Thursday, August 8, 2013

Let’s Try This Again

I've been wanting to take up writing in my personal blog again for a long time. When I started it I think I had high hopes of hitting blogger rockstar status, mostly because I was feeling bored in my job and stuck in a creative rut. I got a little bit intense and obsessed last time around and wasn't in a good place to keep writing. I think I was flirting with orthorexia for a while there and knew I needed to take some time off. That being said, life has changed a lot for me since the last time I blogged here in January.

I began job hunting last winter and accepted a job offer in late March for my current position as a Regional Campus Librarian at the University of Central Florida. We moved to Orlando on May 1st and I started my new job on May 10th. The day after we moved my Dad had a major stroke. He spent a few weeks in the hospital, a month or so in an intensive rehab facility, and is now in a nursing home where he is still receiving physical, occupational, and speech therapy. It’s been a challenging time but I’m happy to report that the healthy lifestyle changes I’d adopted before all this disruption have stuck with me. Part of the reason I want to get back into personal blogging is because I’m trying to become a published writer in  my professional life. The more I read about how to accomplish that, the more I come across the importance of writing every day. I keep a work related blog but I only post about once a week. I have an article that I’m struggling with, but I thought it would be good to have another outlet to hone my writing skills.

In terms of the healthy lifestyle changes referenced above I thought I’d give a little update on where I am with food and exercise right now. I don’t quite remember what I wrote in my last few blog posts, but one big change for me is that I stopped counting calories in December. I did it a few weeks before we went to Curacao on vacation because I knew that I didn't want to be worried about that stuff there. I've been following the basic principles laid out by Brendan Brazier in his Thrive books and Thrive Forward online program. When I was still in NC I was weighing myself regularly at the gym and although I've stopped that now, I can safely say that my weight has been very stable based on the way my clothes fit. If anything my clothes are a bit loose but I think my weight is stable because I’m changing the ratio of fat to muscle in my body.

Most mornings I have a smoothie for breakfast. I've gotten in a habit of making a bunch on Sunday and freezing them for the week. I take one out each morning before I work out and eat it once I get to work. I’ll occasionally throw in a homemade cereal or toast with nut butter and fruit breakfast for variety. After my long runs I've been eating my smoothies in a bowl topped with extra fruit and granola…kind of inspired by acai bowls. My smoothies are usually a combination of 1 frozen banana, ½-1 c some other fruit, a handful of baby carrots, a big handful of frozen broccoli, two or three big handfuls of greens, 1 C unsweetened almond milk, cinnamon, ginger and 1 tablespoon of protein powder. Sometimes I add in other things like beets or chia seeds or cacao nibs.

For lunch I either eat leftovers or a salad or leftovers on a salad. I like big salads for lunch because they take a long time to eat and I can eat bunches of low calorie nutrient dense foods. Dinners are where I get the most variety. Some favorites lately have been Vietnamese bun salads; grains, greens & beans with plantains; taco salads; hearty soups/stews; and grilled veggies with corn on the cob. For snacks I've been having roasted chickpeas, trail mix, fruit, protein bars, and oatmeal. Good stuff and I don’t have to think too much or obsess about what I’m eating each day.

On the workout side I've been trying to stick to 6 days a week of exercise plus one rest day of yoga each week. Due to my work schedule and weather and lack of gym membership I’ve started working out first thing in the morning. I tried to transfer my gym membership when we moved but found out that since I pre-paid I wasn't able to do so. I decided to save my money and start running outside again. I also used credit card rewards points to buy a weight bench with a set of variable dumbbells. We also bought nice bikes about a month and a half ago.

I got to a point where I was getting tired of running, but then I ran my first 5k at the American Library Association Annual Conference in Chicago in late June and caught the running bug again. I completed the 5K in 28:41. My goal was under 30 so I was ecstatic. When I got back I read the book “ChiRunning” by Danny Dreyer and it has completely changed the way I run and the way I feel about running. More about that in a future post!

My schedule lately has looked something like this:
Mon
Tues
Weds
Thurs
Fri
Sat
Sun
interval run
strength 2
yoga
mile splits
strength 2
long run
strength intervals
interval run
strength 1
yoga
mile splits
strength 1
long run
strength intervals

Strength 1 and strength 2 are weight lifting and core sequences I've developed based on the “Thrive Fitness” book. Strength intervals is a 3 set series of strength, cardio and core exercises based on the research from the American College of Sports Medicine on the most efficient full body workout. My long runs have been creeping up in distance. Last week was 5.75 miles, my goal for this week is 6! For the interval run I've been doing a sequence of 30 seconds walk, 20 seconds jog, 10 seconds sprint. My goal is to add one extra minute each week. For splits my goal is to do 3 miles at negative splits, which means each mile is successively faster. Today was the first day I did that successfully!


I’m really happy with this routine although I think I need to up the intensity of my strength 1 & 2 routines. I’m trying to work in bike riding but have had some issues with my bike (taking it to the shop this weekend). I hope to start posting again regularly. I don’t want to commit to a certain number of posts but as I said before this is a good outlet for me to keep my writing skills fresh. 

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