And so it goes – 2014

January 2, 2014

Ah.  The obligatory – “NEW YEAR NEW ME!” post.    In all honesty – these are some of my favorite posts to read that are written by others and some of my favorite to write.  I’m a New Years Resolution junkie and am constantly bugging my friends and family with “whatcha gonna change? How are you going to change it? Huh huh huh??”  – so here goes.

2013 was a tricky one for me, it took a lot from me and my family.  So, I’ve decided that 2014 is my year.   

In the spirit of rising to the challenge, I went to town on resolutions for myself, but since this is a lengthy post as it is – I’ve decided to break down the resolutions over the next week or so, hopefully interspersed with legit posts to get back on track.  So lets start with list number 1:  probably the easiest and most relevant to this blog.  Fitness resolutions.

Fitness:

1.  Be active each day.  Whether or not its a scheduled day of training or just getting out for a long walk, doing yoga or a hike – I want to feel like I’ve moved each day.

2.  Be committed to lifting.  This year I re-discovered my love for traditional weight training and I started to put some efforts into creating an at home gym that I could  workout in, in lieu of a gym membership.   I slacked off a bit over the holidays and worked through some confusion of how to eat and train in order to get the kind of body I want.  Its a work in progress and although I have a sneaking suspicion I used it as a coping mechanism this summer, I really do enjoy lifting and have great respect for female lifters.

3.  Run 5 miles a week – that’s 260 miles in a year.  A few years back, I opted to train for races as my goals and did fairly well.  Last year, I didn’t sign up for any races and my running dropped significantly.  This year, I’m trying a new to me tactic that I’ve seen floating around before, which is set a weekly mileage goal.  Its a concrete goal that I can work for, without having something to train for specifically.  I’ve kept my goal fairly small (cough cough: attainable and maintainable cough cough:), because I know my mind’s ability to overwhelm itself when I’m thinking about too stressful of a goal.   And  since I have a hard time admitting that a few miles and not 3-4-5 miles is worth the time, I’m trying to remember that its not how I get to the goal, but that I achieve it.   In preparation for this, I bought myself some fancy new kicks to start it off right.

4.  Put at least 20 miles on the bike a month – that’s 240 miles in a year..  We have bikes.  Mine is my baby.  We have not explored the trails nearly enough to make its purchase worthwhile.  Biking is something my husband and I both truly enjoy, both by ourselves and with friends.  So this year, in an effort to get out on the bikes more, I’ve set a monthly mileage goal.  Anyone who’s hopped on a bike, know that its definitely not a difficult goal to meet and I have big plans of crushing this mileage goal.  But at the very least it’ll get us out for a weekend ride 1-2 times a month and that’s really what is most important.

5.  Incorporate Yoga and Insanity into weekly workouts.   I have a tendency to have tunnel vision when it comes to my “training”.  If I’m weight training, then I absolutely cannot replace a lifting day with a cardio day or yoga day, etc.  I also have a really hard time saying “OK well, Wednesdays are Yoga only”, because whether I’m lifting or running, its hard for me to give up a day of training, period.   But I enjoy yoga, and damn it Insanity was expensive.  So as a tie in to goal number 1 – I’d like to include more flexibility to my fitness routine, which will go a long way for making it a lifestyle habit, rather than a training for a specific goal habit.

So far – its been only a day since yesterday, so I haven’t really gotten a chance to put these resolutions into practice, although I got a head start on a few and lifted at home on Monday and Tuesday, which while not a lot – was better than nothing.  I have plans to get in a workout tonight and am thinking that an easy little run is in order. I’ve got some shiny new Nike Frees and 5 miles to get in by Sunday, eh?

So there you have it, my fitness resolutions (give or take a few).  I tried to keep them concrete and obtainable, which I think is so incredibly important for tracking progress.    I’ve got a hefty list of other resolutions that include personal, foodie and work related ideas, but they can wait for another day.

I hope everyone had a wonderful set of holidays and that they stayed relatively healthy 🙂 and here’s to 2014.

xo

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Back on track: how

September 4, 2013

Last week I let on that this week would be all about getting “back on track”.  In an attempt to do so I spent a good bit of time thinking about how I wanted to do that – workouts, mentally and nutritionally.

On the workout front, I managed to finally, finally get back outside for a run.  Since moving, I developed an inexplicable aversion to running outside in my neighborhood, for the ENTIRE summer.  Thoughts like “oh, the kids will see me and what will they THINK?”  would sneak through my head.   And I am the first to admit they are perhaps some of the most ridiculous and ludicrous thoughts, ever.  When I trained for my half marathon, I’d be out in the snow and rainy winter nights in OTHER people’s neighborhoods to get in my runs, but yet, running in my own had my butt parked firmly inside.  I did get in some treadmill runs, but staring at my basement wall is oh.so.interesting. when it comes to helping those minutes crawl by.   It wasn’t a long run, persay – about 3.5 miles, but after limiting myself to mile interval runs lately, it was nice to see that my body could still run for distances more appropriate for a full length “run”.  And of course, like most things – once I got started, it was one of those “wait, why was I worried about this again?” moments.  Which we all saw coming, I’m sure.   I topped off the run with 2 hours of mowing the lawn, with a non-self propelled mower.  You never fully appreciated hills in a yard until you have to haul a lawn mower up them for 2 hours in the heat. Yikes.  Needless to say, with a run and the mowing – my legs were pretty tired by the end of my morning. 

I’ve also decided to try something fun and new with my workout routines this month to keep things interesting and frankly hold myself accountable.  I’ve never really been a fan of workout dvds, mostly because I feel pretty ridiculous marching in place while staring at ladies in pastel leotards and legwarmers (thanks mom, for that childhood memory).  Although, I would probably sweat to the oldies with Richard Simmons anyday of the week.  Kidding.  Sort’ve.   Moving on.  Plus, I never stuck with a dvd long enough to see any “results”. 

I will always be an advocate of regular, no excuses exercise – hopping on a bike, getting in a walk, a run or lifting – etc etc.  But like I said, trying to keep things fresh and fun over here, plus with my legs being sore and overall just tired from the weekend of moving  – I purchased the Jillian Michaels 30 days to Ripped DVD workout series and her killer butt and thighs dvd (a constant trouble spot for me).  The Ripped is a 4 week series of workouts featuring her 3-2-1 system of 3 strength moves, 2 cardio moves and 1 set for abs for 30 minutes (including warm up and cool down), with 3 separate rounds per workout, changing it up each week for 30 days.  The purchase included a meal plan, but after giving it a brief glance over, I was pretty confident that my current eating habits, while could always do with some tweaking, don’t need a major overhaul.  Now,  I’m not kidding myself into thinking that these workouts alone will get me results that diligent cardio and weight training will ultimately do, but the goal for me is to incorporate the workouts on days that I’m not running or doing heavier lifting as a way to keep toned, gain endurance, etc.   So last night, with strict instruction to Brandon that if he dared to walk into the bedroom while I was working out he’d be toast, I went for round 1 of Ripped with Jillian Michaels.    The workout didn’t have me dripping with sweat, but my legs and arms were definitely tired by the end without feeling overly wasted from the workout.  I enjoyed that it wasn’t too “aerobic” in style and of course, I’m a big fan of working out multiple muscle groups with one strength move – which most of her moves incorporated.  There were also a good number of pushups and forced ab time, which I need – since I tend to wimp out on the abs in my own workouts (shame shame shame) and pushups are something I think are badass if you can do more than a few at a time.   I haven’t tried the butt and thighs workout yet, but may try that tonight with some cardio tacked on. 

And because being healthy isn’t just about what we eat and how we workout – I’ll leave you with some shots from our weekend, where I was determined to experience something beautiful, although the three don’t have to be mutally exclusive, which we proved this weekend – enjoying a morning of hiking in beautiful beautiful PA.   

Image

ImageHope everyone had a relaxing labor day weekend and are starting off the “new school year” right!  🙂

xo

Keeping Motivated

August 21, 2013

When I first started running and was serious about getting back into a workout schedule, I found the motivation to be a lot easier than it is today.  I signed up for races and had a training schedule that told me when and for how long to run.   I joined a gym that had a class schedule that I followed in order to make my monthly payments worthwhile.  Since then, without a training or gym class schedule to follow, I’ve been trying to figure out different ways to get myself motivated to put in the miles.  The recent move and tough summer resulted in completely undisciplined workout schedules and basically getting it in when I could-so on top of trying to figure out a good routine,  I was also working against my lack of motivation and definite loss of endurance – i.e. the idea of putting in even a few miles on the treadmill was enough to make me want to quit before even starting.   So I started out slow, focused a bit more on lifting, which I honestly enjoy and took an active re-interest in creating fun and nutritious meals, while slowly working the cardio back into piece by piece.   

All of this to say, that even though I’m not motivated to just run 3-4 miles straight as my workout, I AM getting in my mileage.  Lately, I’ve been experimenting with running intervals and breaking them up with a lifting set.  Not only is this helping to keep me from losing focus or getting bored, its also a good way to incorporate lifting and work on endurance/speed.  It’s a lot easier for me to sprint a shorter segment than try to maintain a faster pace for a whole run.  Plus, it lets me focus on certain muscle groups on different nights.  So, I started out with running quarter mile segments between lifting sets, and tacking on a mile or so afterwards, then I upped it to half mile segments with a walk to finish.   Last night, my workout looked something like this:

Run:  1 mile

Lift:  Squats + calf raises x10

        Lunges x5 forward and rear lunges per side

         DB Bench press + butt lifts  -x10

        DB leg curls – x10

Repeat for 3 miles. 

 See?  Still getting in my mileage and still working hard.  Even though I didn’t get in a solid 4-5 mile run, (or hell, even a 3 mile run) – I sprinted the last few minutes of my final mile and enjoyed that exercise high that you can get when you push yourself pretty hard and you break that peak of endorphins.  Its moments like that, that I remember why I’m working so hard to get back into a schedule, on top of all the other benefits – sometimes it just feels good to kick some ass 🙂

 xo

And just like that – it happens to be Monday. 

My weekend was stellar.  Seriously a fantastic weekend.  Brandon’s parents were down and we spent Saturday at the zoo for the Okto-BEAR-fest (ha ha) and a walk around the zoo.

A face only a mother could love?

Once again, I was reminded of how little we actually need to be truly happy and this weekend’s lesson came from the Elephants. 

The little (??) guy on the right was the baby elephant and on the left was his mom.  And you would not believe the amount of fun this guy had just rolling around in the water.  I’m not saying in order to be happy we should go jump in a pond (then again, why not?)  – but just to remember that its ok to take pleasure out of the simple things. 

 The rest of our weekend was a glorious Sunday in the DC/Alexandria area.  I got to spend the morning with some of my favorite people and  get completely covered in colored corn starch (err..what?).  Early Sunday morning, we headed down to the National Harbor to participate in the 2nd D.C. Color Run.  It was untimed, it was a gorgeous route ( I mean, SERIOUSLY gorgeous) and just a lot of fun. 

Before, all clean and pumped with my accidental running buddy, Lil

 

After, not clean and STILL pumped with one of my best friends, Heather. Note the color.  See also my short hair.  GROW HAIR GROW.

Although I certainly wasn’t breaking any land speed records, I was proud that I was able to get out and run the full race having not done any serious running in the past few months.  I won’t be shy in admitting either that it was a bit of a relief to know that I could.  I was anticipating the worst, mentally and even though I breathed a little hard going up the ridiculous hill, I think everyone did.  Long story short, I don’t know if it revived my interest in running, but it certainly did more for it than anything else has done lately. 

We topped off the weekend with an afternoon in Alexandria, VA. 

Gorgeous anytime of the year.  I seriously love this place.  

With a weekend of walking, running and walking in the books.  We were BEAT last night.  Early to bed and early to rise for me this morning, where I put my tired legs through their paces with a serious squat track for the new body pump release.   A solid way to start the week after a pretty solid weekend.

How was your weekend?

xo

Helllooooo Friday

September 7, 2012

Dude.  Does anyone else feel like today would never get here?  I don’t mean to complain about something like this, since we just had a holiday.  Say it with me now , T.G.I.F.  annnnd exhale.

Yesterday my body/mind revolted and decided it needed a break.  Which is all well and good, but seriously self?  A break from what!?   But all the same, that’s exactly the conclusion I came to.  Having worked my way back into my workout schedule, I have quickly remembered why exactly I preferred morning workouts.  I MISS having my evenings to get stuff done.  And if i’m perfectly honest with myself, there really isn’t anything that’s gone wrong.  Just random unfounded stress.  I have to make a dessert for this weekend (seriously, little brother turning 21? ?? Too soon, world, too soon), which is fine – i’d much rather make a dessert that I feel good about eating than skipping out completely or nabbing a bite of the birthday cake (red velvet, if you were curious.  We DO live dead smack in the middle of PA dutch country).  Instead of adding one more thing to my mom’s plate, I offered to bring my own.

Sneak peek!

I was pretty cranky at the end of work yesterday, but was 100% determined to make the most of my night at home.  I was tired and my hips were still a little achy from my run on Tuesday.  Not “can’t walk” sore, but a little tweaky all the same.  I was pretty set on getting in a workout, but running or elliptical was still up for grabs.  I decided to trick myself into a run,  promising I could stop after 2 miles if I wasn’t feelin it, fully aware that is pretty darn hard for me to make myself stop at 2 miles (if you can do 2, then you might as well just pound out 3).  It was another slow and difficult run, but it was another run.  Its crazy how I’ve managed to forget how I felt when I first started running almost a year ago.  Its also pretty crazy how much endurance and speed i’ve lost.  It has really served to convince me how much easier it is to be fit, when you’re innately healthy.  And even more so, how truly healthy you really have to be, in order to operate at a certain level of fitness (she says with a pan of freshly baked _______ for dessert this weekend sitting at home).

It hasn’t been all bad though.  We’ve managed to keep it pretty healthy here for dinners this week – that crockpot tofu bbq had a few snags, but still turned out delicious.

I’ve been re-reading one of my favorite healthy lifestyle blogs (www.ohsheglows.com) and I think my craving for big fresh salads at dinner has her name written alllllll over it.

And I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again – a gym class workout is the BEST way to start the morning.  I grumbled getting there, but once I was there it was done in a flash.  I’m tellin’ ya, starting and ending my week with the same ladies, blood pumping music, exhales of relief at the end of a hard set, and kick butt instructors that you can’t help but be inspired by – there is no other way.  This week our normal Friday instructor had a buddy with her, so she spent some time wandering through the room correcting form.  I’ve had some weight lifting training before, and I was glad to see most of my form has remained in tact.  She gave me a few pointers for tricep dips (namely how to make them harder…yeah, thanks for THAT), and made some minor adjustments on my curls and chest presses.  I know some people don’t like it, but I really appreciate when an instructor adjusts our form, in any class.  I’d rather be doing the workout correctly than risk hurting myself!

And of course, the best part (ok, one of the best parts) about an early gym class workout?  A relaxing Friday night and that GREAT first sip of coffee when you get in the car to head to work.

Hello loverrrr

Now its time to get through this Friday ladies and gents, finish strong!

xo

Cheating a little

September 5, 2012

I’m cheating a little bit by showing you something I made last week – but I am super proud of the meal.    And I think it still embodies my goal of incorporating more whole foods into our meals.    Even if its a no-brainer of an idea, sometimes they’re the ones that taste the best.

Friends, allow me to introduce you to the best way to use up leftover chile.  Meet, the chile enchilada.

I had some leftover black bean and sweet potato chile last week that we wanted to use up before the weekend.  So we opted to make some homemade enchiladas.  I was worried the chile on its own just wouldn’t be quite enough, so I whipped together a mix of wild rice and farro with some enchilada sauce to add a few more grains and some crunch.

ps – that was some good thinking.

Add some Daiya cheddar, the necessary enchilada sauce and popped it in the oven to warm it all up.  And we found ourselves with a delicious alternative to warming up a bowl of leftover chile.

Lovin’ this shorter work week  – but definitely trying to keep up with the normal workout schedule.  Got in my cardio last night and dang was it tough.  Guys, I forced myself back onto the treadmill.  I’ve been thinking about slipping back into my running routine, especially since I’m a weirdo and actually hurt from using the elliptical.   One thing that I am a firm believer of, is that running gets easier as you become lighter.  Makes sense, right?  Any cardio will.  So after a week or two of pretty healthy eating habits and filtering back in the lifting and cardio, I thought I’d try my hand at running again.  I didn’t have any illusions of bangin’ out a PR, but I was hoping for a decent run.  I’ve been trying to figure out why its taken me so long to hop back on the tread and part of it is really that I’ve become comfortable not running.  I was also a little nervous about the struggle I knew it was going to be.  And I was right, it wasn’t easy.  It wasn’t anywhere near a PR, but it wasn’t AWFUL either.  My knee was a little tweaked, I took a short two minute walking break to walk out a cramp and I was s.l.o.w.  But I am happy to say I logged 3 miles, because hey – mileage is mileage, right?  Besides, despite my anti excuses mantra, I HAVE had a rough couple of months.  So if it takes a little bit for me to work back into a healthy lifestyle – that’s cool with me.

So as a reward for my run yesterday, I am pumped for some  much needed yoga tonight!  Its not our normal instructor (who I love to pieces), but if its the normal substitute instructor, it should be a relaxing hour of gentle stretching – which will probably feel great after yesterday’s run.  Still on the fence about my elliptical warm up.  But I have some tofu cooking in the crockpot for a quick and easy dinner tonight of Tofu BBQ (first time trying this out).  I’m excited to see how the tofu holds up – i’ve been making sloppy joes using some veggie “beef” crumbles, but they’re not vegan and in the spirit of eating less processed foods, I’ve gone for tofu instead.  Reminds me of the manwich commercials:

“Mama don’t you make me another sandwich! Forget the mac and cheese, I want some fun slapped on a bun I want a <tofu>manwich pleeeeeeeeeeeeeease”

Happy Wednesdaying everyone!

xo

All sorts of cravings

August 3, 2012

Ugh.  I don’t know about you all – but this constant heat & humidity is starting  its inevitable trend towards making me crave the cooler crisp weather of the fall.  If there’s one thing I can’t get enough of, its a chilly Saturday or Sunday morning with the promise of a day full of football, hikes and open windows.  All wrapped up in cozy clothes and of course, the food.  Don’t get me wrong – I love fresh produce and can’t ever seem to get enough, but there’s definitely a point where I start to crave those richer flavors of fall.  Of course, once fall and the holidays are over, all I want is spring spring spring and sunshine, I’m clearly never satisfied 🙂

Since I’ve always been one to try and avoid wishing my life away and since we’ve clearly got at least another month or two of heat, I’d do some window shopping and list making to try and relax the craving a bit.

 

1.  Pumpkin spiced anything. I’ve been seriously craving those nutmeggy spicy flavors lately and been on a serious baking kick.  Since I’m not always one for a super sweet dessert, my baking tends to take on the form of a breakfast piece.  I found  this recipe on Angela’s site and am seriously wondering if its ok to bring a little  taste of fall into August?

2.  Speaking of baking, with a lack of breakfast items in the house, yesterday morning I threw these little puppies together.

Perfect little cinnamon raisin scones, that are bite sized, but lovely with a swipe of earth balance.   Great in the AM for a quick breakfast, but also a nice way to end the night with a cup of tea and a good British Mystery.

3.   As evidenced above, lately I’ve been devouring any British mystery  and period piece mystery I can get my hands on.  Currently I have been on a serious Sherlock Holmes kick and while that tends to manifest itself in drinking pots of (decaf) black tea  with a plate of scones or biscuits (ahem: above), I snuck a peek at these beauties.

A growing trend for the Fall and while I’m not always one for the trends, I have to admit, the pattern reminds me of something right out of a Conan Doyle novel and that, my friends, is a weakness the world is waiting to exploit  (photo source)

4. Running in the fall.

’nuff said (image source).

5.  The colors and clothes of fall.  Even though I know I’ll be craving the bright summer neons and springy pastels, swingy summer dresses and breezy tops,  I have a serious jonesin for my boots, tights and those dark browns, reds and purples that are synonymous with fall.  Not to mention that perfect temperature where you can head outside in a light jacket or long sleeved shirt and not be too cold, but aren’t sweating your brains out either.

6.  

Glass of red on a cool night, anyone?  (source)

I know feeling antsy towards the end of a season is pretty common and as much as i’m looking forward to the change, there’s still a lot of summer left to enjoy.   I’ve spent a lot of mine worrying and stressing about work and the job situation and now that I have the chance to breathe a little bit I’m determined to take advantage of it.

xo