Tag Archives: challenges

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.

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).

Currently craving: Zumba and smoothies

2 Jan

A friend and coworker has been going to Zumba® classes for quite a while now. Before the holiday break she sent an email to the office offering to treat anyone who wanted to join her for a Zumba class. I finally couldn’t resist and had the time free, so I joined her for Zumba with Phoebe last Tuesday evening. Zumba is advertised as a way to “party yourself into shape” with Latin-inspired dance-fitness moves and high-energy music. It’s supposed to be fun and burn a ton of calories.

I was a little worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep up or follow the moves, or worse: look stupid doing them. I worried that I would travel in the wrong direction and run into someone. I was worried I’d be the fattest, most unfit person in the room. Turned out I had none of those things to worry about. Well, I might have looked stupid, but everybody else in the room was focused on following the moves themselves to notice if I looked stupid or not. I didn’t knock anybody over by going the wrong way or flailing my arms too wildly. There were easy ways to modify the moves if I got a little tired, but mostly I kept up just fine. And the couple of moves I couldn’t follow? Neither could a lot of other people. Phoebe, the instructor, was awesome and so welcoming. Her instruction when we were introduced was, “if you get lost, just keep moving and smile.” I can do that 🙂 I had such fun at that class, I went back for more on Saturday morning!

Unfortunately the holiday break from work is nearly over and things will be getting busier again. Many of the Zumba classes are offered at challenging times for me to go. If they’re during the lunch hour, how do I get cleaned up and go back to work? I sweat … a lot. We at least try to go to bed on the early side (9-9:30 PM) so if I go to a class that starts at 7 PM or later, I won’t get home until close to bedtime. When do you eat dinner? And what about a shower? The Tuesday 6 PM class I went to was a decent time, but normally we train dogs Tuesday afternoons, so I wouldn’t have time to get home, feed dogs, change clothes, and get back into town for a class. That just leaves weekend classes, which might be doable on non-race days if we can get our errands done at other times. So that’s what I’ll try to do: a Saturday or Sunday Zumba class and Tuesdays when possible. At least I’ll get a little Zumba fix.

I wasn’t sure how or what to eat before Tuesday evening’s Zumba class. We normally eat dinner between 6-7 PM, which was the time of the class. I knew I needed some energy to get through the workout.

I got an immersion blender about a year ago with the intention of using it for making creamy soups and smoothies. That didn’t happen. I had the excuses: what a hassle to prepare the fruit; I don’t know what I should put in them and in what proportions. So I never made smoothies; soups either for that matter. Chris recently decided he wanted to try making smoothies and I convinced him the immersion blender was the tool to use. He eats lots of yogurt, so we had that around, and one of his colleagues told him where we could find frozen fruit. I know, every grocery store has frozen fruit, but it’s amazing hard it is to find frozen fruit that is just fruit and doesn’t have other stuff added, and even harder to find organic frozen fruit. So far we’ve found strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, mango, a mix of pineapple+peach+strawberries+mango, a berry mix, and cranberries. I love bananas, and don’t mind fresh for smoothies, but I can only eat organic bananas (non-organic ones make my tongue and throat itch) and finding ones that aren’t bright green is a big challenge. Chris is MUCH less picky than me, so he’s been making smoothies with whatever we find. They’re okay, but not something I would crave. I’ve made a few of my own with low-fat yogurt (regular or Greek), a banana, a bit of light soymilk, and frozen strawberries, peaches, and blueberries. I’m guessing on proportions, so they’re kind of soup-like, but they seem to work and I enjoy drinking them. Now I’m looking at what else I could add to smoothies to make them even healthier. I will try switching to fat-free Greek yogurt and keep experimenting with different fruits. I’ve seen some recipes with cocoa powder, peanut butter, and orange juice (not all at the same time) that seem promising. Maybe I should try Chia seeds? Add veggies like carrots or spinach? Possibly.

Here are a few smoothie recipes I’ve found that look promising but I haven’t tried yet:

And I’ll keep looking for other smoothie recipes and ideas for tasty things to put in them. I’m also looking for suggestions on how to take smoothies to work with me for later in the day. Maybe a small thermos? Chris uses a jelly jar. Please leave me a comment if you have suggestions.

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