Thursday, June 30, 2011

Forgive Me, Blogger...

... for I have sinned. It's been almost two weeks since my last substantial post. My Google Reader is overflowing with unread entries - over 1,000 new posts to read. I'll get to them. Soon. Right now I'm recovering from 4 days of hiking, rafting, walking, and downhill mountain biking.

Including a pretty nasty spill off the bike. This is why I don't do triathlons. Well, that and the swimming. The front of me is much worse.

Song Challenge will return next Monday, I claim a Mulligan and will be revisiting the "Favorite Road Trip Song" topic.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

So about that song challenge post...

I've mentioned before that I'm not very good at writing posts in advance, so of course, I was going to write this week's song post on Monday morning. And I had all of the best intentions - I got up at 2:30 in the morning (after going to bed at 11) and drove to Dayton Airport to catch an ungodly early flight out to DC. I wrote the post in my head on the way there. I checked in, got through security, got some coffee, and sat down to take out my laptop... and promptly became distracted by a million other things. Caffeine on an empty stomach does that to me. Since then, I've been at the office from 6:45 AM until 8:00 PM, then I go back to the quaint little B&B I'm calling home base, have a fresh-baked cookie while I read, and fall asleep.

Sorry to Nota, who has already posted her song of the week. Go check it out!

My running has also suffered - I haven't been out since Saturday. My DC co-worker is taking me running tonight, though, so I'm very excited. Saturday was a total disaster, anyway. The route was mismarked, so my pleasant 13 miler turned into a 15.6 miler. I was completely unprepared for it. In addition to the extra distance, the route was hillier than anything I've done before. Local peeps, I had to run through Indian Freaking Hill. Steepest and longest hills, ever. I had to walk parts of the inclines and I felt like it was a failed run. Actually, I think the 4-day break has been good for my legs.

Post coming soon, I promise.

Friday, June 17, 2011

About Health and Fitness - What's Your Goal?

Disclaimer: I am an expert on nothing. I'm not a health and fitness guru. I don't have a background in exercise science or nutrition or anything health related - I'm a sociologist who enjoys exercising and eating real food. People have asked me about various exercise programs and other health-related topics, and I like to hear myself talk, so this is just me, speaking from my own experiences.

Deciding to live a healthy lifestyle isn't just about waking up one morning and saying "Ok! Today is the day that I'm going to start being healthy!" Sure, there's a certain component of self-awareness that's necessary for the journey to even begin, but you're not going to get very far unless you set some (manageable) goals for yourself. Changing aspects of your lifestyle is a very hard thing to do. People are habitual creatures - we become stuck in our ways and like our routines. Human nature, itself, creates an obstacle to making significant changes in our lives. This is why so many well-intentioned New Year's diet and exercise programs fail miserably. In fact, a study conducted by the University of Minnesota showed that about 80 percent of people who make New Year's resolutions will fall off the wagon by Valentine’s Day. I'm sure we've all been there before.

So, rather than just making a vague declaration that your new mantra will be "Health and Wellness," think about what you really want to accomplish. Setting up a few very specific goals and coming up with a plan to reach those goals might make it more likely that you will be successful. There's plenty of evidence to back that up in the social psychology literature (Locke's "Theory of Goal Setting and Task Performance" is one of the big ones - guess that psychology class I took on motivation didn't go to waste, after all).

Much of the research of Locke and his peeps has been taken over to the business world, but that doesn't mean that it's irrelevant for personal goals, as well. In their discussions, they lay out five characteristics of effective goal setting - Clarity, Challenge, Commitment, Feedback, and Task Complexity.

Clarity - your goals should be clearly defined. Rather than saying "I want to be healthy!" or "I want to lose weight!" say, "I want to lower my cholesterol to under 200" or "I want to be able to run for a mile without stopping" or "I want to lose 25 pounds by July 1."

Challenge - your goals should be reasonably obtainable, but still somewhat challenging. This sets you up for a bigger sense of accomplishment when you reach those goals and will also help to build confidence. For example, when I decided that I wanted to run a marathon, I broke it up into smaller goals along the way. My first goal was to reach 10 miles, then to run 1/2 marathon, then 15 miles, then 20, and then the whole distance. Each goal required me to put forth a good deal of effort, but wasn't so huge that they were insurmountable. I felt like a superstar every time I passed a goal distance.

Commitment - you need to make a commitment to your goals. You need to be in it with all of your heart and soul, ready and willing to make changes to meet your objectives, and ready to follow through.

Feedback - it's important to know how you're progressing toward your goal. If your goal is weight loss, weekly weigh-ins might help to keep you on tract. If your goal is fitness, monthly fit tests or challenges will help you to know how much strength or cardio endurance you've gained. Can you run a mile faster this month than you did last month? Can you do more push-ups this week than you did last week?

Task Complexity - I'll admit that when I studied these concepts in undergrad, I had a hard time telling this one apart from the "Challenge" criteria. I still do, but we'll give it a shot, anyway. You need to set a realistic timeline for meeting your goals, and make sure that you have the resources available to help you get there. This is where the good old cliche of "it's a marathon, not a sprint" comes into play. Make sure you're giving yourself enough time - it's unrealistic (and unhealthy, in most cases) to expect to drop 25 pounds in a month. You don't want to end up overwhelmed and discouraged, so take things as slowly as you need to.

So there you have it - Locke's framework for setting healthy goals. Of course, someone came along later with a fancy goal-setting acronym (SMART), but I prefer the social psychologists :)

What are you hoping to accomplish?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Snakes Don't Sleep

So remember I showed you that amazing new parenting book a few weeks ago? The one that unites all parents across a common front and makes us feel like we're not alone in our misery? You know - Go The Fuck To Sleep?

As if the book wasn't good enough on its own, they had to go and make an audiobook out of it. And who better to narrate than Samuel L. Freaking Jackson?!?! That guy can drop f-bombs with class. It's pretty amazing to listen to. You can tell by the emotion in his voice that he really relates to the story - that he's a parent who has been there, gone to the brink of sleeplessness and frustration and lived to tell about it. Of course he lived to tell about it, he's Samuel L. Freaking Jackson. What a badass. I bet this was the easiest role for him, ever.

Bonus video!!!! I can't think about Samuel L. Jackson without thinking about Snakes on a Plane.

"I suggest you grab your ankles and kiss your ass goodbye." Instant. Classic.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Next Week's Challenge

For the three of you who play regularly, I forgot to list next week's challenge in this week's post - it's going to be "Your favorite road trip song," in honor of some vacations and business trips I have coming up.

For the rest of you, come join us!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Race Recap - Redlegs Race for Home

I think I need to play the lottery - I'm now 4 for 4 in rain on raceday.

This past Saturday was the Redlegs Race for Home. "But Jene!" I can hear you thinking, "You're a YANKEE fan! What are you doing running the REDS race??" Well, I'll tell you what I was doing. I was going to run in the 5K with BFF, and then we were going to sit back and watch our kids run the "Gapper Kids' Fun Run" together. It was going to be my first 5K, so an automatic personal best. But Life got in the way, as it so often does, and BFF couldn't run the race with me, so I switched to the (much earlier) 10K. It lined up better with my marathon training, anyway.

My first Reds shirt. I've been here for 15 years and I've managed to go without. If it wasn't a nice dri-fit technical tee, I'd probably make it into a dishrag. Just kidding, BFF! They're my national league team ;)

I've only run one other 10K, back in February, and I finished with a time of 54:28. That was fast for me. Really fast. Not so fast in the world of running, but faster than I'm used to, especially since I'd been "seriously running" only a whopping 3 months by that point. I didn't think I'd be able to beat it, let alone beat it on a steamy summer morning, so I didn't really set much of a time goal for myself on this one. I was just going to run it and see what happened.

So we all lined up, some guy sang the national anthem, some lady counted down from 10, and we were off! The first mile flew by, and somewhere around the second mile marker I realized that I had a pretty damn good shot at a new PR. I was averaging 8:20/mile, much faster than the 8:38/mile of my previous race. Then at 2.5ish, my shoe came untied, and I lost 10 critical seconds stopping to tie it. My laces were soaked, and it took me three tries to get it right. But still, only ten seconds.

I saw the 6 Mile marker right after the trip back across the Ohio from Kentucky, and kicked it into high gear. I LOVE that adrenaline surge when you know the finish line is close! When I rounded the corner for the last .1 mile, I looked up and saw that I had a shot at making it in under 52 minutes, so I found an even higher gear and sprinted across the finish line, where I promptly started looking for a trash can to puke in. There were none to be found - I was looking frantically around for a place to leave my breakfast that wouldn't ruin anyone's shoes. In the time it took me to rush over to the wall by the river, the nausea had passed, and I was ok.

My official time was 51:49, good enough for 15th of 146 in my division. I guess Insanity and speed training have really paid off.

No good race pics, just these thumbnails that I stole from the web. Yes, I wore my Yankee hat in the Reds race. It's my rainy day good luck charm.

TinyPic?! More like TeenyPic!!

I'm in trouble, though. I'm definitely addicted to the medals that you get in marathons. Ice cream cups pale in comparison.

Monday, June 13, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Week 11

This has to be a good week, because it's a prime number, right?

Welcome to Week Eleven of the 30 Day Song Challenge! This week's topic is "A Song from the Year you Graduated High School."

As I scrolled through the list of the top 100 songs from 1999, I realized that I didn't really love any of them. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised, because I was more interested in the Mighty Mighty Bosstones and Rage Against the Machine, and they weren't exactly the type to show up on those charts. But I decided to pick from the list anyway, because I did know most of those songs - in fact, I know all of the words to most of the songs. It's like I was reading the list of songs that were part of the background in my life. The songs that were always there, but never given my full attention. The elevator music of my senior year, if you will.

Out of all of them, Summer Girls by LFO made me feel the most nostalgic. It might be one of the cheesiest songs ever written, but I liked it, anyway. I still like it, actually, because it reminds me of summer nights and simple times. Summer vacation was always the best thing ever. Who didn't love the building anticipation as the weather turned warmer over the spring and the calendar flipped from May to June? The last day of school excitement when you cleaned out your lockers and your desks, sculpting giant towers of papers that had been crumpled up and forgotten about, waving goodbye to teachers and acquaintances, heading out the double doors with your BFFs, a whole long, hot summer stretched out before you? And boy, we had some goooooood summers.

The particular summer that this song conjures up for me is the summer of 1997, when Mike from Maryland was visiting his relatives that lived down the street from us. I guess you could say he was my "summer boyfriend" :)

I'm sure I also liked it because of the NKOTB reference, plus the fact that the girl he describes liked fun dip, cherry Coke, the color purple, and macaroni and cheese, all of which, OMG!, I liked, too! This song was written about ME! Except for the fact that I've never even set foot in Abercrombie and Fitch. Why did the guys always like those girls, anyway?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Some Recent Addictions

I haven't done a "Things I Like" post in a really long time, so I figured what the heck? I'll do one today.

Current food obsession: Watermelon

Whole Foods has had some reeeeeeally good watermelons this season. We've gone through a whole one every week, four in total. It's so refreshing after a hot day, and I like to eat it after exercising because 150 grams (which is a decent serving of watermelon!) only has about 45 calories. Yum!

Current tech obsession: My Color Nook

Really, I love this thing.

I went with the Color Nook over the Kindle because I read a lot of library books, I like to read magazines, and when I have the time, I plan to use a MicroSD card to dual boot it with the Android OS and use it as a tablet. I also love how much more I'm reading now, because I pretty much always have it with me. In the last month, I've read Kitchen Confidential, Water for Elephants, How to Run, The Help, and Framing Innocence. I just started Decision Points and I have The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth waiting for me, next. The best part? They've all been library books! It's going to be great for the summer trips we've got lined up.

Current Internet Obsession: Pinterest

You know how you always find the coolest stuff when you're clicking through the interwebs? And you think "hey, I should totally (do, bake, create, buy, show someone) that?" So you add it to your Bookmarks menu? And then it just sits there, forgotten. No more! Pinterest is like an online bulletin board where you can stick stuff that you like. It's more graphics-oriented in nature, so I'll stick with ReadItLater for pages that I actually want to read, rather than drool over.

Leave a note in the comments if you want an invite!

Current Sports Obsession: The NBA Finals

Yes, you read that right. The NB-freaking-A. I hate the NBA. I'm not a fan of any team. I find it tedious to watch. But I'm absolutely obsessed with the Miami Heat right now, more specifically, with LeBron James. I'm team LBJ, for sure. I just want to see him get the ring. This series is stressing me out, and I have no loyalty to either team! I don't understand where this is coming from all of a sudden. Maybe my brain is trying to distract me from the fact that the Yankees were just swept by the red sux, and that my son sings "root, root, root for the redlegs!" when he's singing Take me out to the Ballgame. Damn peer socialization.

ETA: I'm not actually WATCHING the games, just keeping track of scores next to the Yankee box scores and listening with a pit in my stomach to Mike & Mike's coverage the next morning. I haven't fallen that far.

Current Potentially Inflamatory Obsession: I'm Voting Tea Party

I may have to get this shirt for the next election cycle.

Really, I love almost everything by Amorphia Apparel.

So there you have it. Another collection of Things I Like. I have a 10K race tomorrow morning - wish me luck breaking my freak PR of 54:28 from earlier this year. I kind of doubt it will happen. I still don't know how I managed that one.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

31 Jokes for NERDS!

Big thanks to Lisleman over at A Few Clowns Short for sharing this in his Friday Fragments post last week. I've already watched it a good 20 times and shared it with everyone I know. I'm willing to bet Jen over at Beantown Baker will definitely enjoy some of these :)

I don't think I could even try to pick a favorite. Of course I liked the data extrapolater reference, but "Your mom's so fat, her patronus is a cake!" and "How do you have any Mass?" ** dead **

If I wasn't already happily married, this guy would be on my list of boyfriend candidates. Bonus points for the Homestar Runner poster in the background.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Weekly Fitness Feature - Why Bother?

So in case you haven't noticed, exercise and healthy eating are things that are near and dear to my heart. This isn't because I'm some nutty whacky fitness freak who wants to bench press 1,000 pounds and run three minute miles, although I'm sure that's how it might seem sometimes with my data collection and tracking. It's not because I want to fit into a pair of super cute size 0 pants, although I do enjoy being able to wear the normal-sized clothes hanging in my closet. And sure, when I step back and take an honest look, part of my motivation for exercising and being healthy is because I like the way I look. Who wouldn't feel that way?

But at the root of the issue? THIS is what it's all about.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

For me, it's more about health - it's about growing up in a family where everyone struggled with weight issues and heart disease. My mom lost her dad to a heart attack when she was a teenager. I almost lost my own dad when he had a near-fatal heart attack in 2005. My dad's dad had multiple heart attacks over the years before he passed in 2008. In a society where obesity levels are through the roof, heart disease is killing a million people EVERY YEAR, and preschoolers are being diagnosed with diabetes, I want to do the best that I can for myself, my husband, and my own child. Not only do I want to be healthy for them, so that we can live a long life together and I can watch him grow up and meet future grandchildren, but I want to provide him with a good example - I want him to grow up knowing that fruits and veggies are an important part of life, that ice cream and cookies are good, too, but that they're only "sometimes foods," and that exercise is good for the body and for the soul.

I'm still not interested in a fitness blog, because there are more qualified people who can do that kind of thing, but I'm going to try to dedicate one post per week to a related issue. I don't know that I'm the best person to be giving advice - I often have trouble with a broken motivator, and there are many days when my give-a-damn isn't working, either. Plus, I'm willing to overshare, which leads to some brutally honest and maybe TMI posts, like what happens when you don't do your kegels after childbirth and then try to do plyometric training.

Even so, I do have some ideas and thoughts to share with you, so look for weekly posts on some kind of healthy living topic starting next week.

Monday, June 6, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge - Week 10

Welcome to Week Ten of the 30 Day Song Challenge! This week's topic is "A Song From Your Favorite Album."

Like the challenge in Week One, I had some trouble coming up with my favorite album. Thankfully, the list of entire albums that I enjoy is a lot shorter than the list of potential favorite songs. Still, there are quite a few that I listen to regularly and even after I narrowed it down to two, it was still a last-second judgement.

I pulled out both Nirvana Unplugged in New York (one of the best live recordings, ever) and Goldfinger's self-titled album. Both of these were among my most prized possessions back in high school. Goldfinger won out, partly because of the super happy times I associate with it, and partly because I'm really missing my east coast family right now, especially my little sister.

I have a long history with Goldfinger. If you know Goldfinger at all, it's probably because of their one big radio hit, "Here in Your Bedroom." I was 14 the first time I saw them in concert, at Bogart's, the small and dumpy concert hall in Clifton. It was the summer of 1996, which I've already mentioned goes down in history as the best summer of my adolescent life. I went to the show with my BFFs Ivy, Meaghan, and Michelle. Bogart's was standing-room-only and barely air-conditioned - we were packed in there like sardines, sweaty, sticky, and reeking of cigarette smoke.

But it was the best show, ever, so we went to see them again later that year. And again, the summer after. And the summer after that. And on and on, in differing company, until the summer of 2001, when I took my little sister to HER first Goldfinger show. Yes, Katie has some punk rock roots, too. In fact, she loved Goldfinger so much that she won my CD away from me by accepting the challenge of eating a raw onion. That was before the days of MP3 swapping. (Sadly, that was the last time I've caught a live show. They're back on tour now, but swinging mostly through Europe and the west coast.)

The entire album is pretty great. There isn't a song on there that I don't enjoy. "Miles Away" even has a special spot on the back end of my running playlist.

One of my favorite Goldfinger traditions is the awesomeness that is Mable. It's my absolute favorite Goldfinger song, and when they play it at live shows, they get every girl in the first few rows up on stage to sing and dance along with them. Every time I've seen them live, I've managed to push my way to the front of the crowd so that I could guarantee myself a spot onstage. Getting to share that with my sister is one of my favorite memories, ever.

So here's my favorite song off of the Goldfinger album - Mable.

In honor of graduation season, next week's topic will be "A Song from the Year you Graduated High School." Use this link to get a list of the top 100 songs from your graduation year. Or pick another one, if you don't like any of the options.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Parenting Fail

It was only a matter of time - Charlie was playing grocery shopping at school yesterday, and when his teacher asked what was on his grocery list, he said "apples and beer." #stellarparenting

Guess we make too many beer runs with him in the car.


Related Posts with Thumbnails