Sunday, March 17, 2013

New blog and new direction :)

Hi followers,

First, thanks for following me at some point on this blog! I've struggled with a focus (and therefore actual posts) for a while now...but I've finally found a direction for a blog, as well as a new direction and focus in my life.

Please come follow me over at my new blog:
The Optimal K

It will focus on my health and wellness journey, with links to articles on health/wellness/nutrition/fitness, information on those topics, race reviews, tips, recipe attempts, CrossFit updates/nutrition progress, and who knows what else yet. :)

Please follow me! Thanks :)

Monday, February 11, 2013

I have over 5,000 blog views. I have no idea how that's even possible? (And it isn't tracking my own views.) Interesting.

I think I need a new direction, and new blog (or at least a new title). I can't think of anything clever yet, but once I do, be prepared for new content (instead of just once every..few months).


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Guest post: Changes to Your Life to be Healthier

Today's guest post is from Emily Walsh at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. You can read more of Emily's articles at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog and more about mesothelioma on the MCA website.  

I'll be honest, I don't know much about mesothelioma at all, but I think this guest post is applicable to most veterans with health issues, and their families. And I cannot emphasize enough how much diet can contribute to health. Personally, I would also highly suggest yoga nidra - there have been some studies that show it can be helpful for veterans with PTSD and other health issues. You can read more about yoga nidra for veterans on the iRest site and at the Give Back Yoga Foundation. If you're in the D.C. area (or know someone who is), there are yoga nidra classes for veterans at the VA's War Related Illness and Injury Study Center. (Side note, there are no funny/awkward yoga posts involved, it's more like meditation - you lay there with your eyes closed and just listen to the instructor. Yoga nidra is also available on cd/mp3/download and iRest has a special yoga nidra mp3 for those with PTSD, chronic pain, and other health issues.)


Changes to Your Life to Be Healthier

Veterans need to do their very best when it concerns their health and well-being.
Many veterans do not put a lot of emphasis into their health and this can become
a major problem in the long run. The best thing for you to do if you are dealing with
mesothelioma or another condition is to make small and gradual changes that you
can actually stick to. Making these changes will improve your health and will help
you to feel better each day because of the positive adjustments that you've been
making to your life.

One simple change you can make that creates a big impact on your health is to
exercise more often. It's a fact that most veterans simply do not get enough exercise
each day and begin to have problems that are associated with their health because
of the choices they're making. The best thing for you to do is to simply exercise a
little more than you do now. If you are relatively sedentary right now, the best thing
for you to do is to just walk a little each day or just try some very light weight lifting
that can be done at home. If you would rather be around other active people, you
can join a local gym or even an online workout support group.

Along with exercising more often, you should also put a bit more emphasis into the
way that you eat each day. Many people do not pay much attention to their diet,
but the way they eat can definitely affect their mood and their health. Junk and
processed foods can actually put you in a bad mood and cause negative side effects
concerning your health. This is why you might want to think about simply eating
better foods that are either organic or are lower in calories so that you can avoid
gaining weight and be healthier in the process.

As always, your doctor needs to be made aware of the changes you're making to
your daily schedule. The best way to accomplish this is to visit their office a few
times a year or more depending on your current state of health or any ailments you
have at the moment. There are so many things you can do yourself at home that
can help improve your health and life in general so that you are a more productive

--Emily Walsh, Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance

Thursday, January 3, 2013

I can't even...

I just can't.

Articles about this  were bound to be pushed farther than necessary sooner or later.

Most importantly:
"Then there are the fat people who did everything their doctors recommended to lose weight ... and died from dangerous diet drugs, from starvation diets, from mutilating weight-loss surgeries. "


I can't even think of a response because my brain is too disgusted by this article. Who knew being fat was healthy and should be accepted? I did not.

//end rant

Friday, November 30, 2012

5-10 year sentence

If 5 years from now, you were in the same place you are today (relationship, job, city, financial, friends, etc.), would you be happy? What about 10 years?

I was thinking about this while running - but more focused on making a different. I know it's so cliche, but I'm obsessed with the idea of making a difference. Maybe one person can't make a difference on the world, but one person can certainly make a different in the lives of many people, one way or another.

If I'm in the same place I am right now in 5 years, I will not have made much of a difference. The only way I've been contributing to make a different is through volunteer activities, but, I would like to be making a difference on a daily basis doing something I'm passionate about. I'm trying to say I'd like to get paid to make a difference, but that sort of negates the making a difference and does not sound so good. I just want to be able to utilize my skills and combine that with a passion for something, so that I can make a difference while "making a living." And right now, I am not doing that.

If I'm in the same place I am right now in 10 years, I would be devastated. This just cannot happen. Even 5 years would be way too long. This is it. It's time to do something.

Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. ~Howard Thurman

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Not fast.

I'm not fast. I've never been fast.

When I used to run every other day (aka running instead of studying during law school), I kept a steady 10 minute pace, never really trying to run any faster. Actually, maybe I just wasn't sure if I could ever run any faster? I just wanted to run and run and run some more.

Now time matters. I don't know why, but I've decided it does.

Cherry Blossom 5K in March 2012 - 44:00. I literally jogged the first half mile, then kept stopping to walk, then my iPod died right at the first mile marker. The rest was horrible, I was miserable. I hadn't been able to run or work out at all for 3-4 weeks before (when I had surgery), so I was kind of just happy (but mad) to finish. Whatever, it happened.

Bluemont 5K in April 2012 - 49:00 ish. I knew the last half mile (or full mile? I don't remember) was up the 951', but I literally had no idea that the rest of the race was ON the mountain, and when you've only been running on treadmills, your ankles/feet/legs are not used to all of the different angles. I kept jogging then stopping, jogging then stopping. Then, the incline climb (the very last part of the race)...I just couldn't keep going (I thought), I kept stopping, standing, stopping, was so rough. When I crossed the finish line, pretty sure the volunteer EMTs thought I was going to pass out. I was literally THE last person to finish. It was horrible. I was pretty upset honestly, to be the last one to finish, but I hadn't really been training for it, and felt prettttty sick after, so the pukey-ness overshadowed the upset-ness. And I said I never wanted to run that race again.

Napa to Sonoma half marathon in July 2012 - 2:41. So, another excuse - I had been doing crossfit + crossfit endurance since April (after surgery recovery), and was planning to come in around 2:10. Then my shoulder was injured and I had to take a few weeks off because it literally hurt to breathe in. I was able to do a few crossfit endurance workouts in the weeks leading up to it, but only the running workouts (not the actual crossfit or strength parts). The first 4-5 miles felt fine, middle ones were SO boring. Stopping to use a port-o-potty was the worst decision ever, because once you stop, it's so hard to get back into the running groove. I didn't even really think there were many hills, and my strategy was to run up the hills and then walk down to give myself a little break. By mile 9 my legs felt so weak, I just kept thinking - keep going, keep going, loosen the legs, etc. Some of the TNT coaches asked if I was feeling ok (I wasn't in the TNT program), and I was like what do you mean? I'm not stopping, just trying to shake it out. My feet were so sore after, I just didn't want to walk anywhere, didn't want to wear shoes, didn't want to stand. They only had teeny little cups of water at the finish line (plus a bunch of not-so-paleo-friendly stuff like granola bars, v8, who knows what else) and I was soooo thirsty. I found the Zico coconut water booth and kind of just stood there...taking samples. (Thank you, Zico.)

Arlington 9-11 Memorial 5K 2012 - 33:34. I was pretty pleased with this time, honestly. I stopped to walk maybe 5-6 different times for maybe 20-30 seconds each time. The roads were wet (there were tornado watches that morning, so I wasn't even sure the race was going to happen). But this was, hands down, the best race I've been to. There were people cheering in a few random places, a guy playing a bagpipe under an overpass, and a ridiculous finish line party (pretty much unlimited beer, pizza, burgers, etc...I don't eat any of that, but still, nice party!) Also, the first time I've felt like puking after running.

Beach Running Championships 10K October 2012 - I ran this with my mom (literally ran with her while my brother just took off), so it was worth it, and nice to not feel like puking at the end. (Actually, maybe I did feel like puking at the end after I decided to sprint the last 100m to beat this larger dude that passed us.)

SOME Turkey Trot - November 2012 - 32:04 1:30 faster than the September 5K! When I finished, I literally had no idea how fast I had been running, at all. About a mile into it, I decided I wasn't going to stop to walk at all, except to grab water at the water stop at the halfway point. And, I did not stop. I'm pretty convinced I ran an extra half mile at least, from all of the zig-zagging in and out of people. I will never ever understand why people who walk start at the front of the pack when the KNOW they're not going to run, much less keep up. And people were walking 4-5 across, blocking runners. I was running in and out of people, around parked cars, it was so annoying. The last 400m did not feel pleasant and I felt the puking coming, but I refused to stop. I wish I had pushed a little harder to break 32:00. (The time, when I finished, said like 44-something, and I had no idea how far back we had started from the first guys.)

Here's the thing: Between the October 10K and the SOME 5K, I did not run AT ALL. I did not train for a race. There was one 400m run as a warmup to one of the crossfit wods, and then I ran two blocks to my car after a wod one night, but that's all the running I did that entire month. I didn't even expect to come close to my September 5K time, and during the turkey trot, I didn't ever feel like I was really trying to run, it was a comfortable jog pace (with a lot of slowing down and zig-zagging, ugh).

New goal: <30:00 5K

Ok, this may seem SO slow for some people. But I have never really run a mile in under 10:00 in my life. I've done some sprints at a faster pace on the treadmill (so you have to go that fast or fall over, you know), but I've never trained for a pace under 10:00/mile.

So, here it goes. I'll try to document stuff here in the hopes that maybe one day someone will stumble across a post or this post and it will inspire them that they, too, can finish a race/run faster/break previous records/etc.

Side note, I still have absolutely no idea how people run a mile in under 7:00. (Ok, I really have no idea how people run a mile in under 9:00. I could see pushing myself to 9:00 pace, maybe, for only one mile though. But faster than that for multiple miles?) And how is it even possible to run a mile in under 5:00?! I just don't get it.

Also, goal: finish line photo that does not look like I am completely miserable.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

101 in 1001 update

I'll start this by saying...some of my 101 things were probably a little more ambitious than they should be :) My start date was June/July 2011. I think I've completed a total of 20-something..sooo I have quite a bit more to go.

2. run a half marathon (ran napa to sonoma half in july 2012 - so great! well, it was great in the beginning, up to about mile 6, and then it was not AS great, until the finish line. then it was fun to have finished.)
3. avoid eating at restaurants for 30 days - because i'm mostly paleo most of the time, this one is just easy for me..i'd rather know what's in my food anyway
15. go snow tubing - i wish i could go snow tubing every weekend
34. take (and pass) crossfit L1 test before dec 31st (2011) - yayyy! and they have a crossfit trainer directory now, i'm on there :)
38. visit napa again (half marathon)
39. plan a girls' vacay
  40. actually go on girls' vacay
  45. take vacay with the fam (tahoe/san fran) - i think i should move to tahoe?
46. take on a leadership role in an organization
47. take on PR or other leadership role in junior league
  49. become active in junior league - joined june 2011
  64. buy (and use) another dresser - ok, this happened, but my clothes are not at all organized. i think i need a professional organizer/stylist. on retainer. to come over and organize/pick out my clothes. weekly. 
  66. enter a baking contest - july 2011 - but now want to enter a non-biased baking contest
  69. actually use kitchen aid mixer to bake something (i use it all the time now!)
  73. get rid/give away a bunch of stuff sitting in storage (probably need to do this again. or like 5 more times.)
  76. get a "new" haircut (by "new" i actually dyed by hair brown and then let natural color come back. it's SO much better than wasting so much money on highlights every month or two.)
  78. write a thank you note to someone in an under-appreciated job (i'd love to do this more)
  86. go to professional tennis match (legg-mason)
97. successfully bake a layered cake (will post pics soon)

I also added some bonus ones (or replacement ones when I decide something isn't doable):

-join/start cornhole/skeeball team one season (ok, did this a few times)
-see mayday parade live again (amaz)

and bonus ones yet to be completed:
-go skydiving again, preferably somewhere awesome near a beach
-say yes to everything (reasonable) for a day
-say no to everything for a day
-take an anti-gravity yoga class ( )
-take a parkour class (just because how ridiculous is it??)
-buy one of the deal of the day vacations, and just go
-take a sailing class
-see a penguin. in person. (ridiculous)
-take a picture with a celebrity
-send a secret to postsecret
-visit fallingwater, pa  -
-drive the road to hana (maui)
-run big sur marathon relay - find 4 friends
-try lava barre