Living and loving life in vermont

Last week, I recommitted myself to the #Chewsday Challenge.  As discussed, my original plan was perhaps a little too ambitious, so this time around I’ve decided to add in one challenge at a time, with the goal of slowly and realistically building toward overall healthier eating.  Last week’s challenge was no booze on work nights.

So, how did it go?  Honestly, not too badly.  Monday night, I went out for beer and horseshoes with my friend Sharon and some of her friends.  Monday is the only night we do this because Sharon’s friend is the bartender on Monday nights and can hook us up a bit.  Theoretically, this doesn’t count as cheating because I didn’t recommit to the challenge until Tuesday, but this may be a semi-regular thing, so we’ll see.  Thursday, I went out for Mexican food with my friend Rebecca, and what’s Mexican food without a margarita?  Exactly.  However, I only had one, and it was delicious.

Photo Jul 17, 5 19 15 PM

I guess I would grade myself B- for the week.  When I think about the fact that I had beer and wine in the fridge at home and managed to resist, it’s not half bad.  I also only had one margarita, when I could easily have had another (restaurant is in walking distance of home).  On the whole, I’m thinking more about choosing to drink or not drink, and what it’s going to mean for me.  I’m excited to build more on this in the weeks to come.  I know it will help me cut out a lot of empty calories and sleep better.

Now it’s time to add another challenge in along with no booze on weeknights.  This week’s challenge is fruits and/or veggies with every meal.  This doesn’t sound hard, but is actually quite a challenge for me.  As I’ve mentioned before, I didn’t really start eating veggies until I was an adult, and continue to struggle with incorporating them.  I’m better than I was, but definitely not as good as I could be.

Thankfully, I’ve got some great accountabilibuddies in Kimberly, and Lisa, and we welcomed two new recruits, Nicole and Kellie this week.  We bug each other, support each other, and mostly make each other laugh.  I dream that someday we’ll all do a RunDisney race together, but unfortunately that’s not happening anytime soon for this broke girl.  Anyway, if you’d like to join us as we support (and enable) each other on Twitter, use the #Chewsday hashtag and come find us!

@PrincessRunners

@RaeisaDarlin

@KellieEbe

@paradeinpink

@Vixen1267

What’s your favorite way to incorporate produce into your meals?

Welcome to another edition of Manic Monday, where I recap the previous week, and lay out a plan for the following week.

This was my first week recommitting to the #Chewsday Challenge, and my first week of my new training schedule, so it’s kind of a big deal.  Overall, I’m pleased with how it went.  I didn’t get in as much cross-training as I’d like, but the good news is, I’m still biking to and from work pretty much every day, which really helps keep my overall fitness/activity level up.

Monday (Scheduled Cross-Training Day)

Ben and I were thoroughly exhausted from our reunion weekend in Maine, and it was pouring after work, so all I did was bike to work in the morning (~3.7 miles).

Tuesday (Scheduled Hill Repeats)

I woke up at 5:30 am and got my tushie over to Battery Street Park for some hill repeats.  The hill there has about 193 feet of elevation over about 1/8th of a mile, so it’s a great hill.  To the hill from my apartment is a good little 1/2 mile warm up, and then I went down and up the hill three times, and home.  Total mileage was 2.25 miles with an average pace of 11:07.  I also walked to work in the morning (2 miles) and rode my bike home (~3.7 miles).

Photo Jul 15, 6 17 48 AM

Wednesday (Scheduled Cross-Training Day)

I rode my bike to work and from work, for a total of about 7.8 miles.

Thursday (Scheduled 3 mile run)

Totally slept in instead of running, but I did do a 1:30 plank, and rode my bike to and from work (~7.8 miles)

Friday (Scheduled rest day)

Since I skipped my Thursday run, I squeezed it in after work.  I only made it 2.4 miles because it was really warm and sunny, but it was better than nothing.  I also rode my bike to and from work (~7.8 miles)

Photo Jul 18, 5 36 34 PM

Saturday (Scheduled 6 mile run)

So, I didn’t run.  Ben and I slept until 10:30, and then spent a leisurely day watching Netflix, playing video games, and cleaning.  And it was just what we needed.  In the evening, we went to the VT Brewers Festival (recap coming soon!), which was lots of fun.  Afterwards, we stopped by a friend’s birthday party, and then I went home while everyone else went to the bars.

Truth

Truth

Sunday (Scheduled Rest Day)

I wish I could say that after being lazy on Saturday, I got my run in on Sunday.  Sadly, this is not the case.  I slept in late again, and while Ben was gallivanting to a barbecue two hours away, I continued to clean and video game.  It was awesome.  I think Ben ended up being a bit jealous that he didn’t stay home too.  We ended the evening with home made chicken curry on brown rice and Netflix.  Sweet deal.

So how was week one of the new plan?  All in all, not too bad.  I haven’t made it over to my new gym yet, which is kind of sad, but I’m planning to pick up my ID card on my lunch break today, so that I can hopefully make it to a class or two this week.

Welcome to Friday Free-For-All, where I talk about everything and anything on my mind.  Sometimes it even makes sense!

I bought my first running skirt, and I’m kind of in love.  It’s by Reebok, and while it’s a little shorter than I might like (it barely covers my tush), the built in shorts make sure I don’t feel like I’m flashing my butt to everyone I run past.  And of course, it hides the dreaded chub rub and camel toe.  The only thing that’s weird is that the sole pocket is upside down on my leg.  I can’t figure it out.  My only guess is that maybe this is actually a tennis skirt, and the pocket is to hold an extra ball?  Anyone know what’s up with this?

Seriously, what is this pocket?

Seriously, what is this pocket?

I got a haircut this week.  I’ve been growing out the pixie for months, and while I was finally exiting the super awkward phase, my hair was starting to do this crazy Farrah Fawcett-esque flip that I was so not into (you may have seen this on Twitter/Instagram).  While the cut looks fab, I’m a little upset because he pretty much took off all the length I managed to gain over the last 6 months.  Sadpanda.  No more haircuts for a while.

Vermont Brewer’s Festival is this weekend!  I’ve been legally able to drink for 8 years, but I’ve never made it to Brew Fest.  This year, tickets sold out in 11 minutes, but I was lucky enough to score 2 for me and Ben.  I’m very excited to try lots of tasty, Vermont-made beer!

Click for Source

Click for Source

Beat the Blerch virtual race. The actual race sold out in a matter of minutes, so they are now offering a virtual option for $45.  This is super cool, except for the fact that they’re only offering registration for SEVEN DAYS.  I don’t have an extra $45 lying around right now, and I don’t want to put it on my overused credit card.  Maybe I’ll change my mind before July 22…

Click for Source

Click for Source

Tigger Two-fer:  Remember when I won the Tigger award at work?  And got an oh-so-fuzzy stuffed Tigger?  And took him on adventures?  Well, as the result of my efforts on a special project, I GET TO KEEP TIGGER FOR ANOTHER MONTH!  Woo!  It’s basically my mission to keep winning this award so I can keep him forever.

Pretty much how I feel about Tigger

Pretty much how I feel about Tigger

That’s all for me, friends!  I hope you have a fabulous weekend!

Running skirts:  yay or nay?

Tell me about the worst haircut you’ve ever had.

Time to Slow Down

It’s no secret that Ben and I are super busy.  Between weddings, birthdays, whirlwind vacations, and family reunions, we rarely get a weekend off, especially during the summer.  We often joke about how “awful” it is to have friends and family who want to hang out all the time, because it results in very little free time for us.

As we were driving home from the family reunion on Sunday, Ben turned to me and said “Do you feel like we’ve just been PLOWING away endlessly for months?”  I reflected for a moment, and said, “Well, we kind of have.”  First we moved back to Vermont last August, which was hugely stressful–we had a brush with bed bugs right before we moved, and had to put pretty much all of our belongings other than clothes into storage after treatment.  We were living in his parents’ basement with no jobs and no money, job searching and interviewing constantly.  Then he got a job, and a week later I got a temp job.  We were borrowing cars from friends and family to commute 40 minutes each way to work.  We were re-connecting with our Vermont social circles.  Re-visiting our favorite haunts.  Traveling back to Boston for parties and events.  Finding an apartment.  House-sitting for extra income.  I began training for my half marathon.  Then came summer and pick-up games and weddings and vacations and reunions…

Our most recent wedding weekend in beautiful VT

Our most recent wedding weekend in beautiful VT

It’s fun and exciting to travel, to be invited to parties, to go to concerts.  You say yes and yes and yes without really thinking about the timing and the cost, and before you know it, you’ve blown $300 in a weekend and you haven’t been home for more than 4 straight nights in months.  You can’t remember the last Friday night you just sat at home with a bottle of wine and Netflix.  And while all of these activities are fun, and you don’t want to miss out on anything, it’s also EXHAUSTING and pretty much impossible to maintain.  I think we’ve finally reached a breaking point.

We’re physically and mentally tired all the time.  When we do have a night or weekend off, we just sit around like zombies because we’re exhausted and burned out.  We don’t ever have time or energy for the day-to-day minutiae of things like dishes, cleaning the litter box, and changing the fish’s water.  We don’t “hang out” together–we come home from work, eat, watch TV, and go to bed.  We don’t get to do spontaneous things like hike Mt. Mansfield or go to the beach because when we’re not scheduled for a social event or trip, we’re bogged down with housework and grocery shopping.  And it sucks.

My friend Mike posted a few weeks ago about “Slowing the F%$* Down,” and I think it’s time Ben and I took his advice.  We had a long, honest talk on Sunday night about how all of our activities make us feel, and how to approach our joint schedule going forward.  We’re scheduled pretty much continuously through mid-August (back to back wedding weekends in CT and ME and then a house-sitting gig), and after that we want to be much more mindful about what we commit ourselves to.  We came up with a few criteria to help us in our decision-making process:

  • Do we want to do it?  Isn’t it amazing how often you get roped into things you don’t really want to do?  We need to be really honest with ourselves about how we feel and what we want to do with our time.  Granted, sometimes we don’t really have a choice (case in point: my mom’s 60th birthday dinner which requires 3 hours driving round trip on a work night), but when we have a choice, we really need to evaluate our priorities.
  • Can we afford to do it?  This is an important question that we often forget to ask ourselves.  Our friends are getting married?  Heck yeah, we’re going to the wedding!  But then it’s time off from work, gift, hotel room, booze, and gas money and before we know it that wedding weekend has totally drained our fun budget for the next month.  It sucks saying no to things, but we can’t keep borrowing from our savings to cover impulsive spending.
  • What else is happening?  So often, we commit ourselves to an event only to realize that we already have a commitment or three that same week.  We schedule ourselves for back-to-back-to-back weekends out of town and don’t get any time at home.  We need to be much more aware of the big picture schedule before committing to things.  We need to keep our calendar up to date and actually look at it.   When you commit yourself to a lot of things, you can easily lose track of things.  It’s happened to us a couple of times recently, and trust me, double booking yourself is no fun.  We need to be better about putting things on our calendar as they come up, and actually look at the calendar on a regular basis so we don’t forget things, and to keep the big picture in mind.

Basically, we need to be a lot more mindful.  It’s easy to get caught up in the idea of fun activities, but at present it feels like we’re sacrificing our mental and physical (hello, no sleep) well-being for fear of missing out on something.  Yeah, it might stink to miss out on a party or camping weekend once in a while, but right now we’re missing out on a lot of other things, like spending time on our relationship, and taking care of ourselves and each other.

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by your social life?

How do you manage your calendar?

I started this whole running thing without any specific goals other than finishing my first half marathon.  Now that goal has come and gone (read about it here), and I find that I’m lacking motivation.

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Click for Source

Yes, I could go ahead and sign up for a bunch more races (and I will), but for the moment, I’m kind of enjoying not being in “training mode.”  I like that I don’t have to forgo social engagements because they interfere with my running schedule, or avoid having a few beers on Friday night so that I can complete my Saturday long run.  In short, I like having my life back to normal.

That being said, I don’t want to just stop running.  Far from it.  I want to keep running and improving.  And I definitely want to complete another half marathon before the snow starts flying, which in Vermont, could be some time as early as October.  I’ve been seeing a lot of mid-year 2014 goal check-in posts, and they have inspired me to set some more concrete goals for the second half of the year, which will hopefully help keep me motivated.

So without further ado, here’s what I’ll be working towards for the next 6 months:

  • Sign up for and complete another half marathon
  • Sign up for and complete a 10k race (probably virtual)
  • Incorporate speed work and/or hills at least once a week, with the goal of consistently running 5k under 3o minutes
  • Get back to yoga.  I know this is kind of wishy-washy and non-specific, but I’m not sure what the yoga class schedule will be like at my new gym, and I don’t want to set myself up for failure right off the bat
  • Strength train at least once a week.  My hips were incredibly sore for a couple of days after my half, and I want to make sure that my muscles are able to support me on longer runs
  • Focus on recovery after runs.  I’ve been skipping the stretch and roll routine after runs a little too often, and I know that’s not good for me.  I’m pretty sure my tight calves are contributing to the pain in my foot, so I want to protect myself from injury and really limber up my muscles

That’s all for now.  I don’t want to have too many plates up in the air at once, especially since I’m still working on my #Chewsday Challenge as well.  I plan to do a monthly check-in on these goals to help me stay accountable and on-track.  I may also add or alter goals as things occur to me.

My running/training plan for the next little while will look something like this:

Monday:  Cross-train (yoga/body pump/strength train)

Tuesday:  Alternate hill repeats and speed work

Wednesday:  Cross-train (yoga/body pump/strength train)

Thursday:  Short, fast (for me) run (3-5 miles)

Friday:  Rest

Saturday:  Long, slow distance (6-8 miles)

Sunday:  Rest

Basically, I want to maintain my fitness, but not spend every Saturday recovering from a long run.  Once I sign up for my fall half, I’ll increase my long run mileage each week to get ready.

Do you set specific running/fitness-related goals?

How do you stay motivated?

Cast your memory back to, oh, about a month ago, maybe a bit more.  I decided I needed to make some changes and clean up my diet.  I wrote a whole post about it, and set out some really specific goals and “rules” for myself.  And then I pretty much never talked about it again.

So, here we are in July, and I decided that I should check back in with my #Chewsday Challenge.  Unfortunately, things didn’t go as well as I’d hoped.  Thankfully, I have some amazing accountabilibuddies (Kim, Kellie, and Lisa) who have encouraged and inspired me to do the best I can, but it’s definitely time to step up my game and re-commit to the challenge.  I want to do another half marathon in the fall, and I’d REALLY like to do a sub 2:30 time.  I think it’s possible, and it will be more manageable if I fuel myself better, and possibly lose some of the extra pounds I’m hauling around on every run.

Click for Source

Click for Source

So, let’s revisit the original #Chewsday Challenge goals I set for myself:

  • Only one serving of “treat” per day
  • Fruit or veggies with EVERY meal
  • Plan meals–including lunch
  • Lean protein at every meal
  • Snack better
  • No booze on work nights

Taken one at a time, these all seem like really reasonable things.  But all at the same time, it’s kind of a lot.  I think that’s part of the reason I wasn’t as successful as I wanted to be–I tried to do too much, too soon.  So I think this time, I’m going to start with one goal, and add a new one in each week, so that I’ll be cumulatively building my will-power and creating healthier habits one at a time.

So, the goal for this week is no booze on work nights.  I already sort of failed at this by going out for beers and playing horseshoes with my friend Sharon last night.  I may have to take a pass for Mondays, because that’s our usual day for fun activities.  Or limit myself to only one drink.  I’ll have to see how that plays out.  At any rate, I will be focusing on cutting back on the sauce during the week.  I drink a lot of beer, and beer contains a lot of empty calories, so I’ll be very interested to see what impact this has.

If you’d like to play along on the #Chewsday Challenge, use the #Chewsday hashtag on Twitter.  We’re a pretty good time, if I do say so myself :)

Kimberly on Twitter

Princess Lisa on Twitter

Kellie on Twitter

Me on Twitter

Welcome to another edition of Manic Monday, where I recap the previous week, and set out a plan for the upcoming week.

I don’t have much to report today.  As I mentioned on Friday, I haven’t run in about 2 weeks.  The good news is, I’ve been keeping up with riding my bike to and from work every day, and I started a 30-day plank challenge on July 1.  I haven’t been keeping up with it as much as I’d like, but it’s definitely helping to keep me a bit more active than I might be otherwise.

Monday

Biked to work (~3.8 miles), and 1 minute plank.  I got a ride home from Ben because we needed to go to the grocery store.

Tuesday

Biked to and from work (~7.5 miles), and 1 minute 10 second plank.

Wednesday

Biked to and from work (~7.5 miles), and 1 minute 15 second plank.  After work, I met some coworkers at a really great open air bar/club on the waterfront called Breakwaters.  One of my coworkers is in a band, and they were playing.  I had a couple of drinks and nibbled some sweet potato fries and nachos.  Yum!

Thursday

Biked to and from work (~7.5 miles), and 1 minute 25 second plank

Friday

Lots of walking and swimming at the family reunion

Photo Jul 12, 4 50 18 PM

Saturday

Lots of walking, swimming, and seafood at the family reunion :-D

Photo Jul 12, 6 45 54 PM

Sunday

Lots of driving and bad food on the way home :(

I would do a recap of the reunion, but every day was pretty formulaic:

Wake up early because sun is shining on tent and I’m roasting.  Walk 1/2 mile to pond.  Swim.  Walk 1/2 mile back.  Coffee.  Brunch.  Walk 1/2 mile to pond.  Swim.  Walk 1/2 mile back.  Snack/nap/chat/squirt gun fight/help around the farm.  Walk 1/2 mile to pond.  Swim.  Walk 1/2 mile back.  Dinner.  Several beers.  Rubber band war (rubber bands from lobster claws are AWESOME).  Sleep.  Repeat.

I’m really excited to be home.  Miraculously, Ben and I get to spend the next two weekends in a row at home.  We have a few activities planned, but it will be nice not to travel.  I’m hoping to get back into a routine here–the last few weeks have been a bit crazy.  I want to re-focus on eating better, and get back to regular running and cross-training.  In tomorrow’s post, I’ll share my plan for how I hope the next few weeks will go as I decide what fall half I’ll be running.

How was your weekend?

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