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

 

 

 

 

 

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Is that a loofah?

September 6, 2013

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ILjjRCdfOyI

Because its Friday – and really, who doesn’t need a little bit of ghost buster/gagnam style mashup to start their weekend off right?

Also of note this week

This insightful article about Vegans and B12 supplements.

I am two days into the Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 dvd and 1 day into her killer buns and thighs workouts.  Both sets had my muscles burning during the workout, but again, didn’t leave me overly fatigued afterwards.  One of the things I enjoy about the format so far is that by repeating the workouts for a set of 7-10 days at a time, I can really gauge my increase in strength and endurance for the moves.  Not to mention enjoying learning a few new moves to incorporate into my routine sans dvd workout.  I also managed to sneak in another outside run where I shaved off some time from my slower run this past weekend.  Going forward, I really want to complete all 30 days of each DVD, since I know consistency is key for any routine.  But I’ve also been morphing my goals and ideas for what I want my next personal challenge to be.  I’m hoping to maintain my running better than I have in my past, although I may not be looking at major distances right now, I firmly believe that running can be a good health maintenance workout.

Secondly, my friend is starting Insanity in the next few weeks and as a motivating factor, I offered up       challenge that I would complete it at the same time.   Anyone I know who has done it and based on reading about it, reviews etc say make it clear it is an intense workout, one which I’m looking forward to, but also nervous about.  It’ll be a good exercise (no pun intended) in self-motivation and pushing myself to the max.

Thirdly, watching all of the insanity videos, etc – really makes me crave the non-fitness competition esque abs and nice toned muscles.  I don’t expect to walk around looking like my stomach was chiseled out of marble, but the women in those videos are certainly something to aspire towards.  This goal will require a careful look at my eating regiment and figuring out a way to incorporate some heavier lifting alongside the bodyweight style workouts of Insanity.

And finally:

The budlight commercial from last night’s football game.  “What’s Queen-No?”

Enjoy your weekend friends! We are off to a fun little beer festival and looking forward to some time with family and friends.

xo

Lately

October 24, 2012

I’ve been pretty  boring so far this week:

What I’ve been Reading:  This Crazy Vegan Life.  I’m usually a fiction girl, but for some reason during the fall, I tend to skew towards non-fiction books before my love of mysteries takes over during the winter.  Who says seasons only affect our clothing and food choices, eh? 

I like the book so far.  I dabbled in Vegan cooking since this past Easter and unlike the first time I’ve done something like that – this go-round it seems to have stuck. Despite fighting the label of being a Vegan, its pretty clear that my choices have been definitively Vegan.  So after reading a few different books on Vegan and more recently, Macrobiotics – I picked up this book as one that came as highly recommended based on the other books I read and enjoyed.   It is a bit more of a “weight loss” book than a “all about macrobiotics and Vegan lifestyle” book so far – but I like the reinforcement of information about veggies and whole grains, protein etc.  I never quite bought into the idea that vegetarians and vegans couldn’t get enough protein in their diet and its nice to read information that backs me up on that. 

What i’ve been Eating:   In as much as my meals these past few weeks haven’t been photo worthy (read: drag out the DSLR worthy), I feel bad, because they’ve been incredibly tasty and nourishing  – definitely influenced by the books I’ve been reading (The Kind Diet – for like, the 3rd time now, The Hipchick’s Guide to a Macrobiotic Lifestyle and now This Crazy Vegan Life).   What I find most interesting is after focusing on a whole foods based diet with a ton of whole grains and green veggies, beans etc., everything is starting to taste very very good. And the processed foods that I rarely get, are all starting to taste very very salty or rich.  And I can definitely tell when i’ve eaten something that’s heavier than my normal meal.  It really makes me wonder if I’m relearning flavors, or if I’ve always liked the foods i’m cooking now and never prepared them. 

Dinners have been combos of beans, grains and veggies mostly – some soups and chilis, salads and stirfries dabbled in.  I’m trying to listen to what my body is asking for and cook that.  So last night, that looked like some roasted Buttercup Squash, simmered together with some black beans and a side of roasted asparagus, greenbeans and Swiss chard.   The night before it was a simple dinner of spaghetti and bean balls – ala Veganomicon. 

Lunches are mostly leftovers from the night before or whatever else needs eaten up (I love the satisfying feeling of cleaning another dish out from the fridge). I try to make sure I have some whole grains added into this dish, so for today, I cooked up a combo of Millet and Farro after dinner last night to go along with the leftover beans and squash for this afternoon – yum!  As for snacks, I’m trying to get away from the premade stuff and focusing more on things like nuts, dried fruits,  seeds and fresh green beans.

Breakfasts (why’d I go out of order?) I’ve been crushing pretty hard on mixes of quinoa with bulgur wheat, oats or barley lately.  A splash of almond or hemp milk, a few berries, or sliced bananas or raisins and BOOM.  Breakfast.  So satisfying. 

ONE thing that’s been interesting has been my cutting out the caffeine and more recently excess sugar – especially white sugars, etc.  The first week or so of caffeine cutting went pretty well, but the second week (last week) I was definitely foggy all week, a little snippy and a bit headachy.  This week I seem to have surpassed that.  While I won’t say I see things with a lot more clarity yet, I will say that I no longer automatically reach for the Keurig when I wake up in the morning and whats even more interesting is that wheras last week I would immediately turn on the tea kettle, this week the reflex is a lot less “necessary” and sometimes I sit and think “do I even want tea this morning?”.  I do love the cozy feeling of coffee though, especially on a weekend morning – so I did pick up some decaf coffee for when the mood strikes!

As for sugars – its too early to tell yet, but having purposefully avoided it for the last few days, drizzling my breakfast with a touch of maple syrup this morning was almost too much sweetness to handle.  What is going on!?

How i’ve been sweating:  Workouts oh workouts.  Its been a slow and steady climb back up from the black hole I fell into after my half-marathon and 10 miler this past spring/summer.  My body and mind revolted against the idea of another training plan and after a month or so of not-working out and justifying it, I definitely couldn’t justify the feeling like crap part, both physically and about myself.   So I’ve been working hard at doing workouts I want to do and retraining myself to view workouts as part of a healthy lifestyle, not another checkmark on the calendar or training schedule.  Last week that mean 2 days of bodypump and one night of yoga, plus a lot of walking and an easy breezy 5k.  This week, it means Bodypump so far, and last night’s speed interval workout on an incline!  I went with the intentions of walking (my legs have been a tad tired the past few days) the hills, but after awhile, once I was warmed up, I upped the ante’ and sweated out the rest of the session.  It felt great!

I’ve decided to start what I (half jokingly) call “Operation Ka-donk-a-donk”.  I want a nicer butt! 🙂 Girl’s gotta fill out a swim suit somehow, right?!  Which means focusing more on workouts that will ramp up the intensity on my glutes, like incorporating some inclines to my cardio (ahem).  It also means, after squabbling a bit about it for the past 2-3 months, adding in another day of lifting. I love bodypump, but its not necessarily made for building muscle.  So if I want changes, I’ll have to make changes to my routine.  So tonight, I’m sneaking in a lifting session at home with some heavier weights, lower reps before yoga work on some increased muscle tone.

 Happy Book reading for a Blog on Wednesday! 😉

xo

Sorry about the MIA yesterday, its been a rough few weeks ya’ll.

Since the last few months, I’ve been actively looking for a job to replace the one that would finish as soon as my current contract was completed, which was yesterday.  Its been stressful to say the least.   But now that I can say that I’ve finally secured another round of paychecks and work experience, I can stop, step back, take a breath and try to figure out everything that has gone through my head in the past few months.

In the very beginning I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t good enough.  I had worked hard, but should I have worked harder.  What had I missed that I shouldn’t have?  In essence, I tried my hardest to make a bad situation my fault.    Without putting the full blame on any one person, I have finally come to the conclusion that this wasn’t my fault and that sometimes, bad work situations just happen.  My dad has a great quote, that I thought about a lot and rolled it through my head over and over again.

To paraphrase, it speaks about lacking the courage to know when to stop.

While I generally don’t promote quitting, I think there is some definite truth in the idea.   There are times, when we stay in a situation, simply because we don’t want to have failed.    But sometimes, its a lot harder to say “this isn’t right” or that its not where we need to be.    And I spent a few months trying to figure out how to not fail and it took awhile for me to be mentally strong enough to admit that wasn’t failing, but moving on and away from a position that simply wasn’t right.

Whew.  Ok.  So now that THAT’S off the chest, lets talk about how its affected me in other parts of my days.  Lets see.

I’d like to say that, like most people, when things got a little crazy, that I turned to running and to working out as a safe-haven from everything.  Something to provide structure, accomplishment.  But truth be told, I was the absolute opposite.   I think for me, the working out, the running, the structure of a schedule and a routine comes in the aftermath of having everything else lined up.  Instead of running being an escape for me, its more of an extension of my normal and daily routines, so when those are disrupted, the workouts are necessarily so as well.  Which has been pretty clear with my less than stellar workout routines (ahem. or lack thereof?).  So much so, that i’m not entirely convinced that a full marathon will be a reasonable or safe thing to try in October, but I’m determined to do what I can in the remaining couple of months, now that all the different parts are starting to settle into place.

The other clear (to me) change has been in what i’ve been cooking and eating, or again, lack thereof.  Late and unhealthy lunches, carb heavy dinners, lack of veggies, nursing coffee instead of switching to water – it goes on and on and on and on and on and ON and on and on.  Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been horrible, it hasn’t been a crazy unhealthy diet, it just hasn’t been what I’m used to.

And yeah – I am pretty annoyed at myself for letting one thing trickle down into other facets of my life, but I’m also not going to beat myself up about it.  In an attempt to not be overly dramatic about it all – its simply an explanation and the newfound personal ability to look at the situation and say

Yeah, that sucked, but in the end -its not my fault, it certainly hasn’t defined who I am, but it has helped me to work my way through what could be crippling mind sets if left unchecked.  So if you’ve made it this far through what was my attempt at an open and honest release of words, thank you.  I’ll end with a quote that was conveniently put up today by one of my favorite blogs, http://ohsheglows.com/

Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”
― Marie Curie

And now, it is time to move on.

xo

Rest days

July 12, 2012

Rest days.

Rest days are VERRRRY hard for me.  I have an extremely active guilt complex and despite knowing that rest days are super important, especially when training for things, I can’t be the only person out there that finds them to be counter intuitive at times.  How can taking days OFF from working out, help you get BETTER at working out.   Its not that I don’t know the answers to questions like that, its just that sometimes they’re hard to accept.

And today, in case you couldn’t tell, is one of my rest days for the week.  And today, in case you couldn’t tell, i’m feeling particularly guilty about taking one.  I think part of this, is because I’m just starting to get back into the workout routine and I’m worried that by taking my day off, I’ll wind up back at square one.  But, in the name of good training, I am forcing myself to not workout today.  My muscles are sore and I know I could use the break.  Constant lifting, yoga’ing and cardio’ing, plus a long hilly walk last night has me beat.

So instead of working out, I treated myself to some kitchen time.

 

Making treats like these. No bake Chocolate Mocha cookies, ala one of my new favorite dessert blogs.   Don’t judge.

 

 

Although I can’t take credit for the recipe, I did make a few changes, mostly using regular flour instead of oat flour and upping the protein content by adding replacing the remaining 2 Tbsps of flour with Hemp Protein powder instead.   I also used up the last of my dark chocolate with cacao nibs bar instead of breaking into my chocolate chip stash.   The final switch was using instant espresso powder, rather than instant coffee, which I think may have added just a bit more of the flavor than coffee would have, but I can’t say for certain.

The cookies are small, but I couldn’t eat more than one of them, I don’t think.  They’re extremely rich, due to the dark chocolate and espresso powder, but that’s ok with me!  I’d rather have a few small bites of delicious than a lot of bites of “meh”.

 

You know, since its a rest day, and all.

 

Don’t judge.

xo

Possibility

July 11, 2012

The other day I read a post (ahem:  this one ), which to me, was pretty dang inspiring.  Namely, it reminded me to get off my butt and get back out on the road – because apparently I have a marathon to train for.   It also left me with a nagging thought about the idea of a bucket list.

We all have mental ones, right?  Where we think we have a firm grasp of what we want, but the thing about keeping a mental list, is that its so much easier to weasel your way out of a goal.  In fact, I can’t even say that I’ve ever sat down and come up with one, a real one.  I’ve had goals , but I’ve never had a list.   So I thought, in the midst of my re-motivation, what better time to make one?    Some of these are goals I’ve had for awhile and have been working on without thinking about, some of them are ones that I’m just starting to realize are important to me.

Bucket List

1.  Stay cc debt free for at least a year.

2.  Go to a professional sport even for Formula 1, hockey, football, baseball and basketball.

3.  Take cooking courses or earn a culinary certificate/degree of some kind.

4.   Consistent 8 minute mile pace

5.  Run a marathon

6. Comfortably own a house, with a dream kitchen.

7.  Learn another language (i’m partial to French &/or German).

8.  Practice Yoga on the beach

9.  Become proficient in dSLR photography (this would probably involve taking a course at some point?)

10.  Run a sprint Triathlon.

 

Is this list exhaustive?  Not in the least, but it absolutely highlights some of the things I’ve been thinking about the most lately.  Sure, I have other goals too, things like, nailing a 9 minute mile pace for a 5k by Thanksgiving, training consistently, enjoying more and stressing less.  Things that aren’t final goals or tangible ones, but stepping stones, so to speak.    I’m happy to see that not all of the items on my current list are fitness related and I reserve the right to add to the list, but promise only to remove from the list once that goal has been achieved.

And because a post feels naked without a picture and this picture seems relevant, i’ll share this with you.  Snapped while walking around Lancaster waaay back in April. 🙂

 

xo

This weekend I’m excited to be running the Baltimore Women’s Classic 5k with my friend, Lil.  Its her first race, but I’m hoping it won’t be her last!

I know a lot of people make the argument that paying to run doesn’t make sense, but to me, its more than just running.  Its an experience and it got me thinking about all of the races I’ve had the opportunity to participate in and some of the things I’ve learned from each – take a walk down memory lane with me, won’t you?

 

November 24th, 2011 – I ran my first race, joined by my little brother and his friend, a (sort’ve) local Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving day!  I hit my goal of 30 minutes for less.  Training for this race helped me to realize that I could run if I wanted to and that I wasn’t bound by 3.1 miles at an 11 minute pace.  I knew I was hooked and signed up for an 8k in December.

December 3rd (?), 2011 – I ran a second 5k in order to keep read for my long (at the time!) 8k race in the upcoming weeks.  Although I didn’t PR for the race at all, I enjoyed the run and learned the difference between pushing myself and just going for a run, all while jumpstarting my enthusiasm for training.

December 11th, 2011 –  The biggest race of the year! My 8k (5 miles or so) race in DC!  It was a cold delayed start, which had everyone grumbling and I can remember thinking that some of the scenery wasn’t as pretty as a run through DC should’ve been!  It was also the first race that I actually pushed myself through and ended, as per the advice of Brandon, feeling like death.  But it was worth it! I PRd in both distance and pace, crushing my projected finish time.  After this, I started thinking “maybe I could run a little further…”

March 28th (I think), 2012 – I did.  “pushing deep ain’t always pretty, but turns out its worth it…totally”.

June 9th 2012– I had the awesome chance to be with my other brother for his very first race, another 5k.  Seems I have a habit of getting people out of their comfort zones, for the better!

June 16th 2012 – Another first of sorts for me, a 10 mile run through the streets of Baltimore.  Its one of the biggest races in the area and didn’t disappoint! An early beer was the perfect way to celebrate another great run and I was reminded how amazing a racing community can be.

Which brings us to this Sunday, June 24th, 2012.  It’ll be my 7th race and the last one I’ve signed up for (so far!) between now and the Baltimore Marathon (eeeep!) in October.  I’ve been in a bit of a running slump lately, but looking back on everything had been a great reminder of not only how far I’ve come, but all the things I’ve learned and accomplished along the way.  So, here’s to the next 7 races, milestones, records broken  and lessons learned!

xo