Monthly Archives: February 2012

binge

Week 3 of the couch to 5k is not killing me, contrary to what I believed would be the case. (Cue corny joke about what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.) In fact, I think I’m finally getting into somewhat of a groove with this whole running thing. I find week 3 to be less exhausting than week 2. I think the short spurts of running/walking of week 2 were more fatiguing because it required me to change my pace 12 times, whereas week 3 only requires me to change my pace 8 times. Even though this includes two longer spurts of 3 minutes each, I find that I’m not tiring out as much. This is progress, I think!

I make it a point to check my heart rate after each period of running. I like to keep an eye on my heart because I’ve had high blood pressure in the recent past and I have an irrational fear that cardio will literally kill me. It’s widely accepted that your MAX heart rate should be 220 minus your age but you should only be exercising to about 80% of that to be safe. This means I should be around 157, which uh… is not the case. I am usually fluttering around the max after I run, but I’m starting to see a steep decline. After my initial 1.5 minutes of running, I’ve been around 150-160, as opposed to a week ago when 1.5 minutes of running had me around 180-190. I think this is excellent news. Heart-healthy exercise!

But I slipped into some comfortable bad habits…like binging. I mean, I don’t know if I should really use the B word because it’s not like I sat on the kitchen floor and consumed an entire cake. But I picked up some junk food at Fresh Market (such as peanut-butter filled pretzels, biscoff cookies, a Theo bar…) and in the past two days, have consumed the majority of it. Ugh. I have an emotional eating problem and I’ve definitely been stressed…it’s like I can pinpoint why I’m doing it but it doesn’t make me stop. As I’ve written about, I recently read Women Food and God by Geneen Roth in my yoga + book club class (which just ended on Sunday, sadface) and I felt like I could relate, I felt like I was learning…but I didn’t put it into practice. I could read that book 5 more times and still learn about myself. I think I’m somewhat resistant: I can identify my problem, I can locate the reasons I do it, but that doesn’t give me the strength to overcome it. I’ve got to dig deeper.

So due to that little hiccup, I can’t say that I’ve lost a lot of weight yet or seen a big difference. In fact, I’m going to amp up the cardio–tomorrow is my running “off” day but I’m still heading to the gym to do some weights and probably some cardio on the elliptical. The running isn’t leaving me sore so I’m hesistant to say that I’m getting a great workout. I did kind of roll my ankle today, though (yes, on a treadmill, who does that?), so I’ll have to take it a little easy for the rest of the week.

I’ve been lazy about cooking and haven’t made anything at home the past few days. The only culinary masterpiece to report back about is the salads I’ve been bringing to lunch (no pictures, unfortunately)–baby spinach topped with all kinds of delicious fruit, sliced almonds, and raspberry vinaigrette. Mmm.

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Versatile Blogger Award

I’m incredibly honored to have been nominated for another blog award by Former Fish Taco Fanatic, a blogger I’ve been enjoying since starting my own blog a few months ago. I think these awards are a super fun way to give props to blogs you follow you and enjoy, and I’m grateful to be included in the conversation. 🙂

Here are the details (from the VBA blog):

If you are nominated, you’ve been awarded the Versatile Blogger award.

  •  Thank the person who gave you this award. That’s common courtesy.
  •  Include a link to their blog. That’s also common courtesy.
  •  Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly.
  •  Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award.
  •  Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.

Without further ado, 7 fun facts about yours truly!

  1. Becoming vegan for me was sort of a whim, a challenge to myself, and I didn’t think I’d make it 2 days. Now it’s been nearly two months and I’m going strong. What’s even most surprising to me is the ease of the transition and the fact that I don’t. crave. cheese. ONE. bit. 🙂
  2. I adore beer. Craft beer, namely. Many ladies dislike beer or keep away because of the calories/carbs/fat, but damn if I can keep myself from this delicious nectar of the gods. My boyfriend and I belong to a “craft beer of the month” club and we so look forward to our new shipments! It’s like Christmas all over again.
  3. I majored in English and always thought I’d be a writer. I did write at my most previous job but the position and company weren’t for me. In my free time I (occasionally) pen poetry and I’ve been strategizing a method for knocking out a screenplay my former coworker and I used to discuss at work. It’ll happen one day!
  4. Speaking of college, I minored in French and am in love with French culture. I visited Paris on a school trip in high school and I recall it as one of my fondest memories of my adolescence.
  5. I never thought I’d say this but I work for the man. 😦 Adolescent-me would be so disappointed. My work is in the sales department of a not-for-profit–at least it’s a not-for-profit, I tell myself, but in all truth we operate like a for-profit company, as seen by the mere fact that we have a sales department. Boo.
  6. I so believe in comfort. The first thing I do when I get home is change out of my work clothes into sweats, even at 5:00 pm. I’ve always been this way. Even in college I’d come home and change into sweats immediately. Apparently normal people aren’t like this.
  7. These past few months have been the happiest of my life. I’ve struggled with some sort of (undiagnosed) depression for as long as I can remember, which was the main impetus for starting this blog: getting over myself and opening my eyes to a happy, peaceful life. So far, I’d say I’m succeeding.

And now for the 15 blogs! In no particular order…

  1. KatieDidVegan
  2. Will Work For Veggies
  3. I Used to be Fat(ter)
  4. Crash Test Vegetarian
  5. Luminous Vegans
  6. Turning VEGANese
  7. An Unrefined Vegan
  8. With a Little Luck
  9. Healthy Kitschy Vegan
  10. Not Growing Up
  11. Life in the Blue Ridges
  12. *Vegan Sparkles*
  13. Epicurean Vegan
  14. The Veganist Kitchen Bakery
  15. What I Found While Walking Around

Happy blogging!

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classic waffles and sausage, veganized

I’ve written about vegan waffles a couple of times but since I’ve been eating such healthy smoothie breakfasts as of late, I haven’t gotten the opportunity to enjoy delicious, fatty hearty breakfasts of yesteryear…until today! The reason we made waffles this morning is twofold: 1) I needed a break from the smoothie regimen, even if it meant a caloric explosion in my belly, and 2) my boyfriend wants to learn how to cook a few vegan meals, which I think is really cute. I was going to teach him tofu scramble, but he’s not too into tofu scramble and I didn’t want to teach him something he didn’t have any interest in eating with me. Also, we’re starting with baby steps here. He’s a really “down home” kinda guy so it just made sense that I’d teach him how to veganize something as simple and ubiquitous as waffles.

I pulled up my veganized from-the-box recipe and made a sad face. I want to make my own waffles from scratch but all the recipes I’ve found incorporated more than one kind of flour and I currently only have whole wheat in the house. Bummer! Plus, I’m big on not wasting food and I still have this whole wheat pancake mix that needs to be used…so we veganized that, minus the oatmeal part because I don’t have any rolled oats.The revised vegan waffle recipe goes as follows:

1 1/4 cups whole wheat pancake mix
1 1/4 cups light Silk vanilla soymilk
1 tbsp ground flax seed + 3 tbsp water
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract

We simply topped with earth balance, maple syrup, a wee bit of confectioner’s sugar (some would argue that this isn’t vegan but I have to guess there are vegan versions available?), and served along side some fried soy sausages. Decadence! I was going to add some color with some sliced bananas but you know what, I just wanted to keep it simple today. There’s always next time. 🙂

I love the lighting, you’d almost not realize winter is still going on outside.

close up. mmm, calorie-laden food.

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weird sleep —> weird dreams

My boyfriend’s hours are a bit strange. The majority of the time, he works 8 to 4:30, but every once in a while, he’s on late duty (11:30 to 8), and even more rare, he has to work Saturdays. This is one of those Saturdays. Since we tend to spend every freakin’ waking moment together, it’s nice to have evenings and Saturdays few and far between where I can just do whatever the heck I want. Should I have been productive today? Yes. Was I? No. I woke up at 8, made a smoothie, nommed it, then thought I really need to go to the bank today, but man am I getting tired again. I set my alarm for a reasonable hour that would still allow me time to shower and get to the bank before they close at 1:00, but then I kept snoozing my alarm because sleep felt soooo good. I woke up off and on (enough times to play a few words in Words with Friends) and then didn’t decide to get up for good until noon. Oh man. I haven’t slept like that in a looonnngggg time. I feel so refreshed!

But in the midst of all this sleep, I had a vegan nightmare. Yes, you heard me. We were heading to a sub place and I had to make a special order because everything had cheese or non-vegan dressings and for some reason, while I was in the middle of my order, they handed me some sort of salady looking thing–it was fresh spinach leaves with what looked like thousand island dressing–and I started absent-mindedly eating it while completing my order and then it occurred to me: this tastes creamy. this tastes cheesey. this is NOT! VEGAN! And then I was torn because I was all omg I want to keep eating this sooooo bad but the rational side of my brain was all what the eff are you doing? put that shit down! I woke up anxious. It really was way more traumatic than it sounds.

Since it’s too late to make it to the bank, I suppose I’m going to just sit around in my PJs for a few more hours, watch some TV, perhaps read? Lazy weekends are the beeeest. I need to rest up because I’m on to week 3 of the C25k next week and I have to run 3 whole minutes without stopping, twice! I know that doesn’t sound like a big deal at all but I honestly don’t know if I can make it through. It just keeps getting harder! But I do seem to be down 5 pounds so it all balances out. 😀

PS, I want these shoes soooo. bad.

I didn’t really read into them too much to see if they’re even remotely vegan-friendly (I saw “synthetic” in the details but really was only skimming) because I definitely don’t have $100 to drop on new running shoes…but how fun do these look? Who wouldn’t want to run when they can put these suckers on their feet?

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things that make you go “hmmm…”

I had to take a break from my new workout routine today and here’s why: my. arms. are. sooooooo. sore.

I decided to incorporate some easy weight lifting into my routine because a) it’s good for me and b) I don’t want flabby arms! On Tuesday, I just did two simple arm exercises: lat pull down (which is really more of an upper-back/shoulder exercise) and bicep curls with 10 lb weights. I wrote about how challenging the bicep curls were and the total legitimacy of muscle atrophy and then went on my merry way. I felt totally fine yesterday–no soreness, no nothin’–and figured I’d wake up today, muddle through my workday, and hit the gym again for another easy 20 minute sesh on the recumbent bike and some more weights on my second “off” day from running this week.

Not so fast.

I can barely move my arms today. And I was perplexed, because I always thought you feel sore the day after your workout and your muscles heal and you’re good to go by the next day. That’s why you’re supposed to do weights every other day. Instead, my biceps hate me today. So I got to work and decided to start a little gchat sesh with a coworker who is really into working out. I told her my dilemma and she said “hmm…that’s weird. I’ve never heard of that.” Oh great. So I started to google my symptoms, thinking surely there’s something wrong with me. I mean, I know it’s never lupus, but I figured something diabolical was happening inside my body machine. It turns out this is relatively normal, especially for people who are out of shape and starting a new routine. It’s called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Like muscle atrophy, this shit is legit, y’all! Essentially I threw my body into a merry-go-round of confusion. Since I only worked my biceps on Tuesday, I have this debilitating pain to look forward to when I start working on my triceps. Awesome sauce. This is also why, the day after my first running day, I felt fine–but then I was miserable the next two days. My body just needs to learn how to adapt to all this newfangled fitness mumbo jumbo.

So, feeling like a big giant failure, I made the executive decision to skip out on the gym completely today. I am not kidding when I say it hurts to even hold my arms out straight. My biceps are so tight and I’m fairly certain they’ve swelled to some degree because the area surrounding my elbows is tender and just doesn’t want to budge. Eff. This sucks. I want to feel better tomorrow so I can take advantage of the weights at the gym after I do my third and final running day of Week 2 of the couch to 5k, but I don’t really think my muscles will feel better by then. It might be best to wait this out until next week and try, try, try again.

On the one hand, this all sounds well and good because “no pain, no gain,” but on the other hand it’s frustrating as hell because I want to get on my routine and I feel like I have to clear all these roadblocks first. Another aspect to this all is the shame I feel for letting my body get so lazy that merely 3 sets of 10 bicep curls has crippled me. Sigh. I have faith that my body will adjust, though–after my initial two first days of soreness after running, my legs have felt totally fine and I’ve been able to keep up my routine. I really hope my arms will follow suit.

I rewarded my aching bod with my favorite meal, red thai curry, and another peanut butter chocolate smoothie. Ahhhh, food: the magical elixir.

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guilt-free chocolate PB smoothie

(Points for me because the title of this post is so rhyme-y!)

I’m not having the happiest of weeks. I’m just generally feeling pretty blase about things. The couch to 5k is kicking my ass already and I’m only in week 2, work is boring, things are just ick all the way around. After barely making it through my workout this afternoon (I had to literally talk myself into even going to the gym at all–I knew if I skipped out today, I’d never make it back) all I wanted to do was eat take-out and chocolate.

Fortunately, I had a brilliant idea that would allow all of those things to happen, and more!, while still sticking to my healthy-diet-blah-blah. Chipotle vegan tacos and a homemade vegan chocolate peanut butter smoothie. Excuse me while I squeal in excitement. eeee!

I love smoothies. I have been having one every morning for breakfast since I got my new blender. But I have not experimented with unhealthy smoothies (or in this case, smoothies that sound unhealthy but aren’t). Everything has been pretty status quo thus far…fruit, kale, soy milk, I’ve been throwing some silken tofu in to mix things up–nothing unnaturally sweet and everything has been very nutritious.

But why oh why would I deprive myself of chocolate?

Behold: The Guilt-Free Vegan Chocolate PB Smoothie (omnivore-approved!)
Ingredients

1 banana
1 cup soymilk (or milk substitute of your choosing)
1 serving Nasoya silken tofu (about 1/5 package)
2 tbsp natural creamy peanut butter
2 tbsp cocoa powder
approx. 1 tsp vanilla extract
agave nectar to taste
ice

Blend this sucker up and you’ve got yourself the healthiest of the smoothies with “chocolate” and “peanut butter” in their names! I initially left out the agave nectar but because the boyfriend and I were splitting this and he wasn’t thrilled with the lack of sweetness, I ended up putting just a little bit in. It wasn’t too sweet and it certainly hit the spot.

(no need for fancy presentation–the taste is big enough to hold its own)

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muscle atrophy is real, y’all

I learned something today that I should already be well-versed in: muscle atrophy is a real thing. I should know this from all the P.E. classes I had to take in the public school system. I should know this from my brother’s broken wrist when we were kids. I should know this from my emaciated left leg post-ACL reconstructive surgery. But somehow, I failed to realize how legitimately disabling it can be even without traumatic injury as its impetus.

I decided that instead of taking four days off from my workout regimen while doing the couch to 5k training, I should still keep active on my “off’ days. I have a wonderful free gym at work and there is no reason I shouldn’t attempt to do a little something active four or five times a week. I don’t want to do anything too strenuous on those days (which is tough because I’m of the “no pain, no gain” mindset) but I need to be careful to not worsen any soreness before my three running days per week. So! I decided to do a tiny bit of cardio today (just 20 minutes on the recumbent bike) and something I haven’t done in quite a while…weights.

I’ve noticed in recent months that push-ups are damn near impossible for me. I figured this was due to the weight I’ve gained in recent years and it never occurred to me that maybe, just maybe, my sedentary life has wasted my muscles away. I was able to do lat pull down no problem, and then I waltzed over to the free weights and picked up two 10 lb dumbbells. I used to own 10 lb dumbbells and did all sorts of arm exercises with them. Today, I could barely get through three sets of 10 bicep curls. What the everloving hell? I have never struggled with 10 lb weights before. And after that near-failure, I was afraid to do anything else because I strained my neck a little bit and I didn’t want to do any more damage. Yikes! I called my boyfriend when I left the gym and told him to stop the presses because muscle atrophy is legit.

I’ve always heard that muscle atrophy is sort of a death sentence. There’s sort of a “use it or lose it” mentality. I always heard that once your muscle is gone, there’s no getting it back. I stumbled upon this, which sounds a wee bit more optimistic than that…

Disuse atrophy occurs from a lack of physical exercise. In most people, muscle atrophy is caused by not using the muscles enough. People with sedentary jobs, medical conditions that limit their movement, or decreased activity levels can lose muscle tone and develop atrophy. This type of atrophy can be reversed with vigorous exercise or better nutrition.

So I guess it’s settled. On my “off’ days, I will attempt to whip my arms back into shape. How did things escalate to this point? I’m so glad I’ve decided to start taking responsibility for my health. I feel worlds better already and it’s only week 2.

No food updates today. I attempted to make vegan pesto for the second time (a different recipe) and was again disappointed. Wah. I used to love pesto and I am just not having any luck with making my own. Any good vegan pesto recipes floating around in the blogosphere?

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“omnivore’s dilemma” tacos

The thing that I hate the most about mock meats is that I like them. When I was kickin’ along as a vegetarian, I didn’t experiment with much mock meat. I knew I liked Morning Star veggie burgers (grillers prime) and on a few occasions, I ate their chik’n nuggets. Other than that, mock-meats were not a part of my vocab. I knew I didn’t like boca and that was that.

When I switched to veganism, I vowed to eat even less processed junk. But I’m still kind of in the phase of wonderment–when I discover that certain junk foods are vegan, I buy them! And when I discover mock meats don’t have eggs or casein or whey, I buy them! This is how I discovered Lightlife Smart Ground. I realize they have a taco meat, but to make things feel at least a wee bit organic, I like to mix my own taco seasoning. It’s amazing how close to the real deal this stuff is. To understand this, you have to know that I grew up loving tacos. Tacos were a special treat. They were delicious. We couldn’t get enough of them in my house. My mom almost primarily cooked with red meat–she’s not a fan of chicken and thus, growing up, we ate way more red meat than any human should. I started to have an aversion to red meat by my preteens and gave up all meat at 14, but the smell of those tacos still makes my mouth water even now.

So needless to say, when I bought the Smart Ground and mixed my taco seasoning, I was only cautiously optimistic. I didn’t want to get too hyped up and be disappointed. Maybe it was my lack of expectations, but these tacos are amazing! It’s almost too meat-like that it’s kind of off-putting for me. Since discovering Smart Ground some time in January, I’ve been making some sort of Mexican dish weekly. I love me some Mexican food. My most favoritest Mexican restaurant in the world has virtually nothing on the menu I can eat now, so what’s a girl who loves Mexican food to do? Gotta get my fix! (As a side note, I find it hilarious that I was always feeling stuck in my vegetarian regimen–I always ate the same foods–and now that I’ve restricted my diet even further, I have found so much deliciousness and variety!)

I call these the “Omnivore’s Dilemma” tacos because my boyfriend and I agree that this COULD actually be red meat masquerading as a conglomeration of wheat and soy:

“Omnivore’s Dilemma” tacos
Ingredients
1 package Lightlife Smart Ground
1 can pinto beans
Olive oil
Taco shells of your choosing (this time we picked up whole wheat shells because they were the least processed of any we could find, but we weren’t a fan of the flavor–it tasted too healthy)
Taco seasoning (see below)
All the fixins! We used lettuce, yellow bell pepper, tomato, onion, green taco sauce, and Tofutti “sour cream”

Taco seasoning
1 tbsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper

Heat pinto beans on the stovetop until hot. Mix all seasonings in a small bowl and set aside. Heat a frying pan with a teensy bit of oil and crumble and brown the “meat” for approximately 3 minutes. Add seasoning and mix until combined. Continue to cook for 1-2 more minutes until heated through. You may want to add a little more oil or a small amount of water when you add the seasoning, but that depends on how wet you want your “meat.”

Heat taco shells and fix ’em up to your liking–beans, “meat,” veggies, “sour cream”–sometimes when I make this, I make cilanto-lime basmati rice, salsa, or guac. It really depends on what you have in the kitchen and how much time you want to devote to it. Today, I wasn’t really in the cooking mood so I kept it simple.

So nom!

My dessert will be some pineapple chunks (pineapples were $2.99 on Saturday!) and something new, something a little bit scary…

I found this at a normal grocery store on Saturday (score for Jewel-Osco!). I’ve never tried kombucha before. I tried a sip when I bought it but put it back in the fridge, but since the label tells me I should drink within 3 days of opening, I guess the time is nigh. It kinda freaks me out but it doesn’t taste terrible so I’m just gonna do it! Not crazy about the strains I can see floating around…but I’m just telling myself it’s good for me. Powering through.

In other news, I started Week 2 of the couch to 5k program. I’m sort of at a loss for what to do on my off days. I’m only supposed to run 3 times a week but I’d like to go to the gym 4-5 times. Is it okay to do other cardio? Can I bike? Who knows! I guess we’ll see how my legs feel tomorrow.

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being productive in 3, 2, 1…

This has been a productive weekend for me. The bf and I had an all-important chat about things which left us both feeling relieved about a couple of little spats we’ve had in the past week. It was great therapy. And on the non-relationship front, I’ve been busy cleaning, grocery shopping, and SHOPPING shopping! When I got my tax return and used it to nearly pay-off my ever-mounting credit card debt, I found myself with a surplus of about $300 in spending money this month. It should have probably gone to bills or maybe toward the San Francisco vacay fund, but instead I decided that DAMNIT I need some new shit!

I spent a ridiculous sum of $150 on bras/underwear that I desperately needed. When you’re on a budget, things fall by the wayside and one day you wake up realizing you only have two bras. What’s a girl to do? Buy four new ones, that’s what! I admit I spend a lot of money on groceries but I haven’t gone shopping for anything else for myself in months. Since we were out, I decided to traipse through DSW in pursuit of some vegan footwear. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I really desperately needed new flats and I don’t really trust ordering footwear online because I’m very particularly about how shoes fit and I don’t need to spend time and money on return-shipping, waiting, etc etc. I noticed that Madden Girl uses primarily faux-leather so I was mostly in search of their shoes. I don’t know if going full-on vegan is going to be for me, to be honest. It’s really hard on a budget, as I’ve said on multiple occasions, but even if I can’t go the whole 9, I am trying to make the most conscious purchases I can.

The shoes I wound up buying (Rocket Dog) listed their material is “thai silk”…I know. Silk is from spiders. It’s pretty much not vegan. But in the grand scheme of things, I felt more ethically responsible purchasing silk shoes than I did leather. Like I said, this is a work in progress. The website lists the fabric as synthetic, so I don’t know. Maybe it’s not as bad as I think. I admit ignorance on this one. I need to do more research on shoe materials and I’ll have to report back at a later date. I desperately needed new kicks so if I failed, ah well. There’s always next time. I promise I’ll do better!

I’ve spent the rest of my time this weekend relaxing and cleaning. My apartment really needed it. I did something stupid and weighed myself today, thinking I’d have lost a bunch of weight this week. In my mind, I felt very Biggest Loser-esque. No, I didn’t exercise for 8 hours a day, but I did do a complete 180. I worked out four times after about a year of working out zero times and instead of my normal daily chocolate fix, I only had one dessert all week–avocado-chocolate mousse. I was sure I’d have lost 3-5 pounds by now but instead it was nothing. I’m trying not to get bummed out about it because again, weight is just a number, and I should be super stoked about changing my life, training for a 5k, etc etc. It’s hard though when you have expectations and the scale lets you down. I’m going to try really hard to not weigh myself all this coming week so that maybe, maybe, when I hop on the scale the following Monday, I’ll have seen some change. I am not going to obsess over the number, though. That’s not what this is about, this is about changing my life and feeling healthy and happy. I’m going to keep repeating that like a mantra if that’s what I have to do.

I also spoke too soon in yesterday’s post about not feeling sore after my first 5k training sesh. I became more and more sore as the day went on and I’m still sore. So I’m especially excited to go to yoga tonight and stretch out those tender muscles. I’m a bit worried though–if it takes me over 2 days to recup after a workout, how will I ever get these 3 workouts a week done? I’m hoping by week 4 I’ll have gotten used to this and my muscles will reset each time in the day between workouts. I have never trained for something so I’m not sure what expectations to have about how long my muscles need to heal in between. Mostly I think it’s just joint pain–I had ACL reconstructive surgery when I was 15 and have never been much of a runner, so my left knee is kind of like “fuck you!” right now. My feet are a little sore because my shoes probably aren’t ideal for running, either (they’re at least 3 years old). We’ll see how this goes. Again, I will maintain optimism if it kills me!

I’m off to do a few more things around the house so I can come home from yoga tonight and relax. Woo!

 

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couch to 5k

I’ve mentioned on a few occasions that I am a really bad runner. I’m not sure what it is about running that is so challenging to me–I have no issue with walking or other forms of cardio like the elliptical or biking, but running is HARD. It has never been something I excelled in, even when I was at my most fit. Because I suck at it, I just avoid it. I can get a pretty satisfactory workout on the elliptical machine so I typically stick with that.

Until now! Dun dun dun…

I’ve decided that, since running is so challenging to me and makes me so sore the next day, that it must mean it’s a better workout for my body. A quick google search brought me to the Couch to 5k program, which (on paper) looks so easy! So I made a commitment to myself: I’m going to do this 9-week program. I can’t remember the last time I was able to run 3 miles without walking (if ever), and I think it’s a pretty good goal for me. I am never going to be an excellent runner and I will never run a marathon, but I think I can handle a 5k. I think it will be really good for me!

Conveniently enough, the amount of time it will take me to train for the 5k is the same amount of time we have until we go on vacation to San Francisco. So I decided to start a new tradition: vacay 5ks! My boyfriend initially thought I was nuts because who goes on vacation to pay a race registration fee and run? Vacation is supposed to be for relaxation, food, drink, etc. But I tend to approach vacation differently. For instance, while we’re in San Fran we’re taking a daytrip to Yosemite and our tour includes a hike through the Sequoias. When we went to Denver, we hiked through Red Rocks. When we were planning our vacation and hadn’t yet settled on San Fran, I researched hiking trails in Seattle (another contender on the list). I like to be active on vacation! I’m not so much a lay-on-the-beach type. So it makes perfect sense to me that we’d go on vacation to run. Besides, we’ll be arriving Saturday and the race is on Sunday morning. It’ll only take half an hour. It barely affects our day or vacation at all, and it will feel good! He makes us take tours of all the baseball parks when we go on vacation…so in turn, I get to dictate that we run. 🙂

So, I headed to the gym after work yesterday (yes! on a Friday!) and started the program. I’ve decided to start with workout 3 because I don’t want to be on a weird schedule where I start the next week’s workout at the end of the week. Workout 3 was a breeze and is the exact same as workouts 1 and 2 so I don’t feel too bad. The program specifically says not to skip ahead even if you find the workouts initially easy…but I worked out on the elliptical 3 times before starting the program, so I’m okay with my decision. I’m ready for Week 2!

I have to admit I’m a little self-conscious doing these workouts at the gym. Everyone knows that interval training is the best for your body, but I never see people doing intervals of walking/running on the treadmill. Most people start going, run for 30 minutes, and they’re done. But this program has me alternating between walking/running every minute or so, and I hate to think that people are judging me and thinking I’m just that bad at running. a) It shouldn’t matter what anyone thinks. and b) I am that bad at running so it shouldn’t faze me. I need to stop letting my fears of what others around me are thinking seep into my brain. I need to focus on me!

Also, I’m pretty sure when I run I look a little bit like Phoebe on that one episode of Friends. I’m not very graceful.

Week 2 looks like this and I’m excited to start on Monday:

I’m not very sore from my initial workout last night. A few of my muscles I hadn’t used in a long time were a little tender (like my calves/behind my knees) but nothing at all like I expected to feel after my first foray into running after a long, long hiatus.

However, I was a little out of it when I got off the treadmill. I went to get some gym wipes to wipe down my machine and accidentally started wiping down the wrong machine. About 10 seconds into it, I was looking at the machine and thinking man, this machine looks a lot cleaner than the one I was just on. And then I realized my iPod and water bottle were missing from the holder. And then I saw that I was two machines away from the one I’d been on! Oh. My. God. The icing on the cake was that there was a girl working out on the elliptical behind the treadmills and saw the whole. thing. Wow, embarrassment. I wiped down my machine and booked it the hell out of there. Whoopsie!

I’m excited to see where this takes me. I hope I can make it through the program and complete the 5k in San Francisco without stopping to walk. It’ll be a challenge because running on pavement is totally different than running on a treadmill…and San Francisco is hilly. Here’s to the challenge!

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