Monday, January 27, 2014


 A few snapshots from my day, except I missed getting the niece and nephews in the pictures!

Best bouquet ever! My favorite flowers -- potted! So they will grow next year too!

Charlie came for a visit and we ran Pinnacle!

Not afraid of heights, not afraid of heights...

Jeremy made the BEST chocolate cake ever. It's an old family recipe sheet cake with a fudge-like icing. Hunter's like, I asked for a big piece, Mom.

My sweet baby

Beautiful day

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Extra training

I have been working on my strength training like I said I would, and already the SI joint seems to be better. Could the difference be that I have also stopped going to the chiropractor? Hmmm.

Strength training does not take long for me, unless it is a combined strength/gossip session, which can be super time consuming. So really, that may count as social time that happens to involve a little exercise. Anyway, I get downstairs, get my TRXing, medicine balling, and jumping done fast. 

I also get some extra credit training in most days. While Mommy and Me yoga sounds appealing, to the Mommy, at least, I know it wouldn't go over so well with the Toddler. Our training together includes much less structured moves. Hunter, the toddler coach, loves to have me retrieve "more animals" for him when he realizes some of the gang are missing. So he waits patiently and tells me to run! to go get it. He moves his arms for emphasis. 

I don't always get instructed to run! alone. Holding the entirety of the 30+ pound little one -- "carry Hunter, run!"-- and running through the house, usually to collapse on the bed, is one of the main forms of speedwork I do. He's a good coach, always having me drink from one of the dozen bike bottles filled with water at all times, scattered throughout the house. (It's funny, he drank literally one time out of a baby bottle but is all about the fuel belt mini bottles.)

The bottle is always on hand.

Drink up, Mom.


Nap time and bedtime are two other workout times for me. The quickest way to get the toddler to sleep is carrying him in the Ergo and vacuuming. He even requests it. While the vacuuming can be difficult on some rugs, working my shoulders thoroughly, the real work is done in the bouncing quarter squats I must do a thousand times some nights. And not just any old quarter squats, I have added weight, and I do them one leg at a time. 

While the possibly misnamed Ergo is one of the most comfortable carriers I've used, I can't help but wonder if the pressure it puts on my lower back is partially to blame for my SI issues. At least my legs are getting stronger one nap time at a time.  

Today the health buzz was about a new study that links time spent sitting to heart disease.  Is this really a surprise to anyone? As opposed to most of my previous jobs, being Hunter's mom is the least sedentary.  I cannot think of a time I sit for more than a couple minutes at a time. He's not a child who likes to play by himself; no, he gets any audience quickly involved. And I'm so glad he does!

I'm sure my little coach will have me doing more calisthenics and intervals any time now. Lucky for me, I've only heard him count to six (update: ten) so far.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

My electronic coach

Wednesday of this week was track day, and by "track" I mean "church parking lot." Lucky for me, it's a huge church parking lot, about 1.3 miles from my house if I go the long way. On the schedule was 16x400s at 10k pace with a 200m jog between. Jeremy set up the Garmin with the workout for me so I wouldn't so much as push a button during the whole thing. Who knew it could be so simple? I might've been thinking out loud when I mumbled in front of my husband something about 10k pace being 6:30 per mile, and without asking any more questions, that's what he told the Garmin I wanted to do for my 400s.

My planned route was to take the outside parking lot line over and over, since it is almost exactly a mile with only a tiny bit of doubling back. What I hadn't planned on, despite Jenny's warning of the windiness of the day, was that the biggest uphill of the loop was also straight into the wind. And that's where I started my first 400. I appreciated the countdown distance to go and the 5 beeps it gave me before another interval was to begin or end. I appreciated not having to count .25mi, then .12mi for recovery and all the mathematics it would involve for an oxygen deprived brain. But I didn't know it would be so vocal about my slowness. Obviously, on my first 400, just being my first, plus going uphill, plus going into the wind, I wasn't hitting my goal pace. And Garmin beeped at me to let me know that. Every 10 seconds. OK, Coach Shankman Garmin, I get that I'm slow (flashbacks to college). I learned a few more intervals into it that it also beeps when you're finally on pace. I think I heard that congratulatory beep 3 times during the workout. It was a tough one for me, even though I quickly learned to avoid the windiest, hilliest side of that parking lot, and instead did multiple small, flat loops before I headed to a downhill for my hard intervals. I know, I'm only cheating myself. :) It is a good thing Garmin doesn't beep more when you go super slow, since my last interval I did already headed home on a gravelly road by the field, uphill of course, and I think it was 8 minute pace.

Doesn't this route look enticing?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Training in the new year

I'm about to have a birthday in a few weeks, and nothing makes you feel old like that combined with an achy back. I've realized that my strength training has really taken a back seat to toddler chasing these days. A certain toddler cannot stand it when I do things like TRX in front of him. I think he wants to be sure he can out-wrestle me ASAP. I had realized I was lacking strength well before my great aunt, who is 56 years older than I am, out-armwrestled me over Christmas. She has, of course, been doing a lot of strength training herself, and is definitely not one you'd call wimpy. I didn't take it too hard, since she's always been really tough. But on the way home from our holidays we took a break from our drive at a park to get some energy out, and I only eeked out 2 sets of 4 pullups on the playground. That's pretty pitiful, even for me, who does not train those muscles with any regularly. My poor arms are lucky to get in once a week swims. A couple of yoga classes left me shaky and sore in the upper body recently, and I realized it is time to start back. For real this time. No more T-Rex arms ("my little arms!"), which they have been compared to more than once. But it's not just about the arms this time. It's my stupid back! The sacro-wedgy doesn't seem to be helping. Swimming seems to be hurting; it may just be the flipturns, but just 3000yds takes SOOOO long without them. A few months ago I rather suddenly was able to crank out a 10 watt higher average for an hour long bike ride, and I feel it in my back every time. I don't think it's just position, because when I take it easy, the back is fine. It is fine when I'm running, but afterward I can feel it.

So maybe I'll just cut out some of the riding and swimming, keep running, and add olympic lifting. I may have signed up for another half marathon, since there's one in my town in a few months. That means I don't have to spend the night in any hotel or get up before 5, and, unlike in Alamogordo, there will be more than 8 people running it. My PR was on this course 6 years ago, and I'm hoping the hills haven't grown in that time. But it's one run at a time, seeing what this old body can take. Is 37 still considered "mid-30s"?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

No resolutions here

New Year's resolutions just don't work for me. I know myself well enough to know that just changing the calender is not motivation enough to do anything significant. Instead I try to work on little things I know I can change when I realize that I need to work on them. Nutrition is a big one for this time of year for many people, and I do have some thoughts on that (what athlete doesn't?).

I seem to be more and more interested in my family's nutrition, with a big reason being the fact that now I am responsible for my toddler's health. Actually I have been shunning many things since long before his time; I will not touch diet soft drinks or artificial sweeteners. I distinctly remember the last time I had a huge diet something drink from Sonic. It was about 5 or 6 years ago, and I had a raging headache afterward. It could definitely have been psychosomatic, but I'll be going with the full sugar, hopefully cane sugar and not HFCS, if I have my way, from now on.  No chemical, synthetic sweeteners. At my old job in Memphis, the cooking in the nutrition kitchen was geared toward people with obesity and diabetes, and everything was low sugar or low fat. But not just because they were made with less sugar and less fat, but because they used artificial sweeteners and low-fat-foods-that-are-naturally-high-fat-foods, like cheese and butter. Understandably, diabetics need to avoid sugar and simple carbohydrates, as obese people need to watch calories, but I'm really not sure that substituting sucralose or aspartame for a natural sugar is doing those diseased bodies any good. Really, does it do any bodies good? I think more research will start concluding that no, it only hurts. Besides, the taste is significantly subpar. I'd personally rather not eat "just ok" food that has little nutritional value. 

I probably do indulge in real sugar too much, and that is one of those things I need to be working on. It is a tough one for a sweets lover like me. I swore I wouldn't even have desserts in the house, much less let my baby eat them, before he was born. Now he knows where the chocolate is stored and regularly asks for it. At least it's mostly natural (and not even NestlĂ© brands). Most of the processed foods he eats are organic, and I am working on our dairy being all organic. It's hard to give up my Fage yogurt and Cracker Barrel cheddar though! Butter and milk are no problem. Recently I realized that our favorite butter/canola oil spread was no longer acceptable. I want to avoid genetically modified foods as much as possible, and canola oil is almost always a GMO. My big bottle of canola oil in the pantry is now reserved for playdough. I use a lot of olive oil, and my favorite oil is coconut. The best coffee I have ever made, which I have at least once daily now, is with a scoop of coconut oil, a little butter, honey, and a dash of milk, all blended up and frothy. I really want to go further with the coconut oil and do some oil pulling, but I just don't have 20 minutes in the morning when my mouth has to be occupied with it. 

Our produce leaves a little to be desired in the organic vs conventional choice, but here and there we go organic, and for things that Hunter will consume in large quantities that is on the dirty dozen list (frozen raspberries on his oatmeal), I go out of he way to buy. Literally, because Whole Foods is not the closest grocery store. 

While I want to know what is in my food, I am too aware of what is in my meat, or rather, what my meat is made of. This is one reason I choose to eat mostly a vegetarian diet. I don't really like meat, and I especially don't like cooking it. We have it occasionally, and I eat it when at a restaurant sometimes. For this reason I do need to be more conscious of my protein and iron intake. That can go on my to-do list.  

In our food and also items around the house, like various household cleaners, shampoos and lotions, while I try to avoid harsh chemicals, toxic cleaners, and parabens, etc., I have to remember that toxicity is all about dose. So limiting what I can is helping limit exposure. And hopefully my body and my husband's and child(ren)'s bodies will thank me for it some day.