Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Inspiration: the Simple Act of Showing Up

I spent much of last week feeling dejected, disheartened, disillusioned, and distraught.  I went to work and home again feeling lost and confused.  I was withdrawn and pretty much wanted to stay that way for a while.  I had a 261 Fearless Meet Run scheduled for Saturday and made no attempt to promote it or encourage anyone to attend. 

On Friday, still feeling like I wanted to hide in my Hobbit-Hole forever, I had these thoughts:

I don’t want to run tomorrow.
I don’t have it in me to lead a group of women.
I can’t PRETEND to feel inspired.
I hope no one is coming.  Then I can just take a walk by myself.
I wish we had another coach who could step in.

Yes, THOSE thoughts.

I checked our Facebook Events page (shameless plug) and found that, even without any promotion whatsoever, four women said they were coming.  four more were keeping it on their calendars by saying they were “interested.” 

This is a pretty good response rate for our little start-up club.  Normally, I’d be elated by this news.

I was not.

I really wanted to Hobbit-Hole all weekend.  I resigned myself to “leading” a run in the morning and went on with my Friday.

Saturday morning, I tried to muster some excitement.  Some weeks I have a theme that I build our workouts around, and I decided this week we would frame our meet run with Unity.  Without making it about politics, I built a workout around being Better Together, coming together as strong women and remembering that the mission of our Club is to bring women together to Hold Each Other Up.  I came up with team drills, some exercises we can do simultaneously, even a couple where we lock arms and literally hold each other together to be more in sync.

I have to thank those women who joined me this past Saturday.  You made me Better by being there for me.  Just by Showing Up. I didn't have to PRETEND to be inspired.  You Inspired Me.

261 Fearless is NOT a political organization.  But the Personal and the Political are inextricable sometimes and for THIS 261 Fearless Club Leader and Coach, this week was politically charged and you, ladies, helped me find a path out of the muck I was stuck in and into the light. 

My reasons for wanting to Hobbit-Hole remain.  I remain scared for the future of our community and our country.  I remain resolved to do whatever I can as an individual to fight Racism, Misogyny, Xenophobia and Homophobia in my community.  But you lifted my spirits.  

You helped me remember that these fights are not fought alone.  

We fight TOGETHER.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Today Wasn't The Day. Is Tomorrow The Day?

I've talked before about how I think in the long run, I'd like to become someone who works out in the morning.  There are so many advantages, and really few obstacles, but the obstacles are tough ones for me.  That's why "Hit the gym in the MORNING before work" made No. 13 on the list.  Keeping the bar low and doing What I Can When I Can, I aim for just one time.  Then maybe I can try once a month or once a week.  And we'll see how it goes.

A morning workout in Des Moines with the 261 Fearless leaders!
In an attempt to conquer this goal, I set my alarm earlier than usual this morning.  The idea was to get to the gym, do SOMETHING for half an hour - maybe use the rowing machine, maybe some strength training - there's a strength routine in my car, in sheet protectors even, along with a pen to record what I actually do, weights/reps.  So I had options.  Not A Plan, but Options.

I had workout clothes laid out as well as work clothes, so that once I got moving I could get dressed quickly and spare myself the torture of trying to pull together an outfit in a rush once I'd returned from the gym and gotten cleaned up.   (I mean, really, let's just assume I'll be running late and plan for it, right?)

And I started the "going to bed" routine at 9:55pm - SUPER early.  By the time all the before-bed crap got done (including laying out all those clothes and determining what I would bring for lunch today), it was 10:30pm, which is still doing pretty good in my book.  And CRAZY early according to The Hubs.

The real trick is remembering the plan, once the alarm goes off.  My sleepy-brain really doesn't grasp the concept of getting out of bed. On auto-pilot, I hit the Snooze button.  And when it went off again, I vaguely grasped why it was going off so early.  Auto-pilot won out again, however, and I screwed around with my phone for about 10 minutes more.  Then I REALLY remembered, "I WANT to go to the gym!  Work is CRAZY!  I work LATE this time of year and then I don't work OUT after!  This is something I WANT to DO!"  And I hopped out of bed.

By this time, it was really too late to make the gym happen.  But I didn't let that stop me.  I put those workout clothes on and took the dogs out for a surprise morning walk.  20 minutes of light exercise is still better than 25 minutes of more sleep, on a day when I've gotten plenty of sleep.

So, failure on completing number 13 this morning.  But a WIN just the same.  Perhaps I'll use those extra morning steps to tackle No. 2 - a BIG and for me quite challenging goal of 10,000 steps on a workday.  And perhaps tomorrow will be the day for successfully hitting the gym before work.  One day, one challenge at a time.  Today wasn't the day.

In an effort to make the next effort a success, let's break this down, shall we?  I gotta figure out how to:
  1. Get to bed earlier so I'm not just sacrificing sleep for a workout.  ("easy" fix = go to bed earlier [harder than it sounds, of course.])
  2. Get out of bed when the damn alarm goes off instead of hitting Snooze eleventy times. (I'm open to suggestions on the "easy" fix for this one.  This is a lifelong habit I've never successfully circumvented.  I'm convinced the key is remembering why the alarm is going off [and that it's important to me and not just work].)
  3. Get out of the house more quickly once 1) and 2) are accomplished.  Seems there's always something between me and the door - dogs need to pee, I can't find a sock, I stub my toe in the dark, something.
  4. Get in and out of the gym quickly.  When I workout in the evenings, it's all part of my wind-down after work, so I'm pretty leisurely about changing my clothes in the locker room, meandering to the treadmill, reading through my workout plan and methodically going from weight bench to cables to whatever.  A morning workout needs to be much more efficient.  (And I wonder, more effective?)
  5. Still get to work (Basically) on time.  (No more late than usual.)
I'll keep working at it.  Right now, because it's on THE LIST.  I hope, later, because it's What I Do.  It's enough to be working on it because I've issued myself a challenge and I intend to meet it.  I'll find a way to make it work this week, and then challenge myself to do it again.  Today wasn't the day. 


Monday, August 22, 2016

Inspired by #TheGoal30

Well I have two unfinished blog posts that I'm having trouble writing, but I just read about #TheGoal30 "challenge" and I'm feeling inspired.  The challenge, in a nutshell, is to create 30 small achievable goals and, in whatever order works for you, go about achieving them in the next month. Things you WANT to do, but have NOT been doing.  That's it. Reading through other people's lists was quite inspiring and I ended up making one of my own.  I have already decided there's no 30-day deadline on this for me.  (#wycwyc)

Here, in no particular order, are my mini-goals:
  1. Bring lunch to work (AND EAT IT) every day for a week.
  2. Log > 10,000 steps ON A WEEKDAY.
  3. Go to a group fitness class.
  4. Go for a solo bike ride (The Hubs doesn't really want to go anyway and that's OK).
  5. Log all meals for a day.  CONSCIOUSLY.  MINDFULLY.
  6. Finish one day with total carbs intake within goal.  
  7. Make a green smoothie.
  8. Go one full week without fast-food breakfast.  (yes, this is a thing.)
  9. Blog about the 261 Fearless Coach training / Club leader retreat - it was AMAZING and so worth sharing!
  10. Hang things to replace the holes mom left on the living room and hallway walls.
  11. Use those dumbbells while watching TV.
  12. Make a healthy choice while eating out.
  13. Hit the gym in the MORNING before work.
  14. Write letters to each of the kids (nieces / nephews).
  15. Get out of bed without hitting SNOOZE.
  16. Drink 8 cups of H2O at work.
  17. Use those little sword-thingys and floss on the drive home from work.
  18. Meet the Garmin step goal 3 days IN A ROW.
  19. Write thank you notes to dog-sitters.
  20. Use the Zombies, Run! app that you downloaded 2 months ago.  It seems like fun.
  21. Meal prep something on Sunday to use during the week (and then USE IT).
  22. Schedule a walk date.
  23. Finish the blog post about Esprit de SHE.  It was fantastic!  I am a Triathlete!
  24. Use the rowing machine at the gym.  Row a 5k?  I do not know if this is a lofty goal.
  25. Shut down phones at 8pm one evening.  (this I DO know: it IS a lofty goal.)
  26. Call my brother.
  27. Hit the gym in the morning on a weekend.
  28. Go rock climbing!
  29. Take the dogs to the dog park.  Little Dude needs socialization before he starts getting weird.
  30. Log > 15,000 steps in a day.
  31. Revamp my Workout playlist.
  32. Meet the Garmin step goal 4 days in one week.
  33. Make that "Singalong Song" playlist you've been thinking about.
  34. Spend 10 minutes training Little Dude.
  35. Call my other brother.
  36. Try a new, carb-conscious recipe.
  37. Write a "random act of kindness" thank you note - to someone who made me feel special for ANY reason.
  38. "Close the Kitchen" on a weeknight (dishes done, everything away, counters clean, coffee ready for the morning).
  39. Hit the gym for a strength training workout twice in the same week.
  40. Read for 10 minutes before bed.
  41. Play Mario on the Wii for a whole hour and just enjoy it.
  42. Get a manicure.
  43. Do physical therapy exercises for my neck and hips.
  44. Feeling FRUSTRATED? Take a walk!
Yes, that's right, I was OVER-inspired and ended up with a list of over 40 mini-goals for the #TheGoal30 "Challenge".  (Are you really surprised??)  Again, I'm not holding myself to the 30 days limit. 

This is not the first time I've tackled that phone thing.
I won't promise to update the list here, but I will try to.  Updates more likely to be found on Instagram and / or Facebook and / or Twitter.  Let me know there, how your own challenge is going!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Carla Continues to Inspire Blog Posts

I just read this great post from Carla and had to respond.  (Am I the Chris Hardwick of #wycwyc blogs?  Join us next week for Talking WickWick..."

Initially, I wanted to "introduce" a few of my favorite people.  I commented:

I have often introduced my BFF as "This is Rob Lo (no not THAT Rob Lowe, it's spelled differently).  We've known each other since  the 6th grade and he knows where ALL the bodies are buried.  He helped me bury some of them so don't let him hear you've crossed me because he's always got my back."  It's a joke, goes over great at cocktail parties.  But to borrow a phrase, it's more Truth Said In Jest. 
My friend Jill is simply The Best Person That I Know. 
Any my friend Heather: "she used to be my husband's best friend, but I borrowed her and never gave her back.  She is The Calm in ANY Sea of Chaos."

Then I began to think of how I introduce myself.  I was asked recently to write "a short bio" of myself for the #261Fearless Train the Trainer conference (coming up THIS WEEKEND!).  This was laughable - if you ever read this blog, you know I don't really DO "short" in my writing.  In person I can manage it, but hand me a blank page and tell me to write something, I'm going to go all Super Accountant and use precision language where possible and elaborate to provide as much clarity as I can to eliminate possibility of misunderstanding.

Here is the "short bio" I ended up with:

First off, the name:  It’s “Kinnear” – we take credit for ALL the consonants in this family. 
Here’s what you REALLY need to know about me:
I am an accountant, controller, former CPA, wife, step-mom, birth-mom, rescue-mom, enthusiastic volunteer, feminist, runner, walker, (swimmer? biker? triathlon-er?) blogger, #wycwyc-er (pronounced “wick-wicker”), baker and generally an awful cook.  
My Philosophy: I believe in the Power of Positive Peer Pressure.  I believe that once I identify something as a FEAR of mine, I am required to challenge it.  That’s how I ended up running 4 half-marathons in a year, and how I ended up registered for my first triathlon this year.  My application to become a #261Fearless Ambassador got me thinking and brought me to writing a Fitness Manifesto of sorts:  “It’s YOUR Life.  Live it.  Run it.” 
As for running:My dogs are the best possible training buddies, but the grrrlz in my running club are a close second.  I have been running, racing, and walking for fun and exercise since about 2008.  I am not fast but I am ENTHUSIASTIC!  Until this year, I generally participated in at least one race each month, mostly 5ks but some 4-5 mile distances and some 10ks.  In 2013/2014, I ran 4 half-marathons in 13 months, still my longest-ever run.  This year, I signed up for my first triathlon (and by the time we get to our training, I should have finished it), and reduced my racing schedule to accommodate more well-rounded training. 
Also:  I am over-the-moon excited to be part of the #261Fearless family and starting a club in our area!
(And I don’t know what “short” means when you ask for a “short bio”.  So I’m going to stop writing now, and you can use all or some of this, whatever parts you need!)

I guess that really covers what is important to me, what I'm passionate about, and what I want others to care about, about me.

And YES, I DID complete that triathlon last weekend!  Special Preview of my next post:
I'm somewhere in there in a green swim cap.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Just a Little Ditty

Another long absence.  Things brewing that I don't feel comfortable blogging about.  BUT!

The Hubs gave me a shot of inspiration today and I want to share it. 

He was up early for no reason, and decided to take the dogs for a walk – this is unheard of! I'm the exercise fanatic around here who's likely to go for a walk just because I'm bored or because I've decided to start streaking... and he's the one who... accepts this about me, and sometimes comes along for the ride.  

This bit of action woke me enough to realize I wasn’t going back to sleep, and I immediately remembered the dishes that I’d meant to do last night. We’ve both been fighting a cold this week and last night I wanted to do the dishes but didn't feel motivated and basically I used The Cold as an excuse not to clean that sh!t up. So at 5:45am, I plodded into the kitchen and got it done. Took like 30 minutes, and I was just finished when The Hubs came back with Coty and Ziggy.  

Dogs walked, dishes done, and I was still on time to work? MORE, PLEASE…

Oh, and I guess this happened during my recent hiatus:

We adopted this amazing little trouble-maker in late March.  

After seeing this video, I couldn't help myself.  He was already our dog, he just didn't know it yet.  

He's adorably lopsided in every way, nothing symmetrical about him at all.  And we named him after the late, great David Bowie... With all that all-natural eye makeup, how could we NOT name him Ziggy Stardust?

Monday, March 21, 2016

The Story of Me, The Little Folksinger, and a Boy Called Patrick

This month, the folks at #261Fearless asked the Ambassadors to write, blog, and post about the women who inspire us, in honor of Women's History Month.  I am inspired by so many women in my life - bloggers I love, my grandmother's bottomless well of kindness, my mother's inventive problem-solving, my girlfriends' amazing athletic and child-rearing feats. Then there are the women I have learned about - scientists, biblical characters, writers, teachers, athletes, activists, entrepreneurs and even celebrity evangelists!

As I thought about this assignment, I kept coming back to something I wrote on my personal Facebook page years ago.  It shares a bit of my own personal history as well as my connection to an artist who has been influencing and inspiring me since I was really still a teenager.  

What I've written here is, I suppose, a lot more about me than about her.  But she has shaped my life, helped me become who I am.  Her writing continues to help me see the world through a wider lens, one with a sharp focus on equity, MAtriarchy, and empathy.  I love that I have an opportunity to share this connection publicly.  And perhaps some day I'll have an opportunity to thank her personally.

I wrote this post in June 2011.  I've added some links and changed a few names, but left it otherwise unedited.

My recent trip to Buffalo, NY for work allowed me a long-awaited opportunity to visit the headquarters of Righteous Babe Records, the historic building known simply as “The Church” which Ani DiFranco and the RBRrrmy have renovated into business offices, merchandising space, an art gallery and performance venues.  I was graciously offered a tour of the whole facility and the opportunity to thank a couple of the women who work to support an organization that has had a profound influence on my life and my little world.  The trip provided a moment of closure, a long-delayed end to a complicated chapter of my life that started almost 18 years ago.  I wanted to write something to mark the occasion; to say goodbye and let it… go.

The first time I heard Ani’s voice, it was her poem “My I.Q.” on the Puddle Dive album (http://www.righteousbabe.com/ani/puddledive/l_myiq.asp).  It was Fall of 1993.  Nearly 20 years later, I can recite that poem verbatim, right now.  I won’t repeat it here. Too many of you have been forced to listen to it in the wee hours of the morning or in the ladies’ room at weddings or in my car, or… well, you get the idea.  The poem struck a chord in me and woke me up in a way that made me wonder if I had ever really been awake, and certain I had been asleep far too long.  Three minutes later, I heard “Blood in the Boardroom” from the same album (listen at http://www.righteousbabe.com/ani/puddledive/index.asp).  I’d never heard anything before that could be described as both “feminist” and “whimsical” at the same time – it was like being struck by lightning!  In a word, I was hooked.

It was about two months later I learned I was pregnant.  When my son Patrick was born and placed with his new family in the summer of 1994, the grief I experienced was infinitely more profound than I expected.  I was utterly unprepared and I didn’t have the tools to deal with it. 

I credit MANY things and people in my life for helping me learn to live with my decision.  The Hubs and The Brother-In-Law caught the lion’s share of the burden.  They taught me it was OK to laugh and have fun, even when I was feeling sad or angry.  They gave me permission to have joy in my life.  They provided me a “free space” where I could be as bat-shit crazy as was necessary.  They made me feel safe.  Always.  The Hubs's Best Friend, too, put up with my need for a free space – for a while (and he was right to suggest a limit to it).  I owe these men a debt I cannot repay.

I was battling the urge to self-destruct, learning to cope, fighting my way back to myself and this process took years.  During this time I learned this:  the knowledge you made the right choice, that you did the best you could under the circumstances, is not the same as having peace with that choice.  It was sometimes cold comfort in the face of the consequences of my decision.  I believe some wounds never heal.  But with the right help, you might get them to scab over and maybe even stop the itch. 

In the midst of this turmoil, I had my family – including my amazing mom whom I cannot begin to discuss here – my friends, my ambition, my own naked determination to move forward… and when none of these were enough and I felt myself beginning to drown in my own sorrow, I had Ani’s music.  Her records were a life ring in a sea of grief.  They provided a focal point outside myself and I grasped hold of that circle of hope and it allowed me to rest, check out of my life for a while, return to fight when my strength was restored.

In the past 17 years, my relationship with all those who were there for me during that difficult time has deepened and solidified.  Ani, being only a few years older than me, has matured and continued to write songs that closely correlate with my own experiences, opinions and politics.  I believe my perspective has been shaped by her music as much as by anything else in these years.

My son turns 17 years old today.  By all accounts he is healthy, smart, and well-rounded.  He was raised in the same community his whole life.  He has friends he’s known all his life.  His parents were able to provide opportunities and a level of stability I could only dream about in 1994. 

I am reminded again today that I made a decision I can be proud of.

Monday, March 7, 2016

A Weekend Full of Firsts

I got to see three Firsts this weekend. I met a Woman Saturday before the  Miller Park Zoo Stampede 5K. We chatted over cold-weather running gear and #RunnerDog, and I learned she was running her very first race. She had been training for months, working woth a personal trainer to adapt a Couch To 5K program and strength training schedule. She was excited and nervous and so happy to be completing this First of many.
Pre-Race on Saturday

Sunday night at the pool, a woman taking her first strokes after a long hiatus from her sport. I talked with her just as she began. She seemed excited and nervous too. When I saw her afterword, she blurted out, "I didn't last very long." I couldn't help but stick around long enough to tell her, "Don't be down on yourself! You lasted as long as you needed to for your first day back. You just did something AMAZING and I hope that you are celebrating."

And this morning at 5 AM, your CPAGrrrl was up before dawn so that she could work out before a long work day. I found out yesterday that one of my staff (for lack of a better term) went into laborover the weekend, a month before her planned maternity leave. Everyone is fine, the baby's beautiful, but it occurs to me that this may mean a heavier-than-usual workload in the short-term. 

So I did what I do best: I made a plan. 

And here I am at the gym, 33 minutes into my long bike ride for the week, dictating a blog post. It is 6:10 AM. On a Monday, no less. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

One Impulsive Decision

Saturday afternoon I had an errand to run. A small thing I wanted to do to indulge my vanity (because I probably don't do that enough, ha ha).

As I headed out the door, it suddenly occurred to me, "I could ride my bike. The weather is beautiful - it's like a spring freakshow out there it's so nice! And after I do my errand I could ride my bike some more!"

My ride with Raegan the previous weekend inspired me to reconsider my transportation options.  I shouted "WICK-WICK!!" and 11.5 miles later, I couldn't have been happier about it. 

Man, I tell you what, I can NOT wait for spring to arrive! 

But for now, here's a pic of roughly what it looks like in our front yard today:

Pic is from last week, but it's snowing again today.  Coty catching a snowball!

Monday, February 29, 2016

Status Update

Hello everyone!

An update on what's up with your friendly neighborhood CPAGrrrl... 

I'm an accountant.  Other accountants need stuff from ME so they can start THEIR "busy season".  [Not to belabor the point, but I wrote this on Thursday and I'm finally editing, adding pix and links and publishing on Monday.] 'Nuff Said.  

I have been in the habit of doing walk/run intervals for quite some time. I have begun to feel the walking breaks are more of a limitation I place on myself rather than a useful training tool.
One of my personal goals as part of training for my first triathlon, was to "step up my running game" a bit and use fewer breaks, get back to running at least 2-3 mile stretches without a break. Last night I had my longest stretch in quite some time, a 27-minute run!
More proof that my body does what my brain chooses to tell it to do!
[Bad blogger: no smiling post-run selfie!]

It's been going GREAT!  Here's a pic of my training schedule.  Yellow Highlights = completed planned workouts.

I'm into Week 5 of the 20-week plan and feeling great.  My shoulder was a little tweaky this week during my short swim.  I took it REAL easy and I'll see how it feels for my long swim workout this weekend.  If it still feels "off," I'll make an appointment with my PT to figure out what's up, but the swimming feels awesome, I feel so strong in the water! (My form is atrocious and my efficiency is low but I feel terrific.)

When I set my mileage goals for 2016, I had no idea there was a triathlon in my future!  I'm getting WAY more bike miles than I anticipated for the early months of the year (it's still WAY too cold here for outdoor biking), so I'm already anticipating blowing that 225-mile goal right out the water.  I'll need to reassess and revise the total mileage goal and the bike-specific goal.  And the # swims goal.  The plan was for 30 swims!  At this rate i should hit that by the end of April.

We had this ONE amazing day of spring weather last Saturday.  It was over 60 (SIXTY!) degrees, no wind, mind-blowingly awesome outdoor weather.  I had planned to do some laundry, take Coty for a LONG dog-walk and then do my long swim (as per my lovely Training Plan, sticking to that Plan, my friends, the Plan is my lifeline!) But when my awesome friend Raegan called and suggested a bike ride, I threw it all out the window.  I ditched the laundry, gave Coty a Quickie, dug out my bike helmet, and rode to her house.  From there, we went downtown for lunch, rode to the bike shop where I learned out what sort of bike I have (an "upright") and what sort of bike rack I could get if I was so inclined (the Really Expensive Kind), and Raegan gave me some pointers on tri suits, tri shorts, and the whole world of multi-sport gear!   Then we rode to the south end of The Trail, back up to the crossroads and east to the end of the Trail, then back to Raegan's again, where another gear lesson followed and I got to see her IMPRESSIVE bling collection. (We did talk about all sorts of things over the course of our 3-hour adventure, not just tri-stuff...) All in, I got about a 20-mile bike ride for the day AND got to spend some quality time with one of those people I always want to spend more time with.

The nice weather held on Sunday too, and The Hubs and I decided to make a trip to Starved Rock State Park.  I took about a billion pictures but won't bore you with those.  What I love best is that Coty got to join us for this adventure.  "Hiking" is something of a misnomer for what we did here, as the park is mainly accessed via man-made pathways - wooden paths, stairs (SO many stairs!) dominate, but I get why:  where there weren't pathways, it was MUDDY!  We had a blast and got about a 3-mile hike with the dog.  A VERY successful, ACTIVE weekend, I'm so glad I was flexible and chose to ditch my Training Plan for 2 days.  #wycwyc!!

I still have some other blog posts floating around in my head that I hope to get written up in the next week or so.  Things have cooled off at bit around the office so I'm thinking I'll be able to carve out some writing time in-between workouts over the next few weeks.  

I'll leave you with some pics from our day of hiking:


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Deck is Stacked

I swear sometimes the "healthy living" cards are just stacked against you...

I brought ‪#‎healthy‬ leftovers to work last Friday but the boss took us to lunch, so today I came in planning to eat those. Sadly, they'd gone bad. OK, so I tells myself, "SELF: you're still going to eat reasonably well today!"

and I go online (consciously saving myself the pressure of ordering in person, caving and getting a greasy burger or other sandwich) and order a lovely salad to pick up. I resist the urge to mindlessly order a delicious cookie to eat with said salad. I freaking love those cookies. I click "SUBMIT ORDER" and I go to pick up my delicious salad. SANS cookie.

When I get there, I end up having to wait a while despite ordering ahead (and despite the fact the place was virtually empty, no customers ahead of me). No prob, I'm cool as a cucumber. I pay.
Cashier says, "Sorry for your wait. I hope you don't mind; I put a cookie in the bag to make it up to you. Have a great day!"

Monday, January 11, 2016

A New Year Starts with... Dieting with The Hubs

The Hubs determined he'd like to lose some weight in the new year.  Furthermore, he was adamant that he wanted to do this through diet changes alone ("I go up and down stairs all day at work I get plenty of exercise!").  So, although I don't really care for "dieting," I am going on a Diet with him.  Because we support each other.  He puts up with a VERY messy house while I go on long runs while training for half-mary's; the least I can do is join him in a little crash dieting.  Hell, we all know I'd like to lose a few pounds too, and if we don't do a CRASH crash diet, what's the harm?

The Hubs' idea was not SO radical... no "shake for breakfast, shake for lunch, etc," although he did briefly entertain eating nothing but protein bars for breakfast and lunch.  I told him I just couldn't get behind that plan.  Think of the cost, for starters!  (That got him.)

He felt the best approach was to make nothing but CHICKEN BREASTS, RICE, and BROCCOLI for dinner every night for a month.  This basically means nothing but CHICKEN BREASTS, RICE and BROCCOLI for lunch as well, since that's kind of how we roll in our household.  After several days of discussion prior to the New Year, we agreed to be a bit more flexible.  it's CHICKEN BREASTS, RICE (white or brown, dealer's choice), and ALL THE VEGGIES YOU CAN HANDLE, COOKED ANY WAY YOU CAN THINK OF for dinner every night.  And the rice will be MEASURED - one cup per meal, and if you still feel hungry, more protein and veg.

He's eased up on the 30-Days thing.  We're going to follow this routine, I think, until he JUST CAIN'T STAND IT NO MO'.

So Sunday became a Food Prep Day, including preparation of what is a bit of standard for me at this point (but the boys don't exactly go gaga for it) - Roasted Root Vegetables. This batch included onion, turnip, parsnip, carrots, rutabaga, radishes and fresh, already-cut-in-half Brussels sprouts that I found in the Buy This Quick Before It Goes Bad section of my favorite produce department.  (AKA the Rotting Fruit Area) I've been adding these veg to bulk up my lunches and / or serve as a side dish with whatever The Hubs makes all week long.

As you might imagine, this quickly turned into a Creative Cooking Challenge.  We're 4 days in, and I've already decided I need Yummly on my side.  I found a recipe yesterday that I tried out.  CHICKEN BREASTS, White RICE (we are low on brown, not enough to make a meal... #GroceryShoppingFail), a TON of mushrooms, and, in fact, roasted BROCCOLI and cauliflower.  It made a great sauce by basically creating your own home-made version of the condensed mushroom soup you might otherwise use, and I really liked it.  The Hubs didn't love it but it was OK.  The Kid thought it was GREAT.  (Big Mushroom fan, that one.)  I tweaked it based on what I had on hand (added onion and actually steamed, then pureed, a half a Rutabaga and put that in the sauce too) but here is the recipe I used.

I made this!
One day this week I made CHICKEN BREASTS Fajitas, except I added a half a turnip to the fajita vegetables (leftover from Roasted Root Vegetables I'd made on Sunday, didn't want it to go bad... thought maybe no one would notice.) And of course, we served it over RICE, not on a tortilla.

I've been encouraging The Kid to snack healthier, too. Or at least keep the fresh produce from going bad.  With limited success.  

These apples are still here, and if you have any suggestions for what do with them... I'm listening.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Wait, I signed up for WHAT?

So I just registered for a new race.  In the registration process, they asked to get to know me better.  Here is what I wrote (partially copied from my Twitter profile):

I'm Chris. My occasional blog posts can be found at CPAGrrrlStrongerFasterBetter.blogspot.com.  
I run, I eat, I occasionally swim, I struggle with my weight.
I #wycwyc (pronounced "wick-wick!"),
I am a #261FearlessAmbassador and
I #StandwithPP.   
My crazy runner friends talked me into doing my first Triathlon and I'm writing this before starting any training at all, and quite frankly I am scared out of my wits.  So things are just as they should be.   
So there you have it.  I'm registered for my first Triathlon.


How in HELL did this happen?

Oh right, my awesome crazy runner friends provided a TON of Positive Peer Pressure, and after several days of researching and looking up training plans and debating whether my relaxed approach to training could actually get me ready for such a thing, I decided to DIVE IN.

The course is described as:
The Gildan Esprit de She Naperville Triathlon is a sprint distance triathlon in and around Centennial Beach. The swim course takes place in the Centennial Beach Reservoir, guided by lane markers and swim buoys and supervised by a large team of lifeguards. Our “Swim Angels” will also be available as a measure of encouragement and added safety. The bike course is two laps on paved roadways throughout the Naperville area and the run traverses paved roads and paths through Riverwalk Park. 
They add:
Please note: there will be a a two hour cut-off time to complete both the swim and bike portions of the race (from the last wave). In addition, there will be a three hour cut-off time to complete the entire race (from the last wave).
.75-kilometer (.5-mile) swim | 21.4-kilometer (13.3-mile) bike | 5-kilometer (3.1-mile) run

The swim is, of course, the scary part.  I learned how to swim better about 18 months ago, and have been practicing occasionally since, using the indoor pool at my gym.  I was VERY pleased to find that "Centennial Beach" is really a POOL and not a lake environment, since I have a real problem with lakes.  [They kinda gross me out.  They're just like big stagnant pools of water, who wants to swim in that?  Yuck.  This California Grrrl says give me an ocean or a pool, please.] But I digress.  Back to my weak swimming skills.

YAY!  It's a pool!  Image courtesy Google Earth
Swimming a 1/2 mile is scaring the crap out of me.  I can barely swim 2 laps without a break now.  Speed will be of NO concern in this race; only finishing the swim.  A 13-mile bike ride will take me a little over an hour, and a 5k after all that might take as much as 45 minutes (!) but it all sounds like a cake-walk once the swim is done.  Based on the cutoff time, I will have to finish the swim in under 45 minutes or get serious about going faster on my bike.  Hmmm.  I think a test-swim is in order, and quickly.

I've gotten my hands on a free training plan that looks like it will suit my needs (and has a long enough timeline that I can build in all the flexibility I'll need to make that work).  And I guess I'm going to baby-step my way to participating in my first Tri.

I'll be #wycwyc-ing the HELL out of this.

I repeat:  HOLY CRAP!  Can't look much into the future on this one; one step in front of the other.  Step 1:  go for a swim this weekend.

CPAGrrrl, OUT.

Monday, January 4, 2016

To the Gym Rats of the World

An Open Letter to the Gym Rats of the World (Whom I Would Very Much Like to Emulate):

I joined the throngs of new and returning gym goers tonight after work. Love that my gym was still not overcrowded. 

I read somewhere that only like 8% of them (us) stay consistent throughout the rest of the year. I once again strive to be part of that 8%.

I had a challenging bike ride and 30 minutes of strength training (back, biceps, core) and The Hubs made a super healthy dinner for us. 

So, gym rats of the world, relax! You'll have your space back soon. Meanwhile, throw some encouraging words at the newbies and (me) those who are recommitting, and hope to attain Gym Rat status by this time next year.