Sunday, March 27, 2011

Harder, better, stronger, faster!

I wouldn't call myself a fan of Mr. West, but his song "Stronger" is my personal theme song this week.

If you don't know, now ya know.."Stronger" by Kanye West


Two months ago I started doing timed mile runs. Why? Because I secretly wanted to get faster. Not faster than Gerald or anyone else but faster than myself. Yes you're right. I enjoy engaging in some fierce competition with myself. In the past, I trained purely for "mileage goals," increasing my mileage week after week. That was fun but you know what? Getting faster is funner. 


Indoor running

Month one of my timed mile run was in the 13 minute per mile range. Month two was 11+ minutes per mile. After two months of data-gathering, the initial goal I decided on was "to get my timed mile in the single digits." At month three and three days ago I met this goal on the treadmill and you shoulda heard me...I was not only huffing and puffing, but I was softly grunting (I think). The last time I grunted I was in the delivery room at Washington Hospital ten months ago, LOL ;D My intensity and grunting surely scared (or turned off, or both) at least three potential treadmill-users. One was a burly man. Two were college aged-looking-girls. Did that bother me? HELL NO. Because I was hell bent on attaining that single digit timed mile run. I was really feeling it that day and running at my top speed at 6.5 & 7.0 non-stop. For me, that was a personal best and I was elated = )


Outdoor running

A little voice inside of me said "But can you run a mile in the single digits OUTSIDE? You know the treadmill is much easier!"

Today, my calendar said to run 3 miles. I was feelin' especially fierce today and pushed myself harder than normal and was super pleased to get my timed 1 mile run at 9 minutes 43 seconds! A couple-a seconds faster than the treadmill :)

The fierceness spilled over to the remaining 2 miles  where I did some interval training and some sprints. A random old man jogging, yelled out a "Woo hoo" and a thumbs up. I thumbs' up'd him right back. Another female jogger gave me a "knowing nod" and a smile. I returned the kind gestures with a nod and another thumb's up.

Frustrating plateau squashed

I run because I love it but people, I NEED TO GET PAID. What pays me is not MONEY but POUNDAGE LOST. The last two weeks I'd been running for free and this week I FINALLY got PAID.

1.7 pounds this week baby! 

I am happy to report that by running harder, better, stronger, & faster..that my very first and frustrating plateau has finally been squashed!

Woot! Woot!

Have a charmed & blessed week all! =)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Losing weight etc.




Three and a half months ago, I was looking at pictures of myself and was horrified at how wide and old I looked. I could've easily passed for a 42 year old young-looking-grandmother watching after her teen daughter's two small children (mine)...SERIOUSLY!

I was dragging my feet on starting the dieting and exercising thing. I feared physical pain and change. My favorite excuse was "Gavin is only 6 months and I'm still nursing"...wouldn't my supply dwindle and thus, my son suffer if that happened?

I finally got tired of looking and feeling sloth-ish that I decided to just start by moving more. You know, walking a little here. An exercise video there. And jogging on occasion. Then a funny thing happened. As I slowly became more fit, I began to want and like to exercise. WOW?! I just startled myself. When, I say that word EXERCISE it is no longer a dirty word to me, and three months ago it was!!! And speaking of dirt. I literally showered in my own sweat this morning after I ran and LOVED IT! I think that when we push ourselves hard enough and get our sweat-on, I really think we get our happy-on too.

Now it is time to talk about numbers and results. I've lost a whopping 38 pounds to date (I lost 13 pounds within the past 3 months) and I'm only 3 pounds away from reaching my initial goal of getting back to my pre-pregancy weight. Once I get there I will work on my ultimate weight-loss goal. I kinda have a ballpark range of where I want to be but I will cross that bridge when it is time to.


Moving more

I posted an article awhile back on the science behind making behavioral changes and one of the lessons I learned was that in order to adopt the habit of exercising one needed to find their unique dopamine-inducing-activity (or activities). The key word here is activity. In short, our brains are wired to seek out dopamine-inducing-activities (DIA's). For some it is eating. Playing videogames. Facebooking. For me it is eating sweets and now, running. Take a guess on which one has helped me lose weight? OK. Point made.

The trouble is when too many of our DIA's revolve around sedentary activities (anything where you sit for long periods of time such as excessive gaming, reading, computer use etc.) or unhealthy activities (overeating, mindless eating) or maladaptive activities (heavy drinking, smoking, drug use etc.) So, for a person to pick up exercising, it is really important to start slow and to do something one likes to do. All you have to do is to stick to doing this activity for 21 days and you will make a habit of it. I know that sounds like a long time. But I did it. With two small kids! You almost have to treat yourself like a dog and "teach yourself" this new trick until you get it. Not just know how to do it. But to do it to the point where it becomes a part of who you are.



Eating, etc.

There are so many "temporary" ways of dieting/eating that in the long run is a waste of time. There are also various methods that will lead to long term weight loss. You just have to chose one that's right for you. For me it is tracking what I eat and loading up on unprocessed foods, fruits, vegetables, and water. I know that keeping track of everything I eat is a pain in the derrière, but if this is the way that I can reach my weight loss goals and still eat carbohydrates and sweets in moderation, then the benefit definitely outweighs the cost. The five-million-dollar word here is sustainability. My brother Erle's method for weight loss and weight maintenance (he's been doing this for years now) is during the weekdays to not to eat more 25 grams of carbohydrates per day then load up on carbs on the weekend. For me that is not sustainable. If I want a cake pop on Tuesday night and more than 1/2 cup of brown rice on Wednesday night, then dangit! I eat it! The bottom line is you have to change what you eat to lose weight and sustain that change until, as I said it before, it becomes a part of who you are.

Here's what I learned. True and lasting change is the kind you cannot see (at first) because it all starts inside of youFirst your heart must change, then your heart will influence your mind. (Not vice versa because the heart is infinitely stronger than the mind.) Then voila! The change is visible and everyone is high-fiving you and saying how great you look!

You can do it! I can do it! WE can do it!

Have a charmed & blessed week all = )

Monday, March 21, 2011

Where are we running?




"Where are we running" by Mr. Sexy himself, Lenny Kravitz


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I discovered running many years ago when I was going through some teenage angst and needed to release lots of pent up negativity. I would run at the local middle school track (AMS, go Cougars! ;D) and feel phenomenal after my runs. I would never call myself "fast" but I was usually the #2 girl in completing our high school's P.E. class timed mile runs...beating most girls and some boys. That's good enough for me as far as bragging rights go. During my runs I spent a lot of time alone and processed a lot of emotions I was dealing with at the time. Not only did I have a slammin mid-section, but all that running made me mentally and emotionally tough. Running was cathartic and I quickly got hooked =)



In my mid-twenties I wanted to take my running to the next level and trained for a marathon. While I was still working for the man, I would run up and down The Embarcadero during my lunch. That was the best part of my daily drudgery as it would make the work day & work politics not seem so sh*tty. I ran those glorious 26.2 miles in beautiful Honolulu and the first 12 miles was HEAVEN while the rest was HELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL.



"Glady" The 92-year old grandmother & quite possibly the oldest marathoner
http://www.honolulumarathon.org/

Today, as a wife and mother of two, and at age 32, I've rekindled my love of running. Today's run was the longest I've done recently at a modest 8 miles. Three months ago I was beginning to feel depleted and rundown. I had a hankering to be more than just a wife and mama-milk-making-machine. I wanted to feel strong. To feel athletic. And for me, that meant running...Oh, and for the record, I use the term "running" loosely. What I do more resembles a slow jog and a fast walk for people with long legs. Today, however, I really did "run." My usual is around 4.1 to 4.3 +mph on the treadmill. Today I increased that to 5+ mph and 6+ mph. Of course I took some walk breaks so that I would not be completely blasted with fatigue. I always remind myself that three months ago I could not complete one mile without walking. My, oh my, have I come a long way!



Running was and continues to be, something I DO FOR MYSELF purely out of the love I have for the sport. I have a super soft spot for the elderly and disabled. A close second to them are runners. I have been known to cheer on random strangers while at a stop light as I see them toiling on the road..lol..woohooo!! ;D 


Most importantly, I almost always feel like a rock star and start strumming my air guitar (just like Lenny) after my runs =)

My prized t-shirt I wear with pride =)

Where are we running? WHO CARES. Just do it, mayn ;)



Sunday, March 20, 2011

Color Me Purple

Like food, I find that blogging is best when it is fresh. This next entry has been stored in the freezer (my head) for nearly 30 days and I write it now because I want to remember my most recent birthday, my 32nd, with fondness and accuracy because to me it was truly special :)
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Country-folk rock


Gerald asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday this year and I knew EXACTLY what I wanted to do. I wanted to celebrate like this: 1) A girl's night out 2) A Date Night alone with him  3) A day with the family.

1) A girl's night out

Lei, May, Christina, Millie, Helen, Saya


I really wanted to do something different for this celebration and how much more different can you get than yee-hawing and dancing the night away to country music and riding a mechanical bull?! Plus, I did not want to drive to either of the Sans (SF & SJ) and wanted to stay local.

Lissett, Ape, Mill, Jess


Also, for some strange reason I realllyyyyy wanted to ride the mechanical bull. The funny thing is when it came time to ride the bull I was  unable to heave myself up the bull due my high level of toxicity and lack of upper body strength.. boo =( Luckily, a gentleman helped me by kneeling and offered his leg as a step stool :) When you're buzzed, being tossed around by a mechanical contraption is absolutely exhilarating. My sister said I lasted longer than she expected and I totally agree...HAHAHA!

Ape, Mon, Lissett


Diana, Lorna


To make a long story short, I had the flippin' time of my life!!! I was surrounded with my favorite, fun-loving, females and the fun we had was epic. Helen told me she has some videos of the night's highlights and she is a great friend who has not posted any of them online or on Facebook because I know FOR SURE I would turn red in embarrassment. However, I have no regrets on my part because it was all clean fun and I would gladly be that FREE, WILD WOMAN again without blinking (once every couple-a-months or so). "Sasha" is what I call that wild woman who hadn't come out to play in many, many years. We had so much fun that the female fams and I already have another girl's night out planned early next month =D (Happy early birthday Jess!)

Sasha at work
2) Date night with the hubs

On my real birthday, Gerald took me to À Côté (http://acoterestaurant.com/a small-plates, Mediterannean restaurant in Oakland's Rockridge district. We started with the a seafood salad, mussels, and pommes frites with aoli (fries w/ aoli dipping sauce). If that was all we ate for the night it would've been ENOUGH because it was PLENTY GOOD and PLENTY. Period. For small-plates, the servings were totally shareable between two hungry adults. I highly recommend these dishes.

Gerald and Millie
Totally wowed with the salad and appetizers, our excitement fizzled a bit with our main menu courses. I had the duck and Gerald had the quail and they were okay. Not bad at all but compared to the amazing items we just had, they paled in comparison.


Dessert was good! We shared the COUPE À CÔTÉ, triple bittersweet chocolate ice cream, hot fudge, caramel cream, with pecan praline & caramel brownies. Umm, can I get YUMMMMMMMYYY in my TUMMY! Yaaaa!


Gerald sang happy birthday to me, I blew my brownie-cake, then chugged my birthday drinks like a champ!


3) Sleepover with the fam

After the Saddlerack, we had a sibling + fams sleepover (except April, she responsibly drove herself home.) We stayed in our PJs, had a fattening/heavily processed breakfast, and had a big crab & shrimp-feed for lunch. I was sung a birthday song and got seconds of the yummy bday cake :)



The girls took turns being sung Happy Birthday to and "practiced" blowing out the candles (this is a family tradition with the little ones when any of us celebrates a birthday, and there are a lot of "us" =)



P.S.


Day 1 of color me purple I admit I had gone spray-happy…The funny thing is that at the Saddlerack, and in person, you could not see the color until the flash of the camera hit my hair. The girls didn’t even know my hair was Barney’d out until we looked at our digital camera displays ;D






Day 2 of color me purple I didn't want to freak Gerald out and only sprayed the tips. This  looked a lot less like Sasha and more like Millie.


Day 3 of color me purple is when I decided to put in real (semi-permanent) purple chunks in my hair that Gerald helped me with. I’m fairly happy with them J




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Moral of the story: be brave, be daring! For only then will you know how far you can go =) ;-) :)


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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Prayers

As the season of Lent begins, I wanted to add some devotional time daily to read, meditate and pray.

Below are a couple of prayers I wanted to share:

"Lord, Help me to be a good wife. I fully realize that I don't have what it takes to be one without Your help. Take my selfishness, impatience, and irritability and turn them into kindness, long-suffering, and the willingness to bear all things. Take my old emotional habits, mindsets, automatic reactions, rude assumptions, and self-protective stance, and make me patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled. Take the hardness of my heart and break down the walls with Your battering ram of revelation. Give me a new heart and work in me Your love, peace, and joy (Galatians 5:22,23). I am not able to rise above who I am at this moment. Only You can transform me."


"Lord, I submit myself to You. I realize that parenting a child in the way You would have me to is beyond my human abilities. I know I need You to help me. I want to partner with You and partake of Your gifts of wisdom, discernment, revelation, and guidance. I also need Your strength and patience, along with a generous portion of Your love flowing through me. Teach me how to love the way You love. Where I need to be healed, delivered, changed, matured, or made whole, I invite You to do that in me. Help me to walk in righteousness and integrity before You. Teach me Your ways, enable me to obey Your commandments and do only what is pleasing in Your sight. May the beauty of Your Spirit be so evident in me that I will be a godly role model. Give me the communication, teaching, and nurturing skills that I must have. Make me the parent You want me to be and teach me how to pray and truly intercede for the life of my children. Lord, You said in Your Word, "Whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive" (Matthew 21:22). In Jesus' name I ask that You will increase my faith to believe for all the things You've put on my heart to pray for concerning my children."

-S.Omartian