A salad! Feeling thrashed after a very active week!

Some people think that if you eat vegan food, you’re eating nothing but fruit smoothies and salads. Other people think that if you eat vegan food, you’re eating nothing but Oreo cookies and soft drinks (Coke, soda pop, whatever). LOL. To be honest, sometimes I do eat smoothies and salads on a regular basis, but other times, I just don’t get around to doing it. In the past month, I think I have only eaten a salad three different times. Today, thankfully, was one of them! This was a great meal for me on a day when I was feeling thrashed after a very active week!

By the way, I’m pretty sure I have eaten exactly zero smoothies in the past couple of months or more. I do like smoothies; they are a great way to down a bunch of nutrition in a hurry. I just haven’t haven’t been had the mental bandwidth to deal with them lately. Ha ha!

The salad is the Trader Joe’s vegan ranch crunch, which I really like because it’s so easy, just open up the packages and dump it in a bowl. It comes with a ranch salad dressing, which I like, but sometimes I like a little extra. That’s where this vegan creamy dill dressing, also from Trader Joe’s, comes in. It’s cauliflower based and low in carbs.

My husband added some sliced tomato with black pepper on top, because we had some tomatoes we needed to use up. He also added some edamame beans for protein. (The vegan ranch crunch salad doesn’t have much of any protein unless you add something to it.)

This was a delicious combo! I had a very busy day today. I was working at my computer nonstop, arranging upcoming inspections by talking to people on the phone, texting back-and-forth with different people who are arranging the boats, the equipment, the lane closures, and all the other things that we need for the inspection. I didn’t have a chance to do any exercise because I was so busy working at the computer and being on the phone for work. However, I was feeling pretty thrashed as I’ve had a very active week, I already had 80,000 steps on the Fitbit, in five days. This is quite a lot more activity then I have grown accustomed to, during the first three years of the pandemic.

During the first three years of the pandemic, I gained 20 pounds and worse than that, I really got out of shape. I used to commute to work every day, by taking the train, and now that I have a Fitbit, I’ve realized that this basically baked 10,000 steps into my day as a baseline. Then, if I ran around the lake for an additional 7000 steps, that was on top of my baseline of 10,000 steps that I would get just for my usual commute to work.

When we stopped commuting to the office on a regular basis because of the pandemic, I didn’t stay at home all day like some people. As you know, my coworkers and I have been kicking butt, doing these bridge inspections in the outdoors, as we do, this entire time. The bridges didn’t stop needing to be inspected just because of the pandemic.

However, many of our bridge inspections don’t require very much physical activity on our part. For many of our Bridge Inspections, we are standing or sitting in a basket, operating the controls of the basket which take us all around the bridge. Yes, we are kicking butt, in the cold, the sun, the wind, the rain, the heat, operating these controls and we are in a lane closure, right next to live traffic which could kill us in an instant, if a distracted driver veers into us. Or, if we operate the controls incorrectly and smash ourselves into the underside of the bridge, obviously we will be seriously injured or killed. So we are kicking butt by doing this very difficult job. However, for many of the inspection days, we aren’t actually walking anywhere or doing much physical activity. For some of the bridge inspections we are doing a lot of physical activity, but those are not as frequent as the ones where we are in the outdoors and exposed to physical dangers but less active.

Over the years, as the pandemic has worn on, I have realized that I truly need to add some extra exercise to make up for the regular exercise that I previously did on my commute. I also used to walk the stairs in the office, anytime I had a phone call. And I also used to run around the lake during my lunch break if there were days when I was in the office or when I got back from the bridge inspection time in the afternoon / evening. At home, I don’t have any indoor stairs where I can easily take a phone call like I had in the office, and I don’t have a convenient place to run outdoors like Lake Merritt in Oakland.

I started using a Fitbit once again about three weeks ago, and I’ve never went into the peak cardio mode, with heart rate high enough to go into that, doing my usual activities like aerobics, dancing, rock climbing, walking, climbing stairs, and so on. I did my first run of 2023, around the lake, about a week ago, and finally I got into the peak cardio mode! So I think that running must’ve been a very good for me, especially since it seems that I don’t normally go into that mode otherwise.

Over the past few weeks with a Fitbit, I’ve been gradually increasing the number of steps that I take each week. I think that has been adding up to better overall fitness for me. I track my runs in Strava once in a while. The graph below shows how my time to run around the lake is getting faster.

I’ve had a quite a few setbacks, every time I try to get into shape, over the past few years. Right now I’ve only been going strong for about two months. I hope I can keep going without any other injuries or other major setbacks.

I feel like I’ve been stuck at running at a 13 or 14 minute pace per mile, for the past few years. Very encouraging to see that I’ve gone from a 14-minute pace to an 11-minute pace in two months. I had started to think that at age 48, I just won’t be able to get faster again, Hoping for good things to come in the new year 2023.

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