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Enjoying the Ride

The problem with being a planner is that sometimes you’re too busy planning to appreciate what’s happening right now.

I love having a busy schedule and things to look forward too. 

Right now I’m really looking forward to:

-Being able to work out/run again.

-All the 30th birthday parties, baby/bridal showers and weddings I have this year.

-Getting my tax return

-Warm weather – being able to wear summer clothes, I’m so over my winter clothes.

-The sun rising earlier making early morning runs possible

-Going to the DR in September

-The NKOTB/Boyz II Men/98 degrees concert in June

Oh and the other day I may or may not have sent a group text announcing I couldn’t wait to retire.

All of these things are still months – or in some cases many many years – off.  Yet here I am thinking about what I’m going to wear or bring and essentially wishing my life away.  I can promise you that I don’t sit at home planning these events, but if you catch me daydreaming or talking to myself this is what I’m most likely doing. 

This sort of falls under the “stop focusing on things I can’t control” goal for the year, I honestly thought completing a pull-up was going to be the hardest goal.  My office job probably doesn’t help much; sitting at a desk for the majority of the day makes it easier to focus on the outside world rather than what’s going on that second. 

During a couple minutes of downtime, I’ll whip together a to-do list of things I want to get done when I get home.  Maybe that time would be better used hanging out by the water cooler. 

I’m a fairly driven individual – I like setting goals, workings towards and achieving them then jumping right to the next big thing instead of appreciating where I am.  And while I absolutely do appreciate where I am in my life and what I’ve achieved I often feel that if I’m not working towards something then I’m just coasting. 

As soon as one to-do list or goal is completed it right on-to the next one.  

So yesterday I put together this list of exciting things that are happening right now (being injured has slowed me down a lot):

-Being able to wear sweatpants – it’s too warm in the summer

-Getting plenty of sleep!  I’ve been sleeping between about 9 hours a night.  I’m not getting up early to work out or hyped up from an after work workout.  (Plus my goal has been to not get sick, coughing and sneezing is only going to prolong intercostal issues).

-Volunteer projects…I have another one lined up for this weekend.

-Work is really starting to pick up after the holiday season, there’s a lot more responsibility, new clients and even better…new opportunities.

-Lots of couch time…the quickest way to recover from an injury is ice cream rest.

-Being able to use “it’s too cold” as an excuse.  It’s too cold to go for a run/walk/to a bar downtown.

I’m going to try to take it one day at a time – trying to find excitement in each day and enjoying the ride – rather than counting down the days into the weekend or next big event. 

Are you able to focus on the Now or do you tend to look towards the future? Do you take the time to appreciate what you’ve achieved or do you jump right into the next adventure?

Happy Monday! 

How was your weekend?  Did you watch the Super Bowl?

My weekend was great, for the first time in almost two weeks I hit up the gym on Saturday morning, I focused solely on legs and felt no pain in the rib area!  After running some errands I headed to my parents to hang out with them for the afternoon before catching up with Erin Saturday night.

Sunday morning I cut up veggies for the week and did some cleaning before heading to the local craft store with supplies to make this:

Newest decor!  I had been looking for a place to hang save the dates or cards, I thought this was a little classier than a bullentin board.

Newest decor! I had been looking for a place to hang save the dates or cards, I thought this was a little classier than a bullentin board.

I was pleasantly surprised at how easy this was, I had seen something similar on Etsy and decided it SHOULD be easy enough to make myself.  I didn’t have any instructions to follow so I decided just to wing it.  I purchased a frame, wire and mini clothes pins and 45 minutes later I had the finished project. 

I hit up a couple Super Bowl parties to round out the weekend and decided the power outage at the game was a signal I should head home and get to bed.   

And suddenly the weekend was over almost as quickly as that brief synopsis.

 If you know me in real life or have even read just two blog entries it won’t come as much of a surprise to you that I’m a little high strung and love having a plan.  Even if my plan is to be spontaneous, I’ll still come up with fun ideas of things I could spontaneously do.  I hate not being prepared.  For the longest time my kepta sweatshirt, a bathing suit/towel, change of clothes and a sleeping bag in my care, just in case. 

I feel as though the best way to seize the day/life is to be overly prepared. 

Ironically, this past fall was the first time I followed a concrete training plan.  I had a calendar, which showed each distance I should be running.  For the first couple of months I followed this schedule to a T, but towards the end of the training cycle I missed a lot of runs, mainly due to fatigue and hamstring pain. 

I liked having my training mapped out for me, seeing it written down seemed to hold me accountable for getting in the miles.    It left out the guess work, prevented me from overtraining in the beginning and served as a reminder of my goal towards the end. It allowed me to break the big goal, running 26.2 miles, into smaller easier to achieve smaller goals. I love crossing off the runs once they were complete, I felt accomplished regardless of how much the run sucked.    

Since I haven’t been able to do anything for the last two weeks, I’ve spent a lot of time researching half marathon training plans.  My plan is to focus on strength training/crossfit and speed work, two elements that were abandoned during marathon training.  I started rereading blog posts from last spring when I was training for the Tough Mudder and realized that when I spent time focusing on strength training, running seemed much more effortless.

I felt faster and could run for longer, a first run of the season 3 miler easily turned into a 5 miler.  A planned 5 miler turned into 8. 

Instead of following a training plan exactly, I’m making up my own, taking mileage suggestions from a couple different sources.  I know what I want my schedule to look like, strength/crossfit 2-3 times a week, running 3-4 times a week (switching up between tempo runs, speed work and long runs) and yoga once a week.  I’m going to follow a hybrid 8-12 week plan, the first four weeks will be lighter focusing on building a running base and regaining strength from my time off.  Then I’ll kick it up for the next seven weeks before scaling back for a taper the week before the race.

I realized last week that being injured might have been a small blessing; it’s forcing me to take time off and rest my body before I begin a training plan and it’s made me really excited and hungry to begin this training plan. 

I’ve run only a handful of times since the Philadelphia marathon back in November and each time it felt very slow and forced.  I’ve finally reached the point where I’m looking forward to running, a couple warm days last week revved this feeling up and I could barely sit still.

My plan for this week is to focus on leg workouts and slowly test adding bodyweight or light weight exercises.  I managed two run about a quarter mile home last night with no pain before realizing what a poor idea this was give how slippery the sidewalks were and my choice of footwear, laceless Chuck Taylors.

While my rib area feels about 95%, I know returning to Crossfit this week would not be in my best interests.  Even when I do return I’m planning on scaling back on the amount of weight I’m using.

T minus 3 weeks until training plan kickoff!

Do you follow training plans for races?  Do you make your own plan?

January hasn’t really been my month. 

Or the slightly more dramatic; 2013 hasn’t been my year.

There’s been the partially flooded condo, the potential relationship I thought had promise but didn’t, the dog whose foster family decided they were going to keep him, the car making a funny noise, and the heat that stopped working. 

Oh, and I bought the wrong T pass.

Stupid paper T Pass, takes forever to process causing you to miss the train or hold everyone up getting on the bus.   I've felt like a tourist all month.

Stupid paper T Pass, takes forever to process causing you to miss the train or hold everyone up getting on the bus. I’ve felt like a tourist all month.

At 3am on New Year’s Eve Day (technically December but go with it) I woke up to the sound of water rushing in my condo.  If there is a sound that will get you out of bed quickly in the morning, it’s the sound of rushing water.

I found a partly flooded bathroom and hallway, with more water pouring out of the toilet by the second. 

All clean water thank God.

I was able to remedy the issue (toilet wouldn’t stop running) and clean up the mess fairly quickly.

As I patted myself on the back for handling my first home emergency so well – I didn’t cry (I had enough water to deal with) or even freak out, I jumped right into action (though I’ll fully admit I had no idea what I was doing) – I opened up the door to my unit to soak up the last of the water and noticed a very wet carpet complete with puddles in the hallway. 

I stood there shaking as I called my buildings emergency maintenance line.

Given the time of day and the fact that the issue had been resolved (go me!) they wouldn’t send anyone over until later.  I was also advised that if I had a wet dry vacuum I was better off cleaning up myself as it was a holiday so rates would be double.

I left notes under my neighbors doors explaining what happened – and praying the water didn’t go into their units – and sent my dad a text to call me when he got up. 

Of course, calling my father would have typically been my first course of action – but calling that early in the morning wouldn’t have been fair since there was really nothing he could do – so I had to deal with it on my own.  

It could have been so much worse.  I’m on the bottom floor so no one is below me and I caught the mess right away.  Had I not rolled over and heard the water things could have been a lot worse. 

I was very lucky. 

Yes, the situation sucked, but I am proud of the way I handled it and the outcome was as desirable as can be.  

Fast forward a couple weeks, now my vents are blowing out cold air and its single digits outside.    The temp in my condo was 64 and falling (I typically keep it at 68) so I shut the heat off and went to bed.  (I live in a building with 20 other units so my place typically doesn’t get overly hot or cold so this was an option).

When I woke up the condo was at 61.  I turned the heat on and miraculously it worked. 

It continued to work for the next couple of days until it stopped working. 

My condo stayed between 62 and 64 so I put off calling anyone (I’m so responsible) because I was sick of paying for things breaking.  (Per my condo guidelines we’re supposed to keep the heat at 62 to avoid pipes freezing, if the temp had fallen and stayed below 62 I would have had to call someone.) 

Seriously is there a worse month for everything to go wrong?!  The holiday bills are rolling in and tax returns seem like a distant dream.

Tuesday night, after a little Google consulting, I decided to try flipping the circuit breaker as my tried and true shut the heat off and then turn it back on a couple hours later was failing me repeatedly.

That worked! 

For the past two days my condo has been at a glorious 68 degrees and I’m left hoping it stays that way.

It was an extremely simple fix but I still felt like a rock star for taking care of it myself. 

The joys of homeownership. 

The funny thing is, never once when either of these issues popped up did I regret buying the place or wish I could just call a landlord.  Both of the issues could have been a lot worse and much more expensive.  Being able to handle both situations on my own has given me more confidence in handling being a homeowner. 

I have a feeling February is going to be much better; for starters I already purchased the correct T pass!

The Charlie Card, so much more convenient, no fuss,  just tap and go.

The Charlie Card, so much more convenient, no fuss, just tap and go.

Have you ever had a month where things just didn’t go your way?  How’d you handle it?  Do you feel like a rock star when you fix or complete home projects? 

Happy Hump Day!

It’s Wednesday! Which means I’m too lazy busy to come up with an actual post so I let the pictures do the talking.

One of my favorite types of posts that other bloggers do is products they’re digging. I hardly ever wear makeup so I will spare you pictures of my dusty two year old Bare Minerals collection.

Since the marathon, two months ago, my lips have been super chapped, I believe it was caused my wiping my mouth so much on my dryfit sleves. I’ve tried ever type of chapstick available with no great results. Until I purchased this mini tub of Vaseline:
Vaseline

Within two days my lips were completely healed!

Added bonus, I think the mini tub is super cute.  Here is it compared to EOS, my former favorite chapstick:
EOS

Have you tried any new products lately that you’d recommend?

Last weekend I went snowboarding for the first time this season, the runs weren’t as great as I had hoped, the mountain was crowded and the green trails had a lot of flat spots which makes snowboarding extremely difficult or impossible. 

As always, I fell a bunch and decided that after 4 hours I had enough and headed back to the condo to shower and relax before heading out for the Pats game. 

(Despite the description above and the outcome of the Pats game, the weekend was actually a blast.  It was great to get out of the city for a couple of days and to be able to wear spandex to the bar without anyone questioning it!)

Sunday night it hurt a bit to sleep on my right side, something wasn’t right in the rib area.  It didn’t hurt when I got up Monday morning or during the 3 hour drive home.  At open gym Monday afternoon it only bothered me to run (it felt like a giant cramp), jumping rope or rowing felt fine as did hanging from the pull-up bar. 

While out to dinner Monday night I joked around about injuring another rib. 

I debated going to Crossfit Tuesday night and decided to go for it given that I felt fine after Monday’s workout, there wasn’t any running involved in the workout so there shouldn’t be any issues.  I substituted sit ups and back extensions as a precaution. 

I only experienced any pain on the third round of exercises.  I went home, showered, ate, took some aspirin and iced while hoping for the best.

Wednesday and Thursday I was in considerable pain, though nothing compared to breaking a rib, it didn’t hurt to breathe and I could take a full breath.  I believe it’s a pulled intercostal muscle, which just like a broken rib there’s really nothing you can do about it.

As you can imagine, I beat myself up pretty badly about this on Wednesday and Thursday, I was aggravated and feeling sorry for myself.  “Why did I have to push it, I should have just taken a few days off”.  I then started anticipating how long I’d be out for, would this completely derail my plans to run a PR setting half marathon or two this spring? 

I have a difficult time admitting I’m wrong or injured.  While I try to listen to my body, it’s not always easy to identify which pains could potentially be a real problem and which are just an annoyance.  Take the Quote “Pain is weakness leaving the body” as an example, is what I’m feeling just “weakness” or is it a real issue. 

Going to class on Tuesday night might not have been my smartest decision, but I’ve made far worse (like running a 5 miler three weeks after breaking a rib). 

If I had skipped class I would have second guessed whether that was the right decision.  Was I creating an injury that wasn’t there?  Had I been indifferent about working out that day I would have justified missing class as “listening to my body”, but I really wanted to get that workout in. 

I entered January extremely excited to achieve the goals I’ve set for myself, goals that aren’t going to be easy to achieve.  I’ve questioned myself a lot as to whether or not I can actually run a 1:45 half marathon, that’s extremely aggressive given that it’s 10 minutes faster than my current PR. 

To take 10 minutes off my half marathon time it will require me to run each mile more than 45 seconds faster than I did previously.

Am I pushing myself too hard?  Am I even physically capable of running that fast for that long?  Am I setting myself up for failure?  What am I trying to prove? 

The answer to all of those questions at this point is maybe – or that I’m stronger than I think in the case of the last question – but I’m determined to find a more concrete answer.

Maybe a 1:45 half marathon is more of a life goal rather than a 2013 goal.  Maybe 2013 is the year I run 1:50 and 2015 I’ll break 1:45. 

Or maybe I’ll finally break 1:45 at 60.  That’d be pretty bad ass. 

As of today, my rib area feels significantly better, I don’t even flinch when I cough or sneeze.   My plan is to keep resting and not lift anything too heavy.  I’ve talked to my doctor about when I can start working out again.

I’m hoping that means the end of this week or the beginning of next, but I’m mainly focused on not beating myself up over it. 

On the plus side it gives me an opportunity to give my body some rest before entering a training cycle again.  I’ve started looking into different half marathon training plans, doing some research and figuring out the plan that works best for me. 

While I am bummed that my physical goals for 2013 will have to wait, this gives me a chance to focus on my other goals.  The goals that I tend to neglect because you either do them or you don’t, they’re easy to ignore because they’re not as exciting or challenging, or I view them as not as important (all goals aren’t created equal IMO saving more or achieving a new PR are more significant than cooking two new meals a month). 

I signed up for a volunteer opportunity for today, I found a couple recipes that I really want to try and I realize that by focusing on these other goals  I’m not going to dwelling on things I can’t control or change. 

Editor’s note: This post was edited to add the piece about running a 5 miler with a broken rib, only to find out I never disclosed that I ran that race probably because it was a very poor decision.  

I was originally signed up for the half marathon, blogged that I wasn’t going to run because of my rib issue, only to turn around and decide to run the five miler. 

When I ran the race I did not have confirmation that the rib was broken, the race was on a Sunday, my x-ray results were read on Tuesday.  I finished the race without incident in 45 minutes (9 minute mile pace). 

The ironic part is that my half marathon goal time was 2:04, which is 9 minutes slower than what I finished the course in a year later. 

I’ve shaved 9 minutes off my PR before, there’s no reason I can’t shave off another 10. 

Are you good at listening to your body?  Do you often push it when you shouldn’t?

Do you believe all goals are created equal?  Do you focus on goals that challenge you (a new PR) or goals that you know you can easily achieve you just have to dedicate the time (cooking or volunteering?)

Happy Hump Day!

It’s Wednesday! Which means I’m too lazy busy to come up with an actual post so I let the pictures do the talking

Growing up we were never allowed to hang anything on the fridge.  Aced tests and college acceptance letters never got the opportunity to be fully appreciated. Of course this all changed when Moose came along, his obedience school diploma was the focal point of the kitchen for a solid month.

Now that I have my own place, I do things a little different then my mom does, my place is nowhere near as clean as hers I allow for things to be displayed on my fridge.  It’s the perfect place to hang my 2013 goals, seeing them on a daily basis will hopefully put me in a better position to achieve them. 

It might not help me complete a pull-up, but it will hopefully remind me to swear less, make something different for dinner, or look for a new volunteer opportunity.

My messy fridge!  A reminder of what I accomplished last year and what I want to accomplish this year.

My messy fridge! A reminder of what I accomplished last year and what I want to accomplish this year.

Do you keep your goals posted in plain view? 

The Erg

Yesterday afternoon, after returning from a fun weekend of snowboarding and laughs, I headed open gym at my crossfit box for the sole purpose of determining my 500m row time.

After competing for one year on my college crew team (I was a walk on) I vowed I would never, ever, get on an erg, ever again.

I managed to avoid the erg for 9 years, until I went to my first crossfit on-boarding session two years ago.

Rowing wasn’t my sport – I barely survived the year – I’m an endurance athlete, not a strength athlete.

Rowing takes a lot of strength.

At the end of a race you would be absolutely dead. “Leave nothing in the tank” was a popular expression used by coaches before races, along with “if you’re going through hell, keep going” and “when you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hold on”.

When our boat crossed the finish line, there was nothing left in the tank. This was the first time I honestly felt as though I truly had nothing left. But just because the race is over, doesn’t mean you’re done.

You still have to pick the boat up out of the water and carry it back to the boat house.

Seriously, you have to CARRY the boat.

Rowing is a cruel sport; it is after all derived from a form of slavery.

I didn’t go back for round two after my freshman year. One year was enough for me.

While it was very easy for me to list what I gave up – a regular college experience, my body (my shoulders and thighs were huge), blood, sweat and lots of tears – in order to be part of the crew team, it took me a while to realize what I had gained.

I was forced so far out of my physical comfort zone. Pretty much every work out forced me to “tie a knot and hold on”. I had the callouses on my hands to prove it. And while at time this made me feel extremely weak, today I’m able to see the strength.

It taught me that I’m much stronger than I think I am; that there is a little bit left I just need to dig deeper and it forced me to turn “I can’t” into “I’ll try”. This helped me get through the struggles of marathon training. I use it every time I enter the gym to remind myself that I can in fact complete tough workouts.

There are also the amazing friendships that I made through crew, many of my friends frequently listed on this blog Erin, Kayla, Leanne and Kim are all former teammates. I consider them amongst my best friends.

Actually all of my college friends were either on the team or met through someone on the team.
I managed to avoid the erg for 9 years, until I went to my first crossfit on-boarding session.

A couple weeks ago, Kayla, Erin and I met up for dinner. Kayla just joined a crossfit gym so we started talking about workouts and of course the erg came up.

We were trying to remember our 500m pace, a popular crossfit distance, but races were 2000m (or 6000m in the fall) so we mainly practiced at those distances. I estimated that my 2k pace was probably around 2:05-2:10.

I remember wanting to break 2:05 so badly, but never getting there. Most girls on the team rowed at a high 1:5X or low 2:0X pace.

I was one of the slowest.

There is one crew work out sticks out in my mind, 6 500m sprints at 5-10 seconds below your 2k pace. I remember Karen, our coach, telling us that this was the only workout that made her cry. Karen was an amazing rower, she made it look so easy, if this workout made her cry what would happen to me?

To date, this is the only workout that has made me throw up (I came close to throwing up during the Filthy Fifty this past December). After round 4 I got off the erg, went into the hallway, got sick in a trash barrel, rinsed my mouth out and walked back into practice to finish my last two rounds.

“If you’re going through Hell, keep going”

Since that dinner two weeks ago, I’ve been curious to how fast I can row 500 meters. I believe the last time I did the crossfit baseline workout my 500m pace was around 2:08-2:10.

Yesterday, after a quick warm up, I hopped on the erg and rowed 500m in 2:03, much quicker than I anticipated.

After catching my breath and smiling to myself for a few minutes I switched gears and worked on pull-ups. I then got back on the erg and contemplated rowing 2,000 meters but quickly decided there was no need for that and rowed another 500 meters instead.

This time in 2:01!

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve noticed that I get excited when I see rowing as part of a WOD, though I’ll never be the fastest, I feel as though I can dominate the erg. I know my form is decent, I know I have the mechanics down and I know what it feels like to give it my all on the erg.

It’ll never be my favorite piece of workout equipment but I can honestly say I no longer hate the erg with the passion that I once did.

What workout equipment do you love or hate?