Monday, April 29, 2013

Who Signed Me Up for This?

Weekend Recap

The caption says it all. Sometimes you really do have to just stop and breathe in the moment. Saturday could have gone one of two ways for me--I was thrown off schedule early on in the morning. Like really early. Like wake up at 3am in my apartment knowing something was off and realizing that I'm supposed to be dog sitting Maggie (aka Maggles/Mags/Maggie-Doo/Princess Mags). Do you know what happens when you wake up in the middle of the night, relocate yourself, and fall back asleep where you're supposed to be staying for the next week? Well, if you're me, you wake up thinking you see ghosts. Doesn't help that Mags whines every night at the same time for no apparent reason so I started actually thinking what I saw was for real. But that was more amusing than anything else and can most likely be attributed to my dieting/training.

The morning had some of it's own saving graces, including receiving the actual Blake Shelton tickets I ordered the other week. Too bad I have to wait until the end of September when he actually comes in town to perform. Along with that, I stepped outside for an early morning dog walk and was greeted with the odd sounds of a low-floating hot air balloon. Such a gorgeous view!

I had every intention of getting in a workout before I had to drive a few friends to the Foxfield Races--more on that later. Unfortunately, my middle of the night realization meant that I was not prepared (aka no gym clothes) so there was a lot of back-and-forth involved and very little no gym time before driving to the races. 

Sidenote: For those of you not familiar with Foxfield Races, it's basically a drunk festival to celebrate debauchery local horse race event to which many UVa undergrads and alumni go and celebrate the end of classes. Don't mistake my sarcasm for disapproval--I've gone to my share of Foxfield Races, but it was not in the cards for me this year.

Who could have known that throwing off my workout schedule would get my panties in a bunch?! It wouldn't have been that bad, but then it just seemed like every time I tried to get in a workout, something thwarted my plans. My next idea was to go running at my favorite running trail, Riverview Park--a relatively flat 2 mile out/ 2 mile back path that runs along the Rivanna River. Scratch that when I got an urgent text that required me to turn around literally just as I pulled into the parking lot. One unplanned errand later and I finally got in my run, hit legs HARD, and took puppy for her second walk of the day--we don't call her Princess for nothing!

Top it off with a pedicure and I successfully turned my day around. Add in a rainy/muddy flag football win on Sunday, and weekend = complete!

Upcoming Events

In case I haven't mentioned it/spammed Facebook asking for donations enough, this Sunday (Cinco de Mayo!), I will be running the Pittsburgh Half Marathon for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. While I'm beyond excited to be running on behalf of my all-time favorite charity, I finally had that freak out moment asking myself, "Whose idea was this? Who signed me up for this anyway?! What was I thinking choosing a half-marathon date SMACK in the middle of competition prep??"

Oh wait, did I mentioned I signed up for another half marathon? And it's next weekend--the Bedrock Trail Half Marathon. Same one I placed 2nd Overall Female in last year. And I've been killing it in the gym lately so my legs are already toast. Target training = success!

But back to my irrational half marathons. I realized I need help. Not help training, but help making sure I stay on track focusing on my main goal: the stage. And with that I turned to my trainer. It's no big secret that runners carb-load before big races, but that doesn't exactly mesh with my current nutrition plan. Not to mention, in my entire career as a runner, with all the races (including halfs) that I've ran, I've never done the traditional carb-loading. Just not my thing. I don't claim for this to be the "right" thing to do if you're an avid runner, but I just know what does and doesn't work for me. Not to mention, I highly dislike pasta. Something to do with the texture--not a fan.

After a brief meeting with my trainer, we compromised on eating a good meal Friday night (meaning more complex/complete), eating normally on Saturday (i.e., NOT prep-friendly...but not overboard), and REHYDRATING on Sunday post-race. Repeat next weekend. Luckily it's early enough and should do wonders for getting my rear in gear (That just sounds so much better than "getting my booty high and tight!"). Let's consider it an experiment. But so is this whole prep...for me at least.

It was also suggested to take a bikini with me so my friend, Megan, can take progress pics post-race. So stay tuned! 9 weeks out as of this past Saturday, so this pretty much sums up my life:
I get a category of my own. Not sure if that's a good or a bad thing. All I know is that I'm building/maintaining lean muscle mass and simultaneously leaning out, so I'm one happy camper blogger.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

(Late) Mid-week Motivation

I have to admit, my meeting with Kevin regarding my competition prep was just the kick in the rear that I needed to bring my motivation back to where it needs to be. Workouts have been spot-on this week, and I've been trying to switch up cardio on a daily basis so I don't get bored or tired or just mentally drained from whatever it is. That being said, I've once again embraced the rowers. Can I tell you that the last time I sat my butt on one of those things, it was during my Hybrid Crossfit days? Yeah, that was back in August. My back is killing me thanking me. Someone should probably correct my form... I mean, I'm sure it's not terrible, but I'm SURE it's not perfect either. And just like all exercise, quality over quantity.

Just past midway through the week means I've had two designated strength training days, and I've been incorporating legs on a daily basis as well. Unfortunately for me, the place you tend to hold the most fat is the last place it comes off of. Which means goodbye boobs (or whatever was there in the first place), and I guess my ass is going to be sticking around for a little while longer. Darn. If only it were easier then everyone would do it.

I feel the need to "Ask the Audience" a couple questions that I hope you know the answer to.

Question #1
The first is regarding heart rate monitors and calories burned...
Can we talk about this for a second please? This was after about 1000m minutes of rowing (I'd already done my fasting cardio for the day and just wanted to get my heart rate up) and a strength session of chest/shoulders/tris with very short pauses between sets. Now I recently found out that I have a super low resting heart rate. Like under 50. So maybe that has something to do with it. But I just find it absurd that people post Instagram pics ALL. THE. TIME. with totals upwards of 700 cal for an hour workout. And trust me, my totals are about the same for a half hour of any kind of cardio, regardless of what it is and how much energy I think I'm expending. It's never more than 250 for half an hour. What gives?? Seriously though, if someone can explain to me the science behind this, I'd be super grateful.

Question #2
I received my 6th(?) StitchFix in the mail today. And since I hate for the $20 styling fee to go to waste, I always feel compelled to keep one item. So, thoughts?
This top is COMPLETELY out of my comfort zone. Almost too retro/urban for me. Yet when I put it on, I kind of really liked it. It's a super long shirt, and the bottom printed part is pretty sheer. Too short to be a dress though, but I think it could work with some fun shorts as well, especially during hot summer weekends. Is it a keeper? Please weigh in.

This dress was also in my fix, but I just bought a dress (from Loft, ha) that has this deep-V in the front and the back that's the exact same color. I'm tempted to keep both because they're cut so differently and I'm a sucker for the "color of the season."
Don't mind my faces. I was trying the "cool" model look. I have a ways to go before I perfect that.

Question #3
If anyone finds a queen sheet set of the following color in Charlottesville--or online--I must know!

Okay, so that's not so much of a question, but I'm loving this pale bird's egg blue color. I need it in my bedroom ASAP. My current sheet set is not an appropriate color for the Spring/Summer months and I'm craving change. But I don't want to buy throw pillows if I can't find sheets I like prior. Oh, dilemma.

Question #4
Callused hands--sexy or gross? Mine aren't really getting that bad with just lifting, but they were awful back during the Crossfit days. I distinctly remember going into job interviews for my current position and thinking, "Shake hands and then PUT THOSE SUCKERS AWAY!" Those were some of the worst tears I've ever had, and I can't say that I want that back ever. So bad that it prevented me from doing consecutive workouts that included kipping pull-ups and anything that would aggravate them more. Yikes!

Have a wonderful Thursday! Two more workdays til the weekend starts (or 16 work hours)!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Winding Down the Weekend

...With a flag football win! Go red!

I know what you're thinking: "What a good-looking team." Yes, we certainly are. And this was after a few of our players dashed away. Turns out some people are scared of cameras? I kid. But we celebrated Week 3 of flag football with a win, and I'm darn proud of us.

But let's start at the beginning of the weekend. After my last post, I was uncertain where my motivation went and uncertain to do regarding the competition. For me, there were two choices--put it on hold (again) so I can enjoy the nice weather and good friends, or realize that I'm being a whiny b*tch just looking for excuses to not follow through. So Friday and Saturday were spent pondering that decision, and what better way to ponder than over Spic-a-ritas from Mono Loco, an amazing local restaurant.
Complete with jalapenos and fresh lime juice.
And I sort of owed Celia a birthday do-over because I was in rare form the previous Saturday and barely remember her meeting up with me then. Sorry, girl!

And then of course I had to ponder a little more over sushi at Ten. Which, in my defense, is high in protein and good fats AND I played the picky eater and literally picked out the fish from the rice part of the roll. If you're my mother or my sister, then you know this is typical for me. And yet it looked so pretty before I destroyed it like a 7 year-old.

Don't be fooled though, I did spend some time running. Aka e'ery day. Including during the thunderstorms that cancelled Fridays After Five, a free outdoor concert series with local musicians that happens every, you guessed it, Friday. Don't worry though, I made sure to get it in before the thunder and lightning actually started. I'm not that crazy. Riddle me this though--why are the best runs under less than ideal conditions? Friday, I averaged about an 8:10 pace for about 5 miles, and Saturday was about 8:20s, half of which was majorly uphill (and half of which was downhill--oh, Monticello trail). Today was a rarity, running with no direction and no time or distance goal in mind. Unfortunately, with football as a time constraint, I only managed a little over 5.6 miles in 43:22. That's a 7:46 pace. Prime example of why I do not train alone much these days.

Aside from that, I retired my Nike Frees (RIP), had the gym to myself for my Saturday leg workout, and received a pedometer in the mail from my company for a Walk to Wellness program they implemented several years back. It's TBD whether or not I will actually use it, because at this point I've already got the technological hookup during my training sessions. But it's a neat idea!
Goodbye/good riddance. Troublemakers.
My company is pretty cool.
So if you're following which I'm not even sure I am, the point of all this was to tell you that I picked the latter of the 2 decisions regarding the competition and I'm sucking up my whininess and choosing the awesome option. As Kevin said, I'm 3/4 the way there. People would give a lot to be this fit already and yet they can't give up their Big Macs, etc. And by the time I step OFF stage, the summer will be heating up. Well worth the effort. And with that, I'm out--my bed and I have an excellent relationship that I don't want to ruin more than I already do by waking up and leaving it empty at 5:05am.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

That Off Feeling

It must have started with the horrific news about the Boston Marathon bombings on Monday, but I've been feeling super off this week. Such tragic events--my heart goes out to all those runners and their families that were affected both directly and indirectly. It takes a truly selfish person to attempt to take away the security that running provides to many. I know for me, when I run alone (and even when I run with a partner), it's a time for self-reflection. It's a time to put my daily stresses to the pavement and forget about the frustrations of reality. What I really love is how the entire fitness community has come together to support each other. Whether or not you're a runner, whether or not you run 2.62 or 26.2 miles, we stand united in our commonality and our hope to restore the placidity that exercise provides.


Like I mentioned earlier, I haven't really been feeling myself this week. I almost feel torn between experiencing this stage of life, enjoying the Springtime and all the festivities there are in Charlottesville; and continuing toward my fitness goal of getting on stage and strutting my stuff (literally). I know, it's early in the game to have these conflicting thoughts, but I know what it's stemming from. If you've been a long-time follower, then you know that the first two years of my blog I was either: a. finishing college, or b. job-hunting while maintaining a part-time job. It was easier to go all-in with the pursuit of my goal because I was poor. Seriously though, I didn't have any extra money (or not much) after paying living expenses and the occasional self-purchase. Going out to socialize was few and far between if it meant doling out money because I just didn't have it. And that was ultimately why I never stepped on stage back in the day.

For the first time in my life, I have financial freedom. Or seemingly close to it. I've paid off all my credit card debt (which really was minimal compared to others my age), I'm slowly but surely paying for my education no thanks to FedLoan Servicing, AND my 401k is growing in leaps and bounds thanks to my super generous company. But even though I definitely have the means to accomplish this goal and I was dead-set on doing so, I kind of just want to live life.

I've been fortunate enough to meet some GREAT new friends in Charlottesville, including the lovely Claire over at Let's Go on a Living Spree, who shares my interests of taking pictures at every possible inopportune moment and everything fitness. She is to running as I am to gymming it up. Yes, that is now a phrase. But she is a much better blogger and runner than me. Click on over to her blog, because all of the pictures that my post is missing so far are residing on her page. Once again a testament to her being a better blogger :-)

So I guess I need to find a balance between real life and gym life. I've certainly been having a couple unscheduled cheats this past week. Kevin, if you're reading this, that is a complete lie and I've been 100% on par nutritionally... I haven't been waking up at my 5:05am alarm. And yet, just last week I was really happy with the progress I was making, as evidenced by the following crappy picture.
Pre-5am swim

So someone please excuse my 5-shades paler feet and explain what the hell is wrong with me?! Also excuse my language...and the quality of those photos. Surprisingly, there is very little sunlight at 5:05am. And yes, those 5 minutes make all the difference.

Luckily, I'm meeting with Kevin on Sunday, so I'm thinking a mental ass-kicking will put me back on track. Yet in the back of my mind, I'm really enjoying this:
Wine festival shenanigans classiness
Must. Find. Balance.

The reintroduction of my old friend might help...

Call me crazy, but the sound of whey shakes with a little bit of nut butter sounds infinitely better than cold egg whites with full-fat cheese eaten on the road.

Cross your fingers for me, and send me a dose of motivation!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Too Much, Too Soon

Post-accident post attempt #2. It's been about 5 days now, so I'm at a much better place about the following:

No words left for this.
Yes, I waited almost 5 months to receive my beautiful company car, and it only took less than 2 months for some woman to ruin it. Long story short (because honestly, at this point I'm really tired of explaining what happened), I was sitting at a stoplight and a woman ran into me going about 40 mph. Not fun. I'm very lucky that only the back was damaged--it could have been much worse, say, if there was another car in front of me or if other cars were actually traversing the intersection I was pushed across. Now I play the waiting game of figuring out what my company is going to do about the car. Several opinions (mostly my brother) have voiced that the car is totaled because the frame is bent. Other opinions have said that nowadays they can make any car seem new. Except it definitely isn't anymore.

Let's take a look at what that is supposed to look like (aka the day I got the car, less than 2 months ago):

Day 1
And just as a testament to the type of car owner I am, this is an example of what I do when I deem that someone has parked "too close for comfort," God forbid they actually tapped my car with their shoddy parallel parking job:
Please get your craptastic car away from mine PRONTO
Luckily for all parties involved, there were no serious injuries from this accident. However, I've been very wary of my training. I certainly took it easy for a few days, but I'm the definition of the saying "Can't keep a good girl down." I don't like to be on the sidelines, especially given that I was only half a week into my training. It seems like every time I commit to training for a competition, something goes awry. Not going to let it this time! Although I did sit out for the kickoff of Spring co-ed flag football, I've been busting my bum doing what I can. Perhaps pushing it a little too much, especially given the small "heat wave" we've been experiencing these past couple days in Cville, but I've also been very conscious of my efforts. So much so that I make my lovely running partner, Amanda, wear my Garmin to track distance while I wear my Polar so I make sure my heart rate is in check. Yes, I'm crazy overly ambitious. So sue me.

I actually just got a follow-up to my ER visit today--I was a little wary because my chest has been tight and it's a little bit of a struggle to get a deep breath. The nurse practitioner is fairly certain I probably just bruised something and maybe damaged a bit of cartilage, but she gave me the green light to stay active. Clearly, I'm ecstatic! Not to mention she also said that I'm doing everything right to try to stay active. Good to know. But that being said, I know my limits and I'm trying to relax just as much.

So maybe it wasn't the vacation I'd hoped for, but I did get to see four dogs in the course of a week, and have a decent Easter weekend.

Lilah, the little lady I was dog-sitting.
Me and my own--don't mind Murdoch,
he's a little camera-dumb
Easter oysters? Yes, please.
The good news is, as of tomorrow I am back to a set schedule, and I'm already noticing my training efforts paying off. I'll have this week's progress pics up later this week, but for now I can leave you with last week's. Still a work in progress, mind you!

Note: it makes me anxious to put these up here, but I suppose I need want the accountability. Oh and yes, that was my first experience with compression sleeves. Not bad.