work.  I still say I was doing us both a favor, considering the batch made 3 dozen.
Blueberry oatmeal bake.  FANTASTIC breakfast if you like blueberries.
Oatmeal raisin batter.  I may or may not have sampled some before baking.....(I did.)
Avocado egg salad.  It may not look appetizing, but it's very yummy.
Ok, I know this picture comes off as "look.....mushrooms...." but trust me, the picture does not do them justice.
The greek yogurt marinated chicken.  May not look like much either, but was also very very yummy.
The bonus to all of this is my lunches and breakfasts that I've been taking to work have kicked some serious tail all week!  It's also keeping me on track as the only unhealthy recipe was the oatmeal raisin cookies and I still say that they have oatmeal AND raisins which are both healthy foods soooooooo......that counts right?  If anyone would like links to any of the recipes feel free to ask!  And with that I'm off to look at cooking classes because I've obviously missed my calling.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Burgers, Beer and Backbends

A life without burger and beer nights would be a life not worth living.  I mean, why else would you live in Wisconsin if not for the awesome beer?  In my case, I prefer Spotted Cow from New Glarus.  I'm going to have to get that stuff shipped regularly if we ever move out of state.  Another completely fantastic option: pasta and wine.....or dessert and wine....or really just the wine.

I like wine.

Tonight was burger and beer night, however.  Me and Nathan are both particularly stressed out at work right now and it was exactly what we needed.  I'm a big fan of the 80/20 rule of being healthy 80% of the time and splurging 20%.  Hey, anything that equates it back to math is going to work for me because I'm just....that...nerdy.  :)  The splurging helps me stay sane during high stress points at work and also helps me not break and go on a "oh my god what is that, I must stuff it in my face!" food-n-drink-a-thon.  The good news is the work stress should subside soon....should....

Most recent workout:  yoga!  I blew off working out tonight (see above).  But yesterday's was yoga.  I may have started yoga as just a way to supplement my running, but it has since become much more than that to me.  It has become a very effective way to de-stress and challenge my body to do things it has either never been able to do before or hasn't been able to for a very long time.  Case in point:  Upward Bow pose (yogi sanskrit name Urdhva Dhanurasana.....I think....I'm still learning those)  I still can't believe I can actually do that now!

Yes! OK? Yes, I was so excited that I got up into that pose that I made Nathan come in and take a picture.  Yes.  I'll admit it.
Ok, so basically it's a back bend.  But you wanna know when the last time I was able to do that was?  Gymnastics.  I WAS SIX.  For those keeping track, that's 23 years ago.  I'm probably not executing it perfectly but I'm still completely jazzed about the fact that I did it after practicing for over a year.

My next hurdle is Crow pose.  Look it up, if you wish.  It is the current bane of my yoga existence.  Basically anything arm balance related has been very difficult for me to get.  I would probably be able to progress faster if I attended classes in person, but my work schedule makes it difficult, so finding teachers online has been my way of doing things so far.  One thing I can say is that yoga absolutely teaches patience and not trying to push your body into poses it's not ready for.  A knee injury early on helped me learn that REAL quick.

If anyone is interested in teachers/dvds/yoga books that have helped me, just let me know and I'd be happy to give recommendations!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Back in the saddle.

What? It's only two years later.

Also, I heard that AWESOME Aerosmith song on my way to work this morning and it's stuck in my head as I'm writing this.

I've decided to pick this blog back up for two main reasons:  1.  Other blogs I read routinely have picked back up and it made me think about doing it again (yes, I am, occasionally, a follower).  2.  I've decided to use it as a way to keep up with my health maintenance.  If you know me at all, you are already aware that one of the major changes in my life over the past two years (in addition to new jobs and relocation) has been my health.  I started running, doing yoga (neither of which I am particularly great at but vastly enjoy) and trying my best to eat better.  When I started I came up with a plan, stuck to it and managed to lose a significant amount of weight.  The hardest part of all that was the initial effort of coming up with the plan and forcing myself to stick to the schedule.  I don't mean to trivialize that to anyone who might read this that is currently in the process of where I was then.  It took me over a decade to have a successful attempt.  Keep going!  However, now that I'm at my goal weight, there's one aspect that I wasn't expecting:

It turns out maintaining is HARD.

The difficulty has caused me to start overly obsessing about numbers (calories, etc.) and taking the fun out of the whole thing.  I know, I know what you're thinking, and YES, running can be fun.  In a way.  I never actually thought I would agree with that sentence, but it's true.  So, I mostly intend on using this blog as a catch-all for updates about our life, running progress, yoga progress, any fun new workout I discover, and new recipes I find and really just a way to get it all out of my head.  The recipes will NOT all be uber-healthy-insertlatesthealthcrazehere recipes.  One of the main reasons I've focused so much on the working out is I love food.  A lot.  And I didn't want to give any of it up.  Cut back? Sure.  Give up? No.

Oh, also you can probably expect random geek references.  Sorrynotsorry.

I will probably not be posting when I update this blog to my facebook page mostly because I'm doing this for me as a way to get my thoughts out.  I may decide to later, but right now I don't feel like it's necessary.  I do, of course, still welcome any and all who might be interested in reading!

Also, despite the fact that I've been showing it off like a new parent shows off pictures of their kid, I'm closing with my before/after picture.  (I feel slightly guilty about how much I've been showing it off....but...meh) See it as a "here's part of what I've been up to!" thing.

Ta-daaaa! :)