Wednesday, August 8, 2012

More changes!

Great news, everyone-- I've gotten a job in Chicago and I'm relocating there within the next two weeks!  I'm super-excited... Chicago has an active vegan community, lots of running groups, and some other things I'm interested in (I might start doing yoga classes!)  And I'll be learning to brave city traffic on bike.

This year in Michigan was very lonely and isolating and stressful so I'm really looking forward to being in a city again.  I got an apartment in a cool neighborhood where I can walk here and there easily, and I'm 2.5 miles from the lakeshore bike trail where I could run along Lake Michigan.  I'll be on a tighter budget, but that just means I'll be doing more cooking and less depressed-eating-packaged-crap-food that I probably shouldn't be eating anyhow.  I'll also be living only a mile from my brother and we've never lived in the same city as adults, so I'm looking forward to that too.

I know I've said this before, but I really want to start blogging more again... for the short-term, I might be posting more recipes.  I thought about starting a new recipe blog, but I like this blog... so I may as well just keep hanging out here.

Monday, April 9, 2012

The thing about p90x is that it's back to back to back soreness.  Like, there's only supposed to be one rest day per week, and after every workout you get sore.  So basically I'm never NOT sore these days.

This is Day 15... next week is a "rest week," but that just means I get to do yoga twice, core synergistics (sounds scary... I'm sure it is..), and legs and back.  Considering I did yoga last night and feel like I've been punched all over today as a result, I'm not sure how rest-y this so-called "rest week" will be!

I'm not seeing any results yet on the scale (actually I gained 2 lbs...grrr).  But people on the p90x forums say that sometimes you gain a little weight in the first 30 days while you build muscle, and then weight starts to come off.  I'm trying to remain optimistic.  My arms look a little stronger than before, but it's really subtle... no one would notice but me.

The main thing is... yay look at me, I'm sticking with something!  I haven't had much workout tenacity in awhile...15 days is a pretty good success streak.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

It's spring!

... and I'm finally back, and finally getting a little less lazy!

I can't even put into words how difficult this winter has been.  I hardly did any running.  I was really struggling with working full time and still finding time to squeeze in a workout while still leaving at least a little down time each day to unwind.  I have no idea how people busier than me balance all of the stuff they have to get done in one day.   Things are finally starting to even out, though, so I'm trying to get back on track.  I discovered that it works out decently well to run during the work day at least some of the time.  The rest of the time I've been working out in the evening.

Where I am with running:  I've been running only about 10 or so miles per week.  I'm registered for the Detroit marathon (in October), and in the next 2 months I need to be doing the 20 miles a week base-building that comes before the 18 week marathon training plan begins.  As of May 6, I'm off work until September... I will still have things to get done, but I'll be on my own time and can budget my time however I want.  This should make life a lot easier as far as doing runs and etc.  I wish I had longer for the pre-marathon 20 miles a week base-building thing, just to make sure I was REALLY ready to start the marathon training cycle, but I think it'll be ok since I've done this show before.

Where I am with other non-running workout stuff:  I'm currently on day 10 of p90x.  I tried to start that workout cycle at the end of last year, but got sick and then couldn't continue, and then got lazy and didn't resume.  It's going really well so far--it's a crazy-intense workout.  I have a friend who saw significant improvements in her running from the routine, and a guy I know dropped something like 25lbs just doing p90x, so I'm trying to "bring it" or "just press play" or whatever other cliche Tony Horton catch-phrases there are.  I never thought a dvd workout could be this intense.  A week of p90x in phase 1 looks like this:

Monday: Chest and Back, Ab ripper x
Tuesday: Plyometrics (jump training... omg hard)
Wednesday: Shoulders and Arms, Ab ripper x
Thursday: Kenpo
Friday: Legs and Back, ab ripper x
Saturday: Yoga
Sunday: eat potato chips (ok no chips... but rest day)

My plan is to squeeze in a run on Mondays (along with the chest/back/abs routine) and Wednesdays (if legs can handle it after Plyo the previous day). I hate Kenpo and think it's not a good enough workout, so on Thursdays I'm just going to substitute in a run.  And I might add a run on Yoga day if my legs feel ok after Friday.  We'll see how this all works out.

Short term goals: 
1) Stop beating myself up about sucking at running... this was a tough year, with a tough relocation for work, and some tough life changes.  There's no use in making excuses, but it's holding me back to feel so constantly shitty about myself.
2) Do a pull-up!  I've never been able to do a pull-up in my entire life, and I think p90x is going to finally get me there.
3) Eat more protein for phase 1 of p90x.  This also means to eat breakfast every day.
4) Do increasingly more running each week, while still sticking with most of the p90x workouts.

I'm hoping to give the blog a little makeover and then continue posting throughout the summer.  Lots of my posts will probably be about p90x, at least for now :o)

*waves hello again to everyone I've missed*

Friday, November 18, 2011

Well... hmm. An update.

Long time, no see.
Do I still have any readers left out there??  Where did time go?  Eesh.  Where do I even start...
After my last post, I ended up moving to Michigan in mid-August for work.  I've had a lot of trouble adjusting to this new place, which at least somewhat accounts for my disappearance.
    So yeah, overall moving here has been very difficult especially on my training/working out.  The job is fine--good, even, and fairly satisfying. Living here is just the hard part.  I'm still hoping it will get easier somehow, and I'm hoping that once the holidays are over I can make Chicago a regular part of my weekend life and plan trips for the summer. 

    Here are some very small running things I've achieved since moving:
    • Ran 5 mile loops on some local roads fairly consistently for a few weeks straight in September
    • Ran the Columbus half marathon in spite of a complete lack of training (worst finishing time ever, but finishing was satisfying in and of itself given how little I'd been running)
    • Ran 13 miles in Chicago when I went there--meant to do more like 9, but got lost with my friend.  I use the word "ran" loosely here, because it was more of a run/whimper/pathetic walk breaks/whine.  But I made it.
    • Monday I have to do a 5k sponsored by my school. I don't want to do it because I'm out of shape and feel gross, but apparently it's a thing that will be viewed negatively if I don't get my ass out there, especially since people know I run.
    • Thursday I have to do another 5k because I met a girl who knows some girls who run in a town about 20 minutes away.  This is the first promising lead I've had on any kind of runner social life so I'd be an idiot not to do this race.  Again, though, I'm not the biggest fan of 5ks and that means I have to do two in one week when I'm out of shape--this is a problem mostly because I'm going to be super-sad when I see how pathetic my finishing time is :'(  
    This past week I've started doing p90x.  My execution hasn't been 100% perfect, but it has to be better than doing nothing, and I've been very sore so I must be doing something right.  My next post will be about my adventures in p90x :o)

    I'm wondering if I can still call myself a runner.  It makes me sad to think that I can't.  I also have hopes of doing the Kalamazoo Marathon in May and I won a free entry into the North Country Trail Marathon in Manistee, MI in August, so I will have to get my shit together at some point within the next 8 months.  I miss the energy I used to have for all things running.  I'm not sure when running started making me sad.  I'm not sure if going on runs here just makes me remember how much better running in Columbus on the trail was and how much I miss my running buddies, or if I am sad about how out of shape I am now, or what.  Sigh.

    Tuesday, August 2, 2011

    My goal run

    So, if I decide to man up and do the full Columbus marathon, this is going to be my last training run:
    I'm going to run to Lake Michigan from my town!  And then jump in the water!  This "walk route" from Google maps says it's 23.9 miles, but I think I could tweak the route a little to make it more direct (I mapped to the one public beach I know of at St. Joseph, MI).  Here's a more zoomed-out map if you don't know the geography:
    Seriously, how cool will that be? People will be all "Oh, what'd you do this weekend?" and I'll be all "Oh.. nothing much... just RAN TO FREAKING LAKE MICHIGAN FROM HERE."  :D

    so humid here

    Running... I'm trying to do it even though the humidity is freaking crazy here.  For awhile I was doing some run-walking because I lost so much fitness.  I don't know if the full Columbus marathon is a reality for me in October or not, but I'm going to pretend it is and try to train even if I'm behind schedule.

    On Saturday I had a really good 8 mile run starting at 630am with Lisa, Kathy, and Bridget.  It's the first time I've run that far in quite awhile, and it's also the first time I've run that much without walking throughout (I think I took 3 walk-breaks... one to chase a lawn sprinkler, one at the turnaround point, and one at mile 5 when I was feeling a little rough.  But even that is FAR less walking than I'd been doing.)  I wouldn't have made it without the group to talk with... it really kept me going (thanks girls!)  My plan is to squeeze in a mid-week long run (maybe 10??) and if it goes well I'll see if I can also run pretty long on the weekend.

    Saturday, July 23, 2011

    Big news!

    So I have GREAT NEWS which is also kind of sad news.  I got a job!!! And it's a good job, and it fell into my lap without me even looking for it, and they made me an offer extremely quickly--basically I found out about it and had an offer all within a week.  All in all, I feel very fortunate.  I just had an all-day interview on Tuesday and they made me an offer right away, and I start August 15.

    But I have to move to southwestern Michigan.  Yes... I have to leave Columbus.  I'll still have significant ties to Columbus (academically and socially) so I will still be around here, visiting, a lot.  It's about 5.5 hours away or so I think.  When I'm in town on Saturdays, I'll still make an appearance at group runs.  And I'm still doing the Columbus marathon (it's possible I'll have to scale back to the half depending on how moving and starting a new job goes).  I really want to still have my "Columbus vegan runner" identity so I'm going to do what I can to preserve that for as long as possible.

    Where I'm going it's going to be hard to find other runners, and there aren't really any nice long dedicated running trails.  I'm going to have to run on roads without sidewalks--country roads, curvy woodsy roads, where pickup trucks barrel along with no regard for pedestrians because they don't expect to see them.  And I'm afraid it's going to be hard to find running buddies. So far, I've found the following running clubs:

    • Goshen, IN:  Two Rivers Running Club --I have some ties to Goshen and it's about an hour from where I'll be living, but I might be staying there overnight sometimes.  So it's not out of the question that I could run with these folks once a week or something, maybe.
    • Michiana Runners:  Northern Indiana/Southwest Michigan --this is most likely the biggest group in the area, but it's also the most intimidating.  I bet these people take themselves seriously and are fast runners and serious runners rather than slow people like me.  There's a Tuesday run at 530 from downtown South Bend, IN (about 45 minutes from my work), a Thursday run from Mishawaka (also about 45 minutes from me), a run from Notre Dame campus a couple times a week (no real details there--also about 45 minutes from me), and informal group runs on Saturday/Sunday.  Again, about 45 minutes away from me.  I might just have to plan that one day a week I'll drive 45 minutes for a group run so I can actually have friends and meet people.
    • PMC running club:  Berrien Springs (only about 25 minutes from my work).  Close by, but they cancelled group runs until September... seems from that that they aren't a very reliable option.
    • Monday Night Running Club:  This is my first option since it's very close to my work.  We'll see how it goes.
    • Kalamazoo Area Runners:  This is probably my last option.  Kalamazoo is about 50 minutes from work, I think.  But I think this is probably a really big club.
    Taking up trail running is also on the table, maybe.  I'm not sure what kinds of trails exist but I bet there are at least some.

    As far as eating vegan goes, this is going to be a real test of my creativity.  There's not even a Kroger within 45 minutes of where I might end up living.  The closest Whole Foods and Trader Joe's is Chicago (about 2.5 hours).  I'm probably going to have to drive to Indiana weekly with a cooler to "import" organic produce and anything "unusual" I want like almond/soy milk, tofu, tempeh, etc.  The grocery store in my town is called Harding's and it's basically a middle-America meat-and-dairy-based market.  It was extremely disappointing.  And restaurants are for the most part completely out of the question.  Heck, the nearest Starbucks is apparently 20 miles away.  Really, though, it was eye-opening... I mean, no wonder middle America doesn't even consider veganism an option.  It's like the stores there MAKE it not an option.  You can't expect people to learn new or healthier ways of eating if there aren't CHOICES available and even the produce looks like wilted garbage. Agh.  It disappoints me on so many levels.  So, keep following for news of what I find around there and how I make this work (obviously, I plan to make it work, even if it's a pain in the ass to do so.)

    That's another reason I'll be visiting Columbus.  Not only will I miss my old friends and my old haunts, but my old ability to eat wherever I want at restaurants whenever I feel like it, and going out to the store to pick up groceries easily and simply within just a little mile drive, or half mile walk to the co-op.

    Buying a Prius is also something I'm thinking about, since I'm going to probably have to drive around so much in order to keep from going insane from isolation and crappy food options.  I'd feel slightly less guilty if I wasn't burning through gas money while simultaneously killing the environment.

    So it's a time of transition in these parts.  I am hoping my blog can retain its old identity but also reflect the new one; maybe it can also have a page and some resources about how to be vegan when you live in the middle of nowhere rural woodsy American whatever.  (On the drive between Goshen Indiana and my new town in Michigan, I also went past a Tyson slaughterhouse.  At that point I really had some serious doubts in mind about what I've gotten myself into location-wise. It was very, very shocking.)  

    The job though is basically my dream job.  I'm really really happy and I feel very fortunate, even if it's going to take a little adjusting.  I went from being all "omg what is going to happen to me, my life is a bunch of unknowns and I have no money" to "wow i have pretty much the best opportunity ever."  And a special shout out to Physically Philosophical:  If things can fall into place for me this quickly/easily/unexpectedly, I'm sure some relief from the anxiety is headed your way too!  Remember, we have oddly parallel lives ;)  

    Wednesday, July 6, 2011

    Right on cue... one remaining black toenail from doing the Cleveland marathon with wet feet just fell off.
    Fresh start?!? Yay!

    Kickin' off a new training plan...

    I'm just going to get this complaining out of my system, because then it's time for me to man up:

    • Cleveland marathon made running NOT fun any more.  I've been incredibly lazy the last month and a half with no desire to run at all, really.  The heat isn't helping.  But I'm going to be really pissed at myself if I give up over just one bad race experience.
    • It's hot.
    • I'm constantly under pressure to meet writing deadlines now, and it's making me really stressed.  And also the kind of depressed that leads to me sitting around on the couch sulking more than I'd like.
    • I need a job and I'm stressed about money, which sucks.  I'll be ok for awhile, but not too long of a while.
    • I have to move out of my apartment in about a month and a few days.  I have so much crap around that I need to pack.
    So the last 3 of those bullets are things that could be at least somewhat helped and eased if I was on a regular running schedule again.  It's a time-proven reality that running helps me manage stress.  And I haven't been to a group run in a million years... even though I miss everyone and want to go I've been feeling like I'm too out of shape to keep up and I just haven't made it happen.  For awhile the structure of having a couple weekly group runs was kind of helping, too.

    So I'm designing a training program and going to do the Columbus Marathon again in October.  There's not as many weeks left to train as I'd like, but I'm hoping I can just reset my mind and refocus and get my training off the ground quickly.  I haven't COMPLETELY stopped running, but I've been doing like... little 3-milers wearing Vibram fivefingers.  I guess it's slightly better than if I had just totally stopped, but we'll see.  I know a ton of people running this race--some coming in from out of town and doing it as their first race or marathon--and I want to be a part of that.  Not to mention all of the people I know in Columbus who are going to run it.  So, it should be a good time.

    I'm going back to a Hal Higdon plan with a few minor modifications and replacing 1 run per week with a Daniels-style speed workout.  I'll be working out the details in the next couple weeks.

    To end a post that starts with complaining on a more positive note, here are some things that are awesome:
    • I've been cooking a lot again!  Not having money is making me have to be more resourceful and I have to eat at home a lot more...but I've been cooking some good stuff.  More recipe posts will surely be happening ;)
    • The Tour de France is on! YAY!  i love watching pro cycling so, so much.  It's making every day more fun.

    Sunday, June 26, 2011

    matcha lattes are awesome.

    This past month has been crazy... I've been traveling and everything has been just nuts.

    I owe y'all a race report from Sunburst half (not much to share there, but I'll make a post anyhow).  Also I did a 5k last Sunday.  All in all I'm feeling simultaneously a little burned out on running (3 races in 1 month? What the what?) and also eager to get back on some kind of structured running plan, since when I haven't been racing I've mostly been a complete lazy-ass.  So, we'll see where this next week/month leads when it comes to running.  But seriously, I'm back alive in the blogosphere and there will be race reports and also posts about the usual training things.  I'm so happy to be settling back into Columbus for awhile.

    In the meantime let me share with you my latest addiction:  a fabulous creation I discovered called a tropical matcha latte.  It all started at Zen Tea House in Louisville, where I ended up with some friends for dessert one night when work was paying for our food.  I had vegan carrot cake and a tropical matcha latte, and it was fabulous that I spent the next 2 days thinking of that latte and ended up stopping by for a second one on my way out of town.  And guess what... I had matcha powder in my fridge, so I knew I was going to have to find a way to make these.

    For starters, Zen Tea House was awesome. I can't recommend it enough.  Cozy, homelike atmosphere...super-cool people... delicious and creative food... millions of teas.  If I lived in Louisville I'd be going there constantly.  I think the matcha latte I had there had:  mango juice, aloe juice, almond milk, matcha powder, some form of sweetener, and I'm not sure what else.  So when I got home, here is what I tried:

    • Heat water for tea; whisk 1 tsp of matcha powder in a very small amount of hot water (3-4oz?) and allow to sit a couple minutes.
    • In a large tumbler, pour: equal amounts of pineapple juice and mango juice (I couldn't find proper mango juice so I used something called "tropical morning blend" that had a lot of mango juice in it)
    • Add about 1/4c almond milk
    • Pour in the matcha tea you mixed
    • Add a drizzle of agave
    • Blend and pour over ice.
    I've had one of these literally every day since I've been home.  I'm going to run out of matcha powder and I'm too poor to buy more!  But seriously, it's so delicious.  And here is why matcha is awesome:  when you drink matcha you're drinking the whole leaves of the tea, not just steeping leaves.  One glass of matcha tea is the equivalent of 10 glasses of regular green tea in terms of antioxidant content. 

    Have you had matcha tea before?  Do you have matcha latte ideas that AREN'T "tropical" so I can add a little variety here?