It's time for summer vacation! Here are the items I pack every trip to reach my daily fitness goals, boost my mental health, and keep my nutrition on track:
Record Keeping: Pedometer, Running Watch, Note Pad/Pencil: My pedometer also has a clock so I can leave my watches at home. The Running Watchis great for my training runs as it tracks the duration, speed and distance of my workouts and more. I keep my note pad and pencil in my bag for monitoring my food, recording my workout progress, and journaling the fabulous memories during my vacation!
Hotel Room: Resistance Tube with Door Anchor, The Great Stretch Tubing Handbook: These replace the need to find a weight room, I can fit in a workout from 10-60 minutes long in the morning, noon, or night, and they weight under one pound combined in my suitcase. Awesome!
Hotel Pool: 2 Water Bottles, Swim Suit, Sunscreen: If your swim suit is a tank and shorts, they double as workout clothes in a pinch. The water bottles left empty and tightly-sealed create two dumbbells for under water (add water to the bottles to decrease the resistance/buoyancy of the floats).
Nutrition: Breakfast, Protein Powder, Vitamins, Snacks: Packing your own breakfast is great if you have no idea what food to expect on your trip. If you have a free hotel breakfast, hit up the milk section with your empty water bottles to make your protein shake post-workout. If the complimentary breakfast is great, you can save your packed breakfast for a meal replacement if you are on the go later. Also pack small, healthy snacks for every two to four hours to avoid excessive hunger and subsequent overeating.
Hotel Gym or Outdoors: Sneakers, Socks, MP3, GPS, Cell Phone: I like to travel in my running shoes but pack sandals in my suitcase for the pool. Bring double sets of socks; liners worn inside your cushion sockshelp prevent blisters from running workouts or excessive walking on your trip. Load your MP3 with happy, inspirational music to put you in a great travel mode. Try to research the area in advanced but a GPS is always handy for finding local gyms and parks in a new area. I carry a cell phone in case I'm able to sneak off for a run in a new place and run into an emergency.
Relaxation: Inspiring Book or Fun Magazines: Read these before bed or first thing in the morning. It is vacation; hopefully you have a bit of time to read here and there!
For Kids: Pack some Travel Music to entertain your family on long car rides, and pack empty balloons or extra socks and this link for fun travel games.
Recently on Facebook I shared my trial to cut down on my shower time. The main reason is that lately my "to read" pile is growing faster than I can keep up! My 2 year old has quit napping and my 5 year old is two months from Kindergarten. Luckily for the next blissful two weeks, I have 25 minutes of reading time at their combined City Pool swim lessons.
Here is the list on my bedside:
- Getting the Pretty Back by Molly Ringwald, p. 99
- Freedom by Jonathan Franzen, p.7
- Decision Points by George W. Bush, p.11
- A Hand to Guide Me by Denzel Washington, p.256 (almost done!)
- The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts by Gary Chapman, p.33
When I see an interesting newly released book, I place a hold on it within my City library account. Then the library sends me an email when the book is ready to pick up. Often I put books back on to my "future reading list" and place it in the library return if I'm not keeping up, as you can see from the following...
A few of the books I wish to finish:
- My Spiritual Journey by Dalia Lama, p.141
- Lighten Up by Peter Walsh, p.39
- Extraordinary, Ordinary People by Condoleezza Rice, p.80
- The Life You Want by Bob Greene, p.45
- If You Ask Me: (And of Course You Won't) by Betty White
- Little Red Book of Selling by Jeff Gitomer, p.145
It is more unsettling to have a stack of unread books on my table than 3-4 I'm greatly enjoying at the moment. I keep track of unfinished books I return when new ones come in by writing down the page number I stopped at and adding the unfinished book back on to my reading list. And then there are all the magazines left unread around the house... that's a whole other story.
Sunday, May 8, 2011
Below is my Day 13 5k Training Run after ten days of NO running. Not too bad... plus a quote and running game!
April 27: Rest
April 28: Jillian Michael's: Yoga Meltdown
April 29: Rest/Sick day
April 30: Sick
May 1: Sick
May 2: Yard work
May 3: Hot Latin Cardio
May 4: P90X Ab Ripper X, Wood chips in yard
May 5: P90X Kenpo X
May 6: P90X Cardio X
May 7: P90X X Stretch, Lead March of Dimes March for Babies Warm-Up
May 8: Run, 51 F Outside
5:20 AM: Levoxyl, water
5:40: Crackers, water, 200 mg Ibuprofen (stress: headache, stiff neck)
6:00: Warm-Up, walk
6:07-7:15: 5.87 miles, 75 mins
Notes to Self
- End of a hard ten days, stress of illness/prepping Dimes Warm-Up for 1200 people
- Goal to Self: Get out of my head, set new goal to motivate me
- New Running Game: If one of my play list songs comes on the radio, I keep running
- When Kesha's Blow came on and I was 15 ft from the house, and added a 1/2 mile!
- Thought: "If there is a God, I'm a piece in his game. Everyday my job is to figure out how to best play and the game and stay in it." - Who said it?
Our family of four is about ready for some hard-core outdoor fun. But I’m the first to say I know ZERO about camping well. This past Christmas my mission was to find (and impress) my outdoor-adventure husband with an awesome 4-person tent.
Since today is Father's Day, here are tent buying tips I discovered:
- You have to buy a footprint (tarp) for under the tent. It minimizes condensation on the inside floor and keeps rocks and debris from ripping up the bottom on the outside.
- With the exception of a water proof floor, the tent itself is water resistance/breathable. Get an added Rain Fly cover that is UV resistant to sunlight and water proof for rain showers. The Rain Fly should extend to the ground on the outside so sideways rainfall won’t come through your window seams.
- Shape is also important; a Dome is great for minimizing wind resistance but maximizing interior space.
- Bug resistant window mesh allows you to have bug-free fresh air, and a Vestibule is an area additional to the sleeping space for protecting your things, like wet clothes and shoes.
- A 3-season tent is best. 1-2 season is for near perfect and rainless weather; you only need a 4-season if you plan on camping in the snow. (Brr, no thanks!)
- Buying assistance varies on opinion of the sales rep. At REI, the sales man gave me a great tip that the packing weight of the tent could be split 3-ways among 3 people’s packs for long hiking distances. The sales rep at Sports Authority gave me the tip to buy the 20 lb/8 person/6 foot high tent so we could keep it up in the backyard, stand inside without ducking, and insert a king-size air mattress for sleeping comfort. (Oh baby, I was tempted!) The reps at Sportsman's Warehouse left me alone to cruise the display of assembled tents so I was able to climb around in and inspect all the models I saw online.
In the end I purchased this REI 4 Person Half Dome Tent. Fingers crossed that our camping experiences will be light-weight, dry, and spacious! If not, I also grabbed the REI membership for the lifetime warranty and exchange policy (ah, buying comfort!) With the tent (on sale in December), foot print, and membership, the total cost was $210.
- 5:15 AM: Levoxyl, 10 crackers, water
- 5:30: P90X Plyo Warm-up
- 5:45-6:53: 5.6 miles, 61:02 mins, 11000 steps total
- Academy Trail 4 miles, .5 mile loop, Soccer field + 1 street 1 mile
- 6:53-7:22: Cool down and some yard clean-up, drank water
- 7:30: Shake, Oatmeal
Notes to Self
- Happy music drives me better than angry music
- Taking too many breaks, about one every 4 minutes
- Trying to be more mentally positive throughout the workout
- It feels physically awful while I'm doing it, but my run looks great on paper when I'm done!
- My Current Average Speed: 5.5-6 mph, need to build up to 6.5-7 mph by June
My friends and family learned yesterday that we finally bought our dream retirement spot, land in the mountains... yesterday. In my mind it was a dream that was 20, 30, 40 years in the future but it came to us right before our 12 year anniversary.
Some may know we are huge savers, close to the point of insanity and on the line of severe discomfort. I thought it helpful to so many readers right now in financial distress, or perhaps in great comfort but with dreams too far away, to share some of our money savings tips (that were 90% my husband's but I am learning to embrace more every day).
It's not whether you are earning huge amounts or not, but that you take little steps every day to spend less than needed. What's hardest about the below steps is that we don't HAVE to do it, but if we do, the savings are HUGE! And really, we aren't missing out on anything...
- I write all our receipts in a pocket calendar I keep on our desk so I know in a glance what we've spent for the week/month/year. This is especially important with so many "auto pay" bills nowadays with email statements you hardly need to keep tabs on.
- We have the cash for anything before we buy. Cars, furniture, anything. Never carry a credit balance or owe interest on your credit.
- Our cell phone bill is $10-20 a YEAR. We use a prepaid plan (.15/minute) and only make very quick calls. We have a Costco membership we may not need now that we're done with diapers and formula, and a SW Air visa so all our trip flights are on reward tickets.
- Our grocery bill is $100 a week, under $400/month. I meal plan and shop at 2-5 stores to get every deal on fresh foods. We recently bought a freezer that runs $24 a year on our electric bill to store fruit from our trees and meat/veggies when on great sale. The kids and I eat out about once a week with friends, and our family eats out once a month on an evening or weekend.
- We put in a sink water filter for drinking water. My husband turned down the valves in the girls' bathroom sinks because they crank it on high while brushing their teeth. (This even helps me prepare for the water pressure we'll probably have in the mountains!) We use hard water bottles to fill and take everywhere rather than buying bottled.
- We wash and vacuum our own cars; steam our own tile and carpets. We bought a Steam Vacuum Cleaner and tile cleaner, they are built incredibly easy to use and cheap to purchase.
- We have the base cable, phone, and satellite; all our books and movies come from the library. We take the girls to the $1 theater a few times a year for great kid movies. We never buy books; we put a hold at the library and pick it up when it's in.
- Electricity: We replaced all our windows with double-pained, insulated all our walls and outlets, put in energy-saving light bulbs, and installed solar panels (cash ahead) on our roof, and installed a whole-house fan that runs much cheaper than the refrigerated air in the hot summer (at night it runs and pulls in cool, outside air, then we seal the house during the day).
- Our kids are 2 and 5, and our budget for them is $1000 a year. This covered one year at Little Gym (spring/fall), Zoo/BioPark/Aquarium pass, 40 city swim lessons, a Groupon for 1 month at Bounce N Boogie, Spring Music at Gymboree for both, and some friend's music classes. I hit every museum free day, library event, Home Depot project, free reading and story programs (like Dions, Balloon Museum, and Borders), and farm tour. Check out my posts on home preschool.
- Clothing: Our girls get sneakers/boots for the winter/fall, and sneakers/sandals for the summer, my youngest has mostly hand-me-downs but I shop at Kohls for my oldest and combine coupons and $10-back days. We aren't church-goers, so I usually borrow dresses and dress shoes for one-time formal events. I love shopping, and it's been grueling for me refrain so I avoid clothing stores for me and only shop with a list.
- We do home mani/pedis. Polish is $2-5/bottle and we love the decal stickers at Walgreens. I cut our kids hair in between my twice a year visits (girl's hair is easy like that).
- We don't have a gym membership (gasp!). We invested in a home gym about 5 years ago and slowly built up our home equipment, DVD collection, and live close to trails and parks.
Friday, April 22, 2011
Below is my Day 11 5k Training Run.
April 21: Rest
April 22: Run #11!
Sports Bra, 2 socks, black pants
5:30 AM: Yoga warm-up, 500 steps, for upper back/chest flexibility
5:45: Academy Trail, 7100 steps
Speed: 5 mph hr up, 6.5 flat, 7 down, 6 mph flat
40:48 mins, 3.75 miles
6:40: Cooldown, 200 steps
6:52: Stretch (Especially quads, back, neck)
Notes to Self
- Tight R hip, no ab cramps, left knee/pelvis twinges
- Tired legs from intervals on Wednesday
- Gearing up for Easter weekend; egg stuffing, cooking, cleaning
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Below is my Day 10 5k Training Run.
April 18: Rest Day, Clean House
April 19: P90X Stretch X
April 20: Run #10!
Sweats, Pant cover up, New sports bra from my friend (sweet!)
7000 Steps Total
5:30 AM: Levoxyl, Water
5:45 AM: 8 crackers, Water
6:10: 400 step warm up
6:15: 3.98 miles, 45:20 mins, Academy Trail
5.5 mph up1 mile East
6.5 mph flat 1.8 miles North (ab cramp) and down West
Flat South, 2.8-3.8 miles
9-10 mph 30 seconds sprints with 2.5-3.5 mph 1 min walks
7:01: 600 step cool down, 3 mph decreasing
7:15: Oatmeal, Protein Shake, 1/2 vitamin (read below)
Notes to Self
- Remember to pause Running Watch at stop lights.
- I have not run Academy Trail since I was with my dear friend in November who recently moved but I visited the week prior to this run. This one was for you, miss you and wish you well!
- My kidneys are functioning better than average (could it be, exercise?) and all my levels were great except Bilirubin, which is always high from my Gilberts.
- I'm having early Neuropathy symptoms (numb fingers/feet, weakness). Starting treatment is to watch for pinched nerves and see if it may be a Vitamin B deficiency. I'm trying 1/2 kids' vitamins with iron; I can't take Adult because of my missing liver enzyme/protein from Gilberts, I feel too awful afterward, very counterproductive.
- Great to know my protein levels are perfect since I love my post-workout shake so much!
Readers: How often do need blood work, and what symptoms bring you in to your doctor?
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Below is my Day 9 5k Training Run.
April 15: Drive home from Texas
April 16: P90X Yoga X
April 17: Run #9!
45 F and sunny, 5400 F altitude
Light shirt, white pants, 1 sock, gloves
6:37 AM: 400 step warm up with Yoga Sun Salutations
Yoga Tip: Squeeze/contract gluts & abs tight to protect your back in Poses #2, 7, & 11.
Keep elbows in on Pose #6; I skip pose #9 and jump feet in from #8 to #10.
6:45: 3.2 miles, 34:14 mins, 5400 steps
Soccer field x2, parking lot, Flat x2, Down, Up
7:20: 800 step cool down, 3.5 to 2.5 mph decreasing pace
Notes to Self
I caught a talk show conversation on "Community Talk 100.3" about Tri Sport Coaching. They have some great runs and training sessions in NM so check out their page, including a Bike Fit session for $75 and link to a free article on the bio mechanical analysis of pedal stroke.
They mentioned in their interview the high rate of asthma in inner city kids, particularly in Detroit, from pollution and low physical activity. (On researching this issue, I also found household allergens, like mites, mold, and dust, and poverty/ poor nutrition, and little to no healthcare were also high factors, as well as pediatric stress caused by poverty, school changes or poor education, and job loss).
Readers: What are your thoughts on this growing prevalence of pediatric asthma?
Hit your runs early in the AM for cleanest air in NM. The good news is, kids are becoming more involved in running events and have great pride setting distance and timed goals they can accomplish themselves. I can't wait for my ACE Youth Fitness course I'll be taking in August; my 5 year old just mastered grapevines and towel hopping and wants to start weight training. Eek!
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Below is my Day 8 5k Training Run.
Time to work out while traveling; luckily my dear Texas friend had gym passes for us!
April 8: P90X Shoulders/Arms and Ab Ripper X
April 9: P90X X Stretch
April 10: P90X Yoga X
April 11: Drive to Texas!
April 12: 24 Lift at 24 Hour Fitness, South Lake, TX
April 13: Zumba at 24 Hour Fitness, Keller, TX
April 14: Run #8!
68 F, 80% Humidity, 700 Ft Altitude; oh my wonderfully hydrated eyes and skin! Ahh!
Tank, run pants, 2 socks
5:45-6:10 AM: 5500 Steps North
5 sprints, 40-60 steps with walks up to 6000 steps
6:20: 200 step cool down
Notes to Self
- I felt so brave heading out to a nearby unknown park with a directions on a slip of paper, sight-unseen. I was easily out of my mind but it was incredibly enjoyable. Thank you, Google Maps!
- I'm not buying any more black workout clothes: My husband made a good point about wearing bright clothes and reflector tape on myself while running. I was on a major road and it was PITCH BLACK outside; I have never felt so close to being road kill!
- At the end of this park driveway toward the exit, I felt like I was jogging the road away from Forrest Gump's house, lined with trees and gravel. "Run, Forrest, Run!" It was stunning... beautiful.