Tuesday, March 18, 2014

no michael phelps yet

I feel so healthy.  Thanks to the Fresh 20 and my Vitamix purchase the past couple of weeks, I have significantly limited my processed and junk food intake.  Meals for the Fresh 20 lunch and dinner are made with simple ingredients - nothing really from a can or package, and it has been smoothies in the morning for breakfast every day! AND I am once again Coke free. 

Needless to say - I am loving this healthy-living lifestyle.  Although don't get me wrong - I will still eat things like hamburgers and cake when the craving strikes, but it's nice to be eating mostly healthy things overall.

As for if this is helping my workouts, that has yet to be determined.

After taking pretty much a week off (last week was a 'recovery' week, don't judge), Saturday it was time to get back in the pool, and follow that up with a three mile run.  The swim went swimmingly (haha), and I definitely feel more confident about my ability in the water.  I even graduated to learning how to breathe on the left (versus my natural right).  Although I think breathing on the left feels like I am learning how to write with my left hand, so progress has been slow so far.  I also swallowed a few more gallons of pool water in the process.

Nothing fancy on the run, other than it was once again cold outside, and I ran the full three miles without a break (minus stop lights, since I really don't want to get ran over by a car).

With no officially scheduled practice on Sundays, Mark and I decided to head to the pool to work on our swimming sans coaches.  We pretty much know what we are doing, but it is definitely harder when you don't have someone super experienced watching and helping you out along the way. 

For some reason, the solo swimming on Sunday wore me out.  Of course we went first thing Sunday morning, and I was just tired the rest of the day - like, couldn't keep my eyes open, took a nap, and still went to bed at 8pm tired.  Must have been the two days of swimming in a row...

...except then we went swimming Monday night too! We will get this swimming down.  Every time I get in the pool, it is a little easier, and I've started to alternate breathing left and then right on my laps.  I feel like I am really starting to get it, although to outsiders, it must still look like I am drowning.  The guy who was in the lane next to me last night literally asked me if I was doing alright multiple times.  At least this time I wasn't extremely tired afterwards, and managed to stay up until my usual bed time.

This morning was the usual 4:45am wake up call to be at the gym at 5:30 for a spin class and then run.  I survived spin, and with legs on fire ran 1.6 miles.  We were only supposed to run 15 minutes or two miles, whichever came first.  I went 1.6 in about 16 and could have kept going for at least another 15 minutes, I think.  For the first time, I was feeling good on the run - building that lung capacity slowly but surely. 

To increase our running capacity, we are on the hunt for some races that stretch our usual runs out a bit - something longer than a 5k.  We have a 5 miler coming up in May, so hopefully we are ready for that when the time comes.  If we can make that - 6.2 should be no problem.  Then we just have the bike and swim to worry about!

PS - I finally made homemade peanut butter in my Vitamix - and it is amazing! All I had to put in there was peanuts, nothing else.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

a smoothie surprise

I did it.  I finally bought my Viatamix.  For those of you that know me, you know I've been talking about this for a long time now.  Well, I saved my pennies from my birthday, Christmas, and sold some stuff on eBay - and finally saved enough! Last Wednesday it arrived on my doorstep and I'd been excited to try it out ever since.

Like Christmas morning...

All assembled on its counter throne. 

It even came with a fattie recipe book...

Unfortunately I had to wait from Wednesday until Sunday to try it out since we had ZERO food in our apartment I could blend - and were too busy to go to the store before then.  But I did get a lot of good stuff on my Sunday shopping trip.  

Check out this post shopping haul - have you ever seen more produce on a counter (in part due to my Fresh 20 shopping list...but still)?  

My only disappointment is that I forgot to buy peanuts to make my own peanut butter.  They're on the top of the list for next week - so at least I won't have to wait long.

Enough about my shopping though - this is a VITAMIX we are talking about.  

Monday morning I was finally able to test it out (couldn't try it Sunday because I had to wait for my fruit to freeze, what ever happened to instant gratification?).   Smoothies for breakfast, Fresh 20 for lunch and dinner?  Such a healthy start to my week!

Of course I had to document her maiden voyage - 

A nice selection of bananas, berries, and pineapple for this one.

Ready to blend.  I bought the 48oz container instead of the 64oz one.  Just the right size for two smoothie servings.

And the finished product...

...to go!

And there you have it.  My first Vitamix smoothie.  My only disappointment is that I forgot to add the spinach in this one.  I actually remembered to add it today, and honestly I couldn't taste it - but it definitely takes it from that pretty pink color to something that looks a lot less appetizing.   

Next up more smoothies, peanut butter, and even soup if I am feeling adventurous!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

measly meal planning

Today was a day off from training, so I have nothing to report on that - other than my legs are in protest and hurt so bad.  But it's a good kind of hurt, and it means I am making progress, so I will gladly tolerate it. 

Sunday's in our household are always grocery store days.  Until I moved to Chicago I think everyday was grocery store day - if I was out of food or needed something, I would just run out and get it.  When you don't have a car and the closest grocery store is a 10 minute walk away (and you are getting off work at 7pm every night), you really lose that luxury of just being able to run out and get something.  Hence, Sunday is grocery day.

I hate grocery day.  Not because I hate going to the grocery store - actually quite the contrary.  I love going to the grocery store. But because meal planning is the most difficult, least fun thing I have to do all week (in my free time that is - not counting work :) I really have not enjoyed it lately.  Somehow every Sunday morning I sit down to think about what I want to make all week for us to eat (for lunch and dinner) and can never think of - 1) anything that sounds good and 2) anything I have ever made in my 26 years on the planet before that I have eaten and liked.

This Sunday was the first grocery day since we have moved to Chicago that I actually woke up, made my list, and had no problems.  This week, I went grocery shopping stress free.  No, I did not have a meal planning angel come and miraculously give me the ability to flawlessly meal plan.  But I did sign up for the Fresh 20 meal planning service - which planned not only my dinners for the week, but my lunches too; and it even made my shopping list for me.  

I haven't even cooked a meal from my subscription to the Fresh 20 yet - but I can already tell I love it.  First, it was only $54 for the entire year.  For a little more than a dollar a week I can stop hating my Sunday mornings.  The meals are complete, and as I said come with a shopping list of exactly what you need.  With the annual subscription, you even get access to the archives (which goes back through 2011 by the way).  So I now have access to three years of meal plans at my fingertips.  

I also fully expect this subscription to pay for itself.  Similar to many of you I am sure, Mark and I waste a good amount of food.  Not intentionally, but because we buy something we plan to make, but forget about it for one reason or another, or didn't get the right things in the first place. Now I know that what I buy I will use (and I know I'm only buying the exact right amount of ingredients).  Especially because the recipes sound delicious.  I'm even excited about trying out the fish dishes, and I don't even like fish (not guaranteeing I will like the fish dishes, but I am definitely going to be trying them).  

Tomorrow is the first day of having my food figured out before I wake up, and I am so excited.  Now when Mark asks me 'What's for Dinner?' on gchat at work - I will actually be able to say for a change.  

Saturday, March 8, 2014

a gallon of pool water later...

My fears of having to doggy paddle a mile have officially been squashed - I can swim! I can swim!  Well, maybe not like I should - but better now than when I woke up this morning.  I certainly can no longer tell people that I can't swim (my fun fact is officially destroyed - now what will I use for ice-breaker events?!?). 

It is amazing what you can learn when someone who knows what they are doing can explain what you are doing wrong.  Apparently I was better than I thought (so maybe I could already swim?) - but still have a lot of room for improvement.  

Today practice really focused on breathing - and how to not feel like you are drowning.  I think I swallowed at a minimum one gallon of fresh chlorine water, but by the end of the hour I could really swim!  I just kept wanting to swim more laps because the feeling of actually being able to was so exhilarating.  Although when I actually finally felt like I knew how to swim, it was almost an hour in so I was extremely tired - and pretty much had to take a breather every half lap.  I never thought I would say it, but I am actually excited for the next time I can get in the water.  

But learning to swim wasn't all I did today.  After swimming for an hour, we set out for a three mile run (well, Mark and I did three - the others in the group went for five).  Options were indoor or outdoor and we chose outdoor.  It had just stopped snowing and was about 30 degrees out.  Never thought I would be one of those people who ran on the snowy sidewalks on a cold, windy Chicago day, but now I officially am.  Nothing notable about the run, other than it was cold - but happy I could make it the full three and am looking forward to the day when I can keep up with the full group for the full mileage.

Until next time...

Friday, March 7, 2014

a weak or two in

Man, have I been busy! It was definitely not my goal to post something here everyday, but I did want to share my story more than once a week!  So here's to a (hopefully) fresh start and a flurry of posts to come.

It's been almost two weeks now since Mark and I started training, and I must say that he has been so much more committed to this than I have.  I think he has made it to all but one class, and well, I've made it to one class this week.  Granted I was out of town last weekend, so I missed our first Saturday practice, and then we both ditched swimming on Monday, and then Wednesday and Thursday of this week I was sick...  Needless to say, I am itching to get back in the game.

Tomorrow is the first swim practice since the first-day-of-training disaster.  This one is supposed to be less hard-core, so hopefully this time I can swim instead of sink.  Honestly I feel like I could do a tri right now if all I had to do is bike and run (again, not that I've ever ran further than a 5k in my life, and I've only done that a few times - and a full distance tri is 1.5k swim/40k bike/10k run - so I probably can't actually do the bike/run portion right now).  

But that 1.5k (or ~.93 mile) swim is really going to cause me some trouble.  For perspective - the pool we have to train in has a nice, informative sign posted - 88 laps = 1 mile.  I can barely swim two laps without getting seriously winded.  So it will be interesting to see how this goes.  Not to mention that swimming in a heated indoor pool is slightly different than swimming in Lake Michigan in August.  For now I will just focus on taking it one practice at a time.   I'll let you know how tomorrow morning goes.