Mar 31, 2013

My First 5K - Week 4

Last Week's Progress
Liz on how last week's training went down:
"Sorry I haven't been able to do my best this week...with the knee pain, sick kids, spring break, daughter's birthday etc. my routine got all messed up.
On the bright side, I got new shoes...Brooks Ghost 5.  I'm feeling much better now. Next week I promise I'll be back on routine and giving my 100%."
I told her not to worry about it.  A new week is starting, the temp in Washington D.C. will be in the 50s and 60s, and she'll be flying fast on a pair of ghosts.

Mar 26, 2013

Caveat Emptor, or How a $23 Furnace Repair Becomes $925

** 3/27/13 Update - Ripoff Made Right, Scroll Down ** 

Not sure I'd call myself a handyman around the house.
But I am a fairly pragmatic sort of dude.
Or a cheapskate, your pick.

If there's a way to save money, I'll usually take the longer, dusty route to get there.

When I looked into tiling the small entryway and was quoted $400, I showed the contractor the door.  Then took a hard swig of A&E 2% chocolate milk, headed to Lowe's and grabbed a Tile for Idiots book for 12 bucks, two boxes of unglazed Spanish clay, grout, trowel and snips for $90.

A weekend later it was finished, saved $300 and I learned a new skill in the process.



Mar 24, 2013

The Awkward Uninvited House Guest - Cowabungalow

Pad Got Patina
I'm a sucker for older homes. 

Our family of five grew up in a crappy 1970s modular box packing 800 square feet and no basement.  Shaggy green carpet, artificial wood paneled walls, and a washer and dryer nestled in the kitchen blowing lint on our lunch.  I remember lying in bed at night, listening to mice scratch and claw in the ceiling.

I don't miss that place.

Turned 16 and a year from leaving for college, mom and dad moved us to a large 1879 Victorian.  More space meant my brother and I didn't have to bunk in the same room, and we gained a second bathroom.  My sister was a toilet hog, the single stall in the prior joint was always occupied for her primping. 

Mom and dad still live in the 1800s house, it's a nice base to return to for Christmas.

At 23, I bought the place where we live now, a 1950s ranch in decent shape but occasionally acting out for attention and needing sweat equity.  Just this morning, we woke up to 55 degrees as the furnace gave up the ghost and needs replaced.  Question: pay extra for a high efficiency furnace or not?

There's an 82% chance I'll never own new construction.  It's difficult to recreate the charm of aged beauties with today's vinyl clad, skin colored behemoths.  There's a stubborn challenge and pride to making a tired old girl purr again, customizing and reshaping her into something that reflects your own personality.

Mature is also usually less expensive up front, requires more labor, but you can make serious hay on the sale if you fix it right.

Uninvited House Guest
The above is background on why I'd soon become the awkward uninvited house guest on a 100-year-old remix.

Friend Alison and her husband Jay touched the fix-it stick to their 1918 bungalow, grinding it from a dilapidated disaster to a quaint casa.  Ready to move towards larger digs down the street, they listed it for sale by owner on a cold Thursday a few weeks ago.

One day later it was sold.

She mentioned Jay's a carpenter and banged out the kitchen cabinets by hand.  Intrigued, and knowing the deed was done and it'd soon be gone, I had to do a dive-bomb interview to get the scoop.

Must...invite...myself...and Pigtails...and Curls...over.  E-mailed Alison, boom, done.


Mar 23, 2013

My First 5K - Week 3

Last Week's Progress
Sometimes training is a grind.  It was week 2 for Liz.  

A sore left knee.
Young kids that require full and constant attention made it difficult to head outside for a run.
The treadmill can be a bore. 

Yet she stuck with it, logging 12 miles for the week and working hard enough to raise her heart rate a good beat.

We emailed a few times to ensure she's experiencing knee soreness and not injury.  Soreness is usually okay to train through, as the body is balking at the fuss of moving more.  Injury means something is damaged and we need to stop jogging or scale way back to let the body heal.  Since the pain mostly goes away a few minutes into the workout, we'll chalk it as soreness but watch it closely to ensure it doesn't worsen into injury.

A new pair of shoes, dose of ibuprofen, walking more than jogging and stretching afterwards will hopefully help make this next week feel better. 

Mar 20, 2013

Soup's On - A Cauli' Cheesy Remix

"First day of spring," says calendar. 

"Haha, keep your insulated feather bodysuit on, Twinkle Toes," murmurs Old Man Winter. 

Four in the afternoon right now and the windchill's blowing 12 degrees.  I'm ready to kick winter where it counts.   



One last batch of soup to stay toasty before degreasing the grill for spring.  Ham and cheesy cauliflower sounds good, let's try it.  



Mar 17, 2013

Tour Des Moines

Iowa holds 20 million hogs, 3 million humans, 92 thousand family farms and 30,000,000 acres of corn and soybeans.  Lest you believe we are exclusively red in the neck, biggish city culture's on tap if you want some. 

Pigtails' mom is feeling well lately, so daughter has been spending most weekends with her.  This opened a pocket of playtime, Curls and I did Tour Des Moines yesterday to visit small businesses we've had eyes on.



Mar 15, 2013

My First 5K - Week 2

Last Week's Progress
Liz tore up week one of her 5K training, laying skidmarks on the treadmill and 2 or 3 mile jaunts around her 'hood.  She lives close to Washington DC, the weather hovered in the 50s+, so she was able to play Frisbee outside with the kids.  Sore legs and a sick day meant backing off the speed a bit and recovering on the rest days.  

We talked through email about stretching, as her legs were cramping mid-run as the week expired.  Stretch after every run for 5 minutes, focus on slow holds to pull the front thighs, back hamstrings, calves and feet plus seated chicken wing to tenderize the inner legs.

Mar 12, 2013

Exercise – Making it Count…

Curls is in the house!  Today she baked a fresh post as she continues her food and fitness set.  

The girl's not monkeying around with getting in shape this winter, I'm proud and notice drastic changes when I see her afresh each Friday.  She offered to share thoughts on Jazzercise exercise and how to make it stick, lace 'em up.

Inquiring minds want to know.  Where is Curls?  Hi, I’m baaa-aaack! 

If you’re new here, allow me to catch you up.  Back on Jan 2nd (not Jan 1st like a normal person), I decided I was tired of being tired and sick of hearing myself make excuses.  So, I jump-started a nutrition/exercise regimen to get me back on track and in shape.  I’m happy to report that I’ve made some great strides.  I’ll be frank, shall I?  I’ve lost 26.5-lbs, an aggressive push that has revitalized me. 

Mar 10, 2013

Finding Our Kiddo's Currency

Parenting requires inching along the shaky highwire, balancing the raising of our children with equal parts love and discipline.  In order for L&D to land a deep impact, we need to find our kiddo's currency.

Their coinage changes over time.  By paying attention and keeping the talking line open, it's easy to figure out what makes them tick.

Mar 7, 2013

Crowdsourcing the Fiscal Fat

*3/10 Update, Scroll Down for House Skimping*













Finances and fitness follow similar patterns on gain and loss.

To trim debt, we must spend less or make more moolah.
To trim weight, we have to eat less or burn more calories. 

I think it's easier to spend less money than to make more.
It's less sweaty eating fewer calories than burning more.

Help improve this post, add to the list below via comments.  Burning the fiscal fat, crowdsource style.

Mar 5, 2013

Carb Killer - Peanut Sauce Lettuce Wraps

Curls asked me to start axing carbs when I cook for her.  That's a little difficult, they're everywhere.  Plus I like to refuel with pasta after 700 calorie runs.  Oh well, she wins.  

We do wraps often, I checked the label on a sack of 10" shells and see 200 calories with 12% of daily carbohydrates (sugar).  For one tortilla.  Before ramming it with bacon.

Forget the shells, we'll try peanut sauce turkey shucked in lettuce.


Mar 3, 2013

My First 5K - Week 1


Elizabeth, For The Win
Fourteen peeps entered the ring for the virgin 5K training.  One person made the cut, congratulations to Liz!  Her story tugged the right strings:

I would very much love to have you coach me for a first ever 5K. First, let me tell you something about myself. I am a stay at home mom of 2 kids under 5, currently pursuing a masters degree in Information Systems. I spend most of my day sitting in front of the computer. 

2 years ago, my husband started having some mysterious chronic pain and numbness in  his legs and knees and I had to devote all my spare time to driving him around to doctors, therapy and taking care of him.  He was in such a condition that he could not even help with simple things like lawn mowing and taking out trash.  So, I gave in to emotional eating and lost all interest in physical activities.  He is slowly recovering now and I am tired of feeling tired all the time.