The Grind

It is easy to get lost in the grind of our day to day to professional and personal lives.  As we grind it out, it easy to lose site of how much progress we’ve made. This week we spent three days as a leadership team working on our budget initiatives for 2018.  It was an invigorating, discussing spurring event that was really productive.

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This was my fourth year attending and my third year presenting.  The first year I presented, it wasn’t pretty. They beat me up pretty good.  Thankfully, each year has gone progressively better than the last year.  This year I presented on two days to a much larger audience than I’d been accustomed to, but it went very well.  As I look back on my previous budget experiences and compare to this year’s presentation, I can see how far I have come.  3b8ffd69e15dcd50329cbd68b15ef30f--teen-quotes-work-quotes

While I’ve made some great progress towards my professional goals, my fitlife goals too a backseat to Twizzlers, Snickers, and catered meals.  When I got home tonight and my treadmill and TRX were glaring at me.  I went for a quick run on the treadmill before dinner.

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My treadmill and I got reacquainted before a great dinner with friends.  My TRX, however, is looking a little neglected.  Tomorrow I will be getting back on the wagon eating right.  There are times that we deviate from our health goals and that’s gonna happen.  We can’t let it derail us completely.  There is no quick way to success be it professional or personal.  There is no elevator to take us to the top floor only hard work and persistence.

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My Running Partners

When I started running over two years ago, I didn’t know that I would love it so much.  Nor did I know that my running partners would be so important in maintaining my training or that they’d bring me so much happiness.

Most days my running partners are Jake and our dogs Maya and Athena.  The beautiful thing about running with these three is they keep a brisk pace.  Jake is particularly fast ,so running with him means I have to push myself.  The puppies like to be first, so which ever dog is in back is racing to catch up to their sister.

This can be a bit problematic when Jake and his puppy pull away from us.  Usually it’s Maya and I holding up the rear.  Jake’s got his mile below 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, I almost threw myself a party for breaking the 8 minute mile barrier.

Maya trying to keep pace with Jake means we’re pushing race pace almost every run.  Since Jake is so fast, Athena is usually super tired after two miles.  We’ll switch the puppies and walk them for awhile, so they can catch their breath and cool down a  little bit.

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By the time we start running again, the puppies’ energy is back and they’re ready to roll.  Some runs, Goalielocks or the Mayor will come with us.  For those runs, we usually cap our distance at three miles.  The best part of running with the puppies is how happy they are when we run.

While in Norway, Jake and I mixed it up a bit by hiking on the mountain trails.  It wasn’t a rigorous as our runs, but some parts of the trail were quite steep and took a lot of concentration to master.  The views were incredible and so was the weather.  No horrible heat indexes to contend with.

The unfortunate part of summer in Florida, is heat indexes in the triple digits.  As much as I love to run with my kids and my dogs, the summer heat makes it dangerous for the dogs.  Until the heat abates, I’ll be hitting the treadmill and missing my running partners.  When I run on the treadmill, there’s no sweet puppy looking back at me smiling as she enjoy the run.  Nor is there Jake, who motivates me to run faster and further every time we run.

Last Night in Bergen

We had a brilliant lunch post Bergen aquarium near Bryggen with our family before J&B headed to catch the bus for Stavanger.  Tomorrow they’ll be on the hike of their life making their way up to Pulpit Rock.   Our waiter was incredible and bought us a round when the fryer broke and our food took longer than normal.  This was a great gift as beer and cider are extremely expensive in Norway even by South Florida standards.  The food was worth the wait and I enjoyed my fish an chips along with my cider.

 

Post lunch we hit the shops to find some useful souvenirs.  The Mayor found a nice knife he can use for fishing while Goalielocks selected a viking horn that sounds a bit like a kazoo.  The kazoo piece wasn’t intentional, so we’ll be looking for another viking horn for the house.   Jake got a nice Norwegian flag he can hang in his room.

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After two ciders at lunch, my favorite local coffee shop Dromedor was calling my name.   Not too far geographically from the tourist hub, but miles away in terms of its customer base.  This is a great local spot with quality coffee and pastries.   I have quite enjoyed their lattes these past couple of days in Bergen.

For dinner our kids wanted frozen pizzas, which was a complete godsend.  Food is extremely expensive in Norway and this was a perfectly economical way to feed the kids.        Post Pizza we headed to the wold famous fish market to meet J&M (my older bro and family), my grandma and my parents.

They were finishing up their dinner and afterwards we headed for dessert and shuffleboard.  We ended up at the same restaurant where we ate and drank yesterday as it had several shuffleboard tables where the kids could play and not interrupt all of the diners’ dinners.

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After two rousing shuffleboard tournaments, Priya and Zak and I emerged as champions.   Somehow I managed to figure out how to score a couple of points, which was enough for me to be successful.  The kids had a blast and enjoyed their desserts throughout the tournament.

After shuffleboard, we said adieu to our favorite spot, Bergenhus Bryggeri, and headed out to walk the city.   For the first time, we headed up Kong Oscars Gate where X&P found an awesome and cheap hot dog stand.  The group continued to make friends with dog owners and their dogs.   Norwegians love their dogs and take them everywhere.  Their dogs are meticulously groomed and extremely well behaved.

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As the sun started to descend in the sky, we headed back to our AirBnB to pack for our trip to Stavanger.  We have absolutely loved our time in Bergen and will be returning to this wonderful city hopefully soon.

Fun at the Bergen Aquarium

This morning the weather was a bit rainy, so hiking the mountain as we had planned was a no go. The old cobblestone roads were slippery enough, I couldn’t imagine how slippery the trail would have been. In lieu of hiking, we took the kids and went to the Bergen Aquarium with my brother and his family. The aquarium was a quick ten minute walk from our place and reasonably priced.

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The aquarium wasn’t huge, but it was perfectly sized.  It had a nice array of animals all of our attention including some familiar species from back home.  My personal favorite was the flamboyant sea lion that kept making eyes at us as it swam by the group. It was a fun morning.

 

9,000 steps before noon

We started our morning of 9,000 steps with a ride up to Mt. Floyen on the funicular.  Once up the mountain, we hiked around the lake and through the forest. The views of the city, nearby islands and the North Sea were incredible. Thankfully, they had some coffee and cold water in the gift shop for a post hike refreshment.

Post Mt. Floyen, we got on a bus and headed to Mt. Ulricken. We headed up the gondola to see Bergen from the city’s highest peak. Once at the top, we hiked up to the mountain’s peak. The mountain top was home to a farm and several small lakes. The hike was exhausting, but well worth the hard work.

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Bergen Bound

We are Bergen bound!  This afternoon we said goodbye to the Aurlandsfjord and Flam area as we headed west to Bergen.  The westward journey was only 2 1/2 hours, which compared to our travels to Trondheim and the Fjords was a relatively quick trip.

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I have to say I was worried that driving in Norway would be disastrous for us, but it has worked out pretty well.  The road are quite narrower than what we are accustom to, h however,  but there is also significantly less traffic.  More importantly, our fellow drivers in here are far more congenial than they are in South Florida.  I can’t imagine South Florida drivers trying to navigate the mountain route up to Stegastein (nobody would survive.)

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The vista were once again spellbinding, which makes for an entertaining drive.  Tvindefossen is a waterfall visible from E16 just outside of Voss and is pictured above.  I don’t think any of us enjoy all the tunnels, especially my husband who has done most of the driving.  Thankfully, he gets a break from driving duty as Bergen is our home base for the next several days.   Bergen is a walking city that we are excited to explore.

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Exploring Borgund, Husum and Laerdal

Today was all about exploring Borgund, Husom and Laerdal, which is where my dad’s family emigrated from in the 19th century. We started our day off with some scrambled eggs and bacon in the cabin, which were absolutely delicious. The cost of food in Norway is outrageously expensive, so we’re trying to eat in whenever possible. Food at the restaurant is taxed at 25% whereas food purchased in the grocery store is 12%, which makes for a big difference in cost.

After our protein filled breakfast, we set out to meet my parents and brothers’ families at the Borgund Stave Church. The drive, like most in Norway, was spectacular. The landscape here is absolutely amazing and awe inspiring. Our timing was spot on and shortly after we pulled into the museum parking lot in Borgund, my brothers’ cars followed.

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There is a small musuem at the site with artifacts related to the staves churches of Norway and also relics from the Viking Era that had been excavated at nearby sites. As a history nerd, I was in complete heaven. Once we made our way through the museum, we headed to the church.

What is nice about this site is that the staff monitors how many people are in the church and prevents the church from being overcrowded. This ensures you have ample time and space to view the church and explore the grounds without being overrun by other tourists. Their was a large group in the church when we arrived, so we started to hike the Sverrestigen, part of the Kongevegan (King’s Road.) My grandma, at 87 years old, killed the hike. I had Jacob escort her up the hill as the the terrain, comprised of grass, mud, rocks and tree roots, was a bit slipper and I didn’t want her to fall. If you are wondering what the benefits of walking 3-5 miles daily are, here it is. My Grandma T able to hike the Norwegian hillsides at 87 without so much as breaking a sweat.

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The stave church was amazing. It is very dark inside and modestly decorated with much of the regalia of it’s Catholic era long gone. The details and intricacy of the woodwork and carvings are beyond compare. Interestingly, this church, like the stave church in Undredal, combines christian symbolism with pagan symbolism. This simply does not exist in churches outside of Norway. There were even Rune letters carved into the door perhaps by a parishioner who had become bored during the service.

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After exploring the church, we explored the church and cemetery grounds it was surreal knowing that these were the very soil our ancestors had walked before emigrating to the Untied States. Jacob and I completed the entirety of the Vindhellavegen trail from Borgund to Husom.  Meanwhile Luke and the other two waited for us at a picnic table. The Vindhellavegen drops you right into Husum (Husom) where our family had its farm.  The Husom Store and hotel are found here as well.  We hiked back from Husum to Borgund on the Vidhellavegen taking a steeper, rockier short cut of a climb back to the church.

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I’m sure our legs will hurt tomorrow, but the view and experience were well worth the pain. Post hike we headed to the Husum farm and then on to Laerdal. I loved seeing my dad on this part of the trip. You could see that he really enjoyed seeing where his family originated. Another humbling, wonderful day in glorious Norway.

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Catch of the Day

Our boys were thrilled they could fish as soon as we got to Laerdal.   Immediately, they were able to go fish on the fjord.  They started off their fishing adventure by walking through the cold water of the fjord on a narrow rock bar.  They had no luck in the shallow water.  We found a little inlet in the fjord where the water was calmer, deeper and closer to shore.  Here using only rooster tail lures both Goalielocks and the Mayor were able to catch their first sea trout.

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The Mayor’s was too small to keep, but Goalielocks’ fish was large enough to keep and also didn’t survive its re-entry to the water.  Since we had a nice fresh catch from the fjord, we cooked it up for dinner along with Norwegian meatballs with kjottkakesaus, jasmine rice, and corn.

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My hats of to my hubby the chef as the meal was more than edible, it was delicious.  We bribed Goalielocks and the Mayor since they are picky eaters.  We bribed them with the promise of an after dinner fishing session.   Dinner went well and they were quickly back on the fjord fishing.   What’s cool here in Norway is that fishing on the fjord is free.  If we wanted to fish the rivers for salmon or trout, we would have to get a special license from the government and potentially from the owner of that particular section of river.

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While the younger two and dad fished, Jake and I explored the town on foot.  We enjoyed a beautiful walk near the fjord and down the Laerdal River, where we’re hoping to run sometime tomorrow.

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The Trouble With Travel

The trouble with travel is hockey is trying to maintain healthy eating habits when the majority of your weeknights are spent at the rink and your weekends are spent driving across the state to other rinks.  Hockey season doesn’t have to be a diet killer if you’re well prepared.  Just like you would take the time to prep our meals for the work week, you have to take the time to prep your snacks  and meals for the road.

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After hundreds of miles on the road, the ease and quickness of fast food is alluring.  If, however, you’ve planned ahead and prepped your snacks and meals for the road, it is easy to drive by or skip out on the fast food.  Removing the temptation and not wanting to waste food will go a long way to keeping you on the diet wagon.

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Here are some great ideas for healthy snacks and easy meals for the road.

  • Almonds
  • Peanuts
  • Stringed Cheese
  • Apples or apple slices
  • Peanut butter or almond butter
  • Oranges – clementine’s are perfect for road trips as they are very easy to peel
  • Berries
  • Grapes
  • Popcorn
  • Baby carrots
  • Protein Shakes
  • Protein bars
  • Granola bars
  • Yogurt
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Celery sticks

If you carpool with other families, be sure your snacks align with any food allergies that may be present in your carpool group.

These snacks are easy, convenient, healthy and relatively inexpensive especially when compared to the cost of eating at a restaurant every trip.  For tips on how to indulge in an adult beverage or two without calling your waistline, see my tasty, but light on calories recommendations here.

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Finding Balance

We all have an Achilles heel that can trip us up as we pursue our fitness and health goals.  Sometimes, it is only a minor slip up that causes our healthy habits to start to taper off.  If you’re like me, a cheat meal can easily converts into a cheat week.

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So how do we stay the course without driving ourselves nutty?

  • Allow yourself latitude to miss a workout or eat a treat. It’s okay to not be perfect.
  • Don’t cut out whole food groups completely. Ditching carbs is certainly effective, but not practical long term.
  • Don’t give up everything you like. I can give up almost everything, but don’t make me give up or change my coffee!
  • Have a battle buddy.  Together you can keep each other on track and disciplined.
  • Sign up for a race or event, so you have a milestone to work towards.
  • Practice yoga, it will reduce stress (and stress hormones) and help you avoid injury by keeping you flexible.

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These are just a few tips you can use to taper off your unhealthy habits and convert them into healthy habits and on your way to a healthier lifestyle.

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