Graduate! And update...

What a whirlwind 2013 has already been!  As June approaches (gasp!), I can't believe we're nearing the halfway mark.  I gave a teaser in January for all the exciting goals I had going for each month, and then completely failed to keep you updated on my progress.  Please accept my sincerest apologies.

I've been kind of busy, working full time and doing things like this, too:

I'm a Master!

Now that THAT's done with, it's finally time for an update!  
Here's a quick glimpse into what I've been up to:

Natural Skincare. 
Taking the paleo/primal lifestyle a step further: Skinfood. Ditching the toxins and replacing them with nature's own moisturizers, cleansers, etc.  This started with swapping my lotion for coconut oil, and has gone much further since then. I'll be sharing as I experiment over time.  If you're looking for some information on this, I recommend the Skintervention Guide. I first started on my own, taking bits and pieces of information from various sources, but now The Guide--Liz Wolfe's E-book has become my natural beauty bible.

Strength.
I've been working hard to become strong.  With my busy schedule, my workouts have dropped in frequency, but I try to make them count.  I still do one favorite group strength training class when I can (maybe once every two weeks), but most of my workouts have taken place in my own home.  Remember that at-home workouts can be easy and effective!  Often this includes DVDs--either Jillian Michaels on Gaiam TV or A.M. Yoga--or piecemeal workouts using free apps like Daily Workout Apps.  I also slipped in treadmill walks and interval runs when possible.

Sleep.
I've taken great care to get at least seven hours of sleep each night.  I aim for eight, and sometimes hit it, but I try to never go below seven.  Below seven, and I feel it the next day.  I make sure to shut down at a reasonable hour, so I can relax and slip into a sleep-ready state when needed.

Other than that, I've kept on my usual path with nutrition, trying to keep my diet as REAL-foods-based as possible most of the time, letting up a bit when dining out.  I've focused on increasing the quality of my foods, even those without any grains or seed oils.  That is, I'm seeking out wild-caught fish instead of farmed, grass-fed beef instead of grain-fed, and even grass-fed dairy on occasion, alternating my yogurts.  It's a journey, and I'm still learning.  Just trying to get the best quality ingredients for my body!


What I'm BEGINNING to work on: 

Ask why and learn more.
Really, Congress?  Voting down an amendment to the farm bill that wouldn't even do anything severe, would only grant states permission to require labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs)?  It wouldn't require it, itself! The amendment would have merely given states permission to do something that most other countries in Europe and beyond already do!  If my food's DNA has been messed with in a lab, I want to know. Is it too much to ask to let states decide?  It would have been a (big) baby step in the right direction, but I guess our Senators don't want to mess with Iowa, the nation's largest producer of corn and soybean crops...

Sigh.  I care, and it affects us all, so I'd like to learn more about this.  Whether or not you're concerned about GMOs, why shouldn't they be labeled for those of us who have a preference one way or the other? Let us vote with our dollars! I've been loosely following, but want to stay more on top of things.  If you'd like to do the same (dare you to!), I highly recommend Marion Nestle's blog, Food Politics. I'll try to bring important stories like this one to you, here.

Run.
In the beginning of 2013, I set several goals for the year, one of which was to get back to running.  I worked so hard to master the mile and conquer the 5k, but since my last long run in September, I've shifted away from running and toward strength.  I've focused instead on full-body strength workouts, which usually are interval-based, definitely working my cardiovascular system, as well.  I've enjoyed this a lot, but I do want to maintain my 5k mastery. I want to be able to easily say, "Sure!" when a 5k opportunity arises.  I want to be able.

And really, I think I am. It's more mental than anything else, but I have for sure lost some running skills in my time away.  To be clear, my goal is NOT to run a marathon. I am perfectly content with my 5k, but I need to get back to a place where that is comfortable.  In order to do so, I decided to join in on the Runner's World Summer Run Streak 2013.  Running one mile a day, from now until July 4, will be just the consistency that I need to get accustomed to running again.


I also decided to up the ante by instituting my own "Three on Thursday" plan, where every Thursday, I run 3 miles, any way, any how.  If it means in the beginning, I do more intervals or take some walking breaks, that's fine.  The goal is, again, to return to my 5k comfort level.

Last Thursday, I started off strong!  It was terribly rainy, so I hopped on the treadmill and began.  It turned out to be a great workout to get back in the game, even if not a traditional 5k.  I ran the first mile and a half in intervals alternating 4 mph and between 6.5 and 9 mph.  Then, I turned the incline up to 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9, and back down again for the next mile at 3.5 mph.  Finally, ran the remaining half mile around 6mph.  This workout had enough change to keep me from getting bored, and I remembered how much I love running to music, jacking up the speed during a great chorus.  I had considered stopping after 2.5 miles (and instead counting the half mile I had already walked during the day, out and about), but felt SO good completing the full three miles as part of the workout.

Great start to Three on Thursday! 

As always, you can keep up with my mileage and hold me accountable on DailyMile.

Over Memorial Day Weekend, I started the Run Streak by doing a quick jog around the block, for just one mile. It felt AMAZING to be outside, in the sun, with cool wind... So much better than on the treadmill.  This summer, I hope to take my runs outside more often.  If you do, as well, don't forget to Heed the Heat!

Read.
I'm halfway through Obsessed and I'm, well, obsessed.  Love what Mika Brzezinski is doing, and commend her bravery and hard work in putting this book together.  Will be sharing more about it when I finish!  You can follow along with my summer reading on Goodreads.

On Insta

And that's a wrap!  Pretty solid update, I hope.  It's been lovely catching up, but in order to get my seven hours in, it's time for bed!

Oh, and a dare? Well, I think I've given several...

  • Dare you to join the Runner's World Run Streak!
  • Dare you to join ME for Three on Thursday!
  • Dare you to read Obsessed.
  • Dare you to seek out natural skincare!
  • Dare you to sleep, relax, and read :)

Which of these topics are you most interested in hearing more about?

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