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2010 Resolution Check-in!

Happy Christmas , everyone! I hope you all had a good day whether you were celebrating with friends and family or if it was just another day. I had the best Christmas I’ve had in a few years even though I was sniffly for it. My family doesn’t do much, since it’s just the 3 of us these days, but we had fun watching the Disney parade and playing with my Dad’s new Keurig. I’m going to miss that thing when I go back to Cville.

But, let’s get to the business of rapping up the year a bit and see how I did on those pesky resolutions I set last year.

1. Begin a Running Program

Success! I’m still running, though not as often as I would like, or as far as I thought I would be by now. But hey, this time last year I could only run like a minute or 2 at a time. And now, I can run a 5K and not be sore the next day. It’s all about progress, Baby.

2. Go organic and significantly reduce meat consumption.

Probably my most significant success. I very rarely eat meat these days, and basically consider myself a vegetarian. I also participated in a crop share. While I’m not 100% organic, I am tipping the scale more and more and have cut most artificial crap out of my diet.

3. Do yoga at least once a week to reduce stress and improve strength and flexibility.

Fail. I got into biking and swimming….but it would be nice to get into yoga again. Just gotta figure out how to make the time. I’m not to upset about this fail considering all the other successes I had.

4. Cook one new and exciting dish a week – and blog about it!

I rocked this one early last year, but lately it’s all been fast stuff. So Semi-success. I didn’t really blog about it though. Oh wellz.

5. Complete the 6 basic personal finance foundations from ramit’s book/blog – I Will Teach You to be Rich.

Major fail….which is a bummer. I definitely need to make this a higher priority next year.

6. Join a club to meet people in Charlottesville.

Multiple checks. I did kickball, ultimate frisbee, and bible study/church. Even though most of them weren’t the best fit for me, I did much better getting out and putting myself out there.

7. Get out of the house more – ex: study in new places

Big check! I’m way more sociable than last year. It helps though, that I have more friends :).

8.  Take more photos and make more time for scrapbooking.

Fail…… yeah.

9. Communicate!!!! – Tell people how I feel and quit bottling everything up.

This was a big success for me this year actually. Although, things often didn’t end up how I wanted them to, I’m glad I had the courage to speak up early and stop wasting time in certain situations.

 

As you can see, I had a pretty successful year. I’ll write more about this soon, but I can’t believe how much better life is at the end of 2010 than it was at the beginning. I really reinvented myself. And, I think this blog played a significant part in that. Working out and eating better made me stronger and have more energy, and I used that energy and confidence to improve a lot of other areas in my life. I changed crappy situations I was in even though I didn’t fully want to. And life is much better for it. I’m very proud, thankful, and blessed to be where I am today. I hope I can continue this momentum in 2011!

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Two Sides to Every Coin

My last (and first) blood donation went so smoothly, I never would have imagined the utter Fail I got today. I’m reluctant to even talk about it, because I don’t want to discourage anyone from donating if you are able to do so.

One fun thing about donating is I feel like I get a free ‘mini-physical.’ As a new vegetarian, it’s good to know my hemoglobin counts are still in a good range. Also, I was thrilled to see my resting heart rate is now 65! Pretty low considering 2 months ago it was 80 and that I was still a little nervous when they recorded it. Glad to know my body is appreciating my work outs! My blood pressure is also down 10 points in both systolic and diastolic.

But, they had trouble getting my vein to cooperate. And I stupidly looked as she was moving the needle around under my skin to try to get to a good area. I usually have no issue with needles/blood, but this time I got really queasy, and just decided I needed to try again in a couple weeks. I was just not in the mental state to do it after going through that pain and grossness. I should have not looked and also eaten a bigger lunch. While I love liquid meals, should have had more than soup just today. As the nurse said ‘Girl, you can eat like a bird every other day, but you need to go to town on blood donating days.’

This makes me feel like quoting The Notebook….”If you’re a bird, I’m a bird” ; )

So, since my arm hurt, I decided I needed to go to wine tasting dowtown. Yay Friday. This morning, the arm is pretty bruised and I have a gross blood blister where the needle was fishing around. I definitely don’t feel as happy as I did after my last donation – it was a lot to go through without even getting to help someone. I just hope after I have a couple weeks to forget I’ll still be motivated to give again. I mean, someone has to do it, and luckily I’m in pretty good health and am not afraid of needles (on a normal day…), so I’m a pretty good candidate.

At least I still got a cookie!

Peace,

Karen

Thoughts on Tri-Sport and Why I Work Out These Days

Being a ‘triathlete’ is exhausting, but exhilarating. I use the quotes because I feel like I am such a n00b at all 3 diciplines that calling myself a triathlete is poser-like. But you can’t deny that I run, I swim, I bike (and I play :D). When one muscle group is resting, I tackle the other ones. And, I’m finding variety really is the spice of life. I can usually convince myself to do one of the three things even if I don’t necessarily feel like running. I think once my skill set gets a little bit more of a foundation that biking is going to be my favorite. You can make it as casual or as intense as you want to really.

I run because I want to prove that I can. Plus, I like running because it can be mindless if that’s what I need, and a good way to release stress in a positive way. I swim for the strength training (and for the hot tub….). I bike because I love it: going fast…mechanical nerdy noises…gadgets….pretty scenery….going on adventures. And, I have awesomely long legs, so I might as well use them.

So, here are my end of the week workouts:

Thursday: The plan was to bike, but thunderation killed that thought, so I met a buddy at the pool and we did some laps. I swam 550 meters and kicked 400 meters (with flippers). Swimming is still pretty exhausting to me. I have to take a mini break every 50 meters it seems, just to get my heart rate down enough so I’ll be able to have controlled breath during the swim.

Friday: Nighttime treadmill run at the gym. It ended up being treadmill because there was a cheerleading camp in the main gym. As soon as I opened the door to the track I was nearly knocked over by the sound of 100 pre-teens screaming and cheering. Yeah, I couldn’t do that to myself. I got my 25 minute run in (with 5 minute walking warm-up and cool down), but it felt like a struggle the whole time. I really don’t like the treadmill as much as I once did. I hate not being able to adjust pace constantly and I feel kind of clausterphobic on it.

But…The next run is the 5K!! Almost done! And, by done I mean, almost time to start working on the 10K distance ;)….

On the ‘Results‘ front, I haven’t weighed myself in weeks. I think I’m finally in a place where I’m not working out to keep myself thin or get thinner. One of my coworkers asked me, if there was a magic pill that kept you thin with no side effects, would you take it. For the first time in my life I’m in a position where I would say no. Numerical results (pounds/ inches lost) are great. And if they happen, I will feel good about it. But, now (Finally!) I’m working out for my personal well being – for the joy of challenging my body and to keep my energy level and spirits high. It’s such a healthier place to be. I accept and love my body for what it is, and relish the opportunity to train it and mold it slowly and  naturally. I hope I keep this mental attitude for a long time. And I hope I find a way soon to help friends who have trouble with body image and self acceptance. Constantly critiquing and ragging on your body is not the way to live. I did it for long enough.

Woe to the Groin

Man, life has been non-stop since my trip. It’s crazy just how much more fun life can be in the Summer without the obligations of school work. I feel like there is still a paranoid voice in the back of my head making me feel like there is SOMETHING else I should be doing after work time…but….I don’t consciously know what that thing is! But, with all the fun, I haven’t been doing any standard issue running sessions for some time now. Nonetheless, I’ve lost 2 more pounds since the last time I weighed myself in early April – making me a respectable 5 pounds lighter since I started this blog. Honestly, I’ve been afraid to weigh myself since those awesome weeks I had before I went to Philly in April, because I felt like I might have gained it all back between my traveling/finals diets, much more drinking, and less exercise overall. So, the extra two pounds was icing on the cake! I still mostly just notice it in my face. I definitely need to start throwing in some muscle training soon – my arms be looking gangly and my legs have great potential hotness because of how long they are.

I’m not really TRYING to lose weight, but nonetheless, it’s a good metric to monitor occasionally, especially since I’m rapidly changing the way I eat by switching to a mostly vegetarian diet. I care much more about improving my fitness and general health – being the athlete I always dreamed of being but never bothered to pursue because of fear of failure or embarrassment.

Speaking of, I joined an ultimate frisbee team yesterday night. There is a summer league in town and I rather last minute decided to get placed on a team. I enjoyed throwing frisbee with my guy friends the first couple years of college, but I never played ultimate with them because it was deemed to rough for me. It’s something I’ve always wanted to get in to, but I never felt confident enough to stick my neck out and try – being brave enough to publicly suck for a while. Once you are out of college, you really have to try harder to get involved and meet people. I feel like I’m finally getting the confidence to be OK failing – trying lots of new things that could blow up in my face and seeing what sticks. You can endure anything for a couple hours right?

As for ultimate – It was sooooooo much running! And not just any running, like sprinting why the hell is the person I’m guarding so freaking fast running! And, I feel that sprinting in my groin today for sure. It’s weird, every time I do anything involving sprints my groin kills the next day. I need to stretch that out more it seems. And, it’s a shame talking about your groin isn’t regarded so highly in public yet hehe. They’re just muscles people!!!

The game itself was really fast paced too…like…I thought I understood the game and everything I knew was turned upside down: stacks, clearing, breaking, picks, flicks, dumps, cuts, etc. And ya know, with all the fast running it was kind of hard to figure it out. Fortunately, my team was really great. They taught me a lot and I got to ‘play’ a lot, even though most of the time I was just trying to figure out what the heck was going on. I think it’ll be really good exercise and a fun new skill to pick up – much more exciting than being a hamster at the gym so I’ll take it!

Eastery Workouts

Yeah, yellow is the bomb

So, I’ve got a couple more workouts to report briefly before I return to the nightmare of group projects and test studying. I celebrated Easter by dressing up cute in a yellow dress, driving around to the grocery store in my yellow car, and getting a run in. I was SUPPOSED to get a 20 minute run in, but breathing became an issue around minute 10. I haven’t been using my inhaler in the last week and I think the spring flowers and increased distance worked their magic this time. So I ended up doing:

Walk 5, Run 10, Walk 2, Run 3, Walk 1, Run 3, Walk 1, Run 3, Walk 5

I thought I ended up with a cumulative of 20 minutes of running, but looking at it now it’s like 19. Nothing to sneeze at, but I suppose I can’t do simple math when I’m sweating like that.

Today I left work midday to get a workout in, since I plan on staying here all night. It was a Jillian Michaels DVD – No More Trouble Zones. I guess you know you’re getting a decent work out if you’re screaming ‘FUCK YOU JILLIAN’ at the end of every circuit. And yeah, I was. My arms are dead right now!

On a lark, I decided to weigh myself again today, and I’ve lost another 1.3 pounds since last time (~3 days ago). Great motivation! My stomach is looking better for sure. I’ve been doing a lot of things different this week – Increased walking 3-4 fold, doing more strength workouts, eating right. So, not the most controlled study, but if it works, who cares! I feel great!

Ahhhh, Peace out chickadeees.

Week 5 = Crushed, Veggie Fail, and Results!

It’s been a sort of big last couple of days! I got in the last 2 runs of week 5 in my pseudo couch to 5K plan:

Wednesday:
Walk 10 minutes.
Run 15 minutes.
Walk 5 minutes.
Stretch

Friday:
Walk 6 minutes.
Run 18 minutes.
Walk 6 minutes.
Stretch.

Yesterday’s run really about demolished me though. It was a warm sunshiney day, which was awesome, but the gym was pretty toasty inside as well. I def got overheated those last four minutes and pushed myself a little too hard to get it done. When I knocked the speed on the treadmill back to a walk my whole leg (and face!) felt like fire. My legs were even red when I was stretching out. Not sure how great that is for me in the whole spectrum of health, but it feels great to push through a challenge and get it done. On the other hand, def almost passed out right when I stepped off the treadmill. To put things in perspective, my blood pressure runs on the low side, so passing out is pretty easy. I’m more aware of it now than I used to be, so I just gotta make sure I fuel myself properly and drink LOTS of fluids when I work out. Since I’m getting back in the cardiovascular shape I was a few years ago, I’m probably going to have to watch out more again.

Last night I experimented in the kitchen, and tried out a new vegetarian recipe! I adapted it from this one on epicurious: Coconut Curried Tofu with jasmine rice. Epicurious is a great site to search for ingredients that go well together and get inspired. I knew I wanted some kind of curry-licious Thai inspired tofu stir fry and this really fit the bill. It was pretty tasty, but, I definitely need to jazz it up and make it more spicy. It was a bit more bland than I like it, but I realize most people are not as crazy about the spice as I am. The coconut, basil, and peanuts were delish on the rice though! The tofu was kind of just there for protein. Tofu isn’t something I ever seek out, but I’m cool with it being there and appreciate the nutrients.

Last night was almost a veggie fail! I didn't know they sold veggies that were pre-seasoned. I was shocked to find brown goo all over my greens when I opened the bag on the right. Luckily I had backup veggies! I didn't want that salty goo fest anywhere near me....

And finally, I’m excited to report I’m starting to see and feel results! So, while on one hand I’m against numbers ruling your life, I also feel that weighing myself regularly is good motivation to make better decisions. I’m not the kind of person who lets a fluctuating weight label me into a depressed funk, nor do I let it lead to disordered eating. It’s great to see a quantitative change reflecting your hard work though (I am an engineer!). I lost nie 2 pounds this week, which is pretty in line with what you should aim for for healthy, sustainable change.

Realized this morning, my face looks like it did 2 years ago. So, I took a 'myspace' pic out of giddiness.

More than that, I am full of energy and vigor! And my face  has thinned out and looks more clear and bright. I don’t know. Good things are happening though : ).