Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Kim and Lauren - Post #7

Kim and Lauren are a mother/daughter team, training to run the Disneyland Half Marathon in September of 2012. Kim, the the 50-something mom is vegan, and is training at the literally breathtaking altitude of 7,000 feet in Taos, NM. She has never been any kind of athlete before. Lauren, the 20-something daughter, is mostly vegetarian, and is doing her training in Seattle, WA. Running isn't new to her, but distance running is. This weekly blog, written by both of them, documents the journey, and hopefully, will inspire a few others to follow a dream, do something that's harder than they ever imagined they'd do on purpose, and enjoy the entire journey. Find all the entries by entering "Kim and Lauren" in the "search this blog" box to the left.

Kim:
Last Friday I "ran" 9 miles, and felt amazingly good afterwards. My perceived problem at the moment though, is that I'm still doing a lot more walking than running. So I've switched gears this week, and am putting more focus on building up the running, and less on the distance. For now. I got the ChiRunning book and DVD, and it's helping. I think I have the basics of the form and theory behind it down, but I still just can't run very far without getting winded. Little by little. I know. But I am a very impatient grasshopper.

Today I "ran" 4.5 miles, running more than usual with the help of an interval timer, and then went to a water aerobics class with my friend. I thought it might be a bad idea, but it actually felt really good. Even though it was another strenuous workout, the water was soothing, my running muscles got a good stretch, and the hot "therapy pool" afterwards was heaven. Have I mentioned how much I miss the hot tub we used to have in our yard? I will continue to mention it. Get used to it.

Next week we're going to Seattle, for vegan cooking school, and I'll be able to run with Lauren for the first time since we started all this. I want to be able to keep up with her at least a little bit. And I know she's going to be a great help to me, even though she'll also run rings around me. I'm trying to lose weight, to make running easier, and it seems like running should help me lose weight. Things are not always as they seem. This is the first time in my life I've wanted to lose weight so I could exercise, rather than the other way around. It's slow going though - only about 6 pounds in 6 weeks. As hard as I'm working, and as well as I'm eating, I think it should be more! Slow and steady, blah, blah, blah... And yes, I know that muscle weighs more than fat. It's not particularly comforting information. I was a little bit encouraged the other day though, when a friend I hadn't seen in a while asked me what I was doing to look so good. Well, well... blush, blush... maybe I'm making some progress after all.

Lauren:

Sometimes when I run, I feel like a wounded cat.

After a week-long hiatus I jumped back into my training yesterday. After completing the 5k I needed a break, had to get my life back in order. Let me tell you, never will I ever go a week without training again… oh wait, I’ve said that before haven’t I?

This time I have to say wasn’t as bad as the last time I went a week without running. My roommate Suzie and I got up early for a light jog before work. I love doing my workouts in the morning, the world is still and fresh, it feels clean and new. I love the way Greenlake looks before the sun comes up, glistening and sparkly. It makes the getting up 45 minutes early part almost enjoyable.

We did a total of 2.4 miles at a moderate pace. Right at the beginning I could tell my muscles had some remembering to do. I felt floppy and loose. My posture was all wrong, my knees were trying to turn in, my ankles were sore and my abs were killing me. I seriously looked like a wounded cat; clumsily trying to keep going even though it was awkwardly painful. I was making running look hard and uncomfortable and that’s not really my goal here.

When I finished the workout I knew there were some things I needed to work on. My mother has been reading books and training incredibly hard. Most of my running friends have training plans and schedules for their workouts. I on the other hand don’t have and haven’t really done any of that, my assumption was that adding a little more distance each day would do the trick… not so much. At first I thought running was all about stamina in the lungs, I have asthma so I figured it would be difficult, but doable. I have found I can breathe just fine, it’s my muscles that start giving up on me.

After doing a little research and talking to some people I learned that I need to be building strength with weight training and core exercises along with increasing my distance each week. The stronger my core and legs are the longer I can hold myself up, the longer I can hold myself up the easier it will be to run a longer distance. I refuse to be one of those people that makes running look hard, it may not be easy for everyone, butI don’t particularly enjoy looking like a wounded cat.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Featured on BlogHer

My very own recipe for Tofu Chilaquiles with Mexican Mole Sauce, originally posted on my other blog, PositivelyVegan, is featured on the Food page of BlogHer today! This makes me very happy!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Kim and Lauren - Post #6

Kim and Lauren are a mother/daughter team, training to run the Disneyland Half Marathon in September of 2012. Kim, the the 50-something mom is vegan, and is training at the literally breathtaking altitude of 7,000 feet in Taos, NM. She has never been any kind of athlete before. Lauren, the 20-something daughter, is mostly vegetarian, and is doing her training in Seattle, WA. Running isn't new to her, but distance running is. This weekly blog, written by both of them, documents the journey, and hopefully, will inspire a few others to follow a dream, do something that's harder than they ever imagined they'd do on purpose, and enjoy the entire journey. Find all the entries by entering "Kim and Lauren" in the "search this blog" box to the left.


Kim:
Some days this is just... really hard. I am not a natural runner, or if I once was, as a kid maybe, I've forgotten everything I knew. I'm learning it all again, and I'm willing and eager to learn. That's why its so frustrating when I head out there, ready to run like leaves on the breeze, and then I feel more like a rhino in mud. I know in my mind and my heart, and even in my dreams at night, what it's supposed to feel like, but my legs seem to have amnesia. While I'm quickly becoming a great walker, the running is coming more slowly. I came home Monday, after three miles of my usual combination of zippy walking and plodding running, and sat right down and cried before I even had a chance to catch my breath.

I'm in week six of this training for training. I've made some progress, but it's so slow. I wonder sometimes if I can do this. I get discouraged and frustrated. But I'm not giving up. You'd have to knock me down and hold me to the ground to stop me. I know that one of these days something will shift. There will be a moment when my body wakes up and remembers what to do, and when it does, I'll never let it forget again.

This morning I was nervous to go out for my planned 6 mile "run." But Rick came with me for the first lap, which we walked at a nice fast warm-up pace. He went back home after that, and I continued on to lap 2, the second mile and a half. I just finished reading Born To Run, which I loved every page of, and learned a lot from. At one point someone said, "If it feels like work, you're working too hard." I kept that in mind and decided to go a little easier on myself. When I eased into fast paced, tiny-step sort of jog, it actually felt... good. And I was really surprised at how much farther I was able to run (if you can call it that) before slowing to a walk. I did everything easier, and I did it better. And best of all, I got my smile back. It wasn't exactly leaves on the breeze, but at least maybe the rhino got out of the mud puddle.

Lauren:
St. Patrick's Day Dash


I have to say after staying out until 4am on Friday night/Saturday morning I was less than happy that I had signed up to be in downtown Seattle by 8:00am to run a 5k that same morning. With only two hours of sleep, an hour or so of tossing and turning, and a less then decent breakfast, I did what I always do when needing a little reinforcement of my choices… I called my mother.


She couldn’t believe I had made it out all night and still up in the morning. With her help it was decided that it would be best if I took it easy, run some, walk some… I wasn’t trying to win (contrary to what I told my friends the night before) but I was trying to finish, without passing out.


I met up with my friends Kiley and Amber; we were all shocked as to my perkiness, but figured it was a good sign. Kiley gave me a banana, Amber suggested coffee and we headed downtown. We got to the starting line, all matching in our green bandanas and headed off on our 3.47 mile journey. I was chipper and full of energy, at one point I even remember sort of galloping like a horse, I guess I was willing to do anything to keep going.


I made it about a quarter of the way when I thought. ‘I can’t do this anymore… if I can’t do this how am I going to do 13 miles…’ Then something inside me just made me keep going. I don’t know if it was the fact that the night before I had been so adamant about finishing, or that I didn’t want to let myself down, or that I was trying to prove something to somebody. But I just kept going… running… running… running… the entire way.


We all made it to the end and were promptly rewarded with a beer. We stood with the rest of the racers proud of what we had accomplished before most people were even out of bed. And then out of nowhere it began to snow, big white fluffy flakes, and lots of them. It had to be one of the most beautiful snows I had ever seen. At that moment I couldn’t have been happier that I got to have my cake and drink my morning beer too.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Butterflies

A quick look around here will tell you I've made some changes. It's what I do. Change things. I know it confuses some people, and upsets others. But as the saying goes, If nothing ever changed, there would be no butterflies. 




I was on the verge of ending this particular blog, thinking it had served it's purpose, but Lauren talked me out of it, reminding me that everything I do is part of the journey, part of the long way home. She's right, the little smartie. And what I figured out is that the blog is the blog, and the beads are the beads, and each one needs its own home. So I built a new website for the beads, and moved them to their new digs over the weekend. The website address is, as always, www.kimmiles.com. The BeadShop is linked from there on its own little tab that takes you straight to the BigCartel shop I've been using all along. That part didn't really change at all, but the route to it did change slightly. You'll figure it out, I have no doubt.

I have about two more weeks before I completely change gears and leave for a month-long trip to Seattle to go to the Vegan Fusion Cooking Immersion. I'm so excited I can hardly sit still long enough to make beads. I'll get some done this week though, and next week too... I think. I have a few ideas floating around in my bead-brain. One of them is a beautiful bug I saw a picture of yesterday. I'm not sure how it will translate in glass, but it seems promising.

It's a snowy morning, and I have a run to do, and a studio to warm up. I'm looking forward to some changes in those two areas too. Little by little I get stronger and build stamina, but I literally dream of being fast and light on my feet. I know what it feels like, and I'm impatient to get there. As for the studio, it's cold and dark and generally unpleasant, so I think I'll move it out to the little guest casita this summer, where it will be a way from the house, and where I'll have a new view of the world as I work. Ideally I'd move it up to the roof, but the cost and time involved have put that out of the running for now. The casita is adorable and unused. I fear it feels unloved, but... I can change that.

So here we are. Or here I am anyway. I feel like I just finished a big spring cleaning, which clears my head too. Moving on, here we go, ready for what changes next. And I trust there will be butterflies.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Kim and Lauren - Post #5

Kim and Lauren are a mother/daughter team, training to run the Disneyland Half Marathon in September of 2012. Kim, the the 50-something mom is vegan, and is training at the literally breathtaking altitude of 7,000 feet in Taos, NM. She has never been any kind of athlete before. Lauren, the 20-something daughter, is mostly vegetarian, and is doing her training in Seattle, WA. Running isn't new to her, but distance running is. This weekly blog, written by both of them, documents the journey, and hopefully, will inspire a few others to follow a dream, do something that's harder than they ever imagined they'd do on purpose, and enjoy the entire journey. Find all the entries by entering "Kim and Lauren" in the "search this blog" box to the left.


Kim:
First, brief apologies for being late this week. Lauren is moving, and I've been in Santa Fe for a little Bead Fest break. We have a loose plan to blog each Wednesday, but we also know we have to stay flexible, in our blogging, as well as in our half marathon training plans.

My big goal for the race is to finish it on my own two feet. That's all I want. Some days it feels like even that is asking an awful lot from someone like me, who has never even considered doing something like this before. Other days it feels perfectly reasonable and do-able. I'm learning as I go, and each time I head out there, I get a little bit better.

I'm reading about ChiRunning, and doing my best to learn this form of "mid-foot strike" running, as opposed to the standard "heel strike" style. It makes an enormous difference in the amount of stress I put on my body, particularly my knees, and it also makes me feel lighter and faster. Rick has started coming out with me for a lap or two some days, and he has trouble keeping up with me when I'm walking. That makes me feel like I'm making progress. I have some very zippy moments. Still, it's a strange way of moving, and it takes practice and attention every step of the way. If anyone out there happens to have the ChiRunning DVD, or the ChiRunning Beginner Half Marathon Training Program with DVD, I'd love to borrow them.

One thing to clarify, just so you don't think I'm too amazing... When I say "run," I mean walk/run. I'm doing timed intervals, with a good long walking warm up and cool down. This week the "running" portion of the session is 15 seconds of running to 45 seconds of walking, for as long as I can stand it. Next week it will be 16/44, and so on, until I'm running and walking about equal times. That's how I plan to run the race, and it's how I plan to finish it. Slow and steady. I'm a beginner, and it will serve me well to remember that.


I try to get out there 6 mornings a week, and vary the distance, increasing my milage a little bit each week. I'm my own coach, trainer, team, and cheerleader, and I'm the only one who can know how much I can do without hurting myself. Last Friday I went 4 "laps" around my block, which is 6 miles. Today I'll go for 5 laps/7.5 miles. If you'd told me two months ago that I'd be able to do this I would have laughed in your face. But here I am, doing it, and best of all, enjoying it.

Lauren:
Running in French

I am going to admit something that no one is allowed to hold me to down the road… I may have taken on too much.

Along with my running I have decided to study French. As long as I have wanted to complete a half marathon and become a runner, I have also wanted to be fluent in French. What better time to achieve them both than now?

This is where I may have taken on too much. I have a full time job that is actually more like full and a half time. I am horrible at setting boundaries, or I just have an amazing work ethic. Either way it takes up a huge chunk of my time. Then there is running at least three days a week, and French two days a week. This leaves me with little time for my social life, yet I am always on board to do anything. Sure I may have taken on too much, but I’m young, this is how it’s supposed to be.  

I am determined to do it all, running, French, work and a social life. I have the St. Patrick’s Day Dash this Saturday; it’s the 5k I have been training for. It feels good to be so close to achieving a goal. Now, I may have over booked, between the 5k, learning French, a concert this evening and oh, I am moving today … but I will have my cake and eat it too, even if I do end up passed out in my cake.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Kim and Lauren - Post #4

Kim and Lauren are a mother/daughter team, training to run the Disneyland Half Marathon in September of 2012. Kim, the the 50-something mom is vegan, and is training at the literally breathtaking altitude of 7,000 feet in Taos, NM. She has never been any kind of athlete before. Lauren, the 20-something daughter, is mostly vegetarian, and is doing her training in Seattle, WA. Running isn't new to her, but distance running is. This weekly blog, written by both of them, documents the journey, and hopefully, will inspire a few others to follow a dream, do something that's harder than they ever imagined they'd do on purpose, and enjoy the entire journey. Find all the entries by entering "Kim and Lauren" in the "search this blog" box to the left.


Kim:
This week my knees are happy again, so I'm back to testing some running. I've been reading a lot about form, and the difference between old school "heel striking" and mid-foot or forefoot striking. I'm pretty convinced that my first few times out, running the clunky way I've always done it, is what caused my knees to protest. I was banging the heck out of them. I did some research on "running without hurting your knees," and found a lot of information. I decided to try changing my stride, and although it's hard to get used to, it really feels a lot better, not only on my knees, but my whole body. If you're interested in what I'm talking about, here's a short video showing the difference in running techniques.



It takes a lot of concentration, but that's not a bad thing. I want to pay attention to what I'm doing out there, and I want to do it as well as I can. I read somewhere that running should be more of a "practice" than a sport. That fits with my way of doing things nicely, and practicing is exactly what I'm doing. I realized the other day that I'm not really even in training yet. I'm in training for training. Kind of like engaged to be engaged. The commitment is implied, but there's no big diamond yet.

I went back to the sore I bought my running shoes from, because I'm having trouble not heel striking. I was considering some more "minimalist" footwear, but they talked me out of it, at least for now, and put some "posts" in my shoes - slivers of cork under the insole to adjust the way I stand and move. The best part was testing several different shoes on the treadmill. I had never been on a treadmill before, so I was a little nervous. I only fell off once. Pretty funny, and nobody was hurt. I just hope the shoes work. I don't want to keep throwing money at this, especially if it's really something I just need to learn to do properly.

I'm going easy on myself, and pushing too. Little by little, I can feel changes. I'm better than I was three weeks ago, and I'm just as motivated as when I started. Yesterday, running/walking an easy 1 1/2 miles, I ran more than before, and a couple of times I felt a glimpse of good form and sweet, easy running. It made me grin from ear to ear, and it gave me something to keep running after. I know I can do it. I just know I can.

Lauren:
The more you do it, the easier it gets...

Monday:
The first day in a week that I made time to run. Now I know a couple posts ago I wrote about commitment vs. interest. I am still committed, but I got comfortable in my decision to not be “officially “ in training for the half marathon until April, and training for my 5k was becoming easier. Last week I was not making excuses to not run, it just so happened that other life commitments were more important, or so I thought. So Monday, the first day in seven days I put this commitment before all others, and it was freezing!

I can’t really complain because my mother deals with far worse weather conditions on a daily basis. She gets snow and wind and below zero temperatures. I get almost freezing and a gorgeous lake to run around, not the worst conditions I could be in. But because I am a wimp with cold weather and because I hadn’t been running in a week, I struggled. My brain was telling me I could push harder and go farther, but my body was telling me to stop and grab my blankie. It was contradicting and frustrating. I swore at the end of those three miles that I would never go a week without a workout, ever.

Tuesday:
Tuesday was a “Lack of Luster” sort of day. Work was blah, personal life was blah; Facebook had little to interest me, I just wasn’t really digging what the world was putting out there for me. Then I remembered I was going to go for a run, and it was going to be all the sparkle I needed to perk up my spirit.

I decided on the gym instead of braving the almost freezing temperatures for the second day back at it. I hopped on my treadmill, put on my music and started going. This felt great! I ran the first two kilometers without feeling any sort of exhaustion, so I picked up the pace. It felt good, the endorphins made me want to keep going, I was on a whole other level of happiness. Wahoo! Then out of nowhere I started feeling crappy, my knee was killing me and my stomach was in all sorts of knots, but I couldn’t bring myself to slow down. Shortly after, I came to my senses and slowed down, no point in getting injured this early in the game. I was not super jazzed about finishing out my 5k workout with a power walk; I wanted to feel good, I wanted to end on a positive “I kicked that workouts butt” sort of high; I wanted to look in the mirror and justify all the junk I have been eating, and then… the icing on the cake. Strategically placed in the same time slot on three of the four TVs surrounding me was a Victoria’s Secret commercial… Were they mocking me?

Long story short, I was over confident in my abilities as a new runner. By not doing any type of workout for one week I lost a lot of momentum. And even though I can’t just pick up where I left off, and this is going to be an incredibly hard journey, I am still really excited about it.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

What's Coming Up

It's only March, but here comes April! I have two big things occupying my attention right now, the half marathon in September, and cooking school next month! It's coming up fast, and I'm super excited. I'm attending the 10 Day Vegan Fusion Cuisine Cooking Immersion in Seattle, plus three extra days of teacher training. I'm a good cook now, but I'm looking forward to being great, and to sharing what I know through blogging and teaching.

I got a message from my friend Joan yesterday, saying she had a vegan coming to visit (oh my!), and did I have any suggestions on what to feed her. Of course I did! And she also gave me a great idea for a class I could teach. Something along the lines of How to Feed a Vegan, for people who are not vegan themselves, but want to know what to feed their vegan friends and relatives when they come for a visit, or just for dinner. I know from experience that we throw most of the dinner parties around here, because our friends don't know what to cook for us. There are more and more vegans and vegetarians in the world every day. Eventually you're bound to run across a few, and I want to take the "food wall" between plant eaters and everything-else-eaters down to the ground! My goal after cooking school is to teach classes here in Taos, sometimes in my own kitchen, but more often in people's homes, so they're comfortable making "weird food" in familiar surroundings. I also want to take my skills on the road, maybe to your town and your kitchen! Sounds like a party to me!

But back to beads for a minute - I'll be away from home and studio for most of the month of April. That means no new beads then, and probably a closed shop for a few weeks. It also means that if you're planning on ordering a Birthstone Snow Globe for Mother's Day (May 13th), you need to do it now. Literally. I'll close orders for these in a couple of weeks, because I can't promise to fill a bunch of orders when I get back from Seattle. I do intend to re-open the BeadShop in May, and of course it's open now. I don't ever want to stop making beads completely, but I do hope to bump them back to hobby status one day, and put more focus on helping people learn to feed themselves in the most healthy, delicious way possible.

I feel the world changing, fast, fast, fast, and I love being part of it. Life is good! Eat your greens! If you want some recipes, hop over to my other blog, PositivelyVegan. I think I'll be blogging there a lot while I'm in Seattle. This is going to be good! Ah, but it's only March... I'd better pay attention to where I am now. Time for breakfast!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Broken Bowls


I broke both of my favorite bowls last night. Both of them. In one swift move. I had stacked them together to take them to the kitchen, and was puling a fork out from between them, so they wouldn't teeter and... break. Ironic. Stupid. I actually cried over broken bowls, but hey, I liked them a lot.

It's not like they're rare or irreplaceable. Nothing around here is. Nothing in my care will ever become vintage. Some things might become "wabi sabi," as in used, well worn, loved, perfect in their imperfection. A chipped teacup that's still useful is wabi sabi. A bowl with one side missing is just broken. I have sent my grandmother's wedding glasses to my sister, who will keep them safe, and probably never use them. I've put other delicate family heirlooms in storage, carefully wrapped and padded, and look forward to dumping them on my children. My bowls are broken because I loved them enough to use them. In a way, I feel good about that.

The thing is, I was concentrating on not breaking them. I know better than that. The Universe doesn't hear the word "not." It only hears all that concentration on "breaking," and does its darndest to grant me what it thinks I'm wishing for. I know this, but when will I learn it?

Years ago, in another town, another house, with another husband, we were cleaning up the front of the house so my father-in-law, who had trouble walking, wouldn't trip when he came to visit. We moved every stick and twig and rock. And as we stood there feeling a sense of accomplishment, out little boy, about two years old, came running towards us, tripped over his own foot, and hit his chin on the cement step at the front door. At the emergency room, where the poor little guy got his first stitches, I vaguely understood what had happened. All that worry about tripping brought exactly what we were worrying about.

It's happened again and again over the years, so you'd think I'd know better by now. I guess I don't. I'm now able to spot it the instant after it happens, but I still "trip myself up" now and then. At least this time it was bowls, and not somebody's chin. Communication with fellow humans is a tricky enough thing to deal with every day. Communication with the Universe can sometimes seem like an uncrackable intergalactic code.

It's sort of funny though - while I was eating my last dinner from my favorite bowl, I was thinking that maybe I should use one of our smaller, more humble bowls, instead of the really big, extra pretty ones. I'm trying to cut back a bit, to lose a few pounds so I can run better. A smaller bowl makes for instant portion control. I guess Dear Universe agreed.

On the bright side, sort of, I didn't have to wash the broken bowls when it came time to clean up the kitchen. But I did anyway, carefully cleaning them one last time, and stacking the shards in a pretty, almost wabi sabi pile. I couldn't throw them out. They're in my office now, sitting on a shelf like a sad bit of sculpture. I have a friend who does mosaics, and I hope she'll want them for that. If not, I'll keep them around for a while, as a reminder to think about what I want, and ignore what I don't want. Eventually I'll let them go, one way or another, but maybe I'll keep just one small broken bit, as a reminder to watch my thoughts.