Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Sweat (part I)

I won't lie, I've been putting off this fitness post for... roughly two months now?  Funny too, since this blog originally started out as a running/health blog back in the day.

I've been putting it off because my general emotions towards fitness - running, crossfit, swimming, sometimes yoga, etc - have been super bumpy as of late.  And I think that's somewhat normal right? We all get really into certain things at certain times of life, get turned off by certain things, decide to try new things etc.  We get hurt, we get burnt out, whatever it is; relationships with fitness can fluctuate a ton (as all relationships can).



I love taking care of my body, and challenging it - this has always remained a constant.  But the months throughout this past summer had me in a weird spot.  A slump, if you will. A conversation I had right before the move actually had me saying, "Actually to be honest, I'm in the worst shape I've been in a LONG time right now."

Now let's pause and define: "Being in shape" means something different for every single person. Everyone has different expectations and visions for the words "I'm in shape" - and for me, it's not just about being able to fit into my pants.  I'm kind of strict with the standards I hold myself to (sometimes it's too much, I'll admit) and so what I mean by saying this is, my running mileage was VERY low, and super slow.  Normal activities were just a *little* harder than they should have been, and when we found ourselves running the stairs outside our new gym week two of arriving out here, it was WAY harder than how I ever remember running stairs in the past.

How equally convenient and awful that these stairs are next to our gym

I love fitness, I believe I always will.  I so enjoy pushing my lungs and my muscles and my mental willpower to its limits; I love the challenge of hard things. One of my favorite motivational quotes has always been, "Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing" and therefore, I hate the fact that this summer I found myself half-assing it through workouts and runs.

There are plenty of excuses I could rattle off - sure.  Injuries, dealing with a new puppy, preparing for an international move.  But the fact of the matter is, people do incredible things, every day, with much bigger things on their plates.

So there's no excuse.

Anyways - the point of this post - there should always be a point, right?  The point is, I'm finally re-grasping once again what's important to me in the health & fitness realm, and slowly crafting some goals.

Last year on Halloween, I was able to run a 10 mile race at a 7 min. pace. This year, current state, I'm really not sure I could hold that for 5 miles.  However, we have a 10k night run coming up here in a few weeks, so I guess that will be a good chance to see where I stand.  And then base running training off of that - as the Mr. and I both recently signed up for the Tel Aviv Half Marathon in February.

except we are doing 13.1

Eek.

Time to start upping that mileage.

Yet I would be remiss if I didn't talk crossfit; it's what allows me to run the distances I want to. If I've learned nothing the past two years when it comes to working out and my body, it's that healthy running doesn't happen with this 5'11'' frame unless I've got the muscles to keep it going strong. And man, am I believer in the importance of strength training (specifically crossfit style) - and how well it pairs with endurance races.

So of course, we became members of Crossfit Tel Aviv day 2 out here, and as motivation and comfort-levels increase (and I go more consistently) I am slowly seeing progress. Even if a workout of snatches and burpees over the bar knocked me on my butt last night - quite literally.

Wrapping up; back to those goals.  They're not quite 'Hang on the fridge' worthy yet, but they're in the making, and I'm excited about it.  I identify as a lot of things, but as far back as I can remember an athlete has always been one of them.  I lost that a little bit recently, but am pumped to feel it starting to come back.



So there you have it, way too long of a post babbling about things you might not necessarily care about.  But if you do, keep your eyes open, I'm hoping to starting talking sweat a little more consistently on here.  I'm huge on tackling new things, setting lofty goals, and talking about stuff that inspires us all to be a little bit more badass.

Cheers -
Kait

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Backwards

Fun fact: Our pup Kai turned 11 months this past week, meaning she is officially in her last month of 'puppy-hood'

Kai @ 4 mos - the first day we got her

Speaking of Kai, have I mentioned that she's a huge spaz?  I wouldn't call her uncoordinated, but she does gets distracted super easily.  Her biggest spaz-moments usually happen on walks and runs - something will catch her eye, usually above or behind her.  She stops looking forward, but keeps walking forward, and then runs straight into something.

Scenario from our run this morning:

- Run past another puppy on the beach.  We say hello to puppy, keep jogging.
- Kai decides to look back at the puppy, seeing if perhaps puppy is following us home.  We keep running forward.
- Kai runs into large wooden pole, very startled and momentarily confused.

It's always hard not to laugh at her in those moments; the things she has run into are absurd (sometimes it's me) and there are usually people around who witness it and then look at me like 'what is wrong with your dog?'

good question

The simple answer is, she's looking backwards too often.  

Why am I telling a story about how my dog is a ditz? Because I got to thinking after watching her plow head first into the pole, and realized that there's really not a lot to gain from looking backwards.

Yes, now I'm getting a little bit deep.  Looking backwards is distracting, and usually results in either 1. getting thrown off track and/or 2. Not trusting what is forward.

"Fall" here now has me day dreaming and reminiscing hard.  We've hit a beautiful point in TLV (correction - it's always beautiful) where mornings are dropping into the 50's and it feels fall-ish. The cooler air has me flashing me back to autumns that I've had in Illinois, Colorado, and Baltimore.

Yet looking back like this typically gets me emotional and occasionally sends me yearning to be back in that past situation; back in consistency, and comfort zones.  But the reminiscing game simply isn't very healthy, as I think it takes away from the beauty of current situations. These crazy journeys we are all on has us walking forward for a reason. No matter where you are in life, there is simply more to be gained by embracing the present, and trusting the process.


That's not to say looking back on memories isn't a wonderful thing.  I just think there's perhaps a difference between clinging and longing for the past versus valuing the past, and putting trust in the future. Because if you find yourself looking backwards for too long, you may miss a stair and end up face planting on the marble floor - just ask Kai, who was set on watching the pigeons take a bath this past weekend.

And in the meantime, I'll work on getting Kai to stop with the glancing backwards so often on walks. Although I'm pretty sure that this metaphor doesn't necessarily apply to her - she's always happy, no matter where she is or what she's doing.


The things dogs can teach us.

Cheers friends - 

Kait

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Travel

Up until 2016, Andrew and I wouldn't have really considered ourselves travelers.  Domestic travelers I suppose, as flights to Denver and Chicago were fairly consistent.  Belize this past February marked our first 'international trip' as a couple, then followed by this move.

This past weekend was a three-day for Andrew (Columbus Day) so we jumped on Google Flights a few weeks ago (we love Google Flights - it lays out in a map format what airfares are to what cities, whichever weekends we are looking at) and saw that flights into Larnaca, Cyprus were dirt cheap.

We then snagged an Air BnB for roughly $40 a night, patted ourselves on the backs for finding such a deal, and then were like "Hmmm I wonder what there is to do in Cyprus."

More than you think.  

Northern Cyprus AKA Turkey
Quick fact on Cyprus: the island is divided North and South - The Republic of Cyprus occupies the southern part, and Turkey occupies the North.

The more we take trips together, the more we learn what works for us.  We aren't really the pair who will/can lounge on a beach for hours at a time, sitting still is harder for us unless we are winding down for the evening.

So last week I made a list of everything I thought we might enjoy there (Lonely Planet and Trip Advisor are my BFFs when it comes to planning trips).  We knew we wanted to see both North and South, so research had to be done as to what was involved with the border crossings, etc.

I'm not writing this as a "Why you should visit Cyprus post" but if you are curious, I recommend seeing both parts of the island, as they each have different 'feels' and a lot to offer.  We drove from the North to the South in roughly 2 hours, and the drive is very beautiful along the coast.  The country has everything from ruins, castles, beaches, hikes, wineries, even a brewery (which of course we found).



But really I'm writing this because I think traveling can be stressful, and it's important to find a balance along the way.  I'm usually one for schedules and itineraries, while Andrew is a bit more adventurous fly by the seat of your pants type of guy.  We are slowly finding a great balance right in between the two mindsets for trips, and I would say Cyprus was our most successful weekend away so far in regards to that.



Outside of the fact that Andrew quickly had to learn to drive on the left side of the road, and almost hit a pedestrian within the first hour.

I think a lot of people plan trips with friends and/or their sig other and envision a perfect, happy scenario.  It's never going to be perfect guys, there will always be curveballs when it comes to travel.  They will shut down border crossings and your phone (GPS) will die and your husband will momentarily have to talk you off a ledge.

 Just expect the curveballs, and it makes it a little bit easier.



We are by NO means travel experts, but it's just something that recently became pretty evident to me, and I wanted to share. With flights to Europe so cheap from Tel Aviv, we are definitely going to try to embrace quick weekends away as we find deals, so perhaps more travel posts to come?

Anyways, Happy Friday Eve!

Cheers -