Saturday, March 22, 2014

Big Changes = Big Relief

Yeah, yeah... I've gone missing again.

Every time I think life is settling down, something happens to snap me out of that mind set and set me whirling about again.  But - this is all good things.  I'm far happier when life is a little chaotic as opposed to boring and with nothing to focus on/look forward to.  Its a relief for me.  Otherwise I'm flitting around trying to find something to busy myself with.  I'm definitely not a sit still and watch life roll by type of person.  When I have goals, and particularly long term (but attainable) ones, I tend to zone in and give all the most important things in life 110%.  Unfortunately, social media and blogging is not on the top of the importance list for me.  I'm not going to apologize for it, nor am I looking down at and judging others who place it higher on their "to do" list than I do.  We've all got different plans and priorities and that's flippin' awesome.  I love having things to read and ponder during the downtime I do get.

So... I honestly don't even know where I left off, so here's a word vomit fest sprinkled with pics.  Ha!

I finished my body building plan.  It was awesome.  I'm now struggling to figure out a balance between lifting and keeping my hard earned muscle and leaning out and focusing on my running.  I tried out a new more simple circuit this past week and it was a bomb.  I didn't like the flow and it was too easy.  And it wasn't fun.  I need fun.  So, I came up with another plan that is a bit more difficult, but still within the realm of "running focused" and I'll try it out next week.

I never do gym selfies, but on my last day I HAD to!  Those arms!  That upper body!  Love!  And I adore the Wall of Inspiration in the inside of the girls' locker room!

Speaking of running:  I have now completed over a weeks worth of running with NO walk intervals.  I've also added 1 run per week that I allow myself to go a bit faster than I have been to test out what I can possibly handle for the PGH Half.  Last week I hit 3 miles at 8:45 avg and today I did 4 miles at 8:40 with a bitchin' headwind.  If I were to gauge where I feel my fitness in general lies right now I'd say I feel around where I was at JASR last year.  Which, all things being said, isn't that bad of a place to be.

I picked up a new job!  I'm now helping others attain their health and fitness goals and this is just great.  It's been like a dream come true.  Not that EMS didn't make me happy, but there's something to be said about seeing someone transform in ways they thought they couldn't and knowing that you're behind that.  Very cool stuff.  But, this is another reason for my online absence.  I'm on my phone a lot, but my iPhone sucks for blogging.  It's just the way it is.

Oh, I got this email:

If you recall, my big goal for last Fall's racing season was the Great Race 10K.  All my training from the summer until the end of September focused on being able to hopefully run the 10K in less than 45 minutes.  I thought it a lofty goal but one I could do if I put the effort out there.  I crossed the finish line in 43:53.

I really haven't given this race much thought and it was a big shock when I got the email.  I still haven't registered for it.  I'm obviously really proud of my accomplishment last year, but I know at this moment I'm not in that same condition.  Could I get there by September?  Maybe.  I don't know.  Like I said above, I feel like I'm about at the same place I was a year ago around JASR.  And, I did go from that to what I was able to put out at the Great Race then.  This year is different, though.  I'm still being really careful with running and I really really want to focus more on injury free endurance than speed.  First of all, speedwork increases my chance of re-injury (at least right now).  Second, I know I've mentioned many times here, there, and everywhere that my main goal for this year is to be able to FINALLY run a marathon.  I still feel really screwed over on Pittsburgh (hey, it's my fault.  No one to blame but myself for that one), and I need a goal to move on from it.

Another exciting email:

And there it is.  I AM running MCM in October.  I threw my name in the hat for NYC and MCM with the plan of doing Philly if I didn't get in to one of those.  MCM has always been my #1 choice.  The drawing for NYC isn't until next week and if by some weird twist of lightning strikes twice fate I get into that, I will cancel and get guaranteed entry for 2015.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.  :)

Look at the timestamp on that email too.  I'm going to publicly apologize to my husband everyone else that had contact with me that day for being a morose bitch all day.  Especially after 2:30 when they announced they were 75% done and all emails would be out by 4pm.  What an emotional jerkjob of a day (they said the emails were going to start going out at 12:01 am.  It was a long wait.)! lol  I ate a fat slice of cake that night.  Don't care.  It was delicious.

So from now until October 26th my mind is completely focused on staying HEALTHY and getting to that starting line.  If I have to go a little (or a lot) slower, I will.  If I need a break, I'll take it.  If I need to stay away from social media/fitness sites and stay in my own headspace for a while, I will.  Something I've never really admitted to publicly until now is that things like DailyMile/Nike+ really stress me out at times.  Yes, the awesome part of it is staying accountable and giving and getting encouragement, but it can also be an emotional kick in the pants sometimes.  You have a crappy run and then feel like "well crap, now I gotta post this shitty time for everyone to see".  Or you watch as others who you once kept up with leave you in the dust for whatever reason (you're injured...ahem).  Yes, I applaud everyone's accomplishments and try to support people when they're down... but I do have a slightly competitive side and that part of me does get butthurt now and then!  Just being honest!  I know I've intentionally (in the past - definitely not recently) pushed myself too hard on a run just to "beat" someone on a website.  Sooo stupid.  I will not let myself get to that point again.  Finishing MCM means too much to me.

Aside from the above, we're also talking about moving (again).  I'm definitely not leaving the area.  I've grown into a Yinzer over the last 12+ years and I love it like I love my Stillers.  But, my mother in law is getting older and lives across the state and is talking about wanting to move here.  Right now we're looking towards the North Hills (it's where our collective workdays are spent anyway) but we will see.  We might stay put another year.  But I'd prefer not to because our landlord is not motivated to do anything around here other than continually raise the rent.  Grrr.

I think that's all for now!  I hope everyone out there is happy, healthy, and reaching for those goals!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Final Stretch

First of all, I'm glad to hear that I am not the only one who finds treadmills hard!  So often I hear people saying it helps them run faster and it is the total opposite for me.  Good to know I'm not alone!

This week I start the final week of the muscle building plan that I started back when I was still barely able to walk almost 12 weeks ago.  I was really itching to do something after spending several weeks literally laying in bed or on the couch.  Inactive and happy, I am not.  Once I was able to run again, and I added a gradual buildup to this already pretty intense schedule I've been honestly darn drained.  I really want to finish the process, though.  Another thing I am not is a quitter.  I'm looking forward to backing off a little, taking some time to work on my flexibility and stretching techniques and then adding the weights back in with the focus of maintaining most of what I've gained plus continuing to strengthen and build my running.

But I have to finish out this week first.  ;)  This weeks workouts are pretty much the same as last week, and since I'm a huge slacker and haven't put out a recap when it is already TUESDAY (again!), here's a quick rundown.

Monday: Legs!  This is the one thing I'll be happy to see gone... heavy leg day AFTER long run day.  Oof.
Dumbbell squats
Leg Presses
Stiff Legged Deadlifts
Dumbbell lunges
Calf Press

30 reps of each - no rest between - 3 mins rest, then repeat 3 more times.  By the last round, those lunges SUCK!

Tuesday:  Back, Abs, and Run
Bent Over Rows
Lat pulldowns
Seated Cable Rows
Back Extensions
Knee Raises on the bars
Air bikes

20 reps each - no rests until after the bikes then rest 3 mins before repeating 2 more times.  I actually really like this circuit and think I'll hang onto it as a go-to in the future.

After I did this last week I ran 3.57 miles on the treadmill - 10:1 run/walk intervals.

Wednesday:  Chest, Calves, and Elliptical
Bench Press
Incline Press
Standing Dumbbell calf raises
Seated calf raise

20 reps each with no rest between, then a 3 min break before doing it all again 2 times.  Believe it or not the hardest part of this circuit is those simple dips and pushups during the last round!  I followed this up with 40 minutes on the elliptical.

Thursday: Arms, Abs, and Run
Barbell Curls
Alternating biceps curls
Standing single dumbbell triceps extension
Reverse Crunches
Regular crunches

Again, 20 reps a piece, no rest until the end, then rest 3 minutes and do it twice more.

After this workout I did a c25k Week 5 workout: Walk 5 min, Run 8, Walk 3, Run 10, Walk 4.  The "walk 3" was supposed to be a 5 minute walk, but I felt fully recovered and honestly freaking bored at 3 minutes, so I just started running early.  I felt great!

Friday:  Shoulders, calves, and yes, another RUN!
Shoulder Presses
Bent Over Rear Delt Raises
Front raises
Side Lateral raises
Standing upright row
Calf Press
Standing Calf Raises

Same as the previous days - 20 reps, 3 min rest at the end, repeat 2 more times.

This day I tried running a longer period than I have thus far since the injury without walking.  I walked for 5 minutes to warmup, then I ran 20 minutes on the treadmill non-stop.  I did a 5 min cooldown walk following.  I set the pace a bit slower than I had been going just to make sure I could do it.  It was awesome!  I felt really good!  This was really confidence boosting.

Saturday: Rest!
Well, ok, I did do a 20 minute yoga routine with my daughter.  ;)

Sunday: 7.68 mile run.
Yes, you read that correctly.  Of course I had to run during the big scary snowstorm that wasn't as scary as predicted but still put a decent amount on the ground to trudge through.  9:1 intervals around North Park to boot.  It took me 1:23, which, given the snow and the fact that I was run/walking wasn't disappointing to me at all.  I also earned these awesome ice crystals on my brows and lashes:

So, I'm still slowly trying to get back at it.  I'm pretty confident I'll be able to finish the half.  I definitely won't be anywhere near a PR and I'm still not certain if I will be run/walking or not, but I'll cross that finish line, God willing.