Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Move/make: Week 13

Today's weight (a couple of days late): 175.0 pounds.

Monday: Off
Tuesday: Ran 37 minutes
Wednesday: Biked 15 miles
Thursday: Swam 40 minutes
Friday: Played frisbee 30 minutes
Saturday: Walked all over Madison all day
Sunday: Short run/walk, frisbee

Thoughts on food:
So, so bad. A lot of Diet Coke, Clif bars, and crackers and cheese. Some fruit, but not a lot. The fridge is a disaster I've been avoiding. I also went out to eat way too much (Chinese food, twice; pizza buffet, which was pretty awful; fried fish, twice; Thai food; ice cream).

So, pretty bad.  

Overall reflections: 
A combination of needing to buckle down with training for some upcoming races this July, and not having any money, will help with not eating out as much. I have a lunch date planned with a friend from my newspaper days this Friday, but other than that, things should be OK.

I made good on my goal of varying my workouts. My roommate and I have been playing frisbee, which has been fun. Swimming laps wore me out -- in a good way -- and I want to go back to the pool soon. The only thing I need to stick with is weight-training, something I'm notoriously bad about keeping up with. The upcoming heat wave this week will give me plenty of opportunity to hit the gym, though.

I also saw a neurologist yesterday. He poked my foot and leg with tiny needles. It was terrible.

Overall, I'm feeling good about these workouts, despite the crappy diet I've had.

By this Sunday, I want to:
  • Only go out to eat twice
  • Weight-train two separate times
  • Go for one long bike ride
  • Go for two 5K runs
  • Swim or play frisbee again
I also need to clean my fridge and apartment, and go grocery shopping.

Look/hear: Hayes Carll

I've been on an alt-country kick lately, thanks mostly to my roommate and his amazing music collection. There's been a lot of Uncle Tupelo, Steve Earle, Townes Van Zandt, and this guy, Hayes Carll.

"It's A Shame"
This song kills me. It's so beautiful and heartbroken and resigned. I have listened too it way too much. An unhealthy amount.

It's music that makes me think of summer, bittersweet feelings, and wide-open cornfields. It makes me think of driving at night, of being sun-sick from hiking all day. I've got all these feelings, see.

I get to see Hayes Carll in a couple of weeks, too. So excited. I am a sucker for flannel, broke-down songs, and anyone who sings about Arkansas (he does, a lot).

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Summer 2012 Goals

Summer has officially started. It's finally started to sink in that I graduated. Summer classes are starting. It's warm and sunny every day. While running today, I realized that I have a lot of things I want to accomplish this summer.

Within this past month, I have already accomplished a lot. I graduated with a master's degree. I trained for and started a grueling new job. I interviewed and was offered a different job. I quit that first job. I started running again. I started long-distance biking. I've been meat-free for exactly six months. I've done a lot, and it feels pretty damn good. 

But, of course, there's so much more I want to do.

In May, I made a list of my life goals, but those are very long-term. I want to gather together my goals for this summer, get them all in one place, and hold myself accountable. Some things have to get done, some things should get done, and some things would make my life more enjoyable if I did them.

I plan on checking in with myself throughout the summer, to see how I'm doing (and making adjustments to these goals as necessary).

  • Make sure my workouts are varied -- I need to make swimming, biking, and weight-training priorities this summer.
  • Sign up for and complete a 5K, a 10K, and a 50-mile bike ride.
  • Get my weight into the 160s.
  • Edit and send out an article (that I've been sitting on for months) for publication.
  • Finish putting together my CV.
  • Find steady teaching jobs for the fall.
Everything else:
  • If I don't end up working a second job this summer, I'll have a lot of free time in August. I want to use that to plan at least one substantial (but cheap) trip, either camping somewhere around here or going to visit my sister.
  • Pay off my credit card.
  • Read at least 10 books.
  • Work on my quote journal.
  • Get another tattoo (I have an idea for a small and larger one, depending on how much I can afford).
It's going to be one hell of a summer, but I'm looking forward to it. I'm excited to see how much of this I'll be able to accomplish -- ideally, all of it!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Look/hear: Summer music

This summer promises a particularly excellent lineup of concerts. Thanks to my new job, I'll actually be able to see almost all of the ones I had hoped to get to -- and there are about nine of them. There are few things I love more than seeing a good show with friends. 

Deer Tick, "Ashamed"
I saw these guys the other weekend, and they put on an excellent show. They played almost all of my favorites from "War Elephant" (their first album) and "Divine Providence" (their latest album). They even covered The Replacements' "Kiss Me on the Bus." Perfect.

Reigning Sound, "Call Me #1"
iTunes tells me that I've played this song close to 60 times since the EP came out this spring. I can't get enough of Greg Cartwright and his various projects -- and this song, in particular. I'm going to see Reigning Sound this weekend.

Father John Misty, "Only Son of  Ladies Man"
J. Tillman is clearly in the middle of a serious nervous breakdown, but it sounds so, so beautiful. Planning on seeing him this summer -- before he loses it completely. I'm hoping to see some of those dance moves in person. And that bass player -- I just can't.


Sebadoh, "Rebound"
As if this summer wasn't going to be amazing enough, I bought tickets to see these guys in August. This is probably the show I'm most excited about. "Bakesale" has got to be one of the most perfect albums ever.

Move/make: Weeks 11 and 12

Today's weight: 172.3 pounds.

Workouts (last week):
Monday: Biked 30 miles
Tuesday: Off
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: Off
Friday: Biked 5 miles, walked one hour
Saturday: Biked 3 miles, weights for 45 minutes (legs and abs)
Sunday: Off

Workouts (this week):
Monday: Off
Tuesday: Off
Wednesday: Ran 35 minutes
Thursday: Ran 37 minutes
Friday: Ran 20 minutes
Saturday: Ran 37 minutes
Sunday: Off

Thoughts on food:
These last two weeks have been a whirlwind. I finished my job training last week, and started teaching this week. Because of that, I haven't eaten as well as I probably should be, but I've only gone out to eat once a week. I'm making sure I stay on top of grocery shopping.

Rather than focusing on cooking, which is clearly not happening, I think a more realistic goal for me is to make sure the snacks and small meals I eat throughout the day are healthy and filling -- veggie burgers, fresh fruit, a protein-filled breakfast. I'm happy to keep the no-eating-out rule, though. It's saving me money that I can spend on better groceries.

Overall reflections:
I stuck to about half of the goals I posted last time. I went grocery shopping, I finally saw a podiatrist, and I went to the gym and lifted weights.

I didn't work out as often as I wanted last week, but I more than made up for it this week. I got the green-light to start running again this Wednesday, and have gone for a run every day since then. I am so, so happy that I can do this. I still have another appointment with a neurologist (for a nerve conduction test, since it's a nerve problem in my foot), but my podiatrist said I can start running again as long as my foot doesn't get worse or start hurting (it's just been numb, but not painful).

I didn't fit in another long bike ride, so that's a goal for next week.

Between my last post and this one, I also quit my first teaching job, and am starting a job this Monday that is more in line with what I actually want as a career. It will allow me to stay in the town I live in, rather than driving all over northern Illinois. It pays just as well as the old one, and I won't have to work with little kids. I'm nervous, for a whole other slew of reasons, but I'm happy to leave that other, grueling job behind.

These last two weeks have been insane, but I'm feeling much better than I was before. I'm also starting to see a difference from working out. My muscles are stronger and more defined, and I have a lot more endurance. My weight seems to be steadily going down, too. The cross-training definitely helped. Going forward, I want to make sure I have more variety in my workouts, rather than just running or biking. 

I binged on running this week -- I was just so glad to be able to do it again. But now I have a job that gives me more free time during the day to hit the gym and the pool -- things I couldn't always do before.

Because of that, I want to do the following things next week, for some variety:
  • Go to the pool at least once
  • Go to the gym and lift weights at least twice
  • Go for a long (25-mile or more) bike ride
  • Go for a run
I also need to make an appointment to see the neurologist.

As for my long-term summer goals, I sat down and listed them all out here. That way, I can use this space for my short-term, week-to-week check-ins, and have a running list in one place of my overall goals for the summer.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Think/act: Little things

I'm well into my third week of job training. The days are 9- to 10- hours long, with short lunch breaks. I'm tired. I'm behind on the rest of my life. I'm worried about what my future holds. I've only had a day off here and there.

Tonight, I finally went grocery shopping after more than two weeks without any decent food in the house. I was going to go for a bike ride after, but decided to take the night off. I had a productive day -- I managed to get a lot of things done on top of my 10 hours of training -- so I thought I'd finally relax. I don't think I've done that since April, literally.

I made a veggie "chicken" sandwich with spinach and tomato on top, and ate it with sweet tea and salted caramel gelato (so good). I watched two episodes of Treme. Now, I'm listening to Centro-matic's last album while cleaning up.

If there's one good thing that's come out of this frustrating job, it's that I appreciate these kinds of things in a way I probably haven't in a while. A decent meal, an excellent TV show, and an amazing album.

The opening of Treme. If you've watched The Wire, the style will look familiar. One of the best new shows I've seen. It manages to be frustrating and heartbreaking and exuberant, all at once.

Move/make: Week 10

Today's weight: 175.0 pounds.

Workouts (last week):
Monday: Off
Tuesday: Off (traveling)
Wednesday: Biked 10 miles
Thursday: Biked 10 miles
Friday: Off
Saturday: Swam 1 hour
Sunday: Off
Thoughts on food:
I was in Florida all last week for training. I stuck with my goal of going grocery shopping (although even that was expensive, probably because we were in Orlando, a stone's throw from Orlando Studios). Our group went out to dinner once -- I had beer (Yuengling!) and fish tacos. I'm impressed we didn't go out more often. The rest of the week I ate a lot of peanut butter, hummus, tuna salad, apples, cherry tomatoes, and Diet Coke. Maybe not totally balanced, but not entirely unhealthy, either. The Diet Coke has got to go, though.

Overall reflections: 
I didn't work out four days last week, but I did fit in three days of workouts while traveling, so I feel good about that. Working out on an exercise bike might be one of my least favorite things to do. It's so ... tedious. But I had my iPod, and lots of pent-up energy/frustration from long days of training, so it wasn't so bad. I will always choose working out outside, though, when I can.

On Saturday, our last night in Florida, we went to Cocoa Beach and swam at sunset. The sky was a beautiful lavender, the beach was fairly empty, and there weren't many boats in the ocean. I love seeing where the ocean meets the sky. I always feel like I'm on the edge of the earth. There is something about water that is soothing to me. It helped melt away a lot of the stress I'd been feeling. And it helped me make peace with my feelings about Florida. All of us drove back to the hotel feeling tired, but happy, I think. I love the ocean.

Like the week before, this week's workouts definitely helped keep me relatively sane. This job has been taking it out of me. I realized last night that I haven't had any down time for going on two months now. I went from wrapping up coursework, to turning in grades, to graduating, to diving headfirst into job training. I've had a day off here or there, but nothing substantial. Didn't even have a long weekend for Memorial Day. And my days off are mostly spent thinking about (or getting caught up on) all the other things I let slide during the busy part of the semester. I'm training this week until 7 p.m. each night, and I've spent many nights so far feeling depressed. Working out is helping me manage the anxiety I'm feeling (and there's a lot of it). I'm worried about money, the summer, my future, having no insurance. There are a lot of things weighing on me now.

I feel really good that I stuck to my goals while traveling. This week (well, until Sunday, when I blog again), I want to:
  • Go grocery shopping (I've had no food since I got home on Sunday ... I've been living on ramen and iced tea, which is not helping my crankiness. I need fresh fruit and vegetables!). 
  • Work out three more times (in keeping with my more-days-on-than-off rule).
  • Make at least two of those days weight-lifting days.
  • Continue biking (I have a new bike, I sold my old one to recoup some costs, and I've set my sights on a 50-mile ride in July). 
  • Call my doctor and make an appointment to look at my foot (I still haven't done this!). 
And, as always, get into the 160s by sometime this summer.  

As far as my mental health, goes, for now, I just have to take things a day at a time. I'm working on some other things (second jobs, etc.) that might make things a little better. For now, though, I'm stuck in this frustrating limbo.