Wednesday, April 30, 2008

April Mileage

Run: 42 miles (approx 7-1/2 hours)
Bike: 133.7 miles (approx 10 hours)
Kid Walks: 5 miles (1-1/2 hrs)

Total mileage for April: 180.7.

With the warmer weather, racking up the miles has gotten much easier. For May, I think I'll add a time category. Goal is bumped to 125+ miles; and 24 hours.

Since I hit 19 hours in April, it should only take a few extra trips to store / bank / starbucks to make up the difference. I'll also be bumping my 25-30 mile long ride to 30-35 miles, which will help.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

My Easy Run Is Getting Easier

I have a route through my hilly neighborhood which is my short / easy run for either a recovery day or a really busy day. When I was pretty evenly balanced between running and walking, it took 27-30 minutes. As my 2:2 became a 3:1, it got down to about 25 minutes. Still good, since 25 minutes, plus a bit of warm up and cool down stretching.

Today, I passed my driveway at 22:18. Had to keep going past four more houses and back to make my 25 minutes. I'm going to add an extra loop to my easy run, starting Thursday.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

iCing Transformation Challenge

Gala's challenge:

I wanted to let you all know about something I’m planning to kick off soon. It’s called the iCiNG Transformation Challenge, it will run for a month & it revolves around us taking control of our lives & our bodies in a concentrated way! It’s like weekly resolutions but amped up in a way that would make even Victoria Beckham exclaim, “MAJOR!”.

The iCiNG Transformation Challenge (iTC) will run from the 21st of April to the 18th of May. It would probably make more sense for it to start at the beginning of a calendar month, but that’s so far away & I am impatient!

I recently decided I wanted to commit to a month of really looking after my body, to see what kind of results I could get. I often find it hard to stick to an exercise routine, just because it feels really aimless & sometimes the thought of exercising every couple of days until the end of my life freaks me out! By giving myself a task that lasts for a month, I find that much less of a mental hurdle & far easier for me to grasp. The idea is that I will realise how great I feel when I put effort into my physical well-being, & will want to keep it up.

The reason I’m announcing it is because I also thought that if we commit to this & do it as a group, we’ll all feel like we have lots of support & love helping us achieve our goals!

27 days. Less than one month. Heck, it's less than four weeks. I can stick with anything for 27 days. I signed on. She's put together a discussion thread for everyone to post their goals, progress, setbacks and encouragement. I've been reading a bit this week, but haven't posted my update yet. There's a great group of people there. I'll be joining the discussion today; it just took me a while to put my goals together. I started the challenge on Monday, but spent the first week honing in on what I was trying to accomplish.

I wanted to make sure they were reachable, while still being a stretch out of my comfort zone. These are all challenges I'd like to continue past the 27 days, so I want this iTC time to be used for the formation of new habits.

Here's my original personal challenges, along with the tweaks I've made throughout this week:

1 - Eat at least one balanced raw food meal each day. (Became 2 full days of raw food)
I already do meet my original goal most days, with either whole fruit and flax or a homemade smoothie for breakfast. I even eat raw for lunch several times a week. To take it to the next level, I'm now eating raw foods for the entire day, two days each week. This will help me learn to plan for my nutritional needs and to fit it into my daily schedule. I'm hoping to add an extra day in another month; this should make it a smoother transition.

So far, it's going really well. By spacing the two days, I was able to make sure I had everything I needed the day before. No panic at meal prep. Since I already had the ingredients in the house, I even had a mostly raw day the day after each of my official raw food day. I could get used to this.

2 - Exercise at least 20 minutes each day. (Became at least 20 minutes of cardio)
I've been an every other day fitness person. Or three days on, two days off. If I want to increase my speed and/or endurance, I need to be more consistent. I picked 20 minutes as my minimum to give myself a kick out the door. Twenty minutes is the time it takes to run to and from the bank, or to ride my bike to the store and back. Or the time it takes to walk the dog and kids around the park. At the very least, I can do one of my regular daily errands on foot or bike for a quick burst of cardio.

This minimum requirement is working great so far. I had a 25 mile ride on Saturday, cut short by the anticipated thunderstorms; and a multi sport day on Thursday where I rode 15 miles, followed by a two mile run. A couple days of 30-minute runs, and one day where I was pressed for time & took the dog on a quick 20-minute, two mile lope (his pace), then hopped on the bike for a quick grocery trip. One of the 30 minute runs was completed while I was waiting for my bike to be serviced at the Silver Comet Depot.

There have been so many great comments on the discussion threads over at iCing, and I'm really looking forward to adding mine while catching up on the last day or so from the other participants.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Two Tiny Changes

Following the lead of Steph (Back in Skinny Jeans), here's my two tiny changes for this week, along with a report on Tuesday, the first day of the changes.

1. Replace coffee with tea.

Used to drink coffee through the entire day. Was pretty close to two pots per day. Managed to cut down to less than one cup of coffee per week. Over the last two months, I'd returned to my old habits. Yesterday, I had three mugs of irish breakfast tea and one of jasmine oolong, spaced through the day instead of coffee. No caffeine headaches so far.

2. Make a To Do list each night for the next day.

This morning was pretty smooth. That's not necessarily a list benefit, as the early morning routine of lunch making and breakfast cooking was on par. I was more relaxed than normal though. Having the list means I don't have to worry about what I may be forgetting, even first thing in the morning. It's possible I start off stressed just because I'm churning the afternoon activities in my brain. Who needs to be picked up early? Today is ___, so that means it is which kids day for which activity?

I'll have to see if the calm carries over to the next few days. I'm not putting a lot of pressure on myself to get everything on the list completed every day. There are too many variable in a house with three children to expect everything to go perfectly to plan.

Next up on the list? Work on one section of a restaurant locator map, a cup of jasmine oolong (adagio), and a late morning run.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Setting Goals

Eat healthier.
Exercise more.
Get a handle on finances.
Be more organized.
Get rid of "stuff".

Everyone's big goals. When worded that way, there's no way to fail. Of course, there's also no way to succeed. Nothing to measure. No box for that little gold star.

Making a list of specifics is tough. It can be scary, too. As soon as you write it down, you're accountable.

I've been guilty of the vague goals for years. Not just in that New Year's Resolution sort of way, either. I'm not good with daily checklists. I make a mental list, and get much of it done each day. The kids get to school with packed lunches, I make progress on my mapping projects, and everyone has clean laundry to put away each evening after a home cooked supper. [Almost] Daily practice for weekly music lessons is done. (Drums, guitar and piano, all at once. Each from their own corner of the little house.) We make it to dentist and doctor appointments. My clients get their proofs on time... mostly.

Sounds okay, but it's stressful. I'm always reviewing that mental list, trying to remember if I'm thinking about the right day, and wondering what I forgot. And I do forget things. There are many nights I'm up until midnight, doing that last load of laundry so the red uniform shirt is clean for spirit day. Baking oatmeal muffins for breakfast because I failed to notice the batch of waffles I made over the weekend has run out. Or scrambling to put together the last few layers for a map due the next morning.

I read so much about the difference a list makes, yet I never quite get around to trying it myself. I know specific goals work. It is easier to get myself out the door on foot or bike knowing I have the Spring-5k / Summer-10k/Thanksgiving-half marathon goal. (Yes, I did run/walk a 5k in March. Am signing up for May's Race for the Cure, so I'll have two under my belt.)

I'm going to try expanding the goal setting into my daily routines. Thanks to a few blogging ladies, I don't have to do it alone. I'm going to be reading these three for a bit of inspiration over the rest of April and May:
Gala's iCing Transformation Challenge (April 21-May 18th)
Steph's Two Tiny Changes, a weekly series at Back in Skinny Jeans
Daily Deliberate Changes from Tia at Living Deliberately

I came up with my personal goals for the transformation challenge and my two tiny changes this past weekend. Started on my written checklist yesterday. One of the things I'm working on is prioritizing. As such, it's time for me to start on two weeks' worth of paperwork, filing and invoicing.

Will post my goals and weekly changes this evening.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Flirting With Raw Foods

I've been a regular reader of Gala Darling's iCing blog for about a year now. I love her perspective. She is one of those people who take great joy in life. From her, I've been hooked into Etsy, the online community of artists and craftsman. It's a great place to find the perfect gift for... anyone.

A few months ago, she wrote about raw foods way of life, and linked to We Like it Raw. I read a bit of their website once or twice a week. Have tried a few of the recipes. I think 'yea!' and 'yummy!' about 3/4 of the time, and 'ugh' the other. I have learned honey, molasses and maple syrup are not the only alternatives to sugar; and how to make cashew milk. (Cashew milk would be one of the Yummy! items, in case you were wondering.)

For the last two months, I've been working on an entry into this way of eating. More veggies, less meat isn't a big change for me. I eat red meat less than once per week, with maybe one or two servings of chicken or fish. Veggie curries with brown rice and various combos of spinach/mushrooms/tomatoes/yellow squash/onions/broccoli with basil and olive oil are regular evening meals. I know those are better choices than burger and fries, but still not as good for me as it could be. Hence, the desire to eat more straight off the cutting board.

I started with breakfast. Sliced strawberries and bananas with a handful of blueberries and a tablespoon or two of ground flaxseed is what I eat most mornings. If I'm up early enough, I'll toss everything in the blender with soy milk and make a yummy smoothie.

Then, this way of eating spread to lunch. Sliced avacado and grape tomatoes (or mango) on mixed greens with sunflower seeds and cilantro, topped with fresh squeezed lemon juice and olive oil.

And now, I crave big bowls of veggies for dinner. Figured this out in front of the meat counter at Whole Foods last Wednesday. Headed back to produce to grab heirloom tomatoes, red bell peppers, cucumbers and extra avacados. Drained and rinsed black beans, did some chopping. Lime juice, olive oil, cilantro, sea salt and roasted garlic. Mixed it all together for dinner. (Photo stinks, but I'm working on that.)

It was delicious. I was completely satisfied, and didn't feel any of the normal hankering for munchies during my evening mapping. Even when I sat down for a bit of television time. No ice cream. No crackers. Just a cup of tea.

Next day, swapped out mango for the heirloom tomatoes, added cucumber, chickpeas and sunflower seeds.

I'm not comfortable trying out a major diet change for the kids. I can experiment on myself. If I get the protein and vitamins wrong on me, I can adjust. I won't risk their healthy development. Chicken, fish and beef are still going on their plates. What I have been doing though, is expand the side dishes at dinner to include sliced fresh fruit, and to pull vegetables out of the steamer a little earlier in the cooking process. They've always been resistant to some vegetables (zucchini and asparagus are great examples) but have been great about trying [barely] blanched yellow beans, orange cauliflower and broccoflower. The yellow beans and yellow carrots were harder to sell than I expected. I try to have something yummy for dessert in the wings for the nights they willingly try anything new, especially if contains leeks, mushrooms or lima beans.

So far, so good. There have been a couple of times the crunch green bean and baby carrot combo have received a positive reception. There are fewer requests for plain old peas or corn. The grocery helper for last week picked up the yellow carrots and vidalia onion for me to mash into the potatoes. And, I'm getting requests to pick up the purple cauliflower as soon as it's available in the store.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Mileage Update - Mid April

As of my 20 minute run this morning, I'm officially over 100 miles for April. 101.6, to be precise. Every mile from now until April 30 is gravy.

Playtime starts this afternoon, with another family ride on the Silver Comet Trail. Or maybe in 15 minutes, if I can't find the coffee and need to pick up a can at Trader Joes.

Now that Spring is finally here it's so much easier to stay outside.

I have a couple of posts I started earlier this week, which will be going up later today.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Spring Break

This past week was chock full of relaxing. Got in quite a bit of mileage. 10 miles on foot; 52.5 miles of cycling. That 62.5 miles - more than half my goal (100 miles) in one week!

Two of the rides this week were with the whole family. Started at the Silver Comet Depot so we could rent the Trail-a-bike. I couldn't snap a photo of Dottie's favorite part of the journeys. She loves to hold her hands out to the side and pretend she's flying behind me when we get up to wind-whistling-in-the-ears speed. I do have this photo from a water break:
I don't really want to add another set of wheels to the storage area (5 people, 6 bikes), but I'm starting to think seriously about purchasing one of these bike extensions. It's another couple of year before Dottie's ready for more than 3-4 miles on her own, no matter how much she swears she would make it on a longer ride. We have such a good time on our 10-12 mile treks; I think it's probably worth it. Time to start comparing brands. She'll still have chances to ride the shorter distances on her own when I'm taking the dog for a run by the river.

Also did a bit of slow running with kids a couple of days. Was more fun than I feared it would be. We ran for two mins., walk ed for two mins. for 30 minutes; and follow it up with plain old playtime on the playground. The kidlets get to take turns in charge of either the dog's leash or the stopwatch. Only complaints generally came from the kid who was not in charge of anything. I thought cycling the two jobs through the three kids would work out so someone always had a 'break'. Guess I need to come up with a third job.

Great week last week. Lots of outside time. Lots of video game battles and board games.

Today, I'm enjoying the quiet after everyone is off to school. It's time to get caught up on all the work which piled up while we were out playing.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Racing Butterflies

It's been a busy week. Managed to get in a couple of runs, some errands by bike, and one nice little ride. On Wednesday's run, spring was out in full force. Swatted my first mosquito for the season; crossed into a spider's drag line. Plus, just when I thought I was running at a nice pace, I was passed by a butterfly. Loved every bit of it. Sunshine & 65 degrees. Yea!

On the 12 mile ride, I learned something new. Must keep mouth closed while smiling up at falling cherry blossoms. Petal inhalation is not as pleasant as you might think.

Did a bit more bike commuting than usual. The truck was in for some brake & transmission 'stuff', so Thursday and Friday were two-wheeled days. It's only a few miles, so I made the trips in street clothes. I'm used to having motorists zipping by me without leaving much elbow room. Was amazed how much more clearance I was given in jeans and heels. Had my helmet on, so that wasn't what made the difference.