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Getting out the door

6 Jun

You know those days when you just don’t want to get out the door for a run? Yeah, that was today.

 

An hour before our scheduled meeting time it was windy, raining, and not at all appealing for a run. I was tired and haven’t been running well. The mosquitoes have been out in full force lately and they LOVE me. And we were meeting at a trail head for the UAF ski trails, so it was likely to be slippery and muddy in places. But it’s National Running Day and I had arranged for our TEAM practice to be tonight instead of tomorrow so we could run on National Running Day. I knew none of the other mentors would be at practice, so I really needed to at least be there for the beginning.

Then the rain stopped and the sun came out. So I went to meet the TEAM. I figured I could always start the run and go shorter than what was on the schedule. I also made sure I had a nice covering of bug dope to attempt to fend off the mosquitoes. At first it was only me and Coach Chris there. Then another four TEAMies joined us. Chris had a nice out and back route marked out for us, so off we went, leaving the scent of DEET behind as we headed down the trail.

It turned out to be a BEAUTIFUL evening for a run. The sun was out but it wasn’t too hot. The trails were wet, but not terribly slick and muddy. The light was beautiful and amazingly there were hardly any mosquitoes bothering us! Best of all, the running felt GOOD. I turned around a tad early, figuring I didn’t want to push things, but ended up catching up with two others on their way back and spent a bit walking and chatting with them before running again. I returned to the start and the coach commented on how I ended up running for an hour after all. I was enjoying the evening so much that I hadn’t even noticed. Glad I made myself get out the door after all.

Yes, those are minus signs

16 Jan

It’s been a cold, busy week that’s kept me from posting. But I have lots to catch up on 🙂

First a brief rundown of my 100 Days Challenge workouts:

  • Day 10: Ran dogs. Got to run two teams even!
  • Day 11: 30 easy minutes on the treadmill. So much going on that day that I didn’t get onto the treadmill until 7 PM (which is WAY late for me). But I got that 30 minutes in.
  • Day 12: Ran dogs. Good thing we ran today too—the temperatures dropped again that evening and have been too cold to run ever since.
  • Day 13: 30 minute treadmill workout.
  • Day 14: Sled dog race canceled because it was too cold (officially -44°F at the airport). Used the “free” time as an opportunity to finally try the full balance ball workout that came on a DVD with my stability ball. The “Total Body Balance Ball Workout” has 3, 20-minute segments (upper body, abs and core, and lower body)  that could probably be done separately if time crunched, but that’s supposedly what the express workout is for.
  • Day 15: back to Zumba with Phoebe. Almost didn’t go because it was -49°F at my house and vehicles would prefer not to run at those temperatures, but I really wanted some Zumba. It was a great class and I’m glad I went. Plus it was a little warmer in town.

It’s nice to hunker down at home when it’s really cold like it’s been. We’ve made a couple more recipes from our new Mark Bittman book. The White Bean Stew was awesome and super-easy. Crisp Tofu and Asian Greens in Peanut Sauce was okay, but seemed to me like it needed another flavor. Chris thought it was too peanut butter-y.

I’ve been experimenting with my smoothie recipe too. Here’s my current recipe:

  • 7 oz. package Fage Total 2% or 0% greek yogurt
  • 3/4 c. Silk Light Plain Soymilk
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 c. frozen strawberries
  • 1/4 c. frozen blueberries
  • 1/4 c. frozen raspberries
  • 1/4 c. baby spinach leaves
  • 1 T chia seeds
  • generous sprinkle of cinnamon

I picked up some unsweetened vanilla almond milk to try instead of soymilk and we found a new frozen fruit mix, so those will be in my next iterations.

Now to get on the treadmill so I can report on day 16 in my next post 🙂

Options are good

9 Jan

Day 9 of the 100 Days Challenge: made myself do a 30 minute treadmill workout. I was tired this afternoon and the thought of skipping a workout today crossed my mind. But I’m determined to lose some weight and get myself in better shape, so I did it.

Today I had my first of six Individualized Health Planning sessions (IHPs) that I can do through work. This first session is where you set your goals and plans for attaining them. My main goals are to 1) improve my overall health and fitness, and 2) lose weight. My wellness consultant loved the idea of the 100 Days Challenge. When we talked about my plans for exercise, I realized that I now have lots of options: treadmill or other running, stability ball workout (with or without resistance or weights), running dogs, learning to skate ski and eventually skijoring with a dog, and Zumba. My next IHP session is in two weeks and we’ll assess how things are going with my exercise plan. I hope to report that I’m on Day 23 of the 100 Days Challenge 🙂

My diet is another aspect of my life that I’m working on: eating less, eating healthier, and eating better food. We recently purchased Mark Bittman’s Kitchen Express: 404 inspired seasonal dishes you can make in 20 minutes or less at the recommendation of Chris’ brother. We like Mark Bittman‘s simple, healthy, quality recipes plus he’s a runner and contributor to Runner’s World.  I purchased many of his recommended pantry items over the weekend and tonight Chris made the first recipe: Potato Cumin Curry. It’s just potatoes, onion, curry powder, cumin, coconut milk, and chickpeas. It was quite easy and tasty. Looking forward to making more from this book.

Finally, thanks to the FitFluential twitter feed I discovered a new blog to check out with more healthy smoothie instructions and recipes. Woo hoo! More things to try!

Running dogs is exercise for me too

8 Jan

Oops. I missed a couple of days of posting. Did you miss me? 😉

I have not, however, missed my daily 30 minutes for the 100 Days Challenge 🙂

  • Day 6: It finally warmed up enough to run dogs, so that was my exercise for the day.
  • Day 7: More Zumba with Phoebe! Wish I could fit in more of these classes. They’re fun and a great workout.
  • Day 8: Ran dogs again. We were supposed to race, but the race got cancelled.

I’m not sure if everyone would, but I’m counting running dogs as exercise for me as well as the dogs. Yes, the dogs are the true athletes, and amazing athletes at that. But anyone who has ever driven a dogsled knows that you’re not just standing on the runners; you’re driving that sled. Driving means steering around corners, twists and turns, obstacles, and dips in the trail. It means controlling (or attempting to control) the speed of the team. It also sometimes means stopping the team and jumping off the sled if a dog gets tangled on a line or needs to be moved around in the team. I will admit that us sprint mushers have easier sled driving than distance mushers, but that’s for another time 🙂

Piper in the cab of the truck at the Tok races.

Not all dogs get to ride in the cab. Those are the dog boxes behind the cab. Note the sled on top of the dog boxes.

When I say I’m running dogs on a day, it’s more than just jumping on the back of a sled and taking off. It’s loading dogs into their boxes on my truck, driving to where we’ll train or race, then letting the dogs out of their boxes. Some days they go back into their boxes to wait until it’s their turn to run. Some days I have to load and unload the sled on the top of the truck too. Often we’ll work up a sweat just harnessing and walking dogs up to get hooked into the team. After the run the dogs get unhooked from the team and returned to the truck (or their houses) for their post-run hydration. Finally all gets loaded back up onto or into the truck and we go home.

Calorie-counting apps and the like will calculate how many calories you burn doing a particular exercise. For an hour of Zumba, it’s pretty straightforward. But how do you estimate how many calories you burn running dogs? I haven’t figured that out yet, but I am convinced it is physical exercise and I burn calories doing it.

Extracting time

5 Jan

Day 5: Almost blew the 100 Days Challenge today, but was able to eek out 30 minutes of movement with a combination of outdoor chores and two short workouts with my new workout toys, er, tools.

I recently purchased a Gaiam Total Body Balance Ball kit. I had been wanted to get a stability ball to use for core work and other strengthening exercises, like the ones Coach Jenny described in her recent post about simple strength training for runners. This kit seemed like a decent deal and included a resistance band and DVD with two workout programs. One of the workout programs is actually several shorter workouts that you can do separately.

Today was a bit tricky time-wise as I worked into the early afternoon, but had to go pick up my dog from the veterinarian late in the afternoon. I ran home for a while, cleaned the dog yard and filled the bird feeders which gave me about 15 minutes of movement. Then I changed clothes and tried a couple of the short balance ball workouts. This was my first time using a balance ball, and I wasn’t sure how much space I’d need. Space to work out to a DVD or (other video source) is yet another challenge in my house. I cleared some space and did the best I could. Between space limitations and this being the first time using the ball, I think the workouts went pretty well. We’ll see how I feel tomorrow.


Not related to my health and fitness, but since I mentioned it above, I thought I’d add a bit about today’s trips to the vet.

Piper on a new bed

Piper enjoying a new bed (Nov. 2010).

It’s been a rough past 12 months for our dog Piper. I won’t go into all the details here, but the short version is that we almost lost her in January 2011. Between our and the vet’s willingness to go the extra mile for her and Piper’s determination to survive, she’s still here and mostly doing well. For the past couple of months Piper has seemed depressed and not herself. We thought the cold was getting to her (because her fur hasn’t fully grown back from her ordeal last winter), but she’s been getting worse. We (us and a couple of veterinarians) hadn’t been able to figure out what was wrong, but something kept telling me it was related to her bad teeth. Her teeth didn’t appear to be infected or anything, but today she went for dental radiography. Sure enough, EIGHT teeth (or remaining parts of teeth) needed to come out. My poor, tough girl. Tonight she’s home recovering from a long day of surgery, and is still a bit wobbly and dysphoric. I’m sure she’ll feel better tomorrow (or maybe the next day).

Going for it

4 Jan

I’ve decided to make an attempt at the 100 Days Challenge. I think 30 minutes of intentional movement every day is a good idea. Perhaps this blog will help keep me motivated by feeling like I need to report my progress and do a quick post each day (or every few days) with what I did for the 100 Days Challenge. Today was day 4. The high temperature at our house was around -28°F so I stayed inside and did a 30 minute treadmill workout.

Up to the challenge?

3 Jan

John “the Penguin” Bingham has started his 2012 100 Days Challenge. His challenge is to “Choose to move, intentionally, for 30 minutes every day for the first 100 days of 2012. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you do it ON PURPOSE.” And it doesn’t even have to be 30 consecutive minutes, so shorter bouts of movement can add up.

I was intrigued when the Penguin started this challenge in 2011, more so when he continued his streak for 365 days. I love the idea and have wondered if I could rise to the challenge. It doesn’t mean I have to RUN every day like other challenges ask you to. “Moving intentionally” could include what I do when running dogs or whatever. In theory, now that we have a treadmill, I could always just hop on it for 30 minutes if it was too cold or nasty to want to go outside.

Without even trying, I’ve moved intentionally for 30 minutes every day this year so far:

  • Jan. 1: 30 minute treadmill workout
  • Jan 2: 20 minutes walking through the snow and on the frozen creek to and from the neighbor’s house, then cleaning the dog yard and other outdoor chores
  • Jan 3: 20 minutes walking to and from the neighbor’s house again, then 20 minutes on the treadmill

Anybody else taking the 100 Days Challenge? Three days down…only 97 to go…

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