Monday, October 17, 2011

Potentials and Partners

Today's juice: celery, kale stems, and apple, with chia seeds mixed in and left to gel. Not the most pleasant drink. I don't think I'm a fan of celery. It seems oddly... peppery? I'd like to get used to the chia part, however. Once my mind and body have gotten used to juicing (at least another week, if not two, I should think), I'd like to grit my teeth and try a 10 -Day "ReBoot," or juice fast, as seen in Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. Because I will be working out quite a bit during that time, I want to make absolutely certain I am getting enough oomph in my diet to continue progressing. I have heard that mixing in chia seeds is a popular method of accomplishing that.

Started P90X with Katie today (though she had to leave early because it is her mother's birthday, so we didn't get to AbRipperX). For now, we are doing it three times a week- her idea- but today she expressed some interest in maybe bumping it up to the full schedule! And, added incentive to keep up with it: one of her roommates will start joining us several times a week. So now there are three people all poking at each other to stay on track.

I've been keeping up with my running schedule, but I'm still experiencing a lot of tightness and sometimes a little pain in my lower-calf/Achilles area. Looking into strengthening exercises and stretches to try and alleviate that, and trying to monitor my runs to not push it to the point of injury. I do think that my endurance is already improving, however. Tomorrow pushes the running up to 90 seconds a shot. I'm interested to see how it goes.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Immediate Reflections on Juicing

Today's juice: kale, cucumber, apple. A much prettier color than yesterday!

Today's run: Day Three of Week One- the same as the rest of the week, 60 seconds jogging with 90 seconds recovery repeated for a total of 20 minutes.

I have arranged with my mother to do a Turkey Trot over Thanksgiving together. We don't know yet which part of the state we will be in on which days, but as we get closer we can actually officially sign up. So this means that for my first race I will have someone to talk to, and for my second (just a week later!) I will have a Santa suit! This seems like a good sign for my running career.

Yesterday, after juicing for the first time, I got on such an energy high. First it was an emotional buzz, pride that I had done it and excitement and the like. Then I think my body realized it actually had micronutrients in it, and it went berserk. I was calling my entire family, trying to get someone on the phone so I could bubble over to them, and realized that I was speed walking in very tight circular paths all over my apartment. So I slipped on my Vibrams in record time, hopped outside, and absolutely booked it about half a mile up an incline. I talked my sister's ear off for about half an hour, wandered around the athletic fields at school, one eye on the soccer game, and then beat the fall of night to get back into my apartment. Made some Mexican rice with brown rice, cleaned up the kitchen some more, and got a wonderful night's sleep.

Actually letting my juice chill this morning, but it should be pretty cold by now, so I'm about to head out to have it!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Getting the Juices Flowing

Holy cow, holy cow, holy cow.

I was feeling particularly sluggish this morning- eating nothing healthy, lying flat on my back glued to my computer, the works. And it just kept eating and eating at my mind. Yes, I know I said I'm not striving for perfection, but this just felt like it was actively causing the problem, rather than maintaining status quo or working to correct it. But I couldn't make myself do anything.

I reopened a document I started a few days ago about juicing. I'd heard about juicing, of course, but never given it much thought until Emily talked about watching Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. Suddenly, juicing was on my mind. I checked my Netflix- Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead was available for instant watching. I instantly watched. Suddenly, juicing was all I could think about.

But I'm on a student budget. The juicer Emily was getting was $200. Hmm. I started brainstorming all of the different ways I could raise that amount of extra cash. Even if I started implementing all of those steps right away, it would still be easily a month before I felt I had the disposable income on hand. And it ate at me.

Then, today, as I moved from lying flat on the couch back to lying flat on my bed, a serious discontentment started festering. About 20 minutes later, I suddenly jackknifed up. I don't remember any thought process taking me there- I think I was in the middle of watching an episode of Chuck- but I had an urgent need to see if Walmart had any juicers. I checked my store specifically. Yes, they had exactly one model in my store- $30, with pretty good reviews. My heart rate skyrocketed. I remained in bed long enough to read through most of the reviews, and check the questions area to see if it would juice greens. All things checked out.

It was a Scarlett O'Hara moment of types. I knew I needed to do it, I knew I couldn't stay in my apartment any longer. I had to go out and get it. I had my makeup on in record time, and was feeling bold enough to wear lip color. Then I remembered to grab a reusable grocery bag, and skipped to my car. I have rarely felt so empowered. I felt oddly serious and driven, but with an underlying jubilation that caused me to loudly sing along to my radio during the drive to Walmart. I marched straight in, located the juicer within a minute, snagged a cheapo pitcher so I can make up large batches in the morning (my model only holds 8oz at a time), and was out of the store within 5 minutes, less than $35 dollars poorer. [Geek sidetrip: according to my microeconomics professor, I may have actually been about $150 richer, because I was able to get something I would have spent almost $200 on for less than $50, thus giving my $150 in Consumer Surplus]

I carefully placed it in the trunk, and then zipped over to Whole Foods, where I scouted for all of the sales on produce. Carrots, Fiji apples, kiwis, a lemon, a grapefruit, two cucumbers, a bunch of kale and a bunch of romaine. I already had spinach, tomatoes, limes, and more lemons in my fridge, languishing unloved in my vegetable crisper. I think I am being entirely honest when I say that I currently have more vegetables in my fridge than I have eaten in my entire college career combined.

Triumphantly returning home, I was energized to clean up my kitchen (which was in an absolutely incredible state this morning, adding to the extreme lazy bum feeling of the morning). I looked up a few recipes online, and decided that there was enough variation to basically wing it. Out came the sparkling new juicer, cleaned and set up, and I chopped up enough kale, cucumber, and carrot to make 1 glass (250 ml/8 oz).

I set it in the fridge to get nice and cold, and cleaned up- really quite an easy affair, though I do need to invest in a cheapo toothbrush to help clean the screen. Around this point I started having my standard "Oh God it's vegetables" brain freeze, so I snatched the juice out of the fridge before it could get properly cold. I took a picture to commemorate the moment, and ran to my computer to crank my number one Changing My Life Song- "Watch Me Shine" by Vanessa Carlton (also known as the song to which Elle Woods changes her life in Legally Blonde). Then I downed it, the whole glass. It wasn't super yummy by any means, but it was certainly palatable. I only had a gag reflex once, towards the very end when all of the micropulp started to build up at the bottom of the glass. But I pushed through and finished it all.

Now I'm all buzzy and super excited. I think I will be jumping up and down and calling my mom in short order, and then probably zooming away on the bike as I cackle hysterically at last night's episode of The Mentalist. I don't even know if it is a particularly funny one, I just think I'm going to find everything as amusing as possible.

I did it! I ingested KALE. I juiced! I have a juicer! And I'm using it! Scarlett O'Hara, this is how we do things in the New South.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Small Steps into Training

Just back in from completing my second training run. That is as far as I have pretty much ever gotten in any self-policed training program ever. Farther, in many cases. I generally stop at the planning stage, or sometimes after Day 1. I also have never had an actual, scheduled event coming up that I have trained for, so hopefully that is the kicker that will continue to get me out the door.

I know from previous experience (walking the Breast Cancer 3-Day -60 miles-) that I can physically finish something relatively low-key but still strenuous without training, but it was darn uncomfortable, and I was near to dead last on each of the two days of it that I walked alone. Note to Self: I want to walk it again. Must start earning money so I don't have to worry about the fund-raising (much harder than walking 60 miles in 3 days on little-to-no training, btw). End Note to Self.

However, I don't want to whimper through my Santa run. I want to charge through it, perhaps with a pathetic time, but with oomph and energy to spare. So training it is.

I was originally going to do my second run yesterday, but as with any time I restart my running program since switching to minimalist running, I have to deal with the overwhelming calf and ankle pain for a few days after as my muscles recover. Yesterday was the peak of the pain, so I scrapped the running plan and pushed it to today. The area below my main calf muscle but above my ankle was still pretty tight today (I suspect my ankles still need a lot of strengthening), but it loosened quite nicely by the end of my run. Still sore, of course, but feeling better.

I felt really strong during the first part of my run today. I felt I could go longer than the prescribed 60 seconds, and take shorter breaks than the prescribed 90 seconds. By the second half, I was dragging a lot more than I was during my first run. Perhaps not enough water and proper fuel this time, or a result of slightly giving in to the urge to push harder during the first half of the run? Time will tell, I suppose. Still learning who I am as a runner. One thing I have learned just from my scattered running exploits over the past year is that I run fast. Not when it comes to sprinting- I'm probably pretty slow at that. But out-on-the-street jogging/running- I zoom. Unintentionally, I assure you. It might be a biproduct of working on quick turnover that will fade away as I settle into my running form, it might be that love of speed I discovered in DC, or it might just be something about my own form or body or what have you. For right now, I consciously work to slow down so I don't exhaust myself early on, but I hope to don't stamp it out. It amuses me!

Now I must go fuel. Normally I'm all about hot beans in some fashion (stir fried tofu, beans with melted cheese, burritos, falafel, etc.), but since San Antonio doesn't believe in fall weather (I just ran in near-90 degree heat), I am actually craving something cold. I think my spinach is probably dead, so I'm running to the local HEB for some spinach, and then it's time to pound back a Green Monster! Woot!

Monday, October 10, 2011

It's Official

Well, I did it. I signed up.

As I walked out of class today, I started to suspect that, seeing as it was a Monday morning, I would find that my parents had replenished my checking account. I logged on as soon as I was in the door, and sure enough, there it was: a nice large, shiny number, from which I immediately removed $38.60 to sign up for a 5k.

I will be running the inaugural Santa Antonia 5k on December 3rd. It's a little more than 6 weeks, but I don't yet know what my Thanksgiving schedule will be, so I couldn't sign up for any Seattle-area Turkey Trots at this time. So maybe, by the time I get around to it, the Santa Antonia won't be my first race. But it will be my first in a Santa suit! That's right- they provide every runner with a Santa suit on race day. I am so psyched. (I have a serious love for all things Christmas)

As previously stated, I am running this thing whether I train or not. So, in order to feel better about it all, I'm going to train! I'm all dressed, I've just checked Day 1 of the Couch-to-5k program, and I'm about to head out the door.

And this evening, Katie is coming over for our first day of co-P90X-ing!

Two major undertakings started in one day. I'm so accomplished! (And yes, my first 5k totally counts as a major undertaking. I don't care if it is weeny compared to the ultimate goal of running ultramarathons, for me to be able to run for a mile without stopping is going to be huge. I am so excited!).

Sunday, October 9, 2011

An Hour a Day

I found a list on Huffington Post that shows the most common habits among people who have lost a great deal of weight and kept it off for at least five years. The key findings that interested me:
  1. 78% eat breakfast every morning. I vacillate when it comes to how good I am at this. I generally strive to, but sometimes sleep or last-minute studying take the place of getting up early enough to eat before I run off to class. I will work on improving my consistency.
  2. 90% exercise about an hour a day. It doesn't specify cardio or weights, but I want to make sure I am doing both. Simply being skinny has never excited me- I want to be tone. I want defined arms and abs. I want to be able to pull myself up onto that darn dock in Chelan. But I also want to stop being out of breath whenever I have to make the mad dash from my dance class all the way across campus to my economics class in one passing period.
  3. 62& watch fewer than 10 hours of TV a week. I have three, soon to be four, shows I watch each week. This should bring me to a mere 4 hours, but I have a tendency to channel surf sometimes. I am instituting a new rule: the 4 shows can be, but don't need to be, watched while sedentary on the couch. Anything else, be it a game or an awards show or any other movie or show I find, must be watched from on the bike. Still trying to figure out what rule I institute for watching Netflix on my computer. 
Specific to getting my minimum of one hour in a day, then. One of my best friends lives a two minute walk from my door, and works out pretty diligently. After talking about it earlier in the week, we are officially partnering up to do P90X. Right now, we are just scheduled for three days a week, but I am going to add in at least some basic resistance training on off days, so that I don't go two weeks between exercising a particular muscle group as we currently will be scheduled to do. It's an actual proper schedule- specific times on specific days. I can already tell that I'm going to be pretty hard-nosed about it. I don't intend for us to miss these sessions.

Finally, for my running. I read over Emily's Journey to Running this morning, and she started out right where I am now. So, as soon as I get some money back in my account, I am signing up- and paying for- a 5K. Two months away, maximum. And then I am going to run it whether I train for it or not. I'm hoping that having that looming deadline will get me out and training more often than not. Maybe I'll luck out and my friend will train for that with me as well, or I can at least get a friend to run it with me, but regardless, I need to actually get out there and run a race. Running just isn't happening for me without something to strive to. So let's see what happens when there is a tangible goal.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


An amazing thing happened about 10 days ago.

I decided to stop feeling guilty about eating junk food, and just subscribe to Michael Pollan's idea: you can have as much junk food as you want, you just have to make it yourself. I promptly made myself some cookie dough, as I often do. Usually, an entire (half-recipe) batch is gone within about 24 hours. Not good. And I feel guilty from the moment I think of making it to well after I have finished scraping the bowl.

This time, it lasted almost a week. I could go snag a bite or two whenever I wanted to, no strings attached. Most of the time, that more than took the edge off of the sugar craving, and I wandered away, or ate some beans if I was actually hungry.

I also decided that going completely whole hog with vegetables and One Hundred Percent Mega Nutritional Meals Only was not really working about, and I didn't want to spend time in my kitchen. In addition to working harder to keep my kitchen a physically inviting space, I also decided to focus on just getting in there and cooking most meals, regardless of their nutrients. Making alfredo sauce on pasta, or buttermilk pancakes, or what have you, is going to be a sight better than nuking some pizza rolls or filling up on cookie dough because I just want out of that darn kitchen. 

And then I started making reasonably healthy things, based on craving alone. Sun-dried tomato pesto on whole wheat bowtie pasta. Falafel (I think this is the best batch I've ever made!!). Peanut-sauce tofu and quinoa.

Once I took the pressure off of myself to be immediately perfect, I started improving! I've still got a long way to go, but I've already lost two pounds this week. So something is starting to work.