January…is DONE

Wow, where did time go? I guess time pass really fast when you’re having fun (or really busy). On the very last day of January, I looked over the workout spreadsheet that I’ve been keeping. I’m happy to report that I’ve ran 15 out of the 31 days!! And combined with yoga (and a couple other gym sessions), I’ve worked out a total of 22 days in January!! I think that’s the most active month I’ve ever had! Anyways, I’m really excited to make this change in my life ๐Ÿ˜€

As I head into February, things are gonna get hectic at work. But hopefully the good habits that I’ve built in January will help me push through the days when it seems easier to not workout (and take the wasy way out). Looking back, I think there are definitely health benefits of working out constantly and being active ย — I’ve consumed less caffeine in the past month and I am less sluggish in general. I can hardly remember any days in January where I suffered from the mid-afternoon dip in energy (but this could also be attributed to me getting 8 hours of sleep almost every night…)! My productivity at work has gone up and I’m overall, a happier person!

I’m excited to see what February brings! Oh, and I’m running my first half-marathon of the year is less than a week! Wish me luck!!

 

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Random Thoughts

I’m not sure where the following two thoughts fit on this blog but it is remotely related to my journey of fitness and health so I think I’m going to write them down.

1. My SIL called me yesterday and we caught up on each other’s life. She told me about her new found love affair with vegetables and drinking water. I’m happy that she is looking to become more healthy! She is one of those naturally tall and fit-looking girls that I had never realized that for a while, the doctors had told her that she’s pre-diabetic. She also revealed to me that it was recently did she realize that how much her upbringing affected her relationship with food. For example, before last year, she had never purchased fresh green beans before from the produce section before. Since her mom had always given them vegetables from a can, she didn’t know how to use fresh vegetables in her meal. It made me realize that parents can have a tremendous effect on how their kids see food and what they choose to eat. I’ve always cooked with my mom before I moved out on my own and by the time I left home, I already had a couple years of experience handling food and is somewhat knowledgeable about healthy eating.

2. I went to yoga today. And in the middle of my Sun A, I looked out the large floor to ceiling window of the studio and saw a homeless man also doing yoga. He was mimicking our movements in the little courtyard outside of the studio. Suddenly I thought how incredibly privileged I am to wear my stretchy yoga clothes while enjoying the beautiful and heated studio. But it also reminded me what yoga was really about – outside of our workout gear, nice mats, and fancy studio, the most important part is our dialogue made out of movements and connections. Everyone and anyone can do yoga. I’m pretty sure the gods of yoga are happy to draw every practicing yogi into his/her embrace.

Where did time go??!

How did I come to the 21st of Jan?? Wow, this year has been going by really fast. Ok, let’s recap a little. Last week was a painful one for me and I mean this literally. So on Monday (I think), I decided to go running in the morning but I didn’t really think about the time and ended up taking a route near the local highschool right before first bell. Needless to say, the traffic was absolutely nuts and while I tried to avoid being hit by cars, I didn’t look at where I was going and tripped very badly on the uneven pavement. It wasn’t pretty since I managed to take the skin off my left knee and allowed my phone to break my fall (ugh). And then I went home for the weekend…suffered from a bad bout of Ethiopian food, dehydration while I was on the Incline (see this explanation), and banged up my OTHER knee (no skin lost though) in the process. So, that definitely wasn’t the best week for me. But here’s what I learned from it:

1. Running without music can also be kind of nice. Since I had smashed my phone, I thought it would be a good idea to go without it for a short while. At one point last week, I took the usual ocean-side trail but sans headphones. I never knew how many sounds of nature I could enjoy! It was amazing to hear the ocean crashing, the call of seagulls, and the rustle of little creatures scurrying through the low vegetation on the bluffs. I might try to run without my phone more often when I’m on this trail. It was actually very relaxing.

2. When you fall, you get up and keep going. Believe it or not, I’ve never fallen while running before. I think the initial shock (and embarrassment) was more acute than the pain on my knee and other parts of me. I can still see the bruise, even a week later, but the swelling has gone down. It was very uncomfortable wearing pants last week though. But despite it all, I realized that I didn’t want to stop running…in fact, it made me want to run more; it made me want to go on my favorite trail and smell the salty sea air.

In other news, I signed up for a half that’s happening in three weeks!! Yeeep!! A friend and I have been talking about running together and we finally made plans! I know it’s kind of crazy and little unexpected (so once again, I’ll most likely be undertrained) but I’ve been working out pretty regularly again since mid-December so I think I could become prepared by the time the race rolls around. We shall see though. I care more about the journey anyways ๐Ÿ™‚

Adjustments

One of the most valuable lesson I’ve learned in the past couple years of my life is the art of being “flexible.” This was a winning trait to have, especially if one is married to a military man ๐Ÿ™‚ Now I also have to be flexible in my road to fitness in 2014. After a couple days back at work, I’ve realized that my schedule makes it REALLY difficult to accomodate the workout schedule I had originally envisioned for myself. This doesn’t mean that I won’t workout but that I should reconfigure the schedule. I’m still keepng with the yoga and running (yin & yang) theme but just with a different schedule. Here’s what’s new:

Mon: 6am Yoga

Tues: REST

Wed: 6am Yoga; Run

Thurs: Run

Fri: 6am Yoga; Run

Sat: Run

Sun: Run

Since my goal is to train for a marathon, running 5 times a week is important. I might consider adding a yoga day on the weekends after I’ve mastered this schedule. As you can probably tell, my week is loaded in the beginning of the week – Tuesday is especially hectic :/ I love the idea of the 6am yoga (and I love the energy of the class I went to this week) so that’s what I’m going to stick to.

Will this schedule change again? Maybe. But at least, it’s currently tailored a little better to what my week looks like for the next 3 months or so and I’ll have a better chance of succeeding in my fitness plan! Alright, back to work.

It’s a new year!

This will have to be a short post because there’s lots going on. But I’m happy to report that I’m making decent progress in my training. I’ve been able to run 4-5 times a week in the last two weeks with an additional of 1-2 days of yoga. Now that I’m back at school, I’ll need a period to readjust but I’m hoping to hang on to a similar schedule.

I was able to go to yoga today (at a new studio) and it felt great. It’s always harder to get started but once you get going, it gets more habitual (easier) and much easier to stick to a workout regimen.

Here’s an example of my progress from before the new year:

12/23/2013 3.2 miles
12/24/2013 3.1 miles and yoga
12/26/2013 3.1 miles
12/27/2013 4.2 miles
12/28/2013 the Incline!!!
12/29/2013 x

Cultivating a habit…

How long does it take to form a habit? Some say as little has 21 days…but recently I read this article from the health behavior research center from UCL that said 66 days as a minimum. Isn’t that small wonder that the fire of our well-intentioned “New Year Resolution” usually burn very brightly in the month of January and are reduced to mere embers by the time Valentines Day rolls around? Knowing that, I also realized that what I’m trying to do with my work and my fitness is also cultivating a habit. And the key is to sitck to it for long enough. But the question isย how? Here are the things I’m trying to do according to this (other) article:

1. Keep my goals small. I need to train for a marathon and want to get back into a regular habit of running but sometimes (as well all know), life can get in the way. If I can start small – with a goal of 2-3 miles for a couple times a week, the task wouldn’t be too hard and it will give me the time to push through the uncomfortable aspects of the sport if you haven’t been doing it for a while.

2. Find my anchor.ย I’ve done enough running to know that I HATE doing it in the morning (unless it’s a race) and get the most enjoyment out of my runs in the late afternoons. It is relaxing to me to spend a little time just exercising at the end of a long day. Plus, I hate being cold. In the early morning hours, I prefer yoga. I love it at that time because it wakes me up and give me a sense of space, purpose, and resolve to accomplish everything I need for that day. But in order to do yoga in the morning and run in the afternoon (at work), I need to remember to pack my gym bag. So finding an anchor is looking for a precise action that will trigger my “packing/prepping” a gym bag (which will set myself up for success the next day). So my achor is “brushing my teeth” – after I brush my teeth, I will pack my gym bag (or check on it). Having this anchor will ensure that I am ready for my fitness goals the next day.

3.ย Force myself to celebrate.ย I don’t know about you but I’m one of those people who are extra critical on myself. People have always told me your worst enemy is yourself…and I believed it so much that I often can only see what I didn’t do, what I didn’t do well, what I had failed to do, etc. I know that sounds exhausting and it is somewhat difficult being me. So I’m forcing myself to celebrate me. Not in a big way, of course. But when I head out for a short run (even if I had planne do a longer run), I will say to myself, hey good job, you got out! One step closer to being able to run that marathon. I will not say (instead), oh you suck, you only ran 2 miles when you had planned for 5!! You’re falling short of your goal!!

4.ย Accept failures (and don’t magnify them).ย For some people more than others, failure (or falling-short) is a tough pilll to swallow. We all react differently from it, too. I’ve never felt confident about my school stuff – all those years of being criticised about my writing is not good enough, I’m not doing enough work (I’m a PhD Candidate in xxx by the way) has seriously gotten to me really bad in the past 2 years. But very recently, while talking to a new friend about my journey through the academic world (since I was in college – where I went and what I studies) she said “oh wow, you’ve been sailing smoothly all your life through school.” Really?!ย I spent the last two years of my life thinking I’m not good enough and allowed such dark thoughts eat away my confidence at accomplishing my final goal. But in the eyes of another, I’ve not done so bad. Of course, perspective is contextual so who knows why my new friend percieves my journey thus far as “smooth sailing” even though I feel like I’m always hanging in anticipation of the next storm while dipping my oars in choppy water…but the point is this: there will be failures in life but see what went wrong and keep going. Get stronger, get better, find new tools – don’t dwell on it. One small setback is not synonymous to a lifetime of failures. In the grand scheme of things, those are the nuggets that make us better and stronger. So yeah, the road to forming good work and fitness habits won’t be smooth sailing but keep at it and someday I might get there.

We’re only 2 days away from a brand new year. We can also use this time of reflection to center our goals and get to it. There are only a few times when we feel that we can start with a (semi)clean slate – so let’s make the best of this beautiful mentality!

Fitness Progress

Wow, I can’t believe this year is almost over!! This end-of-year period is usually pretty bad for me in terms of what I’m eating and how active I am. (Un)Fortunately, I decided not to head home this year for the holidays, so I don’t get to enjoy all the rich and delicious food that my family prepares during this time of the year. Although, I’ve been having more cookies than usual (those holiday cookie exchanges!!), I’ve also been able to run and go to yoga.

I know that I’m trying to return to an good fitness routine. Although I’m not 100% at where I would like to be, I’m doing much better compared to where I was only a couple weeks ago. This last week, I was able to run about 3 times and practiced yoga on 2 different days. I think I’ve underestimated the time my body needs to reacclimate itself to working out regularly again. But as long as I keep working on my fitness goals, I will keep improving!

I’m going to keep working on myself and I can’t wait to hit my stride again ๐Ÿ™‚ Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

Fitness Plan/Writing Plan 2014!

Back in the day, I’m talking waaay back in college, I had a very good schedule. Classes really did take the majority of my time, but I also had a part-time job. During my senior year, I started taking pilates on Tues and Thurs evenings (and actually lost a lot of weight – we’re talking about 8-10 lbs and I’m an average sized but short 5’1″ lady). Lately, with a life happening here and there, I felt I was constantly pulled from my schedule. Now with the dust a little more settled, I’m starting to get back into a routine. This is the same routine that I should be able to stick to all the way to the middle part of next year:

*Fitness goals: Yoga & Marathon Training

For many years, I’ve tried this running in the morning thing – ugh but it hasn’t worked for me. I’m the most comfortable running in the late afternoon or in the evening. I’m not sure if there’s a physiological reason for this (since the psychological reason is not enough to convince me to force myself to run in the mornings) but I prefer to write in the mornings and running/cardio makes me…tired. Instead, I’ve done yoga pretty regularly in the mornings and have no problem with that. So I’m going to head back to the yoga studio for 4 times a week, in the early mornings (between Mon-Fri) but I might throw in a hot class on one of my running rest days.ย And of course, I’ll have to train to run and preferably do it in the afternoon and evenings. I think 5 days a week with 2 rest days is as much as I can do right now. So the fitness schedule will look something like this:

Monday: Running

Tuesday: Yoga + Running

Wednesday: Yoga

Thursday: Yoga + Running

Friday: Yoga + Running

Saturday: Rest and Rest

Sunday: Running

The running will look something like 3 days of running, rest, 2 days of running, and rest. And the yoga will be more concentrated with 4 days during the week. As I get more miles, I will start to mix in other types of cardio with the running.

*Writing Goal: In the short term, I’m planning to write every day for the remainder of December (my schedule is open enough for me to do it). In the long term, I’ll be setting word number goals instead once I have my teaching schedule pinned out come Jan 1.

LET’S DO THIS!!

Getting Back into the Saddle…

Phew! It’s been a while since I’ve updated. I guess I sorta fell out of blogging world after I finished my last race. Well, lots of new things have happened since June of this year…and here’s a brief recap:

1. Hubby deployed!

2. I turned 30!

3. I’m going back to university teaching in winter of 2014

Because of these big changes, I’ve also made new goals in response:

1. Going to train for my first marathon (haven’t decided which race, but it will be in the 4th quarter of the year 2014

2. Going to finish my gosh-darn dissertation by summer of 2014 because I can’t take the judgement that is being passed on me everyday by my committee everytime I speak to them.

3. I’m going to make this the most productive writing year thus far in my life!

 

So this is what’s going on…it’s late, and I just finished my Christmas shopping. Will update again soon about my work, my running, and everything else in the months that my husband is away from home (whoopeedoo, I get to be an adult and handle adult things 24/7!!) I apologize for the slight sarcasm here and there ๐Ÿ™‚ Anyways, it’s back in the saddle for me, again!