Category: Healthy Living

29 Pounds by 30!

One of my bigger goals for #Project29 involves losing 29 pounds by the end of July 2015. Although I do want to lose the weight, I know that ultimately weight is just a number. I’m more interested in the larger picture. I want to be healthy inside and out as I enter into my 30s. I want healthy eating practices to be so ingrained into my life that I don’t need to think twice about them.

Beyond that, in the future I want to practice (what I assume) I preaching to any future kids of mine. It’s so easy to turn to processed food or fast food, but I know that eating fruits and vegetables and unprocessed foods makes me feel better and it’s what I will want for my kids.

I know that from here on out losing weight is only going to get harder and harder, so getting to a happy weight where my body functions at a maximum is key. Maintaining my weight in it’s happy place is the biggest thing I can do to keep my hormones and body chemistry in check, which is an issue I’ve struggled with since my teens.

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When I was in Washington I went vegetarian and that decision has really helped me to be very conscious of what I’m eating. I’m constantly looking at my meals to make sure they’re balanced and most importantly that I’m getting enough protein. I genuinely love fruits and vegetables, so those are always a big staple of my diet. My downfall tends to be sugar. I have a serious sugar addiction and I tend to turn to sugar when I’m stressed, which is a constant state of operation in grad school. I’ve heard stories about people who gain weight during their comps or dissertation writing and I am proactively working to do the opposite. While the sugar or diet coke taste good in the moment, ultimately they make me feel like crap.

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In an effort to help myself lose the weight, I’ve decided to (re)join Weight Watchers. Following the Weight Watchers program helps me to be ever more vigilant of my daily food choices. I have to track all of my meals and snacks, so it helps stop me from mindlessly eating. It’s also a reality check when I eat out. The other day I grabbed a multigrain bagel from Dunkin Donuts. I’d run out of the house and knew I should eat breakfast. I thought I was making a smart choice, but in reality that bagel and cream cheese was about a 1/3 of my daily points allowance.

As opposed to tracking calories, Weight Watchers uses points as a way of tracking food intake. Each point is figured out by looking at the fat grams, carbohydrates, protein, and fiber. I think it’s a more well-rounded way of looking at a food’s nutritional value. Also in Weight Watchers, fruits and vegetables are considered zero points. So when my sugar craving hits, it encourages me to each for a banana or an apple and skip the ice cream. I know that a four point ice cream isn’t going to satisfy me and more likely it’s only going to perpetuate the sugar craving.

Another big motivation for doing WW is that being more vigilant about portions is important for me. It helps me really evaluate whether I need as much food as I might typically lay out for myself. It forces me to really stop and think about how hungry I am and to listen to my body’s hunger signals.

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Finally, based on my mom’s suggestion, I’ve decided to set some rewards for myself as I make certain goals for the weight loss. I’m hoping that this will motivate me to stay on track with my efforts. It’s so easy to get discouraged after a minimal loss or even a gain. It’s also easy to let one day snowball into a week of bad days or even just give up. I know that this is more about the process and the journey, so I’m accepting that this might a very slow process and that’s okay. It took me years to gain the weight, so it’s not going to come off in weeks.

Anyway, the rewards will be for a 5% loss, 10% loss, and then my goal.

When I reach my 5% loss, I’m going to get acrylic nails. I’ve never been one to take good care of my nails, but when I did them for Ashley’s wedding I really liked the way they looked. It also made me feel a bit more put together. So I’m going to try out the acrylic nail thing.

Then at 10% I’m going to get these TOMs.

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How perfect are they for #Project29? They say “live your dream,” which I LOVE.

Finally, at goal I am going to try out the Stitch Fix service. It’s an online personal shopper service. I suck at dressing myself and tend to choose the safe options when I go shopping, so having someone pick out clothes that I normally wouldn’t choose for myself might be fun.

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I’m really excited to start this journey and to blog about it.

Say Goodbye to 2011, Bring on 2012!

Some years set the stage for changes to come and some years feature a series of whirlwind life changes.

2011 is an example of the latter, it was a year of major life events — I graduated, moved back to Florida, bought a house, and started a PhD program!

Since I’m finally settled down for a while, I plan on 2012 being all about self-improvement.

In 2012 I will:

  • Continue to work strength training. Ideally, I want to strength train at least twice a week. (Fitness)
  • Resume running and racing more regularly. I will run another marathon, but since the two I have in mind — Disney and 26.2 are early in the year, I will use 2012 to get back into shape and register for the races, but they will actually happen in 2013. (Fitness)
  • Finally get some answers about my fatigue and tiredness. Enough is enough and I demand some resolution this year. (Health)
  • Continue to improve my diet and watch what I am eating. I am not setting a specific weight loss goal, I just want to be healthy. (Diet)
  • Be fearless. I am going to put myself out there more. Meet new people, go on dates, maybe even give my number to random eligible bachelors, and live life to the fullest. (Social)
  • Stop procrastinating. Improve my time management skills. Hopefully an answer to my sleep issues will make this goal fall into place. (School)
  • Communicate more frequently. Blog more. Write more postcards. Send more e-mail. Check in on long distance friends. (Social)
  • Finally get that tattoo I’ve been wanting! (Fun)

I really enjoy looking back on the past year to see how far I’ve come and set new goals for the upcoming year. While I didn’t quite fulfill my established goals for 2011, I think that I more than accomplished the unspoken goals I had in mind for myself.

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I did try some new foods, but perhaps not 11. I didn’t meet my weight loss goals because my weight fluctuated up and down, but I did decide to refocus myself on being healthy and stop focusing on the numbers. I did save money for my move, but not the set $50 each month. I tried acupuncture and Chinese herbs, but after the move I failed to find a new practitioner. I struggled to maintain a regular exercise routine all year long and will continue to work on this goal in 2012. As for the reading, who knows. I read a lot both for school and pleasure.

Regardless, I accomplished my main goals, which included my thesis, moving, and taking the next step in my career path, and that is the most important thing to keep in mind.

I spent the beginning of 2011 writing my thesis, applying to PhD programs, and finishing up my Masters.

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By April 15th I had been offered and accepted admission into a PhD program and knew where I was going to be living come August.

I graduated with my Masters on June 11th.

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I packed up my life and shoved it all in a U-Box.

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Then my dad, Charlie and myself headed back across on the country on June 21st.

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Once back in Florida, my first stop was a trip to my new house!

Buying a house was definitely not on my radar at the start of 2011, but it made a lot of sense to buy instead of rent for the duration of the program, so 2011 was the year that I became a homeowner.

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I spent the summer fixing up the house, along with lots of help from both my parents!

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Summer 2011 also included lots of time hanging out and catching up with Hilary! One of the biggest perks of being back in Florida is being able to see Hilary on a regular basis again.

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During the summer, I also turned 26 and celebrated the end of Harry Potter with my friends and sister in Tallahassee.

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On a sad note, just before I left for school, our family lost Pixy due to an unfortunate accident on my part.

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August marked the start of fall semester and beginning of my PhD program. Five years in the works, I was following my dreams.

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I’ve spent most of the past few months reading, reading, and writing.

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With regular breaks for home football games, friends, and fun!

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And a quick trip to Orlando to be a bridesmaid for one of my high school friends.

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It’s been a good year!

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I sure hope that 2012 continues on this upward trend and I’m excited to find out what’s in store.

Plant Medicine vs. Western Medicine

[Note: This post is a continuation on a series of posts from this past summer. More explanation of PCOS and my history with it can be found in the original post.]

I’ve mentioned a few times on the blog how grad school’s been pretty rough this semester. Well, part of the reason it’s been hard has been because of health issues going on in my life. While I never expected my first semester of PhD Land to be a walk in the park, I feel like my ability to assess the work load has been skewed due to debilitating exhaustion that I’ve been experiencing for the past few months.

Part of the balancing act for this blog (and my life) focuses on being as healthy as possible and treating my body with respect. I’m definitely a work in-progress. This past year my goal has been to clean up my diet, stop taking any medications I was on, and focus on exercising. One of the main reasons for this is I wanted to go see an endocrinologist and get a new panel of blood work. Something’s going on with my body and I wanted to know what that something was. In addition to my PCOS issues, since I was a teenager I’ve never felt rested after a full nights sleep and I’m always complaining about feeling tired/exhausted.

So, let’s recap the ways I’ve been bettering my health on my own:

Exercise:

When the semester started I had grand plans about fitting into my life marathon training, strength training, and other forms of exercise. Basically, I fell short overall. Hilary and I considered and reconsidered our marathon plans a few times and ultimately decided that neither of us had the time to train for a full marathon and we ended up registering for the St. Pete Rock n Roll Half Marathon.

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Also, since I was running low on energy, completing my teaching responsibilities and doing my own course work became the priority. Getting the basics done was all I had the energy for and exercise fell by the wayside.

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Food:

I’ve continued to eat a whole-foods, plant-based diet. Recently, I’ve also toyed with a diet completely free of added sugar and a gluten-free diet. I found out that my body doesn’t seem to be absorbing vitamin D properly and as a result I’m severely deficient. I take a multivitamin, I eat lots of dairy and my almond milk has added vitamin D, and I enjoy doing my reading outside, so I’m not sure why I’m deficient.

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I’m still drinking green (spinach or wheatgrass) smoothies on a regular basis. I’m careful to add lots of nutrients to my smoothies, like almond butter or Amazing Grass supplements.

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Acupuncture:

My foray into Chinese medicine has been put on hold. While I’m much more open to Chinese medicine treatment plans because I feel like they take into consideration the function and well-being of the whole body, unlike Western medicine, I haven’t found a new practice in Tallahassee.

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Education:

A couple weeks before my endocrinologist appointment I watched Forks Over Knives. It’s a documentary that was recently released and is now available on Netflix Instant-Play. It’s based on the book The China Study. The really shorted gist of the movie is this: you can reverse, stop, or cure heart disease through the diet choices that you make. Essentially, a plant-based (read vegan) diet, is the best for the heart.

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While, I think there is a lot of research that still needs to be done, I am fairly convinced that the Standard American Diet is detrimental to our health and we should be much more conscious of what our food is made of and what we eat.

Result:
Anyway, despite all these positive changes to my diet and lifestyle, I still haven’t not felt any better. In fact, I think the stress and pressure of grad school has exacerbated my fatigue issues and I’ve been feeling worse than ever!
In November, I went and saw the endocrinologist and had a whole new round of blood tests. Going to the doctor reminded me why I have grown to hate Western medicine. On the first visit, when the doctor saw that I had PCOS, she immediately tried to prescribe a pill to take everyday. She didn’t even consider anything else, just the diagnosis and the standard treatment plan. As for my fatigue? She didn’t know.
On the second visit, the blood tests all came back “normal,” with the exception of the vitamin D issue, which she ignored. Apparently, my diet and exercise changes have “cured” my PCOS, but I’m not so quick to believe that. I’m still exhibiting symptoms of PCOS and I tend to believe that idea of “normal” ranges need to be scrutinized a bit more. What might be normal for someone else, does not necessarily mean that it’s normal for me.
Since all my blood work looks normal, but I still feel like absolute crap, the next step in this adventure is to try and sleep study.
What do they say, when you hear hooves, think horses and not zebras? The idea is that perhaps I have a sleep disorder that has left me in a perpetual state of sleep deprivation and is wrecking havoc on my body.
Regardless, I’m going to continue playing with my diet and exercise habits and I think I will always find the medical community suspect.

Let’s Do The Time Warp Again

Whew! I survived my first week of classes and teaching, and now college football is back in action!

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I feel like I’ve been living in a time warp. Being back in T-town was already a stroll down memory lane, but now that I’m spending so much time on campus and in the FAB, it’s a constant flashback to my undergrad days and then trying not to get lost in nostalgia so I can make new memories. The start of the football season was also a time warp, in and of itself, but more on that later.

School-wise my first week was fairly calm. It was syllabus day in the classes that I teach and syllabus day in my own classes.

Another factor contributing to the calmness is that the department is currently hosting an international experimental theatre group. All of my profs have gone easy on our reading and assignments for the first couple weeks to allow us the chance to participate in as many of the workshops and lectures as possible.

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Fun Fact: It’s a bit strange to think of holding office hours in the grad office because I used to attend office hours of my mentor freshman year in this very same office. Not only that, but she and I are technically colleagues now.

I also might turn into a green monster or iced coffee. Every morning has consisted of a green monster smoothie for breakfast and a cup of iced coffee for the road.

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On Friday, the T-Studs celebrated surviving our first week of classes by having a picnic at the Rez. It’s a university-operated waterfront lake area with picnic shelters, kayaks and canoes, a rock-wall, volleyball courts, and more. It was a fun afternoon and I can’t believe I’ve never been there before! It’s so pretty and relaxing. The second-years like studying there and I can see why.

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But do you know what is better than a picnic at the Rez or the start of classes? College football is back!

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I actually [helped] organize a football group for my fellow grad students, but due to ticket issues, workshops on game day, and a lack of cell phone reception, I didn’t get to see any of them during the game. Some of my old friends were coming to town for the game, so I planned on tailgating with them until the theatre folk made their way down to the stadium. Unfortunately, I totally did not take into account that cell phones might not work properly with so many people clumped in one place, and I wasn’t able to get in touch with any of the grad students after the game started.

I feel a bit guilty about it and it would have been a major bummer, but I was able to sit and spend time with these crazy-faces during the game — Brett, Matt, and Tommy!

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Talk about a time warp. We all might be four years out of undergrad, we all might have real-people jobs, and two of us own our own homes, but man, some things never change. The topics of conversation and the group dynamics were exactly the same. It’s like no time had passed.

Flashback to 2007!

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This weekend’s game!

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The only thing that would have made it better is if Casey was also at the game! Hopefully sometime this season she’ll come down for a visit and the game.

Oh, and of course, we won! 34-0. I’ll take it!

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Sunday was a day for being lazy. Tropical Storm Lee has been in the gulf all weekend and starting Sunday morning, T-town began to feel the effects. We’ve been slammed with non-stop rain + wind. Today the winds are even rivaling the E’burg winds.

Yesterday after my morning workshop and reading, I took a break to hang out with Tommy and Brett who were seeking shelter from being rained out of skate park. They’re the first visitors to my finished-except-for-the-bathrooms house! Bonus, the guys might be able to help me acquire and move a couch into the place!

I’ve totally been slacking on my 30 Days of Joy Challenge, but here’s the slip for today.

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My goal for the next 10 days is to finally establish my exercise routine. Hilary asked me this weekend if I had run 8 miles and I definitely had not. Now that I have a bit of an established schedule and I can start settling into a daily routine, I need to add exercise back into my mix. I still want to workout in the mornings, but I think a trip to the gym and to scope out the locker rooms will need to happen first. So that’s my plan for the next 10 days. 🙂

Question: How was everyone else’s Labor day weekend?

Hitting The Ground Running

The balancing act has begun!

If the past two days are any indication of what is ahead, I’m going to need to learn how to become one amazing juggler.

I’m taking three classes, each requiring approximately 200 pages of weekly outside prep reading, three final papers, plus teaching two sections of an intro level class. I’m trying to figure out how to maintain my old friendships and make new friends. *Cue the “Make New Friends” girl scout song.* Not to mention, I haven’t gotten back on the exercise train yet. Oh my!

Thankfully these next few weeks are going to be very busy and yet, the amount of work thus far has been paced out to allow us to ease into things. I’m hoping I can find my groove and get ahead of the game in the next few days.

Right now, my days have looked like this:

Traffic and parking-lot stalking.

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Starbucks and studying in Cafe Stroz!

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Working and office hours.

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Reading and cuddling.

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Despite having a four day weekend coming up, I’ve already got a lot on my plate!

There are two social gatherings planned for the grad students, tailgating and the first football game of the season, seeing old friends, observing a once-in-a-lifetime workshop, and reading, reading, and more reading.

Sorry I don’t have anything else to report (and that this post was rather boring. I just wanted to check-in and let everyone know that I’m alive.

But now I really must go do some reading and catch some Zzzzzs!

Trying To Be Someone I’m Not

Generally I would say that trying to be someone that you are not is a bad thing. Embrace the person that you are, be all that you can be, yada, yada, yada. Well, sometimes pretending or aiming to be someone that you’re not can be a good thing. Push yourself to try new activities and fake it till you make it.

My goal this [school] year is to try and be something that I am definitely not — a morning exerciser!

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I’m all about “faking it till you make it,” but try as I might, I can’t seem to will myself into getting up in the mornings to run. Note, by mornings, I mean beating the Sun out of bed and getting my sweat on before 8am.

Well, I’m renewing my commitment to trying to become a morning exerciser because of three main factors:

  • I know that if I wait till the evenings, I may or may not actually follow through with my work out plans. Getting my workout done in the morning will mean that I can relax when I come home from school in the evenings.
  • Parking is a pain-in-the-ass here at school. If I want to get a spot, then I’ll have to head to campus early in the mornings. I figure that if I go to the gym early, shower at the gym, then head to the theatre, I can start working before my classes.
  • The gym is almost always crazy-busy. It’s also full of frat boys lifting their weights and sorority girls showing off their bodies during normal daytime hours. This will be add to my incentive to go in the early mornings, when the people actually interested in fitness are at the gym.

So one of my Jar of Joy tasks fits in well with both my August fitness goals and this new morning-exerciser goal.

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Task: Write down – in a prominent place – ONE goal for the next seven days.

So I wrote down my goal and placed the note on my fridge. My goal is to run (or workout) at least four times! In all honesty, I probably should have set the bar a little higher, but I didn’t want to set myself up for failure. My seven days started on Friday and I ran yesterday morning and this morning, so I’m already on my way to succeeding.

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Sunday I’m supposed going to do my 7 miler long run. Then, orientation starts on Monday and we begin at 8am most days, so I’m going to have to either commit to waking up early or work out afterwards, but I will workout.

Starting on the 24th I have access to the gym, which will mean the chance to exercise in a safe, lit, and not humid environment, so no excuses after that. Plus, I have to make use of those weights!

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Anyway, by the end of the year, I WILL be a morning exerciser.

Question – Do you exercise in the morning, evening, or whenever? If you exercise in the morning, what do you do to prevent yourself from just sleeping through your workout window?

The 30 Days of Joy Challenge

Look at the sight that I woke up to:

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Charlie has been strangely mellow since arriving in Tallahassee and even slept during the night on the bookcase next to my bed.

I started my day by checking off some of my August daily goals. Took my morning herbs. Took my vitamins. Started my 30 Day Challenge.

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Today’s Task:

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I thought that today’s task would be a great reason to go check out the local running store — Capital City Runners.

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I’m not in the market for new shoes at the moment and when I do need shoes, I’ll probably go to Feet First in St. Pete, since I have a Groupon to use there. Anyway, the store is small, but it has a nice selection of clothes, shoes, and on-the-go nutrition. It definitely beats the running store options that I had in Ellensburg, which was nonexistent.

I did ask the employee if she could recommend some long run routes and she drew this detailed map that told me where to run in Tom Brown park. I’ve never actually been to Tom Brown park, so that will be another adventure for another day.

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Other than visiting Capital City Runners, I spent most of the day reading and talking to my mom and dad about some possible upcoming living arrangement changes. More details to come, if anything happens.

As I’ve been writing this post, I’m watching Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead. I had added it to my Netflix Instant queue a while back, but after reading Katy Widrick’s post about it this morning, I decided to bump it to the top spot and watch it tonight.

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I second Katy’s comment that you should “watch it now.” It’s a great reminder about how the food that you eat directly impacts your body, health, and life. I will be starting tomorrow with a green smoothie for sure. I sort of want to go do a 10 day juice cleanse, but I want to do a bit more research before I dive into that idea.

Now it’s past my bedtime! I need my beauty sleep so that I can get up and do that run tomorrow morning — for reals this time!

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Rise and Shine

At 6:10am, my phone woke me up with a loud beep beep beep sound — on a Saturday.
Guess what that means? This morning kicked off the start of marathon training season!

But before I get to the run details, let me back track to which races we’ll be doing and our training plan.

After some thought, Hilary and I decided to run the 26.2 with Donna on February 12, 2012 as our full marathon. I’m also planning on doing the St. Pete Beach Classic Half on January 15, 2012 and the Gasparilla Half on March 4, 2012. I’m still a bit concerned about my school schedule working with my running plans, but I think it’s important that I make the decision to run the races now now and then figure out how to work it into my schedule later.

Last night Hilary and I made an impromptu trip to The Globe Coffee Lounge in downtown St. Pete, where she worked on her blog and I mapped out our training plan. I figured out that we have about 27 weeks between now and the full marathon, which will give us ample time to gradually rebuild our base and increase mileage.

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I also went to Twitter and asked some of my favorite runners whether or not we should train beyond 20 miles.

During marathon training do you run more than 20 miles for your longest run? @ @ @ @

@ I only ran one 20-Miler for my first marathon, which worked out well. I'm planning three 20-milers for marathon #2.
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I ran a 22 miler for marathon training, it helped mentally but don't risk injury! @ @ @ @

Everyone pretty much suggested that it was better to do a few 20 milers and not go beyond 20 miles in training. I liked that idea, so I built it into our plan.

If you’re interested in seeing the training plan, you can view it on Google Calender here! I combined the Hal Higdon plan with the 26 week plan Hilary and I used for Seattle Rock n Roll marathon. I also built in the other half marathons into our training schedule, so we should be well trained for all the races.

Basically, Sundays are our long run days.
Mondays and Fridays will be cross training days (spinning, biking, swimming, and group fitness) and the days Hilary has TriGator practice.
Tuesdays and Thursdays will be run days.
Which leaves Wednesdays and Saturdays as rest days — it will be football season, so Saturday off will work out nicely.

In addition, I plan on building strength training into my plan, probably on Monday and Wednesdays, but focusing mainly on abs, core, arms, shoulders, back, and not my legs.

I’m planning on posting my weekly work outs once things get into full swing.

Cut back to this morning —
With the training plan complete, Hilary and I kicked things off today with our first 5 miler. Admittedly, it’s never easy getting out of bed early on a Saturday morning, so when 6am rolled around, I needed to convince myself that I actually wanted to be out of bed. I promise I really did, it just took a bit of self-convincing.

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We were out the door by 6:30am. We were out and running before the sun even woke up!

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One hour and five miles later we were done! It was 85% humidity during our run, which made it feel a lot tougher than I think the distance would have felt under different circumstances. Oh the joys of running in Florida.

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After the run, I quickly hopped into the shower and changed into my yoga clothes. My new friend Dee (via Twitter!) invited me to join her for some free yoga at the Tampa Lululemon. I’m so happy that I got to meet her before I leave for Tallahassee and I loved the yoga class. Thanks for inviting me Dee! Hopefully we’ll see each other again either in Tallahassee or for some of the Tampa Bay races.

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Doing an hour of yoga after my first long run in forever felt ah-mazing! Seriously, I almost want to do yoga after every long run.

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Later in the afternoon the Zen feeling from the yoga dissipated quickly when Hilary’s cat ate an ibuprofen pill and sent me into panic mode. So far she looks like she’ll be fine, but the story of how Pixie and I spent the afternoon in the pet emergency room is the story for another day.

Namaste everyone!

R&R Day – Reading & Running.

Watch out — it’s four days into August and I haven’t given up on my August Practicing Habits Daily. Woo!

Flossed my teeth daily, check. Read for school and pleasure, check. Started planning out my upcoming race calendar, check. Ran two miles tonight, check.

Speaking of running, did you see Hilary’s post about setting a race calendar? She basically took the words out of my mouth, so I won’t repeat what she wrote except to say that I think we narrowed things down to wanting to do two half marathons and the 26.2 with Donna Marathon. Hopefully tomorrow or Saturday I’ll have a post about my plan of attack for training for a marathon and keeping up my fitness while dealing with my first semester as a PhD student.

Today, though, was a day for reading. The morning started with a trip to the beach to tackle some literary theory.

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“I’m sorry sir, but Dostoyevsky is not considered summer reading.”

That pretty much sums things up. I’m reading introductions to literary theory and essays on literary theory as I soak up the sun at the beach. When I say soak up the sun, I really mean, I go to the beach between 9am-11am, I sport a big floppy hat and large sunglasses, and I put on my cover up after a bit to prevent burning, in addition to wearing sunscreen. Clearly I’ve become an adult.

I did put down the theory for a bit to enjoy some Harry Potter. It’s taking me forever to get through the Goblet of Fire because a) it’s crazy long b) it’s my least favorite HP book c) I wish JKR wouldn’t make Hermione so annoying about SPEW.

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After the beach got unbearably hot I came home for some lunch, computer time, a bit of napping, and I don’t know what else.

Then, because I can’t seem to read indoors, I went back out to Starbucks to continue reading my school books for another hour or so. Take that, August goals!

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When I got home Hilary convinced my to go for a run, because the sun was setting and according to her, the weather was nicer than it’s been for the past two days.

She lied. It was still crazy humid. I felt like I was swimming during our run.

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But I’m glad I went because I think I’ve run all of twice this summer and obviously that needs to change if I’m going to start training for a marathon.

Fact: The newscaster last night informed me that the only other place in the world with humidity like Florida’s is Southeast Asia. I’m not sure that is actually true, but it feels rather hardcore to say that.

That’s all I got for tonight.

If you’re looking to be entertained, you should read Hilary’s post about her relationship troubles with running. They’re going through a bit of a rough patch at the moment.

Practicing Habits Daily – August

I love New Years Resolutions. I know a lot of people think they’re stupid and everybody forgets about them a few weeks into the new year, but I like the idea of starting a fresh year with new goals.

In 2010 I did a pretty good job of keeping my goals achievable and accomplishing most of them. The biggest one was running a marathon and I accomplished that one in June when Hilary and I did the Rock ‘n Roll marathon in Seattle. Unfortunately, 2011 has been a different story. The year got off to a rocky start with my thesis and PhD applications looming over my head, so I never really set any firm resolutions.

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Well, with the year half-way over, I’ve decided to start a new series on the blog called “Practicing Habits Daily.” Each month I’ll set a few new goals for myself that I want to focus on turning into a new habit or a task I want to accomplish for that month. Don’t they say that it takes 30 days to turn something into a habit? I figure that if I work on just a few tasks each month, then by December I will have more than made up for my slacking in January-July.

I’d love any sort of encouragement, reminders, other people joining me in their own monthly tasks, as I take on this series!

Overall, I want the month of August to be about settling into my new daily rhythms of life. The past few months have been very unstable in the sense that I’ve been living out of a suitcase, constantly on the road, and lacking any sort of normalcy in my life. School starts back on the 29th and I start orientation on the 21st. I want to get myself back into the groove before life becomes chaotic. I also know it’s super important for me to establish a healthy eating and exercise routine before I begin to stress about school, otherwise it’ll never happen. So these goals will be geared towards getting me adjusted and settled into life in Tallahassee.

1. Floss every day. I had a dreaded trip to the dentist this week and he threatened horrible things if I don’t start flossing daily. So that will be my number one goal. It only takes a few minutes each day, so it is totally achievable.

2. Start my 30 Days Jar of Joy. I semi-accidentally, semi-purposefully left my Jar of Joy in Tallahassee. I want to do it there, but I forgot how long I was going to be in St. Pete. As soon as I get back to T-town I’m starting!

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3. Do some sort of physical activity 5 days a week. Hilary and I have been pretty good about swimming and biking, but I need to keep that up. I know that if I slack off for too many days in a row, then it becomes impossible for me to get back into the exercise routine. As sort of a part two to this goal, I want to add strength training back into my routine, but I won’t make that a mandatory goal yet.

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4. Pick a half-marathon/marathon and create/start a training plan. Most of the races that I’m looking at doing are in January-March, so I need to start training NOW. I also need to pick one and register for it, before the prices go up and as an added incentive to work out.

5. Start my garden and landscaping projects. I’ve really been looking forward to the chance to do some gardening, but since I’ve been all over the place I haven’t been around to watch over any new plants. Now the time has arrived.

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6. Start taking my daily herbs, vitamins, and recording my body temps.

7. Spend a minimum of 30 minutes a day reading something for fun and a minimum 60 minutes a day reading for school. I am well aware that I spent too much time fooling around on the computer and I need to start setting a timer for myself. Instead of making that my goal for this month, I’m going to aim to spend more time reading because I have homework and Harry Potter to get through this month!

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So what are your August goals? What do you want to make into a habit? Join me on my challenge!