I’m Back!

Well hi there!! I bet you thought I had dropped off the face of the planet. I think I get the most sporadic blogger award 😉 work has been nuts and it’s really hard to sit down and write a post when you have a puppy whose favorite perch is your chest. Seriously. She feels the need to be SO close to me that she will sometimes lay across my chest while we’re on the couch. And I let her because it makes me feel loved and her tummy is so warm! She also likes to perch on my shoulder and sit in the sunlight by the window, kind of like a cat.

 

Anywhoooo, since my half marathon I’ve done 2 races and 2 runs for a grand total of 12 miles. In 4 months. At first I was disappointed in myself and then scared that I might not like running anymore. It seriously took a ridiculous amount of effort to get myself out the door for those runs and all but ONE was done because I had committed to doing them with friends.

I was pretty sure that I was over running. Like an it’s not you it’s me type thing. The guilt set in, and then I was scared that if I did run, I would not be able to do it.

I finally got myself psyched to run the day before yesterday after work. I walked a bit with my husband and the pup to warm up, then I ran a loop that’s just shy of three miles. And includes a hill of death. I walked up that part but SERIOUSLY I wanted to die, I need to check on my garmin how much of an elevation change it is. My goal is to continue to do this loop a few times a week and eventually RUN up the hill of death without actually facing death.

Once I actually got out there, sans music, just me and my breathing, I was reminded how much I enjoy running! I had had a long busy day at work, but it all melted away. Also, because I am not training for anything, I simply ran until I felt like I needed a break, walked for a bit and then continued. But don’t confuse this with an easy workout, any time I wanted a break I would pick a spot in the distance and run HARD till I got there, then walked for less than a minute.

By the time I got home I was drenched in sweat and feeling really good about getting out there!

Bottom line, I like running, and I think I just needed a break after my half to remember that. So much of my training was completed because I felt that I HAD to not that I WANTED to. There’s no point in forcing yourself to do something you dread, so I am glad I took some time to step back.

Also, fun fact, yesterday was my two year anniversary!

Being the worst wife ever, I forgot that I had to go to the dance studio to help out, and like an idiot I forgot that the 1st was a Tuesday. Also, I steal the M&Ms out of his trail mix.

Tips for Working Out at Home

Evening! I hope that you had a great Tuesday. Mine was busy. The whole time I was at work was go go go, until I left, an hour after I was scheduled to. It was a great day though, but I know I didn’t have enough to drink because I have a killer headache now. My glasses are on and I am hydrating, and hopefully I will be good to go before bed 🙂

For about the past three months, I’ve been mainly working out at home. I felt like once I got really into running, it wasn’t worth the money I was spending since I wanted to do the majority of my workouts outside. Once I invested in the ChaLEAN Extreme workout DVDs, I loved it even more because I could get in a great strength workout at home, without a lot of equipment.

Working out at home is definitely a double edged sword, on one hand you don’t have to drive anywhere, nor do you have to spend a lot of money on a gym membership. But on the other hand, [I think] you need a lot more discipline.

So, in the spirit of the New Year, I thought I would share some of my at-home workout tips:

  • You don’t need fancy equipment. I have two resistance tubes (the ones with the handles, you can REALLY up the intensity and get a great burn in, trust me), 5 lb. hand weights, a resistance band, and a good yoga matt. I didn’t buy them all at once either, I accumulated them over the years. Jump ropes are fantastic. I should get one.
  • Dress up for the gym. Wear workout clothes and shoes, not pjs and slippers. Your body will feel better for it, and your mind will be more into it. Shoes give you a stable foundation which is vital for injury prevention (for me anyways, everyone is different and I am no expert).
  • Take the time to schedule in your workout. This is huge because the couch is RIGHT THERE. Don’t say (as I often do) “I will just workout sometime after work.” Nope, not going to happen. Take the time to schedule in your workout, and in my opinion, the earlier the better, when possible.
  • Organize your space. We live in a cozy little house, and I don’t have a huge living room, nor a room I can dedicate all to fitness (just WAIT until we get a house with a sun room, it’s going to be awesome). A messy house is a HUGE distraction for me, and I find it a lot harder to focus on my workouts when I have clutter distracting me.
  • Make your gear accessable. This is another big deal, don’t hide it away in a closet or in the entertainment center. Out of site out of mind, right?
  • Make a schedule and make it visible. My training schedule is up on the fridge, but even if you aren’t training for something in particular, take some time each month to map out your workouts and make a plan. That way you don’t have to think about what to do once you’re ready to workout, it’s already ready to go.
  • Minimize excuses. Get dinner in the oven, tell the kids to play quietly in their rooms, ask the husband to give you some time alone, whatever works for you so that you won’t become distracted and cut your workout short. But on the other hand, if you DO get distracted, COME BACK. It’s better to take a 20 minute break to deal with something and come back than to just let the rest of your workout go.
  • Get DVDs. Want workout DVDs for free? Hit up the library. Most larger city or county libraries will let you order from other branches and pick up wherever is most convenient for you. Check out their website! But don’t rely on DVDs, you can also find great free workouts online, just poke around.
  • Incorporate some quiet time into your workout. This is something that I LOVE to do before the day starts. For me it really sets the tone for my day. After your workout, just sit, stand, stretch, or whatever, and take a moment to feel how great your body feels after working out.

Do you workout at home? Do you have any fancy equipment? I know I say it about 100 times a day, but I would love a treadmill for the wintertime, with an iPad stand haha. Or a spin bike in front of the TV, why not be productive while watching 200 episodes in a row of 30 Rock and How I Met Your Mother and Felicity

Making Resolutions

Happy Friday!! I decided somewhat last minute to take today off, for a few reasons. One, I was feeling a little fried, and I saw on my pay stub that I have nearly 80 hours of PTO, and I had finished all my work for the week. Win. I slept in, now I am sipping coffee and blogging, and it’s amazing.

Pretty much everywhere you look in blogland, you see 2012 recaps, or super detailed resolutions for the bloggers, which really got me thinking about how I am fairly on the fence about the whole resolutions thing, and here is why: If you really want to make a change, why wait until a certain date on the calendar says to?

But, on the other hand, the end of the year makes a great excuse to look at where you were a year ago, where you are now, and use the turning of the calendar to refocus on getting what you want out of life.

This year, I am taking the time to set a few goals for the year, but at the same time, I am not doing anything drastic, just because it’s 2012. Maybe that’s why a lot of resolutions are failed or forgotten, some of it is forced by the calendar, and people aren’t 100% behind themselves. (Don’t get me wrong though, I think that a lot of people also have great resolutions and excel at them, it’s different for everyone.)

So this year I’ve decided to set some goals I would like to achieve. Nothing drastic or dramatic, but things I really want to accomplish.

source

1. Run a half marathon. This will be a fast one to nock out, since it’s 4 weeks away. After my first, I will see if maybe I want to run another one, the Salt Lake City half sounds like fun!

2. Reach my goal weight of 140 lbs by my 25th birthday (Aug. 31).

3. Vamp up the blog. The last few months have been great, and now that I feel like I’ve found my groove, I just want to keep going.

4. Get back into dance.

5. Set up, and stick to, a budget with the husband so we can move towards a new car and a house 🙂

6. Apply to get my masters in strategic communications from the University of Utah (once I’ve been in Utah for a year so I can get the resident’s rate).

So here is the kicker, it’s one thing to set goals, but you need to create a plan for success. 

1. I feel like I am already half way through the half marathon goal, so that one is already set. IF I decide to do the second one, I am going to look into a longer training plan, that includes more cross training. If I decide not too, I am still going to continue running. Let’s face it, I am hooked.

2. So this is a three parter, but ultimately it boils down to consistency. One, to broaden my fitness horizons with new workouts, new challenges, and continually pushing myself physically. Two, eat a balanced, healthy diet with the goal of weight loss in mind. No crash diets or detoxes or quick fixes, they don’t work. Three, get into the game mentally. I have a tendency to ebb ad flow when it comes to my weight loss focus, and that’s not going to help any.

3. I have some exciting plans for this, but I think I’d rather keep it as a surprise for you.

4. I miss it SO MUCH! I found a few studios I want to try in the area. Time to bust out my leotards and ballet shoes. This is something I’ve been putting off because I feel “too big” to go back to dance. But really, at 400+ calories an hour, what better way to get toned?

5. It’s just something good to do every year to keep things on track.

6. This is something I’ve been toying with for a while, and I think it’s a great time to do it.

I am sure that other things will come up, but I think that this is a great place to start 🙂

How do you approach the new year? 

Uncharted Territory

Good afternoon! I hope you are having a lovely day so far. I have been a busy bee and didn’t realize how late it was. I just finished a larabar and some tea, it was the perfect afternoon pick-me-up before my 4 mile (easy) run I have on the books today.

Speaking of mileage, I am officially in unchartd territory. I’ve talked a little about my history with running, but I’ve never run father than 4 miles at one time. Until last week.

(The first 7 and 5 had a few miles of scheduled walking. From Daily Mile) but my 5 mile long run is the farthest I’ve ever run. In. My. Life. Pretty crazy to think about! Especially since I am just over a third of the way there.

I know this sounds silly, but it never really dawned on me that I would be running this far. I mean, I knew I would be running, but I never realized how much. Suddenly, I see that after today, I’ve run farther than 100 miles since I started training. If you had told me that a year ago, I would have thought you were nuts.

I realized today that there was really only two ways I could think of this. One, I could become scared and uncertain because I have crossed the line into the unknown. OR, I can realize that I have accomplished more than I ever thought possible and I am going to continue to soar.

I chose the latter.

Maybe I am not as fast as I hope to be, or I am not as slim as I want to be, or one thing or another. But I can’t focus on that. I can focus on listening to body and pushing myself to my limits, and beyond. That’s the ONLY way accomplish something amazing.

I’d love to hear new accomplishments you are proud of, they don’t need to be any kind of fitness or running related! Share something you are excited about, don’t be shy! Take a minute to brag about yourself, I know you deserve it 🙂

No One Said It Would Be Easy

Morning! As I’ve been struggling to lose weight the last few months and then adding on this HUGE task of completing a half marathon, I’m beginning to realize something. People lie.

A lot.

“Oh once I cut out all cheese, the weight just disappeared!”
“I just started running, and I shrank!”
“If I have a fitness goal then the pounds just fall off.”
“I don’t know, it just happened!”
“Your body naturally wants to be thin, you just have to listen to it.”

LIES. All of it lies. Maybe not intentionally and maybe some of it is true for that person, but I think that a lot of time people (myself included) get this idea that once they find their secret weapon, the weight will just disappear.

Well I am here to tell you that that’s usually not the case. And that just one thing is not going to be the magic spell that makes the scale show results you’ve been wishing for. Yes, there may be a tipping point (sorry Caitlin, but you have a good thing going!) that affects all other aspects of your life and makes the decisions more of a “no brainer” but I am here to tell you that there is no quick fix.

There is hard work, dedication, and a lot of sweat and tears. You are going to have a good week, and then you are going to have a bad week. You are going to feel like a rockstar, and you are going to feel like crap.

I think that a lot of time people truly believe that there was ONE thing that changed it all for them. I even did it myself a few years ago. I lost 20 lbs. and I would say things like “Oh I just started walking more” or “I just cut out junk and look!” And even now, when I look back, I don’t remember suffering or feeling like I wanted to die. I read The 5 Factor Diet made a commitment to stick with it, and saw real results.

The truth was, it was 5 days a week in the gym and eating healthy, well portioned meals. It was changing my entire lifestyle to no longer just eat takeout and to space out my calories throughout the day. It was persevering even when I wanted to quit. And yes, some of it was making some simple small changes that made a world of difference. But in the end, the only one thing that changed was ME.

I’ve been mentally struggling with my lack of weight loss, and I’ve caught myself thinking, well if I could just find that ONE thing that would make this all easier, then I would be fine. It’s not one thing. It’s not easy. It’s really hard work! AAnd making a TRUE commitment to change that will show you the results you want.

I think I needed this much of a reminder as anyone. Do you ever find yourself thinking you just need to find the “magic” component to achieve your goals? Even if they aren’t weight loss related?

Half Marathon Training Starts TODAY!

Happy Monday friends! This weekend felt so short, mainly because I had to work on Friday, when I usually have three day weekend (have I mentioned I love my job?).

After months of gearing up, and a week of rest, today is the day that I officially start my half marathon training plan. I broke my training goals up into three phases, and while I didn’t accomplish all that I wanted to (read: I only lost about 10 lbs, not the 30 I was hoping for) I am still so excited to get going!

Phase 3 was always going to be a “reassess and see what would be best” phase so that I am setting myself up for success, not burn out, injury, or constant sickness.

So my plan this weekend was to 1.) Create and print my training calendar (I have yet to print, the hubs was on the comp last night) and 2.) Take a serious look at my diet and do what I can to fuel my body in the best way possible.

The workout:
I am still following Fitness Magazine’s 8 week half marathon training plan, which includes 2 days of walk/run/walk, 1 easy run, 1 long run, and one cross/strength training day a week. I really just tweaked the days so that I have Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday as my run days, Tuesday for strength training, and rest Thursdays and Sundays.

For strength training, I am going to do two ChaLEAN Extreme weight circuits at home for a total of one hour of weights a week. Oh and on my easy run days I am going to do an ab DVD that I have. And stretching. Always lots of stretching.  

It sounds like a lot, but I think it will be great! I think it is a good amount of activity for my goal. Originally I was thinking of maintaining my three days a week of strength training with my running, and I realized that that was NOT going to happen. I would either have been working out 7 days a week or doing two-a-day workouts. Not something I see as sustainable.

The diet:
I’ve talked before about how I am not the biggest fan of “diets” and counting calories, but I need to be smart about training. I know I can’t go on some crazy diet and still think I can sustain the activity listed above. It’s just not realistic. I also want to continue to lose weight, I have a goal weight for my race, and if I meet it, I’ve promised myself a new outfit from Lululemon Athletica (is it wrong that I already have it picked out?).

Deep down I KNEW that there was no way that I could just “wing it” nutritionally and hope for the best. In recent weeks I’ve also noticed that I am not doing a good job of spacing out my calories well. I sometimes don’t eat until I get to work, then I will have a light lunch, then I get home and realize that I am about to kill someone because I’ve only had 500 calories to eat. Not smart. I definitely am not one of those people who can “just wait until I am hungry” because most times I don’t get hungry. I am fine, then I am walking home from the bus stop fantasizing about slashing the tires of the guy who didn’t give me the right of way in the crosswalk.

So, I counted calories. Let me say, I am NOT going to count calories every day, but I do need to make sure that I am going to be smart and that I am getting sufficient nutrients. So here is my general daily meal plan that I am going to stick to. It’s pretty much what I was eating before, but I’ve added more fruit and a fresh juice every morning. One thing that is interesting to me is how much more I feel like I am eating. It’s funny that I was most likely not reaching my weight loss goals because I wasn’t eating enough and my calories weren’t very well spread out throughout my day.  

Breakfast: 350

  • fresh vegetable/fruit juice (my two favorites are carrot, beet, ginger, and apple or apple, ginger, kale, and lemon. Side note: I always use organic produce for juicing and we actually found a lot at Costco this weekend) or fruit
  • coffee with stevia and unsweetened almond milk
  • organic quick oats (I get these from Sunflower Market for an amazing price in the bulk bins) with one scoop of Sun Warrior protein powder.

Lunch: 300

  • lean protein. Chicken breast, salmon burgers (I got a bunch from Costco, preportioned and super yummy without a lot of additives), tuna, beans, eggs, etc.
  • complex carb. Brown rice, sweet potato, quinoa, oats.
  • veggies.

 

Snack: 250

  • lean protein, veggies, etc.
  • apple

 

Dinner: 300

  • lean protein
  • veggies

Post dinner treat: 100

  • dark chocolate 🙂

Extras: Hot tea (both decaf and caffeinated when I really need it), sparkling water, and Zevia soda when I feel like I REALLY need a pick me up (it’s all natural with no calories and it’s sweetened with stevia).

It comes to just about 1,300 calories a day. I think for logging 13 miles this week and going up from there, that’s a pretty good goal. Once I increase my miles more, I am most likely going to start adding in some sports drinks (I still have some of that Crystal Light Pure) and an extra post–long run recovery meal, like fruit and protein.

I am not even sure what to ask. How do you get geared up for your training plans?

Taking Some Time to Rest

Good morning! I slept SO MUCH last night, it was amazing. I didn’t get out of bed until 8, and I feel great. I’m starting to feel really run down, so I’ve decided to take it easy this week. Walking, resting, and stretching. It’s amazing.

I wish I could spend all my time here: (source)

Amazing.

I’ve read numerous times the importance of rest in training plans, this article from Running Times says, “Without recovery blocks, I can almost guarantee you will eventually lose enthusiasm for hard training and your racing performances will become mediocre.”

Something I really don’t want that to happen! Because I begin Phase THREE of my half marathon training plan I am ready to really kick it into gear. I also think this will be the best decision for my shins as well.

Do you build rest periods into your training plans? Why or why not? What do you do (besides the obvious) when you’re “resting”?

Moving More

Good morning! Sorry to be so quiet yesterday, it took a miracle to get me out of bed, and I pretty much crashed when I got home (at 4 p.m.). I’m not sure what was going on, but I was just not having any of it!

After a good night’s sleep, I am feeling OK, I woke up with a headache, but I am hoping it’s nothing that coffee (or two), ibuprofen, and my glasses won’t fix.

Lately I’ve been making an effort to walk more. I live super close to a grocery store, and I can easily walk to the bus, but then I went for a run and realized that I live only a mile and a half from where I work. So, I am trying to walk to or from work more, I just bring extra shoes to change into.

I figure walking up to three miles a day isn’t going to hurt anyone. And it’s really nice! I am definitely going to keep it up as much as I can, weather permitting… I am loving the cold but when it comes to when it’s actually raining or snowing, I have no idea what to do.

But the other day, I kept thinking about how a lot of the time it’s easy to think in terms of “exercise” and “not exercise” when really, ANY form of movement it healthy and that being active is so much more than doing exercise. It’s about just moving your body in any way that works for you.

New Routine + Setting Goals

A Happy Monday morning to you! I hope that you had a fantastic weekend 🙂 It snowed here on Friday night/Saturday morning, we got about 6 inches where I live. I am loving it! But then again, I stayed inside and relearned how to knit, drank coffee in bed, and made pancakes. Win.

So lately I have been seriously struggling to get to work on time, let alone fit in a workout, shower, do my hair, eat, and get to work on time, but I decided that I would take advantage of the time change to get up earlier. Today when my alarm went off at 5:40, I told myself, ACTUALLY it’s 6:40, so no excuses! It actually worked, I was at the bus stop by 8:00 ready to go! I’ve also made some tweaks to my morning schedule to streamline it all, and it really made a difference.

6:00-6:15 a.m. Get myself out of bed. I am a snoozer, so this is always the hardest part. I usually can’t stomach anything pre-workout, but I usually need some fuel. Before a weights session I take my vitamins and drink some juice or kombucha. Before a run I will take a gel shot or shot bloks instead http://www.clifbar.com/food/products_shot_bloks/ (usually one with caffeine).
6:15-7:00 Workout. I’ve noticed that putting out my clothes the night before helps a lot and I am hoping that since it’s no longer pitch black at this time, that will help too.

After I workout, I shower, start drying my hair, make coffee, throw together my food for the day (if I haven’t already done that the night before), finish getting ready, hopefully post a blog post (or email it to myself to post at work) and then head to the bus stop by usually 7:50.

I’ve started eating my breakfast at work (1/2 cup oatmeal and 1 scoop Sun Warrior protein) and that helped a lot too! I am hoping that this new routine will stick and I can get back into the morning workout groove. I really do prefer it!

Today I also wanted to talk about setting goals. Something I am not great at actually. I think that I set too lofty goals for myself, then when I don’t reach them, or think I can’t, I give up and get frustrated. I am waaaayyy behind in my weight loss goals right now, and as much as I am beating myself up about it, it’s just not worth it. All I can do is refocus and get going, no point in dwelling on the past.

I also need to kick it into high gear running wise to keep up with my half marathon training. It’s time to start thinking like an athlete morning, noon, and night.

So here is my new plan. I am writing down my long term, monthly, and weekly goals as well as maintaining a daily checklist and food log. I am hoping that this will help me break it down into manageable pieces, and will help maintain my focus. I am also going to set up “rewards” for myself along the way to keep me excited.

And last but not least, I am going to start a separate weight loss page for the blog! I know that some people don’t want to read about it, and others might be more interested, so I think it would be a fun way to share my story 🙂

What about you? Are you good at setting and achieving goals? What do you do when you don’t get the results you were hoping for? Also, how long after you wake up do you eat breakfast? I feel like waiting till 8:30 might be bad, but who knows…

Halloween Horror!

Good morning!! I hope you all had a lot of Halloween fun yesterday. I just had to share quite a shocking story from last night’s trick-or-treators.

So it was getting later in the night, so we started being more lax with the candy, letting kids pick their own or take an extra piece, and one girl asked if she could take an extra piece for her sister. I said sure, and she asked if we had any more just plain chocolate. I told her I think that she had the last one.

She says, “Oh, OK, we are trying to get just plain chocolate and stuff for my baby sister, she’s just a baby, thanks Happy Halloween!”

I stood at my door in shock. SHOCK! I MEAN REALLY!? I am not going to lie, the girl was already overweight, and (I am trying not to be judgmental here) but if that’s the norm in her family, it’s no wonder.

I have no issues handing out candy to kids, especially since I am a huge fan of treats in moderation. When I was a kid, I never really saw more than a piece or two of my candy after Halloween.

I guess my point is, that there is a lot of influence parents have (both good and bad) on their child’s diet and attitude towards food and it drives me nuts that some people don’t take it seriously! (I might be a bit touchy on the subject because I had a very rough conversation with my mom yesterday about a similar subject.)

Thoughts? Arguments? Opinions? I am in the mood for a good convo people!