Finding a Balance

Learning to live a healthy, balanced life.


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How to get up earlier

Just because I’m a morning person doesn’t mean that it’s not hard for me to get up early — and some mornings it feels downright impossible. But once  I’m up, I LOVE mornings. I’m much more productive in the mornings than in the evenings (this never used to be the case. Hello all-nighters in undergrad AND grad school?!!). In the past, I’ve gone through streaks of being a morning workout person, but this typically goes much better if it’s for a class where I’m signed up and they’re expecting me or I will get charged if I don’t get up. If getting up early means going to the gym to hit the treadmill or go for a run outside – forget it.

But with the summer that lies ahead, getting up early is going to be necessary for me to fit everything in. Besides working my full time job (oh, and did I mention that the summer is our busy season at work?), I just accepted a part time summer job (I feel like I’m in high school again) to save to buy a new car in the fall, and both J and I will be training for the Twin Cities Marathon. So I’ll need to get up early to get in my runs, to blog, to get to work early, etc.

I read this article by Peter Shankman and it really changed my outlook an how I was approaching trying to get up early. The part that I can completely relate to is his #3 tip on how to get up earlier:

3) THERE IS NO TRY. Don’t think, just do. It’s amazing what we can rationalize at 5am. “Oh, I’ll just sleep for an extra hour, then do the treadmill at double the speed for half the time so I can still make it into the office. You know that’s BS, you know you’re not going to, and you know there will be no working out for you today. Don’t think. Just get your ass out of bed. Think later.

I sometimes have to laugh and how I rationalize resetting my alarm for a later time.

My five reasons to get up early

To eat a proper breakfast: when I’m rushed in the mornings I’m more likely to grab something on my way to or at work (likely unhealthy and expensive) or skip breakfast altogether. This usually also means that I’m starving by the time lunch comes around.

Yum.

Yum.

To fit in a workout: it’s the best feeling when I know that I don’t have to work out after work – this also gives me more time to make dinner.

pizza

Keep an eye out for “how to” on how to make pizza on the grill — coming soon!

To pack a lunch: I try to prep things the night before but it’s still easier to thoughtfully pack your lunch and bring it to work if you have a little extra time in the morning.

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More “me” time: my “me” time mostly includes catching up and commenting on blogs, snuggling with the pets on the couch, meal planning, planning or writing my own blog posts and just being alone.

To take the bus: on days where I don’t have anything going on right after work, I really should be taking the bus/train. I’m lucky to live close to a bus stop and there is a stop off of the train that is right in front of my office building. I’m also trying to drive my car less to hopefully retain whatever value is left for when I trade it in. Not to mention that I have unused money on my bus pass.

My approach going forward (I’m pretty much going to try out most of Peter’s ideas, tailored to what I think will work best for me.)

  • Work on getting up just fifteen minutes earlier each week. I’m thinking that this will ideally work best if I get up fairly early on the weekends, too. That shouldn’t be too difficult since I usually get up at the same time on the weekends as I do during the week.
  • I love the idea of keeping a glass of water by my bed and drink it right away when my alarm goes off. (I think I’ll shut it off first though. My husband might appreciate that)
  • Use the silent alarm on my fitbit (awesome feature) in addition to my cell phone alarm, which I’ll set for five minutes later and will put somewhere where I have to get up to turn it off. The goal will be to go turn it off before it actually goes off.
  • I love his comment about feeding your pet. My cat is relentless when she wants to be fed. I could also take the dog out for the last time a bit earlier than usual, but that just seems mean.
  • I already go to bed pretty early so I don’t think I’ll be moving my bedtime any earlier, but maybe it just means shutting down and unplugging earlier. This is going to be all about improving the quality of my sleep going forward.

(and yes it’s on purpose that all of my photos are of food. I guess food is a bit motivator for me 🙂


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Running nightmares

OK, show of hands – who’s had a running nightmare before?

My husband has been having running nightmares lately and I had a real doozy last night.

From what I can remember, all the nightmare was about was that I was with my mom and J and a bunch of strangers in some remote cabin and the half was about to start but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t figure out what time we needed to leave to get there on time. And then I just couldn’t get us out the door. I don’t think I actually missed the half, but I knew I was going to. Sounds silly, but I woke up pretty panicked!

(It probably comes as no surprise that yesterday I found out that the start time for the half is 6:30 a.m. Oh boy.)

Conveniently, J’s last 20 miler before Grandma’s is on Sunday and he was planning on doing his “test run” so he’s going to get up early and eat what he plans to eat before the marathon. Then he’s going to drive me to the start and then go for his 20 mile run. Does anyone want to drive me home? I’m only about three miles from where the race finishes, but after running 13.1, I doubt I’ll want to walk home 😉

The weather on Sunday is looking good as of right now.

weather

Also, it looks like I’ll be getting these in time for the race! And in time to do a test run in them beforehand.

Hooray!

Hooray!

Finally, question for all of you – for the last few long-ish runs, out of nowhere I’ve been getting this weird blister on the arch of my left foot – any idea of what could be causing that? I’ve tried playing with how tight I tie my shoes and wearing different socks, but nothing seems to help. And it’s not like these are new shoes – I have over 150 miles on them. This worries me considering I just got another pair of these same shoes for marathon training.

Tell me about your running nightmares!


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FAB Fitness: weekly workouts 5/20 – 5/26

Besides workouts this week, I’m going to start trying to post more about what I’m eating and meals for the week. With marathon training kicking off, my diet is going to need some cleaning up. Also, I was inspired by Danielle’s meal planning posts and I’ve also been discovering some pretty great recipes lately that I’d love to share! So to kick this off, let me show you the lunch (and the snacks) that I’ve been obsessed with recently:

Wasa crackers with hummus and deli meat, I heart keenwah bites and sparkling water

Wasa crackers with hummus and deli meat, I heart keenwah bites and sparkling water

This is totally inspired by Meghann’s work lunches. I’m now obsessed with Wasa crackers! Also unpictured here is the banana I usually have as a mid-morning snack, the GF macaroon I had after lunch and the afternoon snack which lately has been a Picky Bar (if I’m going to be working out later), some Trader Joe’s ABC trail mix or a Chobani flip!

Monday: Strength work and stretching/rolling.

I did some pushups and loosely followed this video for my core workout. I’m seriously noticing a difference in my core strength already after just a few weeks of consistent core work. Awesome — a six pack must not be far behind 😉

Tuesday: 4.25 mile run. Total time: 39:05

Another run fail. But I’m pretty sure I’ve figured it out — I’ve been doing more strength work and I realized that I had been doing leg work before runs. I received this advice:

tweet

Which I know — duh. But I guess I just kind of didn’t even think about it. Anyways — lesson learned.

Wednesday: 2.8 mile run. Total time: 28:33

Met my friend Mandy at a local running store where I picked up more Nuun and some caffeine-free GU for my husband. It was cold and a little windy out and it had just stopped raining so it felt damp too. But we still got a little run in! After we finished, we caught up over carbs Italian at the Broders deli.

Thursday: 10.03 mile bike ride. Total time: 43:13

Windy day. Felt like I might just fall right over when I was crossing the Ford bridge. Followed the bike ride up with some pushups, planks and this core workout.

Friday: Rest day.

Friday night was group date night. J and I got together with some friends for delicious Pizza Luce. And even though it was a rest day, I got in my 10,000 steps because we capped off date night with some bowling! Oh — and some dancing.

(my first attempt at a Vine video)

Saturday: 3.26 mile run (total time: 32:33) and 20 minute swim.

Met Andrea for another Saturday morning swim, but this week we got a nice run in also!

swimcoffee

Post run/swim coffee treat.

Sunday: 6 mile run (58:28) and strength work.

Not much to say about this one. Enjoyed a really exciting French Open first set of the Urszula Radwanska/Venus Williams match up while on the treadmill.

This next week will be pretty light on the workout front. The Minneapolis half is next Sunday and I can tell that a week of dialing back will be the perfect way to be refreshed on race day.

Happy Memorial Day! How’s everyone spending the day?


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it can wait: a campaign to stop distracted driving

Hope you’re all having a good holiday weekend! With many of us probably going to be out on the roads today/tomorrow to get to whatever holiday parties, cabin trips, etc. we might have going on, I thought this was perfect timing for this post.

I just took a pledge to never text and drive. The pledge is part of the it can wait campaign — a program aimed at getting people to commit NOT to text and drive. Even though the it can wait campaign is something I found out about through my ambassadorship with Verizon, it’s something I’ve always felt really strongly about.

It Can Wait Pledge Logo

Here are just a few of the (scary) facts that helped make up my mind to take the pledge:

  • Those who send text messages while driving are 23 times more likely to be in a car crash.
  • Of all cell phone related tasks while driving- including talking, dialing or reaching for the phone- texting while driving is the most dangerous.
  • When drivers read or send a text message, their reaction time is doubled; and when asked to respond to a flashing light while texting behind the wheel, drivers were more than 11 times more likely to miss the light altogether.
  • In the 4.6 seconds your eyes leave the road to text while driving you travel the full length of a football field (going 55 mph).

Infographic.jpeg

I’ve often told myself there’s no reason to text and drive and I’m well aware of how dangerous it is. And I totally judge other people when I see them do it — but while I’m usually pretty good about it, every once in a while I’ll whip out my phone (usually at a stoplight, but that’s not OK either) and send a quick text. So I’ve decided to make a conscious decision to never text and drive. So friends who ride in the car with me — hold me accountable! I know my husband and I will be doing just that.

Check out my Facebook page for some more statistics about distracted driving and also tips to stay true to your it can wait pledge.

So will you take the pledge with me? Let me know in the comments below and help me spread the word on Twitter (#itcanwait), Facebook and however else you can think of! 
http://vzw-badge.comblu.com/Health-Fitness.htm
Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Health and Fitness Voices program and have been provided with a wireless device and six months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.


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Healthy Living Summit 2013 and #NoElevatorMonth

So…have you heard? The Healthy Living Summit is going to be in the Twin Cities this year! I’m super excited — I’ve wanted to go in years past (it’s been previously held in Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago) and now I can!  If you haven’t heard of HLS, it’s a weekend conference for bloggers and blog readers interested in all aspects of healthy living and was founded by these ladies.

Is anyone else planning to attend? I’m really excited to meet some blog friends in September!

If you’re interested, they just posted some answers to FAQs.

So my new “thing” at work to make sure I’m getting in my steps is swearing off the elevator. And I’m going to try and keep is up for as long as possible — aiming for one month. (My Fitbit it SO excited about this.) And I have to admit, I’m not missing the awkward elevator encounters that usually take place.

familiar sight.

I see a lot of this each day.

I sit on the fifth floor and for awhile I used to take the stairs when I first got to work in the morning, but usually didn’t take them many other times, unless meetings were on the fourth or sixth floors. But now that I’m taking the stairs all of the time, I’m definitely noticing that I’m not as winded when I get to my desk in the morning! So I’ll let you know how long I last. Today marks day 9 of #noelevatormonth. I did, out of habit, almost take the elevator yesterday, but caught myself just in time.

Oh — and  I’m officially registered for the Twin Cities Marathon!

Registered!

Registered!

I’m super excited to be running as a Girls on the Run Twin Cities Sole Mate this year. Training kicks off June 17. Perfect timing for me to take a little time off after my half marathon on June 2.

Are you going to the Healthy Living Summit?

Do you take the stairs? Do you avoid elevator awkwardness?


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Race Recap: 2013 TC 1 Mile

Official time: 7:10

Well, now I know what to expect from a 1 mile race.

I’ve had mixed emotions about this one — which is why this took so long to write. I definitely felt some disappointment after this one. I knew, as soon as I crossed the finish line, that I had maybe given this race somewhere between 60-70%. I’m pretty sure I should’ve been feeling some sort of “burn” and maybe a bit out of breath — and I felt neither.

But let me start from the beginning. Mandy and I lined up, somewhere right around the 8 minute mile estimated finish time. When we took off, it was FAST. It took no time at all to cross the mats at the start, but it was still crowded and congested and I immediately wished we would’ve started a bit closer to the front.

Before I knew it (seriously, it happened so fast) we were approaching the 1/4 mile marker and the clock read just under 2:00. I remember feeling good about this and telling myself I could pick it up but it was going to get a lot harder. But the next 1/4 mile flew by also and doing math to figure out what my pace was went out the window. Plus, the buildings were messing with my Garmin.

After I hit the 3/4 mile marker I knew I should go for it — and I felt fine — but for some reason I was still cautious. I actually remember briefly slowing down as I approached the finish line — afraid of the hurt I was still convinced was coming. (I should point out, this is WAY different than a normal race. Unless I really don’t have anything left, I always push myself at the end.) And then I finished and that was that.

On the positive side, I now feel confident about racing one mile in the future.

Lessons learned:

  • You’re not going to die.
  • Start out even closer to the front than you think you should. (People gave me good advice about this one — just wasn’t sure how close I should have started!)
  • It goes by REALLY fast, so give it all you got

Perhaps the coolest part of this race was watching the leaders of the following waves come flying by as we walked back to the car. I’m for sure going to stick around and watch the elites next year. (This year, a burger and a beer were calling my name.)

So there you have it! Definitely a great experience — looking forward to running this one again next year.

 


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FAB Fitness: weekly workouts 5/13 – 5/19

Monday: Recovery day. 20 minute walk on the treadmill and 20 minutes on the stationary bike. Also did some shoulder/biceps/triceps/chest/ab mat work. I can feel my core getting strong again. Making a commitment to more consistent strength training, especially once marathon training kicks off.

Tuesday: 4 mile run on the treadmill. Total time: 36:23. Nothing too special about this run but did try to hold a more steady, slightly faster pace than I’m used to (but not quite a tempo pace) — throughout the entire run.

I’m also happy to report that my backup marathon training shoes showed up! (Finally. Not happy with Saucony right now.)

The shoes that I like never come in cool colors.

Saucony Guide 5’s.  The shoes that I like never come in cool colors.

Wednesday: Ughhhh worst run in a long time. 4.23 miles. Total time: 51:44. Started out feeling blah and with heavy legs. Then my legs and lower back started cramping up. Next, I started feeling nauseous. I had planned to do a 4 mile out-and-back so I ended up walking quite a bit on the way back with short periods of running mixed in. This felt like dehydration, but I thought I was plenty hydrated — maybe even more than usual that day.

At least the water has been turned back on!

At least the water has been turned back on along the running path!

Thursday: Squats/lunges/upper body and core work. Along with a 18.47 mile bike ride. Total time: 1:22:23. (Proud of my pace on this one — the last ride I did was 16.41 miles in 1:20. Pedestrians and stop lights can kill your pace around here.)

Not too shabby.

Not too shabby.

Friday: Rest, rest, rest, rest, rest! (Imagine me singing a little song to this.) My legs were SORE, in weird places, from the lower body strength work + bike ride the day before. After work I had lunch with a friend and then J and I went to our friends’ charity silent auction to help raise money for the MS Society.

signs

Their TRAM team is going to bike approx. 250 miles across Minnesota to raise money for MS. The silent auction was a lot of fun! I hope they raised some good funds.

Saturday: 30 minute swim with Andrea.

IMG_20130518_091354_543

The rain was pouring down when I woke up so instead of the run we were planning on, I met Andrea at her apartment building to swim in their indoor pool. I made up a little workout to keep myself entertained. It was something like this:

  • 5 minute warm up including some kicking.
  • My version of  a ladder workout doing one length of the pool (down and back), then two, repeated all the way to five and then back down to one. I made an effort to push myself and briefly rested in between.
  • Cool down

After our workout we relaxed in the hot tub for a bit.

Sunday: 12 miles. Total time: 1:58:18. I woke up to rain (again) so I headed to the gym. I knew that the treadmills only go up to 99 minutes and that wouldn’t be enough time for me to finish 12 miles (although that would be AWESOME), so after six miles I stopped my workout and then re-started it to do the second six miles. Overall the run went pretty well. I kept a nice, easy pace and my legs were feeling much fresher than earlier in the week. I took half of a GU after four miles and the other half four miles after that.

The only thing that I had a problem with was I got a blister on the arch of my left foot. This is super weird since I’ve never gotten a blister there before. Maybe my socks were weird? Or my shoe wasn’t tied tight enough? No clue.

After the run (oh, and I should mention that J had 20 miles on his schedule today and he chanced the weather and did his run outside and he totally made it without getting rained on at all!) we headed to the Twins game. I had gotten tickets through work and we had some pretty sweet seats!

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But then, the rain came:

tarp

We ended up leaving during the rain delay since I think J and I were both pretty tired from our runs. We hadn’t been to a game yet this year and while I’m a big Twins fan, I’m an even bigger fan of baseball in general. So basically the ballpark is my happy place. Felt great to catch most of the game!

How was your weekend? Do you like baseball?