Category: Exercise


So… a lot has happened since I last posted.

No, I didn’t run last year’s Marine Corps Marathon. But YES, I did defer it for this year, thus allowing me to skip over the newly enacted lottery. Hooray!

Yes, I finally have a treadmill. It is helping me to keep on track with running. Although, it gets boring. Fast. Let’s say at this stage my running is intermittent. Working on it.

No, I am not a volunteer for my husband’s unit new Family Readiness Officer… yet. But not at the fault of not trying on my behalf. The unit went through some changes like a middle aged woman going through menopause.

No, My husband is STILL (!!!!) not been retrained for a job with the USMC. I mean it’s only been three years. But he is the platoon Sergeant so it’s not like he’s not busy. Some of you are familiar with the term “the big green weenie.” My husband happens to be very familiar. On the plus side he’s been going through the process of applying for an aviator contract for Officer Candidate School. I’ll take bets on which happens first- new MOS training or Officer Candidate Course.

Yes, I’m still a stay at home mom. I’ve been really itching to get a part time job or go back to school but it’s just not a good time yet. Perhaps when our son attends pre-school in the fall. At least I can check off applying for the pre-school off my list. Next up: teaching him to pee in the damn toilet. You’d think it would be more fun for boys. Now if only someone could convince him of that. Geesh.

What does this all mean for me?

I’m going to start eating a no sugar diet. Read: no added sugar; natural sugar from fruits are fine. Although this may start out as a low sugar diet since I’m pretty sure I’m an addict. I guess I have to first convince my husband not to buy cookies and ice cream. I think this is going to help increase my energy because I’ve been super sluggish since turning 30… or maybe it’s since the moment I’ve had to be at the beck and call of a child every moment of every waking hour. It’s a coin toss really.

I also get to start shopping and looking into business licenses for my husband’s house in coastal Carolina. We’re turning it into a short term rental in order to offset the cost of mortgage. So far it’s not. At least everything we’re purchasing will be tax deductible. If we go the route of managing our own property I might take a course or five to make sure I have the professional background to keep it running smoothly.

Too Long…

It’s been way too long since I last posted. Quite frankly I’m embarrassed to admit this… I’ve lost that loving feeling with running lately. An injury set it in motion and boredom and lack of motivation kept it rolling.

I am tired. Just watching my son run around constantly makes me even more tired. What’s wrong with me?!?!

I’ve still been exercising in one way or another almost daily, but running has become elusive. I’m not even sure how to hop back on the wagon right now. I feel like I should try getting outside in the mornings but I am not a morning person. I have a hard time sleeping through the night and I often find myself silently cursing my alarm every morning. Dragging myself out of bed is a feat in itself. It’s always been that way. The thought of getting out of bed and running 5 miles makes me shudder. Not the feeling you want going into a run.

So now I’m at the point where I’m coming up with ideas to reignite some aerobic passion in me. So for everyone who’s reading this and has fallen off their exercise wagon, know that everyone feels burnt out sometimes. Forgive yourself, regroup, and evaluate your routine to find out where things went wrong. I need more variety, both in my routes and type of exercise. Man, I can’t wait to get my treadmill and just hop on whenever I want. That will be coming in the end of July. Who’s excited!? Just me?

 

Celebrate Good Times

This week was full of varying degrees of exercise. From intense cleaning sessions to packing up our belongings to a few decent runs.

I ran three miles in the beginning of the week. I chose to run in the evenings mostly because my body is loose enough to complete my run with good form. If my body is tense and tight from sleeping I end up expending too much energy in my arms and shoulders. When running longer distances you want to keep form without overly contracting your muscles in your shoulders, back, and arms. You want all that energy to go to your legs.

On Wednesday, I wanted to celebrate my miraculous entry into the Marine Corps Marathon and my husband’s conclusion of bachelor degree classes with a great 3 mi run wearing my “Proud Wife of a U.S. Marine” tee-shirt. You have to represent! I was completely giddy after gaining entry into the Marathon that I just let my legs move as fast as they wanted to. Here I am post-run including my sweaty underarms. Not cute. Genuinely happy, but not cute.

MCM celebration run

On Friday we had a guest arrive for the holiday weekend. Clearly this was the day that I decided that our place had to be spotless. He’s a Marine so I thought he’d have high standards. Lucky for us, he’s known my husband longer than I and he’s very forgiving of chaos. So a few loads of laundry and dishwasher cycles later I felt like I had run a mile at least.

Saturday was a short 1.5 tempo run that I chose to run in the morning. It was chilly out so I didn’t mind the short bursts of faster running. I’m hoping to run the marathon at 4 hours or less which means I need to keep a 9:00 pace. I’m hoping all my training effort will get me to a 7:30 pace but my goal is to finish sub 04:00:00 especially if I have my husband pushing me along the way. Really, just crossing the finish line is respectable for a first marathon in my opinion.

In two weeks I start my training and I’ll start posting what my plan calls for at the beginning of the week and what I actually accomplished by the end. Having the blog really helps keep me accountable. As with every plan, the key is to follow it the best you can but to adapt and be flexible when something comes up and you can’t have the type of exercise you originally anticipated.

Good luck to all my fellow marathoners whether you’re training for your first or 50th.

“Never Let Your Fear Decide Your Fate”

Great stretch for quads!

Great stretch for quads!

“S” is for stretch. I definitely concentrated on stretching this week to avoid injuries at all costs. I was in the final stretch (no pun intended… well, maybe a little pun intended; a punlet if you will) of my push-up challenge and I decided that the warmer weather was calling for longer runs. At this point 3 miles actually is a longer run for me. That will drastically change once I start my marathon training in a couple weeks. I hope everyone wanting to sign on to run “The People’s Marathon” get in. It’s a shame they can’t make it a two day event to make room for all the people who want to participate. But I totally get why it’s limited to one day since marathon routes tend to mess with traffic. D.C. has enough problems with traffic as it is. But here’s how my past week went. Enjoy.

Sunday: 3 mi 40 min; 75 push-ups

Monday: 80 push-ups

Tuesday: 3 mi 31 min; 85 push-ups

Wednesday: 90 push-ups

Thursday: 95 push-ups

Friday: 100 push-ups; 30 minutes of yoga

Saturday: Rest

Stretch

I wasn’t pushing myself by any means on my runs (as indicated by my times). That Sunday run was rough. I was a beautiful day out in the 70s but my energy was nil. Nothing hurt. I wasn’t out of breath. I was just running on empty. Maybe I was dehydrated or I waited too long after I ate to go for this run. I’m just glad that I made it from point A back to point A. It wasn’t pretty. I wasn’t even sweating or out of breath by the time I finished.

After some encouragement from some family and friends, I hit the pavement on Tuesday to do the same 3 mile loop. It was significantly cooler but that was fine because it was perfect for running. I read somewhere that your body warms on average of 20 degrees while running. Meaning that if the air is 55 degrees you’ll feel like it’s 75 degrees which feel pretty darn comfortable. As you can see I ran significantly better, but still nowhere racing pace. I’m definitely not thinking about speed right now. My goals are pretty simple. Run for as long as I can at a comfortable speed without throwing up. In all honesty, I stopped to walk a couple times. I’m not even really sure WHY I stopped to walk. No pain anywhere. My lungs burned ever so slightly but it wasn’t crippling. At this point I think it’s a mind game. I’m now in the position where I have to force my body to trick my mind into believing I can push further than it thinks I should. Overall, I was content with the outcome, but I’m definitely capable of more.

I probably should have run more but my husband was being occupied by the Marine Corps this weekend. I have not yet obtained a treadmill and my son is no longer at a stage where he wants to be in a stroller. So I get two days off from running. I certainly picked a crazy time to start my marathon training.

This week was also the end of my push-up challenge. I made it up to 100 push-ups. I actually liked doing it everyday so I’m sure I will continue to throw some push-ups in everyday. Read about what I learned from my challenge here.

Small Victories

I made it! Push-Up Challenge Completed!

Here’s a quick recap of how it went down:

One evening while flexing in the mirror…..

KIDDING!!!!

 

Honestly, I decided to challenge myself not because there was a growing trend on a social network or I was jealous of Michelle Obama’s massive guns. I wanted to be able to hold my son in my arms for an extended amount of time without feeling like they were on fire. I wanted to wave my arms without feeling that extra jiggle. Sometimes you just have to say enough!

TAKE ONE….

My first plan of attack was a little overzealous. I got a harsh lesson in realizing that I’m no spring chicken and I can’t go zero to sixty in seconds anymore. So my first attempt of this challenge was to do 100 push-ups each day for two weeks. My joints screamed, my abdomen wept, and my chest surrendered. Day one was tolerable but difficult. Day two was almost… dare I say it?… fun. Day three I noticed a soreness in my chest and shoulders, but significant pain in my lower abdomen. Day four I admitted defeat that I had injured my abdominal muscles to the point where I had to rethink my course of action. It wasn’t pretty and although I didn’t want to quit, I did want to start over in a safer way.

GETTING SMART….

After getting over my initial feelings of failure and taking time to heal,  I revitalized my plan by starting at 20 push-ups. 20. Such a small number. Definitely manageable. The next day I would increase my reps by 5 and continue this pattern until I got up to 100 push-ups in one day. This gradual building of reps helped so much. Mentally, I could think I did “such and such a number” yesterday; I can definitely do that plus 5 more today. My previous plan had me thinking “Ugh can I 100 over and over again?” Sometimes you have to think small to gain something big.

So here’s my before and after:

Before Push-up Challenge After Push-up Challenge

Is there any real difference just by looking? no. I mean you can kind of see something starting to emerge if you squint and tilt your head to the left. But in reality, I wasn’t going to fool myself into thinking that I would suddenly be mistaken for Jillian Michaels. (LOVE her by the way). At the very least, this is proof that I didn’t wear the same shirt everyday. I have to say that I have noticed a difference in my strength level. When I play with my son I can throw him up in the air and hold him for longer periods of time a lot easier than before. A nice bonus is that I no longer may an awkward groan when lifting anything heavier than 20 lbs. I also give my husband more of a challenge when we arm wrestle for who has to do the dishes. I’m kidding about that BUT very glad that is not how we make decisions. So the improvement thus far is internal. This isn’t the end of my challenge. Now that I know I can do 100 push-ups in a day in under 10 minutes, I’m going to continue to do push-ups daily. I won’t have a set number in my head but just do as many as I can/want. Maybe 20 push-ups every time I think about that carton of ice cream in the freezer? Sounds legit.

First off, I revealed that I was a bit stressed out finding a place to live. Our current lease is up in the beginning of May and I was beginning to feel the pressure of securing a new roof over our heads. At one point I was so frustrated that I was ready to concede defeat and set up camp in the woods. While that would have been a fun adventure for a while and perhaps I would find the inner frontier woman in me, I’m quite sure I would have cursed the heavens after the first rain storm. On the other hand, it would have been an excellent opportunity to teach a two year old about wilderness survival. (*Let’s be real. A two year old would just chase squirrels all day.)

So after months of scouring internet resources, stalking driving by rental listings, and even randomly dropping in to real estate agencies we finally had narrowed our choices down to three properties. We knew rental properties in our area (a big city suburb) were hard to find and if you were lucky to find something you had to work fast because they didn’t stay vacant for long. We wanted a three bedroom home (house, townhome, condo, duplex, whatever) that was in a safe area with neighbors close by (I get a little paranoid when I’m home alone and debate hiding under the bed a la Kevin McCallister) where my toddler could run and jump to his tiny heart’s content, and wasn’t a horrible commute for my husband.

Bingo bango. It took us one night to discuss the pros and cons of the property and after calling some people to get their input, we brought in our application the following day. Two days later we got the welcomed call that we were approved so we’ll sign the lease today and drop it off and a big stack of cash off tomorrow. Maybe now I won’t feel like chowing down on sugary confections anymore (Really, I blame the Girl Scout Cookie season. Damn those delectable treats!)

Now to get to the cross training. I decided to do some lower body training today with my bff kettlebell. He’s a hefty lad at 15lbs and I call him Carl. I thought today would be a good day to do a pyramid workout. A pyramid workout is a HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workout completed as follows: My pyramid will be up to 10. Start by doing one rep of each exercise. Then 2. Then 3. So on and so forth up to ten. Then reverse the amount of reps going back to 9. Then 8. So on and so forth back down to 1 rep. These should be done consecutively with no breaks in between or an extremely short break if you’re a beginner. A way to gauge your improvements is to time the whole workout. The faster you completed it the better. This is an extremely watered down version of something similar to increasingly popular Crossfit. But hey if you have the access to bigger weights and barbells, go for it. If you want a bigger burn do a bigger pyramid. Or do a push-up when you get to the plank position of your burpee. Be creative!

I randomly picked five lower body exercises.

  1. Standard squats (w/ Carl)
  2. Side squats: (each side is one rep) (w/ Carl)
  3. Walking lunges: (each leg is one rep) (w/ Carl)
  4. Burpees: Start standing. Drop down to a squat position placing your hands on the floor. Push your feet behind you so you are in a standard plank position. Pop back up to a squat then stand back up. This is one rep.
  5. Mountain climbers: Start in standard plank position. Bring one knee up to your chest. Bring back down and repeat with other leg. Do this very quickly for maximum results.  (Do this 10 times for one rep.)

Getting it done.

We’ve all been there. That rough patch in our daily routines where you don’t do what you ought to. And the habit sticks around like a bad cold.

For the last week, I’ve been eating horribly. More sugar than normal. More processed foods than normal. The only reason I can think of is that I’ve been a bit more stressed out lately. We’ve been on the search for a new place to live (kind of important) and some other personal stuff. It seems to be piling up and I should be out using running as my therapy instead of stuffing my face and holding on to the frustration and anxiety. I’ve never been a “stress eater” before. I’ve always been more likely to do the opposite. Barely eat at all. That’s just as bad as eating a lot of cruddy foods. I haven’t gained a bunch of weight or anything but I definitely feel sluggish. At least I keep the portions low. That counts for something right? (I am completely aware that I’m kidding myself with that rationalization.) I’m such a sucker for cheese. And carbs. Last night, we ate London Broil (healthy) and broccoli (healthy) with  a little bit of cheese sauce (crud.) So close to having a totally healthy meal.

Let’s continue on with more evidence of my unhealthy eating. I very rarely eat breakfast. I’m just not hungry in the mornings. Generally, I eat two larger meals throughout the day. Not good.

The one bright spot of my eating is that I don’t drink a lot of calories. I usually have water throughout the day. But lately in my phase of non-healthiness I’ve been throwing back the occasional Yoohoo. Yep. It’s official. I’m a 29 year old with the eating habits of a 10 year old. It’s better that I change this now so that I can properly provide my body with the energy required for marathon training.

I continue to chug along with my revamped push-up challenge. I’m up to 55 push-ups today working towards 100 within the next 10 days. No injuries or even soreness right now and I feel like there is a difference. I feel stronger and I swear my biceps are slightly more defined. I’ll do a before and after reveal when I’m all done. It’s not as dramatic as the before and after of say a house or room, but just humor me.

With that, I ask any of my readers if they have any go-to healthy breakfast recipes. I have no allergies so pretty much anything is game. Except cauliflower, but that’s only because I can’t stand the taste. I’ve never tried beets and I hear those are really good for you. Perhaps a smoothie? I’ve never been much of a chef so be gentle. Help me be adventurous! I have a feeling I’m going to be spending much of my day on pinterest looking for recipes.

Races, Reps, and Ramblings

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Mile Posts by Dorothy Beal

Mile Posts is a running blog by Dorothy Beal. From how to train for your first 5K to funny memes on how to laugh your way through marathon training. Mile Posts is your go to place for all things running!

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