Monday, June 29, 2015

Weekly Review 6/22-6/28/2015

Yeah, yeah... another week with just a summary post.  I'd say I'm sorry but that's silly.  I'm pretty busy right now and when I'm not busy I'm either really tired or trying to keep myself from being bummed that my Vinny is off at camp for a few weeks.

It looks like he's having fun, though... this is a pic of Vincent and his best friend enjoying the slip and slide at camp.  I love it when they update the online camp page!

Well, let's get to the workouts. 

Monday:  3 mile recovery run. 4 minutes running/30 seconds walking intervals.  Even with the walk breaks I was having a hard time keeping my heart rate down in recovery range and had to go very slow.  Granted, I'd just run for an hour for the very first time post injury the day before so that could have been it.  Who knows.  I wasn't in pain or anything.. just tired in the legs.  After running, I started my new lifting plan.  This is something I threw together to try and see if it works out.  I'm combining muscle groups since I'm lifting just 3 days a week.  Today I did shoulders, arms and core.  I liked this workout, but I felt incredibly weak lifting after running.  Oof.

Tuesday:  It was a brutally hot and humid morning, but I was running no matter what.  I adjusted my heart rate zones to compensate for the temp and humidity and got to it.  I did 4 miles using the ratio of 2 minutes running/20 seconds walking.  I really enjoy that ratio for some reason.. it just feels good.  Anyway, I was able to run much faster than I have been lately and I felt freaking amazing!  And my heart rate didn't get that high at all!

Wednesday:  Legs and Back.  No cardio other than a 5 minute warmup on the elliptical today.  I went a bit lighter on the weights and increased the reps since my focus is on healthy running now.  Overall, this workout was good but I think in the future I'm going to do less sets of a couple of the exercises.  I was plenty fatigued at the end and I don't want to break myself down too badly and not be able to recover for my run the following day.  BUT - I do have a new favorite exercise: Face pulls.

Thursday:  Another 4 mile easy run.  4 minutes running/30 seconds walking intervals.  This is actually the first run where I can say I forgot about any injury and felt "normal".  The stiffness and weird disjointed feeling that comes with running after a bone injury is about gone.  Hooray!

Friday:  Chest, Shoulders and Core lifting.  This workout was pretty "meh", so I do believe I'll be changing some things.  The core part was great, though.  I was really psyched to do some hanging leg raises again.. always so much fun.  After my lift, I put in 30 minutes on the bike for 12.3 miles.  This is the day which could potentially morph into a short easy run day in a few weeks, but for right now the crosstraining is winning.

Saturday: It was storming and there was flooding everywhere around here.  Even SCRR cancelled their group run!  So, I figured this was the powers that be telling me to take my "long" run indoors while they really aren't so long.  I just wanted to go for another hour since running today would put me at 5 days of running in the last 7 and I didn't want to overdo it.  I kept things really light and easy but upped by run time to 5 minutes and my walking time to 1 minute.  I also did a solid 1 minute walk warmup and a walk cooldown so I really ended up being on the treadmill 1 hour and 2 minutes.  :P  I did get in a 10K, though - 6.21 miles total - so I did go a bit farther than last week anyway.  And I felt great!

Sunday: Rest!

I ran 17.25 miles this week!  I rode 12.3!  I'm completely happy with this! 17 weeks to go.

Goals for this week:  Get at least 1 mile of a run in without walk breaks (I actually did this today!).  Do more yoga.  Stay sane.  Add another mile to my long run if I can.  Stay away from Joe Joe's. ><

In non workout news:  I have an interview tomorrow that could be life changing, so any positive vibes shifted in my direction would be greatly appreciated.

Facebook makes me not like people... especially "family" members.

I miss Vincent.
Meatball did not want Vincent to leave for camp... she stole his duffel.  These days she's all messed up in the head and resenting us.  She sits at his door and glares at me like he's gone forever and it's all my fault.  That doesn't help with my missing him, silly old cat.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Weekly Review 6/15-6/21/2015

This was an exciting week for me.  I started off by finishing out my strength building plan and then ended it with my first hour long run in a while!  I've finally got a taste of the fantastic (ahem) heat and humidity you've all been dealing with.  It's definitely a change to monitor your heart rate in the summer as opposed to the winter months.  Instead of nice slow climbs that are pretty easy to control it's really quick to go from low to OMGWHATAREYOUDOINGSLOWTHEHELLDOWN!!  Ah, gotta love it.  Heat adjustment please be fast!

Monday:  Last day of the strength plan!  This was a full circuit workout - everything from pulldowns to crunches to dips to squats, etc.  I hit every body part with something.  It was great.  After that was done I got on the crossramp for 20 minutes for 2.24 miles to kick off the week.  Not bad.

Tuesday: I took the liberty of being a sloth this day.  Just kidding, I did show up for real life and I also did some stretching and rolling and all that.  Otherwise I enjoyed not being soaked in sweat by 6 am for a day.

Wednesday: My first outdoor run in weeks!  I did 3 minutes running and 30 seconds walking for 40 minutes.  I didn't have any expectations of pace or distance or anything other than enjoying being outside and giving my heart rate a glance for the first time in a while from a running perspective.  I'm honestly happy to see that my cardio fitness hasn't lost very much.  Yeah, I have some ground to make up, but not nearly what I feared and not anywhere near having to start over from scratch.  I made it 4.05 miles!

Thursday: Another morning of enjoying the outside world.. My goal was 30 minutes. This time I tried another interval ratio - 2 minutes running/20 seconds walking.  I laughed at the end of the run when I saw that my average pace was nearly identical to the day before.  The difference I noticed while running was that 20 seconds walking didn't get my heart rate quite as low as 30 therefore it jumped back up faster when I started to run again.  I had to concentrate today to make sure I didn't get out of range.  That's not a bad thing, it's just something to note.  This was a really great feeling run and I was able to go 3.05 miles in my 30 minute time.

Friday: So, I debated with myself for a while over to give a third day in a row a go or just go do some cross training or even take another rest day.  I was feeling very good, though - no aftershocks or soreness or anything so I figured what the heck.  The deal I made with myself (yeah, I'm nuts, ok) was that I would go to the gym and use the treadmill that way if two minutes in it was awful that I could just hop off and get on the bike or something.  I also went back to the 3 minute/30 second ratio.  Well, I was plenty shocked and happy to have yet another great run!  I did keep the pace slower, so I didn't get as far in 30 minutes, but hey, another 2.94 miles is fine for me!

Saturday: Rest day!  However I did walk to the library and back, which was a little under 2 miles round trip, but I won't count that.  I did get a nice workout carrying a backpack full of stuff, though.

Sunday:  The goal: One hour.  The ratio: 4 minutes running/1 minute walking.  The weather at 6 something AM: 71 degrees and 92% humidity.  Lord have mercy!  Well, I did it!  I felt really good for the most part but after 4 miles I did start to fade and I did have a couple of run intervals that were more work than others.  It was just thick air... just thick.  I'll get used to it, I just have to give myself some time to catch up.  :)  But damnit if I didn't run over 6 miles in my hour!  Not too shabby for my first "long run" in what seems like forever.  6 miles is actually my first planned long run in my marathon training plan, and that's two weeks from now so I'm feeling pretty confident now that I did it today.

Holy crap I was roasting.  How do people live and run in tropical areas?

Well, that's been my week!  I actually ran 16.09 miles this week.  The rule was I could start back up at 50% of my training volume from when I got injured... The week preceding my injury I did 43 miles so half of that would put me at 21.5 but I feel better about starting off more conservatively like this.  Like I said in my last post I'd rather be undertrained at the starting line than sitting at home wishing I was there.  I'm fine going about it a little slowly.

I'll be starting some lifting again at the gym tomorrow and I'm looking forward to it.

In other news I saw the movie Inside Out and it was adorable.  I can totally see parts of myself in all those emotion characters.

Victoria left for Girl Scout Camp today.  I thought it was kind of weird they left on Father's Day of all things, but at least they didn't go until afternoon.  She'll be gone a few days and then Vincent leaves for Sarah Heinz Camp the day after.  He'll be gone for..... almost a month (his choice).  I am going to miss him like freaking crazy but I won't be that mom that holds their kid back from things they want to do because of being a clinger.  They've gotta learn and grow, right?  Remind me I'm this positive about it in a couple weeks when I'm going crazy because he hasn't written and I don't know what to do without my gamer buddy or kid that won't let me go to bed for myself unless his room is "just so". :)

Have fun at camp, Tori!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Running, Where to From Here?

As you can probably guess, from the last 8 weeks being crazy - taking my first (and second) DNS in a row, feeling sorry for myself, snapping out of it and then letting myself heal and tackle a new challenge while I waited to run again - now that I've been running (or run/walking if you demand that I differentiate) I'm in a "hmm.. what do I do now?" state of mind.

First things first - apologies for this post being mere rambling.  I really don't know how else to be honest about what's rolling around the old brain.

Today is 18 weeks and 2 days until the Marine Corps Marathon.  This year I find myself in a vastly different position than last.  Last year I was able to do a nice slow (most runs at low heart rate) buildup of mileage post Pittsburgh Half and went comfortably into an 18 week training plan with a 25-30 mile per week base.  That training plan was my own creation, doing a hybrid of Hal Higdon's Intermediate plan with Pfitzinger's speedwork workouts on a lighter scale.  That plan worked... yes, I hit the wall during the last couple of miles and walked a bit, but that was more to blame on race execution than the plan (I ran the first half too fast, especially with the weather being warm, and just didn't have enough gas in the tank for mile 25 on that I did previously).  I do not feel confident in tackling that plan this year... especially since I'm not even straight running yet - I'm still run/walking.  This week if all goes well I should have 15 or 16 miles of running in.  So, I'm pretty much at half at where I was this time last year.

Good things:  I don't think my endurance has went down much.  I've been monitoring my heart rate this week since I'm off the preworkout and at least my "easy" and "recovery" paces for heart rate aren't too far off of what they were - at least at first glance.  I feel like I can keep going and that I'm not nearly tired enough to have to stop, but I'm utilizing a ton of self control here.  I really owe this to pushing myself to the max at the gym this month and not letting myself wallow in self pity and bullshit.

So, what do I do?  I've been browsing around at plans, while keeping tabs on my personal recovery, and what I would like to do vs what I could do vs what potential lies there after I fully return, so to speak.  Of course goal Numero Uno is to get to the starting line healthy.  No matter what that takes!  I'd rather be undertrained and hit the wall immediately after the bridge than to get injured before the race.  Finishing is Goal #2.. which as far as MCM goes means maintaining a 14 minute per mile pace to "Beat the Bridge" at mile 20 after which you can walk the rest of the way.  Now, I know me and you all kinda know me and with that being said Goal #3 has to be a number - even if it's just put in my head to give me something to go on while training.  I find it near impossible to stay motivated without a number out there... that number could even be a heart rate number - say, run the whole thing at sub-157 bpm.  I don't know.  This goal has time still to be determined and a lot of thought that needs to go into it.  No, I don't believe I can break 4 hours again this year.  It's just not there without pushing myself too hard, which I want to avoid.  I don't know what I can do just yet.. I need to see how I can build up and get some long runs in before making that call.

I really don't want to do the same old type of plan I've always done.  I tried to do something a little different for Pittsburgh this year, but that didn't end well and I'm not going to sit here and beat myself up yet again over it.  That plan was fun, but I know I am in no where near the condition to pick that one up again.

I will say that I don't think I've ever done a plan as written.  I always mess with things to make it my own, whether it's adding or deleting speed training or adding or deleting miles or running by heart rate instead of a specific pace, etc.  And I do believe everyone should.  Following a plan straight out of a book or on the internet is kind of like following a diet word for word calorie for calorie and assuming that everyone is the same.  We aren't all the same.

I looked into FIRST again, but all that speedwork would do me in, even if it is only 3 days of running.  I'm not naive enough to think that it wouldn't.

I also looked into the straightforward Galloway plan, but honestly going past the 26 mile point in training intimidates me and I don't know that I will utilize run/walk through the entirety of training and/or the race.  In the past, I've gotten pretty frustrated with walk breaks once the runs start getting longer (I know that sounds completely opposite of what it should be).

I gave the training plans from the book Marathoning for Mortals by John Bingham a look, but I really wasn't feeling any of them but the run/walk one and the walk intervals are too long... But I guess I could fiddle with them to suit.

After much reading, researching, talking out of my ass and driving my husband nuts (as well as trying to get his input), I do have a plan.  Given my most recent high volume training cycle this might shock you - but I'm only scheduling 4 running days per week and adding more crosstraining in the form of the bike or maybe crossramp or even just walking.  If I feel strong and healthy enough as the cycle moves along I may do a very short easy run on a crosstraining day.  But right now that's a no.  I will also be strength training 3 days per week.  2 days will be heavier.  I don't want to go back to the light weights 1-2 days a week again.  I want to find a nice medium point that will keep my strength moving in the right direction but without impeding my running.  The third day of strength training will either be bodyweight or just a core workout.  I've really been better off for doing all this lifting and I'm going to stick with it.  People always say you can't run and lift - you can be really good at one and suck at the other or just be medicore at both... Well fine, then, I'm happy with being mediocre at both if that's what makes me feel good physically and mentally.  I don't want to be "just a runner" any more than I want to "just lift".  I don't know why you have to choose...

This is also a 16 week plan - so I still have 2 weeks to gear up.  I'm going to keep doing what I've been doing.  I'm excited to add the weights back in next week, though - it's only been a few days and I'm already missing the pump!  What I think I'm going to do is sort of model the outline of the upcoming plan with regards to days running and other training, just at a lesser volume of course over these 2 weeks.

Other differences: I redid my heart rate zones.  Last cycle I was running my long runs at a higher HrMax% than is typical.  I'm going to scale back on that - due to the fact I'm still in recovery mode, and the summer heat.  My recovery runs will also probably be a LOT slower again and I'll probably have to do a bit of walk/running even to keep my heart rate that low.  My long run day is switched as well... For years I've been a "Sunday Runday" girl, but for this cycle I'm switching it up to Saturday and taking Sunday as my total rest day.  This will give me a chance to run more with SCRR if I choose to, and also - this is a family decision.  Last summer our weekends pretty much revolved around Saturday pace runs and then Sunday long distance running.  When the weeks got intense I felt guilty about this because it was kind of comsuming.  So I think it will be a good thing to have a weekend day (and Sunday in particular) to be free from the training and spend the whole day together not worrying about being tired or sore or voraciously eating like T-Rex (btw - I saw Jurassic World the day it came out and it is freaking amazing).

I'm sure things will keep evolving as time gets nearer, but this is where I'm at right now.  I've had three good runs three days in a row now and I'm feeling cautiously optimistic.

I am getting excited about MCM, though! I'm a member of a large community online of people that are multiple MCMers and even some first timers and the energy is just off the charts right now!  It's truly amazing and something I really missed over the Spring.

Here's to keeping my fingers crossed and my mind and body strong for the journey ahead.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Weekly Review 6/8-6/14/2015

Another week down.  I'm just plugging away at my plan..  Now I'm gonna be real straight up honest here when I say that I've been thinking a little more about running this week since a) my ortho situation made a turnaround and b) I've actually been running.  But, I've kept my focus on my weightlifting plan, which ended today.

This week was full of really intense workouts, and I worked out every single day.  No rest days this week!  I don't know when the last time I've done that.  I mean, I've had "rest days" that included yoga or stretching and rolling, but that doesn't count.  I'm talking I lifted and did cardio  Oof!  To say that my body is really tired right now is an understatement.  I'm going to take tomorrow totally off, sleep in, not track a damn thing I eat (ok, this is BS - I'm too neurotic to not at least half ass track just to make sure I eat all my veggie servings and get my vitamins), and relax.  Depending on how I feel on Wednesday I might just take a light (yoga or walk) day then too.  But I'm hoping that I'll feel nice and peppy and can get out for my first outdoor run in a while.

Here's how my week went!

Monday:  Chest.  Since this was the last chest day I went as heavy and as hard as I could.  I've increased my press (which I've always been pretty lacking in) 35 lbs since the start!  Tabata: high knees, shuttle run, stair sprints, and jump squats.  Yep, this week another tabata exercise is added and the general/steady cardio is shortened.  Speaking of steady state, I did 15 mins on the bike this day - 6.2 miles.

Tuesday:  Back.  I've also increased my lat pulldown 35 lbs and my deadlift 55 lbs!  I've gained in all my lifts, but I'm just listing the shining stars here. :)  Tabata: box shuffles, step ups, stair sprints, and jump squats.  I've come to the conclusion that I don't like jump squats and they don't like me.  They bother my hips (both of them so I can't blame it on an injury).  I don't know if it's a weakness/form issue or just a personal issue but it's the only tabata exercise that I really grew to loathe out of this whole plan.  For my cardio I ran again!  I did 2 minute run/30 second walk intervals with a 1 minute walk warmup and was able to do 1.39 miles in 15 minutes.  It felt great!

Wednesday:  Arms and Core. I really threw down some weight today (my hammer curls and reverse grip pushdowns have increased 40 more lbs from the start) and the bros finally realize that they can't mess with me on the cable machines.  I have to admit that I don't like the core part of this plan.  There are only three exercises, done Tabata style, which is cool enough but I just don't think it's enough for me. The stability ball crunches and med ball twists are all fine and good, but tabata planking just doesn't cut it.  20 secs on, 10 secs off is nothing when I can hold a plank 5-7 mins depending on the day.  For cardio I put in 30 minutes on the crossramp - 3.02 miles.

Thursday:  Leg Day woohoo!  Talk about progress... I've added 150 lbs to my leg press.  Hell yeah!  I'm kinda bummed (but also kinda relieved) this was my last dedicated leg day for a while.  Tabata:  kettlebell swings, box shuffles, shuttle run, and stair sprints.  Confession:  The shuttle run was supposed to be jump squats, but I just couldn't hack another round of them since I was so trashed after the heavy lifting and I really wanted to run.  I got on the treadmill for another run/walk using the same intervals as before and covered 1.84 miles in 20 minutes.  I felt so good... it sucks to stop, but I know it's all for the best.

Friday:  Shoulders.  Still my most weak area, but I have been able to increase every lift anywhere from 8-15 lbs. All good!  Tabata: box shuffles, shuttle run, stair sprints and then another round of stair sprints for good measure.  Afterwards I put in 15 minutes on the elliptical for 1.51 miles.  It was actually a pretty enjoyable elliptical workout, and that's rare for me to say.  It was probably knowing this was the last scheduled elliptical day... lol

Saturday:  Arms and Core - last time!  I really put it out there and lifted as heavy as I could.  I actually had a dude at the gym say to me "That was impressive" after watching me complete my pushdown set.  It's always cool to hear someone say something positive, especially when it's first thing in the morning on a weekend and even you are thinking you're crazy for doing this stuff... haha! Best part of this day, though?  I got in a 30 minute run!  Same 2 min/30 sec intervals as I've been doing, but man.. I really felt like I was on a roll.  I increased my pace a few ticks and that was wonderful too.  When my timer stopped I was at 2.86 miles and while hitting 3 miles was really tempting I stuck to my plan.  I'll get there soon enough.

Sunday:  Ok... so no one works out on Sundays at this gym?  I got there at my same buttcrack of dawn hour expecting a similar crowd and there were two people in there that left shortly after I got there.  Then it was me.  Just me and all this gym all to myself.  It was frickin awesome.  This was a longer tabata workout day.  The exercises were: Ice skaters (which felt awful!), oblique crunches, shuttle run, Russian twists, kettlebell swings, and box shuffles.  It was interesting and fun to just come in and do something a little different.  After the tabata I hopped on the treadmill to attempt to run for a second day in a row.  It wasn't bad at all!  I could tell my body was pretty worn out, but the run felt good.  I increased my intervals to 3 minutes running/1 minute walking.  1 minute walking is way too long for me.  By the time 1 minute rolls around I'm not only bored to tears but my heart rate has plummeted (which really is a testament to my fitness and I'm pleased about that) and when I start running I have that "starting over from scratch" feeling again which sucks.  I think I'm better off with the shorter walking intervals.  I'll keep playing around with it though... who knows. The good news is that I successfully ran two days in a row and I wasn't any worse off for it.  I got in another 1.85 miles in 20 minutes.

This is about the only time I feel comfortable taking a selfie at the gym - when I'm alone!

Like I said, it was quite a week and it didn't end there!  This week's mileage was a meager 18.67 miles, however 7.94 of that was run/walking!!  I ran 4 times this week.  So it's not much, but it's a good start and I'm over the moon with it!

This upcoming week is going to be more laid back.  I'm planning to run a few times and do some flexibility and yoga practice.  As usual at the end of a cycle, I'm taking a week off of the heavy weights and then I will start up a maintenance plan to carry me through my marathon training cycle.  I'm not entirely sure what that looks like yet, but it is getting worked on.  For now, I'm going to enjoy a recovery week and be grateful for any time I get to move my feet outside!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Ortho Update!

So, I kind of tweeted about it yesterday and I mentioned it on DailyMile today.. I had another ortho visit yesterday and I had more scans done.  Well... the good news is that everything looks completely normal!  As in, healed up... as in, nothing appears to be wrong with me!

Look, Ma - I gots strong bones!

I still have an Endocrinology appointment coming up in July to make sure I have nothing going on in that department.  The doc said he was really pleased and happy with the rate of my healing progress.  He told me when I start running (I didn't fess up to having already ran twice before seeing him) again to take it slow and steady and carefully.... so I am thrilled to not be in the "don't you ever run again" category!  

Of course I will take things day by day and as I can tolerate it.  I've ran three times so far - last Saturday, Tuesday and again today.  I'm doing run/walk intervals and will do what I did the last time and gradually increase my run time as I can.  I'll let my body dictate the pace too.  I'll more than likely (ok, just let me say definitely) go back on the heart rate training full time but I'll adjust my zones a bit.  I just can't get to it until after I'm done with this lifting training plan I'm doing.  This plan ends on Monday of next week, and then I'll be taking time to phase more running in.  I still look at my heart rate while I'm run/walking now and I just have to laugh.  I'm all jacked up on pre-workout and my heart rate is sky high the whole time I'm at the gym.  But, that's kind of the point.  It'll be interesting to see what happens after I go off of it next week and settle into a new routine.

Given this news and how I'm feeling thus far I've been doing a lot of "What If" scenarios in my head, in spreadsheets, and just written down.  I've got less than 20 weeks now before the starting line of the Marine Corps Marathon.  Now, as I said above I'm just going with how my body handles things, but I do want to be Mission Ready on October 25th.  One day at a time.  One mile at a time.  I'm sure I'll take you through all the wild things swirling through my head as things move ahead.

After a well earned rest day next Tuesday I'm hoping to get outdoors to run for the first time this summer.  That's the first goal - off the treadmill and into the world.  Heat, humidity, rain, nature - I'm coming for you!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Weekly Review 6/1-6/7/2015

First week of June 2015 is in the history books!  I had a great week - got some really tough workouts in, enjoyed some fun activities with the family, finally got to do a focused run/walk to test out my healing, and then of course treated myself by getting a little tipsy (on low carb beer) and eating a good amount of pizza and wings.  Hey, we all have our vices, I'm not mad, not even feeling a little guilty about it.  It's all part of living and loving life. :)

Monday: Chest. I had some issues with the gym being a bit crowded again and instead of doing some reps on the pec machine as planned I substituted with doing some dumbbell flyes on the bench.  The rest of the workout was flawless.   No biggie, but it kind of irritated me.  Monday's tabata was 8 rounds each of kettlebell swings, high knees, and box shuffles.  I also did 20 minutes on the Crossramp.

Tuesday: Back.  Also known as "I love the cables and I love deadlifts Day".  I am owning back day.  Tabata was high knees, shuttle run, and jump squats (8 rounds each - standard).  Then I did 20 minutes from hell on the elliptical... I really hate the elliptical.  But I keep doing it because I hate it because if I substitute something else for it it means that the elliptical won and I lost and I'm not having any part of losing.  Psychoanalyze that! lol

Wednesday:  Arms and Core.  This is the longest and toughest workout of the week and I do it twice a week.  It's crazy.  It takes nearly an hour and I do a whole lot of reps of pretty heavy (for me) weights.  I do supersets and tri-sets and when I'm done I don't even want to lift my arms over my head.  I love that.  Afterward I did 30 minutes on the bike for a little over 12 miles.

Thursday: Woohoo it's leg day!  The leg curls are finally not bothering my hammies like they were, so that's a good thing.  One thing that ticked me off about the gym I went to for this workout is the weight stack on the leg extension is broken.  And of course it's broken in a place that affects me so I either have to make the choice of lifting something I know I can't quite do for as many reps as I need or lifting too light.  I try to lift heavy and then take it down, but I can't stand the compromise.  Otherwise this was a really great workout -  my legs are looking and feeling great and I owe it to lifting heavy like this.  Today's tabata was high knees, box shuffles, and jump squats, which I will tell you are damned BRUTAL at the end of leg day. OMG.  Then of course I did 25ish minutes on the Crossramp.

Friday:  Shoulders.  It was a good workout, but it's still my weakest area.  Although, I have come a long way so I'm focusing on that.  Tabata: kettlebell swing, high knees, shuttle run.  25 minute incline interval walk on the treadmill rounded out the day.

Saturday: Round 2 of the Arms and Core workout.  The gym was thankfully empty(ish) so I was really able to focus.  It was great.  And speaking of great - I ran on the treadmill.  I was going to do my tester run/walk on Sunday but I decided to do it as part of my cardio here on Saturday for 2 reasons.  1 - I could have a full rest day on Sunday, which is good because I'm about to do a 7-8 day streak with no rest as part of my plan. 2 - I could decrease the amount of time I spent on the elliptical after running... hahaha.  So, I ran.  The plan was to run 10 minutes using run/walk intervals of :30:30.  I started with that but it really felt too easy, so I increased it throughout the run to 1:00 run :30 walk.  I probably could have done longer runs but I didn't want to push it.  I kept the pace nice and slow and that was hard too - my legs just wanted to GO.  But I've been around this block before and I'm sticking to the plan.  I got to the 10 minute point and I still felt great so I figured what the hell, I'm getting a full mile in.  I did 1 mile in 12:25 run/walking. My run pace was around 10:30 and my walk around 15:00 or slightly slower. I can totally live with that.  I wasn't in pain, didn't limp the rest of the day and felt generally good.  I had that "weird" feeling just like I did the last time I returned to running after a stress injury, but I recognize the feeling and I know it's something that I have to work through that will gradually go away (isn't bone remodeling great? lol).  I felt on top of the world, even though I still had to suffer through 20 minutes of torture on the elliptical..

Sunday: rest day!  And I enjoyed every minute!

As far as mileage goes, I only got 22.66 on the legs this week but I got an actual run in which is awesome.  I also did less minutes of steady state cardio because I added an additional tabata exercise each of the days I did tabata.  I want to see how this last week of this plan goes (it actually ends after my Monday workout a week from today) and then I think unless something drastically changes I have some interesting feedback as far as HIIT vs Steady State/Low Intensity cardio for me personally.  As someone who has spent a good chunk of time basing my workouts (mainly running, of course) on low heart rate, I think LHR training works better for me.  I thought going crazy on HIIT would do something a lot different for me and I haven't really seen that (yet).  Again, I want to see how these last days ago and I'll report back with what I've learned about myself, I promise.  I also believe I have a nutritional issue going on, but I'm going to be experimenting with that as well.  This stuff is so fun for me!

The kids took a pic of Meatball after they put shades on her.  I don't think she's too amused by it... lol.

Meatball actually hasn't been feeling too well.  She's nearly 14 years old now and she's definitely slowing down a bit.  She has also stopped caring for herself like she used to and we realized the poor girl had huge mats in her fur where she obviously isn't reaching.  So we've been showing her some extra attention and making sure she's comfortable.  I still hope we have many years left with her because I will be a wreck if we lose our Meatball any time soon!

Garrett wants everyone to know he was a Star Student this week!!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Thursday Throwback Pics & More

I thought I'd have some fun and share some old and older pics of me throughout the years and maybe give a closer insight of my weight loss journey and why I am the way I am.. lol  (For some reason I now have the Eminem song feat. Marilyn Manson in my head)  I apologize ahead of time for the quality of the pics.. Some are pretty old and on the others just blame me - I'm a terrible photographer.

Well, let's start at the beginning - or close to it - shall we?

This is sometime in 1979.  This is the Four Generations of Females pic including me, my mom, her mom and her mom.  I was a cute baby if I say so myself. ;)

We tried to recreate the picture in 2010 at a family party with my daughter being the youngest and me, my mom and my Grammy being a bit older... The following was the best pic we could get... lol

Victoria wasn't in the mood for pics because she was busy playing with her cousins and there were like 10 people with different cameras crowding around yelling "Look here, look here!" and none of us ever looked at the same one.  #Fail  Also note my scary thin arms.  Yes, those are bones you see, not muscle.

Ok, so let's go back in time a bit.  This was, I'm guessing, some point in the late 1980s.  I think my sister was 7 or 8 here and I was a tween.  Although we didn't use the word tween back then.  It was more like "beginnings of hormonal rage".  But here we are on Easter Sunday with my Grandma.  This was before the cancer took hold of her.

It was a tradition to go to Grandma's house before church on Easter and take pics in all our fanciness.  Then we'd all go to church together before heading home to the big feast.

Before Junior Prom with my Grandma - 1996.  I only have this pic because my aunt gave it to me.  My family cut my date out of all my pics in a bitter rage after we broke up several months later.  Family drama...  My date and I actually reconnected on MySpace (before Facebook) about 10 years ago and keep in touch via the internet to this day.  We've both grown and realized what silly children we were back then.  Funny how life works out.  I still don't think my family is over it, though.  Oh well.  Wasn't I a hottie back then?  And can you believe I thought I was fat? 

Speaking of fat.... I don't have many "before" pics out there.  I purposely hid from cameras and I'm even ashamed of my honeymoon pics (which are in a box in a storage unit) because of how I looked.  My early adult life wasn't great and I gained a LOT of weight over the years.  I'd like to use the excuse "I didn't know any better", but that would be a lie.  I was simply self destructive for way too long.  All I knew was that one of the issues holding me back from having kids was my weight... So I started using videos at home - Leslie Sansone in particular - and lost a few lbs (probably around 15) before finally achieving a successful pregnancy.

This was in December 2004.  I was pregnant with Victoria.  I know it's not a great pic, but it's the closest thing I have to a "before" pic on this computer.  I'm sure you can see the weight on me in this, though... just look at my face and neck... The other "before" pic(s) I have are all pregnancy belly pics.
This was about 2 weeks before I gave birth to my little girl - April 2005.  Yes, I was pregnant, but you can tell that a lot of my body is simply fat.  Those sweatpants are a men's large, I think.  You can also see those stretchmarks... I can't blame all those on pregnancy, although carrying an overdue and large baby will do that to those of us predisposed to stretch marks.  My total pregnancy weight gain was 8 lbs, because since I adopted healthy eating and exercise during my pregnancy it all balanced out.

Fast forward a little and here I am 38 weeks pregnant with Vincent.  See the difference?  I'm much leaner this time around.  In between pregnancies I kicked up my weight loss and started this pregnancy off around 50 lbs lighter than Victoria's.  I was still a bit overweight, but not in the obese category as I was with Victoria.  I also had a miscarriage in between Victoria and Vincent but instead of eating my grief, I threw that into beginning strength training and higher intensity cardio fitness.

A few years went by and we weren't really planning on more kids - at least not yet.  I had my thyroid tumor removed when Vincent was 6 months old and my metabolism cranked up even more.  I was in the best shape since my teenage years - doing cardio, strength training and yoga and pilates.  I lost even more weight, gained a little muscle definition and then got a surprise in 2009.

38 weeks pregnant with Garrett in 2009.  Ignore the cluttered ugly bathroom.  Biggest difference yet.  I started this pregnancy 25-30 lbs lighter than with Vincent.  Finally a healthy BMI.  This was also my easiest pregnancy until the very end when he took on a bad position on my pelvis and I was in incredible pain for days.  I think weight does play a role in how a pregnancy progresses.

All fine and good from here, right?  Well, unfortunately no.  Garrett, being my best nursing child, nursed until he was 2 years old.  This (breastfeeding alone burns a ton of calories), coupled with the fact that I was now obsessed with being thin created a new problem - I was never happy unless the scale constantly showed a lower number.  I cut my calories to next to nothing (1200 max) and kept increasing my exercise.  See above Four Generation redo pic - that was when Garrett was 1 year old.  

This pic was taken at another family party a few months later than the Four Gen redo pic.  I was around 93 lbs here.  That dress - an extra small - hung off me like a trash bag.  Look at my rib cage you can see through my chest... I thought I was really doing it, really healthy and everything.  I didn't even eat a piece of cake at this party.. I think I picked at some fruit. :(  I was angry and confused and sad inside, even though I could smile in pictures like this.

Something happened and I wish I could tell you why or when or how but I can't.  I had to get strong again for myself and my kids - both mentally and, along with that, physically.  A couple of months after the pic above I joined a gym.  I got a personal trainer for myself.  I did research through him and on my own about nutrition and strength and endurance.  I changed my outlook on food - a big part was incorporating more real food instead of things with a brand name like Kraft or Betty Crocker stamped on it.  You know, what?  Simple proteins and veggies and fruit are just great, man!  Add some herbs and spices and maybe some olive oil and infused vinegars and why eat all that extra crap that comes in a box?  Anyway, I got my act together.  I started c25k and ran my first official race in 2012.  And, well, we all know where that lead to here.

I'm still not a camera fan... I think that's just a "me thing" but I'm too self conscious for daily selfies (the 30 days of yoga challenge was more of a feat in taking pics of myself every day than doing the yoga).  Sometimes I take them just for personal reference of body status, but I'm no Instagram attention whore.  But, my more recent pics resemble something like these:

This was taken a couple of months ago.  Nick asked to take a pic of my back because I worked hard on it and it would probably go down a bit due to marathon training.  This was totally unflexed - I'm actually texting on my phone here.  And yes, I regularly hang around my house with my bra all hanging out of a cami.  I'm white trash like that.  BUT - look at that back and upper body... no more scary thin bony arms!  I have to get an updated back pic here in a week or so once I'm done with my current training cycle.  Oh, I also want to say that all those spots on my back should be a reminder to you all to wear your sunblock because getting things burned and cut off of you at the dermatologists office is not fun at all.

I know gym bathroom pics, especially with the potty in view, are totally tacky as hell but I really wasn't meaning to show this to anyone.  It's one of my "body check" pics from the other day.  But, what the heck..  I'm not ashamed - my upper body is rocking and my core is lean.  I'll never have a six pack or anything without surgery to remove all the excess skin I have (which is a lot - underneath my waistband is a complete flap of skin from the combination of extreme weight loss and 3 c-sections), but I can lean down pretty well and at least have some definition peek through on the obliques.  Just for size reference here, the shorts are a Nike extra small and the top is a little girls XL from Target (I often wear little girls clothes - they are cheaper, often cuter, and fit me better in some cases - an XL or a 14/16 in girls is similar to an XS or S in ladies clothing.  I actually got this tip off another blog I read!).  Yes, you can see my heart rate monitor.  HRT for life! haha  I also have some nice quad pump here, which is strange because this was back day, but I guess the elliptical followed by jump squats could have done it.

 I guess the wrap up thought of this post is that I've finally found a happy place with regard to my body.  I'm no longer a slave to a number on a scale - in fact, when I'm not doing a specific plan/challenge/whatever, I rarely weigh myself.  I use the fit of my clothes and random pics like the ones above to guide me rather than a number.  I have a pair of jeans in my drawer that I refer to as my "fat pants" and I know when those start fitting a little too well that I need to re-evaluate where I'm at.  And so it goes...  I eat well and according to current goals and I'm not torturing myself needlessly.  I like being healthy and strong and I'm going to hopefully stay this way for many years to come!  I know it won't always be easy and there will be times when it's harder than others but it can be fixed with work and willpower!  I also know that I'll always have the "eating disorder monster" in the depth of my brain and I just have to keep it from taking control.  Sometimes I catch myself starting to get antsy about every gram of everything that enters my body and then I'll check myself.  Am I truly hungry?  If that answer is honestly yes - EAT!!  Just eat something good - like a banana and some almonds instead of sticking my arm in a box of dry Fruity Pebbles.  It's a mental game and I can totally empathize with anyone and everyone going through some similar stuff.  It's hard.

I hope you've enjoyed this little journey through my life and weight gain and loss and return to health in pictures.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Weekly Review - 5/25-5/31/2015

Holy crap it's June.  How the hell?  This is the kids last week at school, we're scrambling to get in last minute summer camp paperwork, getting things together and going to end of year parties, etc, and on top of it all Victoria broke her hand this week!  In gym class of all things!  And she finished out the school day with it before getting it checked out at Children's afterward... geez it's almost like she's the child of someone who would feel a bone give out during a 10 mile race and just keep going to finish it... ahem..

Anyway, let's get to the recap.  I'd love to promise more posts but I just can't.  I've become the queen of starting a post and then not getting around to finishing it.  I have 2 in draft mode - 1 on my current supplements (aka how I'm making my innards their own chem lab for fun) and 1 that's a whole bunch of throwback pics and stuff.  If I get the time today I'd love to finish the throwback one for tomorrow.

This week in workouts went great.  Today marks the halfway point in my little personal experiment.  I've lost a little more body fat, my lifts are heavier than ever, and I'm really enjoying tabata exercise.  I still have no love for the elliptical though.  Oh well.

Monday:  Chest day.  I thought that since it was Memorial Day that the gym may be pretty clear.  Uh, no.  It was the most packed I'd ever seen it at 6 AM!  I guess everyone was getting it out of the way before going to the BBQ?  I don't know but one pet peeve of mine, especially when I'm doing a routine that requires specific rest times and heart rate manipulation is waiting for machines/weights.  I had to do a lot of that this week and it really ticked me off.  I have no other time to get my workout in, though, or else I'd just come earlier or later.  So I've been doing what I can.  The overall workout went well, though.  I finally got the hang of the Tate Press (it looks simple, but getting the correct muscles to activate for it takes some concentration on my part).  My tabata for the day was high knees and shuttle run - 8 rounds of each.  Shuttle runs do not hurt me, btw.  They feel great (and make people look at me weird, but whatever).  Afterward I did an inline walk on the treadmill for 1.25 miles.

Tuesday: Back.  I didn't have to wait for weights today, which was nice.  I am very pleased with my progress in the exercises in this group.  I've really been able to pile on the weight and I love it.  My deadlift form has gotten much better too.  Like most people, keeping spinal alignment is the biggest challenge for me and getting the form right is a winning moment in itself.  Today's tabata was 8 rounds each of kettlebell swings and high knees.  Then I did 2.5 miles on the Crossramp doing another interval challenge I found on Pinterest.

Wednesday: Arms and Core.  I started out with my core tabata - 8 rounds each of stability ball crunches, planks, and medicine ball twists.  Then I worked my way through my arm sets.. this was a frustrating day at the gym because of 2 guys at this gym specifically.. They think they "own" most of the equipment so my biggest issue end up being getting to the things that I need like the damn rope attachment for the cable machine. But, I got it done and then got in over 14 miles on the bike.

Thursday: Legs!  This workout really is a killer.  That's what I love about it.  I easily burn 700 calories during this because I really put it all out there (and admittedly, the preworkout helps).  I'm so happy about my progress on the leg press.  This used to be such a bad area for me and it's totally turned around.  Now, I'm not like James Harrison or my husband who can press 1200 lbs or anything crazy like that, but I'm at over 3x the weight from where I started a couple years ago.  Progress is progress!  Tabata exercise for the day was kettlebell swings and side to side shuffles.  Then I did 30 more tortuous minutes on the elliptical.  Just like last week I had totally dead legs by this time... it was honestly work just to go this slow.  But 2.16 more miles... miles are miles are miles.

Friday:  Shoulders.  Shoulder day is fun.  This is the one day that I don't need any machines or cables - I just need the dumbbells.  I'm always amused by the strength in various parts of my shoulder.  I can lift really heavy on shrugs and rows, moderately on presses, but one front raises and lateral raises I'm much weaker.  Tabata today: box shuffle and shuttle run (which I felt comfortable going faster and harder on).  Then I hopped on the treadmill for some incline intervals and got in 2.02 miles in 30 minutes.  That's a bit faster than I've walked lately and I was really happy with that.

Saturday:  Arms and Core.  Repeat of Wednesday.  This day sucked.  There were a moderate amount of people in the gym, no biggie, but there was this one guy... He had the whole gym set up in little stations for himself using equipment from all over.  He even had the accessory room (where you can do ab work with the ball, BOSU, jump rope, foam roll, yoga etc.  It's were I do my shuttle runs and other tabatas) totally filled with stuff.  He was doing some circuit thing where he'd go from station to station and to put a freaking cherry on top he'd FOAM ROLL IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FLOOR after every lift.  Now this gym isn't very big - which is why it's nice they have the off room where you can do floor work based exercise.  Foam rolling in front of cable machines or the free weights is ridiculous!  Trying to work around this guy and actually get to the things I needed was crazy.  I had to sub in other workouts and other pieces of equipment just to work the same muscle group because I got sick of waiting around for him and his silly ass routine.  I was so pissed off during this.  I feel like I "kinda" got my workout in.  I'm glad I didn't wait around for him to be done because he was still there fucking around when I was done with my cardio.  Of course being so revved up fueled my fire into putting in a 5K in 30 minutes on the Crossramp.  So there. lol

Sunday: Rest!  Honestly!  Unless you count going grocery shopping exercise.  haha.

It was a decent week, gym frustrations and all. 25.14 miles on the legs, so I'm not complaining about that at all. In total, I worked out over 7 hours last week, which is a good place for me to be I think, considering at my running peak I was around 9 hours. I've still been doing the unguided yoga thing where I may do some poses before bed or in the gym after my workout if I have time, but no structured workouts or videos.  My nutrition has been on point and I'm thrilled about that.  People are noticing changes in me and that's always good too.  I'm just trying to have some fun and keep myself healthy.  I'm also trying not to keep watching my little countdown I have going for when I'm going to attempt to run again.  ;)

I hope you all had a great week and are ready to kick some butt here in June!

The storms lately around here have been wild, but they produce awesome rainbows like this one!