Continuing on with my 30×30 list. I kind of feel I should point out the fact that by posting this, I’m accomplishing one of my already listed goals – to blog more. Man, am I good at this stuff (this is where we really need a sarcasm font ASAP).

Mind Body Soul (Balance)

Over the past couple of years – and with the support of my amazing hubby – I’ve made big strides to make my life(style) a healthier one. I want to continue with this trend; continue to do good for myself and feel amazing. I have a tendency to put all of my eggs in one basket (for instance, train for a half marathon but never stretch or weight train), so reaching some sort of holistic balance is a big goal for me.

11. Train for a marathon, to run under 4:30. Nick and I are both signed up for the Aspen Valley Marathon in late July, and I start a training schedule for it next week. If it were before my birthday, I’d  make the marathon itself my goal, but since it won’t be, I’m going to make training the goal, especially since it’s pretty grueling in and of itself. I had originally chosen a training plan built around simply finishing, but I really want to train to finish in a certain amount of time, with minimal walking. Plus, it made me nervous that it didn’t even have me running 20 miles at any point. So I selected a 3:30 goal time training plan, and am just making small adjustments based on my individual speed goal. I’ve gotten some really great advice from a friend of ours who is pretty much a runner-savant, and I’m feeling pretty good about things.

12. Hit a yoga class 1 – 2 times per week. With all the running I’m doing, I need a good stretch and an alternative form of exercise added into my rotation. Also, as a known worrywart and over-thinker, yoga is a great way to clear my head. I’m going to try to do hot yoga every Sunday, with another class added in throughout the week when my body tells me that I need it. I’m also going to try to do a few routines at home on my own. My goal is to touch the floor on a forward fold by the time we go home at the end of May.

13. Stretch before every run. As you can probably tell, muscle tightness and flexibility are a big concern of mine. When I was running last semester, I was starting to get really sore, and in the past couple of months I started to develop pretty bad sciatic nerve pain all down my right leg and in my lower back. It had even started to interfere with my sleep and work life, since I could barely lay or sit still comfortably. Since I started properly stretching before and after runs and doing yoga, that pain has virtually disappeared. For stretching, I’ve started doing a set of 5 pre-run yoga poses and 5 post-run yoga poses (plus whatever else I feel that I need) that I found on the lululemon website. I like it better than stretching from cold because it warms my muscles up while I do it, and I focus on my breathing, which gets me ready to run.

14. Get up ten minutes early every morning to do pushups and ab work. While Nick was in Grenada by himself last year, it became a part of my morning routine to get up and do some crunches and pushups. That kind of stopped when he got home. With the running I’m doing I feel like I need to strengthen my core and get some arm strength to help balance out my legs. Just like incorporating yoga into my routine, this should bring my fitness into alignment.

15. Get monthly couples massage. It’s a bit indulgent, but both of us could absolutely use that kind of muscle relaxation. When Nick isn’t spending his time hunched over his computer studying or sitting in class, he’s running long distances to get ready for the marathon. I spend my days in an office chair, my early evenings running, and late evenings back in bed working on my computer, which isn’t exactly ergonomically ideal. We could both use a professional work-over.

16. Only eat refined sugar one hour before and after runs. I’m starting to get a little more dependant on sugar than I should be. I have regular candy cravings (that I give into easily), and if there are sweets in the house they are going in my mouth. I recently hit an all time low of buying strawberry syrup (you know, to make strawberry milk). What? Why? What am I doing? I’ve looked at the “what you crave/what you really need” infographics, and according to them, craving sugar means your body really needs chromium, carbon, phosphorous, sulfur or tryptophan, so I’m going to try adding more broccoli, fresh fruit, eggs, poultry, nuts, grains, and cheese into the mix (there are a lot more recommended foods containing those elements, but those are the readily available ones here). I also have the theory that since I’m running more, I need more carbs, and so my body is sending the “quick, give me sugar” signal, when really I need to address the carb issue. I’m leaving the hour before and after runs in case I want to have chocolate milk when I get home from a run (which “they”  say is good for runners), or if I need some Gatorade before I go. Also, note the word “refined”. I will still be eating plenty of honey and fruit.

17. Drink at least 100 oz of water per day. When I’m running, I am better about drinking water throughout the day, but that’s because I feel dehydrated all the time. I’d like to be drinking enough water to not feel constantly dehydrated, and to feel less thirsty on my runs.

18. Track meals. I have tracked food consumption in the past for diet/weight loss reasons, but now I want to start tracking to make sure I’m meeting my nutritional needs. Some sources say that a runner should try to hit a 60/25/15 diet (60% carbs, 25% fat, and 15% protein), which is a big adjustment to what I have been doing. I think I’m going to try to fall in a 50/25/25 to 60/25/15 range, and try to settle into my sweet spot within it.

19. Read one book per month. Of all of the amazing things my parents did for me over the years (many of which I am just now starting to appreciate), instilling a love for reading is one of the greatest. I grew up in a home filled with books – with almost every room having at least one or two big bookshelves – and there was never a time that my parents told me I couldn’t or shouldn’t read something. From an early age I loved Tom Robbins, John Irving, and Margaret Atwood. In recent years, I’ve stopped reading as much. I brought a book with me to Grenada that I have been reading since before Nick and I met. I’ve read things in between, of course, but c’mon. Now that I have a Kindle, I have no excuse not to read more often.

20. Take time to get outside and relax. We’re only here for another year and a half, and who knows the next time we’ll live by the ocean in a climate warm enough to enjoy it daily. I tend to get caught up in work, and life, and not take advantage of my surroundings. Once a month, I need to go to the beach or pool and just let go. And hey, it’s a great place to read a book!

Any tips on getting mind, body & soul in balance? I’d love to hear your thoughts!