Sunday, September 30, 2012

Move/make: Week 2/Take 2

Today's weight: 172.6.

Monday: Hill sprints (10)
Tuesday: Ran 25 minutes
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: Hill sprints (10)
Friday: Off
Saturday: Ran 38 minutes
Sunday: Ran 38 minutes

Thoughts on food:
My eating wasn't as great this week as last week, but I have been eating lunches at home, and eating real food. I've been making food on Sundays for work, which has been helping. Tonight, I made cold oatmeal/Greek yogurt/Chia seed mixes for breakfasts, and I made Greek quinoa salad for lunches. I'm trying to make at least one recipe a week. It's not a lot, but enough to get me cooking and not be overwhelmed. I have a serious mental block when it comes to the kitchen, so I'm feeling pretty good about these baby steps.

Overall reflections:
I'm feeling good. Today, I had a Diet Coke and it didn't taste good. And lately, when I eat bread or carbs, I just feel bloated and weird. I don't buy snacks at the grocery store anymore, either. I'm definitely over snacking/eating junk every day. This is a first for me.

I've been working out a lot (these hill sprints are kicking my ass). I feel good. I have a lot more energy, and my emotions are much more even-keel.Today's run was pretty rough, but I also went right after I got out of bed and had only eaten two Oreos on my way out the door. My body is definitely not OK with junk anymore.

I'm looking forward to runs getting easier again. I think continuing to mix up the kinds of running I'm doing will help.

I made good on my goals from last week. I worked out five days this last week, did speed work twice, and fairly burned myself out on junk food.

For this coming week, I want to:
  • Not have any soda or bottled juice at all. I have a weakness for chai with soy milk and pumpkin syrup (I make it myself and bring it to work), so I'll still have that. It makes my mornings better.
  • Do speed work twice -- either hill sprints or shorter, tempo runs.
  • Only go out to eat twice.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Think/act: Solitude

Alone time is important to me. I don't always do a good job of allowing myself downtime to read, or walk, or relax. I also don't always do a good job of balancing solitude with spending time with loved ones.

But lately, I've been feeling more balanced. This morning, I woke up before my boyfriend, and took a three-mile walk outside, near a lake. I brought music and enjoyed the sunshine. I was awake, and everything felt possible.

I've been reading more, too. The stack above is what I keep by my bed. There are books I'm working on, books I want to get to soon, and things I like to keep near. There are short stories, longer fiction, a book about running, and a book about being vegan. I also keep a notebook for quotes, and another one for my own writing. In grad school, it was hard to find time to read anything not related to coursework. When I graduated, I promised myself I'd finally get back to reading for fun. Which is, of course, also reading for work, because I'm always researching, always learning, always thinking about future dissertation topics.

Since I study modern American literature, my to-read list skews heavily toward that. I know I need to branch out a bit more, and read the writers who've influenced my favorite writers. I know I need to keep reading feminist and composition theory. But my list is so long, I don't stress about it now. I'm just enjoying being able to read all the things I love that my grad program didn't value.

It's these little things -- walking in the morning, reading Lorrie Moore without feeling guilty for not reading for class -- that keep me happiest when I'm alone.

Move/make: Week 1/Take 2

Today's weight: 179.6.

Monday: Ran 39 minutes
Tuesday: Biked 6.5 miles
Wednesday: Hill sprints (10 in 25 minutes)
Thursday: Ran 31 minutes
Friday: Off
Saturday: Ran a 5K in 34 minutes (a new PR!)
Sunday: Walked 3 miles

Thoughts on food: 
After taking some strong medicine with the potential for long-term side effects, I did a three-day raw food cleanse. For three days, I ate nothing but raw veggies, smoothies with kale/spinach/fruit/flax seed, and raw "cookies" that I made. In addition to (hopefully) flushing residual chemicals out of my body, it was enough to get me over some pretty intense addictions to Diet Coke and junk food.

That was about a week and a half ago. Since then, I've been doing much better, food-wise. I've been making simple meals at home (baked potatoes, tuna, salads, protein smoothies). I've also been taking calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B complex, vitamin C, magnesium and glucosamine chondroitin. I've had a Diet Coke three times since then, and I don't want chips or cookies.

Tonight, I made tuna salad, a homemade salad dressing out of blood oranges, and hard-boiled eggs for easy lunches. I live close enough to work that I can bike home for lunch, if I have some easy foods ready to go when I get there.

Overall reflections:
Taking time away from blogging and to-do-listing was the best thing I could have done. I feel healthier, happier and refreshed. I'm motivated to vary my workouts, and I have a lot more energy. It's a wonder what eating real food and treating your body kindly does. My skin looks better, and I don't want to snack all day long on crappy food.

I've turned a major corner, definitely, in my health. The 5K I ran this weekend was the fastest I've ever done -- and I was more out of practice than I have been for past races. Doing speed training and actually taking care of my diet certainly made a huge difference.

Before I got sick, I was training for a 10K. There's another one in October I thought about doing, but that would only give me a month to get ready for it. Instead, I'm going to slow down, and focus on strength and speed work instead. I've got my eye on running a 10K by spring, and a half marathon a year from now (something on my lifelong wish list).

It's been nearly a month since I wrote this. I've been working hard to balance work, loved ones, my own alone time, and my health. The only thing I haven't done much about is the creativity portion, but I've got little ideas and projects I want to work on -- some related to writing, some not.

The number on the scale? The one thing I'm not excited about. But I feel good, I'm happy, and I feel like I'm on the right track. I'm enjoying working out. I'm enjoying being outdoors in the sunshine and cool weather. That's all that matters.

  • Keep going. Work out at least four times a week, if not five.
  • Work in hills/speed work one day a week.
  • Keep eating real food. Not diet food. Not soda. Not candy.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Think/act: bell hooks

"There will be no mass-based feminist movement as long as feminist ideas are understood only by a well-educated few."

bell hooks, “Educating Women: A Feminist Agenda”

Why I love bell hooks, why feminism that isn't intersectional and inclusive is bullshit, why education has to be accessible to everyone, etc.

And really, this sums up all my feelings about why academia, in general, has failed and continues to fail us. Progressive ideas are worthless unless they can be accessed and enacted by everyone. I know I spent most of last semester talking about arbitrary power dynamics in my teaching class, but honestly, how can collapsing them not be the first thing that has to happen for everyone to be happy, healthy and free?

Look/hear: Get happy

I started a new job this week. The pay is good, and I'll be advising several hundred (!) students who need me, but I've already got a legal pad filled with notes from training, and an ever-growing to-do list.

Needless to say, this weekend feels much-earned. I had dinner with friends tonight. Tomorrow, I'll go to my hometown to see friends from high school, eat breakfast, and go to an annual rummage sale. I'll spend the evening with my best friend. Sunday includes breakfast with my boyfriend's beloved grandfather, and my first run coming off major illness.

When I'm feeling overwhelmed -- when all those good things waiting at the end of the week seem far off -- I like to listen to music. Even if it's just a song between the car and my desk, it's usually enough to lift my spirits.

Some of my never-fail, all-time-favorite happy songs are:

The Clash, "Revolution Rock"
I've owned multiple copies of this on CD and vinyl. I never get tired of it. It's the album that's stayed in rotation the longest (I think I was 14 when I got it), and this song, in particular, always cheers me up.  I finally re-uploaded a bunch of music that got corrupted on my iPod, so I can listen to this again.


Desmond Dekker, "Peace of Mind"
Someone else I've loved since high school. It doesn't matter that he's singing about trouble and misery. His voice always makes me feel better.

Steve Earle, "Steve's Last Ramble"
I have a lot of good feelings about this one.