Archive | July, 2011

Fashionistas Sweat Too…

26 Jul

Hi friends!  While Kathy’s away in Minnesota (which I am so excited about because it means I get to see her in person!), I am stopping by to say hi from B. in the Know.

Now, I am a huge fan of fashion.  Hence the whole writing about fashion daily.  But just because one enjoys fashion, does not mean giving up being active.  And with that, being active does not mean having to give up looking stylish.  We mustn’t be afraid of the sweat – that extra glow can add to the look.  Plus, doesn’t every fashionista want to stay healthy?!  Well, that means it is time to break a sweat.

I am personally a huge fan of yoga.  I like to include Sculpt (yoga with weights), Vinyasa, and then a little dance mixed in (have you tried Zumba yet? It is one of my favorite classes – an hour to shake your hips and dance?!  Yes, please).  It is a good combination that works well for my body since I do not have the world’s greatest knees (thank you stunting and tumbling…aka competitive cheerleading) for running, and let’s be completely honest – I’ve never loved to run.  It was not an instant discovery of what was best for me, but I am so glad that I kept looking for that form of working out that was great for me – because now I go because I want to be there, not out of obligation. I get the workout my body needs, but also leave feeling oddly rested and refueled because it is something I love.

One thing that has also been a bonus to doing yoga is discovering all of these wonderful yoga clothes – workout clothes that are cute – who knew?!  There is the obvious brand that sticks out (Lululemon), but my personal favorite would have to be Prana.  A couple other great places I always look for clothes are REI, Midwest Mountaineering (a local Minneapolis store), Victoria’s Secret (love their yoga pants – and they’re way better priced than some alternatives), Lucy, and even GAP.  I have found that having cute clothes to wear while working out helps me enjoy it more.  I used to do the whole baggy t-shirt look but it made me feel frumpy, and honestly, it got in the way of the poses.  So, slowly (which was important, in order to not blow the budget), I started weeding out t-shirts and replacing them with cute workout tops – and now, I would never go back.  The movement is easier, better, and all around more enjoyable.

Do you invest in any of your workout clothes?  What sport or activity do you like to do?  Is there a specific style for that?

Thanks for letting me say hi!  You’re welcome anytime over at my normal home!

Much love,

B

Photo credits 1, 2, & 3

Two Tickets to Paradise

22 Jul

Today Travis and I leave on our road trip to Minnesota. We will be gone 9 glorious days. Here’s our itinerary:

Friday: Leave work at 2:00, drive home, load up the pooches, get on the road by 3:00. Stop at Cabela’s in Sidney, NE, to buy Travis’ dad’s 60th b-day present. Continue on to Nevis, arriving around 8 a.m. (it’s a 16-hour drive).

Saturday: Spend time in the middle of nowhere (aka Nevis where Travis grew up). I will read and bum around while Travis shoots stuff, creates trails on their property of 180 acres, and goes 4-wheeling (not in a Jeep but on an ATV for all of you who use 4-wheeling incorrectly 🙂 ).

Sunday – Monday: Go to Grand Rapids where Travis’ parents currently live (they still have their house in Nevis, but rent it out – long story). Their house in GR is on a lake so we’ll probably do some fishing (I personally like to do tangling instead), boating, and sitting on their amazingly awesome wraparound deck. This will be the first time I’ll see their house without 5 feet of snow and negative temperatures. Yay for summer! Yay for a regular job!

Tuesday – Wednesday: We’re going to head up to Travis’ family’s cabin in Voyageur’s National Park in extreme Northern Minnesota (near the Boundary Waters). Trav’s great-grandma or great-great-grandma bought the property before it was a National Park (back in the 40s or 50s) so it’s very secluded (no phone or Internet) and you have to take a boat to get there (or a snowmobile in the winter). It is absolutely gorgeous up there.

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The sunsets up there are amazing and you can often see the Northern Lights (aka Aurora Borealis). Another perk, Canada is just right across the lake. Oh yeah, dontcha know.

I’ll also get to see a lot of this:

And I think we’re going to throw Katy off the dock. Because she hates water. And we like to laugh. No but seriously, we’d like to expose our dogs to some water on this trip so that they stop being so scared of it.

Thursday – Friday: Time with my family at my parent’s cabin near Pine City (an hour north of Minneapolis).

There will be time for this:

(although right now I’m not feeling the whole getting-thrown-off-a-tube-careening-around-the-corner-at-20-mph thing.)

And this:

My oldest brother, Jeremy, and sis-in-law, Jen, will be coming up from Evansville, IN, on Friday too. I’m not sure what my other 2 brothers and SIL (who live in the Cities) are going to be doing but I’m sure I’ll get to see them Friday too.

Saturday: Lunch with college friends in Minneapolis, then my cousin Ben is getting married! It will be fun to share in their special day and see all of my extended family on my mom’s side.

Sunday: Early breakfast with immediate family and drive the 13 hours back to Denver. I’m always extremely sad when we leave after trips like this, mostly because I miss our family. It’s just a matter of time before we move back…

Since I will be enjoying all of these wonderful water-filled festivities and decomposing (Decompressing!) during the summer of Kathy (Seinfeld references), I won’t be blogging. I actually won’t even touch a computer (unless forced). I will be soaking up sunshine, lake time, and humidity that melts your face off, and being eaten by bugs the size of a small child. And it will be glorious.

I do have a couple of guest posts lined up so stay tuned for those. Have a great week!

 

 

 

 

 

Save the Suave

21 Jul

As a person interested in health and fitness, I consistently try to improve my daily habits to promote my health. I’ve already done that with drinking 64 oz of water daily (still going strong!) and trying to maintain the balance between training and the rest of life. My latest focus has been on not washing my hair every day.

Here’s the dish on my hair:

  • It’s color-treated (from a box) to be slightly blonder than natural.
  • It’s naturally pin straight.
  • I get it cut every 6 months, usually going from shoulder length to chin length and back again.
  • I often get the comment at salons that my hair is thin but I have “a lot of it.”
  • I also get the comment that my hair is “very healthy” — since I use Pantene or Suave shampoo, [used to] wash, blow-dry and curl my hair daily, and only get it cut every 6 months, this comment usually makes me feel rather smug for thwarting the system of expensive shampoos, hair treatments and the like.

Even though my hair has always tended to be on the drier side and as such, has never really necessitated daily washings, I couldn’t fathom not washing my hair. I feared waking up with the hair that is just slightly greasy enough that you can tell it needs to be washed. I also enjoy a clean head and the smell of just-shampooed hair.

An additional objection I had to this notion of not washing my hair everyday was that I exercise a lot and I get really sweaty. I was trying to be considerate of those around me by washing my hair after every workout (some days I even washed my hair twice).

But then one day at work, I was talking with some of my female co-workers about a blog called My Yellow Sandbox. Abby, whose blog it is, only washes her every “fourish” days. Apparently, washing your hair every day makes it drier (because you’re washing out the natural oils your scalp produces that are good for your hair). She even says that the less you wash your hair, the less greasy it will be.

That was pretty intriguing to me. Less greasy the less I wash it? I’ll try it!

And you know what? I’m a believer. Here is photo evidence of me going 3 days with washing my hair once (I don’t think I could go 4 or more like Abby, because of the whole buckets-of-sweat thing).

This is my strategy:

Day 1

Wash and blow dry hair. Style with curling iron or flatiron; minimal product (as in none). Leave hair down.

Day 2

{Disclaimer: I went swimming and got my hair wet this morning so I wasn’t styling my hair from a dry state.} Blow dry hair and spray with dry shampoo before styling with flatiron. OR Blow dry hair halfway and pull hair into messy ponytail. Spray with hairspray.

Day 3

Pull hair into messy ponytail and spray with hairspray.

Since I go swimming every 2-3 days, I can’t really get completely away from blow-drying (wet hair is not very professional looking) or heat-styling (my hair does kinks instead of wavy) on the days I swim, unless I go swimming at night. If I do that, I towel dry my hair so that it’s not sopping wet, pull it into a braid, and go to bed. The next morning, I either put my hair half-up (and curl the ends, for reason aforementioned) or into a messy ponytail (Reason #1 Why I’m Loving the Length My Hair Is Right Now.)

I’ve also discovered that after a particularly sweaty workout, my hair looks better (i.e. less greasy from sweat) if I get it wet before styling it, rather than just trying to blow-dry the sweat out. Even then, I try to only blow-dry my hair until it’s slightly damp, then put it in a messy ponytail. Not only does that save me time and lessen the damage, my slippery straight hair stays up better if I put it up when it’s damp.

I’m still working on getting my routine down and trying to minimize the amount I use the blow-dryer and heat tools. Last night, I went on a run after work and then let my hair dry after my shower. (Win!) This morning, I still curled my hair (Lose!) and pulled it into a low ponytail. I suppose I could have foregone the curling iron but I felt that curling it would look better.

I do feel better about not washing my hair as often, and haven’t really had any or much trouble with it being greasy. (Dry shampoo also helps — I have TRESemmé Dry Shampoo for Dry Hair). Most of all, I like being able to get ready so much faster in the morning! Now if only I could find a way to keep my hair dry while swimming, I’d be set.

How often do you wash your hair?

What type of hair do you have?

Any tips for me on how to avoid blow-drying and heat-styling?

The Truth About Healthy Eating

19 Jul

This is not healthy eating.

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As a person who is very interested in health and fitness, I read a lot of magazines, newspaper articles, and books about the topic and I frequent a health and fitness message board. I’m even contemplating going to back to school for a nutrition degree (but that’s a topic for another post).

While I don’t follow any strict eating regimen like Paleo or Clean Eating, I do make most of the decisions about what I eat following the mantra of Michael Pollan, author of In Defense of Food: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” What that means for me is:

  • I eat real food, not “food products” as he calls them, as much as possible.
  • I eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m full (this is also the mentality behind Intuitive Eating).
  • I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables.

This is what a typical day’s menu has looked like recently:

Pre-Workout (5:00 am)

1 slice of whole wheat bread with 1 tbsp creamy peanut butter (I don’t eat natural peanut butter because it’s more expensive and the partially hydrogenated oil in un-natural peanut butter is so negligible, they don’t even list trans fats on the nutrition facts.)

Breakfast (7:30)

1-2 cups of cereal (common varieties are Honey Bunches of Oats, Frosted Mini-Wheats, Kashi GoLean Crunch!) with ½ cup blueberries and 1.5% milk from Royal Crest Dairy

Caffeine Fix (9:00)

1 ½ cups iced coffee with 2 packets of artificial sweetener and 1-2 tbsp fat-free liquid crack (aka Coffeemate hazelnut creamer)

Morning Snack #1 (10:00)

Banana

Morning Snack #2 (11:00)

Light flavored yogurt

Lunch (12:00 pm)

1 portion of leftovers from dinner on a bed of spinach or a spinach salad/wrap with blueberries, dried (sweetened) cranberries, feta cheese, slivered almonds, low-sodium ham, and Kraft poppyseed dressing (my favorite salad EVER.)

Afternoon Snack #1 (2:00)

Apple

Afternoon Snack #2 (3:30)

6 generic Triscuits, 1 oz cheddar cheese

Dinner (6:30)

Since this varies a lot (and my other food is usually pretty much the same), I’ll give a few common ones:

  • Homemade pizza (whole wheat pocketless pitas with store-bought pizza sauce, turkey pepperoni, artichoke hearts, black olives, mushrooms, and part-skim mozzarella)
  • Elk burgers on whole wheat buns, baked sweet potato fries sprinkled with sea salt
  • Butternut squash and sage lasagna, garlic (white) bread, spinach salad

Late-night treat (2-3 times a month when training, 4-5 times a month in off season)

Glass of wine (or a serving of full-fat ice cream)

As you can see, I don’t eat perfectly. I would go crazy if I did. It’s too hard and too expensive to buy all of the “healthiest” versions of all foods (not to mention that sometimes the refined foods are simply more delicious). My main focus is on eating a lot of fruits and vegetables and buying the whole-grain/least processed version of everything that is reasonably priced and that I enjoy eating. (Eating healthy foods you don’t enjoy is not fun or sustainable.)

If you’re curious, I eat about 2,000-2,500 calories a day when training; 1,700-2,000 when I’m not.

Over the course of my informal research, I’ve noticed that there are a lot of misconceptions about healthy eating floating around in the general populace. Lies like “Eating healthy is expensive” and “You have to stop eating donuts for breakfast.” In general, generalizations are wrong. 🙂

To set the record straight, here is what my experience has been with eating healthily (but I am not a registered dietitian so take what I say with a grain of salt-free Mrs. Dash).

1. I spend less money at the grocery store on healthy food than I did on processed crap.

On average, I spend $40-75 a week on groceries for 2 adults (not including condiments like ketchup and olive oil). I buy mostly produce (bananas, apples, oranges, spinach, potatoes, onions, green beans, asparagus, blueberries, zucchini, yellow squash, etc.). I also buy whole wheat pasta, whole wheat crackers, low-fat yogurt, low-fat milk (we get ours delivered), low-sodium deli meat (Boar’s Head), chicken when it’s on sale (for red meat, we eat elk that Travis shot), and whatever additional ingredients I need for the 3 dinner recipes I chose for the week.

My guess is that people think eating healthy is expensive because they don’t know to not buy certain produce when it’s out of season. I don’t spend $5 a pound on grapes, buy $6 pineapples, eat gold-plated raspberries, or spend $10 on a 2 oz bag of dried apricots. If you pay attention to prices and buy the cheap and in-season produce, eating healthy is actually very affordable. Vegetables are notoriously cheap almost year-round. You can’t buy a couple pounds of potatoes, onions, and carrots and tell me they were expensive.

Also, check out grocery stores like Trader Joe’s and Sunflower Farmer’s Market that have bulk bins. I now buy tons of stuff from bulk bins that I would have bought at a regular grocery store and spend way less: flour, dried fruit, trail mix, popcorn kernels, couscous, granola, etc. Just recently, I bought 50 oz of flour for $1.50 and ½ lb of dried mango for $2.00.

I also think that people get hung up on the superfoods. These are a marketing ploy. Did you know that grapes have just as many antioxidants as acai berries? They’re also cheaper. I love this quote from the Cooking Light article called The Truth about Superfoods:

Almost everything in modern nutrition research suggests that your whole diet—which should be a varied one, containing lots of plants, with moderate amounts of total fat and salt—is the thing to focus on. Dark chocolate, edamame, and green tea do not a whole diet make.

I don’t follow food trends. I didn’t jump on the pomegranate or acai berry bandwagon and I won’t jump on any in the future. Usually, these products are overpriced and their health benefits, while real, are very comparable to benefits from other, more common (and cheaper) produce.

After reading In Defense of Food, I stopped giving certain vegetables the cold shoulder and adopted the opinion that if it grows on a plant or in the ground, it’s good for me. Vegetables like corn and russet potatoes have gotten a bad rap from the health nuts over the years because they supposedly don’t have much “nutritional value.” The truth is, corn is high in fiber and potassium and russet potatoes have fiber and protein. (Take that sweet potatoes!) Moreover, Michael Pollan makes the argument that we don’t know how different vitamins and minerals in natural foods work together. A less-processed, more-natural diet is always better. Choose the corn over vitamin-fortified, protein-injected health food.

2. I hardly ever get sick.

When I was in high school, I got sick all.the.time. Even through most of college, I got sick quite often. When I got married, learned/had a reason to cook and started eating things besides cereal and sandwiches, I started eating a lot more fruit and vegetables. I am now a believer that an apple a day keeps the doctor away: since moving out to Colorado on Labor Day weekend of 2007, I have only been sick twice. Once I had a cold and the other time, I contracted H1N1 (eeee…). I think that’s a pretty good track record.

If I start getting the feeling in my throat like I’m on the verge of getting a cold, I dial up the amount of fruit and vegetables I’m eating and try to get more sleep. I like to think I have staved off many a cold with this strategy.

3. I maintain my weight easily and happily.

I am not a carb-deprived, pill-popping, drooling-over-donuts-in-the-shop-window, I-can’t-eat-that-because-I’m-on-a-diet monster. I eat food. I love food. Even donuts. Especially donuts.

But there’s a balance. If you want to discover what that balance is, read Intuitive Eating. I cannot praise this book highly enough. It changed my eating life (it didn’t change my whole life — Jesus did that). Starting in high school, I had a friend who did not have a healthy relationship with food and it rubbed off on me. I used food as comfort, a reward, and an activity to do when I was bored. Over time, it morphed into the enemy that constantly whispered to me about how much I wanted it but couldn’t have it. I religiously watched what I ate, tracked every calorie, but then frequently overate, to the point where I was so full that all I wanted to do after eating was lie down.

Finally, I got sick and tired of counting calories and obsessing over everything I put in my mouth. I was sick of having food control me. I was sick of having no willpower. So I read Intuitive Eating for the second time in the fall of 2009 and actually did what it said. I let myself eat donuts, Twizzlers, ice cream, wine, and white bread (gasp!) when I wanted them, making sure to only eat when I was hungry and to stop when I was full.

At first, it was a little scary. What if I gain weight? But over time, I learned to eat what I wanted and to make sure I really wanted what I was eating. If something didn’t hit the spot, I didn’t eat it. If something had looked better than it tasted, I didn’t eat it. If I was comfortably full, I didn’t go for dessert anyway. I knew it I would enjoy it more if I wasn’t trying to squeeze it in between my spleen and liver.

It worked. The first time I really noticed a change in my relationship to food was Thanksgiving of 2009. My parents were out in Colorado visiting and my mom and I had cooked up an entire Thanksgiving feast for the 4 of us with all of my favorites: stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, dinner rolls, jello salads. I ate until I was comfortably full and then did the unfathomable: decided to not eat pumpkin pie afterward. I knew that if I did, it would push me over the edge to being uncomfortably full. And I hate that feeling.

I felt like I was in a twilight zone as I decided to just have a cup of coffee. I had energy to do dishes and move around after the Thanksgiving meal. You mean I don’t have to feel like I’m exploding? It was revolutionary for me.

Fast forward 2 ½ years, I hardly ever feel uncomfortably full anymore. I still do slip up once in a while when there’s a particularly tempting meal or treat, but more often than not, I stop at a good point because I know that food won’t make me happy, even though according to David Kessler, my body’s wiring tells me it will.

4. I still eat donuts, ice cream and French fries — occasionally.

I couldn’t survive without them! I think this is the #1 biggest mistake people make on diets: they don’t let themselves eat anything that is considered “bad.” (This is one of main tenets of Intuitive Eating: there are no “good” or “bad” foods. There are no food police.) The #2 biggest mistake people make is not eating enough food when they’re trying to “eat healthy.” Eating healthy does not mean eating perfectly 100% of the time and it doesn’t mean always being hungry.

But that’s not to say I don’t exercise any self-restraint or discretion. Generally speaking, when I have a craving for empty-calorie deliciousness, I don’t go out right away and indulge. I let it simmer for a few days. Usually, I have an opportunity later on to go out for ice cream with my girlfriends or for a donut with Travis. Turn your splurges into social outings. With this approach, I splurge 2-4 times a month (and by splurge, I mean eat something that has low nutritional value and high calorie/fat content).

If I’m in need of a snack at 3:30 pm on a slow-moving Thursday afternoon, and the vending machine is my only option, I pick the healthiest thing I can enjoy eating. (Lucky for me, the vending machine here has Stacy’s Simply Naked Pita Chips. Score!) Picking the healthiest thing, even though you don’t like it or it’s not really what you want, isn’t a good idea because it won’t leave you satisfied and you’ll want to eat something else (yet another idea from Intuitive Eating). If you’re thinking, Well heck, the only thing I’d enjoy eating is a candy bar, then get one. Just make sure it either has nuts in it (which will make it more filling) or it’s low in calories (so it won’t destroy your daily balance).

Eating healthy doesn’t require perfection. You don’t have to set up monstrous goals that require an all-or-nothing commitment. It’s a consistent effort to make smart choices. It’s maintaining a balance (get a shake or fries, not both). Often times, it’s choosing the lesser of two not-so-great options (they are not “evils”). In order to eat healthy for life, you need to be able to adapt and react to the different situations life throws at you. You can’t throw in the towel if you happen to eat 10 cookies in one sitting. Brush off the crumbs and make a better decision now.

 5. I still get to eat good food.

I honestly enjoy eating healthy. I love the foods I eat and I love the way I feel when I’m healthy. I love fruits and vegetables. I admit that it’s very convenient that I’m not a picky eater (except when it comes to meat) and that it would be harder for a picky eater to eat healthy. But it’s not impossible.

One thing I’ve done to broaden my horizon is to intentionally try new foods. I’ve discovered some things that I really like (eggplant, edamame, wheat berry, butternut squash, sage, couscous, pistachios) and other things that I don’t like (kale, brussel sprouts, mango, quinoa, shallots). Experiment. Try new foods and new ways of preparing familiar foods. Puree cauliflower and carrots and add them to soups, muffins, and pasta dishes. My general rule of thumb is to eat some fruit or vegetable at every meal and for at least two snacks a day.

All this is to say, people make healthy eating a lot harder than it has to be. If you’re currently not making the best food choices, don’t do a major overhaul. Start small, perhaps with cutting down on or eliminating the amount of liquid you’re drinking each day that isn’t water. Eat an apple with an ounce of cheese for a snack instead of a bag of chips. Learn what portion sizes look like. Find out the nutrition information for your “usual” and make a better choice. Bottom line is, figure out what works for you.

But don’t come to me complaining about how hard it is to eat healthy. Diets are hard. Restrictive eating guidelines are hard. Eating healthy is different. It may take a while to get the hang of it, but once you do, it’s the new normal. I will admit it takes consistent effort, but so does going to doctor’s appointments for diabetes and cholesterol meds. I’m just sayin’…

Do you find it hard to eat healthy? What food is your weakness?  Mine is carbs – I love me some cereal, bread and crackers.

Weekly Recap: 7/11 – 7/17

18 Jul

I had an awesome birthday weekend. I left work early on Friday to go get a pedicure. The owner of Arvada Nail Shoppe stayed late just to squeeze me in and it was seriously the best pedicure I’ve ever had. She was so attentive and friendly and didn’t cut corners on anything. That pedicure made my day. After that, we went out to eat at Rock Bottom Brewery, then bowling, then finished off with some ice cream from Coldstone (I got the Birthday Cake Remix with yellow cake added in. SO delicious but also SO rich).

Saturday, Travis and I drove up to Frisco and biked to Breckenridge and back. I’ll post pictures and more details later but the ride was mostly flat and very enjoyable, minus the hoards of people. We biked the 20 miles in 1 hour 22 minutes (including stops for photo ops). Then we went to a friend’s barbeque for a couple of hours, and then to the Rockies game (game 3 of 4 against the Brewers). It was the most intense baseball game I’ve ever been to. The umpire made a bad call (Travis watched the replay later which proved it) and the Rockies catcher and manager argued with the call so much that the ump ejected them. The manager even kicked dirt on home plate, which I understand is like spitting in his face. I thought it was hilarious because the manager had such pronounced body language that it looked like he was Charlie Chaplin in a silent movie. And of course, all of the Rockies fans booed the ump for the rest of the game. This was also pretty much the first Rockies game I’ve ever seen the end of. Usually we leave in the 7th inning stretch.

Sunday, we went to Panera, church and then out to eat at a Mexican restaurant called Tacos Junior with some friends. I had a Gringa Torta that was ham and some other kind of meat like pepperoni with cheese, pineapple, and avocado. It was pretty good. After some housekeeping (laundry, vacuuming up the massive clumps of dog hair), I took a 2-hour nap. Travis and I took the dogs to the dog park since they had been cooped up all day Saturday during our festivities and we visited our friends D and Doug on our way home. All in all, it was an awesome weekend.

On to the training recap…

Monday: BRICK: 10 mile bike in 37:37, 2 mile run in 17:49, upper body weights + abs

I did this brick with Travis at the Rec, since this was the Week of Rain in Denver. I totally rocked the run, doing the first mile in 9:00 and the second mile in 8:50. That is my first sub-9:00 mile since 2009. It is quite possibly the third sub-9:00 mile I’ve done ever. I was pretty pumped. I’ve noticed that I run faster after a bike ride. Maybe that should be my new racing strategy…

Tuesday: 1500 yd swim, 1.97 mile run in 22:00

I went swimming at night and to my chagrin, the swim team was there and only two lanes were open for lap swimming. Ugh. I had to circle swim with several other people for about 3/4 of my workout. So while I swam harder than I would have normally, I didn’t have the mind to keep track of my pace like usual. So who knows if that extra effort translated into any extra speed. I did the 2 mile run with the pooches, who annoyed me as always.

Wednesday: 20 mile bike in 1:18:47

I did the first 12 miles of this ride on the trainer, doing a pyramid interval (.5 mile at easy pace, .5 mile at increasingly harder pace until halfway then working back down). The last 8 miles I did on the road with Travis. We had to adjust our ride due to the massive puddles from the exorbitant amount of rain we’ve gotten in the past week but I got the miles in (rainy weather be damned!) and that’s all that matters.

Thursday: 2000 yd swim, lower body weights

In an effort to do more breaststroke, I did 4 x 100, 200 drills, 2 x 600 (1 fs, 1 bs), 2 x 100. 600 times were 17:15 (fs) and 15:?? (bs). For LBW, I did 2 x 10 reverse lunges, 2 x 10 one-legged squats, 2 x 15 calf raises, 2 x 10 front leg pulls, inner/outer thigh pulls with resistance band. I tried to not overdo it like last week (which I succeeded at because I wasn’t sore the next day).

Friday: 4 mile run in 46:05, foam roller

My legs were noticeably tired from the very outset of this run. (Reason #1 why I’m super excited to get these compression pants for my birthday. They should be coming soon!) I did the first 1.5 miles with the pooches and the last 2.5 by myself. It’s amazing how much work it is to run with the dogs.

Saturday: 20 mile bike in 1:22

This was our bike ride from Frisco to Breckenridge and back. The elevation gain is only 646 feet, so while we could tell that we were going uphill on the way out (averaging 13 mph – my legs were still tired) and downhill on the way back (averaging 20 mph), there was only 1 bad hill that left me panting. This ride also encouraged me that biking shouldn’t be that bad at 7,000 ft, since this ride was at 9,100-9,500 ft. Next ride to tackle: Frisco to Vail Pass. Significantly harder.

Sunday: Rest day

Yesterday, I figured my time would be better spent resting than forcing myself to do a 6 mile run on tired legs. I figured the same thing this morning. 🙂 But I’m going to do something tonight – depends on my schedule and the weather but it’ll either be the 6 mile run I forewent this morning or a 20 mile bike ride.

Weekly Totals:

Swim: 3500 yds

Bike: 50 miles (Yay!)

Run: 7.97 miles

I feel pretty good about my workouts this week. I got way more biking miles in, did my strength training workouts, and some solid runs. The weekly summary on my heart rate monitor said I had spent 7 hours and 22 minutes working out, burning 2600 calories (though I’m pretty sure it was more because the battery on my sensor needs to be replaced). That’s a lot of working out!

We leave for our week-long vacation to Minnesota this Friday afternoon and I’ve been trying to brainstorm how to get some workouts in while we’re gone. Swimming and running shouldn’t be a problem, since we’ll be on the lake and country roads a lot. Travis’ hometown, Nevis, also has a really nice bike trail but we’re wondering if it’s worth it bring our bikes 1,000 miles one way for 1 or 2 rides. What do you think – is it worth bringing our bikes to MN? Or should we just concentrate on swimming and running for the week?

Song of Myself

15 Jul

In honor of my being alive for 28 years today, here are 28 things you may not know about me:

  1. I don’t eat meat off the bone.
  2. I can’t spit.
  3. I hate scary movies. Hate.
  4. My middle name is Ruth, after my mom’s mom.
  5. I was born with lots of dark brown hair that stuck straight up.
  6. My hair changed into bleach blonde by the time I was one.
  7. I couldn’t swallow a pill until high school.
  8. I love my family – immediate, extended and inherited through marriage.
  9. I knew I wanted to marry Travis after dating him for 3 months. His smile made me melt.

  1. I don’t like sweating when I don’t want to be sweaty.
  2. I get cranky in hot weather.
  3. My body temperature can go from cold to overheating in less than 30 seconds.
  4. My favorite bagel is chocolate chip from Panera.
  5. I like doing special things on my birthday.
  6. I hate bugs of all kinds. Hate.
  7. I’m deathly scared of spiders (what female isn’t?).
  8. I love (recreationally) swimming in lakes as long as I don’t touch any seaweed.

  1. I hated running in high school.
  2. I got my snowmobile license when I was about 13.
  3. I mowed our lawn growing up on a riding lawn mower called the Yazoo.
  4. My first kiss was under a table in kindergarten.
  5. I first kissed Travis sitting on the floor of my college bedroom. He first kissed me a month later on the bluffs in Red Wing. J
  6. I have never attempted a back flip on a trampoline, though I love doing front flips.
  7. I love swinging and spinning.
  8. I hate roller coasters. Hate.
  9. Working on my birthday makes me feel grown up (in a very boring way).
  10. 2009 was the first year I worked on my birthday.
  11. My favorite cake is either fruit pizza (it’s kind of a cake, right?) or éclair cake.

Keeping an Eternal Perspective: Death

14 Jul

{This is the third installment of this weekly series.}

A good friend of ours from church recently found out that there’s a mass in his lungs the size of a softball. He got a biopsy on Tuesday and will most likely get the results tomorrow. He has had a very God-centered, realistic perspective on the whole situation — acknowledging that he might not have much longer to live or be entering into a season filled with surgery, chemo, and unpleasant side effects. He’s currently coughing a lot, which is taking its toll as well.

Our friend’s reaction to this situation made me think of what the apostle Paul said in Philippians 1:21, 23 — “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain…my desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.” Paul was ready to go home. He would choose dying over life, because it meant being with Christ. “We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord…we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”

If Jesus returned this very minute, would I be overjoyed and ready? Or would I say, “Well, this isn’t really a good time. You see, I’ve got my first Olympic triathlon coming up in about a month. And I still haven’t seen Greece or Italy, had a book published about how I became a Christian, or had kids. So can you come back in 10 years or so? I’ll be ready then.”

I have to admit, there are times when I think that if Jesus came back today, I’d be slightly disappointed that I had to miss out on all those things I’m currently looking forward to experiencing. But that’s me being a child making mud pies in the slum, turning down the offer of a holiday at the beach. It’s so easy to turn good things into ultimate things. C.S. Lewis, in his book The Great Divorce, illustrates this with people who are in hell, still maintaining their death grip on what they valued in their earthly lives. And that’s exactly why they’re in hell. Even some of the people who make the journey to heaven turn back because they can’t let go of their earthly treasures.

I think Paul sums up what our approach to these good earthly experiences should be in Colossians 2:17 — “These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.” Think of what your shadow looks like when you’re standing outside in the sun. Distorted. Hard to make out. You can kind of tell what it is.

That’s what these earthly things are: shadows.

Family, achievements, goals, new experiences, beautiful places — all of these are dark blobs of the reality. In light of how enjoyable and amazing these earthly things are, that’s saying a lot about the reality! What is the reality? The gospel — that God has acted through His own Son, Jesus Christ, to reconcile a fallen race to Himself, in order that He might live in fellowship with and enjoy us for eternity. That is the reality that He is revealing through this experience and place we call Earth. This is not the final product. This is temporary. This will fall away.

Are we longing for that day? Or are we busying ourselves with “good things” that cause us to lose our edge, soften our convictions and compromise our character? Are we Christian warriors, constantly sharpen our weapons for the day of battle and being constantly vigilant for the return of our King? Or are we so busy with our projects, goals, daily lives, and routines that our weapons and armor are gathering dust and getting rusty?

I’ve heard it said that the Christian life isn’t about choosing between good and bad; it’s about choosing between good and almost good. Satan is sneaky (if you haven’t read The Screwtape Letters by My Favorite Author Ever — can you tell? — you totally should) and will use anything he can to deceive us and to foil our relationship with God. Even innocent things, things that God Himself created.

“Never forget that when we are dealing with any pleasure in its healthy and natural and satisfying form, we are, in a sense, on the Enemy’s ground. I know we have won many a soul through pleasure. All the same, it is His invention, not ours. He made the pleasures: all our research so far has not enabled us to produce one. All we can do is to encourage the humans to take the pleasures which our Enemy has produced, at times, or in ways, or in degrees, which He has forbidden. Hence we are always trying to work away from the natural condition of any pleasure to that in which it is least natural, least redolent of its Maker, and least pleasurable. An ever increasing craving for an ever diminishing pleasure is the formula. It’s more certain; and it’s better style. To get the man’s soul and give him nothing in return — that is what really gladdens Our Father’s heart.” (The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis)

If you want to read more about the idea of good things vs. ultimate things, I recommend reading Counterfeit Gods by Timothy Keller. It’s a very good book.