Friday, December 10, 2010

Staying True

Every day life teaches us new lessons about who we are...For me, personally, this week I have been learning the lesson about staying true to myself and letting go of that which no longer serves me. Yoga teaches this principle and with each practice I am constantly reminded to ground myself in the moment to just embrace where I am at without judgment. Applying this same principle to life is a bit more challenging, however, when it means confronting the possibility of backing down from something or letting someone down.

Most of us would like to finish that which we set out to do. Most of us would like to be thought of as good people, good employees, good friends. Most of us find comfort in the acceptance and appreciation of others. This is where it gets complicated...There are times when, by seeking these things, we lose sight of who we truly are and what we feel inside. Our focus shifts from acceptance of ourselves in the moment to trying to transform who we are to please those around us.

My life lesson this week has been that sometimes we have to step out of our comfort zone and make changes in our life in order to maintain our own authenticity - in order to stay true to ourselves...I made this step last night when I resigned one of my jobs. I was finding that it was draining on me personally and was negatively impacting on my life and my happiness. I came to the realization that while I did not wish to quit something or let someone down, this job was no longer serving my life and bringing fulfillment to me.
Is there something in your life that you need to let go of? Maybe it's a relationship, a past hurt, a fear...Allow yourself to let go of that which no longer serves you.

"By staying true to myself, I can find joy and fulfillment in this present moment." ~ Namaste

Thursday, November 25, 2010

My Story

I have been inspired by my friend, Amber and her awesome bew blog, that life is so unique to each and every one of us and we all have a story to tell. Everyone's story is different and yet it makes them who they are...So, Here is "my story" in a nutshell.

As a teen I used to imagine my life to be anything other than what it was. I wanted to do something amazing and be something more...I wanted to go to Africa and make a difference in the world and do something huge that would change people's hearts and minds forever. I was so willing to do whatever it took and whatever God wanted me to give up - I was ready...But what I thought was the direction my life would take changed so drastically the night that I decided to give up my dreams of being a wife/mother and go to Africa.

Literally the very next morning I met my husband...

You know how they say that God's plans for your life don't always match up with what you dreamed for yourself? Yeah...It was exactly like that. Within four days of meeting Travis I decided to cancel my plane ticket to the college where I was planning to study Cross-Cultural Missions. I felt that God had asked, "are you willing" and I had answered, "yes" but then he said, "that's good, but I have a different task in mind...I was just checking!" Sometimes I say that God gets a good laugh out of my life and that is so true - He always keeps me guessing.

A year later Travis and I got married and I embarked on the challenging years of life as a military wife...

Through years of deployments, wars, stress, loss, jobs, moves (oh so many moves!!), and traveling to foreign lands, life continued to take it's turns. I was still uncertain about what the final destination would be. While together we sought to follow His direction for our life as a couple, I was also finding myself...I have discovered that finding myself has been all a part of this big plan and gradually I have developed a whole new relationship with God that is totally different than anything I thought it would ever be.

When Travis got out of the army and we moved to Alaska we were at yet another crossroads of deciding what to do with our lives and it was during this time in our life that we had planned to start a family and settle down...Once again, not in God's plan. Looking back now I can see how the things that He had in store for our lives never would have played out had OUR plan worked...And so, because we were happy to just follow what we felt God was leading us to do, we emigrated to a beautiful new country and established ourselves here where I have been able to study and pursue the career that I know God has prepared me for all along the way.

Every step along the way He was watching over us, walking beside us, or carrying us through.

Obviously the adventure of my life has really just begun, but truthfully the experiences and challenges that I have faced in my life have made me who I am today and I wouldn't trade that for anything in the world. No one can ever take your own experiences away from you, no one can ever change who you are deep inside - that is ALL you and belongs solely to you. The feelings and dreams that you have for yourself are unique only to yourself and that is something truly to be treasured.

So, what is your story? What are the dreams that you dream for yourself? Do you find that in hindsight sometimes it might be a good thing that things didn't go as planned?

Mantra: "Allow yourself to embrace the life that you are living in this present moment and find gratitude in the life that you have lived." ~ Namaste

Sunday, October 31, 2010

One With The Earth

All creation is unified together with the breath; together with the understanding that we are all connected. We find strength and are grounded by rooting ourselves to the earth and drawing our strength from it.
I have been drawing my strength from that unity and finding peace through my meditation on this. Throughout the stresses of exam week and my upcoming surgery (Or rather, my second attempt at it...hopefully we will get to go through with it this time!) I have found a sense of relaxation as I have been embracing my yoga practice and I have faithfully been taking time to really develop my practice.

I had never really realized how many awesome videos are out on youtube, so I have been enjoying using those to challenge my practice and take things to a new level.

I am still staying faithful to my commitment of 40-50min. in the AM and 20min in the PM with a 10 min. meditation. So far that works really well and I have been able to maintain that practice. When I start back to running again I will cut back a little, but right now that is a good challenge for me.

Yesterday Travis and I did an amazing 18K walk and just had an awesome time enjoying the beautiful creation. (This picture is one of my favorites from the walk.)

"Allow yourself to draw strength from the earth and all that it offers to you." ~ Namaste

Monday, October 25, 2010

Heart Expanding Practice

I found this awesome yoga video so I thought I would share it. It is so relaxing and really good ~ Namaste

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Renewed Commitment

Last week was an incredibly emotional and stressful week for me. I had a huge practical assessment for my nursing program which was a pass or fail (thankfully I passed) and then I was also anticipating a long awaited surgery. I was quite apprehensive and just really nervous not only for the whole process, but for the results that would later come. Unfortunately after five hours of sitting and anxiously waiting to go in for surgery, my procedure was canceled. (They had run out of OR time due to some unexpected complications with other patients.) I was actually all gowned up and everything! So, then came the incredibly emotional feelings that follow when you have been waiting so anxiously for something and then it not actually taking place...Hard to describe, but I can just say that I was just physically and emotionally drained. Hopefully it will be rescheduled within a few weeks.

I share this because I was challenged deeply in this situation to really take a step back and appreciate where I was in the present moment. In the midst of the confusion and frustration to just find a sense of peace knowing that there was a reason that this had happened.

The hard part for me is that I haven't felt well enough to run much over the past several weeks and I was prepared knowing that it would be another month after surgery before I would be back at it again. Now, with this added setback it will be even longer. That is really discouraging to me because I know how hard it is to get back into it after such a long break.

Because of this set back I am renewing my commitment to a healthy lifestyle and increasing my intensity in other areas of my life. I am committing to a new yoga and meditation routine. I have been faithful to my yoga practice, but it has slacked off a lot and become more of a comfort thing than an actual challenge. I want to increase the intensity and bring back the challenge. My goal is a minimum 40 min morning routine and 20 min evening with daily meditation starting at 10 min. I am going to use the aid of some online videos to keep me focused on new poses and challenges.

I am also going to recommit to my "no processed foods" ideal (Which I pretty much already to, but over exam week I tend to eat too much chocolate!) I must really watch my diet while I am not running, and summer time with all the fruits/vege is a perfect time to really focus on those lighter foods!!

Recognizing the good in challenging moments is not always easy, so this is my focus this week as I head into exam week.

"Let the present moment be filled with peace, and allow yourself to find contentment in this moment." ~ Namaste

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Peace and Promises

You know how some days you just need to have that feeling of peace to rush over you and just be reminded that God is always with you and His presence is surrounding you? Well, that is my favorite part about New Zealand. I know I seem to be obsessed with rainbows lately, but it seriously just gives me this rush in the present moment that "all is right with the world" and that everything will be okay.

It's been a stressful week with preparing for a HUGE practical exam for our nursing program (which, thankfully I passed yesterday! YEAH!) and then my upcoming surgery tomorrow morning...Anyway, I just really needed a moment of peace on Monday afternoon, and I was sitting at the table talking to Travis and caught a glimpse of this out of the corner of my eye - it was so bright that I could see it through the curtains!!!
Rainbows are really hard to catch on camera because they never look as brilliant as they are in real life, but this was actually a double rainbow and the main one (pictured here) was one of the most brilliant ones that I have seen.....I admit that I did feel like the rainbow was just for me since it was right over our backyard! Even in the midst of day to day struggles we need to find a moment to step back and embrace the peace that is offered to us each day.

My plan is to carry this thought with me tomorrow and to just rely on the promises that He is always with us and will give us the strength we need no matter what the circumstance. Life is so beautiful, and we just need to take the time to recognize that.

"I allow myself to find the calm in this present moment." ~ Namaste

Friday, October 1, 2010

Strength

I went for my first run in three weeks today. It felt really good to be back out there. I am still having some health issues, but finally got on the short wait-list for minor surgery in the next three months. The good side to it all is that I will hopefully feel a hundred times better after the surgery. The downside is that it may be at least four weeks recovery time before I can run after the procedure. I am trying not to think of that setback and just trying to focus on this present moment. I don't know when the surgery will be so I am just going to focus on getting back out there and running as much as I can until that time.
This picture was taken two weeks ago at our one year anniversary of being in New Zealand. Since this picture Travis has shaved off his beard! =)

We moved into our new house this week so that has been awesome. I have some pretty fabulous areas for yoga now so I'm totally stoked about that. I have one whole wall that is perfect for my hand/head stands....AWESOME!

School is getting pretty stressful these days. I feel like this semester has just been emotionally draining for me - between working so much, wondering about Travis' job, and health stuff - I am ready for a holiday for sure! I cannot wait for this semester to finish and just know that it is behind me...Only two more weeks of lectures and then two weeks of study break before exams!

"Focus on the positive in this present moment." ~ Namaste

Friday, September 24, 2010

Life calls for adjustments

Several things have gotten in my way of starting my six week plan...I have had some health issues lately and my knee was still really bothering me on my last run a week ago. So, I have take a few weeks off. I am still doing yoga, but taking time off from exercise. I will start my plan up again soon. Next week will be my gradual transition week and then the following week I will start back into things full on. Sometimes life just calls for a respite...

"I allow myself to respond to the needs of my body and just relax and let it heal." ~ Namaste

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Organized Goals for Healthy Living

Monday will begin the second half of my second semester of first year nursing. I decided that this is a great little six week time-frame to establish some goals and challenge myself.

Going into the next six-week period I have already knocked out most of my assignments over the study break, so I can really spend time focusing on studying and preparing for mid-terms and final exams. My goal this semester was to really be organized and to limit the time that I write (and re-write) all of my assignments. So far it's been an amazing semester and I have definitely stuck to my plan.

On Monday we will be starting our placements at a local nursing home. It will be quite awesome, and at the same time a bit exhausting. Being on placement means that on top of the average study time and work schedule I will be pulling 8 hour days working as a student nurse - This doesn't allow for a lot of time for personal exercise or household duties.....So, it's really all about planning.

I measured myself again this morning and ironically I have the exact same measurements and weight that I have consistently maintained since February. This is really my healthy place so I'm content to stay with that. I would still like to see my arms a bit more toned so that is my focus.
Six Week Goals for Exercise:

  • Really focus on getting two days a week of core training in with a focus on upper body.
  • Cross Training once a week - preferably swimming
  • Three main runs a week - Distance, Speed, Moderate with any additional runs that I have time for.
Six Week Goals for Nutrition:
  • Increase intake of B-12 by increasing intake of eggs and fortified soy milk.
  • Continue no chocolate
  • No muffins for this six week period.
  • Decrease amount of breakfast porridge.
Mantra for this week:
"Make the most of every moment and embrace whatever life brings you today." ~ Namaste

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Reflections

I have found this semester to be incredibly focused on self reflections and personal opinions about one's own health...With the first major project being a reflection of self health as compared to the Maori health model (as discussed in my last blog post), and now with the completion of my science project I had to do an entire analysis of my daily food intake as compared to the standard accepted ideal for what you SHOULD be taking in! haha.

I was pleasantly surprised to note that I actually consume a huge amount of healthy food and only occasionally do I slip in those naughty little extras! The majority of my diet is made up of fruits/vegetables with the daily grains, nuts, beans to balance everything out. I am, however, short on intake of vitamin B-12 (due to the fact that I do not eat meat and also a limited dairy intake) and will be trying my best to incorporate an increase in eggs and fortified soy products into my diet.

My running this month has really taken a dive. While I am still running quite a bit, it's not as easy or enjoyable as it was a few weeks ago and I cannot seem to get my motivation to really get out there and go hard...I am experimenting with possible solutions at the moment.

At the moment I am kind of just in a "holding" position with weight/health/running and not really doing much adjusting at the moment. I'm okay with that, as I have a lot of other things going on right now that need my attention.

"I allow myself to enjoy this present moment and to embrace right where I am at in my life, without expectation or anticipation for the future." - Namaste

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

My House of Health

As I continue to reflect on my health and wellness I am completely moved by how much my life has changed and even just in the past three years how much my health has improved. I think when we moved to Valdez about three years ago was probably when I was at my lowest point of health. Mostly due to the fact that my life had lost balance.

Wellness really is about balance and insuring that every part of your life is in order. Without that balance things start to fall out of place and everything comes crashing down. This is reflected in the Maori health model, Te Whare Tapa Wha, (House of Health) in which a person's life is represented as a four walled house. One wall symbolises the physical; one the mental/emotional; one the social/family and friends; and one the spiritual. All of these walls are built with the foundation being the land from which you were born and where your spirit is connected. Learning about this health model has been one of the highlights of my first year of nursing school. Mostly because I feel such a strong connection to it and can directly relate to this concept. I understand how easy it is for life to fall out of balance and for the strength that the walls once had to be weakened.

Because of this reflection I have decided to make some personal changes in my life...I have shared many times about my perfectionistic nature and my tendency towards workaholism. While last semester I was proud of some of the ways in which I worked around these tendencies, I still overworked myself and did way too much. I had commited this semester not to study so much and not to spend so much time "perfecting" my assignments over and over again. While I did a really good job of the later this first part of semester (I only spent a reasonable amount of time on my assignments and I did not re-write any of them!!) I have fallen back into the trap of over-studying. While most people probably struggle more with procrastination and lack of desire to study, I am the total opposite and it becomes an obsession where I feel I MUST read every chapter required and do every study book question and borrow every recommended book from the library!!! Yeah, not healthy....

So, my new commitment as of week 4 of second semester....STOP!!! Take a break and enjoy life.....I am commiting to a minimum of one hour down time EVERY day and to take one day a week where I am NOT allowed to study at all!! I will go for walks and relax, catch up on blogging and just enjoy myself for a few hours and allow myself time to regroup.

Today was my relaxation day and I went for a long walk with Travis, called my Granny, caught up on emails and journal writing and I am about to do a nice yoga session.

Life really is all about finding balance, so this is my commitment to myself in order to achieve a higher level of health. As a side note, I did go for a health assessment at the gym on Wednesday and I am in the best shape of my life! (Still hovering around 135, but my body fat is way down so that is really what matters. Muscle weights more than fat, so that is probably why even after all of my half marathon training I still haven't lost weight....) I will be making some minor changes to my diet (increasing protein after my runs) but otherwise I'm really happy with that result.

"Life is full of adjustments and challenges, may we find peace in those moments and recognize that it is all part of a fullfilled life." ~Namaste

Monday, July 19, 2010

Pursuit of Wellness

So, what is wellness? Why should we seek to be happier, healthier people? What changes can we truly make in our lives that will allow us to view ourselves as "well"?...

These are just some of the thoughts that have been passing through my mind this week as I tramped, as I swam, as I ran, as I cooked...basically just constantly throughout each day this week.
Me on top of the Dead Man's Track on our Thursday tramp.

You might ask why this has been on my mind so much lately...Well, lucky me, I have started my second semester of nursing school and it ROCKS!!!...This semester I am loving already as it focuses a lot on health/wellness/nutrition etc. Our first essay is centered around our view of our own health and how it relates to the Maori health model. (More to come on this.) I find this topic fascinating and seriously "right down my ally". You know I love to talk about eating healthy and exercising and all the things that are incorporated with holistic well-being.

Throughout the past three years I have explored so many aspects of alternative medicine from Chinese medicine traditions, to yoga, acupuncture, acupressure, massage therapy, aromatherapy, feng shui, mindful meditation, vegetarianism etc. I am open for anything and I am willing to try it all! It has also really broadened my acceptance of cultural differences when it comes to holistic wellness.

I have been reading a great book this week about promoting wellness in nursing and it has some fabulous ideas in it. Essentially wellness is different things to different people, but holds much of the same truths for all - A striving towards being better - Even the healthiest person can embark on a journey towards wellness if they desire to improve their well-being. Wellness is multifaceted and includes every part of a person; spiritual, emotional, physical. It is impacted by not only the environment and society, but also culture.

For me personally this journey is only just beginning. I strive every week to make some change to my daily living that will impact my life in a positive way.

What changes are you making in your life that support your journey towards wellness? What happened in your life that brought about the desire to improve your well-being?

"May I be happy, may I be healthy, may I be whole." ~ Namaste

Thursday, July 1, 2010

And the vacation continues...

Vacation week has allowed me some fabulous opportunities to really get in some great runs, swims, tramps etc....Just an overall combination of exercises and opportunities to get out of the house and enjoy some fresh air, sunshine, rain, fog, cold - well, it's been pretty much a combo of everything this week here in PN!!

I am feeling so much more confident in my half marathon training. This morning I aced my furthest distance to date - 10.12 miles - and that really made me feel like the half is within my grasp! I still have over a month of training left, so I am feeling good about that.
Swimming this week has been amazing. I am really loving being back in the pool and I just think it's such fabulous cross-training. Allowing your body to rest and your legs to have a break from the constant pounding is key to building both strength as well as endurance.

I confess that my yoga practice has not been as strong of late. While I am still practicing every day, it has dwindled down to a short session of late and that was not my intention. I'm not sure what the reason for this is, but I don't seem to be as motivated as I usually am. My focus this week is to start really getting in some good "Mat Time" this week in the mornings before my day gets started. (I have got to get into a good habit before uni starts up again on the 12th!)

Taryn, Travis and I went to Woodville this week to have Yummy Mummy's cheesecake! (Can you believe that we drove 30 min. out of town for cheesecake? It was worth it, and what are vacations for?)

In other confessions this week I have not been very faithful to my healthy eating lifestyle that I like to keep up....I have had both cheesecake, carrot cake, AND a half of a brownie this week! OMG...yes, yes, I know....While I have done a whole heap of exercise this week, already hit 54k's, I should not let that be my excuse for negelting my diet. Ironically it does leave me feeling bad, so I do not know why I do it....I suppose my "re-commitment" to myself just simply needs to happen every day! haha....

As I re-commit myself to my habits of healthy living, I also re-commit my mind to practicing loving kindness meditation and to focus on the needs of others around me this week.

My Mantra:
"Find the will to commit and to withstand temptation in this pressent moment." ~ Namaste

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Process of Elimination

I have mentioned before that I am daily on a quest to become healthier, to feel better, to improve my performance and energy levels etc. Really, that's why I do a lot of what I do - why I run, why I meditate and practice yoga, why I don't eat Burger King etc.

Last year I decided to embark on a vegetarian journey and give up meat after realizing that I felt so much better on the days when I didn't eat meat. It's been about a year now since I switched over, and I truly have seen a tremendous difference in the way I feel. While I am not "strictly" a vegetarian (If circumstances dictate, I will on occasion stray...but it's only a few times a year, and mostly out of politeness for my host, or because I just can't be bothered to care in that moment!)

I have also discovered about myself that I do not tolerate dairy very well (Which I found to be true of myself about two years ago.) I would not call myself lactose intolerant, but I am definitely lactose sensitive. I can still eat cheese moderately, but milk is just out of the question.

Over the past year I noticed that certain foods just really make me feel bad - pears, honey, sometimes apples, chocolate, excess of sugar etc...So, over the past year I have gradually been eliminating things that I find do not benefit me or sometimes just make me feel downright awful.

I thought this was really just my own quirkiness until I was told by an endometriosis specialist that they had discovered there were certain foods which could potentially trigger more pain in patients if they ate these certain foods. Turns out that most of the foods that I had been eliminating from my own diet were all on that list - how ironic - They call these FODMAP foods and recommend to suffers from certain diseases such as endometriosis, Chron's, IBS etc. to try eliminating these foods from their diet.

I find it quite interesting to discover what works for me and to get to know my own body better by knowing what makes me feel more alive and energetic, what makes me lethargic, what makes my stomach ache and cramp, and what makes me feel fabulous and ready to just concur the world.

While I may be so in love with chocolate and coffee, and other delicious things; I definitely feel better when I don't eat/drink them. The hard part is not feeling deprived of the things I love...However, I have found that in moderation these things really don't effect me - for example, I could have a small bite of something sweet and feel fine, but if I eat a whole piece of cake I feel the effects...I could have a tiny coffee and feel fine, but if I have three cups of tea, a coffee, and another cup of tea the caffeine starts to really effect me. Now, I know the rule of "everything in moderation", but you can't tell me that you honestly think about that when you sit down to have a muffin or a piece of cake! (Is a whole piece of cake REALLY excessive? I don't think so...but then again, everything is relative to the individual. What might be okay for you, may cause me misery...One really does have to find what works for their individual needs.)

So, I am continuing my quest for health and happiness...I am daily adjusting my diet and working towards eliminating that which makes me feel bad, and only including what my body can tolerate in order to feel the best that I can feel. I think it is highly important that people treat their bodies kindly and listen to those subtle hints that your body is trying to tell you to back off on some things even if it IS your favorite!

My mantra this week:
"Tune in to the subtle hints your body is sending out in this present moment, and embrace that message in order to find your true health." ~ Namaste

Monday, June 21, 2010

Training Week 5

Well, this week starts another attempt at getting into training shape for the half in August. So far my progress has been non-existent as mostly I have been trying to recover and survive through sickness and finals and everything else that life has thrown at me. However, I am now starting afresh and renewing my commitment. (When I say non-existent, I do not mean that I haven't worked out, I just mean that I'm not really moving forward...)

I have been doing a little swimming this past week and totally loving getting back into that. My goal this week is to increase my yoga practice as well and really get back into the flexibility and strengthening. With swimming now I should be able to increase my upper body strength without weights (as I simply do not have time to lift these days.)
Here is a picture from our tramp around the Castle Point area today.
We are doing quite a few tramps on the days when I am not working, so I reckon that is good cross training as well. We did a real long one the other day for about 3+ hours so that was good, and then today we went for a few hours as well. It's good work on the quads at any rate.I am hidden in this picture as well, but it's still cool....I need to start wearing brighter colors so I can be seen! haha...
I did much better with my food intake this week, but planning to take steps even further and keep being faithful to less and less added things and just keeping the majority of what I take in to fruits/vege...I am working a lot again this week and that makes it quite challenging, but I make an effort...Hopefully next week I can comment on progress made towards my training.

"Enjoy the beauty in every present moment, and take nothing for granted." ~ Namaste

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Beauty of Manawatu Gorge

Taryn took this awesome picture of the Gorge, so I had to share it - Oh so beautiful!! I love New Zealand!!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Tramping in Winter

The weather in Palmerston North has been AMAZING for "supposedly" winter-time! Because Travis is back and he has his heart set on tramping all the time, we have managed to get in some really nice tramps this week. Thursday after work we went on the Sledge Track trail and then yesterday we did a big afternoon tramp through the Manawatu Gorge with Taryn and Tim.

I have also gotten in a lot of good runs this week, so overall it's been great! Study week was a huge success as I feel really prepared and ready for the final exams for my papers. I have three finals next week and then one the following week.

Still doing my daily yoga, but my plan is to increase my practice and start incorporating more abdominal workouts throughout the week. This week completed week two of my half marathon training schedule, so next week starts the increase in mileage...And so the story begins...

Sunday, May 30, 2010

I'm BAAACK.....

Ah, yes...It feels so good to be back again - much less stressed, much more full of energy, much happier!

One of the things that helped with all of the above is the fact that Travis came home two weeks ago. It is so amazing having him back and feels so good to have someone around to do things with and to distract me from "crazy study" mode...

Speaking of "crazy study" mode...I have been working really hard towards viewing my finals with a "good is good enough" mentality. While I am still studying heaps for my big finals coming up next week, I am also trying to really stress the importance of finding balance and not over-cramming for stuff that I essentially already know. I'm trying really hard to find some grace in there towards myself.

Running has been amazing this month. Taryn and I ran the 13K two weeks ago and that set us up for a wonderful training program. We decided to go for it and do the half marathon in August so we took a week of recovery runs and then started our 12 week training course last Monday. It has been going really well and we have been really faithful to it so far. I am definitely feeling more dedicated to a consistant program and my goal is to keep it up even during break (which is where I sort of gave out last time and struggled to stay faithful).

I have also been doing yoga every day and I have given up chocolate faithfully (with a few minor - very minor - exceptions) Also, I have been faithful to giving up my evening toast, but have unfortunately subsitituted it with cheese and crackers (not sure which is the worst option?) I reckon as long as I'm staying healthy and feeling good it really isn't a huge deal.

Yes, I am staying healthy and feeling great. Still weighing in the same and still making daily adjustments and changes to follow a healthy lifestyle. So far 2010 has been an amazing year for me, and I am so excited and proud of the accomplishements and progress that I have made. My only real goal at this point is to stay faithful and keep it up...

"Allow yourself to find contentment in this present moment." ~ Namaste

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Reflections

First of all I must comment/reflect on the fact that college life is hard!.....While I was totally expecting classes and assignments to be hard, I don't know that I was quite prepared for the overall drain on your whole person - not really so much the physical strain of study, but somehow it effects just every part of you....I am seriously SOOO tired! Last week I was on placement all week and had two assignments due plus work so I think it all just has come crashing down on me. I am not sleeping well at night, and I am sure that adds to the feelings of draining energy....From what I have been told, tomorrow at the cafe will be insanely busy because of Mother's Day and I have been warned that by the end of the day I am likely to be "huddled in the corner crying" from the mass chaos of it all! (Isn't that motivating and wouldn't that make you want to go into work? haha....This made me laugh.)

Having complained for a moment above, I will now conclude with the fact that I am totally LOVING my nursing program. Despite the exhaustion and mental challenge - I know I have said it before - seriously, I love it! I was definitely intended for this and I cannot wait to actually start practicing.....Every time I think about how blessed I am that we made the choice for me to go to school and pursue this career, I am overwhelmed - I truly am so blessed! We got our science mid-term exams back this week and it turns out that I did really well. So far I am pulling out an A in the class which is miraculous considering that my fear was maybe not even passing. (It's one of the highest failed papers at uni.) I am stoked that it is going so well.....Just have to keep studying my butt off and hopefully I will come through well in the end!

Running has still been on again, off again. I got in some brilliant runs at the beginning of the week, but now that I'm coming on the close to another weekend I am just knackered and can barely even crawl into bed at night! haha....Again, I reckon if I get in at least three good runs a week that's a good effort on my part and I'm okay with that. I have to find some grace and understanding towards myself - no judgment.....

I have decided to go on another chocolate fast.....I have found that I just feel so much better without sweets in my system and I seem to run better somehow. I will keep you posted on how this goes.....So far I have gotten through one day! haha~

Still hovering around 135, so happy that at least SOMETHING is consistent in my life! =)

I haven't been doing as much daily yoga and I'm sad about this - I actually have been too tired, how pathetic is that? No excuses - I need to get over it already.....I am going to try and implement some things in my daily routine this week and see if that helps with energy levels at all. It really is all about experimentation. I am going to start taking vitamin D again and see if that helps. I had a lack of energy in the winter in Alaska and vitamin D really helped once I discovered this....it could be that I am experiencing some of the same with winter coming on here? Not sure......

I discovered two new things this week: Feijoas and Lamingtons!! YUM to both.....feijoas are a citrus fruit shaped like a kiwi fruit, but have a peel kind of like a lime. They are really tart and some people think they have kind of a "perfume" taste. They are FABULOUS in smoothies and have been the highlight of my "green smoothies" this week!! Lamingtons, on the other hand, are not as healthy - it's a delicate sponge cake with cream inside and it's kind of soaked in chocolate on the outside and covered in coconut. (Hard to describe, but SUPER awesome!!) Yeah....that was my chocolate treat on Friday after I got my science test back!!!

Well, my friends, it's 9pm and since I'm a Nana these days I'm off to do yoga and crawl into bed....

"I allow myself to find acceptance in how things are in this present moment without judgment towards all that is not." ~ Namaste

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Life

Well, sorry I haven't blogged on here in a while, things have been a bit crazy with school and everything. The rest of Easter break was so fabulous. I got a lot of work done on my assignments and managed to squeeze in quite a bit of actual work hours between Hannah's and Barista's. (Although this weekend is my last official weekend at Hannah's.)

School is going well, my first papers all came back relatively well and I am feeling really good about my second assignments (although, I must add that the amount of research involved in these assignments is unbelievable!! I seriously spend SO many hours researching journals and stuff - it would blow your mind. It's all very interesting, but really time consuming.) So, that's where I have been......

Last week I was on placements at the nursing home again. I got to do quite a bit of independent work, which was super cool. I am really loving the residents there so that's been fun. We started work on our care plans last week so that was interesting. (Essentially we have to interview a resident and create this whole medical record for them and a care plan about all the various things we will do to improve their quality of life etc.....It's really interesting. Again, really time consuming.) We still have one more week to work on it, so all is well.

This week we are all frantically studying for our big science mid-term that will be up on Friday.....I cannot believe that we only have four weeks of classes left! It's amazing. So, after our classes finish we have a study week and then a week of final exams and that wraps up first semester!!!!

Running has been off and on these days. I hurt my ankle/foot last week and took a week off, so this is my first week back. I'm taking it easy and not going too far, but it's going well. I find myself getting caught up in study and it's just so hard to pull myself away and go for a run. I'm working on it, but right now I'm a little obsessive about studying still......I did good over Easter to take breaks, but now I'm feeling the crunch of all I haven't studied and feeling the need to really crack down.

Surprisingly I have lost a little weight even with the decrease in mileage so I don't know what's up with that. I tend to be hovering around 134 now so that's kind of weird, but I'll take it......It certainly is no reflection of all the wine and chocolate I have consumed in the past week! ha.....

Well, that is essentially a quick overview of the past few weeks. I am working to get back on track with my eating (I haven't been eating as much as I should or well-balanced meals - yeah, popcorn doesn't really count! ha) I am working on that and starting to cook more for myself again. It's hard to cook when it's just you and you are so busy - so much easier to just have toast or something when you are studying.....NOT a habit I want to continue.....Back to the veggies and beans for me - here I come.....Last night I made a huge pot of chili and tonight I'm making a lentil quiche so that should give me some variety this week.

All the best to all of you, and I hope you are well!
"Make the most of every present moment!" ~ Namaste

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Love covers all...

Family may not always come in the form of flesh and blood...Sometimes those that love us the most are close friends who take us for who we are in this present moment and embrace every aspect of our life...I am so grateful for the many friends that I hold dear to my heart, who are as close to me as my own flesh and blood could ever be. I love you so much, and pray blessings on each of you this holiday season.

This was my first holiday alone in NZ and while I did not do much - other than work - it was a good one. I did have a really wonderful reflective run on Easter Sunday and that was the highlight of my week. It was the farthest that I have run to date - a FULL 8 miles - and it was just a special run since my entire focus was solely on the gift of God's love through His sacrifice as well as through His beautiful creation...just a great time of peace.
And yes, I'm blonde again!!
My yoga meditations have also been really peaceful and reflective this week as well. Coming to terms with some stressful moments and just letting them float by...My mindfulness practice is definitely paying off.

I was really struggling at work with my "perfectionist" tendencies since the big corporate office has these demands and expectations of us each week. It was hard for me to just work and relax and have fun when so much is being expected of us as employees and our value as an employee is rated based on whether or not we meet these expectations. I finally came to a realization that this is not healthy for my life. If I cannot seperate my feelings of worth from their expectations than it's just not good for me to be in that sort of business and it puts too much stress on my life...so, I quit. (It was only 6.5 hours a week anyway, and just not worth the stress.) I will work for the rest of the month there, but then take a step back and try to find a better balance. I will pick up extra hours at the cafe so it will all equal out in the end, but it will just be healthier for me. (This was a big step for me, so I'm proud that I did it, and I know that my life will be happier for it.)
My new Easter Break haircut!
My running was a little more spaced out this week, but I still got in several great runs....Still hoovering at 135 and I think that's a really healthy place for me. I have no real desire to drop any more weight, just to keep running and being content in that...

I had some family news today that really kind of threw me for a loop, so I didn't run today, I took a "mental health day" and just did some therapeutic things for myself - like got a coffee, got my hair cut/colored, made homemade pizza, talked to Travis on the phone for over an hour etc...=) Life is always so much better when you can talk to the ones you love and know that they are there loving you in return. I am so blessed to have such an amazing husband and some awesome friends out there too!

My mantra of healing this week:
"Today I embrace the healing love of Christ and just let it flow to every wounded part of me in this present moment." ~ Namaste

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Loving Kindness Meditation

I confess that this week I have had more chocolate than I have consumed in a LONG time...don't know what is up with that, but it's been a struggle this week, and I just gave in. It's my expression of love towards myself in every moment! ha.....

While I have eaten chocolate, I have not run as much this week.....What's up with that? Well, my shins started bothering me at the beginning of the week, and I opted to take a few days to rest and hopefully prevent any injury. I guess you could say that this would be considered my "break from real life" week since I have given in to both my need for physical rest as well as my need for chocolate.....Ah, it happens.

Overall things are going great. Since Travis isn't around I have definitely been indulging in a lot of steamed vegetables for dinner and smaller evening meals. (Tonight I had a bag of popcorn - again, a treat for myself! - Guess I have felt the need to "treat" myself a lot this week!) Note to self, that the week is ending and so must the indulgence. =) haha.

My approach to running is changing slightly as I am trying to really follow my body and just go where it tells me. I decided that if I am not running a race or something then I shouldn't stress over training. I want running to continue to be fun and therapeutic, so I am just going to follow a "guideline" and let things fall into place depending on how I feel. Taking the pressure off, actually allows for more flexibility and less judgment towards myself.

It's really all about letting go of the judgment and offering myself a dose of loving kindness throughout my week. I am learning that it is hard to offer to others what you cannot give yourself. If you are critical of yourself, you are more likely to be critical of others as well. If you offer yourself kindness, than hopefully the kindness will also flow through to those around you.

As part of my loving kindness meditation I have been using this mantra this week:
"May I be happy just as I am...May I be safe and protected from inner and outer harm...May I be healthy, free from physical suffering...May I live in this world with ease, free from inner and outer conflict." ~ Namaste

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Less Perfectionism

I think I mentioned that I am doing a "Less Perfectionism" workshop at Massey. We meet every Tuesday and we are discussing ways to overcome some of the negative effects of striving to be perfect. While obviously there are some great benefits to striving to do well and setting goals for yourself, some people (such as myself) struggle with balance in this and can take it to the extreme.

We are using a lot of mindfulness/meditation techniques which are fabulous and I have already begun to see positive outcome in my experience. For example, today I took my science quiz online even though I still have until Monday to complete it. My natural instinct would be to study incessantly until Sunday and then take the quiz at the last minute. Instead, knowing that I had already devoted a large amount of time to studying these topics, I decided to just give it a go this morning so I could put it out of my mind and move on to more important things...The result - I got 19 out of 20 questions right! My conclusion - I would have spent another four days of cramming study in with the end result being exactly the same. I could not have done better, and therefore it would have been a huge waste of time.......(the same strategy applied to my Human Development quiz which I also took four days early and got 8.5% - 33 out of 40.) Point proven that this workshop is definitely helping me!!

While I note the positive effect of the workshop, I also acknowledge my continued need for improvement. I obsessed over my essay for almost five hours today before finally deciding that it should be good enough to turn in! ha.....(Okay, so I definitely need work on this area.) It was just hard because I thought I was done with the paper and then the instructor seemed to change his mind a little on what he really wanted our paper to reflect so I sort of had to re-organize the whole thing and it threw me way off....

Anyway, these are just some reflections that I have had today on how this workshop is helping me strengthen my weaknesses. (And hopefully find balance and contentment as I study.) This week I am starting a practice on "Loving Kindness Meditation". I'll let you know how it goes.

My mantra for today is:
"I allow myself to celebrate the positive changes in my life and to embrace the joy of the present moment. " ~ Namaste

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Pictures

Practicing with my camera timer..so I thought I would post a few updated pictures...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Mindfulness

It is so hard to believe that my third week of uni has come to a close. Time is definitely flying by! I am very happy to say that I am finding balance and a certain calmness as I have finally seemed to get a grip on managing my study.

This week I started a workshop on perfectionism which is fabulous. I definitely need the direction and encouragement to manage my tendency to strive for perfection. Because of my past and the way I was raised, it is something that I have really struggled with and it can often become quite an obsession. In order to find balance in my study I joined this workshop which meets each week, and so far I can already tell that it has truly helped to re-direct my focus to more appropriate responses and a much more peaceful approach.

Of course, part of what made this week so much more relaxing is the fact that I got two of my assignments finished and the third one I have gotten a good start on. (I think all the research I did in the first two weeks is partly why I was so busy.) It is quite refreshing to know that there aren't any late nights ahead of me finishing up these assignments as they are already finished way in advance.

My first assignment was on the therapeutic nursing approach and all the various aspects of that - I found this essay to be incredibly interesting and I was definitely diggin' it! =) New Zealand nursing comes from a very holistic view and I am definitely all about that. I can see how I am going to really love these next three years of study......My second assignment was on the nursing concept of advocacy - also another great essay that I was totally getting into. (Again with the therapeutic approach) I cannot wait to have an opportunity to apply these skills to my own nursing relationships.....Just awesome!

I am really learning so much about myself through my study. (Travis thinks my "self-reflection" is totally hilarious, but in all seriousness I have gained a lot through it.) I started a nursing journal in my first week and it's pretty cool to look back on. I figure after year three I will look back and really see how far I have come in my own personal growth....

One of the techniques from my perfectionism workshop was to practice mindfulness each day this week. While I already do this with my yoga practice, I am adding a new dimension of mindfulness and reflection each day as well. This has definitely helped me to stay focused and to keep a calm mind throughout the day. I have been listening to peaceful music on my ipod as I walk to class in the mornings and stuff and it's so refreshing (although I do chuckle to myself every once in a while when it feels as if my life is "orchestrated" or like I am living with a soundtrack in the background of my life! ha....This thought always makes me laugh.) Anyway, I am trying really hard to add mindfulness to my everyday routine so expect to hear some reflections from this from time to time.....

My running and exercising has really been an awesome "brain break" from studying. I am on week 6 of my 10K training and I have been getting in some really good distance runs. I haven't lifted weights as much, but I guess I just haven't been as motivated to do so - I think I just enjoy running and yoga so much more....I am down to 135 now and that's been holding steady for about a week now. I definitely feel great, although I will confess that uni has increased my caffeine intake. AND....confessions - I have had more lollipops in the past two weeks than probably the past 15 years of my life combined! haha....(I suppose that's not saying too much since I'm not really a candy person, but I have had about four a week, and that's NOT a good habit!) The problem being that having a coffee or a lolli just makes a three hour lecture more endurable......Any suggestions for better choices?

Travis leaves on Monday, which is also hard to believe. I know that the next five months will really go by so fast, but it's still hard to believe he will soon be back in Alaska. He is excited for the fire season to start, and I'm excited for him. It will be kind of nice to have my own space while I study too, so I'm sure there will be some perks to that. We will see how it goes......

Each week I have been creating a mantra for myself, and this was what I wanted to reflect on this week -
"Today, I allow myself to embrace all the qualities that define who I am in this present moment." ~Namaste

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Life at Uni

Well, I have survived my first week at uni and all is well. It has been a wonderful week crammed full of classes and studying. (Crammed is a great word since I am learning all about "cramming" knowledge into my tiny brain! ha) Monday was our first day of class and it started off at 9:00am with a lecture. I have lectures/workshops/tutorials ALL day on Monday until about 5. Because they have to accommodate our schedule to fit in 24 hours of clinical each week (spaced over 3 days) we have everything jam-packed on Monday and Friday. - With a few things thrown in between depending on our clinical schedule.

All of my lecturers are fabulous. Their knowledge and experience is so vast and they have so much to offer us through their own experiences. Everything is web-enhanced here at Massey, so you have all sorts of online aids to help you study etc. They also post all of the lecture slides online where you can print them off and take them to class to write your notes on etc. It's all very organized and extremely beneficial. (Travis bought me a really awesome printer/copier/scanner so it has already been put to great use!)

I am hoping to take a picture of our clinical lab sometime because it is SOOO cool. It is a small building that has been set up like a "fake" hospital. It has wards with real hospital beds and full body mannequins and is like a full-on simulation center. It's like a great big play room where we learn all of our basic skills. For now the lab part is mostly just review for me, but I am really learning a lot from the lectures - even just in the first week!

It is definitely exciting being challenged to look at things in a different way. One of the things that separates Massey from the other schools is that their program is intensely focused on research and "evidence-based practice". This is good for me because I have already done a lot of hands-on work, but have never really learned about the clinical research type stuff. I am very excited about this and anxious to learn in more detail.

As for my diet/exercise this week - I have been really faithful to my 'plan'. I got up every morning at 6am and did yoga and took the time to wake up slowly and relax before walking onto campus. I was able to fit in my lifting/gym workouts in between classes and that worked out really well. I have kept my running up this week as well by running when I get home from school. It's a great way to unwind before diving into my evening study sessions! =) Travis and I did finish the seventh week of the Super Seven Series so that is now over...oh so sad...I have also done a LOT more walking this week since I walk to school and all around campus. I took my lunch to school every day this week (veggie wraps with hummus and heaps of veggies/spinach). I am down to 136lbs so I only have 4 left to go before I hit my bottom weight! My mileage has increased a lot as of late, (I ran my first 7 miler on Sunday!) so I should see those last few pounds drop soon...not too concerned about that, but it will still be a great day when it happens. I have also fit in an evening yoga session each night to unwind after the long days...this definitely helps with relaxation and sleep! =)

Overall, I think that if I can stick to my very detailed schedule I should be able to find balance and stay sane! =) It's been a wonderful first week, and I just have to say that my excitement does continue.....Although I might have to cut down on my amount of study if I plan to do ANYTHING in my life besides read and take notes! haha.....Again, it's still about finding balance and it might take me a week or two to sort that out. =) Unfortunately I am not as blessed as Travis when it comes to studying (He managed to get through West Point by watching Simpsons and Family Guy for study time - as he informed me this evening! ha....must have been nice for him!)

So, that is the overview of my first week at uni!! More to come....

"It is never to late to be what you might have been." ~ Namaste

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thinking about going green?

I read a post this morning from another blogger friend, Running Green, and it got me thinking about all of my friends out there who are into outdoor sports/running/healthy living etc...who might not be aware of the hazards of a) continuously using bottled water b) using plastic water bottles as an alternative.

Travis came across this warning a few months back regarding polycarbonate plastics and we ditched our HUGE collection of Nalgene bottles and moved to a safer option. We have always been very big into using water bottles in place of bottled water, not only for the environment, but also because I drink heaps of water everyday and I would have to drink probably 5-8 bottles worth! (Can you imagine how much plastic waste that would incur just from me alone!? Think about that....) Not to even mention the cost of all that bottled water.

So...the alternative that Travis found was Klean Kanteen. We made a huge investment (these are not cheap) and purchased these fabulous, stainless steel bottles. We went for the 40oz ones which are perfect for tramping and still a nice size to carry to work/school or wherever. We have been extremely happy with our canteens and would highly recommend the change to anyone reading this.

I know this was kind of a random post, but Vern got me thinking that I should share our experience about this topic as well...Thanks, Vern, for reminding us all to live a little greener! =)

"Today, I choose to give back to the universe and hope for peace and unity for all people." ~ Namaste

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Insight Into My Life

So, as a new student at uni here in New Zealand, I thought I would take a moment to reflect and share my thoughts as I begin this great journey.....

This morning as I was sitting in orientation and hearing them talk about 'welcoming us to our future' as nurses...my throat was actually constricting and I confess that I was feeling really emotional and proud at the prospect of my future. - It is definitely confirmed that I will cry at my graduation! ha...I just feel so honored to have been accepted into the program (especially as an immigrant) and I am so thrilled to be making this huge step in my life. To some this may seem mundane, but for me, it's something huge and amazing!

Let me add here, however, that this feeling of awe and pride and excitement was very short lived as they began talking about the consequence of failure and expectations set for the classes/clinicals. (In NZ if you fail a class you have to wait like a whole year to take it again, and you are only allowed 5 years to complete the whole course, so if you screw up it sets you WAY back and it can become a big nightmare!!) I was prepared for this course to be intense, but I think that part really hit me today as I realized just HOW intense it will truly be! I know that I can handle it, but I also know that this is going to be a huge challenge.

Lucky for me, my fears were calmed a little as the counseling and student services talked about the multiple ways that they are there to help the students throughout the program. This college definitely has some truly amazing programs set in place and I will gladly take advantage of them all!! They have a whole learning center set up where you can go for consultations on your papers etc. (Definitely going to be one of my first stops since I haven't written an essay in like 12 years! - Not to mention the differences in writing styles of the US/NZ...I will be really grateful for the help offered.) They also run workshops on various study skills and that sort of thing which I will be excited to take advantage of.

Let me say here, that I think the instructors are awesome and I am really looking forward to my classes with them. (Esp. Vivien...I met her when I first applied, and I just think she is an amazing lady - can't wait to really get to know her and learn from her!) They also have a lot of wonderful online aids that help (for example, Vivien posts her class power points online so you can print them off later etc...).

We got our clinical placements and start working there after our first four weeks of labs etc. I am in the B Group which means that I will have my labs on Tuesdays and I will be assigned to the Summerset Retirement Village for my rotations in the first semester.

Now, I realize that this post hasn't really been much about weight-loss, running, or healthy living...However, I just wanted to take the time to share about where I'm at in my life and what's happening here. It's all a part of what makes me tick, and therefore, it's all a part of the "healthy lifestyle" I seek...

I was very excited when I tried on my uniform pants today and I was able to order the smaller size! (It just fits well now, so I must work hard to keep in shape!!) While I haven't run the past two days, I am taking this as an opportunity to rest and recoup before school starts. It might take me a bit to get into a really good routine, but I'm determined that I will make time for it, no matter what!

I did try a Madeline special tonight and had a baked sweet potato (kumera) in the microwave with steamed vege on top! Definitely a wonderful meal and very healthy...Yes, you would be correct in guessing that Travis was not here tonight so he missed out on this delicious concoction (somehow I doubt he is too upset by that!)

As my final comment, I do have to say that it is looking more and more like it was a wise decision for Travis to go back and fight fire during the summer. I am going to be swamped and it's probably best if I have the place to myself. I tend to talk out-loud and spread out EVERYWHERE as is evidenced by my apt right now! Not to mention that I love just eating whatever I want - as mentioned above - and having no one else to worry about. I will miss him tremendously, but I'm sure he will be glad not to be around all of my "crazy study" mess!! No doubt, my grades will be better as a result too. Hopefully when he gets back and I finish my second semester we can take a real vacation and enjoy some downtime together.

So, my focus the rest of this week will be on trying not to become too overwhelmed by the impending craziness that will soon be my life....To find peace in these stressful moments and to turn any worry into calm and quiet mindfulness.

"Make every effort to find stillness in the un-restful moments, and peace when your mind is worried." ~ Namaste

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Week 2 of 10K Training Down

Well, the second week of my 10K training program is now complete. I do confess that I did not follow this training fully this week because I felt like I needed to take it a little easier since I have been running so much lately. This week starts up my full-on training schedule since I will be on campus more and getting back into the gym. I am also increasing my yoga practice to twice a day for the sake of starting my days in a calm and clear mind for class. =)

My schedule will go something like this:

AM Yoga (awakening/invigorating) - Class - Gym in the afternoon (alternating lifting and lower body/cross training) - Run (according to my 10K training plan) - PM Yoga (relaxation)

These little workout breaks should help give my mind a rest from lectures and studying. =)

Orientation is this week - Wednesday for the Nursing Program and Friday for my Sciences - so after that I will have a better idea of my class schedule (although with this program I think the schedule changes just about every week.)

Travis leaves for AK in four weeks - I know, it's so hard to believe that it's already here! - Once he takes off my schedule will be a lot more flexible, although, I will be sad not to have him around. (He will be gone for about five months. - so basically through my whole first semester.)

Still not much progress on further weight-loss, but holding steady and feeling great! =)

"If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you dream it, you can become it." ~ William Arthur Ward

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

5th Week of Super Seven Series

I cannot believe that we only have two weeks left for our 7K series. It will be so sad when it's over. It has been such a fabulous event thanks to the Manawatu Striders. They posted some photos on their website, and hopefully no one will mind that I borrowed them to post on mine. Since we walk to the race every week I haven't been able to bring a camera with me.
This week I ran another PR of 42:46 and Travis finished 8th this week with a PR of 28:18!! It was a little drizzly and cool, so it was perfect running weather. The race is definitely starting to feel more comfortable, so that's awesome. I can tell a huge difference in my running training just in the past five weeks. It's definitely a wonderful way to train!
Travis has been so excited about the sausage sizzle - He looks forward to this every week!
This is my favorite way to end my race - Yum bananas and a big cup of water!! (Don't know how in the world all those people stomach sausages after a run!!)

So, that's the latest on my 7K series. I'm still hovering around 62.5 kg so I don't think I will make it down to my goal weight by the start of school, but I am around my goal measurements so that is really what I was after. (I just didn't want to buy a bigger uniform and then have to wear that for three years. I think I will do fine to get a smaller size now.)

It's hard finding balance because I'm trying to eat so healthy and lose weight, and Travis is trying to gain weight. (He decided yesterday that it's my fault he isn't gaining weight because he isn't "eating normal"!! haha.....This cracked me up - I'm like, "Dude, I cannot force-feed you. If you choose not to eat enough throughout the day that really isn't my deal!" I think he is going to take me up on my suggestion and go to the butcher today and get some choice meats. (I always tell him I will cook him whatever he wants, so I think he is going to try eating more meats and stuff and see if he can gain some weight that way.) I wish this was my problem! haha....

My freezer is really filling up now, and I am so ready for school to start. I will be walking a lot more once class starts so that will be helpful with my training as well. If I have time in my schedule I am thinking of signing up for a 10K in April. It's an off road forest run, and it sounds really fun, so we will see.....

"Focus on mindfulness and tranquility in this present moment, no matter what the day brings." ~ Namaste

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Tranquility In Every Moment

This morning I read a fantastic article that I wanted to share on here. It was, of course, in Yoga Journal. Just click on the link I set up and it will take you straight there. It reminded me today that in every moment, both the pleasant and challenging ones, we can find within ourselves peace and equanimity. If we take a moment to focus on our breath and to find acceptance in that moment we can ride over the wave of uncertainty and can find peace within the changes that we are facing.

"I allow myself to calmly accept all the changes that come in this present moment." ~ Namaste

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Yoga just makes everything better

Travis and I went on a wonderful tramp today to Maharahara Track. It was my day off and I had originally planned to workout/run and make a big pot of chili. I had already soaked the beans so I decided to cook them quickly this morning (I just threw them all into one big pot and cooked them about half their normal time.) I threw them in the crock pot with all the other chili ingredients and decided to just give it a go and see how it turned out. When we got back from our tramp (about 6.5 hours including travel time) our apartment smelled of delicious chili and the soup was perfect with the beans just tender enough but not overcooked. This is definitely the trick if you are going to leave the pot on all day!Anyway, the tramp was so fantastic. It was straight uphill for the first three hours so I think I definitely got my cardio in today. I was actually really surprised at how energetic I felt. This was, by far, the best I have felt tramping yet. I can definitely tell that all of my running is paying off. My legs felt a lot stronger doing all of that climbing. (And let me tell you, it was like doing the "mountain climber" quad workout on an incline!!) Coming down it was quite hard on my joints and I know my knees will be tired tomorrow. I just couldn't believe how much more enjoyable the hike was since I'm in better shape. Not only that, but I also got to wear my orange hiking shorts for the first time which is exciting because they are size 10 and I couldn't even get them on before. They are even a little baggy so they were super comfortable! Yeah!!Okay, so why I am writing this...I just had to comment on how much I love yoga. As I was hiking I was just thinking about how much yoga improves every aspect of your life. Whether it is a matter of making you better athletically (no matter what sport it is - running, swimming, tramping etc...) or whether it is a matter of making you a better person emotionally. My body was so much more flexible and my balance was so much greater on my hike today. This really made it feel so much easier.

I like to make up mantras that seem appropriate in the present moment. As I was tramping today this mantra came to me and I made that my focus throughout the hike: "I allow myself to take time today to find joy in the simple things." By focusing on this I became mindful of the birds singing as we were hiking, of the breeze, of the sunlight floating through the trees, of my wonderful husband whom I'm so blessed to have a relationship with etc....just thinking of all the little things that we take for granted every day.

"I allow myself to take time today to find joy in the simple things." ~ Namaste

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Work-a-holic's Anonymous

Hi, my name is Teniah and I am a work-a-holic....

I came home from work yesterday and was telling Travis about how stressful my day had been because I felt stretched so thin. They had me putting up new displays while tearing down old ones, while re-labeling stock, while serving customers etc...While I am usually good at multi-tasking I just felt stretched really "thin" yesterday. I don't know why, but there was this inner pressure to hurry and get everything done and get it done right. The problem is that they have all of these expectations and we close at 5:30. If you aren't done at 5:30 they say you have to stay and finish and yet you don't get PAID to stay and finish. (Which is where the pressure comes in. If you aren't close to being done at 5:00 you have this panic feeling that you cannot possibly get through by 5:30!!...) Of course, Travis says that I should just tell them that I only get paid until 5:30 and I have to leave - something that is probably correct, and yet, I struggle with the concept of leaving something unfinished.

Travis says this is definitely a sign that I'm heading down that path again - the path of a work-a-holic. (Yes, I have struggled with his a lot in my life - most likely from being raised to always do "above and beyond...always give 110%...always do more...always go beyond what you are asked to do...etc. - While these are good concepts, they do tend to turn one into a bit of a perfectionist!) I do not desire to have this stress in my life. In every other aspect of my life I have such calmness and joy and peace. For some reason, though, when it comes to work I demand so much of myself and try to pick up the slack from my co-workers. (Some of whom could care less about being there and therefore barely work at all.) I do not know what drives me to feel the need to pick up the slack, but something gives me a "panic" feeling and makes me feel that things have GOT to get done....

So.....having laid out my confession before you, I am committed to my "therapy" and I am determined not to let this job bring me down. I want the same equanimity that I have throughout the rest of my life to flow into my work and to be present with me. This should be my New Year's resolution!

If any of you have suggestions for me, please feel free to leave a comment. I will let you know how I get on with this struggle of mine - hopefully the fact that I recognize it early enough will help bring my life back into balance.

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference. " - Reinhold Niebuhr Serenity Prayer

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Super Seven Races

Last night Travis and I joined another 1127 people for the fourth week of our Super Seven Series 7K race. It was a gorgeous night, although pretty hot and really windy. (Unfortunately about halfway through, my suntan lotion started sweating into my eyes and burning...bummer...that sucks when you are trying to focus on your finish!)

The race was great. This was the first time that I actually felt really good through the whole race. Each K mark I was right on target. Between 3K and 4K I fell behind by 8 sec, but then by the time I hit my 5K mark I was right on target again. For some reason I felt winded between 5K and 6K, but the last little bit I really felt energized and kicked it up a notch...Finished 11 seconds faster than my previous record time, and came in this week at a PR 43:11!

Travis wasn't feeling it so much, so he raced the first 4K and then kind of just cruised the last bit. He still finished in 28 min, so that was awesome in my eyes....

This week starts my cool running 10K training program. I am planning to train towards a 10K and beyond in preparation for my 1/2 Marathon training that will start in May. I have a few races that I will hopefully be able to squeeze in during this training period as well.

Mostly my training will consist of two days of running, one day of cross training, three days of running, one day off. It is designed to alternate between speed work, moderate, short distance, and long distance. I think it will be a good plan....We will see, and I will just adapt it as needed.

I am still just focusing on yoga and running until school starts and then I will increase my gym time more. Right now I'm still just getting in about two days of lifting a week. The next two weeks I'm working a ton, so it's just how it is for now. I could push myself and wake up super early, but I'm trying not to start all of that until school starts! ha....Trying to enjoy my last weeks of freedom! =)

My freezer is filling up fast, so that is exciting. I shouldn't need to put away too much more. I tried my hand at a homemade salad dressing yesterday and it turned out really nicely, so I think I will start making my own. Saves some money and definitely cuts back on additives and preservatives! Travis bought me some "bread for women's health" last week at the store and I thought to myself, "Now this man is really starting to 'get' me!!" haha.....The bread has kind of a weird consistency, but it's full of nutrients, omega 3's, soy, linseed etc....lots of nuts and grains....It's good for an evening toast. I just thought it was funny how he bought me this "special" bread! Just remembering this week that everything I take in will directly effect my running, my energy level, and every aspect of my life -

"What is good for the body is good for the whole man." ~ Fred Rohe Zen Running

Friday, January 29, 2010

Bad Omen

So....I was making my green smoothie this morning when I left the inversion mixer in the container and it tipped the whole thing over!!! Talk about a nasty mess.....dark green slime everywhere (I had only made it so far in the process to have the greens and banana done so it was definitely "slime"....) Hoping this isn't a sign for how my day will go. I am working 12 hours today (between both jobs) so I need better mojo than this.....Just a note to self - Never take your hand off the mixer!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Keeping on Track

So, since we are close to finishing up the first month in 2010, I thought it appropriate to re-evaluate my New Year's Resolutions and see if I am staying on track.

Things have been really busy around here and will continue to be until I start school. (Then I suppose it will turn into a whole different kind of busy!) I have been working extra shifts, getting my first aid qualifications finished, getting all my medical info in line for school etc. etc.

The challenge has been to continue my exercise routines in the midst of all my chaotic scheduling and trying to spend time with Travis. (He will leave in about 8 weeks so we are trying to enjoy the time while we have it!) I will say that my time at the gym has drastically dropped. I'm only going in to lift about two (maybe three) days a week now. I find it hard considering that I walk to the gym so it's at least an hour and most of the time lately I don't have an hour to run, an hour for yoga, and a hour for the gym....I'm hoping that once school starts this will be easier because I will already be on campus. (My plan is to lift over my lunch break, but we will see how that turns out.)

While I have slacked on my weight lifting, I have been continuously faithful to my yoga practice and my running. My distance run is now up to 6 miles and we have faithfully been running the 7K races every Tuesday (Which, last week I set a PR for coming in at 43:22!!)

On the weight-loss spectrum, I'm down to 138 so only 6 lbs left to go!! Good thing since I only have four weeks left before my challenge ends. Not sure if I will make it all the way, but I'm still trying....

And lastly, my other goal was to cut down on processed bread and jam etc. (since that is like the last thing in my diet that isn't "whole food".) I have swapped for a more healthier/nutty bread with no preservatives (which none of the bread in NZ has anyway) that's about as close as I'm going to get. I only eat it on occasion as a toast at night. I decided that a little jam can be my one vice and I will accept that. I just haven't found a decent substitute yet.

Pretty much my diet consists of a really big breakfast (oatmeal with flaxseed and wheat germ) and a green smoothie (frozen fruits, soy milk, spinach, barley grass, spirulina). I don't get a lunch break until around 2 or 2:30 so that's why I eat such a big breakfast...Lunch is usually something decently filling like a big salad or left over lentil soup/stir fry etc. Afternoon tea I usually have some raisins and seeds (pumpkin/sunflower) and then dinner I usually have a very small portion of whatever I cook because I eat after my evening run and I'm not usually that hungry. Then around 9 I have a piece of toast, or the past two nights Travis and I have been splitting a bag of pop corn....That's pretty much my "usual". I have converted everything to fresh/whole foods and grains and the only thing in our whole house that is pre-made or bottled is the little bit of hoisin sauce used for stir fries and perhaps jelly. We never eat out, so pretty much I would say we have been detoxed of all the preservatives and stuff that we used to eat. I definitely want to continue in that because I cannot begin to say how much better I feel...It's amazing the effect that food has on our bodies/moods/health etc....

So, that's my update after the first month of 2010...How are your resolutions going? What changes do you need to make to get back on track? It's easy after the first month to just loose your focus. Sit down and really evaluate where you are at and decide what changes you need to make to get yourself back on track, or simply to re-commit yourself if you are still on track!!! Share your progress with your friends, start a blog, or start a personal journal. Throw your thoughts out there and see what comes of it! =)

"The strength I feel inside me is enough to sustain me during any experience I have today" ~ Namaste