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