Organization Spree!

Today I was finally able to go for a run! I went at some point last week, but it has either been too cold/rainy/icy to go since. The last time I went for a run I was INCREDIBLY slow (probably due to not running for like, a week) and even felt sick in the middle. Today I thought everything was going fine until I looked at my watch and it seemed that my pace had dropped precipitously. I then realized that the watch was about .3 miles behind my actual distance, but I figured it wasn’t a big deal and I’d just keep an eye on my watch in the future to see if it keeps messing up. When I got home and uploaded the workout, though, it corrected the distance. Because of it’s error, it added in a space of .3 miles where it said I ran something like 3:00 per mile, which was amusing. Hopefully it goes back to working correctly!

My run today was also interesting because of all the people out gawking at the river. It is slightly flooded right now (hoping we don’t get any rain for awhile so it can go back down) and covered in ice. Because it was sort of sunny and warm (mostly cloudy and 40 degrees) people were actually venturing out into the park and I swear I saw like 5 separate families taking pictures of the river, and most of them were taking pictures with tablets, which gave me great amusement. To be fair, I did take a picture of the river yesterday when we had super thick fog and it was really really creepy.

The dark thing in the mist is an island in the middle of the river. Keep in mind that island is close enough that Google Maps used to think I lived on it.

I also got to see a local stray cat that hangs around. There are three main cats, and this is the friendly one. He typically hangs out at a neighbor’s across the street but they must have been ignoring him today, because he followed me for a whole block and then when I got to my porch was like jumping all over me and meowing until Kris brought him (or her, I guess) out some food. Belle was apparently super jealous while I was standing out there with the cat and kept pushing the window blinds open to watch us. Then she wouldn’t stop sniffing me when I came in!

Observe my beautiful and well-matched running outfit.


Kris and I have actually spent most of the weekend re-organizing the house now that I am home for a lengthy time period. I think organizing/buying the new things that organizing entails helps us to deal with stress, too, which is another reason we are doing it. We have a lot of plans for what to do over the next couple of weeks/months:

  • Move my sewing stuff out of the living room in order to set up a bike storage area.
  • Get some sort of cabinet for the dining room to store extra kitchen stuff in.
  • Clean up our gross basement that never really recovered from the last flood so that we can store more things down there and perhaps put in a small gym/Warhammer play area.
  • Clean up the guest room so that it can be a Warhammer crafting/sewing area in addition to being a guest room.
  • Set up the office so that both Kris and I can fit in there.

This weekend we decided to tackle setting up the office. We started by moving all of the Warhammer and sewing stuff into the guest room, which is now a disaster zone and will probably have to be the next project. We then took the large desk that was in the office out to move to the basement for storage so that we could move in the desk I had been using for sewing, a filing cabinet that had been in the sewing area, and a new small desk that we bought. With a little bit of rearranging – and a lot of throwing away random old papers we had been keeping since 2007 or so – we were able to fit everything in.

“Before” (technically from the day we moved in, so it was WAY messier today):

After:

My area. This is to the right of the doorway . You cannot see this area in the before photo, the white bookshelf in the corner of this photo was where the desk was, and the big desk extended all the way to where the bookshelf is now or even past that point.

Where the old desk used to be. The taller bookshelf was moved from where Kris’s desk is now. He is using the filing cabinet as an ottoman.

Kris’s desk area as seen from mine. I am glad we were able to set up dual workspaces in such a tiny room! In the before photo, this area is to the left of the door and was where the taller bookshelf was.

The only thing that doesn’t really fit: Belle’s bed (it used to lay under the large desk). She only used it when she was scared, anyway. To give you an idea of how little she uses this particular bed, it was her first bed we ever bought her. She has gone through like 5 other beds in various parts of the house, and this one is still in near-perfect condition.

We also got a bit of a headstart on the basement – while looking for a cheapo desk for me, we found some plastic shelving units for the basement, and with that and the old desk, we were able to clean up the stuff were were storing in the basement quite a bit, giving us room to move around and clean so we can put in a full-size Warhammer play table. That will be a lengthy project, though, as the old tenant left a bunch of crap here and all of it was covered in floodwater and therefore needs to be disposed of. Some of this is really frustrating – my parents are going to give us some old weights, but they have no weight bench. There is a weight bench in the basement, but the floodwaters ruined it. This means I will have to throw it away and buy a new one. There are also two road bikes down there that are in terrible condition. I am hoping that if we wash them down we can perhaps selvage the frames, but I am afraid they will be rusted or ruined in some other way (they are so dirty/muddy I cannot tell). 

Speaking of throwing things away – re-organizing really shows me how wasteful we can be, even though we try very hard not to make needless purchases. We have so much stuff to take to Goodwill and throw away that it might take multiple weeks! If it was summer, I’d say we have nearly enough for a yard sale! Things we are giving away include a men’s leather coat (received secondhand; Kris didn’t like it); a waffle iron (purchased at a yard sale); and about 4 cups that match each other but nothing else (the others broke). In short, all nice things that people might actually want. We also have a bunch of Christmas decor we could probably get rid of – we have no less than three artificial trees (I’m allergic to pine), two of which are too small and one that is worn and needs replaced. I feel less bad about the garbage – things like Belle’s crate that she destroyed and old clothes with holes that are not worth repairing. It’s just frustrating because I feel like we must be doing something wrong to accumulate so much crap. 

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Food Friday

I don’t have too much food to talk about this week. Lots of PB&J, oatmeal with raisins, and those little emerald nut packs. I am making that black bean quinoa chili again, but I already talked about that once so it’s not very exciting. However, I did try three pumpkin items (because of course I did):

  • Dunkin Donuts Pumpkin Coffee. Not my favorite of their flavored coffees (that title goes to chocolate donut), but perhaps this is just because it burnt my tongue this morning 😦
  • Buffalo Bill’s Brewery Pumpkin Ale. This and the next item were luckily tried last night, giving me something to talk about without much effort on my part. I really liked this pumpkin beer. Not as sweet as Traveler’s Shandy; not as beer-like as Blue Moon’s. In terms of sweetness, my friend who only likes shandys does not approve, for comparison’s sake. Then again, I love beer, so I’m cool with that.
  • Turkey Hill Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream. Not only do I love everything pumpkin, but I also love everything Turkey Hill. I really like this because it had cinnamon graham cracker crumbs in it, and most other pumpkin ice creams seem to have nothing mixed into them – they are just pumpkin flavors. I would still say the Edy’s  I tried a couple of weeks ago is almost as good, though, especially considering that the Turkey Hill has almost twice as many calories.

I also thought that while I was on the topic of food, I would take some time to talk about an “experiment” I’m doing. I use the term “experiment “loosely – I am trying out something new, but it isn’t TECHNICALLY an experiment, and, as an instructor of a research design course, I would not give a student points for labeling my actions an “experiment.” This discussion of proper use of the word “experiment*” should be your warning that shit’s about to get boringly nerdy here, by the way.

I’ve been struggling a bit lately with feeling like I’ve been eating “too much.” Even though my weight hasn’t gone up, I feel like I’ve been eating so much food and it makes me feel like I must be doing something wrong and that one day I will just wake up having gained the weight back again. Irrational, I know, but it is really difficult for someone like me who spent over a year losing weight to let myself actually eat enough food. I mean, I don’t feel like I need to eat a super low calorie diet but I just see days on MyFitnessPal adding up to like 2300 sometimes and can’t help but think that’s ridiculous.

So I decided to convince myself it’s ok with statistical evidence. For the month of November, I will be keeping track of how many miles I ran per day; how long that took me; my average pace; whether I lifted or not; whether I biked or not; my total calories; and my net calories. In the end, I am hoping to prove to myself that big calorie deficits = bad paces. I am guessing I will also see that forcing myself to bike and lift in addition to running is actually somewhat detrimental to my paces. This is supposed to help convince me that I am NOT lazy if I just don’t feel like biking to campus one day (especially as it is getting cold). I know that Thanksgiving will mess up my data a bit, but I think it will be interesting to see the results. Already my mind has been blown just by physically seeing my net calories. MFP says how many calories I ate total and how many calories I burnt but it doesn’t actually subtract them for me, so I forget to think of it this way. I see “Oh, I ate 2200 calories and burnt 600” instead of “I only gave my body 1600 calories to use for its normal functions today.” Also, because of some days where I don’t eat a lot, my average calories are lower than I expected. I know part of this is that I’ve been on track most of the week (my worst day was less than 100 calories over), but I really felt like I was messing up more often than I was. Hopefully I learn something interesting by the end of the month.

* Now that I’ve said “experiment” like 18 times, I feel like it is necessary to point out that it took me like 3 years to learn how to spell it. Sometimes the simple things are what really give you trouble. 

Friend Makin’ Monday

After a fairly uneventful weekend, I am glad to say that I started the first week of my workout schedule I created for myself for the rest of the fall semester, and it largely a success. Despite some trepidation about going back into the big kids’s weight room to use the squat rack and then accidentally doing 3 sets of 10 squats instead of 2 sets of 15 squats, it went fine. In fact, it went much better than my first day 1 attempt at lifting, where I was slow confused and slow and half-assing my workout that I didn’t even think it was a real workout. Today I was sweating, especially after all of those squats! Anyway, I hadn’t done a Friend Makin’ Monday in awhile, so I thought I’d participate again 🙂

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If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: www.alltheweigh.com so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

What If?

1.  If you had something in your teeth would you want someone to tell you, or would you prefer to figure it out on your own?  Oh man I would really really want them to tell me. I don’t know why some people think it is more embarrassing for one person to notice and tell you than for everyone to notice and not tell you and then like, laugh about it later.

2.  If you had to listen to one song on repeat all day today, which song would you choose?  Oh dear, I’m so bad at music and pop culture and stuff I don’t really know. Possibly “3rd Planet” by Modest Mouse?

3.  If you could trade places with someone famous, with whom would you trade?  Again, bad at pop culture. Do politicians count? Also, can I pick time period. Like, can I be Hillary Clinton, but only while she was Secretary of State and not during her husband’s presidency?

4.  If you could speak another language fluently, which one would you speak?  Probably Spanish because it would be most useful.

5.  If you could read one person’s mind right now whose would you choose?  I’m going to cheat and choose a non-person: Belle (my dog). I hate that she suffers so much from anxiety and that I can’t understand what exactly is wrong so that I can help her.

6. If you were forced to go back in time, which period of your life would you choose? Well, if I had to go back there, I would want it to be something good. The problem with a question like this is that you think certain parts of your life were more appealing until you really think about them. Like, I was going to say back when I first started dating Kris, but I had no free time, no freedom (lived at home) and no money. Then, if I picked when we first moved out, I had more freedom, but still no money. All of the other times are when I was a kid or in grad school, so just no. I guess I’ll go with the first option – when I first started dating Kris, so I can enjoy being 18 and all of the fun things we did that summer again.

7.  If you had to be trapped in a TV show for a month, which show would you choose?  Parks and Rec. Remember: it is already basically my life. No, really. I’m a politics-obsessed feminist lady who lives in Indiana and I’m married to a nerdy guy who does data crunching for the government and wears plaid shirts and skinny ties everyday. I’m not sure I’d notice the difference, to be honest. I guess all my friends would be funnier?

8.  If you had to give up twitter or Facebook, which would you choose? Hasn’t this been a question before? I’d give up Twitter because I barely use it anywa.

9.  If you could have a present today, what would you want?  How can I choose just one? I guess a plane ticket to go see Kris 🙂

10.  If you had to choose between celebrating Halloween or Christmas, which would you choose?  THIS QUESTION IS TOO HARD. Seriously, these are like, the best two holidays. I know Christmas is supposed to be more important and all, but Halloween was like the most important holiday in my household growing up. Kids get scared to come to our house! I guess I’d still say Christmas, though, because I like giving presents and spending time with family and the food is better (pumpkin Reeses < Grandma’s homemade turtles and fudge).

Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions!  Don’t forget to come back and link up in the comments!  Happy Monday!

New Workout Plan?

Let’s start with one of my most common complaints: I am not a fan of our current weather. I think mother nature heard me begging for fall to begin and overreacted, because it is basically winter. I had to wear a wool coat and a scarf today! The biggest problem is the cold rain. Ever since my half marathon it has basically been 40 degrees and kind of rainy all day every day. It got a little better this afternoon and stopped raining, allowing me to go for a somewhat pleasant walk, but the weather for my run was sort of miserable due to it being 35 and raining. Yuck. At least my new shoes were very comfortable outside. Glad I gave them a chance beyond the funky treadmill that made my shin hurt, because they felt VERY different out there and I really liked them.

Anyway, the last time I posted, I complained that my workouts have no structure to them. I have since tried to come up with a plan that incorporates everything I was thinking about and goes through finals week:

Monday – Stretch (due to long run previous day) and lift

Tuesday – Medium length (4-6 mile) run or longish (~10-15 mile) bike ride

Wednesday – REST

Thursday – 3 mile run and lift

Friday – Medium length run

Saturday – Long bike ride and lift

Sunday – Long run (8-10 miles?)

I like that this plan incorporates everything I want. It has at least one day of dedicated biking, and hopefully at first I will be able to continue bike commuting. As long as it isn’t rainy every day (I’m not a wimp but I have to teach in what I’m wearing, so I can’t get super soaked) or super icy out I can handle cold temperatures – I do heat up on the bike, after all. I will probably switch to the long bike ride on Tuesdays after commuting becomes impossible.  It also lets me try New Rules of Lifting for Women again while keeping a decent amount of running mileage (at the least 15 miles per week, and at the most 25). I am mildly concerned about the existence of only one rest day, though. Each of the days on their own doesn’t seem like that difficult of a workout, and I can’t really decide what to cut, but I worry that with such a plan I will get burnt out. I guess that Monday (lifting only) is not a super strenuous day, so that might help. I will just try to remember that the only “end goal” of this workout plan is to not be lazy over the rest of the semester so its not like if I miss a day anything bad will happen. In fact, I expect to completely mess up the week of Thanksgiving, for example. I guess I will just start this plan next week and see how it goes!

Trial and Error

Today I went back to working out for the “first” time since my half marathon (I bike commuted yesterday, but quite weakly). Last time, I tried to “loosen up” by running for 20 minutes the day after. That sucked, so this time I instead tried to do it 2 days later, which worked much better (I did take a leisurely 1 mile walk the day after). My workout today was so random. I just messed around on some weight machines in our apartment complex gym (mostly to see what they were like) then did 20 minutes at an easy pace on the treadmill. I never like this period right after a race where I don’t really have a workout plan – I have no idea what I want to do for my workout that day so it makes me procrastinate and then I never know what to eat (because I don’t know how many calories I will be burning/when I will be working out). I need to come up with a workout plan so that I am not in the weird limbo I am in this week – I am apparently a person that needs structure. Here are a few of the options I am entertaining:

  • Re-attempting NROLFW. I tried it before, but kind of half-assed it and decided I didn’t like it. With it being cold and rainy outside everyday, though, this might be a good option.
  • Biking: I know I can bike on the stationary bike trainers on campus regardless of weather. Also, Kris and I are planning to take some major rides (50+ miles) next summer so it would be nice to catch up to his ability level before that. I would need to find a somewhat structured plan, though, because I don’t really like stationary bikes and I’d probably slack off if I was just doing it whenever I felt like it. Maybe I can read the Game of Thrones books while I ride?
  • Running: I will definitely run during the winter so I don’t completely lose my base. I’m pretty hardcore about running in the winter actually – I went out and bought tons of gear last year and only stayed indoors if it was raining, blizzarding, or under 10 degrees (F). Though, speaking of cold weather gear, why do they not make more athletic tights for guys? I tried looking at cheap places where I usually find my stuff (i.e. Old Navy, JCP, Target) for Kris to wear on his bike and all I can find is sweatpants, which are a no-go for biking. I can check the Under Armour outlet when I’m back home in PA, but I’m a cheapskate, so I’d prefer somewhere else.

I also tried my new shoes out today (full disclosure, that is a referral link). They were…interesting. I could feel the arch support in them like I have never felt before. I seriously can feel the shoe pushing my foot back when my ankle tries to collapse in. Super weird feeling. This was interesting to me because the other shoes I have used in the past (Brooks Adrenaline; Mizuno Wave Inspire) seem like highly recommended shoes for over-pronators (people with flat feet) so I expected them to have the best support out there. I would say these shoes have about the cushioning and weight of the Brooks shoes – I had liked that the Mizuno’s had less, but they just aren’t going to be warm enough for winter (I needed to get rid of them anyway – they are completely worn through in several places and I can visibly see the degradation of the cushioning). At first the shoes felt really really weird because of the additional cushioning, but I got used to it during my run. I was also thinking that they made my right shin feel a little funny but then I realized it was just the way I was running on the weird treadmill we have in this gym, and correcting my gait on the treadmill helped (some other dude was on the good treadmill).

One final new thing I tried today. I am currently working on reducing meat in my diet (not going full vegetarian, just trying to not eat meat every single day) and today I managed an entire day without meat! Well, technically the day isn’t over, but I only plan on having some pumpkin ice cream with a pumpkin muffin, and those don’t have meat. I am fairly proud of this accomplishment, especially considering past me – one of the meals I ate was penne with marinara sauce (I put a ton of veggies in it) and I remember literally getting into fights with Kris because pasta “requires” meat or I won’t eat it (I used to be this way with pizza, too, and my favorite pizzas are now often 4 cheese or veggies). It’s an even more impressive feat if you know that as a child, I ate no vegetables except white mushrooms or baby carrots. MAYBE iceberg lettuce. Look forward to at least one meatless recipe for Food Friday 🙂


One final thing – and I have separated this because it has nothing to do with the rest of the post, but I don’t really want to see it as an afterthought – remember that there are several things about your body that fitness cannot change. I feel like I’m beating a dead horse, here, but after seeing two posts on Reddit yesterday from super skinny ladies about hip dip (I feel ok with declaring them super skinny because their hips were as small as mine), I realize that not everyone knows this yet: THERE ARE NUMEROUS THINGS ABOUT YOUR BODY YOU JUST CAN NEVER CHANGE. These include:

  • Thigh gap (the idea that your thighs should at no point touch)
  • Hip dip (aka violin hips; the dip between where your hip bones are and where your femur points out)
  • Cellulite
  • I’m sure there are more things the internet will invent that I haven’t thought of yet. Fat ears, perhaps?

Technically, there are things you can do to slightly alter each of these.

You could reduce fat or muscle mass and see if that allows you to have a thigh gap. This probably won’t work unless your thighs are really muscular or you are very overweight, though – my thigh gap appears when I am a size 12. It depends almost entirely on your bone structure, and trying to lower your body fat enough to obtain it can be dangerous, mostly because for many people, their body fat will NEVER be low enough for it to appear, or it would have appeared already when they were at a healthy/slightly overweight weight.

Hip dip is sort of the opposite – you can only really see it if you are thin, because otherwise your hipbone and femur won’t be jutting out of your skin. So thin girls: if you want to rid yourself of hip dip, gain weight. I thought mine looked weird at first, but then I realized everyone had one, so I decided I was ok. Then I learned that there is some craze to try to lose weight and rid yourself of it, when that will only make it worse.

Cellulite is less of a modern internet problem – ladies have been worrying about this for decades. Remember, ladies: 90% of you have cellulite. It is just the way that women’s bodies (or bodies with low testosterone in general, if I remember correctly) store fat. Unless you have an extremely low body fat percentage (like, figure competition level – and even they don’t stay in that kind of shape for long), it’s probably going to show up. The “treatments” for it have limited effectiveness – sure, super cream X may work randomly for one person, but there is not really any evidence that any of them work (if you have a ton of money, I think that I heard that certain surgeries work – that’s it). It’s probably best to just remember that everyone has it. Go Kaleo has a great post where she shows a picture of Scarlett Johansson’s, and actually talks about all the sciencey stuff  behind all this with sources unlike me, because I’m lazy and just sending a reminder, not reinventing a wheel. I know that doesn’t make you feel better in your skin tight outfit, but hey, that is why Spanx exist*. They are cheaper than 80,000 creams and less effort than massaging your skin for hours. Note: I’m a super-weirdo and I’m fine with my cellulite showing in say, shorts, but I just HATE when it breaks up the line of a skin tight dress so I wear them sometimes. Remember: I wear size 2, and I have cellulite (and also loose skin, which is the primary reason for the Spanx). WE ALL HAVE IT.

*I know I should be like “completely embrace your body” instead of advocating shapewear, but I’m realistic, and trying to take baby steps here, ok?

Working Out Away From Home

While I’m in NYC, I’m not really doing any “formal” exercise. Kris and I will be walking around a lot, so I’ll be active, but I’m not planning on any specific workouts to do. This is largely related to the reasons that I am not counting calories while I am there – the trip is about spending time with Kris, not making sure I don’t gain a single pound! Plus, if you can’t tell, I am abysmal at giving my body rest days, so a few days off will probably be good for me.

Sometimes, however, I really do want to work out when out of town. This can be really difficult, especially if staying with family. I am an only child, so my family always wants all of my attention all of the time. When training for my half marathon, I thought for over a week in advance about how I was going to actually manage to run 9 miles while visiting them. This was actually more difficult for me in the past, when I had a fear of treadmills – I used to be completely unable to run in unfamiliar places if my only option was a treadmill! Since I’ve made some progress on this front, though, I thought I’d do a short post on tips on how to work out when away from home (and perhaps how to squeeze it in around difficult families, if you have that problem).

If you are staying in a hotel:

  • Make sure you know their fitness center policies. I once went to use a fitness center at 5 AM, assuming it was open 24 hours, but it was not! I had to wait until 6 AM to do my workout that day, and I was lucky I still had time. You might also want to make sure that you don’t have to pay for access (or, if you do, that you are ok with that).
  • Prepare some bodyweight workouts, just in case! There is usually enough room to do some pushups, squats, lunges, etc.
  • If you are sharing the room and don’t want to disturb the other person by working out, perhaps suggest going for a walk to explore this new location together, or head out for one on your own, if they are not interested.

Staying with friends/family:

  • Plan ahead! Think of good times, good locations, etc. You don’t want to assume you will be able to squeak your 10 mile run in before the big family bbq starts (people might show up early, you might get asked to help prepare). You also don’t want to just assume there is a good location for running 10 miles right out the door. You could probably check for local options on sites like runkeeper or mapmyrun.
  • If you think you will face naysayers, just try to avoid talking to them about it. You don’t want to waste the 30 minutes you had planned for your workout arguing with the person about why you don’t need to workout. Just try to avoid mentioning it. What usually works best for me is to get dressed, announce I am going to go run (you could probably avoid the announcement step if you aren’t leaving the house), and leave without discussing it. If I stick around to discuss it, I won’t go, because I won’t actually have any time left to run. One potential downside – this might necessitate being willing to wake up before everyone else.
  • Again, prepare bodyweight workouts, just in case you can’t do much else. I can usually do these in secret in the guestroom when visiting my family, giving them no opportunity to interrupt.

If all else fails: just try your best to watch your diet. I know this is difficult when traveling as well, but remember that weight loss/maintenance is more about keeping one’s diet in check than getting exercise. It is a lot easier for me to turn down a pastry than it is for me to sneak in a 30 minute run so that I can burn off the calories of said pastry. And remember – if it truly is a vacation, and this isn’t something you have to do regularly, a few days of poor eating choices will not derail you for life, as long as you return to old habits at home and try to keep up your new habits as best as possible while on your trip .

One major failing of this list: I don’t have good options for strength training on here – most hotel gyms don’t have barbells, and you obviously can’t borrow them from your local gym for a week. How do those of you who lift heavy keep up with workouts when out of town?

Moving!

So, after a year of having a broken air conditioner (that mysteriously got fixed when we announced we were leaving), my roommate and I are moving. We are basically trying to move everything (we haven’t even really started packing) over the course of the next 3ish days, so I might not post too much. Be certain that I will be working out, though – 3 mile run tomorrow, 13 mile run on Saturday, and probably quite a bit of heavy lifting 🙂

Exercise pro of moving: epic fitness center (they have free weights!).

Exercise con (or maybe pro) of moving: will have to devise new running routes.