Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Physical Therapy: If it's easy, you're not doing it right.

Oh the joys of physical therapy (PT).  All the stretches and exercises look so darn easy, and seem like they should be, but when you follow all their directions - keep your shoulders down, tighten your core, lift with your glutes, don't engage your back...whoops, your shoulders are inching up, keep them down - I mean, really, with doing all that, it's a miracle I can even move.  But, I'm not a total dud patient, I did do my exercises yesterday.

I went to the gym after work.  Work has been crazy, because I was off half of last week (in Philly) and I'll be off half of this week (more on that in a second), so by the time I got to the gym I had less than an hour to do my thing.  So I decided to cut my 25 minute run down to an intense 10 minutes.  I ran at 6.5 and 7.5mph, switching each minute.  The last few minutes were pretty tough, I had to dig a bit to keep going, reminding myself, "you're only running for 10 minutes, just keep going, it's only 10 minutes."  In the end I ran 1.15 miles and got off the treadmill satisfied with my performance.

Oh, that reminds me, Kate suggested I do a "dynamic" warmup before my runs, instead of the couple/few minutes of walking I normally do. Something about it doing a better job of priming the muscles (and loosening the ligaments?) for running.  So I did about 10 each of the following things at a fairly quick pace.

Pre-run dynamic warmup:
Walking lunges
Butt kicks
Hacky Sack
Side Kick

I've never done a video post but I might have to do one to demonstrate this warmup because I can't find anything online that shows them all.  So yesterday I ran through these before I started running.  It only takes about a minute though and I'm used to walking for about 3 minutes so I still walked a bit before I started running. 

After my run I did back/biceps/PT exercises - moving through things pretty quick being pressed for time.  Then I hustled to get home and put some food on the table.  I had a bowl of pasta with chicken breast and zucchini drizzled with olive oil.

Medium pasta shells, chicken breast, zucchini, olive oil and a bit of parmesan cheese

Those are cumin seeds on the zucchini, I'm afraid to tell you how long the zucchini was in my fridge.  But there was no mold on it and, well, I'm a bit extreme when it comes to eating "old" food.  If it doesn't look bad and it doesn't smell bad, I'll probably give it a try.  And if doesn't taste bad - well then, I'm eatin' it.  Though I am a tiny bit more conservative with meats.  A tiny bit. 

Oh, I forgot about lunch!  I ate at a Mexican restaurant and ordered a grilled fish taco with black beans on the side (no rice).  I told myself I could have 5 chips with salsa while waiting for my food, and I tried to be mindful so I'd notice that I was eating them.  I ate my lunch, which was yummy, and then had 2-3 more chips after.  With all that, plus a large glass of water, I felt very satisfied.  And since I'm being ├╝ber detailed in reporting my food intake yesterday I'll add that for my morning snack I had 6oz of FF greek yogurt (Trader Joe's brand.  Don't do it.  Just don't.) with a cup of sliced peaches in lite syrup and my afternoon snack was 1/3 of a Clif Bar and a banana.

A few hours after dinner I got hungry so I had a 1/2 serving of Kashi GoLean with cinnamon sprinkled on it (the cinnamon is ABSOLUTELY MANDATORY) and almond milk for a snack.  I call this a routine eating day, nothing particularly indulgent, pretty clean, balanced, etc.  Eating like this as a routine allows me to indulge a couple times during the week and still maintain.  Though I am technically wanting to "lose" right now, I'm not trying, I'll continue eating my standard healthy diet and I know my weight will probably settle back where it was.  It's not about the number, it's about how I feel, and eating this way feels great.  The number will take care of itself.

So...the big thing going on this week is that tomorrow morning I'll be on the road at oh-six-hundred hours headed toward the Desolation Wilderness for the annual girls' backpacking trip.  From Wikipedia:
The Desolation Wilderness is a 63,690-acre federally protected wilderness area located along the crest of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, just southwest of Lake Tahoe in El Dorado County, California. It is a popular backpacking destination, with much barren rocky terrain at the edge of the tree line: it has extensive areas of bare granite.
If you recall, last years' trip was to the Ten Lakes area in Yosemite, and was an amazingly fun time. This years' plan is to hike to Tyler Lake or Gertrude Lake from Wrights Lake. And, like last year, I have gotten so lucky as to have started my period.  Oh the luck. I get it maybe twice a year these days and it happens to fall during the backpacking trip two years in a row...can you believe that?  SO irritating.

Anyway, food went pretty good today. Shopping for the camping trip was tough because I was hungry for dinner.  But I managed to pick something good to eat for dinner, a Shrimp vegetable stir-fry from Trader Joes.

I added some soy sauce and Sriacha and it was very yummy.  I ate the whole bag.

And I got some yummy food for trek.  All sorts of treats I don't normally eat - salami, cheese, garlic naan, trail mix, etc.  Well, it's late and 5am will come early so I'm wrapping this up.  Night.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Running, Eating and Momentum

I am on a roll.  And that's a good thing.  In the past I've written about things being so much easier when your motivation is high, how it's almost like riding a bike downhill. Well, I'm riding that bike and the wind is in my hair and I'm entirely feeling the wheeeeeee!!

Saturday evening we decided to go out for dinner.  We went to a cafe that serves California type foods.  We were seated next to where the servers pick up the food and I eyeballed a plate of fried chicken coming out of the kitchen.  Yum, I love fried chicken.  But I remembered how restaurant fried chicken often disappoints me, unless they really know what they're doing it's often dry and lacking in flavor.  That memory was enough to move me on to other ideas.  Part of this journey is identifying that not all foods - even one you might call a favorite - are good all the time.  There is such a thing as bad fried chicken.  Plus I had an 8 mile run planned for the morning so something a bit more carby seemed like a good idea.

So I settled on the angel hair pasta with shrimp and tomato.  I ordered it with a request for light use of oil.  And I ordered a side of sauteed veggies, also asking for light oil.  While I was eating my meal I realized the two would go lovely together so I tossed the veggies in with the pasta and voila - a good dish just became great.  This also reminded me of something I've done a tiny bit of reading on, the concept of Volumetrics, which is based on the knowledge that we tend to eat the same volume of food throughout the day, even if the calorie count, the density, etc, varies quite a bit.  Turns out, the amount of food we eat has a greater impact on how full we feel than the number of calories in the food.  So Volumetrics has you bulk up the volume with veggies, broth based soups, etc.  It's not really anything new, right?  Eat more healthy foods, but it's a good reminder to fill up our plate with fruits, veggies, etc.

Reminds me of a study that showed if people ate a broth based soup before their meal they ate less during their meal.  I could have told them that but a study is always nice to reinforce it.  The take away on that is if you show up to a restaurant starving try to start with a broth based soup if it sounds healthy.  Anyway, back to my eating.  Here's a picture of my pasta dish - doesn't it look yummy?

I ate the whole thing and then we went to frozen yogurt.  What with my planned 8 mile run I decided it was a good time to indulge.  Sunday morning came bright and early, I was up at 6:30am and on the road toward Cavallo Point - a picturesque spot near the north end of the Golden Gate bridge - by 7:15am.  I met up with a group of folks that organize runs for both fun and exercise/training. I decided to try this run with NO energy supplements to see if it improved my GI issues.

This was my view from the parking lot.  It was a chilly morning, probably in the mid-50's.  Ok, chilly by my California standards.  I know my readers in the east are laughing at my definition of "chilly".  We ran a route that took us up and over the bridge.  Some people were running 6 miles, some 10, and we ran at various paces so it wasn't long before I was running solo, which I expected.  It's easier actually.  I took in the tourist watching, the view and enjoyed the fog clearing a bit as the morning went on.  Here's my route:

Golden Gate Bridge Route, Full Garmin Stats here
I ran the 8 miles in 1:26:55 for a 10:52 pace.  I felt great, even with the hill up to the bridge just about doing me in on the first mile.  After the run I picked the kids up from the soccer field where they'd been playing with Miguel and took them home.  Unfortunately the run caused my memory to glitch and I totally forgot to take them to a birthday party at noon.  But the good thing is they got invited to a late afternoon birthday party at the last minute so we went to that.  They had a great time playing in the sand and kicking around the soccer ball.  I spent a good amount of time just watching them play.  As well as having a few handfuls of chips and guacamole.  I passed on the beer though, I think it would have put me to sleep.  Here's my angel covered in sand.  We took her shirt off to clean her up but she just dove back into the sandbox!

With all the chips and guac I tried to go a bit light on dinner, having some red beans, avocado and pico de gallo.  But that left me feeling unsatisfied, physically but mostly psychologically.  I just felt that it wasn't enough food, especially given the running, so I started trying to talk myself into eating and ended up piling a plate full of leftover chow mein.  I was about to eat it when the kids distracted me.  Thank goodness, it gave me pause - "Why are you eating that crap?  You know it's not what you need.  It's fine if you're hungry but make a better choice than chow mein." - so before I had a chance to regret it I scurried back into the kitchen and put it down the garbage disposal.  Whew!  In the end I had a bowl of Kashi GoLean with cinnamon and Almond milk.  MUCH better choice and one I felt good about.

Monday morning and I'm back at it.  I had a physical therapy appointment...took a picture for you guys!  This is Kate helping me do the Bird Dog.  She's helping me to focus on building up those stabilizer muscles, keeping my core tight, etc. 

After meeting with Kate I spent some time with the trainer doing the rest of my exercises.  She asked me about my other stuff I do at the gym.  I'll spare you the details but in summary she said I need to cut back on more than just my ab stuff.  A lot of my other weight training exercises are too much for my back right now.  I have to "go back to basics".  You could have heard me whining and whimpering from the parking lot I bet.  But I just have to remember this is to get me well, and I really want my back to stop hurting, so I agreed to cut back more on some other stuff too (like dumbbell flies, I am going down to five pounds).

Lunch was a salmon cobb salad with the dressing on the side (hold the cheese).  It was super yummy and with a big glass of water I felt very satisfied. After work I hit the gym and did 25 minutes on the upright bike, Level 8, and legs/shoulders/core after.  I don't mind saying I rocked the gym - well, as best I can given all my back stuff. 

In the evening I had dinner plans to go over mother's club business.  My mother's club volunteer duties are almost over.  I'll still be volunteering but I won't be a co-director anymore.  So we were meeting to make next year's budget.  I'll miss the social aspect but I won't miss all the meetings, emails and phone calls.  At the restaurant I debated on ordering a glass of wine but in the end decided I'd rather have dessert.  I had a steamed clams app and then a chop chicken salad for my entree.  I asked for the dressing on the side as well as some balsamic vinegar. I drizzled the vinegar on the salad and dipped a few bites in the dressing. Another satisfying salad.  Nothing on the dessert menu was calling out to me, plus I didn't want to dampen my good-eatin' momentum so I had a scoop of raspberry sorbet for desert.  Very good.

I have a few very exciting things happening with both my private practice and this blog.  I'm going to wait to announce them until it's more of a done deal but ohmygosh - we're going places people!  And I couldn't be more excited at the prospect of reaching more people, maybe inspiring someone to see that it CAN BE DONE if you want it and don't give up. 

Good restaurant choices, salads with dressing on the side.  Desert was raspberry sorbet, no alcohol.