Monday, June 25, 2012

Olympic Fever and Big Time Game Planning!

I love Track and Field.

Seriously, I really, really love Track and Field.

I am sitting here with goosebumps despite the 80 degree weather.  I've been watching the Olympic Trials events I missed this weekend and I am getting SUPER excited for the Olympics!  The end all be all of Track and Field is just 40 days away!

I'll be wrapping up a trip to Lake Michigan the day the running events start (Aug 3), so while everyone is out on the water, I'll probably be a stones throw of the tv.

All this T&F made me think about how little I have been running.  And when I say little, I mean- not at all!

I have two races on the books- a 5K on July 4th and the Detroit Free Press Half Marathon on Oct. 21st.  I'm not too worried about the 5k.  While I have not been running much, I have been spinning, so hopefully that helps.  I plan to run with the Royal Oak Area Runners on Tuesday and that's a pretty fast run for me.  I'll  finally try out my new Garmin!

Now, I am starting to worry about the half marathon.  I ran it last year- or I should say I completed it last year, as I did do some walking, for sure.  My time completely sucked and I was sore for days!  This is probably because I didn't train much.  I started training, it was going great, I increased mileage and that plus a improperly fitted shoe (yes- I did get fitted at a running store and they gave me a shoe a full size too small), I ended up with a stress fracture in my foot.

I had to take 16 weeks off.  I did, and never really got myself back on track.  Before the race, my longest training run had been 5 miles.

This year I not only want to destroy my time, I want it to be, well..kind of easy. I don't want to suffer and struggle for 13.1 miles.  Yes, I expect to be uncomfortable, but I don't want to be miserable. I also don't want another injury.

I am injury prone, I always have been.  When I ran years ago, it seemed that the only way to get better at distance, was to run, run and then go run some more. That always led to injury.

I have felt that there has to be a way to train less, yet get faster and stronger.  I stumbled upon Run Less Run Faster .  In a nutshell, you run 3 times a week plus cross train two other days.  I saw that and was intrigued.

I looked to see what other bloggers had written about the book, read reviews and finally decided to buy it.  It was less than $10.00 on Kindle, so I gave it a shot.  I just started it, but I think it's going to work out perfectly!  There is a 16 week half marathon schedule, so I officially start training Sunday July 16!

Anyone want to join me?

On to my fitness plans for this week:
Sunday: Rest
Monday: Spin- "GoChubChub"
Tuesday: Go Barbell AND ROAR 3 miles
Wednesday: Go 60
Thursday: Go60
Friday: GoBarbell and GoCycle Abs
Saturday: Spin
Sunday: Peanutbutter Finger's 1000 Rep Workout

If you are wondering what these new "Go" workouts are, there are classes at GoCycle.  I bought a summer unlimited pass, so I'm working out there a lot! I plan to describe these classes more on Tuesday.

Speaking of the upcoming week, the blog plan is:
Monday: New Egg Cups and Muesli recipes
Tuesday: Planning my vacation workouts and talking about the new classes I'm taking
Wednesday: Craft Room Reveal and some talk about getting our house ready to sell
Thursday: How to pack for vacation and house hunting
Friday: Swimsuit shopping. What a difference a year makes.
Saturday: Book Review: End of an Affair; Race Music; New books (new to me): Fit to Fat to Fit and Skinny Rules

Have a great week and see you tomorrow!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

30-Day Challenges

I love 30-day challenges.  One of my favorites is Crunchy Chicken's "Buy Nothing Challenge"- where, big surprise, you buy nothing for a month.  Sure, you get gas, food and absolute necessities, but nothing more.  I do this 2-3 times a year and it really helps the annual budget.

Anyway, while getting the house ready to sell, I got lax on a few things.  In order to get back on track, I'm going to do a few 30 day challenges.  Join me if you want, or not.  Whatever. It starts TODAY!

1) Drink water.  I've been AWFUL about this.  For months I've been under-hydrated.  It's time to do something about it.  I will now pledge to drink 5 of these a day.  It's super cute cup from Caribou Coffee.  It holds 24 oz.

Not only will I drink 5 of these, I will drink half of one immediately upon waking up  I know I always feel better when I start off the day with a cold glass of water!

To help me drink all this water, I'm going to do a few things.  First, utilize this cute cup.  It's more fun to drink out of something cute, don't you think? And I will use "add ins".  I will keep fresh lemon and mint on hand at all times.  I will try cucumber in my water and once a day, I'll add Emergen-C ElectroMix.

2) Blog Daily! Yes, I will post every day.  With Pictures.

3) Journal Food and Exercise Daily. Self explanatory

4) Connect with my kids daily.  The last 6 weeks have been tough on the kids.  They have heard a lot of "not now, I'm busy" and "No! I just cleaned that up!".  I now need to focus on them.

That's a lot to take on, especially since I'll be out of town so much.  Still, I think I can pull it off.  Even if it's not perfect, it will be better than before, and isn't that the point?

Ever done a 30 day challenge? Tell me about it. 

Finally Back!

Wow! I completely fell off the blog wagon! So much has been going on here, something had to give, and sadly, it was the blog.

Things are relatively under control, so I hope to be back daily!

Why was I gone? Well, I mentioned this before here, but we are hoping to sell our house.  I know I said our neighbors are moving.  This inspired us to get off of our butts and take the plunge.  We need to move- our house is just not working for us anymore.  I just did not want to do all of the things needed to get it ready to sell.

Getting a house ready to put on the market might be easy for some, but for us- not even close to easy.

This whole thing started about 5 or 6 weeks ago. We made the decision and  we knew what Realtor we were going with- the ones that sold Jenny and Gene's house next door. I had Tom call the Realtors and set up a time for them to come over, check out the place and give us some advice regarding what we needed to do before officially putting it on the market.  I knew we needed to clear out about 60% of our stuff, but I didn't know if we needed to change paint colors, get new carpet or things like that.

I asked Tom to give me a couple of weeks to kind of clean up before they came. Yes, I would need WEEKS.  You could not see the floor in the laundry room or the uncompleted craft room.  Instead, Tom gave me three days.

To say I was irritated would be an understatement.

After venting to my friends who calmly and kindly told me not to worry, I accepted that maybe this was for the best.  I was able to kind of pick up before Lou and Mary-Ellen, our Realtors, came over.  Still, I was so embarrassed about the state of our home. We were just over flowing with toys, junk and more.

They were so nice about the house.  They said that yes, stuff had to go, but to keep the colors, leave the carpet and really, just clear stuff out.  We all agreed that the basement bathroom needed something done with the ceiling- we never had it dry walled- it was just rafters. Other than that, they didn't think we should put in any real money.

Still, there was a ton of work to be done "staging" the house.  After they looked around and asked us how long until we were ready to put the house up, I said "I'm not doing a thing unless you tell me I can get over $X for this house". They looked at me, smiled and showed me the numbers.  They wanted to list the house at "X" plus 30,000. Needless to say, I acquiesced and said- "give me three weeks!". 

Those were some of the most difficult three weeks of my life.  I swear, I barely slept.  My workouts were cut by 40%, at least. I didn't journal anything.  I was swamped.

And I didn't take pictures!  I am kicking myself.  This would have made an awesome before and after series.  It was fantastic blog fodder- but I was so busy and so overwhelmed, the thought of taking a moment to snap a picture seemed beyond wasteful.

Looking back, I really cannot believe what we accomplished.  You may recall my "To-Do" list on the chalk board?  That was a joke compared to the new list.  I made a spreadsheet of what needed to be done.  In a nutshell, carpets cleaned, walls washed or repainted, 75% of all things packed up, donated or thrown out.  If you want details, you can actually view the spreadsheet here!

It was a insane amount of work to do and we could not have done it without many people helping us.  My father in law was over painting, power washing and more.  My mother in law helped with the kids and is storing a house full of our junk in her basement! For free!

Our neighbors- wow! Where to begin? Gene helped Tom fix all kinds of things and Jenny was our main landscape engineer and labor!  That girl is a machine.  We dug up four boxwoods, transplanted three, pulled out and transplanted about half of our garden plants.  We added some new boxwoods, mulch and more.  We filled up three or four lawn bags of weeds. Oh, and this was all in one day. Tom had surgery on his foot earlier that week and had a follow up procedure the morning of the day we did the landscaping, so he couldn't do much of the hard stuff.  That doesn't mean he didn't work though.  He was running back and forth to the store for supplies, dealing with kids and helping out in general. It was a true team effort.  Jenny and Gene got a gift certificate to Shorts for their help.  It was just a token of our intense gratitude.  We are so thankful for them!

We also could not have accomplished it all without daycare taking the kids extra days, our babysitters stepping up not only to babysit, but to do odd and tedious cleaning jobs, our contractor doing the basement ceiling, fixing the toilet and more and a couple of my girlfriends who deep cleaned my laundry room and more.

The big day finally came.  I was so nervous.  The house still wasn't 100%, but it was good enough.  Lou and Mary Ellen walked in and they didn't say anything!  I began to get nervous.  Then they looked at each other and Mary-Ellen shook her head and had a bewildered look on her face.  "wwhat?", I tentatively asked.  Mary Ellen replied, "I'm speechless"- which if you knew Mary-Ellen, it's probably a rare condition for her to be in.  "This is the most amazing transformation I have EVER seen".

I was thrilled!  And they agreed that the house should list for about $15,000 more, based upon what we had done in just three weeks.  All that hard work really paid off and it felt great.

I will post pictures in the next day or two, but I really just wanted to get back posting- with or without pics.

Now the house has been listed and we are still continuing to make little improvements and we have to keep it spotless for showings, but things have settled down enough that I can workout as much as I want, plan meals and blog.

There is so much I want to talk about!  I want to talk more about the house transformation.  I had a really hard time finding info on staging and getting a house ready to sell, so I'd like to go into that a bit more. I also want to do an in-depth post about the craft room.  I am just thrilled with how it turned out!

I have created some new recipes that I need to share.  New egg cups and muesli! I also want to try out a few new recipes (protein cinnamon swirl bread anyone)and share those.

We are going to be on vacation most of July.  There will be much to write about, from packing, how to eat while away and what to do about workouts.

Speaking of food and workouts, I was lucky.  Even though I relaxed on things a bit, I did not gain any weight.  I tried to be aware of what I was eating, even though I was not logging it all.  I also think my body needed the break.  I had hit a plateau and I really could not physically sustain eating any less or working out any more.  The cut back allowed my body to regroup and adjust.  I'm back working out, counting calories and keeping to my macros, but I am less strict.  And wouldn't you know it, I lost a pound!  Not bad, huh?

Thanks for letting me begin to catch up and I will be back later!

Mother's Day (better late than never)

(Yet another post that I meant to publish and didn't-it's only a month late!)

Hope everyone had a great Mother's Day.  Mine was pretty good. I mean, I had to work, but sometimes that is better than staying home and wrangling the little monsters all day.

I did get some early morning Happy Mother's Day cuddles from Tommy.  That boy is all sweetness! Except when he's rotten. I was hoping for coffee in bed, but that didn't happen.  In fact, I had to tell Tom to make the coffee.  He got up at least 40 minutes before I did.  I was sure there would be coffee, but no.  The first thing I do every single morning is make the coffee!  (actually, it's the second thing I do. First I pee.  I can't handle filling the coffee maker with water while my bladder is full).

I also didn't have to run.  I usually run Sunday mornings, but this Sunday it was raining. Awesome! No guilt sleeping in.( I can run in the rain, but not on Mother's Day. That's just asking too much).

Which reminds me of a little story.  Come along with me as I digress...

Last year, about this time of year, Tommy was learning the "Rain, Rain Go Away" song.  But- he thought it went "Rain Rain Go Away. Come Again on Mother's Day".  He refused to believe me that it should be "come again some other day". That made no sense to him.  Mother's Day- that made sense.  To a 3 year old.  Anyway, wouldn't you know it, it rained on Mother's Day.  Thanks Tommy.

Back to Mother's Day.  I worked. Blah. blah.  I went to GoBarbell during my lunch break.  I had to leave early due to work coverage issues. But I still got in a good workout.  I then headed to my in-laws for dinner.  We celebrated Mother's Day and birthday's for my SIL Laurie and her daughter Rachel.

Laurie is a runner and has been eyeing a Garmin for awhile, so I got her a gift card for Amazon.  I hope she gets it soon and I can hear what she thinks.  I expect her training will seriously benefit from knowing her pace.

Dinner was awesome.  Twice baked potatoes and tenderloin.  Right up my ally.  Since I didn't get lunch Sunday (it was lunch or workout), I was starving!  I splurged with the potato and two slices of tenderloin.  I did however forgo the cheese bread, biscuits, Asian coleslaw, cookies and ice cream cake.  I did not forgo the wine- which I started on an empty stomach.   I was pretty sloshy for a bit. But heck, it was Mother's Day.  It really was a nice night.  I love spending time with my sisters-in-law, or is it sister in laws? Whatever it is, I like it.

We talked about the key incident and we examined the key.  We all decided I am far too intelligent to have NOT tied the key to my shoe and the key was at fault.  Here is the key:

You see the metal ring? That's what I threaded my shoe lace through.  It's the cheap, flimsy ring that came with the key.  The overlap is very small and the metal very pliable.  We all decided, in our collective expertise, that the shoe lace must have worked it's way out and the key broke free. (Otherwise, wouldn't it have fallen off before the mile mark?)

My husband, the engineer, clearly disagreed. He was wise enough to simply walk away when asked his opinion, but it was clear. He votes user error (aka: I'm an idiot). Thanks honey.

It doesn't matter. Diane and Laurie are much, much smarter than my doubting husband, so what they say goes.  The verdict: Bad design (see, my engineer husband was biased!) and an escapist key.

Love my SILs! I think it could have been a Master padlock, they still would have taken my side.

As far as presents went, I got some great gifts.  I told my husband not to get me anything, just like Laurie, I'm eyeing a Garmin, so I just want to credit Mother's Day towards it.  The boys however, spoiled me.

Last weekend Tommy had stayed the night with my mom and he picked out this ginormous bag from the Brighton Farmer's Market.  My mom says he thought it was a good bag because I could carry all of his and Mackie's stuff in it (heck, I could carry HIM and Mackie IN it), plus, according to Tommy, my purse is "used". I'm not sure what to think of this, but it can't be good.

Anyway, I love the bag and will be sure to post a pic of it soon.

How was your Mother's Day?