Saturday, March 30, 2013

Things that are so annoying

Cats.

Because mine want desperately to sit all over my lap. Sitting next to me is not good enough. Leaping into my lap is not good enough. Sitting in my lap alone is not good enough. Oh, no, it must be sitting IN my lap, with their heavy heads resting on my typing arms, and their big cat butts flopping off the other side of my lap, and they must get there by sinking their claws into my leg and climbing like I am Mt. Vesuvius.

SUVs.

Specifically, people who park their SUVs in the compact car spots. Here's a hint. If you have to stop in the traffic lane to let your passengers off, and then reposition your car three times, and then have to crawl out through the back hatch- your car may be too large for the space. Park elsewhere. How about the larger space that's 20 further down the parking lot?

Bike rides.

On bright warm blue days when I can't take them because of work. Deep pitying sigh, which the cat is not helping because he's mad that I won't let him put his heavy paws on my arm.

Sermons.

When they won't write themselves.

The lack of Rick Steves on OPB.

Why is there no Rick Steves and his happiness on, on a Saturday, in Oregon? Really. This would be a perfect day for a Rick Steves marathon, allowing the world's most affable dork to hike up his backpack and the goofy grin and go traveling while I live vicariously (and finish that sermon). Because he's like Mr. Rogers for grown-ups, that's why.

Outdoors, hills, new tire

I am very proud of myself. I wore out my old tire on the trainer and needed a new one. So I bought one and put it on, myself. I know, I know, but still- it's a far cry from the days when I needed the mechanic to pump my tires! I run Continental 4000s, and they seem to be pretty bomb proof- I've had zero puncture flats with them. Phew. I still have bad memories of The Summer of Flats in Connecticut, a few years ago.

It is perfect Oregon weather right now. It's warm enough to feel warm, but cool enough to be cool. It's shorts and jerseys weather, but light weight armwarmers won't kill you. We have birds and frogs and baby calves and little lambs. Seriously, it's like living in an Easter commercial, right down to the pink and white flowers on all the trees.

I decided to ride the hills, since I haven't done the hills since last summer. I rode into the area I call "The Monstrosities"- this very hilly area of huge houses with three car garages and RV parking areas with yards smaller than my area here at the apartment. But I do enjoy running and walking those hills. I credit them with helping me drop all that time from my mile pace!

I hauled tail up. Hmm. Not my best climb ever. It was a tough, climby ride and I didn't gear correctly at the turn onto Chambers so I had to walk a bit. There's a nice downhill section right before the turn onto Chambers, so you have to remember to gear down and coast that turn or else you can't get low enough gearing for that super-steep climb. It's either 12% or vertical, I don't recall.

Once over that, though, I was right at the section called the Lorane Speedway- a nice, mostly flat swoopy section that is awesome for going fast and enjoying a rest. In pretty much every direction, it's a prettying hairy climb to that part, so you always earn your descents.

My speed is not where I would want it to be for right now, but I feel like I'm starting this season about as fit as I ended the last one. My goals for the next two months, then, will be to build speed and drop the last of this weight I want to drop. Oh, and build up to tha half marathon distance. Oy! Thar be runnin' in my future. Lots of runnin'.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

(Indoor) Bike Ride! And Lent Review.

Despite the spring weather, I haven't had the BMC outside since early March. My rear tire is so worn I just don't think it would be a good idea, and I have to get to the bike shop! Meanwhile, Work Trip, Holy Week, Vacation. No time.

So today I hauled it inside and did a quick ride on the trainer, bookended by two Barre3 sessions for core and stretching. I've been a little lax in my working out habit lately (stress, preparing for M to get home, stress) and I know that I feel SO much better and less anxious when I work out. I believe I can actually feel the stress and anxiety leaching out of me as I ride.

So let's see... Lenten Disciplines review.

1) Internet and Facebook off between 6PM-9AM. Whoa, epic fail. It was so busy that sometimes, the only time I could get an outdoor workout in was during the day, meaning I HAD to do some work at night. And work people use Facebook as a communication tool. Oh well. It was a worthwhile idea, right?

At least, with the discipline out there, I could sometimes say to myself "Stop going down this rabbit hole of mindless surfing" and intentionally turn off the screen to do another Barre3 session or just listen to music on the bike ride. And I also learned that sometimes, I just find mindless surfing relaxing. There, I said it.

2) Cadbury Eggs. Epic win! The congregation seems to find it amusing, so I have not had to buy very many eggs this year. I haven't had one every single day, but there have generally been several a week. Basically, I don't want one every day, but if I want one, I have one. And when I'm jet-lagged, I forget I had one and then I have two. It's delicious.

Someone didn't believe me that it's a Lent discipline, and made a joke that I was of course going to go to the after-Easter sale and get the rest of the boxes on super-sale. No, actually. This really is a LENTEN discipline. I eat my last egg on Holy Saturday before Vigil. After Vigil, it's curtains on eggs until Ash Wednesday the following year.

3) This wasn't really a Lenten discipline (I only had two) but I developed the discipline of planning meals better. eMeals has been a great help. I still wish I could import the plan into Meal Board, but oh well, can't have it all! Sure, sometimes it's a little more carby than I am used to (sandwiches and quesadillas show up once a week or so) but I just sub out the cheap carbs. Today, I was supposed to make a quiche, so I did. I just made it crustless. Interestingly, the amount of food is MASSIVE. Some of these recipes feel like they can feed an army. But I have run some of them through the calorie calculator and I find it's the right amount of food... making me think I must have been chronically undereating because I have no idea what a portion size is for vegetarians.

I have definitely lost weight. I hit my post-season weight last week. It's weird, because my truth-telling jeans need a belt right now, but some of my other pants are riding low and so they feel tighter (until I realize how low they are riding- the waists are around my hips right now). I really hate pants shopping... and my muscles have gotten tighter, but I am still carrying some fat, so I'm at that stage where the tight muscles are hiding under this layer of fat. I know from experience that fat layer will evaporate seemingly overnight once my metabolism stabilizes and my training ramps up, but it's a very uncomfortable stage right now...

Plans for next week are going to be tough- I'm flying to DC to drive across the country with M as I bring him home from his work in Harpers Ferry. It'll be interesting learning to live together again!

Meanwhile, It's off to wash up and get to bed. It's a long Wednesday of Holy Week tomorrow. I'm actually very vain about it, this year... I made the Stations of the Cross bulletin. I built the bulletin from a blank page in Microsoft Publisher. I've never built a bulletin from scratch- only modified other templates. It took me most of yesterday to do that and format, and then today was round after round of proofreading. Finally, we called it. I hope there's no MAJOR whoppers in there. (As in, I sure hope I spelled 'Jesus' right most of the time. And didn't make any dumb Wikipedia-type inaccuracy errors. I used actual library resources for this thing!)


Monday, March 25, 2013

Four miles on a perfect spring day

The rest of the universe must be so jealous of Oregon. We had perfect weather today for a nice run. I thought I was doing miserable with plenty of the grumps, but I did decide to chase and pass two people. So I do have speed there somewhere.

Sadly, my GPS program conked out right as I ended in the parking lot. So I have no proof of my four mile, thirty-five minute run. That's an 8:45 pace, y'all. Back when I started this whole journey, my running miles were something 11 minutes! I'm actually feeling like a real runner these days.

I got home and made a quick stew involving a ton of veggies and quinoa (which I subbed for couscous as I didn't get couscous thinking I had it at home and not realizing it was quinoa until dinnertime. It was a very good stew- just huge!! If that really was two servings, then I really have been under eating for a long time. It was a huge dish!! But it was all veggies and no oil, so naturally low-fat and plenty high in fiber.

I'm experimenting with this meal planning service called emeals. I got a group for half off a years' worth of meal planning services. You could choose from (and change your plans if you want) all sorts of plans including low carb, paleo, clean eating, vegetarian, and more. I read the sample plans and decided I liked the service because of the focus on whole food ingredients. It didn't tell me to buy a Gardenburger and put it on a bun- it gave me a recipe to COOK a burger from scratch. It was tasty!

Basically, I'm relieved to have one less thing to think about for a little while! I am really enjoying the meal planning service so far. Phew.

Ps- I did have to run a LOT today. The excellent quilters made me a special birthday cake, all minty and delicious and including secret ingredients that we don't give children, and it was delightful!





Harpers Ferry

I was lucky enough to get a bonus visit with M this week. I hadn't been expecting to see him ntil April, but a meeting inDC awarded me a few extra days of visit time! It was very useful. Among other things, I packed a few bags of his clothes and things which leaves us with plenty of extra space in the car for our road trip.

I'd also brought my stuff for trail running. Being a spoiled Oregonian, I had dismissed his dire warnings about the chilly weather. I'd been outside running and biking all winter in the Oregon hail and rain. West Virginia was bright and sunny- shockingly so, actually- so what's the big deal?

I stepped outside in my Oregon tights and promptly headed back in to add every layer I could lay my hands on. I'd forgotten how COLD it really does get in the sunshine!

I managed to get a loop in on Murphy Farm. All told, it was a little over three miles of trails and open field. Yes, it was slow, but I was stopping to read the markers and stuff. Plus, it was cold! I didn't warm up until the last 1/4 mile.

I suppose it was a nice Virginia run- but compared to Oregon's huge trees and moss and green and lichen, it was really quite brown and sparse feeling. It really is so much more populous over here. I definitely miss things about my Virginia, but I really do love the totally alien feeling of the Oregon forests. And I'm not kidding- a lot of those sci fi shows film in the Pacific Northwest because of how Martian like it looks!

But anyway- it really is fun to run in amongst the incredible history here, and to traverse those old battlefields and to think about how hard those days must have been. I would have done some runs in other directions, but my week was busybusybusy, with trips to my Seminary library and to see my old mentor and to wi-fi places to get work done.


And now for something completely different

So today I did something a little different. I haven't run since getting home- I was jetlagged on Day One and thought I was feeling great until I woke up from a two hour nap, and then I was working all yesterday. (Palm Sunday. Long days in my world this week!)

Today, I went rock climbing at the rock gym- Crux, across from REI. I went with a friend who'd been working hard to lose some excess weight and has done awesome, and her reward was going to be rock climbing!

We got our shoes and harnesses on, and while she learned to tie knots, I got a quick knot-refresher, and belay-tested so I could belay. For my climb test, I went up the easiest route in the gym and stopped a few feet shy of the ceiling. It was about 200 feet high, of course. Which means it was about two or three stories up.

My friend, on the other hand, on her first attempt, went all the way to the top, and thumped the ceiling!

We made friends with some of the other women there- it was Ladies' Night- and just had fun with the girls and the fake rocks. It is a really mellow, laid-back community here, compared to the attitudes I was used to in rock gyms back East!

I am definitely going to take M when he's home again!

Then I came home and made quesadillas. So here's the question: if you went rock climbing but got not other exercise all day because you were busy working on a major service, and if you had a snack before going rock climbing, you probably shouldn't eat ALL your dinner, right? Even if it IS delicious vegetarian bean quesadillas and grilled pineapple...

I saved about 3/4 of the meal for tomorrow. I think it'll work for breakfast and lunch. This being Holy Week, I have planned out meals for all dinners plus all lunches, including when in advance I need to do various bits of prep. I also bought pre-cooked, canned beans this week instead of soaking and cooking my own. Hey, it's Holy Week and things are CRAAAAZY so you do what you need to do to survive.

Monday, March 11, 2013

A little first of the spring 5K

So I turned in a little 5K on this perfect spring day. No. I'm not listening to the fact that its not officially spring yet. It was sunny and cool and perfect. I had to get the oil changed in my beloved Beetle, and my oil change place is right next to the Fern Ridge path. So I threw my running stuff in, and after my thirsty little car had fresh oil, it was off on the run.

30:05, with 2 walk breaks. Yeah, slow, painful, and also the longest I'd run since my little plague last month. I sure fought that sinking ship, but it was weeks afterwards before I really felt I could breathe again, like normal.

I think I also have allergies. My right eye feels blurry and looks smaller than my left eye, usually a sure sign that allergies are in town. Darn. Thought I would beat them this year! But no. It is now time to start taking allergy meds and drinking tons of water to keep hydrated.

In other news, I got a Groupon coupon for a years worth of meal planning, so I signed up with emeals. I can switch between vegetarian, paleo, clean eating, low carb, organic, and all other sorts of plans. I picked the "cook for two" option. This month, I'm trying the vegetarian meals. It looks like they try to use ingredients several ways in multiple recipes so you don't have to worry about buying a pineapple to just have the excess rot in the fridge. I really liked the variety of vegetarian meals- it looks like they actually had a vegetarian planning the menu. I have been researching meal planning services and so many of them just looked like "cook a slab of tofu in a pan" and use it like you'd use a turkey piece or "cook a Gardenburger". This one actually has curries, homemade lentil burgers, and no pre-made food at all. I liked that.

I spent less than $40 on my grocery bill this week, and got side dishes and desserts too, so we shall see.

I still think that the MealBoard app is a great tool, but typing in my recipes and planning meals was feeling like a drag with all the other life stress right now. One thing I prefer is the ipad-iPhone syncing. Emeals is just online and through email, so I lose the ability to check things off with a satisfying click. But at least emeals does it all for me... Something that feels important as I prepare to do a week of travel, Holy Week, and two weeks of going to the East Coast to bring my triumphant, fellowship-completed husband back home!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Hiking

My morning began, as it has for most of the last year, with me waking up alone. M has been working in Harpers Ferry. That some 2,883 miles away, in case you were counting. So we began our morning as we often do... Texting back and forth. Yeah, such is a work-separated life. I cannot wait til he's done with the latest project and the homeward journey begins!

Meanwhile, I whined that I was feeling too lonely to do anything. He can see the weather on his phone and he knew it was gorgeous out and that staying in would be a sin. He suggested a bike ride. I can't do a roadie ride yet- I rode through my back tire this winter on the trainer and haven't replaced it with a new tire just yet. (Only rode through a week ago, work's been busy, it'll happen bike tribe, don't worry!)

So I asked him to google me places. He came up with Goodman Creek, so in the spirit of adventure I headed out to a place I'd never heard of and had no GPS address for. All I knew was to look for the turn out between mile markers 20 and 21 on this one road, and drive up a dirt road.

Along the way, I met some trail runners and a guy with a very clean MtB that would get some major mud this afternoon and we talked MTBing and trail running. I am considering taking my bike for a ride next time! Armed with just a Trader Joes fig bar, I set out for what I thought was a two mile round trip. I have no idea how far I did go, but I was out for almost three hours! Will prepare better for random adventure next time. Here are some pictures from my Adventure Day in the Vitamin D!









Busy Days in Lent

Wow, haven't updated since 2/23. Whoops! Busy times, indeed.

Big shout-out to my Uncle T, one of my biggest cheerleaders. He won an important ham radio award for a technical article he wrote. Congratulations!! Hooray!

Well, my Lenten discipline of Cadbury Creme Eggs goes well. I don't have one every day, but I think I manage to squeeze in 2-3 a week. My other discipline of no Facebook or internet surfing between 6PM - 9PM... that has not been going as well. Part of it is just how busy work has been. Sometimes, I haven't even GOTTEN to email until after 6PM. So I'm trying to cut myself some slack, there.

I am being pretty good about healthy food choices: my "on the go" meals have been frequent, but with my meal planning program, I am being good- a little too good- about cooking for one. I sometimes don't have leftovers for lunch the next day. Whoops.

I have a new ingredient to play with: I have discovered umeboshi plums! They are a super-sour pickled plum. Given my issues with electrolytes and cramping, I am always on the lookout for homepathic cures. I'd had some nagging calf cramps over the last week or so, but then discovered a recipe for a ginger-lemon-umeboshi tea (grate ginger, slice of lemon, one plum, 1.5-2 cups water, boil, strain, add honey if needed). And the cramps? History. It also works well on headaches.

Racing-weight wise... I think I need to find a little help whittling off the last ten pounds or so. I'm sort of stalled and that usually means you need a kick in the butt.

Training has gone on apace. I have started seeing more rides outside than inside now that the light is picking up. Of course, OREGON. Once, I left work at 3PM because it was so gorgeous and sunny after a week of rain, and it was hailing when I got home. I suited up like an Eskimo, looked out over the hills, guessed that it might be sunny once I got down the hill, and indeed, it was sunny and dry a mile from my hail-covered house. (Yes, mom, I was super-careful riding down the hill in the hail!) Of course, then I was dying of heat, as I did a ride in 55 degree sunny weather wearing layers better suited to a 35 degree ride!

As of April 1, I start to ramp it up into my formal Half-Iron Plan, with a schedule and everything. I feel like I'm about where I ended last season at, minus about 8 pounds. I'll be adding some big swim workouts (especially once M is home so I can have a workout buddy!).

Plans for this season? Well, I really hope I can get M to do the Rolf Prima in July, and then I'll have Lake Stevens. I'm debating seriously about the Leadman 125. If I can, I would LOVE to go do Leadman again. It's just such a fun course. And M would just love Bend.

In other news, I have discovered the joys of a home carpet cleaner. My house just feeling frusty- you know, dusty and dirty. I felt like I could not vacuum enough to make myself happy. I was going to rent a carpet cleaner, but a friend had a spare one, so I am now the proud owner of a grand old carpet shampooer.

It is shockingly effective, and incredibly satisfying in a way that would make my 12-year-old self cry to think of what I would become. THAT GIRL who gets excited about cleaning up dirt. I'm a little horrified at myself, really. I shall ponder what my life has sunk to, as I wiggle my bare toes against my fantastically clean carpet.

I'm also working on a knitted sweater. I got some great yarn on sale and found a very exciting pattern, so I'm busy on a sweater, and I am more eager to be knitting lately than I have in a long time. I really needed a just-for-myself project. I don't think I'll have it done in time for my next plane trip, but maybe by April!