I’m doing a half marathon!

I’m walking it – because to be honest, I think running is for suckers.  Okay, I’m mostly kidding about that, running friends – mostly.  But it’s definitely not for me.

However, I was perusing Target one day, in the fitness section looking at yoga mats and saw this fitbook in the store and ended up purchasing it.  I’d been having trouble tracking my food regularly, and thought having a paper version might help. 1 The basis of this book, is that it is a 12 week (one quarter of a year, almost) system.  You put together your goals and your fitness plan for 12 weeks, and track it every day and every week to completion.

I was then on the hunt for a 12 week fitness program.  I have done several 5ks and I like the races, so I first looked at Hal Higdon’s 5k walking training program, but that was only 8 weeks long. Unacceptable. Then, I noticed his half marathon walking training program, which was exactly 12 weeks!  Perfect – sign me up!

The next day, I calculated when 12 weeks from Monday (the start of the training) was: August 3rd.  I then searched the interwebs to see if there was a half marathon that weekend.  Turns out, there is a Biggest Loser run/walk half marathon and the course time limit is 5 hours.  I’m not really a big fan of the Biggest Loser, because I think it’s a totally unhealthy program, but all the other half marathons around then were 3.5 hour course limits and so off I went to sign up for this one.

I’m in week 9, and completed an 8 mile walk last Sunday.  Other than walking to Bong State Rec Area when I was a camp counselor, I don’t think I’ve walked that long consistently at one time.  But it helps when the view looks like this:

2014-06-29 07.43.09

 

So, this week, 3 more weeks and then half marathon here I come!

 

 

1 It didn’t really help, by the way – I used it for a while, but the shine has worn off.  But, it got me motivated to do this plan, so it’s $20 well spent!

New addition to the family

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Wrigley and Ivy taking action itemzzzz while I’m on a conference call

 

So, this happened since December… I now have a 1 year old puppy as an addition to the family.  Wrigley, my 12 year old senior dog, really isn’t terribly thrilled about it, but he’s slowly getting used to the idea.  At least he isn’t giving up the bed within 30 seconds of the puppy commandeering a portion of the dog bed.   Of course, to go with my Cubs theme, she’s been christened Ivy.   But mostly, she goes by “Don’tChewThat” or “QuitLickingMe!”

At least she’s cute.

 

Out of the Blue (or, my future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades)

For the past 18 months, I’ve been struggling with constant exhaustion.   I mean at any time in that 18 months, on 90% of the days, I think I could have crawled into bed and taken a nap at 2 or 3 pm.  Since I work from home, I have the luxury of sneaking out on my lunch break and catching 30 minutes of sleep occasionally, and that got me through. It’s likely due to the 9 months in 2012 where I was traveling every other week and working 70 to 80 hour weeks on top of that. I don’t know about you, but my body is not meant to take that, and I believe I sent my body into adrenal fatigue.

So, I met with my APRN, who is amazing, and she ran several tests.  That showed that my B12, iron,  and D3 levels were low, and so I went on sublingual B12 supplements, iron supplements and 2000 IU of D3 daily.  I was also recommended NaDH from another source. Fast forward to this year – STILL exhausted, and my levels are into the normal range.  She tested all the T3/T4 thyroid stuff, checked to make sure my kidneys were okay (they are), and a few other things that came through normal.  I’ve also tried melatonin, blue lights, you name it – still tired.

And thus, off I went to the neurologist who specializes in sleep issues.  I dreaded this, as I do not sleep well in new places; this makes traveling difficult as the first night in a hotel is restless.  I must have my earplugs, my sleep mask, and my comforter, even in the heat of summer, to sleep soundly.   Thus, the threat of a sleep study, in a strange place AND with wires and tubes in all sorts of places, was nothing I was looking forward to.

I was sent a giant packet of forms and a two week sleep chart, which was in and of itself quite confusing.  But I made a go at it, and brought everything into the doctor’s office, where a fellow and a med student asked me many questions before I even saw the doctor.  But it’s a teaching hospital, so it’s to be expected; I just imagined myself as part of a scene on Grey’s Anatomy.  The fellow, who I liked quite a bit, told me that when they look at people with sleep problems, they separate them into two categories: 1) people who are sleepy and 2) people who are not sleepy but are exhausted.   Because I don’t fall asleep randomly during the day (although I blame this on my sleep OCD – see above), but can sleep when I intentionally put myself to bed, and also don’t snore or wake myself up in the middle of the night – I fall into the latter category.

I’ve actually been pretty sure for a while that I have a circadian rhythm sleep disorder, specifically delayed sleep phase disorder (DSPD), aka delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS).  When I was on (what I like to call) my paid sabbatical in 2008, I didn’t set an alarm for 4 months, and naturally went to bed about 2 am, and woke up at 10 am feeling wonderful, refreshed and ready to start the day.  Needless to say, that makes a 7:30 am – 5 pm work schedule quite difficult for my body.  I’ve adapted; I go to bed about 10, 10:30 every night and get up about 6 or 6:30 am every morning, even on the weekends.  Although, I did get chided by the fellow: “you never allow yourself to sleep in!”  Listen, after years of waking up early, the most I can sleep in these days is MAYBE 7:30, even if I don’t set an alarm.  I guess that is another gift of getting older.

So, the doctor came in and he agrees with my self diagnosis, and told me that we were going to trick my body into thinking I was on a 2 am to 10 am sleep schedule.  His rules to me:

  1. No sunlight before 8:30 am.  When I take the dogs out at 6 am, I am to wear sunglasses; if I can get blue blockers, all the better.
  2. No sunlight after 1 pm.  Same thing goes – sunglasses when I’m outside, blue blockers are even better. [I bought this inexpensive 2 pack on amazon, one that is tinted for outside, and one that is just a blue blocker for inside (and computer) use.  I’ll let you know how they work]
  3. Between 8:30 am and 1 pm, I need to blast my blue light as much as possible and get as much sunlight as possible [I have the Philips goLITE which is convenient for traveling, but this NatureBright SunTouch Plus Light and Ion Therapy Lamp is about half the cost and is highly rated]
  4. At 9 pm, take .5 mg or 1 mg of melatonin [NOT the 3 mg I was taking before – even though it was time released] I got mine at Trader Joe’s, but you can also get them on amazon here.

I’d also asked about monitor filters.  I use Twilight on my phone and my tablet, but that’s only for Android. Since I work in front of a big blue computer monitor for 9 hours or so a day, that’s a lot of artificial sunlight I need to avoid.  I did a little research, and there is a windows program called f.lux that will change the color temperature of your screen according to your location and time of day.  The only issue with this program is I can’t specify the hours of the day that I need light (8:30 am to 1 pm); it’s done only by location.  Unfortunately, the program won’t let me set my location to the south pole, which is the only place on earth that the sun currently rises at 8:30 am and sets at 1 pm.  But, I’ll drop them a note and see if they can help, as it’s really my only option.

So, I need to follow this for two weeks, track my sleep schedule, and go back to see the doctor (and the fellow, and the med student) in a couple weeks.  Meanwhile, my future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades.

December habit – letting go

I had originally planned on making my December habit one of decluttering, as I do tend to accumulate a lot of “stuff”.  But, to be honest, that was horrendously daunting – an issue to discuss with a professional, I’m sure.  But the sea change habit is “letting go”, and I thought a lot about that on my drive home from North Carolina.

Two things really stuck in my brain: sugar and my need to “be connected”.  I started wondering, out of nowhere, really: could I go without sugar for a year? I’d really thought about doing a whole60 from Dec through the end of Jan, but at the end of the day my demon tends to be sugar.  So that’s the plan for now: no refined sugar.  Alcohol is okay in moderation, but no baked goods, ice cream, sweets, etc. Muffins are basically cupcakes you eat for breakfast, so those are out as well. I’m going to stick with it for the 30 days and evaluate – but I’d like to see what I could do if I stayed off it for a full year.

I’m also basically addicted to the internet, my phone, and most forms of electronic gadgets.  I’ve decided to turn off all electronics at 8 pm, and attempt to be in bed by 9 am.  I’d really like to reset my sleep schedule and have more time in the morning to Get Stuff Done.  I just find I’m more efficient this way.

There are two exceptions to this rule:  one – my old-school kindle; and two – audiobooks on my phone.  Reading is something that’s okay to do to wind down at night, and isn’t really a constant connection use of electronics.  If I’m listening to audiobooks on my phone, I will set my phone into airplane mode so that I am not distracted by the alerts and such from all my social media.

And with that, I’m 6 minutes over my 8 pm deadline, so I’ll write more later about how it’s gone so far!

NaBloPoMo, Day 30

NaBloPoMo November 2013

I’m exhausted, even though I got 8 hours of sleep.  I woke up before my alarm, somewhat on my own, although the dog was being insistent on going out.  I’ve gotten the car all packed, but want to get this out before I go, as I’ll be rolling into Chicago around 8 pm tonight, and I’m sure the last thing that I’ll want to do is write a blog post.

I really just want to lie down and, as my dad says, ‘rest my eyes’ for a few minutes.  I might just do that as it’s a long trip back, although there will be many gingerbread lattes in my future.

What I’ve learned from the last 30 days:

  1. I am not a writer, and I’m okay with that.  that doesn’t mean I don’t have things to say, but I’m not one of those people who have lovely prose.  That probably made it a bit easier, as I didn’t beat myself up for phoning it in half the time. But, I did get the job done
  2. Who knew I’d get 110+ followers in less than 30 days?  Granted, some of these were those “I’m following you because I make money at home!” kind of people, but a good number of them are real people who for some reason actually like this blog
  3. Writing a blog post takes a whole eff-load of time.  My hat is off to people who can do this regularly, and I can see why people make it their full time job.

I’ve got 11 hours on the road ahead of me, and I’m going to need to decide what my challenge for December will be.  I’m leaning towards 15 min of decluttering a day, but I have a whole mess of other habits I’d like to incorporate into my life:

  • meditating daily
  • another whole30/whole60
  • journaling daily
  • working on my social anxiety CBT
  • 80 other things, I’m sure

When I get home, I’m going to do a few days on the potato hack to reset my body from all the crap I have been feeding it this week, and then I’ll likely start up another Whole60, wrapping it around new years’ eve and into January.

I guess we’ll see what tomorrow brings…

Maple-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Hazelnuts

Maple-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Hazelnuts

Thanksgiving is over, but my contribution was a hit.  For those of you who may not know, my sister is vegan, so most of the dishes were vegan friendly.  We still had a beautiful turkey, courtesy of my brother-in-law and his parents.

I brought the sprouts.  My sister suggested some wacky dish with quinoa and cranberries, but I found this recipe from Claire’s favorite vegan chef, Chef Chloe for maple-roasted Brussels sprouts with toasted hazelnuts.  I recommend cutting the sprouts into quarters instead of halves as this allows for a more consistent done-ness.  Also, it helps if you go through the work of toasting the hazelnuts that you actually put them in the dish.  Oops.

The recipe couldn’t be easier, and you can even partially cook it a day ahead of time, and all you need is:

    • 1 ½ pounds Brussels sprouts
    • ¼ cup olive oil
    • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
    • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
    • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
    • ½ cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts, toasted
  • The directions are in the recipe above, so cook and enjoy!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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We demolished Thanksgiving. My sister put on a great spread and much fun was had with family.

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