This morning I handed my 3 year old daughter her cup of milk.
Annie: “I haf ta drink my goddamn milk?”
In case there was even the tiniest, slightest doubt as to where she picked up that gem, she later said during breakfast, “Daddy always says I haf ta drink my goddamn milk.”
My husband was home with her all summer and the girl is not an easy one. Poor hubby…
Do me a favor, people, and check out Politifact.com and FactCheck.org regularly during this election season. It’s so important to know the facts, be able to read through the lies, and understand the context for some of the half truths – and even full truths. Facts are facts and they are not a human bias against a certain party. Yes, many newscasters or personalities are blatently one side or the other, but what I like about both of these sites is that they do call out both political parties. There is not a political motivation other than to respond to claims that politicians and political personalities make and to educate the public on the truth
1) I am up to 4 minutes 15 seconds on the plank challenge. I am now starting to think of my next challenge. It will likely be push-ups, cause I suck at them and can only do a few of the girl ones.
2) But really, I am working on getting more sleep. I need to get to sleep earlier so that I can start waking up at 5 am to exercise once school starts. My lady of leisure lifestyle is coming to an end. If you also know you need more sleep, but struggle with it, Dr. Oz has some great recommendations at his Ultimate Sleep Challenge.
3) I have a few great entries coming up, mostly Reader’s Advisory, but I like to compile things nice and neat and make it fun and I just haven’t had much time for that lately.
Today I was supposed to run 6 miles. It’s not unattainable for me. I’ve done it many times, running annually in a 10K and running a couple half-marathons two years ago.
However, since last summer, I have been plagued with these random, but debilitating foot problems that mostly only manifest when I go out to run. So I have taken it easy, laid off running for the most part, doing small distances and a slower pace.
Lately, I have been feeling good. I’ve been running regularly and finally got back up to 5 miles earlier this week. I started thinking about running a half-marathon in October. I planned to run 6 miles today and I would make my decision after.
But the 6 miles didn’t happen. I crapped out at a little over 3.5 miles. Normally, I might stop to walk a little and then just pick right back up. Not today. When I stopped, I couldn’t find the motivation to start running again, even with dreams of Ryan Lochte standing shirtless nudging me on. Nor did the enticement of the amazing dinner I was going to have tonight at my favorite restaurant do the trick. I was done. I did walk the remaining 2.5 miles and still made it to 6 miles, but it’s not the same.
So what happened? What went wrong? I was doing so well and feeling so strong!
I have a few thoughts:
1) I drank 2 large glasses of wine last night. I drank a lot of water also, but I don’t think it was enough to counteract the wine. Normally, I don’t drink alcohol (and I limit caffeine) before longer runs. I have to get back to that.
2) I don’t drink enough water during the workday. It’s not that I don’t want to, I just can’t. Like many health enthusiast, I carry a 32 oz. water bottle with me at all times. However, I work in the special collections department of an academic library and to protect the materials that are often old, rare, and valuable, the rules are strict when in the main collection room, which is where I am located. No beverages, even in closed containers, are allowed. Because I don’t want to constantly be running out to get a sip of water from the water fountain all the time (it’s a little bit of walk and I’m only there a few hours a day), I occasionally sneak small sips from my water bottle. Mostly I just do without until my shift is over.
3) I slept like crap the night before. Now, my past performances have not always been correlated to good night’s sleep. I’ve run some damn good times on little sleep, but being one of those people that needs 9 hours of sleep, yet I average about 6 ½, I know this isn’t doing me any favors.
4) I got out too late in the morning. Which is nuts because it was only 8 am. But it’s August. And it’s hot. Every group run I have participated in when training in the past starts at 7 am in the summer, sometimes earlier if necessary, depending on weather and how many miles people need to running.
So what next? I’m running out of time here if I am going to do a fall Half. There is Philly in November, but I’m not a big fan of colder weather. My husband I were talking about doing a small (5K) mud race, so maybe I aim for that? There are some 5Ks coming up in the fall and I have plenty of room to work on for improving my time (my pace is at an all-time low due to the foot problems), so maybe that is my goal? Somehow, it just doesn’t feel the same. There is a certain sense of accomplishment I get when I push myself to run longer distances. But maybe I need to rethink it for now and revisit this next spring. Ultimately, it’s the incentive of a competition that drives me, that allows me to prove what I can do. As I head into my late 30s, this process of pushing my boundaries, defying aging, and getting strong and better, despite not getting younger, really helps stop the aging process for me. Not just physically, but mentally.
I will be on vacation all next week and will continue to work out, although not pressuring myself to do any long runs (because my family eats and drinks like the world is going to end tomorrow – and I don’t plan on skipping out on any of it!). Maybe I will look up some mud runs, maybe I will line up a bunch of 5K to 10K races for the fall. Mostly I will just relax and enjoy the trip, visiting family and friends, enjoy my workouts and give it one last go when I get back… after following my own self-prescribed recommendations of less alcohol, more water, more sleep, and getting out earlier. And if it still doesn’t work, then I find a new goal. Maybe it’s not what I originally hoped for, but it will still be something new, like a mud race, or tackling an old activity, like a 5K, with new drive and new goals. Because really, it’s the process of getting there that is what it is about.
I’ve got weak abs. We can blame my pregnancies with my budding master librarians, but I also hated working my abs before, during, and after my pregnancies. I still never work them. But I need to because not only are strong abs sexy, but a strong core helps protect me from injury. Since my back gets out of wack more often than I would like, well, here we are.
Planks work all areas of the core and I’ve seen many top fitness people aspire to hold a plank for 5 minutes. So that is my goal, starting today.
There are several variations to building up to 5 minutes in a month. One variation recommended starting with 10 seconds and adding 10 seconds on every day. I also found this chart with a handy, dandy picture, although clearly, I am reposting instead of creating my own (click through to link to the original source). I think it may be tough to increase the time by a whole 30 seconds, but I like that you do the same time for at least a couple days in a row.
I started today for 20 seconds. Are you in?
Bethany at Lifting Librarians asked put a call out to her fellow lifting librarians, asking if we wanted to be profiled for the site. It honestly took me forever to complete just a few questions. I’m sharing it with you because:
1) It fills a blog post at a time when I am kind of, sort of at a loss for a post. Ok- fine it’s mostly just copying and pasting on my part so it’s easy. It’s easy and I’m lazy. OK?
2) You get to learn more about ME! ME, ME, ME! What? You don’t care?? Ok fine, I don’t blame you.
3) And this is the real reason: because health and fitness and well-being is a topic very near and dear to my heart. The 2 questions in particular that really got me are what we as librarians can do to improve health and wellness among our fellow librarians, and out users.
Lifting Librarians Profile Questions
1. What makes you a “lifting librarian” (open for interpretation)?
I’m a fitness enthusiast that also enjoys the physical aspects that comes with librarian work, such as shelving, moving boxes, walking the stacks… I like to move and use my body.
2. Other than working out and libraries, what other interests do you have?
I guess it comes with the library territory, but reading and always continuing to learn. I love food and cooking (and eating, of course!). I like crafty stuff and swear that I will get back to knitting now that I am out of school. In addition to my own potted herbs, I have been helping out with the organic garden at my son’s school and I would love to do more gardening.
3. Name 5 things you would like to do before you retire as a librarian.
Considering I am just embarking on librarianship as a second career and am still looking for a permanent position, my goals are not so much tied to the profession. These are all things I can do regardless of my work status.
- I designed a prototype index of community cookbooks when I was in library school and I would love to build that into a real website. Not only does it give insights to society norms, dietary and culinary habits, and trends of particular eras, but I think a strong appeal is the genealogy aspect. People would be able to search family members and find family favorite recipes.
- Write a book. It honestly may just be a cookbook that I self publish, but there is something about having a bound book of content that I created or curated.
- Do a Tough Mudder or similar race – maybe getting a team of co-workers or community members.
- I would like to take on a leadership role with my state’s library association. I strongly believe in being an advocate. If people don’t speak up and get involved, then we never move forward.
- Learn Drupal, Joomla, and/or WordPress for building dynamic library websites. I’d like to be more comfortable with these platforms.
4. What does your workout schedule look like in an average week?
There is no such thing as an average week, but this is what my schedule looks like lately with my current work/life situation:
Monday- 3 mile run treadmill, weight lifting
Tuesday – 5 mile run outside
Wednesday – Rest
Thursday – Weight lifting, 2 mile run treadmill – usually at a faster pace and/or greater incline
Friday – 50-60 minutes stationary bicycle + abs *I hate the stationary bike. This is my lazy workout that I do so that I can get reading done. It used to be once in a while I would resort to the bike, but I have been doing a lot of reading this summer plus I have less free time, so it’s been incorporated into my workout. I barely even break a sweat. Sad, but better than nothing!
Saturday – 4 mile run outside, weight lifting
Sunday – Hot Yoga
I’m a big fan of getting my workouts done in the morning, especially M-F, which is when I am currently working. It’s a great way for me to start the day. I am a lot less likely to work out if I don’t get it done in the morning.
5. If you could only do one form of exercise for the rest of your life, which would it be and why?
This is super hard to answer because I have a very fulfilling trifecta going on with weight lifting for power, running to move, and yoga for mindfulness and pushing boundaries. If forced to choose, however, probably weight lifting. It incorporates mindfulness and breath, I can increase the intensity for a more cardio challenging workout, and I love the feeling of increased strength. Plus, no other type of exercises improves my physique like weight lifting does.
6. How can we as librarians help improve the overall health and wellbeing of our profession?
- It’s important that the libraries takes steps themselves to create a health-supportive environment. It can be anything from encouraging staff to take a 10 minute walk for fresh air to supporting staff challenges, ala “Biggest Loser” or checklists, such as “have a piece of fruit everyday”.
- Internal book clubs where the staff reads and reviews certain books on well-being. Maybe the staff does their own Happiness Project challenge: http://happiness-project.com/
- State-wide, regional, and national organizations & consortiums can also encourage health & wellness by creating roundtables or committees that focus on health & wellness within the profession and how to incorporate it into the community they serve.
- When the staff makes it a mission to help their community, they are likely to benefit themselves as well.
- Can the library grow a garden or herbs on or near their location? By getting staff involved in growing fresh foods and herbs, it is a starting point to appreciation for natural foods and wholesome cooking.
- See also below for ideas to users.
7. How can we as librarians help improve the overall health and wellbeing of our users?
- Provide activities and outreach that incorporate fitness: Some public libraries offer yoga classes, some also offer more unstructured physical play for children instead of just seated story time. Maybe doing a guided walk outside with a local historian. Line dancing classes – no more feeling leftout at weddings or bat mitzvahs when everyone knows the moves to a dance!
- Classes on Meditation and healthy, FAST & CHEAP cooking can be useful
- Develop connections between community members. Not just for specific goals, but also for overall well-being. It helps foster a sense of community and personal connections are good for one’s overall well-being. Also, the library can help partner tennis partners, running/walking partners, even local playdates with kids.
- Have activities and events that are fun and make people laugh. Fun movies, humorous book discussions, games, etc… Laughing is crucial for one’s overall health!
- Display prominently books on wellness, such as healthy eating, healthy diet plans, etc.
- Create resource guides for users. Distribute them outside of the library as well, doctor’s offices, super markets, etc…
- The East Brunswick, NJ library has a program called Just For The Health Of It which is not only a large physical collection of health related materials, but it includes trained reference librarians who help patrons navigate the databases. They get many older patrons that come to them after doctor’s visits to get clear answers on diagnosis or to understand medicines that their doctor prescribed. http://www.wellinks.org/
- Work with local farmers markets and have a presence there. Story time or activity time while parents shop, etc…
- See also above for ideas for librarians.
8. What is your guilty pleasure?
Wine, cheesy pop music – especially 80s, and buying books (I buy way more than I will ever have time to read in my lifetime). This is all I will confess to.
9. In a few sentences, describe your health and wellbeing philosophy.
Taking care of myself is the most important investment I make as a person, community member, employee, wife, mother, child, and friend. I refuse to feel guilty over needing 1-2 hours a day of time to exercise… or needing sleep… or cooking meals with vegetables that my kids and husband won’t want to eat (a vegetable – the horror!!).
I believe in summer reading programs and incentives to get kids- and adults, as well- to continue reading. The studies overwhelmingly show the benefits for children, especially as it helps to prevent “summer reading loss” and is highly linked to advancing overall educational skills. When you have a chance, I recommend checking out this page from the American Library Association: http://www.ala.org/tools/libfactsheets/alalibraryfactsheet17
Most libraries offer little incentives when people complete a certain number of hours of reading or read a certain number of books. Well, The DC Public Library has the best incentive that I have seen yet. And even better, it comes at a very low cost.
Instead of getting some little trinket or a certificate or entered to win prizes you could care less about, you can throw water balloons or a pie at some of the librarians and staff members if you read more than them. How cool is that?? Here are the details: http://www.dclibrary.org/node/31396
P.S. I love that the little girl in the picture is wearing a crown. She reminds me of Annie. On that note, I am also currently reading Peggy Orenstein’s Cinderella Ate My Daughter
P.P.S If Miss Faith or Miss Amanda, or any of the staff from from my library did something like this, I would love them forever! Just a thought
My friend Nancy asked me for some recommendations for fun, summer books. She recently read a romance novel that was quite a departure from her normal, more serious reading fare, so since “fluff” and fun is my specialty, I jumped at the chance to put together a list. This is what I shared with her, in no particular order:
Back when my husband and I were first dating and he used to cook for me all the time (hint, hint, darling!), he found this easy and absolutely delicious recipe from the New York Times Magazine. Because it is chock full of summer herbs, it is a perfect summer cooling pasta dish – not heavy, but filling none the less. Note: I don’t eat bacon, so I skip the bacon and instead add shrimp.
Fusilli With Basil, Mint, Spinach and Ricotta Sauce
- 1 pound fusilli pasta
- 1 cup lightly packed basil leaves
- 3/4 cup lightly packed mint leaves
- 1/2 cup well-drained, chopped frozen spinach (thawed) or blanched fresh spinach leaves
- 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for serving
- 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
- 3 strips crisp-cooked bacon, crumbled (optional)
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, combine the basil, mint, spinach, Parmesan, butter, garlic, salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor and process until fairly smooth. Add the ricotta and pulse until combined. When the pasta is tender, drain, reserving 1 tablespoon of the water it cooked in. Transfer the hot pasta to a bowl and toss with the herb-and-ricotta mixture and the reserved tablespoon of cooking water. Sprinkle the pasta with the bacon and serve immediately with freshly ground black pepper on the side.
YIELD: 4 servings
The recipe can be found here.