Friday, March 27, 2015

Official Sign Up

Well I did it.  Today is the day that will forever more be the day I officially, really honestly signed up for a full marathon.  Yes, I made up my mind a long time ago, but today is the day I hit submit on the button and paid them my money.  And oh not just any marathon, but a full on warrior challenge as it’s called. As I’m sitting here in my office watching the clock tick away at the hours until 5 PM I just decided today was going to be the day.
Option 1: Full Warrior Challenge
·         Saturday 19th – Slappy Cakes Maui 10K 6:30am
·         Saturday 19th – Maui Tacos 5K 8:00am
·         Saturday 19th – Bubba Gumps Front Street Mile 3:00pm
·         Sunday 20th – The Maui Marathon-5:00am

This is what I am doing.  10k, 5k, 1 miler and of course a full on 26.2 mile marathon.  If you feel so inclined you can check it out at 

I am feeling a little in shock and disbelief that this is really happening. Of course I’ve had weeks to think about it and come to the resolved conclusion that it is happening so I am not freaking out as much as I could be. I’ve already 1000% decided it was happening but now its official and all. 2015 I will become a marathoner.  Come hell or high water or blazing heat and dehydration and sun and all I will be a marathoner.  So fitting that it’s Maui, right?  My one and only real family vacation in Maui, where I know my dad’s heart lied.  Where I know my dad’s spirit and soul lives.  Where I got married. Where I will run my first marathon. It all makes total and complete sense to me that it would be Maui. 

This is really real and really happening. Just had to document this moment.  If your mind believes it, you can achieve it.  You are capable of whatever you decide.  And I added a cute little countdown to Maui marathon on my site and it tells me I have exactly 176 days from today until this momentous day.  Every day between now and then is one day closer to achieving my goal.  Every day counts in preparation of the day.  Every weight I pick up, every mile I run are all working towards that single day. Eek.

And seriously to think that on October 5, 2012 I weighed 225 pounds. You know what else is pretty damned epic.  The weekend I run my marathon is the 2 year anniversary of running my first half.  Yup, that same weekend in 2013 I ran my first half marathon. Last year on the 1 year anniversary I ran a half (and cried on the way home out of awesomeness) and then on the 2nd year anniversary date I will be in Maui running a full marathon. It blows my mind to think about this. Truly. Look what we are capable of. Seriously.  Everything we can accomplish when we just want it bad enough.   I’m feeling really blessed that I am even at a place in my life where I can think about running a marathon. I really should try and never take that for granted!

With all that said I recently discovered pic stitch, how is it that I am so freaking late to the game?  Crazy I know.  And I am so in love with filters. Now I see why everyone else always looks so good online and I look like crap.  I will try and not filter my life away, but just for fun because it’s Friday afternoon and I was playing around. Here are two very filtered photos but come on, if only I could seriously walk around with a permanent filtered lens on me!

Half marathon of a night workout

Well well Friday we meet again. You are my favorite day of the week. Except Friday afternoon’s at work which ultimately just linger and drag on.  Here I sit at like 11:20 on my Friday and I can honestly say that I am still not fully awake yet. I am beyond exhausted. Like crazy exhausted.  Like if I could still be in bed right now that is in fact exactly where I’d be. Alas, I am here at work. Actually having a pretty busy work morning actually. But soon it’s lunch time which will mean errands to run. I guess it makes the day go by quicker.

Last night did not work out entirely how I had planned. Not really by a long shot actually. It was BRUTAL. It was HARD. It was absolutely idiotic on your 6th day of working out in a row, but alas sanity has never been my strong suit. I got to the gym a little early because I left work a little early. It happens sometimes and it’s cool.  Amanda was not actually there yet, which mentally threw me off so I decided while she was on her way that I would squeeze in a quick 1 mile run after all. You know, warm up the juices. Nothing too big, nothing too easy, just a solid 10 minute mile.  1 mile, 10 minutes. Done.

We were going to take our spin class which I wanted to try out but in the end it turned out we were too late actually getting to the spin class room. I guess there are only 16 bikes in there and we were just late. Not late to the gym, late to the room. Oops. They have a spin class pretty much every day so I will just have to try and get there earlier in the future. Instead we jumped right into the torturous leg workout Amanda had planned. (We decided that post workout we would take a Zumba style Hip-Hop class for our cardio) and because Amanda needed to go to classes to observe.

Anyway, leg day consisted of this workout, repeated 5 freaking times. Yup, 5 sets of this entire workout.
20 Jump Squats
15 (45 pound) Goblet Squats
20 (30 pound each hand=60 lb) walking lunges with 3 second pulse on each lunge
15 each side (45 lb) single leg deadlifts
30 jumping lunges
15 each side lateral box step ups
20 (80 lb) hip thrusters
20 (185 lb) wide leg squats
15 each side single leg rolls on ball

A total of 9 exercises done 5 times.  This was insanely hard and took almost an hour and a half. I am not joking I was dripping sweat at every turn. My shirt was completely soaked in sweat.  My eyeballs stung of a mixture of sweaty salt water and mascara. Every single exercise prompted my heart rate to shoot up into the 160’s.  It was brutal.  I never would have gone that heavy or done 5 sets. 4 would have been plenty for me. Considering my legs were already pretty fried from working hard on Tuesday night. But somehow I managed thru this entirely ambitious workout.

See photo from the evening of me and Amanda both doing our heavy squats. Yeah, that was pain when you are doing them on very tired legs after doing all of the above mentioned exercises. These photos were taken on set 5 so it was some serious levels of will power and determination fueling me on.

Umm hmm… this was intense. I was already at the brink of exhaustion and then we popped right into a Hip Hop dance class.  We had already discussed the fact that I am a white girl and can’t dance. That Zumba is not and will never be my thing. That this was going to be a miserable attempt at movement but that I’d laugh and give it a go.  It wasn’t actually horrible, but complicated choreographed moves are not my thing. Simple repetitive motions I can handle.  I just kept moving. Keep moving. And at some point as we had to squat down and or bend at all with the legs my legs almost gave out on me. At about 45 minutes into the class there was a slight break between songs and I looked at Amanda and we were both like I’m dying. I was like how much longer? Checked my watch so that I knew it was only another 15 minutes and I’m like, we can do this, but tired here.  So we pushed on. But let me tell you, much like the last 15 minutes of a half marathon, these 15 minutes seemed to drag forever.

When I was finally done for the evening, I had burned damned near 1000 calories and realized I had in fact just been at the gym for almost 2 and a half hours. This is in fact about my half marathon time.  While I might not be running a half this is probably really good training for my half next weekend. Get my body back used to working out for that long.  My heart rate was up. I was working hard the whole time. I burned 1,000 calories.  It was my half marathon of a night workout. 

I was starving. Like crazy starving. Shocking I know.  But alas I ate a banana and when I got home immediately was greeted by Chris and the dogs getting ready to head out for a walk so I threw down my stuff and went with them for a walk.  You know, my body constantly stays in motion.  After the walk, I had a protein bar to hold me over while I took a shower and waited for Chris to return from the grocery store where we got some French fries and turkey burgers for dinner.  I didn’t eat dinner until like 8:30 PM.  I literally did not stop and sit down on the couch until 8:30.  I was up and moving form 5 PM to 8:30 PM. I might be a bit obsessive clearly.   It just happened.

I wrote all this above before lunch, then I had to leave and run errands and now I’m back at 1:30 PM in the afternoon and I ate a delicious sandwich for lunch and feel so satisfied and I think it helped to wake me up.  It was at a local sub shop called Sandwich Express and the bread is fresh daily and amazing and I feel so much better.  Awake even.  FINALLY. 

You know how random things just occur to you, for some crazy reason this morning while driving to work I was thinking about the song God Only Knows by the Beach Boys. I have no idea where I got this thought from but I immediately went to I-Tunes and downloaded it and have been listening to it over and over all morning. Great song. Bizarre to just get a wild hair today.

So I am presently changed into my workout clothes, to go take a Barre class. The official class description is as follows: 

Raise the Barre
The entire body is sculpted from arms to abs to glutes to quads, this total body workout increases balance, stability, posture and flexibility through the combination of exercise adapted from aerobics, Pilates, ballet and toning. Great for all levels of fitness, this dynamic class will offer a fun, fresh challenge.

I am really hoping it is more of the Pilates ballet and toning type where its flexibility and such.  I am not looking for a real workout tonight just some toning etc. Stretching, etc. Active recovery as it’s called. I think I can probably handle it, but we will see.  I have a fairly distinct feeling that if I didn’t go to this class I’d just go home and eat and be bored so I might as well give it a try.

I’ve had a really successful workout week that’s for sure. Pretty intense so far. It’s nice to not push myself tonight though, as this weekend I’m not sure what’s totally in store. Either way, my beautiful new workout journal is awesome and I’m having a good time actually writing in it.  Here’s my first page complete.

Now it’s time to chill a little this afternoon and just relax the rest of the day away, hopefully.  Have a wonderful fabulous weekend!

2:30 PM Update:  There is no class tonight. It has been cancelled and here I sit all pretty in my workout clothes with no class to take. Oh well, guess that means the universe is trying to intervene on my behalf and tell me to go home.  Even in my cute workout clothes. Whatever, they are more comfortable than work clothes so I guess it's all good.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

That Old Familiar Feeling

Boy this day has already flown by. This is a very good thing I guess. You know, one day closer to the weekends that I live for. Although I don’t actually have any plans for the weekend, but that won’t stop me from looking forward to it. Sometimes no plans are the best plans. Other than I must get in a decent long run on one of the two completely calendar free days. Of course I am guessing my legs are going to hurt after tonight so it will make this more difficult, but it will happen nonetheless.

Let me explain.  One must be flexible in their life and in planning of time.  I have to roll with the punches and embrace when opportunity knocks. Can I think of any more puns or cliques to throw out there? Anyway, my plans for the evening changed and since they were better plans than what I had planned I just went with it.  Tonight I am going to the new gym and meeting Amanda to take a spin class at 5:30. This will be my first ever spin class. It seems weird that in the course of going to gyms and being physically active for 2 plus years that I have yet to ever try a spin class.  But it just happened. Tonight is it. I am a little scared since I don’t particularly love bicycles of any sort.  Mainly I don’t like how they hurt my insides, make me sore in the inner thigh, crotch. There I said it. My vagina hurts after cycling.  Blunt enough for you?  I am sure the more I did it the less this would be an issue, but given I never do it, I am fearing the pain.  BUT, never run away from an opportunity.

Amanda texted me this morning and said that after the 45 minute cycling class that we should do a leg day.  Now, do I really need another leg day? Nope. Not in the agenda considering I had one Tuesday night and am still sore. BUT, don’t pass up opportunity when it knocks. I told her I was tender from Tuesday and she said this was lighter weight/heavier rep night and I said okay. I can live with that. I told her I would of course make it work. Because that’s what I do.  So out the window goes my “intentions” for the evening, and in comes better plans.  45 minutes of spin class (cardio) and a leg day with the boss woman, Amanda. I try to not pass up Amanda workouts because they are always so good and I promise you this I have never EVER in 2 years regretted a single Amanda workout. I never walked away and went boy I wish I wouldn’t have done that. So it’s happening even if I have to pre workout and/or drug myself up to endure it.  And by drug I just mean take some Advil to push myself thru. 

I’m gluten for punishment. BUT, I forget how much I love that girl and what she brings into my life, not just in a physical personal trainer sense but in a personal friendship happy to be around you sense. Sometimes in life there are just people you bond with/connect with more than others.  Our crazy trains meet up and mesh nicely.

Last night was the return of my beloved Iron Power and let me tell you, it was everything I had hoped and dreamed for and more. I said jokingly but there is a hint of truth to the sentiment that it’s like the stars and moons aligned and suddenly everything made sense once again and all was right in my world. Yes, it’s a bit extreme but slightly true.  For a few moments during the workout (the same routines I was used to) I actually was in bliss because it was like nothing had changed; all the happy feelings came flooding back and it was so familiar and comfortable.  One probably should not allow themselves to get so jacked up about exercise that it makes them feel so contented.  I have some weird issues where I have mixed up feelings of living and happiness about life with the gym and working out.  This period of time in my life, the past 2 years, have been the best of my life, the period of time where I have found myself for the first time ever and it’s hard to not have some of those feelings transpose onto the gym.  This is why I’ve had such a stupidly hard time with everything that has happened at my gym.  I am trying to let go of the feelings of good I’ve had an accept the reality of what it is now. 

Of course last night was the very first important step into acceptance of the reality of the current situation.  I was at a different gym and yet there were these moments where I felt that peace and contentment that I had at my previous gym.  And the thought occurred to me that perhaps it’s about more than the confines of 4 walls and instead a “feeling” of family and community that is created by people.  Again with the clique sentiments.  I was thinking that perhaps the things that I loved most about my gym and how it shaped the person I am, this happy girl, had more to do with me and those I surrounded myself with than the stupid building. As for a few brief moments I had that same classic feeling of happiness last night, at a completely new location.

Part of the recreation of these feelings came in the form of not only was Amanda teaching the same exact class that I have taken hundreds of times but that I was there, and another girl, a friend of ours, and then Amanda’s mom came (also friends with her) and then another girl from the gym. So all in all I had 4 completely familiar faces in the class with me and that was happiness.  Sure there were lots of new strange faces but there always are and I can deal with that. And these faces were happy and nice and that made me feel good. Gone were all the self-indulgent body builders with nasty perma-scowls on their faces.  Instead I had this feeling of community and belonging and of normalcy.  Something that my gym used to be.  And not shocking given this “gym” isn’t really a gym at all but a true community center.  It’s just a whole different group of people.  I’m optimistic about the future.  

I literally could not stop smiling last night during Iron Power.  It’s not that the class is entirely so life changing but it’s more a representation of everything that I hold so dear. The friendships I have created, the lifestyle I value and the memories that I hold dear.  I had perma-smile and I was so okay with that. Really good night. And a good workout too.  I should note that I did warm up with a 9:10 minute mile.  I pushed myself because I wanted to get into the class and get a spot.  So I ran my little ass off, and did 1 mile 9:10.  Getting faster. It was hard.  Still not my fastest mile ever but I’m working on it.  And post Iron Power because I felt like I needed to I ran 1 more mile.  This time slower because I was tired, so a 10:10 minute mile.  I was fine with that.

Amanda needs to go and actually take the classes at the gym to experience them before she takes over as manager.  She will be the instructor’s bosses but no one knows that yet. The paperwork is still going thru even though she’s been hired already. So it’s kind of an opportunity for her to observe without them knowing who she is.  Should be interesting. Like I said my legs already hurt a little bit, but I am going to push thru.  Spin and legs tonight.  No run for me.  I don’t even think a warm up run is happening because spin is all cardio anyway.  I think its fine.  I’ve logged a decent amount of miles this week already.  (2 on Sat, 7 Sun, 4 Mon, 3 Tue, 2 Wed) So yup, 18 miles this week already.  It’s cool to take tonight and tomorrow night off from running. 

Get thru this killer session today and then tomorrow is my rest day, sort of.  I am totally taking that Barre class. Just some nice active recovery, Pilates and yoga and stretching style.  Life is so good right now I can’t complain.  I have peace and calmness in my heart and I am rolling with that for as long as humanly possible because God knows it doesn’t last that long. Something else is always around the corner.

And just because this was yesterday’s most adorable workout outfit. I mean, Victoria Secret is truly my addiction.  Well, one of many I guess.  I’m an addict. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Iron Power is On

Just in the nick of time for the week things got interesting. And by that of course I mean workout stuff. I had an amazing workout last night which I will talk about in a minute but let me share my very thrilling news for today.  Tonight is the return of my beloved Iron Power class.  A class I took religiously twice a week for over a year.  When Amanda left the gym so too did Iron Power.  My class was no more. I have missed my class.  It is preposterous to me that a gym does not have a strength training class.  And yet we had a million boot camp circuit style classes but not a single one focused solely on lifting. I have been bummed about this for months.

With Amanda getting the new management position at the new gym, she gets to teach classes once again and fill in for instructors when they are gone.  This morning I got a lovely text indicating that she was going to be teaching tonight at 5:30 at the new gym. Iron Power. I was happy. I am happy. This is exactly what I needed.  While I have had some solid workouts this week, I am ready tonight to simply be told what to do.  Iron Power was a great class because it hit all the major muscle groups and worked them hard and efficient.  It was wonderful.  I have missed it. By joining the gym this weekend I am now ready and available to take the class tonight. I am pretty sure the universe knew what they were doing because that sounds about perfect to me for the night.

Last night I actually felt really good. I had intended to do a 2 mile warm up run on the treadmill but honestly I was feeling great.  I also had a little time to kill and for the hell of it I wanted to push myself just a little bit more.  So after 2 miles I just kept running. And I bumped my speed up to 6.5, which is pretty high for me. It has been a long time since I’ve ran at this speed. Yes I have in my life but this was a while ago. I ran a full 3.1 (5k) in exactly 29 minutes 30 seconds so a pace of 9:30.  Slowly but surely getting a little better.  My body is getting much more conditioned to this. I felt great, happy and alive. The way I am supposed to feel with a run.

After my 5k, I headed down to the weights for leg day. I had already worked up a pretty solid sweat from running which I swear helps tremendously in keeping my heart rate up while lifting. Thus more calories burned. This is one of the main reasons I always start with a little cardio.  I had a solid workout plan for the night.

I actually started with the third set of exercises on the list because that is what machine was available first. Plus heavy squats are better done with the freshest legs anyway.  I didn’t do extremely heavy squats, just ones that I knew I could squat really low. The focus for me last night was deep low squats.  Really trying to get my booty down to the ground.  Okay not really to the ground but as low as I could go.  With that said I loaded up a barbell to 135 pounds and squatted my butt down low.  I did 10 regular squats and ended up doing a pulsing low squat of 10 each round.  Good times. My ass was on fire at the end of that set.

We then moved over to the smith rack for round 2 of exercise (the first set on the list)  These were some pretty tough moves as well.  Medium weight deep squats consisted of 50 pound barbell squats where the goal is to sit down on a medicine ball. Yup, the goal is to get your ass to touch the medicine ball so you know you are going low enough. This provides a very deep squat and is utterly effective. These were actually fun and I will have to work them into leg day in the future again.

Set 3 (the middle set on the list) was probably the easiest round because it was the last I took it a little bit easier.  Let me say step ups are brutal but that depends on how much effort you are putting out.  For instance step ups can be the worst exercise in the world when I do a higher step and higher weight.  There is the small step and then a higher up step that I normally use.  If I want a brutal workout I use the higher step 2 with a 40-50 pound weight.  Depending on the severity of torture I want to endure.  Last night I went light.  I just used the small step and 40 pounds so it wasn’t too awful.  But like I said, last group of exercises and my legs were hurting.  What was fun was the smith rack leg press.  This is a different angle of leg press. Fairly straight up and down. You lie below the bar and push it up with your feet.  Leg press style. I wasn’t sure exactly how much weight to load on there.  I started with 160 pounds and did my first rep of them. I had written down 15 presses but honestly I quickly realized it was just too damned light for me.  I did 20 of them no problem.  On my next set of them I added another  90 pounds to it so I was at 250 pounds and in all honesty I still think it might have been slightly too light because I still did 20 reps of them. 

General rule of thumb is if you can do any more than 15 reps you are probably going too light.  10-15 is the range you want to hit.  But I also didn’t want to keep loading the machine up because honestly I had to unload it every time to accommodate the people who were working out with me.  But it was refreshing to realize that I am capable of a lot. I was pretty much dripping sweat the whole time.  I finished my evening with 700 calories burned which is a very solid night for me.  90 minutes, 700 calories is perfect. 

I thought there was potential to be sore from this workout but I didn’t feel anything last night and slightly disappointed I didn’t wake up feeling anything either.  Of course as the day has progressed on thus far I am starting to feel it a little bit and because I am gluten for punishment I kind of love the feeling. My quads and my ass are starting to feel the burn or pain. 

Which comes full circle to my excitement over Iron Power tonight.  My legs are kind of burning and I’ve had two crazy killer workout nights in a row and for the most part am excited to have someone else lead me for a change and kick my butt.  It’s refreshing every now and then. Don’t get me wrong I have really learned to appreciate the art of preparing my own workouts and kicking my own butt. I have found a general love for it to be honest.  But even the most motivated driven person needs a night off now and then.  Plus I need a bit of a break from running, given the sore in my legs that is forming a nights rest might not be uncalled for.  Of course my interpretation of rest is something entirely different.

My “rest” is hopefully get to the gym and get in at least a 10 minute -1 mile- warm up run before Iron Power and then in Iron Power there will definitely be leg tracks and squatting.  And then hopefully it my legs can handle it at least a 1 mile run post Iron Power.  And this is what I consider a good light night.

I really shouldn’t push myself to do a 30 minute run tonight and without the option of Iron Power that was exactly what I was going to do tonight. I have been feeling really good with my running but at some point your body does start to revert and go backwards and needs a day of rest.  I realize I have been hitting the running kind of hard anyway.  Saturday was 2 miles, Sunday 7 miles, Monday 4 miles, Tuesday 3 miles. If I can just manage an easy 2 miles tonight I won’t be too upset about it.

Generally I have a plan for the remainder of my week that looks like this;
Tonight: Iron Power, 2 mile run.
Thursday: 3 mile run. Back/back/triceps workout
Friday: Rest day with perhaps an hour of Barre class in the evening at the new gym that I am interested in trying. This is active recovery. Lower key, no major warm up or sweat. Still my rest day
And either Saturday or Sunday it is my intent to do a long outdoor run.  I do not have a race this weekend but I plan to get in at least an 8 mile run if not maybe 9 miles. We will see.  The following Saturday is a half marathon so it’s not unrealistic to do a 9 mile run this weekend.  And the opposite day of my run I will most likely do at least an hour of strength training but then again I might not, who knows.  Either way it all looks like a solid plan to me.

For the time being, today, I am beyond thrilled for the return of my beloved Iron Power tonight. I cannot wait. This is exactly what I needed.  Thank you universe.