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Monday, January 26, 2015

cutting back on mileage - but not on food!

It is probably pretty sad that I ran ten miles this week and I feel like it was "only ten miles" and I really wish I would have run more.

It's okay to say it : "Get a grip, G!"

The marathon training mentality has perhaps taken over.  But I am never blind to my own crazy.

Anyway, my plan was to cut back my mileage to give my body a little break before amping back up to sixteen miles, seventeen, etc.  Turns out I really needed it.  While I had some awesome workouts this week and ate pretty well, Wednesday night I got hellaciously ill. A 24-hour stomach virus, which kept me up all night vomiting, and then I was in bed all day Thursday resting while my saintly Hubby cared for the kiddos.

So the ten mile plan turned out to be much needed.  I had wanted to work on my speed during this shorter run, but I ended up still running fairly slow in the cold and still feeling like I was in slow motion the entire time.

I am looking forward to running in the warmer months!  Call me weird, but I would much rather run in the heat than the cold.

Prior to my run, my week looked like this...

Sunday: Recovery day - no workouts.
Monday: this 10 minute core workout during naps; PM gym - light cardio
Tuesday: this 40 minute bikini body workout (looooove this one!) during naps; PM gym - light cardio
Wednesday: this 16 minuteVS Ab workout at naps. PM gym - 5K at full-speed on the treadmill (which ended up being no where near my PR. Darn treadmill!)
Thursday: Sick!  So, no workouts.
Friday: AM yoga class
Saturday: 10 mile run

As far as nutrition goes, I've been really trying to wrap my head around the fact that it is 70% diet and only 30% exercise that gets your body healthy/lean.  I've always been more of a "I work out a ton, therefore I can eat whatever I want" kinda gal.  But now I am adapting a new way of thinking: um, reality.

//source//
Not that I am going to work out less...but I wanna always be striving to eat cleaner/better.  If you click on the source link of the above image, you'll go to a health blog post with some good advice on it.  I particularly like #8 : Eat enough calories!  I'll be honest, a huge mistake I make some days is to think I'm being healthy by skimping on the required amount of daily calories...which is particularly detrimental when you work out a lot.   I will think that I can "drink my meals" (meaning green smoothies, not wine) and by the kids' naptime I end up crashing, not having any energy to get any intense cardio in, and then eating crap.  Don't do this!  I think green smoothies are awesome for people like me who don't naturally love snacking on vegetables...but I still need actual solid food.  The best days I have (where I feel the best mentally and physically) are when I eat frequently (every few hours) and eat substantially (clean, whole foods...and some grains!  Gym rats and runners need grains!)

Here's to a good week of training -- and eating enough!

Monday, January 19, 2015

I lift my eyes unto the hills...and I think : oh crap.

So I mixed it up a little (lot) this week during my long run.

After running about six miles I then decided to switch up my usual route and include some hills.  My hubby had described to me how to get from my normal route up to a great hilly spot nearby.   What he failed to mention was that to get to the hills this way I would need to go up steps.  A LOT of steps.  A horrific amount of steps.  So I went from a great running pace to a dead stop.  My legs literally stopped moving when I tried to run up the steep, leafy steps in the 20 degree cold.  So I walked as fast as I could, and tried to keep telling myself that coming back down would be easier.

I finally got to the top where the two older gentleman runners I had been following were catching their breath and the friendly guys they were, one asked me, "Where'd you go?  You were right behind me for a while there."

I tried to answer him but I was so out of breath, and my lips were literally frozen and immobile that some jibberish came out and then I managed to articulate that I had never run this way and wasn't expecting all the steps.   We all shared some frozen chortles and the other guy asked me, "Do I need to get you a ticket back down?" (a question I did not fully understand) and I managed to smile an idiotic smile and reply cheerfully, " Nope!  I need to run some hills!"  and a ran in slow motion away from them, up a steep incline.  I'm sure they thought I was a nutcase.

Ugh.  Hills.  

I hate hills.  I like miles and miles and miles of flat.  I could probably run forever on a flat surface.  But I ran around the hilly neighborhood for a while and then happily went back down all those damn steps back to my safe, regular route.

I hope during the marathon (which, in fact, has a lot of hills) there is someone holding this sign at every hill...
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I finished up my fifteen-miler without further ado.  It was cold, but not as cold as last week.  My water got a little icy but did not freeze.

What did the rest of my week look like?

Sunday: Recovery - no workouts
Monday: 'Family night' at the gym.  Not officially -- but recently our whole fam has started heading  to the gym when Hubby gets home from work.  That night I think I did some light cardio on the elliptical. I need to start writing these things down.  
Tuesday: PM gym again and I probably did more light cardio??
Wednesday: Early AM spinning class!  Then during naps I did this ab workout...try it!!!!

My abs are finally starting to feel/look toned again after recently kicking my workouts into high gear...just a year and a half after giving birth to my second baby.  Better late than never!  Progress, people!
Thursday: PM gym - did a 3 mile speed run
Friday: AM yoga class
Saturday: 15 mile run

Oh, and my Saturday night "dirty cheat meal?"  Chinese food!  I ordered my usual.  Hrrrm.  Not as satisfying as last week's burger and fries.  Felt pretty icky afterward.  My 'usual' might have to go on my running list of 'foods my tummy no longer can handle.'  Yuck.

Speaking of food, though...

I made these chicken enchiladas with avocado sauce for dinner one night and they were AMAZING.  Put them on your "to make" list!

Hope you worked hard and ate deliciously this past week!

Monday, January 12, 2015

in it for the long run. and a burger.

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Saturday I ran my longest run EVER.  Fourteen miles.  I am officially more than halfway to my marathon goal.  An added bonus was that it was only 2 degrees when I started running.  Brrr.  Eventually, by the end of my run, it was 20 degrees.  My water bottle froze after four miles - so that really sucked.  There was snot running out of my nose and my face cover kept falling down.  By the end, my legs felt like they were frozen solid, despite constant movement and my two warm layers.  My back and eyelashes were covered in frost.  Oh,  I learned the hard way that you should NEVER wear underwear with any sort of lace on them during a cold, long run.  Youch.

Despite all this...afterward I felt AWESOME.  For real.

If you don't do long distance running this might sound crazy, but I actually look forward to my long run each week.  Especially now that they are reeeeally long (for me) and it is a challenge.  Plus, I like it because it is a part of my routine.  I really like routine.  Schedules.  Rituals.
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In fact, I hate changes of plans and spontaneity, in general.  

Sure, I like new things...as long as they are planned.

I have done many adventurous things, but they were mostly all very well thought-out and prepared for, both mentally and physically.
Anyway, long runs are ritualistic for me.  I do the same things each week.  Here are some examples.

Pre-run dinner : pizza!  two large pieces.  maybe a salad.  no caffeine.  no alcohol.  no desserts.  bed by 9pm. (okay, ten at the latest!)

Pre-run breakfast : 1 slice whole wheat toast with almond butter. 1/2 banana.  black coffee. 8 oz lemon water.

Mid-run eating : I carry 20 oz of water and a gel pouch (gu!) for every 3-4 miles.

Clothing : I usually wear the same stuff each week.  I do my hair the same way.  I run generally the same route, mixing it up only slightly. (Although I need to start including more hills!)

Post-run eating: Since I will typically burn 1000-2000 calories during a long run I really don't want to put any strict eating restrictions on the rest of the day. I will still try to eat generally clean and healthy until dinner.   But, that being said, I've decided that with all my new-found clean eating I will allow myself one meal - typically Saturday night - when I simply don't care about calories or whether or not it is "clean."  Kind of my reward for being good all week, and for completing my long run.

Let's call it my "dirty meal." (Sounds appetizing, right?)

This week that meal was a GIANT burger and fries.  I won't lie, I dreamed about this burger all day after that run.  It was huge, and had bbq sauce and pineapple and fried onions plenty of cheese and it completely rocked my world.  I ate the whole thing and every fry and didn't even feel disgusting afterward.  Now, that, my friends, is the true reward for running fourteen miles. :)

Well, that is my "long run diary" for the week!  Today is Monday and I begin another week of clean eating --- which is somehow become ritualistic as well.  The shopping, the Sunday meal prep and chop fest, the regular daily smoothie making...it is becoming less foreign and awkward and more like part of normal life.  Although maneuvering my cart in the produce section has become interesting.  (I crashed into several unassuming shoppers,  and almost had to battle for the last bag of organic lemons.)
Sooo....

Did you work out this weekend?  

What is your favorite "cheat meal"?  

What is your biggest challenge with clean eating?

Friday, January 9, 2015

cheers to a healthy year.

While my New Year's resolutions were not related to fitness/healthy eating this year (the marathon is more of a mental goal for me than anything else) I have been making strides toward eating healthier.
I shared here my views about food and history with it.  In short - I've always been a gym rat, never been an over-eater...but I definitely have not been a healthy eating nut.  The eating adjustments I've made in the past and shared on the blog (giving up gluten recently for a few months, for example, and several years being "fish only" prior to having kids) were to primarily lose a few pounds or to simply "try out"...not make a permanent dietary change.

The fact is that now I am (gasp!) getting older.  Not only is eating crap not good for me, but my body is literally rejecting my occasional unhealthy ways.  I find myself more tired, and even if it is only a few pounds, I certainly gain them easier and it is more work to burn off.

So, alas, after Thanksgiving I boarded healthy eating/clean eating/whatever-you-want-to call it "train."  This adventure both excites and dismays me.  Excites me because I love a challenge and enjoy the idea of creating super healthy meals.  Dismays me because it forces me to feel a little guilty about all the crap I've consumed in the past.

To begin with : drinking alcohol.  Gone are the days of getting hammered on a Friday night, passing out eating White Castle cheeseburgers (blech!) and then spending the next day comatose on the couch, emerging into daylight only to drive to get a Chipotle burrito, inhale it, and then pass out again.  Uh, not that I ever did that...at least I haven't since having kids.

Now, as a mama of two toddlers, if I choose to get tipsy on red wine with my hubby or the occasional girl's night, I know I will suffer the next day.  That knowledge, in itself, is kind of a buzz-kill.  I mean, you can't veg all day on the couch when you have two toddlers to entertain and care for.  So at the end of a night out I am usually chugging down water and a handful of Advil and praying both kids sleep until at least 7am.  

Therefore, I rarely drink more than a glass of wine.  Happily, this cuts back on lots of calories (and hangovers.) 

Next : junk food/over-doing the carbs.   I fear my days of fast food enjoyment and eating half a pizza are over.  My metabolism is no longer down with that.  My digestive system has never been down with that.  I used to roll my eyes at girls eating salads and carefully dividing up their food into two normal portions at restaurants, saving one for later.  Now I still inwardly roll my eyes...but then I do it, too! 
I've become kind of obsessed with green smoothies, and have begun replacing 1-2 meals a day during the week with them.  Also, weeknight meals are in the process of becoming healthier/cleaner.  Gone are the heavy pastas and savory roasts and loads of carbs.  I've decided to do bigger, heavier Sunday night dinners, but keeping weeknights light.

Every day I try to trick myself into drinking more water.  I throw in lemon juice, lemon slices, frozen berries, cucumber, mint, etc.  I drink out of cute little Mason jars, or fancy water glasses.  Anything.  I find it easy to chug water on a long run or at the gym, but hard to remember during my normal daytime routine.  But I am trying!

I have begun ordering hot herbal tea instead of lattes when I am at coffee shops.  I am by no means swearing off coffee but have cut back substantially after doing a 3-day cleanse recently (I'll post about that soon!)

So I guess it is about little changes.  For me and for my whole family.  Adding that glass of lemon water first thing in the morning.  Always having some brown rice in the fridge ready to heat up and add some veggies/protein to if I am having a "carb craving." Buying new (for me) proteins that are both filling and healthful and adding them to meals (edamame and tofu, for example.)

Thankfully Fin seems to love my green smoothies and Cormac declares he loves kale and carrots.  So there is some progress. :)  I like the quote below for motivation.  You definitely have to have the right attitude about clean eating to effectively make the changes in your life...
I know I have a long way to go, but since beginning to make these small changes in my diet I feel better in a lot of ways.  Better digestion, better sleep, better energy, better mental health, fewer junk food cravings...it all is affected.   Kind of incredible the difference clean eating makes!

What changes are you making in your diet in the New Year to improve your body/life?  I welcome any tips you use to eat better/cleaner in the comments section!  It is definitely a work in progress for me!  

Monday, January 5, 2015

stitch fix : new year's fix!

A New Year -- a new Fix!
If you know me, you know I love Stitch Fix, an online personal styling service that costs you only $20 per use -- which gets applied to any item you decide to keep.  It is really fun if you like getting a "surprise" shipment of hand-picked for you items in the mail, trying them on in the comfort of your own home with all your own other clothing and accessories, and just using the provided mailer to easily ship back whatever you don't love.  You give them all your personal style info, measurements, price range, and even link them to any Pinterest fashion board you might have...then they send you your Fix whenever you schedule it.  That is the service in a nutshell -- click HERE for more details and to get your own Fix!

My requests this time around were pretty specific : a peasant blouse with embroidered detail, a bright scarf, a lighter-weight, non-furry, green field jacket, something involving neon yellow (sweater, blouse, scarf - didn't matter) and a buffalo-plaid shirt or vest.  Again, no pants, dresses or accessories besides the scarf.

So here we go with the goods...

#1. Hildie Layered Knit Top (by State Side)
This white shirt is completely my style. 100%.  Slouchy, the layered look, neutral.  LOVE!  Sorry, but I had to bring out my aviators even though, no, it was not sunny.  (Actually, it was windy and slightly rainy - doh!)  But this is how I picture this shirt -- carrying into the spring and being something I can wear even in summer on cool days with shorts.  It is so soft and lightweight.  The price point is a bit high for what I feel it should be...but after scouring my favorite stores/websites all weekend for something similar, but cheaper, that I thought would be just as soft/comfy/flattering, but to no avail -- I decided it is a KEEP!  I will simply wear it every day just to make up for the splurge. ;)

#2. Redhouse Striped Hooded Sweatshirt
My expression in the second photo shows my disappointment with this top.   Even though I like a comfy style, I thought this was WAY overpriced for what it is.  I do love stripes, but I did not like the pocket on the front in any way.  I mean, I am not trying to accentuate my bit of "perma-baby belly," thank you very much.  Plus, I think this would be cute if I was 73, not 33.  You know, one of those cute little grandmas who is really active???  Down in Florida, power-walking in her cute little lightweight sweatshirt at 6am?  Okay, so sending back.

#3 Winifred Removable Fur Hood Anorak Jacket (by Ark and Co.)
Does this coat look familiar?  My last Fix contained a very similar one.  The differences are : this one is lighter-weight, a bit more form-fitting, less expensive, and has a removable fur trim for the hood (clearly I removed it for these pics.)  These factors make me really, really like it.  It is also more of a raincoat on the outside, rather than a super-soft and fluffy parka...which I feel can transition into spring.  The lining is a satin leopard print, too -- really cute!  Keep!  (I've worn it every day since getting it.  Literally living in this coat now.)

#4 Sandra Abstract Print Infinity Scarf (by Octavia) 
This scarf was bright and colorful, as I requested -- and sooooo soft!  Like a flannel blanket! Hubby thought it was cute, and I liked it fine;  however, I just wasn't struck by it.  I guess I have just gotten really picky when it comes to scarves, so I am going to abandon my scarf request for now.   I am having trouble articulating my vision.  Or I don't know what my vision is.  Maybe next fall?  Sending this one back.

#5 Torrey Henley Button Top
Well, this was not the "buffalo plaid" I was envisioning...as I thought it would be an actual flannel shirt.  But, to be fair, I didn't really specify that it should be.  This was more of a linen, and interestingly had no collar.  The tab-style, 3/4 sleeves were interesting.  I actually liked it and debated keeping it!  I played around with different looks and it is pretty versatile!  A little boxy, but a belt and/or sweater helped with that.   In the end I decided to send it back because it is simply not the style I am going for.  I would have preferred a more classic, collared, flannel rugged plaid shirt (ooh, maybe with leather elbow patches!?)  But again, probably too late in the season for all that.  Sent back!

Even though there was no sign of any neon, or what I was envisioning as a peasant blouse, I was pretty pleased with my Fix because of the two items I loved!  My stylist really nailed my style with that white shirt, and I am thrilled to finally have my army green jacket!  The rest weren't too far off. 

I am still dreaming of the elusive "Keep All" Fix!

Anyone else had one???  Anyone else in love with Stitch Fix?  I get nothing from Stitch Fix for writing about my experiences, but if you were inspired by this post at all, use me as your referral by clicking here and signing up!  I get a $25 credit if you do, and if you refer anyone and they get a Fix you get that same incentive! :)  I have several sweet friends who used me as their referral and it really made my day!!!

Well, that is it for fashion until my next Fix!  
Today I am back to my normal mama routine,  and will probably be putting away Christmas decorations until spring rolls around.  Had an awesome holiday season, but am actually ready for some structure and normality around the house.  Anyone else feel me?  Am I weird for being a bit burnt out on "fun"?  

Hope everyone going back to work today survives the first day back!  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

//2015 resolutions -- less is more//

It's one of those days you take stock.  You feel revived (or hung over.)  You have big dreams for a new year.

Last night I stayed up until midnight for the first time in several years -- probably since having kids. No, we didn't go out and party.  We ordered takeout sushi rolls and shrimp fried rice, I drank a Red Bull (in order to stay up) and we watched a movie.  I knew it had struck the magical hour of midnight not because of a countdown or someone trying to kiss me or confetti flying through the air, but because I heard fireworks outside our home which prompted me to check the time.  12:01.

The proverbial ball had dropped in our city -- it was 2015!  And we were snuggled on the couch watching Wolf of Wall Street on NetFlix.

So it's not glamorous -- but it is our life currently, and it is kind of a lovely one, in my book.

Hubby and I have had flashy, exciting New Year's celebrations before.  Going out with friends and dressing to the nines.  I am sure we will again!  But during these days of babies and toddlers and lack of sleep, it is jammies and takeout and a movie.

Now it is 6:30 in the morning and time for me to make the resolutions 'blog official.' Somehow it always helps to write things out - in a journal, blog, or scrap of paper you hang on your fridge.

I have quite a few resolutions and personal things I really want to work on this year.  I am sure we all do, right?  But if pressed for concrete goals, here are my two:

1) Run my first marathon.  I am up to the 14 mile point in my training and I am loving my long runs.   I am excited to complete this goal I have had in my mind for such a long time!
2) Learn to sew.  Okay, so not only did I not start cooking until I got married at age twenty-six, but I really had not acquired any of the life skills that most of our grandmothers and great-grandmothers all were required to know.  Honestly, I am not even sure I could efficiently hand sew a button. If you had a mother or grandma that taught you these things, consider that a blessing!  We went through a period in time where these skills seemed to become obsolete and only in recent years (thank you Etsy and Pinterest!) that knowing how to DIY has once again become a useful, desired, and marketable skill. I am excited in the nerdiest of ways to learn to use my new sewing machine.   I already have a list of things I want to make, and I am hopeful I become proficient enough in the coming years to be able to teach Cormac and Finola a thing or two when they are old enough.

So that is it -- two major things to accomplish.  Doesn't seem like much.  I think that naturally I will accomplish more than this, but I don't want to stress myself out complicating things.  I like this as my mantra for the year...
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What are your goals/resolutions for 2015?  

Friday, December 12, 2014

mama confessions : holding hands.

I remember the distinct thrill of first intimacy when a guy would reach for my hand for the first time on a date.  The way his thumb might rub the top of my hand while walking, or draw pictures on my palm during a movie.  Even better than a first kiss, sometimes, was the first time holding hands.

Or there were the times sitting in church with my Gram, when she would grab my hand and hold it throughout a hymn while we sang, and I would be struck by how close to her that touch made me feel.  I would marvel at the coolness of her skin, papery yet soft as silk. The wrinkles and pale blue, raised up veins on the tops made me think somehow of her life and all she had been through for her hands to have gotten to this point.  Her life had not been an easy one, but yet there she was, at peace, holding hands with me.

I never was first to let Gram's hand go.  I practically held my breath until she did.

Then there is holding hands with my husband.  No longer the thrill of the unknown, but the peace that comes from the known.  Even better.  The steady and always firm comfort.  They seem to embody who he is.  Never clammy, slightly on the dry side. Always warm and strong and capable.

Now I will confess that my current favorite person to hold hands with is my son.  Three years old.  If you are a mama of one this age you may know exactly what I am talking about.  Not just the hand held out for you to grab before crossing the street or a parking lot - the necessary hand holds.  No, even sweeter still are the moments he grabs my hand while snuggling on the couch.  Or when I am laying in his bed holding him at nap time, hoping to God he will fall asleep soon so I can sneak out and get things checked off my to-do list, and then he grabs my hand.  He'll squeeze it lightly, or rub his tiny thumb on my palm in perfect contentment until he drifts off to sleep.

When he reaches for my hand in those moments, it is like I am on a first date again, sorta.  I am overcome by the intimacy.  In those moments my to-do list flies from my mind and I am only wondering how long I can lay there just enjoying holding hands before I fall asleep myself.

We delve out hugs (well, if you are a hugger like I am) left and right, to relatives, friends, maybe even co-workers at times.  A hug is great - it is sweet, commonplace, socially acceptable affection.

But grabbing someones hand, to me, is intimacy at its core.  You can't do it without wanting a serious connection. The intertwining of fingers.  Whether with a lover, a close relative, a dear friend, or, in my opinion, quite possibly the best hand holding -- with your child, who needs your warmth and trust and comfort and closeness.

And to be truthful, most days you need theirs just as much.