Month: April 2014

The Hardest Thing….

At my friend’s Wake this Tuesday, I had the chance to talk to an old co-worker of mine. A truly wonderful person A. was always a terrific workmate and it was nice to talk with her again. The first thing she said to me was to thank me for something I taught her.

This was a surprise to me. Me, the irresponsible one when I worked there, for the most part, anyway. I was a drunk for most of my years working at concerts, at least until the last couple of years and I didn’t know I could teach anyone anything.

She said that I taught her not to Self-Sabotage. And then I remembered way back to a conversation we had while having dinner before our shift at a show. It was many years ago, but it was clear in my mind.

On my run tonight, I thought back at Self Sabotage. It happens when we wish to punish ourselves. And why would we do that? Because for some reason or another, we dislike ourselves.

I’ll be exploring this subject in many blogs, because that’s what I’m doing in my life and it’s too big of a subject and much too important to gloss over in one blog. But I’ve committed Self Sabotage many times (and quite recently) because I wasn’t happy with myself.

How many times have we reached for cookies, chips, beer, wine, or something else because we weren’t happy with something that we did or we are? I bet there are many times.

The first question I ask is: Why do we hate ourselves?

It’s something that’s taught to us from birth. At least it was for me. I was raised Lutheran. My mom’s family immigrated from Scandinavia where everyone is taught to be modest, and nothing I did was ever good enough. No matter how hard I tried, it never seemed to be enough to please my parents, I was such a disappointment to them. So the seeds of self-loathing set in early. Combine that with impossible to achieve media images and being told time and again how imperfect I was, no wonder I had self-esteem issues!

It’s taken all my life to understand and truly KNOW that I am a pretty good person. And even this has to be reinforced sometimes daily, sometimes hourly within myself.

So, Self Sabotage? It is a real and nasty thing and now with artillery of my own, I can combat self negativity when it starts to creep in.

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Early Sunday Five

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(AT&T Park)

 

The alarm went off as I slept soundly. For a few seconds I had nearly talked myself into turning it off and staying in bed, but then I quickly reminded myself that the Rangers had a playoff game against the Flyers starting at 9 am. Nine in the morning! Hockey is cruel. After that, was a Giants game at 1pm, and I had things to do with no time to run, so I got up, eating a whole-grain bagel with almond butter, gulping coffee down. 

It was beautiful out at 7:30 and I had a great run. I ran down Geary St to the Ferry Building, then down the Embarcadero, past AT&T Park, saying hi to my beautiful friend….I love her so…. she was quiet today and would be all week as the Giants are on the road, playing San Diego and then Colorado. But I would be back soon, next Monday for a game versus San Diego. 

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(AT&T Park from across McCovey Cove)

I kept going down, along the bay, past my favorite Giants player of all time’s statue, Willie McCovey, or Willie Mac as he is known to us fans, was the hardest working of the old-time Giants players. He has a quick wit and sharp mind and I had the chance to meet him a few times. I kept going past the small Junior Giants Diamond past the Port of Oakland docks to Mariposa and then back up Fourth Street, over the bridge to Townsend. 

It was a great run and I got back home on MUNI in time to watch the Rangers lose the second game. The series is tied up 1-1. 

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(The empty AT&T Park parking lot)

Losing Food Cravings and Writing

I used to write about minor league hockey. When the Bulls were here, I wrote about each game, as well as events and special news. It was fun. Word of my blog got out, and I started writing for a website about more minor league hockey teams. It was fun but it was also demanding and stressful. I considered writing about the San Francisco Giants, but the deadlines and self-imposed work would surely get to me. I have enough to do right now, so I’ll enjoy being an avid baseball fan and leave the writing to the dozens of bloggers out there already. 

This blog is enough, and as it is, I don’t write in here as often as I should. But that too will change. I will post more and cover more subjects. 

This week was a good one. I’ve stuck to my new way of eating and new way of thought. I’ve cut out white flour and white sugar, deep fried foods, and most processed foods. I’ll still eat whole wheat flour-made products, raw sugar, honey, etc. and things made organically. i love my bread and I’m not giving that up. However, I have cut back a lot and that’s been very positive. 

Also, I’m thinking differently about food. It’s no longer the highlight of my day. If I find myself thinking about a future meal too much, I start thinking about something else in the day instead. It could be a workout, my favorite TV show (Person of Interest) or even my walk home from work. But food is not the center of my universe. Nor is food my friend, my confident or my turn to when things get tough. FOOD IS FUEL. And that’s all it is. Sure, it still tastes great and I enjoy eating it, but I’m not longer making it more important than it should be. 

One of the best things happened to me today too. We had a very fun Easter egg hunt at work with cupcakes afterwards. I wasn’t tempted by either. I had one small piece of dark chocolate and avoided the cupcakes entirely. And I didn’t miss them. In fact, I feel great because I didn’t have a cupcake. And to top it off….this will be the first Easter I’ve ever spent without having chocolate. And I’m very happy about it!

Being Healthy, Active and POSITIVE!!!

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(view from my seat)

 

Sometimes my job is more stressful than I wish it was. Nearing the end of the work week Friday, I was thinking of what a so-so week it had been and I was more than happy to get out of the office and go to the gym for a good session on the bike.

About two minutes before I left, my boss asks me if I had plans that night. Uh nope….Would I like to go to the Giants game?? UH WHAT??!!???!!

I work in coffee house supplies and one of our customers was having a problem. The normal person who does this sort of thing wasn’t available, so they needed me to go to the game to see if I could fix it for them. My boss bought me a ticket and gave me food money to spend. I was sooo happy!!!

The problem wasn’t too big of a deal; I fixed it up and spent the game a few rows behind Home Plate. I even got to see one of our star pitchers Madison Bumgarner hit a Grand Slam!!! It was spectacular!

One question I had in my mind was what to eat at the park. We’re lucky in San Francisco with the Giants. They’re very aware of who their fans are, we’re Foodies in the Bay Area and we like variety. The team has planned the various food vendors accordingly. So many choices! But with me not eating white flour, white sugar or anything deep fried, it was still hard to find something I could eat. After a brief walkaround the Promenade Level, I decided on Tres Mexicans food and enjoyed some excellent chicken tacos, without cheese and with plenty of jalapenos. They were delicious and I highly recommend them. They also have veggie ones as well, which I may try next time.

I was very pleased with my eating healthy at the game. The Giants won, I walked home and everything was paid for by my employer. Gotta love it!

The next morning, I went to the gym early and really worked out my core (planks, I really dislike you), spent extra time with the weights and biked 9 miles in intervals.

Again, I stuck to my WOE (Way of eating) and felt great. This morning I ran 4 miles. It was a good run, although the last mile was very tiring. I was either still tired from my half last Sunday or my workout yesterday did more than I realized.

It’s been a good productive weekend. Got a lot done and stuck to eating right. I’ve lost 3.5 pounds since last weekend just from cutting out foods that are not helping me, and sticking to true portion sizes.

I don’t necessarily look forward to Mondays yet, but even when the skies are dark and gloomy, good things can happen.

Digging Deep to Find Answers

In my past, I avoided solving problems and facing really difficult issues. Back then, I turned to alcohol, and that was not the answer. When I became sober, I learned that only through confronting our problems can we resolve them.

This wasn’t anything new to me, really. People had told me this many times since I was a girl. But truly comprehending that we have to accept and understand why we do the things we do and then take the appropriate and necessary steps to not repeat them is another thing. This is where the hardest work begins.

I have been successful losing weight previously. I’ve been at an idea weight and felt great about 10 years ago and then I had terrible migraine issues that completely changed everything in my life and forced me to deal with the debilitating vertigo and more. And so I gained it all back…and more.

Since then, I have given my weight loss half-hearted attempts, trying with no real follow through. Until now. Now I must look at it realistically. I’m 55 years old, it won’t get any easier to lose and the time is NOW.

Last night while enjoying StumbleUpon, one of my favorite places to visit, I read a website with three ways to stop food addiction. I’ve included a link to the original website below and I want to thank them for such a great piece. It made a lot of sense to me.

“You’re not a dog. Don’t reward yourself with food.”

As harsh as that may sound, it’s true, many of us (myself included) do that and it leads us (myself included) to big trouble.

FOOD = FUEL

That’s what it should be. It energizes your body, your mind, your being. For me, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to completely reduce food to just fuel, but I can make it less important.

So, today, I stopped making lunch and dinner so important. I enjoyed them, but they were not highlights of my day. The best part of my day was my cycling workout at the gym. It was spectacular. And tomorrow morning will be my first run after my race. Not sure how the rest of tomorrow is going to compete with that.

The Simplest Ways to Stop Food Addiction:

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/3-ways-stop-eating-like-pig.html/

 

Back to the Grind….And a Recipe

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I have really enjoyed this all too brief mini-vacation. My race completed, I used the last two days off as rest days, but also as days to re-charge and to help think how to get myself going to lose the remaining weight i need to and to boost myself into the next step in my training process.

My next long distance race, the Giant Step half Marathon, isn’t until early September, so I have a couple months to focus on low mileage speed work in my running, as well as focus on swimming, stationary cycling, until I can purchase my bike, core work and weight training.

The other part of my training is my weight loss and toning. I have about 25 to 30 pounds to lose. These will not come off easily. I’m not as young as I once was and I have lost them before, but I have determination and the will to accomplish it. And I am stubborn. Yeah, I’m stubborn, ask anyone who knows me. 🙂

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Today, I took full advantage of having a day off work and the beautiful weather and went for a lovely hike just north of The City. I took Golden Gate Transit to Sausalito and hiked to Fort Baker and back to San Francisco over the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a lovely hike and I was back home in time to watch my Giants win Opening Day at AT&T Park.

During my race Sunday, there were many water stations that gave out Gatorade. I can’t stand the stuff and refuse to drink it, if at all possible. I make my own electrolyte mix and you can too if you so desire. It’s very easy, and can be completely organic too.

 

HOMEMADE ELECTROLYTE MIX

(for 8 oz)

1/2 cup fruit juice of your choice (I’ve tried apple juice and cranberry, but try what you like, adjust honey, sweetener as needed)

1-2 tablespoons honey, barley syrup, or whatever sweetener you like (this is all up to you and your taste)

1/8th teaspoon salt

juice of 1 lemon

Mix everything together and refrigerate until needed. I like to keep mine very cold until I go for my run. You can always adjust the taste if it’s too salty or sweet or not enough, but it should be a bit salty and slightly sweet.

This recipe can be doubled and made into a pitcher to last a few days if you’re doing some heavy workouts over some time. It will last a little while, but if it’s made from all organic ingredients, it won’t last forever.

I’m also working on switching over my solid food from Clif Shot Blocks to dates and orange segments and I have halfway but i still like the Shot Bloks so I haven’t converted totally yet.

 

San Francisco Rock & Roll Half Marathon

The sign read:

“It’s Sunday Funday – you’re doing it wrong”

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Nice medal!!

Yeah, we were. This race was brutal. The most brutal race I’d ever ran. In fact, the course was changed and revealed after many runners had already signed up, expecting the same course as last year. In fact, it was a reversal of last year, with lots more added hills, as if it needed more.

This R&R Half started much earlier than most. I assumed it was because of the portion crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. Start time was 6:30am. I caught a free shuttle at Civic Center at 4:30am, so I got up at 3:00am to make sure I had everything together. And of course, just as I left the apartment building, I realized I forgot my watch. Thank goodness I had lots of time. I made it in time to catch the first bus.

The organization was great. It was short of the Hot Chocolate 15k, but I don’t think any race could be as well produced as that one. The SF Hot Chocolate was stellar in every area and I hold it in the highest esteem.

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Ocean Beach at about 5am

Here are my Pros and Cons of the race and some final thoughts. First the Pros.

PROS:

– Great organization. They kept everything simply explained and the corrals were easy to use.

– Nice expo, really enjoyed that.

– Great medal and t-shirt. It’s probably the best race t-shirt I’ve ever seen.

– Lots of porto-bathrooms.

– Good amount of water and aid stations scattered throughout the course.

– Volunteers rocked

 

And now for the Cons:

– The course. It was released late, and I wonder why. This course was nasty, nasty, nasty. I will not run this race again if they have it on the same course.

– Not much good music. It’s supposed to be the “Rock n Roll” Half, but the only music they had pre-race was disco and dance. That’s NOT rock! Lucky I had my own music. There were a couple good bands along the course, but aside from them, the rest of the bands/DJs were again, not rock.

– Post race snacks were weak. Lots of water, good, bananas, good, milk chocolate, good, pistachios, good. But Cheese-Its? Power Bars? Not interested.

– Post race event at Civic Center. I was happy to finish, of course, but the whole after race event seemed to be too low-key. The band playing was awful. They were some sort of whiny alt band, and didn’t fit into the general vibe of the morning. I mean, if you’re the ROCK & ROLL HALF MARATHON, wouldn’t it fit to have a ROCKIN’ band to get finishers moving? At least that’s what I would think. Plus, I really expected a bit more food goodies, which I already mentioned. Or maybe a few more vendors, like a coffee stand. That would have been nice. This is San Francisco after all.

But, with everything considered, it was a good race. I do have some observations and opinions that I wanted to share. Now, these are just my opinions, so if yours are different, that’s awesome.

– Walkers really need to stay on one side or the other. I don’t care which side, just stop dominating the entire length of the course. I’m not that fast of a runner; yet, and it irritates me when two or three walkers will walk in a row without considering anyone else trying to pass them. And yes, we runners will pass you, unless you’re a speed walker. In that case, nevermind.

– if you follow that Jeff Galloway methd of wogging (it’s not running, it’s not walking), for the love of all things right in this world, LOOK BEHIND YOU before you stop running to walk!!! I nearly ran into no less than five woggers today because, they, along with most walkers, thought there was no one else in the race.

– Not a fan of tutus. If you like them, good for you. Same with running skirts, no thank you.

– I LOVE LOVE LOVE my Ultimate Direction Hydration Vest! I didn’t see anyone else wearing one, but it worked beautifully for me. I never had to stop at any of the water stations, and since I carried my own gels, I was good for the entire distance. It was also big enough to carry my phone’s battery charger and cord, so I had music the entire time and was able to get a couple pics at the end. The best part was avoiding the gear check-in.

– Why or why do people still use plastic garbage bags pre-game?? I thought that went out with the 90s. In SF of all places, I don’t want to see such waste. It is really that difficult to to go Goodwill or another used clothes store, buy a cheap sweatshirt and then toss it aside when the race begins? They’re all picked up and donated back. NOTHING is wasted. Plastic garbage bags, on the other hand, are nothing but waste. It makes no sense.

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My medal and bib

I’m sure there’s more I can write about. I’ll do that in upcoming blogs. My week this week will be off to a slow start. I have Monday and Tuesday off. No workout tomorrow, but I look forward to either hiking or swimming Tuesday, not sure which yet. Have great workouts and great weeks!

 

Rock n Roll Weekend Part 1 – the Expo

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Finally Friday after work! It was a long week and I looked forward to going to Moscone Center for the race expo. I enjoy these, especially the bigger ones. Most of the races I do are smaller so the bib and packet pickups are small with not a lot of fanfare. This was a good one. I checked out a lot of cool products and got some good samples.

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(A very popular booth)

I almost bought a massage stick. I will buy one, but I think I can get a better price on it and I can’t afford it right now. My philosophy is, if I don’t have the immediate funds for it, I can’t afford it. I am NOT putting anything on credit cards right now. The only thing I’m going to charge is my bike and I’ll pay that off in three payments afterwards – I have a plan!

I didn’t get a formal workout in today, but I walked four miles. Tomorrow, no working out. Instead, I’ll clean out my clothes closet and get rid of a bunch of clothes I haven’t worn in a very long time. I’ll donate them to Goodwill that in about two blocks away and I’ll buy a sweat shirt from them that I’ll wear to the race. I can toss it aside at the start. It will be gathered and donated back to Goodwill. Much, MUCH better than plastic garbage bags! I hate seeing those things at races. So wasteful.

My next blog will be post race, with all the hopefully, not too scary selfies and maybe one of me and my medal. Cheers!

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Does this shirt rock or what????

Following One’s Heart’s Desires

Let’s face it….when one follows a dream or what one truly wants, it is always a solo path. We may meet great people along the way. We may make friends with one or two of them, but the hard, sweaty miles are ours alone.

2013 (and through the first couple months of 2014) taught me a couple valuable lessons. It taught me to not waste my time working on projects or spending time with people who don’t matter. Let me explain a bit more what this means to me. Last year around this time, I had spent nearly the entire season with San Francisco’s new minor league hockey team, the San Francisco Bulls. I went to every game, wrote blog after blog about the team, supported them through the booster club and poured my heart into the team. In the second year, we knew that the team wasn’t in good shape. And through the ineptness of the inexperienced owners and I’ll say it, broken promises of the team, they folded this past January. It was devastating to the fans.

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(me at a Bulls game)

I was not hurt as much as I was angry. I had started a website about the minor leagues and the Bulls and I spent many, many hours covering the team. I tried to keep up the website after the team disbanded, but I didn’t have the same feelings for the league (ECHL). I still LOVE hockey. I follow the New York Rangers as closely as I can from the opposite coast, but I closed the website and stopped writing about a league I have no personal investment in.

Even though I write for no one but myself, I felt a lot of my time was taken up by something that, in the long run, didn’t matter. I’m still in touch with some of the people from the games, but I was also vividly reminded of the difference between a friend and an acquaintance when the team folded. Maybe I’ll write about that some day. Let’s just say that don’t count on acquaintances you merely have fun with to think of you in your troubled times; they won’t.

After the team folded I immediately had lots of free time. Which interestingly, fit into my plans quite well. I was working up to doing triathlons and now had time to train. The refund money I got back would help purchase my bike.

Now, I will channel my love of writing into my running, cycling, swimming, weight loss and general health blogs. And although I’m a huge hockey fan, and baseball fan, no more writing about teams. It’s not like it’s going to lead to a new career for me, I’m well past that age. Instead, I will be selfish with my writing and focus on my true desire: to be as fit and as great of an athlete as I can. 

What this means is I will blog more. You may or may not like what I write, and I respect that. Everything that is not scientifically proven (and even most of that) is our own opinion anyway. Facts and studies are skewed to promote or disprove a certain way of thought. You think “gluten-free” is big now? Wait a couple years until it’s proven to be cancer-causing, or something like that. HA!

Starting yesterday, I focused more on my WOE (Way of Eating). I’m cutting out white flour, white sugar, and as many processed foods as I can. It’s not that I eat much of those, but I do eat some and they have to go. No more being lazy, or eating too much. So, portion control is a biggie too. Eat 5-6 times a day, small meals, protein with each meal, write everything in myfitnesspal.com, stick to the workout schedule, BE POSITIVE!