Sunday, January 30, 2011

a total spin freak

It's official...I am a complete spin freak. I started taking classes at the Wellness Center last week, and I am now a dedicated Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday spinner.  I absolutely love it.  I can definitely feel that I am working different muscles in my legs than running, and that is a very good thing. This year I am going to really focus on cross training a lot more. I love running and will run until I am unable to; but I think the cross training will help me become a better runner and possibly prevent injuries.
I am contemplating a triathlon this year, but am extremely nervous about the bike and swim portions (of course).  I am not a good bike rider. I did not learn to ride a bike until I was an adult, since the bike I had as a child met with an unfortunate accident at the hands of my father and his pickup truck. Needless to say, I am pretty shaky on a bike. I think these spin classes are a great start at getting me more comfortable on a bike. I did have a realization last week, however, that what is missing from the spin bikes is having to keep my balance while biking. I think this is going to be a big part of learning to ride faster, so my bike training will probably have to start sooner rather than later. I really don't want to learn to ride a bike in the snow, though.  I can't imagine that is an easy thing to do. 
Another reason I like spin class so well is that I have a couple of girlfriends who go with me. It has been difficult to get my gfs to head out for a run with me, but they will usually hit up a spin class. It's a great way to catch up with each other and get a great workout in at the same time.

Monday, January 10, 2011

superfood sorrows

It's Monday today, and we are in the middle of a huge snowstorm. Our town got about 8 inches of snow last night and it has not stopped snowing yet. The schools are closed for the day, and so my hubby and kids got to stay home for a fun snow day while I had to go to work. Snow days and summertime are the only times I wish I were a teacher. You couldn't pay me enough to be on any other time (which is ironic, considering how low teacher pay is, especially in South Dakota).
I finally went outside for a nice, winter run over the weekend. While I was in Boise for Christmas I went out a few times, but haven't been outside in SD since the middle of November. Things started out a little chilly, but it felt GREAT to stride out on a road instead of a treadmill and breathe in that fresh air. I was hoping to get another run in on Sunday, but the snow had other plans. I will most definitely be out there in my Yaktrax once the snow stops falling, though.
Also on Saturday, I went with my good friend, Jayme to sushi (not necessarily "raw" rules, but I love sushi and so decided to splurge) and to a new market, the Pomegranate Market. "The Pom" as they call it, is a new health food store in town, and I have been dying to check it out for awhile. Fortunately, it was right next to the sushi restaurant, so we went in and took a peek. 
The Pom has some great bulk items, like red lentils, as well as just about any kind of rice you can imagine. I also found some superfood powder, which is what I went in there looking for. I have never had it before, but according to the raw food literature, superfoods are a necessary part of the lifestyle. It cost me $30, but I bought a can.
The next day I woke up and made my morning monster, adding the superfood powder, since they recommend adding it to a smoothie.  I poured myself a big glass, took a huge swig...and just about spit it right back out.
Superfood powder tastes like seaweed, only not in a good way. It is horrible. My whole monster tasted like fish, and although I managed to choke most of it down, I had to dump the last bit.  Since I really love my morning monsters, I will not be adding superfood to them again. The label on the package also suggested mixing it with 8 oz of water or juice and drinking it that way, so I decided that I would try mixing it with water and slamming it this morning. It's small, and I can just knock it back really quick, right?
I nearly vomited up the 8 oz. of green nastiness.  I am not sure what to do now. Tomorrow I will try it with juice, but if I can't stand that, then I will have wasted $30 on a product that I can't possibly consume.

Have you ever tried superfood powder? How do you manage to get it down?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

kale, kleansing kale

Well, apparently Demi Moore and I are very much alike (of course).  At the very same time I was having doubts/concerns about going on the Master Cleanse, Demi was four days into it and decided it was not the healthiest thing to be doing. She instead switched to something called the Clean Program, a series of smoothies and supplements that is supposed to detox your body and leave you feeling incredible. That particular cleanse lasts for 21 days, and is available at the low price of $350.  I read a little about it, and while it does sound good, I am sticking with my raw foods diet. I am having great results from it, and I have finally gotten over feeling nauseous (no small victory, there).

I am having a good time experimenting with all kinds of different "green" smoothie options, and have found that kale is a very cleansing ingredient to add to a drink. Since I live in a small town in the Midwest, we don't have access to the greatest variety of vegetables, but this weekend I am planning a trip to the city to shop at a new whole foods supermarket called the Pomegranate Market. I am excited to see what goodies I can find there.  They also offer free demos and classes on alternative eating lifestyles, and on January 22nd I am going to a smoothie demonstration, which I am pretty psyched about. Hopefully I will be armed with all kinds of new recipes for healthy living!

My knee and hip have been bothering me lately, so today was a rest day for me. Tomorrow I hope to do some yoga in the morning and the elliptical at lunch. I am taking it easy for January, and might not run at all. I am debating a couple of different marathons for the Spring, which I will need to start training for in February.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

a slight change of plans...

Well, yesterday was a very, ahem, productive day for me. I ate everything in smoothie form, and included lots of green stuff like kale, spinach, some winter veggies like butternut squash, and fruits like pears, blueberries, cherries, raspberries, and bananas. No coffee, and it totally sucked, just like I thought it would. In fact, I had an enormous headache all day and I kind of felt like my body and head were on opposite sides of the room. That doesn't make for the best work day. I can't imagine what I will feel like once I am off food...which is why I have decided to not do the "fasting" part of the cleanse, but rather keep with the raw foods and veggies. Yesterday was an incredibly cleansing day for my body, so I can't imagine that it would get any better with no food. This is working for me, and I still get to eat (which is super important).
I don't think that the Master cleanse is an appropriate cleanse for people with jobs, kids, workout  routines, etc. Sure, it works for people in Hollywood because they are able to take a week off and seclude themselves in their houses while they cleanse. This does not work for "the commoners."
Looking back, going on this radical cleanse was me feeling like crap with all of the yucky stuff I put in my body and wanting a quick fix. All I really need to do (thanks, Jayme, for helping me figure that out) is get back to eating healthy stuff again, and these last three days have really done some amazing things for me. goal. I am going to continue eating according to the "raw" lifestyle for the month of January. I will not be able to keep with the total raw lifestyle after January, since I will be starting to train for my spring marathon and will need protein and calcium (meat and dairy), but I will maintain the fruit and veggie regimen that I have started for myself. I think I will be stronger for it.
I am feeling a little nauseous and gassy (maybe too much information, but it is true) from the veggie overload my body has been subjected to, but it is further evidence that I have been neglecting my fruits and veggies for far too long. Once my system is used to this stuff again, things will be better.
And yes...I had coffee this morning. It was delicious.Technically a raw foods no-no because of the caffeine...but hey, I can't be perfect. I also got up and did yoga, so they cancel each other out.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

day one: great preparations

Well, day one is done and I am a little discouraged, especially since the official cleanse hasn't even started yet! These next three days are all about getting my body ready to handle no food, so today's goal was to eat only "living foods." That means no dairy, no meat, basically only fruits and veggies. Five minutes into my morning today...I already blew it by making coffee.  Not only did I make coffee, but I drank two huge cups and enjoyed every minute of it.  Once I finished, I felt a little guilty, but my love affair with coffee runs deep and it will be a real challenge to not have any coffee for the next two weeks. I ate fruit salad, so that was a small victory, since I am used to pancakes.
The rest of the day was fairly disciplined, although I did slip up at Olive Garden and had the salad with the dressing. I didn't have any croutons or breadsticks (my goodness, that was tough), but I think that the dressing is technically a no-no. I had minestrone soup and ate around the pasta, and an acai berry drink along with the salad. Dinner consisted of a spinach/berry/banana smoothie (juice-based because dairy is a no-no), and I had to break down and eat a few handfulls of walnuts. I don't know where nuts fall into the "living foods" category, but they do grow on a tree, so they should totally count. At any rate...I am absolutely STARVING tonight, and will have less food to look forward to tomorrow (and no coffee, since I had my hubby hide my coffee maker and coffee from me so I won't slip up).
This part of the cleanse is the pre-cleanse. According to what I have read, this part is not necessary, although I have to say I completely disagree.  As hungry as I am today while still eating food is a clear indication that I have been overindulging on too many carbs and junk food and too little veggies and fruits. There is no way that I would have been able to go from my current diet to no food without a few days of agony. I still don't think they will be easy, but these few preparatory days will help make it less horrible (with any luck).
Tomorrow is smoothie day, so everything I have will be in liquid-ish form. I need to be careful not to have too many fruits, with a goal of a 60/40 ratio of veggies to fruits. Fortunately, I am an avid smoothie maker, so am quite fond of green drinks. The veggies should be no problem for me. The "no coffee" part will completely suck. I have some herbal tea that I can drink tomorrow morning to try to replace coffee, but it will not be an adequate substitute. I am just telling myself that it is short term, and I will be very glad when I have all the yucky stuff out.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

a clean start to 2011

Happy New Year!  I cannot believe that it is 2011 already...where does the time go? I remember when I was a kid my Dad always told me how quickly life goes by when you're an adult, and I am really starting to see that. This year was a complete whirlwind. As I reflect on all that has happened, it has been a good year, but it all went by so quickly.  I took on some amazing consulting jobs, one of which turned into an amazing full-time position, ran two marathons, took some great trips, and celebrated five years of marriage with my husband. Yes, 2010 was a great year, but I am really looking forward to 2011.
I am not really a resolution person. I find that people rarely keep to their resolutions. It's also a lot of pressure to put on yourself right at the beginning of the year, you know? I prefer to set small goals throughout the year, like training for races. I find that it is a lot more doable for me.
Having said that, one goal that I do have overall is to eat healthier. Since my schedule has been so hectic for the last few months, I have been eating lots of junk and way too little veggies. I am feeling really off balance because of it, so have decided to make a huge effort to do better going forward.
In fact, I am starting a cleanse tomorrow. It is the Master cleanse, a ten day cleanse designed to flush the body of toxins. I have never cleansed before and so am very nervous about it, but also excited to see it through. While on the cleanse I will not be eating, and I think it will be really hard to go without chewing. I will miss it. It will also be tricky negotiating the bathroom situation while working, since from what I have read, the cleanse can be pretty violent at times. Still, it is a good jump start to better nutrition, so will be good for me.
One big part of the cleanse is documenting each day, recording how I feel, etc., and so I will be recording it all here, for anyone who wants to vicariously experience the cleanse.