Sunday, January 31, 2010

I hop, you hop, we all hop for IHOP!

 Week in Review 1/24/10 - 1/30/10
Sunday:  45 minutes intervals on treadmill
Monday:  30 minutes yoga
Tuesday:  30 minutes yoga, 45 minutes intervals on treadmill
Wednesday:  30 minutes treadmill
Thursday:  60 minutes treadmill
Saturday:  60 minutes treadmill

Total Running:  24.7 miles

The week was unpredictable because of the flu germs that took down Gina and Abby.  I was sure I would end up with it myself so I was extremely careful about what I ate all week long.  By Friday I was ravenous and ended the night with a glass or two of California Merlot and an unknown amount of potato chips.  Saturday I had a huge headache and was convinced the flu was coming but all is still well.  I think I am out of the woods.  I was also exposed to huge amounts of respiratory flu germs.  I took a fair amount of Zicam zinc products and the usual probiotic.  I can only hope to remain healthy!  I've probably just jinxed myself though!

A few weeks ago someone got it in their head that we need to find an IHOP.  Those commercials can be soooooooo convincing and we do love breakfast food around here.  So today after a great church service we headed to the closest IHOP and had a great feast of waffles, pancakes, eggs, great coffee, hot cocoa and I even saw some bacon across the table.  I'm totally okay with an occasional splurge; it's all about balance.  It sort of felt like we were on vacation and soon enough we were planning what mountains we should hike this summer in the adirondacks.  We discussed what new equipment we will need now that we are venturing into some more challenging mountains.  We are pretty sure we will attempt Algonquin Mt this year which is the 2nd highest peak in NY.  Eventually we hope to climb all of the 46 peaks in NY that are over 4000 ft elevation and earn the right to call ourselves 46ers!  We have two down and 44 to go.......

Jerry and I ran outside this afternoon for a really nice 6 miles.  It was cold but sunny and it felt great to be outside.  We even saw two bluebirds!  While we were gone Abby climbed aboard the treadmill for 3 miles and officially started getting ready for track.  She is interested in the 4-mile Run for Life in May again!  We had a great time last year running together.   Gina was a bit wound up this afternoon so we fired up for her and let her have at it.  She was surprised how quickly she broke a sweat.

My dinner plan was much better for the week.  We had acorn squash stuffed with couscous, craisins and walnuts; spaghetti casserole with soy crumble; cheese quesadillas and guacamole; scrambled eggs, waffles and soy sausage; chicken (soy) patty sandwiches with veggies; and talapia with couscous.   It was a lot of soy and usually I try to limit how much I eat because of my family history of breast cancer; however, I have read recently that it is actually good for teenage girls and there is evidence that it could help reduce BC risk later in life.  So I ate it in the casserole and the patty sandwich but passed on the sausage.

Morning swim practices are over so we can now resume sleeping until 5:30am instead of waking up at 4:50!  We are all happy about that one!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Seventeen Days

According to the news this morning, that's how many sunny days there have been in Cleveland since November 1.  The other 71 days have been cloudy.   I still wonder how I ended up here living in such gloomy conditions!  I'm generally a pretty positive person; I wonder what I would be like if I lived where it was sunny 71 days and cloudy 17.  I might be one of those really annoying happy-all-the-time people.......

Abby struggled with her flu symptoms for almost a week.  Poor girl.  She just kept saying that nothing sounded good to eat.  I'm not even sure she was eating chocolate which would indicate a serious decline in her health.  On Monday Gina called me at 2pm to say she had not felt well all day so she was not going to swim practice. About an hour passed before I was able to get home from work and she was in bed by then looking greenish gray.  I knew she was politely waiting for me.  I asked her if I could just please put on sweat pants and check my email.  That took about 10 more minutes.  We then proceeded together to the bathroom where all heck broke loose.  In our traditional throw-up protocol, I always apologize in advance for laughing and today was no exception.  I know I am a good good mom, but when it comes to puking I lose my mommy badge.  Gina has a puking style like no one I have ever seen or heard and it just downright makes me laugh every single time.  I won't go into anymore detail.  She pukes;  I laugh.  It's just one of those things.  With Abby I am dead serious, and I usually only know that she is sick when I hear the toilet flush in the middle of the night.

So with Gina in bed I couldn't really feel comfortable doing the treadmill in the basement.  What if she needed my comforting laughter again.  I decided to use and do my yoga workout in the office, right next to her bedroom.  That was nice.  I only had to pause it once while she got sick and then I just resumed whatever pose I had stopped at.  This weeks free workout is great - its aimed at surfers and snowboarders - I am neither but I thoroughly enjoyed the shoulder and core focus.  Who doesn't need more of that? 

Jerry and I are hoping to bypass this round of the flu.  So far so good but a few more days are needed till we are completely out of the woods.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Week in Review 1/17/10 - 1/23/10

Sunday:  4 mile run outside
Monday: 45-minute treadmill intervals
Tuesday: 45-minute treadmill intervals & 1 hour yoga
Wednesday:  45-minute treadmill intervals
Thursday: 4-mile run outside
Friday:  1 hour yoga
Saturday:  6 mile run outside

Total running:  27.5 miles

It felt soooooo good to get some fresh air in my lungs this week!  I thoroughly enjoyed the outside miles, especially saturday since Jerry and I ran together for about 3 miles before he split off for trails and I returned home.  It had the exact feel of a first long training run and I wished for a little bit that I had signed up for the full marathon at Cleveland instead of the half.  But then I remembered the feeling of long runs in the sleet, snow, ice, wind and I quickly felt confident in my decision to only do the half marathon in May.  I'm thinking about maybe doing the Spring Classic half marathon in April as well.  We'll see.  Truthfully I felt as if I could have run a full 13 miles yesterday so I am not terribly concerned about pulling up a training plan quite yet.  I've got to let a few more weeks unfold.

Abby survived the spelling bee on Thursday night but not without battling a stomach flu before, during and after.  She is still not herself - no appetite and no energy.  No exercise for her this week.  It was a very tough week for her.  She will be ready to start training for track as soon as she is up and feeling better.  I had to smile at the spelling bee when her first word to spell was "muscular."  How appropriate!

Gina had lots and lots of swimming as usual.  Her appetite is definitely not suffering.  That girl is eating me out of house and home.  Thank God for Amy's Meals!  I swear I don't know where she is putting it.  We discovered that we weigh exactly the same now, and then had a most hilarious chuckle at the difference in our body shapes and appearances!  As I like to say, I am dimpled with humanity..............Oh, but back to Gina - we realized that on top of two swim practices a day, she is also putting in a tough 1.5 hours of daily gym class. 

The kitchen was sort of a mess this week.  I couldn't get organized enough to think past one day at a time.  The result was a less than optimal menu:  tuna on english muffins and sweet potato fries, turkey sandwiches with avocado, sprouts, tomato and cheese served with homemade breaded zucchini sticks, tomato soup from scratch which takes forever but taste great with grilled cheese.  I honestly don't remember the rest of what we ate.  I am already prepared for the upcoming week with lots of shopping behind me this weekend.  It always feels great to start the week with a plan and a full pantry.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


It's the one part of our health routine we struggle with the most: STRESS!  It's an inevitable part of life for sure, but this family really struggles with how to handle it.  We pray, we try to exercise it out, we try to limit things that are known to raise one's heart rate on stressful days (which is why I have only had ONE cup of coffee so far today)!

But my heart seems to be racing already!  It's a big day here - the middle school spelling bee is tonight and abby is participating.  We are still baffled why the child who loathes attention and being in the spotlight tried out for the bee in the first place!  Maybe its because she is an excellent speller and does have a bit of a competitive edge.  As a mother, I not only carry around my own anxieties but I load the anxieties of my children onto my shoulders as well.  Heck, I even throw Jerry's on there too.

Today I will yoga breathe as much as humanely possible.  I might even do the little thing where you close off one nostril, breathe in, switch to closing the other nostril and breathe out!  I find that really soothing but I look like a bit of a weirdo.  Mindful breathing seems to be really helpful as I notice my heart rate dropping and a peaceful feeling takes over.

The other thing I will absolutely do on a stressful day like today is do a workout whatever it takes.  I should have just enough time to squeeze in a run outside after work but before the afternoon activities start up (cello lesson, dinner and then off to the bee).

The third thing I will do is visualize Abby having a great experience!  She will hopefully not notice me sitting quietly in the audience breathing through alternating nostrils!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Week in Review 1/10/10 - 1/16/10

Sunday:  45 minute interval training on treadmill
Monday:  45 minute interval training on treadmill and 1/2 hr yoga
Tuesday:  45 minute interval training on treadmill
Wednesday:  1 hour yoga
Friday:  45 minute interval training on treadmill
Saturday  30 minute walk with Jerry and the dog

Not a tremendous week for working out with about 18 miles of indoor running.  Some weeks are like that.  I really did enjoy the treadmill workouts though as they are getting really tough.  I am using the iFit memory cards that came with my NordicTrack treadmill.  They control the speed and incline and have the voice of Jillian Michaels from The Biggest Loser to guide one through the workout.  I prefer listening to music but so far I am okay with waiting on her cues to motivate me.

I was pretty busy in the kitchen this week, too!  It was not a vegetarian week but still pretty healthy.  Chicken Tagine on Sunday was amazing, followed by a vegetarian Shepherds Pie, Lentils & Rice with some grilled cheese and veggie sandwiches, Tofu stir-fry on Friday, and cheese pizza on swim meet night when we had to get out the door quick.

Today was the first day I ran outside since December 14 and it felt really nice.  Jerry had left the house while I did some shopping.  I called him when I got home and he was fairly close to home so we made plans to meet at the bike path.  Just as I turned onto the path I saw him coming so we ran together for 4 miles.  That made a nice 12 mile run for him and it was pretty nice to spend some time together that way. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Cabin Fever Busters

It's no big surprise that cabin fever has been setting in around our house.  People get tired, grumpy, and generally lack motivation.  We just happened to land on a great PBS show on Hummingbirds the other night.  You can see by the photo that we humans were not the only ones who enjoyed the sounds of summer!  There was something truly magical happening just by hearing the birds, seeing the colorful flowers and enjoying scenes of nature in the summer season.  Gilbert wanted a front row seat and even the laughter he brought about helped to diminish the cabin fever around us. 

The other thing I did to lessen the gloom of winter was to book our "real cabin" in the Adirondacks for June.  They call them cabins but it is really a beautiful 3-bedroom, 2-bath house with all the amenities one could hope for - including a beautiful view of Whiteface Mountain.  It is there I did my first real yoga on!  Every time I do triangle pose I still hope that I will open my eyes to see that gorgeous scene from the cabin's front window.  Now I can start counting the weeks until we are northbound again.  Going in June has its pros and cons.  The cons are obviously there can still be some cool weather and we are guaranteed to have some black flies on our hikes.  The lake will be too cold to swim in, but we can still enjoy sticking our feet in for awhile.  The pros are that we will only have to share the hiking trails with a handful of others and there should be plenty of baby animals for us to catch glimpses of.   It will be quiet and peaceful - isn't that how a vacation should be??!!

My legs are tired this week from all of the treadmill workouts.  I was complaining the other night as my workout just began.  Abby was cranking away on Wii Fit and Gina was on the couch doing spanish homework.  Again THAT is what I love - when we can all be together during a workout!  Anyways, my complaining was pitiful and I know better.  Gina looked up from her spanish and actually scolded me:  "When I feel that way before swimming I just tell myself it's gonna be a good workout.  I'll be happy I did it.  It always makes me feel better.  Now stop complaining Mom and repeat after me.........."   She went on to offer up her favorite mantras which I repeated like a dutiful mom.  Then I put my head down and started the workout in earnest.  Occasionally I looked up to watch her working hard on homework after a morning swim, school all day and then a 2.5 hour afternoon swim practice.  Abby was sweating away.  I sometimes wonder if anything I say sinks in - but after an evening like that I am pretty sure they are learning to love how it feels to be healthy and strong.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Jan 3-9, 2010 Review

Sunday:  45 minute interval training on treadmill and family sledding
Monday:  45 minute interval training on treadmill
Tuesday:  45 minute interval training on treadmill
Wednesday:  45 minute interval training on treadmill (killer!), 15 minutes yoga
Thursday:  30 minutes yoga, 30 minutes Wii Fit
Friday:  45 minutes interval training on treadmill, 15 minutes yoga with Gina

The week resulted in about 20 miles of indoor running.  I just feel better getting a tough interval workout on the treadmill than I do about trying to run outside on slippery ice and snow covered paths.  I also like that I can be on the treadmill while Abby does Wii Fit or something like that.  Gina had her usual huge amount of swimming this week, including one tri-meet and our conference championships.  She again was entered in the 200 IM and the 100 Fly.  She is officially tired of those events and I cannot say that I blame her.  It looks grueling.  I spent 7 hours this week sitting at swim meets.  Sort of the anti-workout but one of those necessary things in life.  If we are to encourage fitness then we have to be present in mind and body when we are called on to spectate and encourage.  I really enjoyed doing 15 minutes of yoga with her on Friday.  It was mostly breathing and downward dog.  She commented several times during the day how great that felt and that she would have kept going.  I hope to incorporate this sort of thing more and more into all of our lives.  I never realized how much I would really enjoy yoga and I wish I would have started practicing a long time ago.

We started the new year with a mostly vegetarian menu plan.  Pierogies, Soy patty sandwiches, spaghetti, couscous, with lots and lots of side vegetable salads like sweet potatoes and black beans, and zucchini smothered in fontina cheese.  More and more we are eliminating meat from our diet.  We had fish one night and that was it for the meat category.  Of course the girls eat meat when it is part of the school lunch, but at home it is mostly grains, dairy, veggies and fruit.

Can I just say how nice it is to see the sun today! 

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Thoughts on 2010

To quote my husband, who quoted my neighbor:  If 2009 was the year of change, let's make 2010 the year of positive change.  2009 was simply crazy and unpredictable.  We refrained from making many plans due to the unstable nature of the economy, jobs and life in general.  Year 2010 is already showing some promise!  Jerry has registered for the Burning River 100 race at the very end of July.  Yesterday I registered for the Cleveland Half Marathon in May.  We will both enjoy training for our events - even if there is a difference of 87 miles between them!  I will then go on to focus on training for Columbus Marathon in October.  Even though I have completed 9 full marathons, I have only run 2 half marathons.  More on those some other day!

Gina is in full swing of her first high school swim season.  It has been a good experience for her to be on a school team rather than her large USA swim team.  She can be an integral member and contribute to earning points towards a team win rather than just improve her individual times.  Her times are holding steady.   Last week she completed a 5-mile swim practice to finish off the year.  Five miles in the time it would take me to run a marathon!

Abby is awaiting the start of track.  Any day now she will be climbing aboard the treadmill and getting herself ready for her first middle school track season.  We loved watching her run for cross country!  She has not run since the Turkey Trot race in November where she properly left me in the dust.  I could barely make out her little pink shorts up ahead but I could not have caught her if I had tried.  I am hoping to get a half marathon out of her in September but I will need to tread lightly and get to summer first.  With no relay option for us at Lake Placid this year, I just feel like a half marathon is the next logical step for her!

It feels good to have some goals in place.  It definitely makes working out more meaningful.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Last Day of Winter Break

Another 45 minute treadmill interval workout while the girls played around on Wii Fit Plus.  Some of those new games really work up a sweat.  The problem was that I was watching the Wii game and trying to participate while running on the treadmill.  Add a cute little kitten who has been known to jump on the belt during my workouts and I was pretty much a nervous wreck.  I did make it through and it is always a good feeling to be able to cross "workout" off my list of things to do.  We were able to get some more fresh air today playing outside with our neighbors and shoveling out the driveway.  Jerry used to get his exercise by pulling the girls through the snow on a sled around and around the house - now the girls are pulling the neighbors around.  Time flies too quickly.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Today's Workout

Jerry was the only one brave enough to run outside.  My workout today was a 45 minute treadmill program followed by 45 minutes of excruciatingly fun sledding with the family at Shadow Lake.  It was REALLY cold and windy but the snow was perfect.  Much better than the attempt a few days ago at Kendall Hill.  We all enjoyed the fresh air and the feeling of getting some good outdoor exercise in the middle of winter. 

The highlight was an incredible incident/accident when my two well-behaved girly girls of 14 and 12-years old crashed into an unsuspecting younger boy who had stopped at the bottom of the hill.  The parents all watched in horror as they sped directly towards him.  The crash was spectacular and included one black flying boot soaring through the air for about 25 feet.  I hoped the boot was not attached to a foot.  I also hoped the boot was one of ours.  It was not.  The poor boy hopped through the snow to find his boot as the parents continued watching in silence.  I half expected to be confronted by the boys father.   The boy came up the hill slowly, followed by my two very giggly daughters.  We all apologized, declared it an accident and went back to sledding. 

My Brand New Blog

Hello! I've been wanting to start a blog for some time and with the New Year just beginning it seems like a perfect time. Please join me as I try to chronicle the many adventures of our family as we try to stay healthy and promote family fitness.