Frequent Travel and Unwinding

I am often guilty of commenting that I really don't travel that much, saying that recently as I was traveling from Bay Area -> Phoenix -> Indianapolis for GenCon and then eating my words when we got home this past Monday and I realized I pretty much needed to laundry immediately as we are headed to Dallas this weekend for a friend's birthday party/surviving breast cancer party. 

And sometimes in those moments of realization, I feel the weight of barely being home for four days then packing my backpack again and heading off. Which, to go off tangent for a sec, the Tortuga Air and I are getting along better as I've implemented some MUJI packing cubes and learning the curve with packing the bag. Pro-Tip, there's times it's actually better to not use the medium cube to pack the Tortuga Air full with clothes if you aren't packing shoes to balance the load. I noticed using the medium packing cube it caused the clothes/cube to lump in the middle and make it harder to zip up the bag and pack my work laptop. So in some cases it might make more sense to not use packing cubes and just get creative with folding and using the compression straps inside.

Back on tangent now. Sometimes in these moments I get a little weary and cranky and my stomach is hating life from all the travel and I just want to hibernate for weeks. So what to do in when this happens?

1. I make sure that the day after getting home is a low-key day. I usually have to go into work, but I have a desk job so it's pretty low-impact. When I get home from work it's Relax-O'clock. My couch and I become an OTP (one true pairing) and I basically turn into a sloth. Exercise and more high-energy stuff will wait for the next day if I can help it. Rest is pretty key for me the day after travel ends.

2. Drink water. ALL THE WATER. Travel can be pretty dehydrating, especially air travel. So I use one my many resuable water bottles and try to drink at least 3 bottles full which comes to about 6-9 cups depending on which bottle I use. I'm awful at staying hydrated, and I really feel this post-travel. Trying to get better, baby steps and all.

3. Eat all the protein. I'm a carb whore, I admit it. I love me the ease of pasta or rice but it does tend to make me feel extra lumpy at times. I've been finding getting some good quality protein in during travel and post-travel does help my energy levels and weirdly makes my GI track less hateful. The first day after GenCon I admittedly tore into a fine steak for dinner (sorry vegans!) and it was so so darn satisfying. Especially since mastering a dupe recipe for Harry & Izzy's Izzy sauce. Which, P.S., if you love a good steak and are in Indianapolis, it goes without saying you should go to St. Elmo's or its sister restaurant, Harry & Izzy's. It's steak that made Ron Swanson cry in happiness.

4. This is more specifically for post-convention weekends/post-con travel. Lately I've been on a ginger kick after those sort of weekends. Good ginger beer or fresh pressed apple-ginger juice are panacea come Monday. Maybe it's because it's such a good, refreshing zing and it helps my tummy woes, but I'm now true believer of the power of ginger.

But really, the most important take away I've learned is to give myself some recovery time and shift things in my schedule so I tackle the harder stuff on Day 2 post-travel and let Day 1 be as easy as I can make it. I've learned if I don't do this, and try to jump right back in and be too active the first day, I'm shot for the rest of the week and become a human slug. Which isn't great considering I'm trying to do Couch to 5k. 

Which, I actually ended up not having time to week 3 during GenCon, but just finished catching up and doing Day 2/Week 3 yesterday and oh my Christ, the 3 minutes intervals are no joke. I've also learned that because I started doing this on a treadmill, when I tried to run on pavement yesterday my shin bones and calves immediately protest with a huge NOPE to the point where my right leg almost immediately wouldn't function correctly enough to jog. Not sure if it's my shoes or just cement being too hard, but it was not fun. 



London Prep: Couch to 5k Challenge Weeks 1-3

I am going to London (with a short day and half jaunt to Paris) in October, and it goes without saying that will mean a lot of walking while exploring both cities. Right now, my endurance and stamina with walking is...not as great as it used to be or could be.

The quick summary of it is, I've basically always been "plus-sized" since I was teen and all my adult size, at a size 14. Then I moved across country and over the past four years have gained 35 pounds. It was pretty much from a mix of- being less active, not keeping up with better eating habits, some depression issues related to things happening in life, etc. etc. So I'm not in the best shape of my life, and I need to change that. The London trip is basically the perfect motivation, aside from wanting to be in better shape and better my fitness levels, to work on this.

So I decided to pony up and start the Couch to 5k Challenge. I downloaded the app and for 3 days a week over an 8 week period, it will hopefully help increase my endurance when it comes to walking and jogging so that come October, I can handle roaming the London streets. The thing that really makes it a challenge in more ways than one? I hate running. I have always despised it. I can do walking, I can weirdly enough be fine on an elliptical (though not always), but running has always been the thing I liked least because I've never been good at it. But I want to see if I can change that, and if this challenge does work I will have accomplished something I couldn't do well in all my 31 years. 

Basically, the gist of the program is high intensity interval training, 3x a week. Week 1 involved a 5 minute warm up at a brisk walking pace, then 60 seconds running/jogging alternating with 90 seconds of walking for 20 minutes, and then a 5 minute cool down. Week 2, the intervals were 90 seconds of running/jogging and 2 minutes of walking. Each week, the intervals increase slowly until you work your way up to jogging the whole 20 minutes.  Right now I'm just about finishing up Week 3.

The nice thing about the app I'm using is it will tell me when to walk and run, and will access my iTunes so I can listen to music while I run, so I don't really always need to monitor the time as it goes by. Week 1 was a decent start getting back in the game, since I hadn't been in a treadmill in ages. The first two workouts of Week 2 were met with some calf cramping, but that was likely due to me being terrible at staying hydrated before runs. When I drank more water throughout the day before Day 3 of Week 2, it helped a lot. A lot of my running friends said it's also likely my legs getting used to it again, and to make sure I stretched. 

I'll be checking in all the remaining weeks each week with my progress, so let's hope I can conquer this! 

And even if it doesn't really help my weight, if helps me be able to jog for 20 minutes straight that in itself is a big accomplishment.