354. Random Thoughts Thursday

I could probably write  a separate post for everything here, and I probably should for content, but I don’t feel like it.  So instead I present you with a bunch of randomness currently on my mind.

Last weekend was quite the weekend for me.  It was full of all kinds of firsts.  I ran 16 miles for the first time (along with 14 and 15 miles along the way!) I shot a gun (multiple guns actually) for the first time ever, and I made homemade bagels for the first time. (FINALLY! I’ve only been talking about making homemade bagels for about 3 years now!) It was quite an impressive weekend really.

The boy owns guns and likes to go shoot them with his buddies. I have no interest in guns and even less interest in shooting them. Plus, I’m a disaster on my own; I don’t need to be a disaster with a deadly weapon in hand. But I know the boy likes guns, and I knew he would REALLY like it if I went shooting with him one day. So for Christmas I applied for my FOID card (Firearm Owners ID – It’s an Illinois thing. Illinois loves it some gun laws.) and gave the boy a copy of the application along with a note promising to take him shooting once I received my FOID. We finally picked a weekend and went. Honestly, I was surprised by how nervous, uncomfortable, and just plain scared I was to begin with. When we walked into the range, I would flinch or jump every time someone would fire a shot. I was on the verge of tears for at least the first 20 minutes simply because that’s how I most often react to the stress of nervousness/ being uncomfortable. Ultimately I had a good time. I would definitely go again but probably not anytime soon. Nik puts up with a lot of my ridiculousness (and my various kitchen experiments) so it was nice to do something that was really all for him.

I don’t know if I was feeling extra ballsy after my adventures with guns or if it was just fresh in my mind because I found a recipe when I was pulling recipes from old issues of Cooking Light and Vegetarian Times to add to my recipe binder, but I decided I was also going to make homemade bagels on Saturday.

I used this recipe from the November 2011 issue of Cooking Light. I’m not sure why I waited so long to make my own bagels, but I’m glad I finally did this because these bagels were AWESOME! I stuck to the recipe pretty closely to make sure they came out right, but I did make a few minor changes:

  1. I left out the barley malt syrup because a) I didn’t have any and b) I didn’t feel like trying to track it down. The recipe says you can leave it out so I wasn’t worried.
  2. I brushed the bagels with egg yolk thinned with water. I also topped half of them with salt, minced onion, poppy seed and sesame seeds to make everything bagels.
  3. I only made 11. I had 6 that were about 3.5 oz and 5 that were about 4.5 oz. I could have cut down all the 4.5 oz bagels to make a 12th bagel, but I was too lazy.
  4. I baked for almost twice the suggested time. I cooked them until golden brown on top and hallow sounding.

I totally rocked my February Challenge, and I feel like a rock star for it.  If you’ve been reading my blog for some time now, you know how good I am at failing at my fitness challenges.  Last month, I killed.  I blew my goal of 175 activity points (which I increased about a week into the challenge from the original 150 points) out of the water clocking in at 212 activity points for the month.  I tracked 26 out of 29 complete days.  I did fall short on my fitness class goal only attending 4 out of 5 classes.  However, that was a scheduling failure rather than me blowing things off.  There are a pretty limited number of classes I can actually attend to begin with since I don’t get home until about 6 in the evening. When you account for my Weight Watchers meetings on Tuesdays, my darts league on Wednesdays, and my training runs on Mondays and Thursdays, I’m left with Friday, Saturday and Sunday for classes.  There aren’t any evening classes on Friday and I run on either Saturday or Sunday.  That leaves me one day a week to do classes and since there were only 4 weeks in February, well…getting to 5 classes wasn’t really realistic with marathon training taking top priority.  What’s important is that I didn’t fall short of the goal simply because I was being lazy.  So because I feel like my challenge was a huge success despite that, I’ve decided to go ahead and reward my successes.   I’ve deviated from my original reward plan though and ordered How to Cook Everything Vegetarian (the reward for my bonus weight loss goal) instead of the fitbook.  There is a method to my madness though kids.

The reason I went ahead and ordered the cookbook instead of the fitbook is because I’m following Michelle’s lead and going for a Meatless March.  Back in September 2010, I made the decision to stop eating animals.  I never proclaimed myself a vegetarian because I expected to eat meat again, and I have.  Lately though, I’ve been wanting to get back to a primarily meatless diet.  This seemed like a great way to do it!

I signed up for my fifth half marathon yesterday.  The Rock n Roll race series was offering a Leap Day discount of $29 off any race.  I’m usually able to pass up a deal, but that’s a really great discount.  I decided to snap it up and registered for the Chicago Rock n Roll half marathon on July 22nd.  I was hesitant to sign up since I hate running in the heat.  (Really, I just hate the heat.)  But it was hard to pass up such a deal, especially when it would be an encore performance, and a chance to kick ass, of my very first half marathon.

Last week I decided to impulse buy a cast iron skillet, a cast iron grill pan and The New Rules of Lifting for Women off Amazon.  I haven’t used the skillet yet, but I’m a fan of the other two items thus far.

That’s all I’ve got for now.  Have a happy Thursday!


334. December to Remember Weekly Update 2

Alright, executive decision has been made: December to Remember Challenge updates are now being posted on Tuesdays.  I should know well enough by now that I’m really not a weekend blogger.  I just don’t have/ make time for it.  Oh well, an update is an update right?

I’m still struggling with the fitness side of the challenge.  Remember back in, like, September when I joined a gym that was supposed to be opening in mid- to late November?  Well, November came and went and the gym hadn’t opened.  However, I was then told the grand opening date would be December 15th.  So, truth be told, I planned this challenge around the expectation that my gym would be open for at least half the month of December.  This was where I was planning to get most of my strength training and cross training done.  Well, it’s not December 20th and this gym still is not open.  I called the location, and they told me it would be open this Thursday.  I emailed X-Sport corporate, and they told me the 26th.   In any case, the point is that I’d been counting the gym to be open and it isn’t which means I’ve had to get creative on my cross training and strength training.  I’ve been taking the dog on longer evening walks, and I’ve been running up and down the stairs in my condo at the suggestion of Laura.  (I’m also pretty sure my neighbors think I’m bat-shit crazy.)

The one area I’m lacking in most is miles run which is a bit ironic as I figured that would be a piece of cake goal.  I’m trying to be positive about it, but I think it’s almost unrealistic to hit that goal at this point…at least without injuring myself.  Oh well, I’m going to try.  The month ain’t over yet.

The Goals

  1. Run 75 miles – 15/75 (20%)
  2. Cross Train 250 minutes – 115/250 (46%)
  3. Strength Train 150 minutes – 40 /150 (27%)
  4. Hold a 2 minute plank – 45 seconds
  5. 2 “real” push-ups – I can get halfway down and back up twice
  6. Hold a 90 second wall squat – 45 seconds
  7. Track food/ points 25 complete days – 19/25 (76%)
  8. Make 15 new healthy recipes from my cookbook stash – 7/15 (47%)
  9. 160 servings of fruits and veggies. – 100/160 (63%)


311. The Good, The Bad, and The Awesome

First order of business:  Go check out the Blogger Bake Sale Jessica at Healthy Dairyland is hosting to raise money for the Chrons and Colitis Foundation of America.  You can big on my delicious pretzel rolls and lots of other tasty treats.  The Bake Sale goes until 4pm CST.

Moving right along, on Wednesday I mentioned that I had some really terrible workouts last week.  I didn’t do a good job getting my strength training in, but even more upsetting is the terrible runs I had.

Tuesday I was supposed to run 4 miles, but I only managed to get through 2 before calling it quits because I felt absolutely awful.  I felt slow and sluggish and had some pain to the right of my left hip.  I wanted to keep going, but I had nothing in me.

Thursday I skipped my run all together because I was just feeling miserable.  I couldn’t even convince myself to go for a short run.

Sunday’s long run was a disaster.  I had 8 miles on the training plan, but I decided to run the 9.4 mile loop trail near the boy’s house.  I walked the first half mile to warm up, and by mile 4.5, I was so done.  I ended up calling the boy to pick me up after 5 miles.  I seriously underestimated the intensity of the sun, and the tail I was on is not particularly well shaded at all.  I already get really warm when I’m running, and I may or may not have been on the verge of overheating.  In retrospect, I’m glad I managed to get 5 miles in, but I felt really defeated at the time.

I actually felt like all three of those things were possible.

This week has been a total 360 so far.  I’ve had some of the more amazing runs in my life.  I’ve rocked my strength training.  I’ve felt strong and motivated.  Yesterday I ran, did core work, and did some yoga even though all I wanted to do when I got home from work was park it on the couch.  Tuesday morning, I ran the fastest 3.1 miles of my life!  I have no idea where the sudden speed is coming from, but I’m certainly not complaining about it!

Tuesday, I ran 3.1 miles averaging a 9:25 pace.  Yesterday I rant 2.5 at an average pace of 9:42.  Tuesday I was definitely pushing myself.  It hurt a little, but yesterday I didn’t even realize how fast I was actually moving.  It felt like a perfectly comfortable pace, and I easily could have maintained it for at least another mile.

I don’t really know what changed in the course of two days.  I’m sure it could be one of a million different factors, but either way I’ll take it!  I have a 5K on Saturday.  I was originally planning to take it easy, but given my recent burst of speediness, I’m wondering if maybe there’s a legit 5K PR on the horizon? 

Oh, and one more thing.  I got an email about the 2012 WI Marathon and Half Marathon.  Apparently this year’s cheese medal will double as a bottle opener.  I’m pretty sure the decision to run this race in 2012 has just been made.

298. Fit Friday What?

Remember when I used to do Fit Friday posts?  Oh yeah, me too!  I’ve been trying to put together a post for my run along the Hudson while I was on vacation, but I haven’t had time to sit down and sort through the pictures and decide which ones to use in my post.  I promise I will post that next week.

I’ll even pinky swear it.  (Now you know I’m serious.)

In the meantime, I do owe you all an update on my strength training challenge that ends, well, tomorrow, actually.  (I had to reference my original post for that bit of info which should give you an indication of how well this challenge is went.)

See up there where I said it went well?  Yeah, I was lying.

Actually, it started out really well, and I did a great job while I was on vacation.  I was actually 100% successful on vacation.  It’s when I got home that things fell apart which frankly just seems bass-ackwards to me.   

I’m definitely frustrated with myself here.  (In case all my snark didn’t give that away!)  I’m at a point where I actually feel totally clueless on how to get myself to stop blowing off my strength training.  Every time I find a method that I think is going to work, I do really well for a week or two then I quit all together.

They say the definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  Well, I guess I’m just a little bit insane because I’m trying this again in the month of September.  Same rules apply with one change: every Friday, I’m going to plan out the next week’s strength training.  I’m not just going to pick the days; I’m going to pick the routines too.  They can still be anything I want, but I must decide in advance.  If I do not post my routine, please get on me about it.

I’ve also better prepared myself to plan my workouts.  I went through my gigantic stack of Women’s Health Magazines (aka the magazine subscription that just won’t end!) and tore out all the workout routines.  I’ve also printed the guides from some of the SparkPeople workouts and copied the recipes from Smart Girls Do Dumbbells.  All of these things are going to be put into a binder (They’re currently in a neatly sorted pile.)  so Sgt. Pepper can’t snack on them.  I’ve also, also started an Evernote notebook devoted to collecting links for online videos and routines.

I’m going to establish a strength training routine if it kills me…and at this rate, it just might.

285. Fit Friday: Fitness Challenge, The Next Generation

I’m trying to get my posts up in the morning, but I’ve been crazy busy (at work and at home) getting ready for vacation that today’s post is a little late.  C’est la vie

Truthfully, I’ve had some trouble coming up with my next fitness challenge.  After the epic fail of strength training portion my last fitness challenge, I knew I wanted this challenge to focus on that.  My main goal with these challenges is to get myself to establish a routine I can stick with.  The last challenge was a great success in getting me to run regularly and incorporate some biking.  Since the challenge completion, I’ve been maintaining my 3 days of running and 1 – 2 days of biking each week.

Clearly the highly structure, daily approach to strength training that I took in my last challenge didn’t work for me so this time I’m trying the opposite end of the spectrum.  I’m giving myself almost complete and total flexibility under the following 4 guidelines:

  1. Minimum 20 minutes of strength training, 3 days a week.
  2. Strength training can be done as one upper body, one lower body, and one core session or three total body sessions.
  3. Strength training sessions cannot be done on back-to-back days to allow myself time to recover.
  4. I can do any strength training workout I’d like. (e.g . Yoga, CoreFusion, SparkPeople videos, circuits, workouts from magazines, Smart Girls Do Dumbbells work-outs, etc.)

That’s it.

The Challenge will run July 24th – August 27th.  I’ve printed a blank calendar to check off the days I do my strength.  To get my yet-to-be-determined reward, I have to meet these guidelines at least 4 out of the next 5 weeks and complete a minimum of 12 workouts.  This will be especially interesting since I’ll be on vacation for basically the first two weeks.  However, since I’ll pretty much have unlimited free time, I’ll have absolutely no excuses.  The hotel and ship both have gyms.  I’m not going to do weekly updates, but I will do an update at the halfway point and of course I’ll let you know how I did at the end.

I’m not creating a cardio portion for this challenge.  My plan is to continue doing what I’m doing and tracking my workouts over on my DailyMile Page.  Technically next week starts training for the Dallas 13.1 race so I will be posting my training schedule for that when I get back from vacation.

277. Fitness Challenge Week 2

So, I totally forgot my Fitness Challenge update yesterday!  Have you ever had one of those weeks where you just can’t keep the days straight – you always seem to be wrong about what day it is?  Yeah, I’m totally having one of those weeks.  Until about 10 minutes ago, I thought today was 6/23.  I guess I’m just ready for the weekend? 

Also, a bit of housekeeping news: I’m currently working on a re-vamp for the blog here.  (That’s why the layout is kind of a disaster right now.  Sorry!)  Expect to see some changes (some big, some small) coming soon!

Let’s get on with it now shall we?

From a cardio stand-point I had a fan-freakin-tastic week.  I only completely missed one cardio sesh which was my 4 mile “long run” on Sunday.  This was a result of last minute Father’s Day planning in which I volunteered to make dinner.  Strength training was not as good this week…but maybe better than last week.

The Plan: The Results
3 mile run + SGDD: I had a really miserable run.  I only ended up making it about 2.5 miles, and I walked a fair chunk of that.  I was feeling really lethargic, and about half way in mother nature decided to form me back home for a mandatory bathroom break (if you know what I’m sayin…) This has been a problem lately.  After “relieving myself” I did manage to do my SGDD Day 9

35 minutes bike + SGDD: I missed my bike ride because my make-up massage took much longer than expected.  I didn’t realize it was a 75 minute massage.  Plus I got stuck in traffic and was late.  By the time I got home, I needed dinner and then it was already almost 9pm.  I also skipped my SGDD

2 mile run + SGDD: Thursday night we met some friends for dinner so I could pick up a customize travel baby wipes case I was buying from her to gift to a friend who just had a little girl.  I planned to run beforehand, but I didn’t have time to run, shower, and get to the restaurant in time for dinner.  I could have gotten the run in had it not been for the post-run shower requirement (And trust me when I say it’s a requirement, I sweat like a dude fo sho.)

1 mile walk with Maxwell + SGDD: I had a killer cardio day.  Since I missed my work-outs on Wednesday and Thursday, I really wanted to push myself.  I decided I was going to make up my bike ride and run brick style.  I started with a 5.75 mile bike ride to the library.  Immediately after the bike ride, I started out for my 3 mile and made it about a mile before “nature struck” again.  I headed home.  I tried to go back out since I was feeling great, but after a block my stomach started gurgling so I called it and went to do my SGDD Day 10. (Oh and Maxwell did get walked, but see my now below on 6/20.)

50 minute bike + SGDD: Nik and I hit a trail by his house (that same one I did my 10.5 mile training run on) for a 9.4 (52 minute) bike ride.  It was hot.  The trail was hillier than I remembered when I was running.  It was a great ride though.  Before we hit the trails I did SGDD Day 11

4 mile run + SGDD: As I mentioned, this run was missed due to last minute Father’s Day planning.  I went to the farmer’s market in the morning and planned to run in the evening, but that obviously didn’t work out well.

1 mile walk with Maxwell + SGDD When I set the daily minimum 1 mile walk with Maxwell, I didn’t think about the fact that it would probably be hot out.  Maxwell does pretty well in the heat for a small dog, but with the heat and the humidity a full mile has his panting for a while after we get back.  I make it a point to get about ½ mile in, but the full mile when it’s warm out is too much.  I didn’t do SGDD, but I did do some random strength moved throughout the day at work.

Total Results: 4/5 Cardio sessions &  3/7 SGDD sessions + a random smattering of ST moves for at least a little ST on 5/7 days

I’m going to have to be 100% on my strength for the rest of the challenge if I want me ST reward and my super-secret reward from Laura.  So far, this week (all one day of it) has gone good.  I did my SGDD session yesterday, and I plan to do it immediately when I get home from work tonight. Also, it’s pretty clear that I suck at actually sticking to my cardio schedule, but at least I’m doing really well about making up the work-outs.  I’m going to focus (again) on getting my ST out of the way first thing in the morning.  Since summer seems to actually be upon us now, it’s likely my runs will be first thing in the morning so hopefully, I just lump these things together.

274. Another New Fitness Challenge?

I’ve been lacking in the blog-spiration department lately – hence the lack of posting up in here.   I’m all about quality over quantity when it comes to my blog content so sorry, I’m not sorry.  However, today I do have some quality content for you in the form of a new and improved fitness challenge!  (I’ve been doing pretty well on my Smart Girls Do Dumbbells challenge.  I haven’t totally stuck to the schedule, and I’ve altered it a little, but I’m doing it.  It will be integrated it into this new challenge. )

I’ve talked about my weight loss journey a little more frequently in the last 6 months or so: my weight-loss rest stop, my fear of success and reaching my goal weight, the importance of setting small goals to build into larger successes.  Since April, I’ve done really well.  I’m down 4.5 pounds.  This isn’t a huge amount of weight in 2 months, but it’s a good start.  It has me feeling like I’m back on the road and headed in the right direction.  However, I also know I need to make some changes in order to keep losing.  The major change is I need to increase the amount of exercise I’m doing.

For me, food has never really been the issue.  I’ve got that part of the weight loss equation down.  As long as I’m focused on my efforts and conscious of what I’m eating, I do pretty well.  I can indulge without going overboard.  I can keep myself in check.  I make pretty good choices over all.  It’s moving my ass that causes me problems.  When it comes to working out, my excuses have excuses.  I was talking to Laura about this today, and she decided the best way to handle this would be to go all drill sergeant on my ass.

Laura: True but working out at home doesn’t work for you all the time
 me: I’ve been doing better lately.  I did my ST last night at like 10pm while watching a movie.  And I even did extra abs!
Laura: Okay I have a deal for you
 me: Okay… (terror in my eyes…)
 Laura: Make an exercise plan for home and stick to it and prove to me you can follow it
Or I’m buying you a gym membership
And making you go girlfriend
You won’t get to your goal weight without consistent exercise!
me: Hahaha, I know! And I know how important it is!

And thus my current fitness challenge was born…

So here’s how it’s going down.   

  1. I’m continuing my Smart Girls Do Dumbbells Challenge; however, I’m going to do it daily rather than every other day.  I’ve actually found that doing it every other day is detrimental because I allow myself to “make it up the next day.”  If I’m doing it daily, there is no “next day” to make it up. 
  2. I’m training for a 10K on July 17th.  My training plan will be posted on my training page.  It actually includes cross training!
  3. I will walk at least 1 mile a day with my dog.  I usually do this anyway unless I’m feeling exceptionally lazy.

Now, we all know that every good challenge has a prize she here are my prizes.

  1. If I meet my strength training goal at least 75% of the time, I’m going to buy a new swim suit from Athleta.  I need a new swim suit either way, but I’ve been on the fence about dropping that much money on a suit – even if it is better quality than a swim suit from Target.  If I meeting my strength training goal, it’s mine.
  2. If I meet my training goal at least 75% of the time, I’m going to (finally) buy myself a velcro strap for my Garmin.
  3. And as an added bonus, if I complete everything at least 75% of the time, Laura is sending me a prize, and according to her, it will be epic.

The challenge starts today and will end on July 17th.  I’m going to make a concerted effort to post weekly progress reports here.