December 31, 2011

Goal tweaking

With the new year, everyone is rather focused on resolutions and goals. I don't set resolutions as a rule, but this has me thinking of my own goals and how I can tweak things so I am more likely to succeed.

Clean and maintain the house
The problem I'm having with this goal is I am no Martha Stewart. That, and there are so many other things I want to do with my time. Scheduling housekeeping in on the calendar is helpful, but still not a surefire way to accomplish something towards it every day. I'm leaning toward a schedule that varies little from day to day, so 9am is working on the house time no matter what.

Fight depression
I'm tempted to take this off the list as an active goal, because it does not seem concrete enough. How does one fight depression on a daily basis? Focusing on the positive is one way, so I'm changing the terms of this one to: list 5 positive things about the day, each and every day.

Learn SQL
The learning goal is a combination of things: SQL, Access, Database Administration... any marketable skill. This week was the first I had a chance to study without physical exhaustion from working on my Mom's house. Instead, I was exhausted from being ill. Again, I'm hoping scheduling the time in will help. I have some books, some website bookmarked, and some books I may either purchase or borrow from the library. What I need is focus, and I'm hoping blocking time out on the calendar will help with that.

Lose 35 lbs.
Losing 35 pounds is now actually closer to losing 40 lbs, as I've been binging horribly almost from the moment I stated this goal. One of the things I realized is just stating the goal does not tell me how to achieve it. I am replacing this goal with 2 new ones: stay within the calorie allotment, and make 50% of those calories from vegetables. I intend to make this work even on FNO days, though I won't beat myself up too much if an occasional meal out takes me over. It's the meals in I have to make sure fit my plan.

Remodel my parent's house
This goal is on track for completion by the end of January. That's not entirely true as I will still go over at least weekly even after I'm working elsewhere, to help out. I'm thinking Monday dinners Mom, just so you know. There are also projects which cannot be completed until Spring at the earliest. The major portion of the the plan, however, will be done. I've completed both 2nd and 3rd floor, and am currently working on the main floor. This includes:
  • pulling carpets from living and dining rooms
  • pull paneling and adhesive from kitchen
  • patch kitchen, living room, dining room, and basement stairwell
  • paint kitchen ceiling
  • prime kitchen, living room, dining room, and basement stairwell
  • organize a painting party with my siblings to paint kitchen, living room, dining room, and basement stairwell (both color and woodwork)
  • rehang basement stairwell handrail
Spring brings the following projects:
  • prime, paint, and install 2nd floor molding
  • pull first floor radiators and patch walls behind
  • prime and paint walls behind radiators
  • repair radiator boxes
  • reinstall radiators
By summer, I will probably be mowing the lawn and doing other yard work on a regular basis, supposing the lawn mower works. 

I'm hoping scheduling a specific time for this will work, in the same way I'm hoping it will work in other areas. I'm rearranging my "exercise room" to facilitate both Wii yoga and DVD yoga, and plan to stretch extensively on the days I am not running extensively.

Train for and run a marathon
The marathon goal is another I'm changing for the new year. Looking at my marathon plan, knowing I have to build both distance and speed slowly, I'm concerned about completing training for a marathon in 2012 without injuring myself. I've decided to push the marathon out to 2013 and focus in 2012 on building mileage. I will still train for the marathon this year by gradually increasing my weekly long runs. In addition, with distance in mind, I'd like to hit 1K miles this coming year. I did the math and figure I have to run an average of 3 miles per day.

My running has divided into three separate goals. 1) train for a marathon distance; 2) run 1K miles in 2012; 3) run every day. I know the last goal is ambitious, and likely will not happen. I would like to see how long I can make it happen, though. 1 mile will count, and anywhere from 1 to 3 miles will be considered my light "rest" days, where I will also focus on stretching and yoga. With that final goal in mind, I'm looking at treadmills. I envision throwing a pair of shorts and my shoes on first thing in the morning, immediately after getting up and visiting the bathroom for my morning ablutions. I haven't made a decision yet, and I really should be saving my money, but I'm pretty sure I will purchase a treadmill within the next week or so.

Get a job
The only (because what I have listed already is not nearly enough) other goal I have is to find a job, toward which I intend to submit an average of an application a day. This will also be scheduled in, and if I miss a day because I worked long at my Mom's or I overslept I will have to do double the next day. I'm running out of time on this one, and have to do something even if I don't yet feel prepared.

These are all ambitious goals, specifically when added together into the "do something towards each goal, every day" matrix. I hope to make most of them a habit, wherein I do not have to fight to work them in. I'd like to think of myself as the person that just "does" these things, that they are simply who I am. The basic theory on making most of them work will be in the schedule, which I will have to work out on a weekly basis, dependent on what needs to be accomplished that week. My menu will also be worked out on a weekly basis, though I expect once I find one that works it will not change much.

Here's to accomplishing goals, and to a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year.

December 29, 2011

So much for vengeance

Nothing going on here but sleeping, coughing, and sneezing.

December 28, 2011

Back in the Saddle

This is my calendar for the next week. I'm back with a vengeance from a week off running, where I ate excessively and did not accomplish much on many of my goals. My holiday was everything I hoped it could be, considering this year's circumstances. Superman gifted me with several hours of professional massage to help me recuperate from my long runs and physical labors. My family was delighting and wonderful. That said, it's time to get back to work.

I decided yesterday I should fill out a weekly calendar, then update it daily as I go. I have been trying to pack an awful lot into my days without a clear understanding of how long each thing will take. Case in point, today I planned to be up by 8 (my normal waking time). I gave myself half an hour to putter around and make coffee, etc. before focusing on planning out my meals for the week. I originally had a 5 miler on the calendar, but that didn't happen. I went to bed way late, woke up late, then spent some time on the phone with Aunt Gertie. I'm fighting some sort of bug, and the fact I was stiff and achy did not help get me out the door.

Today was the perfect example of how plans can change. When I got up and moving, I dressed for running but ultimately decided not to run. I then planned to stretch instead. I worked on my marathon plan by adding cross training in the form of yoga on non-running days. I even cleaned up the front bedroom so I have room to do said yoga. It turned out yoga didn't happen either, though I did stretch while working at my Mom's. I planned to work at my Mom's until 4, but didn't leave until 6. When I got home I adjusted the rest of the work week accordingly, realizing I probably will do the same at least tomorrow.

This is my Mom's living room.
This is what it looked like when I started pulling carpet.
I didn't expect the padding to stick quite so much...

This is what I scraped and swept up, after pulling the carpet
And this small portion of floor (behind where I took the first picture)
was all I was able to clear after 5+ hours.
I hoped to pull the dining room carpet today, too.
That obviously didn't happen.
Bronte was very helpful, laying all over any carpet I did pull
and moving to a different section of that carpet whenever I tried to move her off.
I installed a door stopper and fixed the record cabinet that's been broken for as long as I can remember. Gorilla Glue for the win! I also did some shoveling, as we finally got snow 2 days after Christmas.
I'm still working on the eating thing. I was good today, until I got home. Then, for some reason, I couldn't wait for dinner to cook and just started grazing on everything in sight.

We'll see how tomorrow goes, and how I'm feeling by then. The way I feel right now, there will be no running then either.

December 23, 2011

Nothing gets done when I paint

This is my mother's newly painted bedroom. I still have to trim to do tomorrow. Somehow just pulling the TV off the wall and painting the room, dressing room, and closet took me 9 hours. Not surprising nothing else got done. It turned out really nice though.

I'm beginning to realize I do not like to stretch when I'm stiff. Particularly when my back is stiff. I do little half-hearted stretches that are uncomfortable, then move on with my day, never going back to relieve the stiffness. You'd think that would be when I'd want to stretch the most. I haven't figured out how to change this, yet.

I'm also beginning to realize how incredibly bad soda is for me. At least that's what I'm blaming for my eating today. I did not make my tea this morning, opting instead to start the day with a soda and 2 liters of Amway Nutrilite. Next thing I know that's all I'm drinking is soda, and eating myself out of house and home.

Is anyone else anxious for the holidays to be over, and for normalcy to return? Maybe it's not so much the holidays I want gone, as it is some sense of normalcy back. This has been a long week, having nothing to do with Christmas except as a time frame to finish the bedroom. I believe I would have had the same long days if I weren't trying to finish by a certain date. It just makes sense to complete each step in a single day, as opposed to splitting it up over a few days. The long days just have me a bit frustrated in relation to the rest of my goals. No, Dr. J, I am not kicking myself over them. Just impatient to be working on them. I'll get there. I should just calm the f down and enjoy the season. One week isn't going to make or break anything.

December 22, 2011

Reveling in amazement and wonder

This is me, most evenings. I'm either catching up on blogs, comics, or playing World of Warcraft. I wonder sometimes if I would binge so horribly if I were, say, reading a book or watching a movie.

I used to think it was my computer that kept me from sleeping. I stay up late sometimes, getting stuck at my desk just flipping through webpages. I've learned over the past week or so that when I'm truly tired I go to bed at a reasonable hour. And when I don't drink soda or coffee, I sleep for 8-9 hours a night. WHAT?!? Who is this person? Yes, I've been sleeping for once. I go to bed at a reasonable (for me) hour, like midnight. I wake up once or twice, depending on the needs of my bladder and/or my cat. Then I go right back to sleep, and don't wake up until 9. I know. Hate me for being unemployed. This will all change, I'm sure. I'm just reveling in amazement and wonder that I'm capable of doing this night after night. It has to be the lack of soda and coffee, which I have cut almost completely out of my diet since starting to drink a gallon of tea a day. No lack-of-caffeine headaches. Just more sleep. That's a trade-off I can live with!

They say sleep helps with athletic goals, because it gives your muscles time to heal. They say it helps with weight loss goals, because you don't eat excessively looking for energy. I do know I fully expected to be sore and in pain after yesterday's run and painting. Today my muscles are a bit tired, but I was able to get up and paint again with no problems.

Besides eating right (which I did... YAY!), painting was the only goal I held to today. I had a very full day, away from my house. My mother's bedroom and dressing room ceilings are painted, and the walls are primed. I also fixed a few small issues with the hall ceiling. I was able to do all this in plenty of time to get ready for mass.

Big Bro and my SIL met my Mother and I at church for the mass dedicated to my father. I haven't been to mass in a very, very long time. They have changed things, at least at this church. Not necessarily for the better or worse. Just different. I'm not a big fan of change for the sake of change, but whatever. The priest seemed nice... very animated. The reading was a love poem from the Song of Songs. It made me cry, thinking of my Dad, and of my Mom thinking of my Dad. I didn't bawl, but there were several tears. I was very focused on my Dad all day, in part because of the mass, but also because a train went by as I left the house. The whistle just kept blowing and blowing and blowing. My Dad was a huge train buff, and they will forever be linked to him in my head.

On the happiness front, Rose over at Eat, Drink and Be Meiri made my day by offering a post holiday gift exchange. I haven't decided if I'm going to do a real gift or a white elephant, but either way I'm looking forward to the fun.

Tomorrow is another busy, busy day. I paint the walls of the bedroom/dressing room, then go holiday shopping with Energizer Bunny. At some point I'm supposed to run 6 miles, but I'm not certain there will be time. I may opt for situps and/or pushups, and do the 6 miles on Friday morning. Friday will be a really long day as well, painting woodwork. I guess I'll just have to see how it all shakes out.

BTW, I have a new anthem...

December 20, 2011

Whew! What a day!

This is me after today's speed work. 5 x 800's @ 6 mph. That's 5 half miles at 10-minute-mile pace, each separated with a quarter mile walk. I love doing workouts I didn't think I was capable of. I wasn't even sure I could run a half mile at that pace, not to mention run it 5 times. Guess I'm going to have to bump my quarter mile interval pace to somewhere in the 9's...

After my run I went to my Mom's. 8 hours later, I did not complete everything I set out to do there. I vastly underestimated what had to be done and how long it would take.

First I moved all the furniture out and away from the walls, then covered everything for painting purposes.

Next, I had to repair a few spots in the ceiling that pulled down when I textured. Most of that went ok, but there is one spot I am very not happy with. I'm also not sure how to fix it at this point, so I think it's just going to have to be a hot mess.

Once the ceilings were patched, I started wiping all the dust off the walls and baseboards. This part in particular I underestimated. It took a lot more time and energy than I expected.

When all the dust was gone I could finally start priming. Because we removed wallpaper and could not get all the paste off the walls, I primed all of the closet and most of the dressing room, including ceilings. By this time I'd been working for 5 hours already, and still had the entire main room to deal with. In the end I decided to only prime the ceiling and whatever wall bits I had extra paint for. I went through almost 3 gallons of primer, and will probably pick up more tomorrow to ensure there's enough for the walls that have yet to be done. I'll need it for the first floor anyway.

It was important to get the ceilings primed, as tomorrow I paint them. I have to stop at Home Depot first and return the gallon of ceiling paint we purchased. I forgot the kitchen ceiling also needs paint, and a 2 gallon bucket is considerably cheaper than 2 one gallon cans.

So tomorrow I stop at Home Depot, prime the rest of the walls, and paint the ceilings. If things go really well I might paint the kitchen ceiling too. All this has to be done before 4:30ish, though. At that point I have to stop and get cleaned up, because around 5:00 my Mom will come home, and we're going to mass. They are saying a mass for my Dad at our local church, and I offered to go with her.

I'd say, between the run and the 8 hours of work, I'm good on my weight loss goal today. I didn't get anything done on the housekeeping or learning goals, but I'm ok with that. I'm rather exhausted, and as soon as I post this I'm heading to bed. We will see what tomorrow brings.

December 19, 2011

One down, 10 to go!

This is totally me! Well, some days anyway. Some days I don't dread my run, and some days I actually enjoy being out there. Today was a mix of the two. I was still stiff from Saturday's long run in the snow, so planned on a slow, easy, shake-out sort of 6 miler. I expected it to be uncomfortable and difficult, and the first few miles were certainly not pleasant. I loosened up by mile 3 though, and flew through the final mile in just below 11 minutes. I love running, when I'm flying. It's obvious I'm getting stronger and faster. Marathon goal = check!

With the snow gone and the temps in the 40s, I'd planned to finally fix the storm windows on my front and back doors. These are a bit of a pain. I don't like screens open on the bottom, because hands tend to go through them there, so flipping the storms was my solution. Unfortunately, that means twice a year I have to take them off their tracks and put them back the way I want them, instead of the way they were designed. You know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men, right? Yeah, switching the storm windows didn't happen. Instead, I discovered one of my furry friends has been pee'ing on the rug in my closet again. Luckily, with my closet in the basement, this is an area rug on top of concrete. I was able to soak it with Oxy Clean and vinegar, then run it through the washer with the same concoction. A second run through the washer with regular laundry detergent, and the rug does not smell like pee. I spent some time cleaning the concrete, then sprayed it liberally with Lysol, and my closet does not smell like pee either. Now if I can just get them (him. I'm pretty sure I know which one.) to stop pee'ing there, I'd be much happier. Housekeeping goal = check!

Today was the first weekday since I finished classes, where I didn't go to my Mom's to work. Instead I puttered around, read emails and blogs, got my run in, then got to studying. I've found a slew of tutorials on Youtube, so went through a couple. I downloaded and installed a free version of MySQL server, and took some notes.
Apparently it's impossible for me to learn without a physical notebook. Also, the notebook has to be new. I have a few lying around, with only a few pages used. Apparently those were not good enough. I found myself hopping in the car with no clear idea where I was going or what I was looking for, and ended up with notebooks. I knew about my fascination with office and school supplies. This did not surprise me. It did amuse me. Learning goal = check!

As I lay awake at 2am this morning, trying to get to sleep, my brain pondered a conversation I'd had with my mother the other day. We were talking about food, about eating plans. I'd brought up something Ninja had posted on his Facebook, about pre-packaging his meals for the week so they are 1) ready and 2) he knows what he is eating on any given day. He and I did this before he moved out, and it worked for both of us. The conversation with my mother surrounded her planning out meals on a daily basis, where Ninja was planning his weekly. 2 am this morning, my brain finally put 2 + 2 together and reminded me that preplanning like that DID work for me. I've sort of been doing it already, hard boiling eggs and putting my veggie bags together. The epiphany was to combine what had worked for me before, but was not really working now, with what works for my Mom. I got up this morning and planned out my food for the day. As the day progressed, I knew what I could eat, and had choices from the menu I'd planned. Oatmeal at 11:30? Sure! Tuna and egg salad at 4? No problem! A stop at Chipotle? Not on the menu today. Now, at the end of the day, I have nothing left on the menu, so cannot eat any more tonight. I do, however, have probably a quart left of the gallon of tea (yes, I said GALLON) I made. I can't remember when I've been this well hydrated, and I'm liking it. Weight loss goal = check!

I did stretch today, but I've kinda been falling off this goal the last couple days. Technically, what I did qualifies. I did a real stretch of my thigh/hip area. One stretch. I really want to get that routine in the morning going, as well as random stretches throughout the day. That didn't happen today. Maybe tomorrow. Stretch goal = half check?

On a side note, I found out today I somehow slipped through the cracks of the Run With Jill 2nd Annual Blogger Gift Exchange. I sent in my email as requested on 11/28, but apparently she never got it. I didn't think anything of it until, again, 2-ish am this morning. Sad panda. I would really like to be part of this blogging community, but somehow never quite seem to fit in. Maybe I'm trying to fit into the wrong section of the blog world. Maybe I'm trying too hard. Ah well. On the plus side, I don't have to worry about mailing yet another package out. I think I made my last trip to the post office today, with my loan deferment request. I was afraid I'd have to send in a hard copy request for my diploma, but was able to do that on line. Yeah, all the formalities regarding my degree are officially complete. One goal down, 10 to go!

December 18, 2011

Lazy Sunday

This is me, kicking back on a relatively lazy Sunday evening. Lazy, because I did not do the 6 miles on my schedule, after yesterday's hard snowbound run. Instead, toward my marathon goal, I decided to rework my playlist. Music is essential to my running, and I haven't changed my playlist in quite a few months. It was time.

Lazy, because I haven't yet stretched, either. Superman and I were up and out early to have breakfast at Gunny Hall with my sister-in-law's family. This is a monthly event that can't be beat. All you can eat breakfast for $7, including good company. I actually was good this morning, eating less than half what I normally would at an all-you-can-eat. I made up for that later in the day though, coming close to 2x my calorie quota, so the weight loss goal has not had a good run this week. I haven't figured out what's triggering all this overeating yet. I'm very much in "I don't care mode," except it's a defiant "I really do care but I'm not going to fight myself" mode instead. I'm thinking another sugar detox would be a good start, though this is a horrible time to try.

I did get my student loan deferment paperwork completed, to help toward my financial goals. I also found both Access and SQL tutorials on Youtube, so learning has been accomplished today as well. And for my housekeeping goal, I scrubbed my oven. Exciting, I know. Actually, it is to me. I don't use the oven often, and haven't scrubbed it in years. Getting in there gave me some ideas of things I can bake and make.

Hard Core

This is a very unhappy me, not looking forward to 11 miles in a snowstorm. In a few weeks my marathon goal will take me into uncharted distances. This 11 miles took about 2:45, and felt very much like I'd hit those uncharted distances already. The snow changed my stride, and right now I feel the way I did after racing my first half marathon distance. I completed the run though, even with GPS failure that screwed up my fueling plan and a new, hillier route. I thought I was overdressed, but that turned out to not be the case. I pulled the hood off my sweatshirt, my gloves came off for a short period, but otherwise this was perfect. I did get lost in familiar territory, but that is not surprising when the world looked like this:
Superman was even more hard core, running over 13 miles in this mess, coming back both excited and invigorated. "Beautiful!" he called it. "Marvelous!" We obviously had different experiences.

I stretched pretty well before I left, but my calves were still tight from speed work earlier in the week. They did not like the hills at all. The snow cancelled out any sensation of time or distance, as well as any satellite connection, and I didn't realize until somewhere around mile 4 I'd missed my mile 1, 2, and 3 fuel. I tried to make up the difference, without taking it all in at once, but finished the run with 2 miles worth of fuel left in my pocket. I certainly felt the lack. Before I realized the problem, I found myself very pissy, which went away shortly after I did fuel. I felt it at the end of the run too, when I hit a wall I could not force myself beyond. I actually walked the better part of the final mile, and have been fighting fatigue ever since.

After getting warm and dry, I went back out in the snow to get some grocery shopping done. This turned into a several store trip, where I probably walked at least another 2-3 miles. I got everything I wanted, and then some. I came home and started in on my chosen housekeeping goal, which was to clean up some spots on my living room carpet. 
Found at Home Depot, this worked pretty well on older, set stains
I also sprayed my oven in preparation for tomorrow's housecleaning goal. Then I settled in with a Microsoft Access tutorial and finally achieved progress on my learning goal. I don't know that I learned anything more than how to use existing templates, but it's a start. Tomorrow I'm going to see what kind of SQL tutorials I can find, and take the next Access session available. 

I started out good on the weight loss front, but something happened tonight. I think, because I haven't been drinking as much soda, I'm not getting as much caffeine, and I am more fatigued the last few days. I am not eating when thirsty (and haven't actually been thirsty yesterday or today), but I am eating when I feel low on energy. I know around 8 I was very tired, laying on the couch and thinking about going to bed early. Here it is almost midnight and I did not go to bed. I am still tired, but I think I ate my way through my fridge in an effort to stay up. That was unnecessary, and running 11 miles in the snow did not mitigate that kind of damage.
This guy made me happy today. His name is Spaz, and he's been a bit skittish ever since we adopted him off the streets some 7 years ago. He loves to be pet, but refuses to be held. Today was the first day ever he's voluntarily climbed up and laid on my legs while I stretched out on the coach. He got twitchy and a little nervous, but at the same time was kneading in a very satisfied and content sort of way.

December 16, 2011

Progress, a smile, and a realization

This is me, eating a seafood fajita at Friends Night Out. Most Fridays you'll find Superman and I at our favorite Mexican place, with as many friends as we can gather. The fajita is one of the healthier options on the menu, which specializes in predominantly meat wrapped meat and bacon. I am trying to make healthier choices in relation to my weight loss goal. So dinner = healthy choice. The fried ice cream desert and the cookies I had for breakfast = not so much. I'm seriously considering throwing the rest of the cookies away. It's possible I can't be trusted to have them in the house for an occasional treat.

So I've known for a while that I tend to eat when I'm thirsty. I've also known for a while the discomfort I periodically get in my stomach area is not always hunger (for the longest time I thought it was). Recently I realized the belly discomfort may have to do with thirst as well. I haven't been able to shake the belly discomfort = hunger reaction though. I've tried making rules like "drink a glass of water before eating anything" but rules don't seem to sit well with me. I'm usually good for a day, maybe two, before going back to my original behaviors. Today I think I made some progress.

I was at my lowest weight when the boys were very young, probably 15-18 years ago. One of the things I did then was carry a water bottle around with me everywhere I went. I have on occasion since tried the same trick, but have not been able to find a water bottle I liked to drink from, that I liked to carry. They were either too large, too small, too fat, or they had the wrong type of spout or cap or ... the list is endless as to why they didn't work. I think I finally found a water bottle that works. Best part? $1.50 at Wal-Mart. I fully intend to hit every Wal-Mart this side of Chicago in an effort to stock up, since I expect now I've found them Wal-Mart will immediately decide to discontinue them.

I cleaned my kitchen today. I know that doesn't sound like much, and actually it's one of the easiest housekeeping goal efforts for me. I clean most of my kitchen every time I do dishes anyway, and I do dishes just about every day. Today I rearranged a few things, wiped down counters, cabinets, and the stove, and determined I do not have oven cleaner in the house. Guess what will be part of my housekeeping goal either tomorrow or Sunday...

This made me smile today, and helped reduce today's depression monster a lot:
Superman also helped me fight depression today, by listening to me as I worked through some sorrow regarding my Dad and the house project. Part of me is afraid to finish the house, because that will mean I have to let that part of him go. I know I'll never let him go completely, that I will always think of him and always miss him, but part of me is afraid to stop thinking of him all the time. As if that would mean I loved him any less.

I made a few decisions about my learning goal. I'm not making any progress as long as I'm spending so much time and energy finishing my parent's house. At the same time, the house has to be done. I'm focused right now on completing the master bedroom by Christmas, and to that end I textured the rest of the ceiling today. Once the bedroom is done however, and after the holidays, I intend to go back to the 3 day work week I shared with my Dad. This will give me several days where I can focus on studying, without the fatigue and without the time constraints.

I didn't do anything toward my marathon goal today, unless you count actually taking a rest day as progress. I did stretch though, including side and back stretches I haven't done in a long time. I'm working my way toward a little routine I want to do first thing in the morning, as well as periodic stretches throughout the day. I would like this to become a habit again, something I enjoy doing and don't have to think about, as opposed to something I'm trying to remember to do.

December 15, 2011

An unexpected day off

This is me, semi-defiantly (and also guiltily) taking the day off from ALL my goals (except stretching and working on my parent's house). I got up this morning with all sorts of good intentions. Stretched real stretches. Stopped at the store on the way to my Mom's. Dove right into moving furniture and mudding and stuff.

I cleaned up a bit of wall mudding, then textured the dressing room and closet ceilings.

Dressing Room ceiling: Before
Dressing room ceiling: After
After is hard to see, so a closeup
While talking to my Mom at lunch, I realized I miscalculated how long things will take. I think I figured on texturing the entire ceiling today, but that wasn't happening. This means I now won't start painting until Tuesday (with Monday off). Prime, ceilings, walls, woodwork = finish painting Friday. That doesn't leave any time to move everything back where it belongs before Christmas, unless I work on it either Monday or Saturday.

I'm opting for Saturday, since it will just be pulling the bed apart to move it back against the wall, then carrying boxes of books upstairs. If I'm lucky, Superman will be willing and able to come help.

I left my Mom's with high hopes of getting holiday cookies packaged and mailed out today, with a stop at the dollar store for cards first. That's where I got stuck. I wasn't planning to do Christmas shopping, with my financial situation the way it is. However, I decided I should do a stocking for someone who shall remain nameless. Then, because I was doing a stocking for that person, I decided I should do a stocking for someone else. This is what happens every Christmas: I start shopping and lose my mind.

So I stopped at one store, then another, then another. Then another. I ended up shopping for just about everyone I normally would shop for. Small things.
I came home, made up another batch of cookies, wrapped everything I'd purchased, and packaged what needed packaging for tomorrow's mail.

BAM! Christmas, done. Goals, not so much. I had cookies and a huge bag of veggies for dinner. I didn't run. I didn't study. I didn't clean. I didn't focus on any of my goals after I left my Mom's.

I guess tomorrow's another day.

December 14, 2011

How do you define success?

This is a very tired me, being proven that camera on my phone actually does take decent pictures... providing you use the one on the back of the phone.

I'm not quite sure why I'm so tired, but it might have something to do with the amount of sugar I consumed today. I spent the afternoon making and eating cookies with Energizer Bunny. It was wonderful spending time with her, but I'm cookied out. I considered all the cookies I ate "lunch," which mitigated some of the damage. Then I had a small, somewhat healthy dinner and a huge amount of vegetables. Toward my weight loss goal, immediately after I got home I put my share of the cookies into the freezer. I'm done with them for a while.

I'm still having a hard time, feeling overwhelmed with the tasks I've set for myself. Insisting on doing one thing each day toward my goals feels like I'm overreaching. Today I stopped to think what defines that one thing? Working toward learning Access and SQL does not mean I have to spend an hour on that every day, or even half an hour. A conversation with Superman can qualify, if it leads to learning. Only thinking about it isn't good enough though. Just because I decided I need a recipe database, in addition to the quotes database, does not qualify as learning for the day.

I haven't had that conversation with Superman yet today. I haven't done anything toward the learning goal, yet today. I've decided not to even count the job hunt goal until the new year, when I have more of a marketable skill.

I was able to get my run in, thanks to Energizer Bunny generously sharing her treadmill. 7x400s at 10-minute-mile pace. I started wondering around the 4th one if I would be able to complete all 7. Somehow I did. Marathon goal - check! I love the idea of owning my own treadmill, though most my runs would still be outside. I know just where I would put one, too...

I did extra duty on the clean house goal. It's interesting to me that now I'm thinking every day what I can do to achieve this goal, I am finding all sorts of projects that don't involve cleaning. Part of that is the work I'm doing at my parents'. I notice repair work wherever I go. I have found several issues in my own house that need attention. Today I focused my attention on winter-proofing the basement window, cleaning my headboard, and since I picked up the necessary supplies this morning, scrubbing the tub.
There are a lot of nooks and crannies involved in cleaning my headboard.
All of this "get out of the funk I'm in" must be working, because I actually laughed today. Since it's the first time I remember doing that in months, I'm going to call it a win for the fight depression goal.

I just now fulfilled my stretching goal, because I'm not counting the stretches I did this morning. From now on I'm only counting quality, non-half-hearted stretches. If I'm going to do something, I should do it right, right?

Oh, and I decided, much as I like my other blog, I'm only going to post here from now on. Two blogs is too much, and this is the developed one. I never promised it would focus solely on running. In fact, it started as a way to focus on the positive. Talking about my goals is the most positive thing I've got going on at the moment.

A little progress goes a long way

This is me, finishing up the mudding on the ceiling of my parent's master bedroom. I'm taking tomorrow off the remodeling project to make more cookies with Energizer Bunny. I want to send Monkey Boy and Ninja care packages, since I'm not really doing Christmas. Even with a day off, I'll finish the bedroom next week. Thursday I will give everything a once over, and may start putting texture on the ceilings. Friday I will finish texturing. Next week I will prime, paint, finish woodwork, and get everything back where it belongs.

It's nice to have everything scheduled out, with time to spare. That was not the case for most of today. It all started about 4am, when I finally got to sleep. I woke up around 9, but was understandably tired and not very well focused. I stretched, but not very much, nor very effectively. As soon as I opened my eyes, I was thinking about everything I wanted to get done today, and immediately felt a bit overwhelmed. This feeling was only intensified when I began working on my quotes database, which is the first step to working with SQL and being a database administrator.

I guess I knew this, as I've been in Access within the last few months, but I obviously forgot this database program is an whole different animal from the one I worked with 10 years ago. It's all relational and object oriented now. I understand the terms and concepts, but will have to spend some time learning the program before I can really do much with SQL or database administration. I didn't have a schedule for SQL, other than the time limit my available funds puts on getting a job. Adding this new learning curve in sets me back, which was disconcerting.

The pressure of having to learn a program before I can learn what I planned carried over into my work at my parent's house too. The more time I spend there, the less time and energy I have to focus on my learning goals. The house has to get done, and I'm the only one capable of working on it right now. I wouldn't be able to focus on learning all day every day anyway. Knowing this and not stressing about it are two entirely different things.

All of this combined with the stress of not having enough hours in the day. This day, specifically. I had to get the ceiling prepped today, so I can do cookies tomorrow. I had 400s on the training plan, a bathroom to clean, studying to do, and plans in the evening. I shuffled all possible combinations of activities on the drive to my Mom's, ultimately deciding the run would have to be put off another day. Instead, I did 10 pilates ball pushups and called my construction work cross training. Rest is an important part of a training plan, right? This is what I'm calling a rest day. That's my story and I'm sticking with it!

December 12, 2011

And... done!

This is me, toasting the end of classes. I've officially completed all requirements for my Masters of Information Systems degree. Now all I have to do is wait for grades to be posted, then apply for my diploma.

Today felt like a lazy day, though I did achieve most of my goals for the day. I stretched. I did 80 situps on the Pilates ball. I kept an eye on the school boards all day, got my participation in, followed up with the person responsible for our final team paper, went through the final PowerPoint, and submitted everything.

I made cookies, which didn't set the way they're supposed to, but are very tasty anyway. The cookies kind of ruined my weight loss goal thing, but only kinda. Mostly I was good.

I hung the copper molds my mother gave me, which have been sitting in my trunk, then on my kitchen table for several months. These molds hung in her kitchen all through my childhood, occasionally brought down to be filled with jello and fruit.
I also cleaned the blinds from the kitchen window, which have needed attention for a very long time.

I didn't get anything done at my mother's, but completing my degree requirements counts as one step closer to a job goal. Reaching a goal is also a wonderful anti-depressant!

Running on tired legs and Cookie Day!

 This is Superman and I, bundled up and heading out for our very cold run this morning.

Today's run was 6 miles. I almost didn't go. I woke up with the top of my foot tender and a pain in my buttocks. I facilitated between staying home, running just 3, or trying for the entire 6. Ultimately I decided I had to at least dress up and head out, because I have to do something toward my marathon goal every day. I felt much better about the idea after a visit with Happy Magic Wonder Ball.
I rolled Happy Magic Wonder Ball in between my back and the wall, using it to work out some of the kinks and tight spots. Miraculously, this was enough to relieve most of the pain in my butt, and the tenderness in my foot. I decided to attempt the 6 and see how far I got, with the option to cut the run short if I felt any pain.

There is a reason I run the day after a long run. I want to get used to running on tired legs, because at the tail end of the marathon it will give me strength and experience to draw on. It will make not only my legs, but me stronger.

Today was a strength building day. I was tired setting out, and the run didn't get much better. I'd like to say I dressed appropriately for the weather, but I actually overdressed today. Within the first mile I'd shed hat and gloves, and pushed the sleeves of my fleece up to my elbows. That was sufficient to keep me mostly comfortable for the rest of the run (except when we got hit with headwinds. Why are there always headwinds when I'm running uphill?).

This run was hard. In part that may be because we were running about 11.5 minute miles. I've definitely gotten faster, to hold that pace for the first 3 miles, given how tired I was. I considered dropping down to a 4 or 5 mile distance, but ultimately decided the whole point was to run tired, so I might as well just run the 6 I'd originally planned.

I did stretch this morning, in addition to Happy Magic Wonder Ball. I'm going to just dive in and say that's another goal - to stretch something every day. It's helpful. It's good for me, and it's preventative medicine for the tight hips that cause IT band issues if I'm not careful.

After the run, Superman and I went shopping for cookie ingredients. Today was my family's cookie day, where we get together and pull out my grandmother's Christmas cookie recipes. Cookie Day has grown from my immediate family, to anyone who wants to gather and make cookies with us. 
Just a small portion of the people gathered at Energizer Bunny's
to visit and bake cookies
A small portion of the cookies we made
This year was special, because we're finally connecting with my some of my father's side of the family. We haven't really spent much time with them since attending weddings when I was a child. Hopefully they will come to more of our family gatherings. They will certainly be invited!

December 10, 2011

Cold runs and tight stretches

This is me, heading out on my very cold 10-miler today. 26 degrees means there's no denying winter is here, even if there is only a dusting of snow. I think I've finally got the layering down too, at least until the wind starts blowing. Today's was the best run this week, though I still felt a bit stiff. That may have been because I started out at an 11-minute-mile. Just a little too fast. Each successive mile was a bit slower, until I hit the turn-around and realized I must have had a tailwind the whole way out. I figured this out because all of a sudden I had a very cold, draining, discouraging headwind. Let's just say I did not negative split this run. On the upside, the Clif bar worked well for fuel. I did not get hungry, my stomach did not rebel, and I did not feel my fueling was insufficient.
Mile 5. Any wonder I had winds to deal with, this close to the lake?
Because I liked the idea so much yesterday, I stretched this morning. Not for long, but I paid some attention to my legs and hips before getting out of bed. I REALLY want to make this a daily goal, but it would have to be achievable... like "stretch something at least once during the day." I'm not ready to go there yet. Not sure why I'm so convinced I can't keep up with a goal like that. I used to stretch every night before I went to bed. That was before I stayed up until 2 am playing WoW or watching Netflix though. That was before I started running, actually. I'm not really sure what happened. Now, stretching is not as enjoyable. It's uncomfortable, because I'm always tight. I know, I wouldn't be so tight if I actually stretched. It's a catch-22 and I've not found my way out of the circular reasoning yet. Yet.

"It's not that some people have willpower and some don't.
It's that some people are ready to change and others are not." ~James Gordon

December 9, 2011


This is me, admitting that yesterday I did not do the 100 situps on the Pilates ball as I said I would. I planned to do them. I actually pulled the ball out and started to do them after writing yesterday's post. Turns out I'm still feeling the 100 I did the other day. There was no way I could do even one. I tried doing a form of squat on the ball that also stretched out my back, but that made my head woozy, so I just quit. The fact that it was 2am might have had something to do with that.

Technically that's 25 pilates ball squats for the goal, I guess. What I also did toward my marathon goal yesterday, but forgot to 5122566008_629bbb2885mention, was purchase a butt-ton of Clif bars. They have a seasonal one called Gingerbread which is simply amazing. Superman found them at his local grocery store,and I am thinking about scouring the internet and stockpiling as many as I can find.

I bought my current stash of Clif bars because gingerbread is a favorite, because they were on sale, and because I'm tweaking my long run fueling plan again. I've noticed I get hungry about mile 8, even when I'm fueling with Gu or cherry juice cocktail. I plan to try the Clif bars on anything over 10 miles (so basically all my longer runs from now on). I'm thinking I'll need to cut them into pieces, as opposed to biting off chunks. Pieces gives me a little more portion control. I might not even need the entire bar each run until I get into the really long, 18-20 milers. I'm not sure if I'll replace the liquid fuel entirely, or just supplement it with the Clif bars. I'm not sure if I'll stay with the Clif bars, or ultimately make my own granola/protein bar. I'm a little concerned I'll choke on the bars while running, which happened with a banana at my last race. What I am sure of is I cannot eat these for breakfast or treat them like 240 calorie cookies. They are just too yummy!

Technically, my marathon training plan had today as a rest day. I felt guilty about not running yesterday though, and again I'm trying to do something every day toward my goals. Today I decided a 3-miler wouldn't sabotage tomorrow's 10-miler. I dressed slightly better than Wednesday, and was comfortably warm throughout the run. My legs still felt heavy and tired, though in the end I ran an 11-minute-mile pace.

Discussion with Aunt Gertie today had my thinking about how my auto-immune condition (Graves disease and hyperthyroidism) affects the various things I'm currently fighting in my life. My thyroid condition is not stable, though I'm supposed to take medication daily to combat it. I do not take the medication daily - only when the symptoms flare up, which they have done a lot recently. This is not surprising as the immune system is affected by stress. I remembered today that my runs usually suck when my condition is active, which could explain why I've struggled so hard this last week. Aunt Gertie suggested some of the depression and tiredness could also be caused by my condition. She may be right. That doesn't change how I deal with them, but it gives me hope to think just taking my medication might help.

Easy isn't always easy

This is me, trying to look happy after yesterday's 5 mile run. The run was not happy making. It was just above freezing, and I did not quite dress appropriately. I didn't realize this until I actually got warm about 4.5 miles in. Until then, I was thinking "if I had any more clothing on I'd be too warm."

Today, I had 6 miles on the calendar. They didn't get done. Instead I actually slept well for the first time in weeks. 9 hours, which is completely unheard of for me. Then I sanded and mudded my Mom's bedroom ceiling for almost 5 hours (with another hour clean up). I could call that cross-training, but my new "do something every day toward your goals" mantra means I have to actually do something toward my marathon goal. That means real cross training. Today that means 100 situps on the Pilates ball. I did this Monday, and didn't feel it until last night. I expect Saturday's long run will be interesting, if the same happens again.

The most effective way to do it, is to do it.
~Amelia Earhart