Friday, May 19, 2017

Balls

Before I jump into my kickball update, I wanted to remind you that I'm featuring a giveaway to win a digital kitchen scale. You can enter to win on my giveaways page.

Last winter, I joined my neighborhood's kickball team. We play in a co-ed community league on Tuesday nights, and I'd say we're pretty decent. We ended the season in second place out of four teams but got booted out early in the playoffs, so we decided we needed to form a summer team to earn redemption. I agreed to come back to the team since I'm not fully in my half-marathon training regimen yet, so I'm not worried about depleting my fitness bank right now. Fall may be a different story though - I'll be 100% focused on running.

We had a good time last winter, but there was one team who really made the game... less fun. While I certainly can appreciate anybody who displays a competitive attitude and a desire to win, they took it to an extreme level. Arguing about the rules with us. Giving the ref a hard time. Not laughing at my self-deprecating jokes. It got to the point where I actually dreaded playing them, which was every three weeks since it was a small league. It wasn't just our team who felt that way - we'd run into members of the other two nicer teams in the league, who'd ask us to "give 'em hell."

They kind of remind me of these guys:

Cobra Kai: Sweeping Legs since 1984


The mean team *almost* went undefeated during the season (they lost twice, once to us and once to another team), and they did end up walking away with the trophy at the end, so I suppose their style of "play" works. But I don't know, it's adult co-ed kickball. S'posed to be fun.

So when I got the summer league schedule, my stomach dropped when I saw that the mean team was returning - and we'd be playing them in the first game.

Tuesday night was our first match, and I was hoping I was going to be able to walk away from the game saying I was pleasantly surprised by their behavior. Especially because we recruited new members to the team, and I didn't want their first experience at kickball to set the tone for the rest of the season.

But no. It turns out that their team hates playing us just as much as we hate playing them, and they pulled out all the stops. Dropping foul language. Standing in the baseline so that our runners couldn't get to base on time (and I'm not sure how the ref missed calling them on these occasions). Even after the game was over (which they won), they actually pulled the ref aside to complain about US.

When my husband, who happens to be the coach of our team, saw this behavior, he marched right over to the two mean teamers yelling at the ref and asked to speak with them personally. When I saw what he was doing, I went over to back him up. Even though I came into the middle of the conversation, I could see his old Resident Assistant "let's talk about our feelings, let's not resort to five-year-old behavior,  and let's use 'I' statements so we can resolve this as adults" personality at play.

God, I love him.

The mean teamers weren't having it, though. Seriously, I've seen drunken college students respond better to confrontation then these "adults."

For example, Ben tried to explain to one particular mean teamer how his aggressive behavior had actually made Ben uncomfortable at one point - to which the mean teamer's girlfriend replied "We're not here for your comfort." Wow.

But - in between petulant outbursts - I did understand that they were angry at one of our own teammates, who apparently trash-talks his way throughout the game to other players and also argues about the rules when it isn't necessary.

Although I've never heard or seen him do the things they were accusing him of, I don't discount their objections. He's the most intense player on our team. In fact, had I not known him BEFORE we played kickball together, I might have assumed he was one of the Mean Teamers. It's unfortunate, though, because outside of kickball, he's an absolute teddy bear. He was one of my first friends in the new neighborhood, super welcoming. Loves kittens. Volunteers his time at charitable events either playing a pirate, an executioner, or Lord Voldemort. His wife is one of my favorite people, too. I probably would have been too intimidated by him to become his friend if my only exposure to him was at kickball. Just goes to show, you always gotta put your best foot forward, especially around people who don't know you.

So we agreed we'd have a sit-down with our rogue teammate, and they agreed they'd also try to come to our next game more peaceably. I think their attitudes towards Ben and me clearly demonstrate that it's too late to sit down over a beer with everyone and put the past behind us, but hopefully we won't have to deal with this every time we play them in the future.

Besides, it's definitely too late for me to do anything over a beer because the Whole Life Challenge starts up this weekend.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Are you asking for a challenge?


If only I could run like Homestar Runner.

This week, I'm participating in the "Arms, Abs, and Clean Eating" Challenge, hosted by my friend Danielle of Sunshine and Situps fame. The timing works out perfectly for me, as this 5-day challenge falls right in between a Mother's Day super-not-clean brunch buffet and the Whole Life Challenge, which starts on Saturday.

Danielle first invited me to participate in a similar 5-day challenge last month, but it was a rough week for me since my in-laws were visiting. I ultimately decided that trying to adhere to the challenge rules while entertaining family would add more stress than I was comfortable taking on, and asked her if I could postpone participating until the May challenge.

The challenge rules are simple, though: eat foods from a prescribed grocery list, exercise at least 25 minutes a day, and drink half your body weight in ounces of water. Everyone participating needs to check in daily in our Facebook group to report on progress. Danielle gives you resources to succeed daily, including the day's menu (using items from the grocery list), an exercise plan, and coaching support. Part of the challenge includes taking measurements before and after to see what a difference 5 days can make, which could motivate participants to continue healthy behaviors well after the challenge is over.

So Monday went really well for me, with the exception of having some crazy sugar cravings around 2pm. I chalk this up to the nutritional off-roading I experienced over the weekend during Mother's Day. My diet has been gluten/soy/dairy/sugar-free for a few solid weeks, during which I never experienced cravings. So I'm sure I'm paying for my diet transgressions now, as my inner sugar dragon is roaring. Therefore, I have not been following the menu as prescribed because I think it's important for me to go back to G/S/D/S-free asap, and some of these items are included in the daily menu. But I'm all over drinking the water and doing the exercises.

But on Tuesday, I failed.

The call to Dunkin Donuts butter pecan coffee - with cream - was too strong. I need to be very careful not to let one day of unrestrained eating turn into a full week of poor decision making. I made a commitment, and I need to stick with it.

Part of the trends I'm noticing is that I have a much easier time staying on track when my husband is traveling for work. He doesn't eat anything that resembles a vegetable, and it's really hard to remain committed when you've gotta watch someone else eat potato chips and candy.

So I'm not sure what I'm going to do during the Whole Life Challenge coming up if I can't make it through even a five-day challenge with him being home. He doesn't have much business travel scheduled during those two months. Maybe I'll have to move in with my mother, who is doing the WLC with me, during that time.

Anybody have any suggestions? Leave a comment below! (Which, by the way, would count towards your entries towards winning my Kitchen Scale Giveaway! Don't forget to enter before 5/27!)

Saturday, May 13, 2017

EatSmart Precision Digital Kitchen Scale Giveaway!

My favorite thing in the world? When someone gifts me something to help me achieve my goals.

EatSmart Products recently reached out to ask if I would try out their new EatSmart Precision Digital Kitchen Scale* and write a review. Heck yeah I want free stuff that can help me lose weight!

Kitchen Scale Giveaway Weight Loss


The thing is, though, I already have a digital kitchen scale. I purchased this Escali Primo Digital Kitchen Scale* a few years ago and have been pretty satisfied with it. So when I received this in the mail, I figured I'd put the two in a head-to-head, no holds barred cage match to determine which one is best.

Battle 1: Design

Kitchen Scale Giveaway Weight Loss running

When it comes to design, size, and weight, the two scales are pretty evenly matched. The Escali is just a little bit shorter in length, measuring about 6" x 8" compared to the EatSmart scale at 6" x 9". Both scales can measure up to 5 kg or 11 lbs. However, the Escali scale does have an "Off" button which can help you retain the battery life a little bit longer. The EatSmart scale does not, and will auto shut off after a few minutes. Winner: Escali

Battle 2: Accuracy

I did the penny test, since pennies are generally consistent in weight at 2.5 g. Both scales provide measurement in grams - however, the EatSmart scale can do a different measurement in lb while the Escali can provide weight in oz if needed. Neither scale provides weight to the tenth of an announce, and both scales gave a measurement of 2g. Winner: TIE

Kitchen Scale giveaway weight loss running

kitchen scale giveaway weight loss running


Battle 3: Price

The EatSmart scale is only $9.99 on Amazon*. The Escali scale is over twice as expensive, coming in at $24.95 on Amazon*.  Winner: EatSmart


Overall Winner

So overall, I'd give the match to the EatSmart Precision scale because you can save some money and put it towards your retirement!

kitchen scale giveaway running weight loss


Good news... I'm giving away this scale since I already own one. It will come in its original packaging with manual included. Just follow the instructions to enter below! Contest will end on 5/27/2017 at midnight EST.



*Amazon Affiliate Link. This means that if you click any of the links to Amazon through my site and buy something, I may earn a commission. Much obliged.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Habits

I got some bad news today, very similar to the news I got when I wrote my Low Point post about a year and a half ago.

Someone who is very important to the work that I do in my day job has been let go.

But unlike last time, I'm much better equipped to handle news like this. Rather than fearing for my own job security, I'm checking the facts. I still have a job today. I wasn't let go when I wrote that last post, and I've actually survived many rounds of layoffs in the years I've been with my employer. I'm like the cockroach of the marketing department. I persist.

I was bummed though because I feel rather close to this person. I chalk up a lot of my successes to her. I just needed a pick-me-up, so I decided to indulge in some self-care today by going for my monthly massage.

Yup, I haven't given up the monthly massage habit. I have started seeing a regular therapist at East to West Massage in St. Petersburg, though, and can't recommend them enough. I'm relaxed, I feel great, and I always leave the massage table ready to take on whatever life throws at me. And I know exactly what I'm getting when I walk in the door, so my anxiety based on this massage experience has been eliminated.

Here are some other habits I feel good about:

  • I am really getting into a groove with my workout plan. Early-morning workouts have become routinized, and I'm trading time between wogging and getting to LA Fitness for some strength training. LA Fitness is great and all, but I really wish something like the Nerdstrong Gym existed in St. Pete (they are only in southern California right now). All of their classes have a nerdy theme like "Bossfight" and "Defeating the Death Star." It's like Crossfit for geeks. I want!
  • I do at least ten minutes of meditation or guided visualization every day, usually before bed. Ideally, I could take a break during the middle of the day to meditate, but it rarely works out that I have time to do it. Something is better than nothing though.
  • I no longer eat anything after 6pm during a normal work week. This might change if I'm going to visit my father, or if I'm at Disney, or if something happens outside of my routine. Otherwise, I really limit eating to between the hours of 9 and 6. 
  • I still volunteer every Monday night at the nursing home with Joey. I do, however, approach each night with some trepidation because I got attacked by one of the residents back in February. It was so out of the blue - this particular resident had always been very sweet to Joey - but now I know I have to keep my guard up and we keep our distance from her. She grabbed my arm as I was walking past and punched me in the chest. Fortunately, an 80-year-old isn't going to do much damage to me. It's my dog I'm worried about.
Volunteering Injury
Although maybe she can do a lot of damage. It's three months after the fact and I still have scars from where she dug her nails in.
So those are my healthy habits. Exercise, meditation, intermittent fasting, and volunteering. What are some healthy habits you've cultivated this year so far? Leave a comment!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Tranquil as a Forest

But on fire within.
Once you find your center you are sure to win!

Sorry everyone, I added this song to my running playlist to start channeling my favorite Disney Princess (Mulan) for next year's Princess Half and now it's stuck in my head.

Most people peg me for a Belle. I may be a brunette and I may like to read books, but I'd much rather go to war and fight for my father than remain someone's captive for him.

Speaking of my father, I blame him for getting me hooked on Dancing with the Stars. It's a guilty pleasure, I'm ashamed to admit. But I spent so much time with him over the last year that I learned it's one of his favorite shows. I think he really loved watching it with my stepmother, who was a dance teacher in her earlier years.

So when Normani Kordei did this on "Disney Night" on DWTS, it made me immediately want to learn the Paso Doble.




They even pulled Donny Osmond out from wherever he's been hiding to come sing the song again! Great choice of character + awesome dancing + fantastic singing... a formula that earned her a perfect 10 from all of the judges, and I hope she wins the whole contest (even though I had never heard of her before watching the show).

Disney is filming a live-action Mulan to be released late in 2018, but sadly it's a non-musical. How could they redo this movie and not include this song??

I realize today's ramblings have nothing to do with running or eating or being healthy. I just wanted to give some background if you happen to see me walking around singing "Be a Man" to myself so that you don't have to worry about engaging me in an awkward conversation about my gender identity.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

You live for the Fight when it's all that you've got

So the big news of the day: Eliud Kipchoge was SO close to running a sub 2-hour marathon.

Is it too much to ask for me to be able to run half that distance in just about the same amount of time? Come on, people.

I've accepted the fact that it may never happen, but it doesn't mean I can't keep trying. I just need to make sure I'm not doing the same stupid things over and over again. And I am fairly confident I'm not because life looks a little bit different for me right now compared to when I was training for the Dark Side:

  • In one week's time, I signed up for two half marathons, neither of which will be done in two hours. The St. Pete Run Fest is just too soon. I've somehow convinced a posse of ten women to run the Princess Half with me, which is great but also kind of awkward. I've never run with that many of my friends before, and the ones I do run with know I hate being held back (and it's why I like running with them frequently!). For this race, I don't know if we're running together or competing. I'm trying to put myself in the right mindset to run with my friends, not ahead of them. I know, I'm a terrible person. Please don't judge me too harshly. I'm tranquil as a forest but on fire within.
  • I "beat" my eating disorder by becoming a padawan of Dr. Livingston. I first learned about his book, Never Binge Again, and wrote about him last July. I had some success following his strategy, but relapsed frequently in the latter half of the year. I decided to enroll in his one-on-one coaching program and, well, I'm never going to binge again. I'll write more about this in detail another time, because I do think this is a really important resource for other people struggling with binge eating. 
  • As part of being an NBA student, I've learned to weigh in daily and don't fear the scale anymore. It's just data, a set of numbers that inform the choices I make in any given day. Prior to this program, I hadn't been on a scale (other than the doctor's office) in years, because knowing my weight could really ruin my day. 
  • I'm on the max dosage of my thyroid medication, but it's not working. I feel exactly the same as I did when I started taking it last June. So the only thing left to do is to eat super clean, because clearly some of my dietary choices may have been inhibiting the meds from working. But here's the thing... if I start feeling better because I'm never binging and eating a super clean diet, then... well, what's really making me feel better? At this point, I think I'm just going to ask Dr. Paleo if I can phase out the meds. 
  • I got suckered into taking the Whole Life Challenge beginning on May 20th. It's an 8-week diet/exercise/lifestyle challenge. For someone like me who lives every day as if it's a Whole Life Challenge, it's kind of a waste of $39. But quite a few of my family members are doing it, and it does gamify everything I've been trying to routinize over the last few months, so maybe it will be fun. There's still time to join if it's the kind of thing you think you might need to kick start a healthy lifestyle. Let me know in the comments if you are participating and I'll add you to my team. 
So there you have it. I have no expectation of running a sub 2 half this year and am going to try enjoying a run with friends. I am way better at eating now. And I'm only making positive choices for my health from here on out. Maybe it'll pay off for me with faster race times at some point in my life. 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

May the 4th be with You

Of course I'm going to post on Star Wars Day, people. Anybody know what the deal is with runDisney's Star Wars "Light Side" Half Marathon weekend? It's usually held in January, but registration still hasn't opened yet. It's odd because the Princess Half Marathon isn't until February, but that registration process has already opened.

That's all I have to say about Star Wars today.

I went running this morning. First time in a LONG time. It went about as well as I could have expected. Worse, actually, but I'm not too worried about it right now. I'll improve. There's a lake near me that offers the closest thing to a 400m running track open to the public (I've mentioned this before, but the high school tracks are kept locked down here in FL). Crescent Lake is a ten minute walk from my house and actually has a 1.10 mile loop, so I decided I'd try training there this time around.

I haven't done one of these types of posts in a while:

THINGS SEEN ON TODAY'S RUN

  • One of my kickball teammates. Oh yeah, I joined an adult co-ed kickball league over the winter. Our team was decent, but we didn't win the season. The summer league starts up again next week, and I've been recruited to play shortstop again. Anyway, I was only moderately embarrassed to be caught running so slowly by someone I know.
  • A lady walking her cat. Ok, she was actually walking her dog, but her cat was following closely behind her. Kitty didn't want to be left out of the fun happening at the lake.
  • A Florida softshell turtle. They say they only come out of the water to lay eggs.
    Turtle seen while running
  • Quaker parakeets! I haven't seen these guys in quite some time, and I just chalked it up to all the various ways people are ruining the environment around here. I didn't get a photo of the ones I saw this morning, but here's one I'm borrowing from the internet.Bird seen while running
  • Ducklings   Duck seen while running
Speaking of birds, I've acquired a lovely pair of Yard Doves over the last week. 

Birds seen while not running


What is a Yard Dove, you ask?  Well, it's one of those birds they release at weddings that are referred to as doves, but are actually just white homing pigeons. They are trained to fly up to 500 miles back to their original home once released - doves just aren't smart enough to do that. 

One of these little birdies showed up last Wednesday night, and I went outside to inspect further, as I did not recognize it as a typical Florida bird that hangs out in my yard. When I went outside, the bird didn't retreat as most birds usually do. He just went about his business, continuing to eat whatever seeds he found out in our lawn. 

He's been back every day this week, and showed up with a mate on Monday. So I guess we're wedding dove owners now. We've affectionately named them Dovey and Pidgey McDoveFace, and Ben's already looking into how to get into the wedding dove business.