Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Chicken and Exercise

I always thought I ate healthy. Which makes me also wonder what else I lie to myself about and how many of us do this regularly. But the truth is I'm far from it. Not anymore.

I've been cooking chicken breast, vegetables and quinoa, pretty much everyday. I've been eating oatmeal for a while but grew tired of it because boy do I hate it. I don't think I ever hated something so much. I practically put so much fruit in my oatmeal it was basically a fruit cup with oatmeal sprinkled in it. So besides Powerbars, I'm eating cereal in the morning.

It's the convenience that makes eating healthy hard. At any moment a quick trip to "pick something up" turns into a smorgasbord of junk food at Jack in the Box. "Control." I tell myself. It's not like I don't like the healthier option. It's just that it's cheaper.

I'm going to push through this. I'm going to workout more and I'm going to stay in control.

My workout routine hasn't changed much. I'm concentrating on sprinting more. I'm running 1 and a half miles in 13 minutes or less and I aim to improve that. I also plan on stretching and rolling my muscles more, I need to be more flexible. The truth is I need to take more yoga and Bodyflow classes.

So more chicken and exercise for me. How about for you?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tips For Mud Runs!

It may be a while until my next run, but I'm not taking a break. If anything, I feel like I have more time to train. It could be that I now have a free Sunday to either workout or rest on, but either way I plan to improve. Later this year I want to complete . . . buh bum bum . . . Spartan Beast.

You may be asking yourself what is Spartan Beast? Well it's more grueling than Tough Mudder, mostly because you can't skip any obstacles and many obstacles are a bit crazy. By the way, if you want to skip an obstacle or you fail at one, you get to advance only if you complete 30 burpees. That's right . . . everyone's enemy - burpees.

I've completed a lot of runs this year. I think the number is in almost in the double digits. So here are some tips I've picked up on the way.

1) A bag or backpack may be difficult to carry but you can always pin a ziplock bag inside your shorts. I kept some sports beans, some wipes (because I wore goggles because I just recently got Lasik), some eye drops, Q-tips and a 20 dollar bill. The money was probably a bad idea but I didn't want to take my wallet with me. Looking back I should have also put a small container of sunscreen or lip balm. Surprisingly after jumping into a small pond, swimming under water and into ice cold baths, everything was safe in the ziplock. By the way, I sandwiched it between my underwear and shorts.

2) Wear proper clothes. Many people recommend to not wear cotton socks because you may get blisters but I never have. I do recommend wearing trail shoes or shoes with support. I usually wear an old pair of running shoes but I could definitely use a pair that supported my ankle. Realize that these shoes will need a whole lot of cleaning and washing afterwards. If you are lazy most places have a place you can donate them afterwards. Also, bring a change of clothes most, not all events, have a place to wash up and change. And please do not tape your shoes. It doesn't do anything to keep them on. Just double knot your shoes. I do that for every run, even 5ks without mud and I have never lost a shoes or stopped to tie them. Even when my foot was so deep in mud I swear something was pulling me under. Just grab it and pull. Plop! Shoe still attached.

Wear comfortable clothes. Compression shorts and shirt help during the cold events. I also recommend dry fit clothes to wick away sweat and water. And I wish I had a good idea for bibs. They always tear off me. If it's on my back, front, shorts; I can't figure out the best place. So I do suggest keeping an eye on them because you can easily stab yourself with a pin.

3) It's meant to be fun. At many spots I stopped to help my friends and also helped strangers get over obstacles. And don't be afraid to ask for help or let people help you. You may want to accomplish things on your own but realize that it can be dangerous out there.

4) People do get hurt. During Tough Mudder I saw golf carts hauling back people with broken noses and arms. If you can't do an obstacle, dont! If you are scared, don't do it. It's your body telling you that you are not safe and many times it's right. One person in our group skipped half the obstacles, but she didn't get her face or arms broken like other people I saw.

Watch out for any events with long wires. They can wrap around your neck and cause serious pain, especially when they have electricity surging through them. I suggest raising your hands like a triangle so that your neck and face are protected. And watch your step and the people ahead of you. If they fall at a certain spot, remember it because you may fall there too.

5) Be courteous. I almsot lost a friend on a high wall climb when another runner, who was rushing, kicked out her arms as she reached the top. I knew he was in a hurry and tried to keep him away by pulling the rope he wanted away but he still collided with her. She could have fallen off the wall. Don't be that guy. Nobody likes that guy.

5) Be prepared. Workout! Run! Practice on similar obstacles. Being unprepared is just going to leave you sore both during and after the event. Just because it's a fun event doesn't mean it's just a fun kiddie roller coaster ride-- it's physically demanding. The best way to practice, especially for bigger events, is to do smaller ones.

I hope this helps!

Friday, April 19, 2013

This Weekend Is My Toughest Run Yet!

Tough Mudder is this weekend. For those of you that don't know how crazy it is, let me describe it to you. Picture a 10 mile run, that is actually promised to be a bit longer, how long? You won't know until you get there. Matter of fact, you know nothing is for sure. It's designed to make you question everything. So the event describes a couple of the obstacles but you don't know the order or what will be there for sure. You go to the website for any hope, but instead find this: An evil website that explains that there are over 20+ obstacles and shows 24 obstacles that could be on the run. So now you're in a weird unprepared dizzy. Will I get shocked? Probably. Will I go through freezing water? No doubt. Will I need to practice for the longest set of monkey bars I have ever seen or the set of ring swings they call "Hangin' Tough". What kind of American Gladiator craziness is this? So you're fit. Fit enough? Well, it doesn't matter because you also need to be mentally prepared. Mentally prepared? That's what's written in the section titled "How Fit Do I Need To Be To Do Tough Mudder?"

Is the picture a bit much? Well too bad. It's too late, you've signed up and you'll never be ready!

I did prepare. I've been part of Y-Mudder. A group at work specializing in training for the Tough Mudder. I also happened to like it a lot. It's a rigorous program that I wish I was doing before I even decided to do this run. And I've done quite a few mud runs. I'm also pretty good at monkey bars and scaling walls. I don't want to brag but I can scale a ten foot wall pretty easily. It's part of the parkour training I do.

So will I be okay? Probably. Just a little muddy, wet, shocked and cold. Not a big deal, I tell myself. :)

-L. Vera

Friday, April 12, 2013

Get Out and Celebrate Earth Day

Earth Day is celebrated each year on April 22nd. Earth Day was started in 1970 by Senator Gaylord Nelson to raise awareness about the environment. It was a grassroots effort in which each community decided how to celebrate. The first year 1 in every 10 people celebrated. This year 1 billion people are expected to celebrate worldwide.

So what are some ways you can celebrate this year around San Antonio?
What can you do all year to celebrate?
Looking to make a difference? Here are some small changes you can make to help make the world a better place:
  • Start a compost bin
  • Use a reusable water bottle
  • Plant a tree
  • Take public transportation once a week
  • Recycle aluminum, glass, paper, and plastics
  • Use reusable shopping bags or take recycle plastic bags appropriately
  • Turn off lights when you're not in the room
  • Switch to CFL bulbs
  • Leave grass clippings as mulch in your yard
  • Turn the water off when brushing your teeth
What are some of the fun ways you celebrate Earth Day with your family? What small changes have you made in your life to make things a little more green?

Friday, April 5, 2013

Siclovia This Weekend!

Siclovia! It's that time again. I have yet to officially enjoy Siclovia in all of it's pleasure. Either bad timing or I'm hidden behind the scenes. This year, for once, I'm available to participate. Now for those of you who don't know what it is, it's like going to the healthiest party in San Antonio. Siclovia the one day where streets are closed. People are moving around and it's another day I'm convinced that people do want to make a change in their life. I'll be out there, probably a bit tired since I will be doing my 10 mile run and workout for my Y-muddder group on Sunday and not Saturday because Saturday is Foam Fest.

So it's another long weekend for me. I also need to wear googles for Foam Fest because I also recently got PRK done, which is a form of LASIK eye surgery and it's awesome. I'm also wearing racquetball glasses during the day, to protect my eyes from getting injured while they are still healing. so good luck poking my eyes. The day you can see everything in the shower is amazing. It's feels like wearing permanent contacts without the issues of having a lens in your eye. Soon, I should be able to see underwater too. It's the small things that can be quite satisfying.

-L. Vera

Monday, March 25, 2013

Getting Muddy Isn't Just Good For Your Skin

Getting muddy isn't a big thing. It's actually a whole lot of fun and beneficial. I'm not going to lie, I played with mud as a kid, I even managed to find a way to clean my hands by using the tops of puddles so that I wouldn't get in trouble with my parents. Somehow they were still on to me. It could have been the muddy clothes or the fact that it was suspicious that I was more than happy to show them my clean hands. A couple of weekends ago I had no excuse.  I was muddy. And in another couple of weekends I'll be muddy again and I can't wait.

So the truth is I don't prepare very much for these 5k events. I've been training harder for other adventures but I do beileve that these types of courses will help me with those other endeavors. I'm talking about Tough Mudder. It's a 10-12 mile course with 20-25 obstacles. So far doing the Hero Rush was by far the most challenging and if that is any indication of what Tough Mudder will be like, I may be in trouble. Hero Rush was only a 5k and had about 15 obstacles with the worse event being crossing the frigid lake. The coldness hits you hard and the first thing you do is stop breathing. After that the body took over and it forced me to swim. It was by far the hardest obstacle I have faced yet. Tough Mudder should have more than one obstacle that are quite similar. At first I was more frightened by the electricity based obstacles but now, I'm leaning at being equally if not more scared of the cold water events. Eitherway, I'll hopefully survive it.

Currently I'm still on route to bench press my own weight this week. I added a new chest exercise that I believe should help. I'm only a few reps away from where I want to be. So far this year has been pretty exciting.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Green Cleaning for Porcelain Sinks and Tubs

At the end of last year we moved into a new home. It was a tough move. We had been in our previous home for 5 years and had just gotten to that great lived in and the house looks great point. Now we have a new home, one that is stuck somewhere between the 80s and 90s - textured wallpaper, glitter popcorn ceilings, and all.

One thing that it has and that I love are porcelain tubs and sinks in great condition. Cleaning these provides a whole new challenge. Especially when you want to keep them in great condition and you have septic tank that begs you to not use harsh chemicals and bleach.

When we first moved in the kitchen sink was stained. Both from the previous owners and us leaving coffee sitting in it.


No amount of scrubbing was getting rid of it, so I knew I needed something stronger, but without using chemicals.

And by stronger, it only required two simple ingredients:
Baking Soda
1 Lemon

I simply sprinkled the baking soda into the sink, cut the lemon in half, squeezed some of the juice into the sink, and then used the lemon halves to scrub the baking soda into the sink.


A quick rinse with warm water and Voila! A clean sink!


Just so you don't think you need to have an endless supply of baking soda and lemons in your home to keep your sink clean, I've only done this twice in the 4 months we've been in our new home. Regular rinses will usually keep the stains away.