Thursday, August 27, 2015

The internet, me and a Watermelon-Saskatoon Smoothie recipe.

Sometimes I have so much to say.  Other times, I pretty much only need to say, "ran today, felt great." Which is what Twitter is for - if you use Twitter.

I have a Twitter account.

I don't use Twitter.

Every time I go there, I see tweets from people much more adept at that kind of thing posting awesome statuses that go well beyond, "Ran today.  Felt great." Things that motivate me.  Or give me a list of books to read, or podcasts to listen to.

And then I realize that for an IT professional, I don't do the internet well. Podcasts (seriously - Smart Bitches, Trashy Books is a fantastic resource for all of you readers out there)?  Who has time for podcasts?  And are there that many people who listen to them? (The answer is yes, yes there are)

Let's face it - I post pictures of Hank to Facebook, make the odd running update from Endomondo into a status and complain about work (all on facebook). I have instagram - sometimes I even post pictures there from my phone.  They all should be marked #nofilter because who's got the time to figure out filters?

My Pinterest page now has a "Stop Pinning, Start Doing" board.  Which technically should be a list of things I want to try soon. I've pinned things to it. A few have been tried. I've even managed to move those few into boards titled "Favorites - something."  According to Pinterest, I don't like much.

So sometimes I really struggle with what to post here.

Which is why today you're getting a smoothie recipe.

This is my super-fantastic picture of my smoothie in a spaghetti sauce jar as I ride the bus to work. 

1 cup watermelon chunks
1.2 cup saskatoons (or blueberries)
1/4 cup kefir (or yogurt, or milk, whatever floats your boat)
Splash of iced coffee concentrate (this is a technical measurement)
1/2 cup of water
1 date (remove the pit)
2 tsp vanilla protein powder (I used Vega One protein & greens. You can easily skip this)

Throw it all in a blender.  Blend until smooth, or until you're done feeding the pets.  Pour into a glass.  Realize you're running late.  Pour from glass into a jar.  Rinse the blender pitcher and lid.  Try to remember to put the jar of smoothie into your bag before you run out of the house because you're running late and you don't want to miss the bus.

Wonder if the dog ate the cat's food after you left the house.

Realize that the smoothie needs a picture if you're going to post about it on the blog so take a poor quality one on a dark bus before you drink it all.

Remember why you make coffee concentrate every now and then.

Realize that people probably don't know how easy it is to make their very own coffee concentrate to make their own iced lattes at home. Provide link to The Pioneer Woman's Perfect Iced Coffee page. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

New goal!

I did not run this morning - mostly because of a poor sleep, but also because of the air quality.  It's pretty bad and every day they just keep rating us higher.  We're at a 14 or 15 on a 10+ scale.  I'm not sure exactly what a 10+ scale is, but apparently it's extremely flexible.

Anyway, the point is really that I didn't run.

I did, however, take the stairs at work.  I work on the 5th floor of an office building and it's 9 flights of stairs to get to my floor (3 to the second floor, and 2 to each subsequent floor)

I've decided on non-running days, I need to at least do the stairs.

Soon, I hope to make it all the way to my floor without wanting to die.  Or at the very least, without having to stop part way to catch my breath.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Air quality advisory, running and diet.

Last Friday night, I arrived home in the snow.

This week, we have heat, but smoke from the forest fires in Washington. You can't walk out the door without inhaling enough smoke that you think you're way closer to the fire than a few thousand miles!

I've been getting along really well with my running.  This week I started 4 min run/1 min walk and it's been going well.  Ok, it's painful at times and I'm exhasted when I finish, but I'm doing it, and faster than when I ran pre-cancer so there's that.

But getting up to run in the morning when it's so smokey you can taste it is going to take some extra motivation.

The diet is going fairly well. I've been sticking to it, for the most part. On the weekend, we went out for dinner and had a fabulous dinner that I tried to make fit the plan, but let's face it - a marscapone risotto stuffed with smokey spanish ham probably doesn't fit any plan. Unless that plan is "delicious." Also, pumpkin sticky toffee pudding fits into that category as well.

It was worth it.

I figure so long as I can make it through the week eating healthy, a nice meal to reward myself isn't the end of the world. And it seems to be working - I haven't been measuring myself, but the scale is down a bit and my clothes seem to be fitting looser.

Almost done the month of August.  I'm inching my way to my mileage goal and feeling pretty good about my weight. :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Running and diet and sleep

I'm not always the best with my diet, but the husband and I have decided to do something healthier when it comes to food.  We are  loosely following a commercial diet plan that we happened to have a cookbook for as well as some success in the past following said diet plan.  It's really more about us actually planning our week's food and eating in rather than giving in and eating out when we have nothing planned. Which is why I'm not really going to mention the diet - it's way more about balance and eliminating fast food than what the diet actually says.

That's been interesting because at the same time I've been avoiding junk food (my favorite) and alcohol (I like it, but this is not such a big deal).  Meanwhile our summer student at work is driving me to drink.  Or at the very least crave large amounts of salty, crunchy food.  Or giant plates of pasta.

Did you know that the Germans make a dessert that is essentially ice cream extruded like pasta.  Often topped with strawberry sauce?  There is something wrong with that, but probably only to someone who loves pasta more than ice cream and sees this as sacrilege.

These are the things you can find on the internet when you're trying to ignore your hunger while googling "German Ice Cream" to see if there's anything your coworker needs to be aware of before she departs for her vacation.  Because, priorities. Also because killing summer students is frowned on and it seems somewhat harsh to request he be fired.

So, having changed our diet for a whole three days (seriously, today is day three, I'm not good on diets), I've noticed that the one benefit promised in the book of benefits (otherwise why would you buy the diet book?) is actually valid.


I'm actually sleeping mostly through the night (pets notwithstanding) except for that bizarre 12:30-12:35 am time period where I continue to wake up every night.  Sure, I have a bit of trouble falling asleep (I'm surprised I was asleep by midnight last night to make my 12:30 wakeup call) now and again, but I seem to be getting better quality sleep.

I say this because I'm actually waking up at 4:30 to run with a lot less, "OMG! NO!"  I can also get on the bus on running days and not sleep for the entire trip into town.  And out of town.

On non-running days, I also don't feel the need to nap on the bus so much.

This could also be because I switched from coffee to tea at the same time as starting this diet so perhaps the sleep thing is not so related.  BUT THE BOOK SAID!

Regardless, the early mornings are getting easier, my speed is getting faster unless a hill is involved, and I'm kind of enjoying this running thing a little bit more.  And for some reason Hank is getting better behaved on leash.  Except for that poor cat he chased into the park yesterday.  In other news, turns out a good whistle will bring that dog back, even with a small furry animal to chase.

The one result I haven't seen much of, you know after three whole days, is actual weight loss, but I'm sure that'll come if I manage to find my patience.

Friday, August 14, 2015

On missed opportunities

So, I follow a science writer called Science Babe (or SciBabe).  She's pretty awesome, but today I learned that she lost 90lbs in the past.

And I realized that when she was dealing with illness she handled it much better than I did.  I can't even blame drugs that played with my appetite because she managed that like a grownup.  Unlike me.

At the start of my treatment I had the BEST intentions regarding eating healthy and losing weight.  What a great opportunity to focus on my health, right? I always have the best intentions.  They are generally followed by a trip to the grocery store where I can't resist the new flavors of Lays potato chips (Butter Chicken?  WHAT A GREAT IDEA!) (Yes, I did this last night).

On the plus side, I'm down two pounds this week through the way I've eaten the rest of the week and the snacks/junk I cut out. Like yesterday when I sat down with a bag of grapes instead of wandering to the convenience store conveniently placed right across the street.

Finally, SciBabe has an amazing attitude about her health:

"I’m going to be “sick” for the rest of my life, but most days I feel just fine. Getting into shape and taking care of my health was a huge part of that. It wasn’t my weight that caused my condition, but the circumstances of my condition stopped my weight from eventually causing any other problems."

I have much to learn.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Random bits of random stuff

I hate mornings. What is it about the night before that makes me think, "sure, 4:30 am is awesome!"?  Because 4:30 is not awesome. And most days I manage to just reset my alarm and crawl back into bed.

Now that I have some actual goals and really want to meet them, it's a little harder to go back to sleep. I tried this morning, but decided since I was up, I might as well get out there and run since later it's only going to be stupid hot.

And a big, black dog does not run well in the heat. He does, however, run really well in the morning before the sun comes up and he's getting to be amazing on the leash - rarely pulls and hardly stopped to mark his territory at all this morning - a huge improvement.

So, we ran. And then I got home and made myself a smoothie for breakfast.

Which I forgot on the counter when I left.

But I still had my fancy new Qi'a cereal from Costco. Which is apparently endorsed by Food Babe - not a selling point for me. In fact, when I discovered that, I kind of rolled my eyes and considered throwing it out. Except that it's $17 a bag and kind of tasty. I'm still at war with myself over this, but since she also likely endorses things like carrots and peas, I'm probably safe eating it so long as I don't actually hand her any money to purchase it.

So I ate Qi'a on yogurt with some raspberries for breakfast which seems like a good start to a day.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

August Goals & Updates

Sooo, I'm pretty awful at keeping up with this seeing as it's August 11 and I'm just now posting my goals for the month/next 2 months.  Go me.

August Distance:  I want to run 25 miles in the month.  While I ran 22 in July, it would seem that this isn't such a huge goal, I'm also running shorter distances with my Running Clinic and focusing a bit on faster speeds rather than longer distances so 25 miles should still be a bit of a stretch.

Longer Term Goals:
5K (October): 46 minutes for the Run for the Cure on October 4th.  For good runners and a lot of walkers, this number will seem extremely high.  Given that my last 5K was 51 minutes, let's just accept that it's an improvement and move on.

Weight: I want to lose 15 lbs by October 7.  That's the day that we leave for the Wine Festival and I want to feel like I've accomplished something and maybe need to get my clothes taken in at the same time.

5K (December): I'm a beginning runner so it's probably unrealistic to expect too big a jump in this, but I'm targeting 43 minute 5K by the end of Dec. If I can make that happen. I should be able to expect a reasonable finish time for the Zion Nat'l Park half marathon so I'll sign up for that if I meet this goal.

Moving on, update time.

I spent the weekend in Manitoba for my cousin's wedding.  This was awesome because I got to visit with a cousin of mine who I don't see nearly often enough (not the one getting married) - which really means all of my cousins because I don't really hang out with any of them.

The wedding was beautiful.

I also managed to get up the morning of the wedding and go for a run with my Mom at the lake.  For once, she struggled to keep up.  Which means I'm doing something right and getting faster.  Go me

I've been using Runkeeper to track my runs, but I'm finding that it's reliance on GPX files rather than the Garmin Connect functionality is awful. I might have to change tracking apps which isn't a huge deal now that I'm using the Garmin again. Although I do have a friend who actually uses Runkeeper so I'll lose that social networking. I do like how Runkeeper displays pace and elevation, but I'm pretty sure I can find that in other apps.

Overall, I feel pretty good about how things have progressed with my running.  Sure, I'm slow, but I'm getting there.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Three and a half miles on Monday

Hank and I went out Monday morning for a nice run around the lake.  And it was a nice run.  It was also a test of running at a busy park with lots of dogs and kids around.  Hank did amazing.  He let a little girl pet him and sat still while another little boy ran by yelling, "Hi Puppy!"  He even had a good sniff at another dog on the trail so that was a relief.  We keep waiting for the problem with the big guy and there are none.

Well, he does think he belongs on the furniture.  And he likes licking faces.

Anyway, he continues to motivate us to get active and me particularly to keep running.  Although this morning was a morning run fail so I'll have to catch up tonight.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

My first running clinic

The cancer survivor running clinic was pretty awesome.  I wasn't sure what to expect, but it's a mix of returning participants and newbies like me.  So today's session was getting to know each other, followed by a quick 20 minute run.

we start out with 1 min run, 2 min walk, which is much shorter than I usually do so I attempted to run a little faster than normal.  At which point I also had to walk faster to recover. I did ok, but it wasn't great and in the heat, I was a little uncomfortable.

I'm sad I'm going to have to miss next week's clinic for a wedding, but I can't wait until the weekend after that.  Looks like it's going to be a fun bunch of women to get to know.

Also, I managed to get my Garmin watch straightened out so I can actually use it to track my runs instead of my phone.  Or as a backup to my phone on days I forget to charge my phone.

So, this running thing, still going well and now I have a bit more motivation to get out there and do it.  Looking forward to the run in October.