Tuesday, February 26, 2013

CCTW - Six Ingredient Challenge

Here is this week's challenge, or last week's challenge, I'm always a week behind it seems.

I've read a lot recently about a Six Ingredient Challenge. This clever idea was designed to encourage people to eat more whole foods. The thought is that if there are no more than 6 ingredients on the label, the food is pretty close to being as nature intended it. Why are whole foods better for the environment? Because processing creates large amounts of carbon dioxide. Since we just used up everything in our pantries and are probably ready to restock, I thought it would be a perfect challenge for this week. Here you go ...

This week, buy only foods with 6 or fewer ingredients. Here's a tip ... shop the perimeter of the store rather than the center isles ... you'll find more options. Want to kick this challenge up even further? Be sure that high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils aren't in the food you choose ... they are really "bad for you" substances. And if you have access to the information, choose non-GMO foods.

I'm really bad about this.  I attempt to and then don't.  Attempt to read the labels that is. I think because it's so hard and confusing.  I tend to not buy very much processed foods, so that's good.  We make a lot of dinners from scratch and I bake from scratch.  We did set out to buy graham crackers for R over the weekend, that was interesting. I was going to get the store brand and it had high fructose corn syrup in it, but one of the name brands didn't, so I paid more for the name brand. My guess is that it was hidden in there just with a different title though. ha!   I also wouldn't have thought to give R graham crackers but the daycare lady has tried it and R likes it. She appears to be a picky eater so we're going to go with it.  Unfortunately, she takes after me in the eating department it seems.

Oh..and I will also mention that so far we have made all of R's food. Except the yogurt and the baby oatmeal she started out on.  I've made sure that stuff is all organic though.   I like making her food because I know EXACTLY what it is in. It's veggies, fruits, and water. That's it. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

CTWW – Half Term Challenge

It’s time for Change the World Wednesday hosted by Reduce Footprints.

This Week's Challenge:
In June of 2012 we joined Mrs. Green in her "Use It Up" challenge. It's one of those activities which bears repeating from time to time because food has a sneaky way of accumulating in our homes. More importantly, food waste is at an all time high ... it's bad for our finances and bad for the environment. So, Mrs. Green is doing a Half Term Challenge and we're invited to join her. Here you go ...

  1. Take a look through your fruit, vegetables and fresh items in the fridge to see what needs using up. Write it all down – it’s easier to keep track that way.
  2. Plan some of your favorite meals around the foods that need using up.
  3. If you need inspiration, write your food list on Mrs. Green's post (you'll find it HERE) and her community will help or ... check out the recipes section at Love Food Hate Waste.
  4. Enjoy some great meals, knowing you are saving money and protecting resources.

Are you ready to tackle this one? I know that you are!
Until next time ...

What will I do for this challenge you ask?  Well, I’ll tell you. Not too much. haha!   We are in the habit of only buying as many veggies as we need for meals and fruit that we’ll eat in a week.  Therefore barely any of it goes to waste anyway. So if I was to do this challenge I wouldn’t find any veggies or fruit.  I think it’s a great idea, just not one I can partake in.  How about you thought?

Friday, February 15, 2013

JCC Sprint Triathlon - Race Recap

Last Saturday I had my first triathlon where I wasn’t pregnant.  This means it was my first triathlon where I could really compete and not just strive to complete it.  I was freaked out but also confident I could do it because the distances were all short, shorter than I normally do in a regular workout.
This was an indoor sprint triathlon, so the swim was in a pool, the biking was on spin bikes, and the running was on treadmills. Totally flat miles.

Ultimately I had 5 goals going in to this race.  1)Swim under 10 min  2)Bike in 19 min 3)Run a 7 min mile (17:30 min) 4)place in the top 3 in my age group and 5) place in the top 10 women over-all.

Swim: 400 meters
My time was 8:49.  This is the one I felt I probably wouldn’t hit and I nailed it!  I did so much better than I thought I would do.  I did 50m as a warm-up.  Then I stayed in the water, moving around a bit, for probably 10 min.  When the heat started I was relaxed and I went out at a decent pace. I didn’t want to go too slow but I wanted to stay at an easy pace where I wouldn’t tire out and be gasping for breath.  I tried to keep track of how many laps I did because my plan had been to take the first 200m easy, then push it the next 150, then sprint the final 50.  I lost track early on. I am horrible at counting laps. So I kept a pace that I felt was good and wouldn’t leave me gasping.  Then when I was notified I was on my final lap I kicked it in to gear and gave it all I had left.  I ended up being first out of the water for my heat, which felt awesome.

Bike: 8 miles
My goal had been 19 or under. I finished it at 19:24.  Sure, not too far off my goal, but still off.  Trying to go as fast as I could for 8 miles on a spin bike is a bit weird.  You want enough resistance on the bike so you don’t lose control, but not too much that you make it harder than it needs to be.  Throughout the 8 miles I would mess with it and make it less resistance, then more if it was feeling weird, etc. 

Run: 2.5 miles
My goal had been 7 min miles.  I finished in 19:58, 8 min miles.  Here’s the thing. I’m still having some health issues. Nothing to be worried about, but stuff that I am working with professionals on.  So while I don’t know if that was what caused me to have issues or something else, I did have some issues.  I got off the bike and I was dizzy.  I got to the treadmill and just felt like crap. I fought the urge to throw up the whole time.  I started out slow and increased the speed slowly till I was doing 7:30 min/miles.  I stayed like that but was feeling more and more like throwing up, so I knew I had to slow it down. I slowed way down until I started to feel a tad better.  Then slowly started to increase pace again.  I finished out close to a 7 min mile, but it wasn’t enough to hit my goal.   It might seem like a 7 min mile is a high goal, it’s way faster than normal for me.  However, at such a short distance it was possible. I had practiced running on the treadmill at the gym at a 7 min pace for a mile after spin class to see if it was possible.

As far as how I did in placing.  Well, I was 4th in my age group (out of 8). I wasn’t even close to the third place person.   I tied for 18th for over-all female (out of 43).  Not even close to 10.
The results for this race were very hard for me to take. I was very upset about it the day off and I’m still not happy with it.  This is by far the easiest race I have this year.  So for me to not do as well as I had hoped on my easiest race, well, it freaks me out for what’s to come this year. 

I know that my training on the bike hadn’t been what I needed it to be, that’s what happens with life.  Due to the weather I have to train at the gym on stationary bikes.  With the flue going around we didn’t want R in the gym daycare.  That meant I couldn’t go after work.  Swimming is by far my weakest of the three sports, so on Saturdays I would go to the gym to swim before coming home and watching R so Husband could get to the gym for spin class.  I’m not upset about this, but it did mean I didn’t get in as much time on a bike as I had wanted/needed.

While I am still disappointed in how I did, I’ve come to terms with it. I know that I did the best I could and I can only get better from here.  As one of my friends said, a good friend who is helping me with my training. this gives us a starting point.  It’s true!  Now I know what I can do, what my body is capable of. I now have a way to compare my times in training and to measure improvement.

I also have to remind myself that while this was NOT my first sprint tri, it was the first sprint tri where I didn’t have to watch my HR and slow myself down. That does make a huge difference.

So for now, I’ll keep moving forward.  I’m happy to have this done. I’m looking forward to what’s in store for me this year and seeing what I can accomplish.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Breastfeeding – The Middle and The End

Once I was able to breastfeed without the physical pain, for the most part things went smoothly.  I didn’t have any other physical issues, none that you hear other women having.  I had some mental issues with it but I’m going to get to those in a different blog post.

I liked the convenience that if we had somewhere to go, we didn’t have to worry about bringing formula as long as I was there. I was the formula.  At first I did not want to feed her in public, covered up of course.  However after I did it a couple times I realized I didn’t really care.  I made sure it was discrete.  I made sure not to drink beer at the same time.

At first I was able to provide 100% of R’s nutrition.  I was producing enough.  Soon I tried to start pumping as well, in order to build up a supply for daycare, and that’s when I realized things weren’t as peachy as I had hoped. I did not produce enough to feed her and pump.  I went in to breastfeeding with the plan to 1)breastfeed for 1 year and 2)not supplement with formula.

In order to be able to provide milk for daycare, we made the decision to start supplementing with formula.   In fact it was my decision.  Husband was great through this whole process. He knew that I wanted to breastfeed.  He felt it was the best option but since it was my body he left the decision to me.  So when I talked to him about supplementing with formula once a day so I could pump, he didn’t argue. He felt it was a good idea. 

I couldn't help it, this one makes me laugh

For several months this went great. I would feed her during the day and then pump at her bedtime feeding, when Husband would give her a bottle.  Then I started back to work.  The way her feedings landed, I wasn’t nursing at all during the week, only pumping.  Soon my production started to drop.  One of the hardest days for me was when I fed her on the weekend, she was super fussy 30 min later.  We couldn’t figure out what was going on, so we gave her a bottle. She drank 8 oz.  She doesn’t drink 8oz at once. That was the first time I realized I could not provide for her and it was hard, very hard.  It got to where we went from providing all her bottles as breastmilk for daycare to only one bottle a day.  That was all I could produce.  I had to stop nursing her 100%, because I couldn’t produce enough for even one day.  So I was pumping 100% even on weekends.  Then I had the flu (or food poisoning) in December and production dropped to only 3-4oz per day.  After dealing with that for a couple of weeks I called her Dr. to see if there was even a benefit to giving her one bottle every other day.   I made the decision to stop.  I made it 1 week shy of 8 months. 

I am happy with my decisions.  It’s hard, I have some guilt, but I’m happy with my decisions.  I feel that I provided R with a very good foundation.  She had almost 8 months of breast milk.  She had 8 months to get the health benefits that are found in breast milk and can’t be duplicated in formula.  For that, I am happy. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

CTWW - Fracking

This week's Change the World Wednesday is about fracking.  Not sure what fracking is? Neither was I. Luckily Reduce Footprints includes a link to more information.

This Week's Challenge:

One of my GOALS for 2013 is to increase the impact of our challenges by applying a bit of political pressure. This challenge is about FRACKING, a dangerous method of extracting oil and natural gas from shale rock. 

Please note: I believe that signing petitions and/or contacting our public officials is a private matter so, for any political pressure challenges we take on, I won't be doing a commentary the following week. I am happy to include any posts you write in our re-cap as well as any comments, tweets, etc. but I won't be expressing my thoughts about them ... I'll simply list them for others to read. Sound good? Here you go ...

This week, sign NRDC's letter to President Obama asking him to protect us from dangerous fracking. You'll find it HERE. This letter is appropriate for everyone and can be signed by people worldwide. However, if fracking takes place in your country and you'd rather contact your officials, the following information may help:

Fracking by Country
Fracking in the UK
Fracking in Canada
Fracking in Denmark
Fracking in Ireland

Or ...

If you'd rather not sign an online letter/petition, please contact your local officials about fracking and let them know how you feel. If fracking isn't an issue in your area, consider contacting your officials regarding an issue which concerns you about the environment.
AS for me, well, I need to read more about it before I sign anything. I think things like this are important but I rarely feel educated enough to actually do something about it.  I mostly wanted to post this to get back in the game with CTWW and to share with my readers so that some of you who know more than me might take action, if you see fit. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Indoor Sprint Tri Freak OUT

So tomorrow is my first triathlon of the season.   It’s indoor, so I’ll be swimming in a pool, riding a spin bike, and running on a treadmill.  It’s a sprint distance.  The swim is only 400 meters, the bike is 8 miles, and the run is 2.5 miles.  I know I can finish all three distances without a problem.   I’m not sure I can finish in the time that I want.

That is why I’m freaking out.  Well, that and another reason.  I looked at the results for this sprint tri from last year.   I did it while I was pregnant and it was the first one I ever did.  This is why I’m doing it again this year.  I want to see how well I can do since I’m not going to be watching my heart rate.  However I’m too competitive to stop there. I had to look up the top 5 women finishers and the top finisher for my age group.  I decided my goal was to claim a top 5 finish.  I decided I want to be top 3 for my age group.

This means that I’m freaking out this week.  The woman who got first in my age group also came in 2nd female over-all.  There is no way I can match her swim.  She did 400 meters in a little over 6 minutes. My goal was to get mine to 8 minutes. I don’t think I’ve done that.   The bike, I have no idea. It’s a spin bike so I know I’ll keep it on low resistance and therefore I’ll be faster than using my bike outside.  The run, I’ve got the run.  My goal is 7 min miles for the run.  That would beat her 8 min miles from last year.  If I can match her on the bike, I have a chance of coming in first or at least coming close to it.

This means I’m freaking out because I want to hit my goal and I’m not sure I can.  I know I do this for fun, but it’s still intimidating, It’s still nerve wrecking.  I’m also dealing with some aches/pains/possibly injuries.  My workouts the last several weeks have sucked. My last two long runs I’ve had to cut short for various reasons.   So I’m going in to this triathlon knowing I can do this distance but wondering how well I can do the distance.  Stay tuned for a race report next week!  And please wish me luck for an awesome experience tomorrow.

I’m also going in to this triathlon knowing that it kicks off a very aggressive race season for me.  A race season that doesn’t end until November. This freaks me out. 

I’m excited, I’m nervous, I’m crazy, I’m a runner.  ‘Nough said.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Now.: On Facebook!

I just wanted to let all my wonderful followers know that I put this blog on facebook. I know sometimes that's easier to read or get updates.   Please "like" my Outwardly Pleasant page if interested.   From time to time I might also post other stuff on the facebook page too.

On another note, if you want to follow more of my training, that has it's own page on facebook. I seem to be the facebook queen. ha!     The name of that page is: The Running Journey

Celtic Traverse

I have found the newest race to add to my bucket list.  The Celtric Traverse.  How could I see this and NOT be interested?  I’ve been to Ireland and it’s beautiful.  I can’t imagine how wonderful it would be to run across Ireland.  Looking at the beauty of the country.  Who wants to sponsor me to do this one? Don’t all raise your hands at once.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Breastfeeding – The Beginning

Yup..we’re going to start off February with a BANG!  Breastfeeding is a very touch subject and it’s one that I struggled with myself.

Even before I was pregnant I knew that I wanted to breastfeed.  I felt it was the right decision for my daughter and my family.  However I also understand it is not for everyone and I don’t judge people who decide not to breastfeed.

I did a lot of research on it while I was pregnant and I knew that it was hard and it didn’t work as easily as the movies make it seem. It takes a lot of work and effort from both Mom and Baby.  I was prepared for this.  I told myself that if it didn’t work right away, I couldn’t get upset and I had to keep trying. I knew it was going to hurt. I didn’t prepare my body for this, I had heard that doesn’t really do anything, but mentally I knew that it would hurt and I had to get through that.

Then the time came. R handled it beautifully. She had no problems at all. But boy did it hurt!!!!  I’m not talking about just latching on, I’m talking about the entire time she was feeding.  I had two different lactation specialists at the hospital stop by to help me.  They both said she was latched on correctly and the pain would go away.  It didn’t.  In case you aren’t ware, new born babies can eat for a long time.  R was a slow eater, it was 40 min or so per feeding.  40 min or so of intense pain.

About a week or so after we were home I went to a nursing mother’s support group. I asked for help. I didn’t get much help because, as the specialist there said, she was latched on correctly.  I tried different positions, I tried everything I could think of. I was ready to give up.  I was in tears every time she had to eat because it was so painful. Yet I felt so guilty because I knew I wanted to breastfeed her and I felt this was the healthiest thing for her.  Husband helped me out by just telling me to make it “one more day”.   I would spend my time breastfeeding at night watching video’s on how to latch on properly and looking at pictures and articles on the proper way. 

I was a new Mom and I was STRESSING out

Then one time she latched on, I played with how she latched on, and there was no pain.  That’s right. No pain.  Guess what, if she latched on the “proper” way, it hurt. If she latched on a “non-proper” way I had no pain.  What a relief! 

I knew I liked him for a reason. haha!
This wasn’t the end of my troubles, however. It still hurt soo bad when she did latch on. I was told it wouldn’t take long for things to get used to that and the pain to go away.  Guess what folks? It took a full 4 weeks.  I would cry just thinking about having to attach her.  We had planned to introduce a bottle during week 4 but ended up introducing it earlier because one night I just couldn’t handle one more feeding.  Luckily the hospital had given us a sample of formula so we were able to feed her and I was able to get a break. 

Yes, I knew there was going to be pain. Nobody told me the pain would last for 4 weeks though!  Now I tell everyone.  If they plan to breastfeed I let them know, if there is pain try playing with how they are latched on.  If it is super painful when they first latch on, give it time. It took me a good 4 weeks to not have any more pain. 

That’s just the beginning though, I had other issues with breastfeeding but I’ll save those for another day.