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That’s right. First day of March! It dawned on me how much today felt like spring as I lay in my bed this morning, the sun making its way through the blinds and the birds chirping outside. Like many places in North America, this winter has not felt very winter-like, save for a few weeks of almost -30 C weather and a few blizzards. Other than that, the days of warmth and sunshine (read: outdoor running!) have been plentiful, so today really feels like March.
Thank you for your tweets and comments from yesterday’s post all about FItRadio! I should emphasize that the opinions expressed were my own and I was not given a tank top to say anything positive about their company, but it’s the truth! Love the station and options and the fun tank top too. I also love writing about motivation…it’s a fascinating topic to me and I truly get fired up when it comes to motivating others. I always welcome your comments on what motivates you – whether it’s music, friends, a training plan, or a cookie.
Around the internet yesterday, I saw people referring to yesterday as an extra day with which you could get another good workout in or do something fun. I personally loved this parody on 30 Rock last week about “Leap Day William” and the parallels to how we celebrate Christmas with Santa Claus was pretty funny:
As they said in the show, it’s a day where nothing counts! You can do anything! …I chose to get my movement on in the form of an 8 mile speed work run! The weather was great and I had a block of time to get outside, so I’d decided on 8 miles because I love the distance and just wanted to run. Upon starting, however, I immediately felt sluggish, tired and my legs felt like lead – nothing was clicking and there was no groove to my run. I know it usually takes me at least 2 miles to warm up and start feeling good, but around 20 minutes I still hadn’t busted through this wall. So I told myself I would not worry about distance and go shorter with some speed work mixed in to make the most of my run.
You may notice a lack of race reports and recaps on my blog – I rarely sign up for races and usually just run long distances for fun at generally the same pace. So it’s been a while since I’ve trained for anything and had to incorporate speed work into my running. The first pick up was tough; I brought my pace up for 2 minutes, recovered in a slow jog for a minute, then went again for 2 minutes. I was reminding my body what it was like to push hard not with weights during a workout but on the road with my legs. I gave myself freedom to turn around after the 4th repeat, regardless of if I hit my 4 mile turn-around spot, but I ended up doing 5 sprints before turning around just past 4 miles. The end result? 8+ miles with ten 2 minute pick ups in a tank top! It wasn’t easy and I was really pushing on numbers 7 and 8 before I made the decision to go for it all the way to ten, but I think my body remembered how to move fast on command!
Prana headband (same one I always wear! In the wash today ;)); Fila tank.
To those of you who are training hard for an event right now, I just want to encourage you to say well done and keep persevering through the tough workouts! You’ve inspired me to add one speed session a week back into my running! It can’t hurt my fitness and has the same effect as quick, high intensity workouts in the gym – you burn the most amount of calories and see change fast in a short time! (For an interesting, honest look at if workouts longer than an hour are worthless, check out a fellow FitFluential’s fact or fiction post from the Angry Trainer!) Here’s to a new challenge in March.
Speaking of challenges, I was inspired by you in other ways today: I read Heather’s post today about her achieving 6 months of being a plant-based athlete (wahoo!) as well as Laura’s thoughts about moving from her recent cleanse into a 30 day vegan challenge. I don’t eat in one particular way, but more and more (through documentaries I’ve seen, blogs I’ve read, and books that have inspired me) I see the value of eating a plant-based diet. My mom has also been reading a lot about it, is very into chia seeds (gotta spread the chia love!) and has trimmed up (like she needs it – have I posted enough photos of my buff mom?!) since she started eating more plant-based. Because I rarely eat meat, that part of the equation isn’t as difficult for me, and while I will continue to eat eggs (for now!), I decided that for the month of March I will go without dairy. I’ve never done this before and am excited to see how the change will effect my body. And while I don’t (think?) eat much dairy, I did have some ice cream last night and some Greek yogurt this morning, and I am a fan of crumbled goat cheese on my salads, so we’ll see how it goes! **Is there hidden dairy in much food? I’m going to have to be more aware this month!** As far as milk, I always drink it of the almond variety, so that part won’t be difficult, and giving up ice cream is certainly going to be a better choice for my body anyways, so I’m pumped for this month of no-dairy March.
I’m not usually big into challenges like this but thought I’d give it a go! I know Janetha just finished the #febphotoaday challengeand is “instagramming” her way through March too – that’s a fun one! Anyone else want to join or have a challenge they’d like to share?
Have a great intro to March and I’ll catch you guys on the flip side!
Thursday…one of my favorite days of the week! I’m not sure why, exactly, but it just says a morning run, jeans and a t-shirt, comfort food (must be the weather) and good music in the background to me. I know it’s not Lindsay’s favorite day ever…hope you have a good one, Linds.
Speaking of music, we always had music in our house growing up – it’s such a great memory from my childhood and into my teen years. Before we woke up there would be music on – like Kris Kristofferson, Gordon Lightfoot, and occasionally the Sound of Music soundtrack. And with the steady rain outside and generally bleak-ness of the day around us, filling the home with music sounds like a good mood-booster right about now! Here’s a clip of music and an elderly couple who have been married for 62 years that’s SURE to brighten your day, whatever the weather outside:
Love that. Mikey showed me this video and said, “Bonnie, lets learn how to play the piano so we can do cool stuff like this when we are 90 years old…” Definitely.
On the fitness front, I’ve been kettlebell-ing-it-up and have enjoyed doing that workout mixed with other moves, runs, and jump rope sessions every other day. I’m loving this routine and am trying to keep my fitness up while a.) I have the time without a full work schedule (I know it only gets harder when life fills up!) and b.) before Mikey’s parents return. Even though I always have space where we live downstairs to workout, it’s different when you can’t wander upstairs in your shorts and sports bra, huffing away to grab water in between sets or worry about how loud you’re being pounding weights around in the morning! I know things are about to change (again) so I’m trying to stay consistent and regular with my workouts now. Running wise, I’ve cut back to what I was doing and am enjoying running about every other day or whenever I feel like it, staying more consistent in my workouts as I’m focusing less on endurance and more on building back some of the lean muscle I’ve lost over the last few months on the road. This helps me love running for the sake of running too, which makes it so enjoyable!
As an add-on to yesterday’s workout? 100 burpees! I felt like this by the end:
On the food front, I’ve been doing much better not snacking as much throughout the day or into the night, which has been a goal of mine since I really noticed with staying at home more I was mindlessly eating more. It really feels good when you make a conscious effort to eat well and stick to it. Even when I’ve slipped up the last few days I’ve not resulted to scolding myself and feeling bad about it, but just choosing to make the next choice a healthy one, which is a victory in my book! I also tried a new drink today that was inspired by “Born to Run” (you can read my review of the book here) and an article from the Tone it Up blog all about chia seeds. I’ve recently started incorporating chia seeds into my normal nutrition, knowing they were a type of “power food” but not really knowing why. I figured if they fueled the Tarahumara for many miles of long runs through hot, steep canyons they’d be good for me too! Here’s a bit of what I learned:
- Packed with nutrients: protein (higher than flax seeds!), healthy fat, and fiber; phosphorous, calcium, potassium and Omega-3′s.
- They can be ground up and used as a gluten-free flour in baking OR eaten whole (unlike flax seeds, which you must grind to get their nutrients).
- Chia seeds are from the same family as mint (who knew?!).
- They were used traditionally as a major food source in Mexico and Central America for thousands of years and were a main food source for Aztec warriors. (Did I mention they gave the Tarahumara stamina and strength? You guys gotta’ read that book!)
I decided to try chia seeds in drink form as something different today after sprinkling them in smoothies and mixing them into my oatmeal and salads. I followed the simple recipe and LOVED the end result – this might become a staple in my diet! Introducing Chia Lemon/Blueberry Fresca:
- Mix 1 TBS chia seeds in 10-20 oz water, stir to combine, let sit for 15 min (they turn into a jelly mix; if you don’t like texture in your drinks, beware).
- Stir in the juice of 1 lemon and add a handful of blueberries (or natural fruit juice of your choosing – coconut water might be good!).
The original recipe was adding lemon and then fruit of your choice, but I worked with what I had on hand (lemon and frozen blueberries and had a delicious drink that was tastier than water but pumped with protein and Omega-3s! You could also choose to sweeten with stevia, honey or agave syrup if so desired. My favorite part? The sludge of blueberries and jelly chia seeds at the bottom…yum.
On the friend front, we have had a pretty social week with friends (and their cute but admittedly “terrible two” child!) over for dinner Monday night and an evening out at the movies last night. Tonight we’re going climbing with friends and tomorrow night we’ve got our first of 2 Canadian Thanksgiving dinners to attend (grateful for those plans and the promise of good friends and food!). We don’t normally go to the movies during the week or pay full price for one (cheap theatre all the way!), but it was a special event. Mikey’s ticket was covered thanks to donations from YACC’s “Give or Get” campaign where people could donate the cost of a movie ticket or young adult cancer survivors could sign up to get a ticket to see the new film 50/50. It’s the true story of a young adult who was diagnosed with cancer at age 27, so of course with our experience we were interested to see it. Together there were 18 (mainly) survivors and supporters and we were able to connect with new friends and old friends alike. Everyone liked the film a lot and could really connect to it on different levels. Chatting about it in the car afterward, Mikey and I personally enjoyed the film and thought it rang true about the YA cancer experience as a whole but were surprised and taken aback at the profanity and crassness of the dialogue. We don’t typically mind swearing in films but it seemed to take away from the movie a bit, like the dialogue tried too hard to showcase young adults and our culture; none of our friends, “cancer buddies” or not, “religious” or not, speak that crudely. But overall we enjoyed the movie – I still had tears flowing, connecting to many different aspects of the survivor’s experience. I saw Mikey in the main character when he finally lets his anger out in a car by himself, understood more of the mother’s perspective who is trying to “help” him in a way he can’t relate to (she says, “I only smothered him because I love him.” ), understood the abrupt change of lifestyle and lack of independence when trying to become independent at the same time.
Just after cutting off Mikey’s dreads to make way for the hair loss; first chemo treatment; at a part with our tuna can stove making hot drinks in fall.
It brought back more feelings than I thought I had about our experience with cancer, in fact. Knowing it’s come full-circle now for us as Mikey just yesterday gave a grand rounds presentation at the Tom Baker Cancer Center (where he was treated and now works!) to over 90 doctors and nurses was overwhelming, inspiring, and emotional. God is good, and even if it seems like in many ways we’re just where we were in life a few years ago when the diagnoses hit (living with his parents, still figuring out our jobs/life, not making much and feeling behind our peers financially), it is undeniable that God has been faithful to us. In that, we rejoice.
Any good workouts you’ve done recently to share?
Thoughts on chia seeds – tried ‘em? More to add about their goodness?
What are you rejoicing in today?
We’re now at a coffee shop, writing and working away, as the rain continues outside. Feeling thankful for what’s to come and thankful for this reminder about God’s faithfulness to us daily – I needed it with my recent work/life discouragements. Have a thankful rest of your Thursday and I’ll catch up with you guys later! Thanks for reading and adding a lot to my life, friends. Live well & be well,