Sunday, October 12, 2014

Weekend Report...Hard Truths

Hi everyone! It's been awhile. How IS everybody?

So about a month ago, I started feeling really bogged down and burnt out, but I couldn't really put my finger on why.Our family had some heavy duty job stress and I had just started our first year of home school with Little Man, and it wasn't going as smoothly as I'd imagined it was going to be. I couldn't seem to keep up with cooking, cleaning up (my kid is OBSESSED with Legos and they.are.everywhere) and I felt like I was spending more time planning things than I actually was doing them.

So I took a month hiatus from blogging, hardcore running, organizing and planning. I focused on relaxing and on my kid. I capped the month off with a trip to the beach, and I came home feeling refreshed and ready to start things up again.

During my month off all things unnecessary, I had a lot of time to think about why I was feeling so stressed out and bogged down. Here are the truths I came up with--and some of them were hard for me to admit to myself:

I was dreading the Princess Half Marathon. Yes, you read that right. The thought of the cost, the training, putting together intricate costumes--it just all became too much. I don't have a good group of running buddies close by, and the idea of training alone through the holidays wore me out just to think about it.

I finally had to admit to myself that I just don't love half marathons like I do the 5k and the 10k. And once I finally said it, it was such a  relief. It was a huge pressure taken right off my chest--pressure put on by my own self. Silly, right? I'm still going to go to PHM weekend, and I'm definitely going to do the 5K and 10K--I'm just not sure about the half yet. Instead of making it a big family vacation, it's going to be a shorter trip--allowing for another family vacation later in the year, one where I don't have to get up at 2 AM for days in a row.

I want to branch out from running.  I know I've talked about cross training before, but I really want to incorporate something into my life that is exercise that isn't running. Running on it's own isn't enough to keep me healthy. When I got mono back in April, my doctor told me it would be out of my system in 8 weeks. What she failed to mention was that I'd feel the effects of it for up to a year. I need to be stronger. Being stronger equals running faster, right?

I wasn't sure why I was blogging. I've always been a writer--it's my preferred method of communication and my way of keeping up with life. I have boxes and boxes of journals I kept when I was younger, so blogging seemed like the natural step. But then I'd get hung up on what to write about, how much to share, what to post on social media--once again, pressure from myself (are we seeing a pattern here?). I'd lay awake in bed obsessing over link ups and page views. Aye yi yi.

But after a month away from my keyboard, I started to miss it. And I started to miss you guys--the people I follow that I've never met. I started to wonder how fall marathon training was going, who'd had babies, how back to school was going. And so I came back to my humble little corner of the internet. I'm trying a few tweaks in my blog planning and writing schedule, and I'm doing some heavy duty thinking about what this blog is about. It started out as a place to share my writing and ended up as a health and fitness blog--who would have known it would take on such a change?

And finally, I need to find a balance between my need to plan everything down to the minute and being flexible enough to enjoy life. I don't know what has come over me recently--my type A personality went into overdrive while the rest of my family suddenly became more relaxed and spontaneous. I'll be writing a post dedicated to this topic soon, because it's something I'm still fleshing out.

So there are the first world problems I've been chewing over. And now I'm off to my Bloglovin' feed to catch up on everything I missed in September. Can't wait to hear what everyone has been up to!

A penny for your thoughts: do you ever need to step back and reassess things? Why do you blog?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Rise & Shine Challenge and September Goals

My biggest overall goal this month is to enjoy my mornings. Since shifting my workouts to the afternoon, I've been trying to find a pattern for my mornings. My son goes to work with my husband for a few hours in the morning, so it's my alone time for the day--but I'm usually unfocused and end up wasting my time.

I mentioned a few days ago that I was following Abundant Mama's 10 day "Rise & Shine" challenge. Since good mornings have a lot to do with my goals this month, I wanted to share the three biggest concepts I took away from the challenge.

Set a daily intention: The idea that really resonated with me about setting a daily intention is that it changes every day. You focus on what you need out of you morning each day--some days I need that time in the morning to write. Some days I need it to exercise. Some days, I just need to rest. The important part is that you give yourself what you need.
Focus on nightly bedtime rituals: Find something that relaxes you and do it every night. There is no right answer here, Maybe it's writing a to-do list, meditating, doing yoga, or reading. The key is to not overwhelm yourself with it, just to find what works for you.
Make morning rituals: Even though your daily intention may change, there should be something you do first thing every morning that helps you start your day fresh and happy. For me, it's my lemon water. I love that first drink of cold water.

Good Morning!

A penny for your thoughts: what do  you do to to make your mornings better? What are your goals for September?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Princess Costume Decisions: Ariel, Rapunzel and...Eeyore?

Today's "Tuesday on the run", brought to you by My No-Guilt Life, Run the Great Wide Somewhere and MCM Mama Runs, is about a topic near and dear to our hearts: running in costume. 

Costumes are a huge thing in my running circles--and yet I've yet to wear one.

It's not that I haven't had the opportunity--I did start my running journey with runDisney, after all. But when I did my first Princess Half Marathon, I was so daunted by my first long distance that I didn't dare run in anything too different from my usual running attire.

I added a little sparkle for my first long race, but that was all. 

For 2015, however, I want to join in the fun. I don't know if I'll be going all out--I'm still a little iffy on covering 13.1 miles wearing tulle--but I'm looking forward to coming up with costumes for the three princess themed races.

I still have a lot of time to think about it, but I know I want to do an Ariel themed costume, Redheads have to stick together, after all. Here are some pinterest inspirations I've found:




As for the other two, I can't decide. I love Rapunzel and bookish-Belle and my favorite "classic" princess is Sleeping Beauty. And then there's my son, who really, really wants me to "dress up like Jessie, Mom! She's better than a princess. She's a cowgirl! Or if you can't be Jessie, you should be Eeyore!" Who am I to deny the request of an adorable 4-year-old boy who loves Disney but has very little appreciation for princesses? He does accompany me on many of my training runs, after all.

I'm hoping to do some costume practice runs this fall. I'm running two superhero themed races and a Halloween race that will be the perfect opportunity to test out  tulle and other things that come along with costuming.

A penny for your thoughts: do you run in costume? Have any advice for a costume newbie like me? 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tuesdays on the Run: My Cross Training Wish List

Hey everyone! I'm linking up again this week with Patty, Erika and April for Tuesdays on the run. This week we're talking about cross training.

When I was a new runner and heard "cross training", I thought, cross country running? Like in high school? Nope. It's any other kind of exercise, and it's important because it helps you get stronger and become a better runner.

Imagine the mess Katniss would have been in if she hadn't cross trained.

As I've talked about before, variety has not been my strong suit. I like my cardio--but I'm getting better about it. I'm currently doing a strength training plan that incorporates running. Baby steps! But I have a whole list of things I'd love to do once I'm stronger:

Rock Climbing: When I was younger, I did a lot of rappelling and climbing. I spent a good portion of my summer attached to a mountain (thanks, Girl Scouts!). I'm not as brave as I was when I was a kid, so I'd be happy to find a rock climbing gym and scale pretend mountains.

Rowing: Another childhood love was canoeing and kayaking--something else I haven't done since early college. When you're a kid you don't really think about the health benefits of tooling around on the water, but rowing is a great upper body workout.

Paddle Boarding: Right now, I can only imagine how challenging this would be for me because my core is really weak. I think it looks like a lot of fun, though.

Aerial: Okay, guys. This is waaaaaay down on the wish list because I'd probably do myself great bodily harm if I attempted it right now. But wouldn't it be awesome to swing around in the air in an aerial silk? And, um, be strong enough to get up there?

I'm inspired looking at my list. Good thing today is arm day, huh?

A penny for your thoughts: what's on your athletic non-running wish list?

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Weekend Report

I'm going into week 3 of the Run Builder strength training plan, so I thought I'd share my progress and goals for the week.

(On a side note, every time I look at "Weekend report" all I can think of is the little song from the Octonauts: "creature report, creature report, CREATURE REPORT!" Anyone else? Just me? Okay then.)

Anyway, back to it. 

Last week I only missed one workout. I have the "at home" version of the plan, but I find it difficult to do the workout designed for chest and back at home. It requires sitting on an incline for a lot of the exercises and I don't have anything that works quite right, and I didn't make it to the gym. Other than that, I was pleased with how well I was able to stick with it last week. The exercises, while still challenging, didn't make me feel like I was going to pass out this week, and I started to see the scale move a little. This is what this week looks like:

Monday:  HIIT and core
Tuesday: Arms and cardio
Wednesday: HIT and core
Thursday: Chest, back & shoulders (I'll probably do a little cardio, too)
Friday: Legs
Saturday: Running a 5K!

My eating last week was mediocre. My actual meals were pretty healthy, but I did a lot of snacking that wasn't. I did a little meal prep today for the week and plan to finish up on Monday--today got away from me a little and I wasn't able to do everything I wanted. But it's already better than I did last week, so I guess I'm headed in the right direction. 

Even fruits and veggies have rough days.

My top 3 goals for next week:
1. Do all my workouts
2. Keep the processed snacks in check--one a day.
3. Make the most of my mornings. I've been doing the Abundant Mama "Rise & Shine" Challenge (more about that later this week) and I've really been enjoying it!

This week also starts homeschool pre-k for my Little Man. I'm keeping it very low key, but I still can't believe we've reached this milestone. Wish me luck! 

 A penny for your thoughts: what are your goals this week? Have anything fun planned?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Afternoon Workout--Who Would Have Thought?!?

I'm not sure why, but when I started this health & fitness journey, I felt like it was a law that I had to wake up early and work out. That if I didn't get up before the sun and run a gazillion miles, I wasn't doing it right.

If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you know I'm not much of a morning person--and when I do get up early, I like to take it slow and easy. Read a book. Sit by a window. I'm not a "get up and go" person. And yet for the past couple of years, I've been scheduling early morning runs and crack of dawn classes and been schlepping my way through them. Then mono hit, and I had to focus on actually getting enough sleep. Which meant if I had a late night or my son woke me up in the middle of the night, I had to get extra sleep or my health would suffer.

When I started the strength training plan at the beginning of the month, for the first week it didn't happen because I couldn't cram it in during the morning hours. Finally I told myself that I was going to do it whenever I had time--and it turns out I have time mid-afternoon.

I was shocked when I saw how much I liked working out in the afternoon! It helped me get through my afternoon slump when I usually start snacking. And best of all, it took the pressure off getting up early and beating myself up when it inevitably didn't happen. I've been doing my cardio in the afternoon, too--as long as I get it in before 4:00 or 5:00 I'm good. Any time after that and I'm a little wired at bedtime. I'm still doing my long runs in the morning, for timing and the fact that it's still creeping up into 90's in the afternoon here.

I know it sounds crazy and really obvious. If something isn't working for you, you change it. I guess I just felt like to be effective, I had to be an early bird.  I feel so free by this new discovery!

A penny for your thoughts: when do you like to workout? How do you schedule things to suit you the best?

Friday, August 15, 2014

The Cheat Meal...and How it's Just Messing Everything up

My eating habits are all over the place.

When I do a detox, like cutting out all processed sugars or dairy for a week or two, I do really well. I have resolve.

But when I go back to my "regular healthy" eating, everything falls apart.

I've been trying to follow the  "80-20" healthy 80% of the time, and treat yourself 20% of the time. I saw it summed up really well in an article recently:

Read the whole article here.

Here's where I get into trouble: when I eat a "cheat meal", it's all downhill from there. Once I have that cupcake, or mac & cheese, or pepsi, I have a hard time stopping. And then my day is shot and I get really frustrated with myself because what it all boils down to is that I don't seem to have much self control. I almost always start out the morning well--lemon water, granola, fresh fruit. But if an early lunch is a cheat meal? Forget about it.

I figure I have a few of options. One, I can make my treats and cheat meals dinner time only--limiting the time I can get into trouble. Two, I can make my treats far less frequent--maybe once a week and planned. Or three, I could just stop eating treats entirely. This is my least favorite option, and one that I feel is pretty much unrealistic. I do pretty good on a 2 week detox, but I think I would just end up binge eating if I went down this route.

This is on my mind tonight because my eating habits on weekends are awful--we're always busy and less structured than weekdays, which makes it easy to eat poorly. Then by Monday I feel disgusting and it takes me a couple of days to get over the weekend. Not a good system.

Not only am I concerned about this because I just need to have better eating habits, but I feel like I'm sabotaging my workouts by what I put in my mouth. It's just so hard to break a lifetime of bad eating habits.

A penny for your thoughts: do you have cheat meals? How do you balance eating treats along with healthy food?