Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Rabbit Food Grocery is open for business!

We did it! Jessica and I launched the web version of our all-vegan grocery store Rabbit Food Grocery. Our ultimate goal is to have a brick-and-mortar store, but we're starting with an online store with free delivery to select locations in Austin.  We're very excited about it and can't wait to see it grow and evolve.  Jessica did all of the difficult, frustrating work of creating the website, and I'm really proud of her.  We're both excited about working with some really cool vendors to bring more unique vegan items to Austin and to the online marketplace.  Read more about this initial phase here, then please go make a purchase at Rabbit Food Grocery.  We can really use your support!

Our friend Molly had some nice things to say about RFG in a recent blog post on her famous vegan blog Lone Star Plate.  Thanks, Molly!

Life is extremely busy with our full-time jobs, Texas VegFest, a house full of furry animals, lots of exercise and reading, and now RFG.  We love it!!!

Exercise Log:
1/11: Walking (4.34 miles); Running group (2.62 miles) + hill training drills @ 7th St; TotalGym John Carleo 6-day training (Day 3).  Total Miles for the day: 6.96
1/12: Walking (5.47 miles); TotalGym John Carleo 6-day training (Day 4).  Total Miles for the day: 5.47
1/13: Running (5.93 miles); TotalGym John Carleo 6-day training (Day 5).  Total Miles for the day: 5.93
1/14: Elliptical (5.46 miles); TotalGym John Carleo 6-day training (Day 6).  Total Miles for the day: 5.46
1/15: Elliptical (5.25 miles); TotalGym Ab Crunch workout.  Total Miles for the day: 5.25
1/16: Running group (2.37 miles) + drills @ TSD; Running after group (3.00 miles); TotalGym John Carleo 6-day training (Day 1).  Total Miles for the day: 5.37 
1/17: Elliptical (4.93 miles); TotalGym John Carleo 6-day training (Day 2).  Total Miles for the day: 4.93 (averaged with previous day: 5.15)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

5 Miles/Day = Good

My goal to average five miles per day of running, walking, etc. has been going well.  I actually am finding that I am running more of the miles than I expected.  Running is so much more efficient, and I often choose it over walking to get the miles in within a reasonable period of time.  I'm a busy guy and walking five miles takes almost 50% longer.   I do want to have days where I don't run for recovery purposes.  Interestingly enough, though, it seems that I'm adapting to running more miles more often.  I do feel a little more tender in some muscles after running, but the tenderness seems to mostly go away after a good night's sleep.  

My inspiration for my goal was the Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami.  Recently I listened to the audiobook version of his nonfiction book What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.  (I highly recommend it!)  I listened to it mostly while hiking and walking, and it really made me think about how running fits into my life and how I'd like to adapt my running.  

Murakami talks about how important distance running has been to him and how it has helped him to be a stronger novelist (more endurance).  He's been running everyday since the early 1980s and didn't start running until he was 33.  In the time period covered in the book (mostly 2006 - 2007), he talks about how he recently made a goal to run an average of six miles a day and how this goal had a big impact on his running and his body.  This is from someone who had already been running for over 20 years!  Of course, that got me thinking about how a similar goal could impact a novice runner such as myself.

A few highlights from the book and what they mean to me:

- Crying/screaming muscles will eventually stop making a fuss when they understand through repetition and perseverance that a certain amount of work (in my case, my new distance of five miles) is expected of them.  Also, how taking time off makes them scream again.  I had been running three days a week most weeks with days in between running, and my muscles always hurt when I ran.  Now I'm training them to work daily and they still hurt sometimes, but I think that it's a different, more bearable pain.  Also, I do have more moments of pleasurable running.  It'll be interesting to see how things change after a few months of working them every day.

- Murakami runs for distance, not speed.  I'm a pretty slow runner, and I enjoy running more after I've been going for a couple of miles.  In my running group, we mostly do short runs (~ 2.5 miles or so).  This was pretty much all the running I was doing before.  Now, I am running on my own in addition to what I do in the group.  When I run on my own, I don't try to go fast.  I just run for the distance.  This seems to be working for me.  However, I don't want to quit the group.  The group is good because I get training that focuses on different areas (speed, hills, form), and I am starting to see that as a supplement to my running rather than as my actual running.  I don't know if I will eventually become a long-distance runner, but I would like to work my way up gradually to greater distances.  This year, my only goal so far is to continue my average five miles per day and to do the Capitol 10K.  I may add more goals to my running later, but for now that's it.  I have no plans to do a marathon this year, though I would eventually like to complete one.

- Running longer distances makes your body adapt so that it can handle these distances better.  It changes your body.  After just 10 days, I'm noticing that it has really has amped up fat loss.  That's good.  Even though I have seen tremendous changes from following Dr. Fuhrman's dietary recommendations and exercising regularly, it's nice to see that accelerate even more.  While all of this is ultimately about health and feeling great, it's still nice to see my love handles start to shrink away a little more quickly.

- Running makes you stronger and that carries over into other areas of your life.  I'm sure that Jessica gets sick of hearing me talk about running, but she has also said that I have become a more positive person since I started running.  I do feel stronger, like I'm capable of doing more.  

Murakami doesn't proselytize about running since he thinks it may not be for everyone, but he shares his own experience for what it's worth knowing that some may gain from it.  In doing so, he definitely motivated me to think about my running and my goals.  This is a book I will listen to again, and I'm sure that I will gain more insights from doing so.

Exercise Log:
1/3: Running (5.03 miles); TotalGym John Carleo 6-day training (Day 2).  Total Miles for the day: 5.03
1/4: Walking (4.11 miles); Running group (2.48 miles) + hill training drills @ 7th St; TotalGym John Carleo 6-day training (Day 3).  Total Miles for the day: 6.59
1/5: Walking (5.45 miles); TotalGym John Carleo 6-day training (Day 4).  Total Miles for the day: 5.45
1/6: Walking (2.51 miles); Running (5.08 miles); TotalGym John Carleo 6-day training (Day 5).  Total Miles for the day: 7.59
1/7: Running group (5.04 miles - ran some of this on my own after training) + drills + circuits @ Clark Field; TotalGym John Carleo 6-day training (Day 6).  Total Miles for the day: 5.04
1/8: Running (5.23 miles); TotalGym Ab training.  Total Miles for the day: 5.23
1/9: Running (5.01 miles); Running group (1.84 miles) + drills @ TSD; TotalGym John Carleo 6-day training (Day 1).  Total Miles for the day: 6.85
1/10: Running (3.69 miles); TotalGym John Carleo 6-day training (Day 2).  Total Miles for the day: 3.69 (averaged with previous day = 5.27 per day)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

RunKeeper Accuracy and a Deer on my Walk

Yesterday, I was walking one of my normal routes near my house and heard some rustling as I passed over a bridge on Bluff Springs (Southeast Austin).  When I looked down, I saw a deer!  It's not the first time I've seen deer in this area, but it was still very cool.  It's one of things I enjoy about walking in that area.  I snapped a few pics with my phone before she took off.  See if you can spot her in the one below:

After she ran off, I walked to what I believe is the 1.5 mile point and checked RunKeeper since I was trying to walk an even 3 miles.  It had me as having walked 2.72 miles!  This is the first time I've ever noticed a discrepancy like this.  I stopped, restarted my phone and the app, then walked back.  I kept checking it on the way back and it was fine up until one point when it seemed to lose the GPS signal a few times.  Then, the distance shot up some.  When I checked RunKeeper, the maps had me on my regular course but also had me in some areas I never went.  I removed the maps and edited the distance to 1.5 miles for each leg.  It's a bit frustrating because I really need it to be accurate so that I can measure my distance and achieve my goal.  I read their FAQs and they had some recommendations on how to improve accuracy.  I downloaded an update and made sure all the settings were right.  Later I ran a couple of miles with my running group and it was accurate.  Since that walk was the first time that I've noticed any issues with the distance, I'm hoping it was just a one-time occurrence.  In any case, I'll be keeping my eyes on the maps after runs/walks, since those seem the best way to determine if I am being properly tracked.

Exercise Log:
1/2: 3 miles walking; Running group (2.37 miles) + drills @ TSD; TotalGym John Carleo 6-day training (Day 1).  Total Miles for the day: 5.37

Monday, January 2, 2012

Goodbye 2011, Hello 2012!

What a year 2011 was, with lots of challenges, changes, and personal growth!  As stressful as this year has been, I feel like I've grown more this year than I have in a long time. I am exiting the year in a much better place than I was when it started.  I turned 40 in April, and as cliche as it sounds, it really has felt like "life begins at 40."  I don't know if that number really has an impact, though it's completely possible that on some subtle level it has, but I do know that I changed my path for the better in a lot of ways.  It definitely feels like it's the beginning of a new phase of my life.  I want to keep the momentum going into 2012, and so I've set some new goals for this year.  You can call them resolutions if you'd like, but I don't want to treat them the same way that most people treat their resolutions.  I want these to mean something.  I want them to continue to evolve and develop throughout the year.  They are not static goals that I drop in two weeks.  They are a road map for where I want to go in 2012.

A few highlights and lowlights in 2011:
- Jessica's injury + 3 surgeries, which were stressful and difficult but brought us closer together and gave us more perspective.
- Job changes and moving to 100% working from home.
- Becoming completely dissatisfied with my physical fitness and health and making a total change in how I eat (from junk-food vegan to healthy "nutritarian" vegan) and beginning a vigorous exercise regimen.
- Resolving some long-standing financial issues.
- Getting a new Kindle Fire!
- Changing my mindset to healthier one in many ways.
- Taking some initial steps with my partner Jessica to start Austin's first all-vegan grocery.  (Note: The store will be open this year!)
- A healthier year for all of our animals.
- Helping some with the upcoming Texas VegFest.

I'm not going to list all of my goals/resolutions here, but I will share one of my physical fitness goals for the year.  I've decided that I want to average 5 miles a day of running/walking/hiking/elliptical.  I'm allowing myself to carry over from one day to the next to average five miles per day, but I am only averaging over two days and have to do at least two miles every day.  Some examples:

Day 1 @ 8 miles + Day 2 @ 2 miles is acceptable.
Day 1 @ 3 miles + Day 2 @ 3 miles + Day 3 @ 9 miles is not acceptable, as this leaves me under the average for two days combined.
Day 1 @ 10 miles + Day 2 @ 0 miles is unacceptable, because I am supposed to do at least 2 miles every day.

Giving myself the flexibility to run or walk/hike or even use the elliptical machine for the mileage will allow me to avoid both excuses and injuries.  RunKeeper is my friend, as it has been since I started to use it in November.  If you'd like to add me to your RunKeeper Street Team and see my activity maps to see where I go when I run or walk, please feel free to do so:

Exercise Log (from memory + RunKeeper):
12/15:  TotalGym John Carleo 6-day training (Days 2 & 3)
12/16:  Walking (4.21 miles)
12/17:  TotalGym John Carleo 6-day training (Days 4 & 5)
12/18:  TotalGym John Carleo 6-day training (Day 6)
12/19:  Walking (3.17 miles) - sick
12/20:  0 - sick
12/21:  0 - sick
12/22:  Walking (3.08 miles)
12/23:  0
12/24:  0
12/25:  0
12/26:  Running group (1.95 miles) + drills @ TSD; TotalGym John Carleo 6-day training (Day 1)
12/27:  Running (3.0 miles)
12/28:  Running group (2.60 miles) + hill training drills @ 7th St; TotalGym John Carleo 6-day training (Days 2 & 3)
12/29: TotalGym John Carleo 6-day training (Day 4)
12/30: Hiking (3.17 miles); TotalGym John Carleo 6-day training (Day 5)
12/31: Hiking (6.07 miles)
01/01: Running (5.55 miles); TotalGym John Carleo 6-day training (Day 6)