Saturday, November 21, 2015

Different goals for a different time

It took 4 weeks of healing, but last week I was finally able to get back to working out.  Woohoo!  That silly little cyst in my armpit knocked me farther back than I ever could have imagined.  Even now, I still have an open wound there, but it's managed by a band-aid, rather than the tender loving care of the medical team at Kaiser.  Oh, have I mentioned how much I love Kaiser healthcare?  I had it briefly in CO way back in 2007, and LOVED it.  It was an option through Ammon's work when we moved out here, and I was quick to jump back on the wagon.  A lot of people in CA are actually not big fans of the Kaiser model, but we love their integrated model of care, how streamlined everything is, and their focus on prevention.

My love of Kaiser is not the point of this post, though it is an interesting aside (I think).  The point of this post is that I'm doing things differently with fitness this time around.  It hit me last week that what I'm really all about right now is getting to a point where I can maintain a reasonable level of fitness throughout pregnancy.  I have little interest in doing races right now (even though we have a 5k tomorrow - it's just for fun!), or in chasing some unrealistic body-image expectation, like 6-pack abs.  I don't even care so much that my weight is a little up again.  I'm trying to make fitness something enjoyable and sustainable right now.  Which is hard for me, because those aren't words that fit into my view of working out.
Beckham approves of my new workout goals, and rewards me with cuddles post-run

Right now, all of this means that I'm chasing a crazy goal, just for fun with running.  I'm using this Zero to Running plan to work on building up to running for 30 minutes at an 8:00/mile pace.  I sure love Jenny Hadfield's plans because they're realistic and customizable.  I love one of the notes to this plan, which says to replace the "weeks" with levels, and keep at a level until you can comfortably complete the prescribed workout 3 times in one week.  Since I'm chasing a goal that is pretty big and unrealistic given my previous experiences with running, I anticipate that this will be a long-range endeavor.  So far, I'm on week (level) 2, and so I'm doing 1 minute intervals at and 8:00 pace.

I'm also making an effort to lift heavy-ish things twice a week.  I've always been fully aware of the many benefits that this can have for sport performance, but it just hasn't been a priority, because I hate it.  I hate being so sore that I have a hard time going to the bathroom.  I know other people love this, I just don't.  But I'm trying to come to terms with it, since it's such a beneficial thing.  I've found that variety is key here, and I haven't done the same strength workout twice since moving out here.  I'm also thinking about doing this 3 week challenge.  Even though it repeats workouts, it's only a few times, and it's a do-able time duration for me.  Plus, despite being a "booty" challenge, it makes a point of providing total-body workouts and being kind-of balanced, which is good.  Booty strength is a big part of running, and a nice booty is a big part of a happy marriage, so it's a double-win for me right now.

Proof I go to a gym, because I'm not sure anyone would believe me otherwise.

Also, if you don't believe me that a poppin' booty is good for marriage, go ask your man-friend. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Recent thoughts

I keep wanting to blog, but then deciding that the random little things that I want to talk about can't round out to a good blog post without getting boring, or depressing, or straight up strange.  But I remember that sometimes, I used to just throw all of the random thoughts in my head out there list-style, and that seemed to fit the bill.  So without any further explanation, here are my recent thoughts:

  • We bought a new rug right before we moved out here, and I love it.  It's completely different from anything else we have, and I think that's what makes it so great.  It really highlights Gunner's Chocolate lab-ness too.
  • I always forget how much I love running until I have taken a break and I start over from scratch.  Something about working through running from the beginning stages really reminds me of what running does for me.
  • When I left my job at the Housing Authority, I really wasn't emotionally prepared to leave.  It has made the transition to my new job incredibly difficult.
  • The COO at my new company reminds me of Michael Scott from "The Office".  He's not a 100% ringer, but there are little mannerisms there that totally get me every time.
  • Trees should not still have green leaves in mid-November.  Get it together, CA.
  • I forgot how much I enjoy tax law and tax preparation until I started my tax class a few weeks ago.  Taxes are the reason I got into accounting in the first place, and it's completely re-affirming that I need to go into the tax field after I graduate.  I was debating some other paths, but there really is no more obvious path for me right now.
  • I feel really isolated and alone out here.  The people I work with are never going to become as close of friends as those I made at work in CO, and since I was out of commission with that cyst-issue for 4 weeks, I really haven't been doing anything that gets me out and meeting people.  
  • Probably as a result of feeling so lonely and isolated, I really miss blogging, and the amazing community that I used to have in blog-land.  Does the blogging community exist anymore?  Or did it disappear like a rainbow unicorn?
  • One of my cousins that I have never met invited us for Thanksgiving.  Her parents will be there, and her dad is the guy who dressed up as a farmer for our wedding.  Do you remember that story?  Anyway, my Aunt and Uncle are awesome, so we will be going.
  • Blogger is being stupid right now, and only inserting images above the bullets.  I just tried to insert a picture of my uncle as the farmer 6 times, no dice.  If I was a real blogger, I would care more, but let's be real... those of you actually reading this anymore have seen the picture before.  It's nothing new.
  • The produce we are able to get out here is unreal compared to what we got in Colorado.  And the prices!  Everything is so much better when you can actually get it locally.
  • I agreed to be the "wellness champion" at work for the wellness program.  The program is pre-designed, and it's super easy to implement.  This is awesome, because I just want to do all of the fun stuff associated with wellness programs anyway, like organizing water drinking challenges, healthy snack pot-lucks, and fun runs.
  • We had a black IPA last night that neither Ammon or I liked at all, which is sad since black IPA is my favorite style of beer.  It was ridiculously strong, too:  One pint knocked me down pretty hard.
  • I think we're finally ready to get serious about having a baby.  I know I am... for the first time in a long time, I'm not all that jazzed about finding a race to train for, I just want to work out to be balanced.  This is a strange feeling for me.
What random thoughts have you had lately?

Sunday, November 1, 2015

6 years

 It's hard to believe it, but 6 years ago today, a cute boy asked me to get a burrito with him after work.  I didn't want to go, I was tired from working all day and I needed to get home and feed my cat.  That cute boy convinced me to go anyway.

The first ever photographic evidence of our relationship.  Look how young we were!
Back when I was younger, it turns out that I went on a lot of first dates, and I never knew that they were dates.  Dates with boys I really liked, and thought that they were way out of my league.  If we're being honest, it didn't even cross my mind that I was going on a date with him, because he was a cute boy, and it was just a burrito, you know?  Also, his work uniform made him look like he was 12, so I was entirely unsure if he was even 21 yet.
Well, after finding out that not only was he over 21, that he was older than me, one major issue was overcome.  And then I saw him in real clothes, and realized that the cute boy was a handsome man.  And somehow, despite better judgement, he agreed to keep dating a clueless girl who never knew when she was being asked out.

And 6 years later, I'm still the clueless girl, and he's still the cute boy.

We've both changed in the last 6 years, maybe even more than our hair has changed.  But the flutters I get over that cute boy that I get to date haven't changed one bit.  I'm glad that he was my last-first date, even if I was entirely unaware of the circumstances.

And tonight, we'll go get a burrito, because that's just what we do.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Workout setbacks

***Warning***  If you are easily grossed out by body stuff, just skip this post and come back some other time.
If there's anything that runs like clockwork just as much as my propensity for cycling in and out of shape, it's that once I decide it's time to get back into shape, I will face some sort of major setback early on.  And guys, that most definitely happened, and in a big way.

I have had a little cyst in my right armpit for several years now.  It was a benign little sebaceous cyst, and it was really deep, so there was nothing to do about it, except see if it was going to get worse or better on its own.  Well, it decided to get worse, and on Tuesday morning, I woke up to an ache in my armipt.  When I took a look, it was swollen.  I wasn't sure what was happening, because I had heard that painful swelling could mean that the cyst was working itself out, or that it had burst and was infected.  Since our insurance is still in processing right now and out finalized, I also wanted to wait and make sure that there was a problem before trying to get in to the Dr.  By Thursday, things were much worse, and I was pretty much constantly in agony.  So I got myself in to the Doctor's office, where it was confirmed that I definitely had a burst infected cyst.  And so now we're treating that loveliness with antibiotics, hot compresses, and ibuprofen.  There is definitely no working out happening, because I'm pretty much in agony anytime I move quickly, or my right arm moves.  Fun, right?  We're hoping hat by Monday, things will have progressed to the point where either my body can re-absorb the cyst, or it will start seeping out and the doctor can excise it.  Obviously, I'm hoping for re-absorption, because it's a much faster healing time.  However, I'll really be happy for progress either way, because it will mean that this setback is that closer to being over.

Ya know, just putting a hot compress on my armpit.  No big.

I hate that these setbacks happen, but I realize that they serve such a valid purpose. They serve as evidence of my desire and dedication to my goal.  If I am just as motivated to get back to my workouts afterward, I know that my goal is valid and important.  If I have no desire, it's  wake-up call that I should probably stop and re-evaluate what I'm doing and why I thought it was a good idea.  Right now, I would love to be able to go workout and keep improving my fitness again.  Every time I drive by our new gym, I wish I could go in and get to work.  These are good signs.  I know that I'm on the right track.  It's going to happen for me, and before I know it, I'm be back in the game.

Do you have workout setbacks?  If so, how do you handle them?

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A viscious cycle

When it comes to working out, I am a total glutton for punishment.  I am in this cycle where I get super out of shape, get motivated, have to work super hard to get back into shape, get into great shape, get burnt out, and get out of shape again.  Over, and over, and over.  I try to tell myself that it's normal, and natural.  Right.  Normal and natural like orange colored chocolate.
Like, after the marathon, I needed to take a break for a bit.  That's normal.  Good, even, according to most experts.  It isn't healthy to push your body that hard, and then not give it a minute.  I think it took me 4 months to start running again.  Oops.  That's probably longer than you should give it.  Just a guess.

Then, I got in great shape again for the triathlon, and CRUSHED my time goal.  I set a pretty high bar for future sprint triathlons, in fact.  So what did I do after that?  I quit working out.  Oops.  Granted, right after the triathlon our world got turned upside down, but still.  Taking 12 weeks off was not part of the plan.  Thankfully, packing and moving boxes counts towards daily activity, otherwise I would have gained all of the weight in that 12-ish weeks.  No exercise and all of the ice cream and cookies does not equal maintaining a leaner physique.

Hi, my name is Kristen, and I stress bake.

And now here we are again.  Life finally got to the point where I needed the endorphins again, because "Happy people don't kill their husbands", or something like that.  I also have a triathlon in April, and I'm feeling the pressure to improve on my time.  So to the gym we have gone.  Last week really kicked it off for us, we managed to go 3 times.

And then we even went again tonight!  My life has devolved into that place of perpetual muscle soreness lately.  I have been sending Ammon really sexy text messages lately about how my legs are going to revolt against me, and how going to the bathroom hurts my abs.  Also, when we get home from the gym and have to walk upstairs to our apartment, he walks behind me, "just in case you can't make it on your own".  That flight of stairs manages to look just like Mt. Everest after the gym.  It's a cruel, cruel trick.

Another fun fact is that we dropped our old gym tonight like a ton of bricks, and got a fancy new membership at a place that is much nicer.  It's also cheaper!  Yay for corporate membership deals, and Ammon having a big boy job!!!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Morning walks

Now that we live in an apartment again, there is no more opportunity to be lazy and just let the dog into the backyard when he needs to do his business.  Nope, that's not the way the world works anymore.  Every morning, my alarm goes off at 5:20am so that Gunner and I can go for a 20 minute walk before I have to get to the hustle and bustle of my day.  I had thought that it would feel like an inconvenience, or that I would start to dread it.

Instead, I find myself wishing that we had more time for our little morning walks, and I look forward to the idea of making them longer.  It'll be a while before that alarm goes off at 5am...  It might not even happen.  But deep down, I really want it, because that time that the two of us spend together every morning before most of the City is awake, before anyone has to rush off to wherever they need to be, that time is so special, and it's all ours.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Total Authenticity


How are you this morning?  I'm just sitting here in my sweats drinking coffee.  Sundays really encourage that behavior, don't they?  I like to think so.  Ammon's sleeping in the other room, the animals are all leaving well enough alone (a rare thing!), and I have time to just do the things I want to do for a bit.  That includes talking to you guys for a few minutes.

I went to a women's forum yesterday.  Since we are so new to the area, I'm trying to be brave and branch out.  Make new friends, have new experiences.  Do scary things.  I love women's conferences, because I'm a sucker for anything personal development.  I hate women's conferences, because usually you're there by yourself, and you have to meet and interact with new people.  I really have become very withdrawn from humanity since moving to California.  I miss my people, and it took me a really long time to build my solid tribe.  I don't want to make new friends, I just want all of my existing friends to pick up their lives and follow me out here.  Reasonable, yes?

Back to the forum.  It was actually fantastic.  Everyone was so nice and supportive.  Several people offered to give me information about different organizations that they are a part of that I might want to consider joining.  Another woman and I totally bonded, and we're going to have coffee together.  AND of course, there was the personal development part of it all.  There were 2 breakout sessions, and about a dozen different speakers to choose from.  I choose sessions on networking and leadership, because I felt like they were so darn applicable to where I am in my life right now.

The sessions had so many common elements in them, which was strange because the two speakers were very different, and came from different approaches.  But the common theme was that you have to know yourself, and you have to be authentic and sincere in everything you do.  All of the tips and tricks in the world, all of the work that you do will never be successful until you truly know yourself, and you can act from a place of total authenticity.

Moving stripped away a lot of the elements by which I identify myself.  My friends, my state, my job, all gone now.  I walked into that forum knowing that I was in the midst of a major identity crisis, and walked out with the realization that this identity crisis could be one of the very best things that could happen to me.  I am in the unique position right now to really figure out who I am as a person, beyond the life that I had previously built up around me.  I am able to create a life that supports and builds upon who I am.  I don't have to do things that don't serve me anymore, simply because they were things that I did in the past.  

In 2 years, this opportunity will be gone.  We will have built our life here, and I will be back in a space where it will be harder to really get clear about who I am amid the clutter of our life.  It's time to move forward, and put some real effort into finding out who Kristen is, and what she wants and needs out of life.