Sunday, November 17, 2013

Lake Ridge Turkey Trot -2013

Today was my first race in a little over a year. (My last one is here).
 
I wasn't overly excited about it, which is why I didn't mention that I had signed up for it. It was a 10K, I'd been told the course was "brutal", I hadn't been training specifically for it, and I wasn't anywhere near the shape I was in for my last one.
 
But I just wanted to race. It's Fall! It's what runners do when the leaves start to change...... We race, carb loading with every pumpkin bread and muffin we can find.
 
The race was Sunday morning at 9 AM, located in Woodbridge, VA (my old stomping grounds!). The temperature for the race was perfect, low 50s. The clouds were out though, and the humidity was at 97%. Yuck.
 
This race kicked my ass. In a serious sort of way. I can't exactly pin point what happened, but I just didn't feel strong, focused, or like doing it in general.
 
The first mistake I made was going out too fast. I didn't have my Nike App turned on, but I knew I was going too fast.
 
Check out the elevation on this bad boy. Any smart runner knows to save their reserves for the last half of the race.
 
 
Around mile 2 I started to get a side stitch. I was cussing myself out with every 4-letter word in the book.....I'm pretty sure I got this from mistake #1.
 
The last, and most fatal mistake I made was that I quit mentally. I told myself I couldn't do it. I wasn't conditioned enough and I let the negative thoughts creep in and keep reminding me that I wasn't.
 
I pulled it together for the last mile, finished fast and strong (my legs had WAY too much umph left in them for somebody who was supposed to be racing) .
 
My chip time was 49:49. (Average pace of 8:01).
 
 
and to my surprise I won 1st place in my division.( Yay for medals!......and being materialistic)
 
My goal for today's race was to hit 8 minute miles. I got awfully damn close to that, but I just don't see this as an accomplishment. I wanted 6 STRONG 8-minute miles. I wanted performance and consistency, and I didn't.
 
My next goal is to run a half marathon in Richmond this February. It may be a long shot, especially based on today's performance, so I'm going to start training early December and see how it goes before I register myself for it and commit.
 
 I didn't, however, have any issues committing to this bag of popcorn as big as a toddler.

 
I saw it at Costco and even though I'd never had it, I love popcorn any way I can get it (except with fake cheddar powder - orange or white- it's a disgusting. The kind of disgusting that makes one gag,)
 
Plus, it's "Biggest Loser Approved" so it's obviously good for me:-)

Monday, November 11, 2013

A Legs Workout to Make You Uncomfortable.

 
Anybody here love having sore muscles? If you're reading this blog, I'm pretty sure you do because all of us runners are crazy like that.
 
Crazy enough to do a workout like this.
 
 
Fortunately, I only had time to do one round because, just being honest with you and myself, I don't think I could make it through 2-3.  Every single move was challenging. I'm talking burning muscles, shaking legs, the whole nine ....I definitely ended with jello legs. 
 
The next morning things didn't feel too bad so I decided to go for a midday run through D.C.
 
 
The weather was perfect, around 60 and partly cloudy.
 
 
and the scenery is always amazing. 6 comfortable miles and not a one of them was boring.
 
About an hour after my run though, the DOMS started to reallllly kick in. Everything hurt. Getting up from my chair, sitting down, walking stairs.
 
I love it because it means that I worked hard.
 
There is this line that Jillian Michael's says and it really hits home for me: 
 
"Get comfortable with being uncomfortable"
 
Your body is never going to change unless you force it to. Doing the same exercises everyday isn't going to get you anywhere. Our bodies are made to adapt to the stresses that we place on them. If you want to change, you have to change what you're doing.
 
Plus, you get to have awesome recovery meals.

 
This burger was topped with about a ton of different condiments post-picture. Ketchup, mustard, Cholula and relish....Delicious.
 
When was the last time you had DOMS? What were you doing?
 
Do you like Jillian Michaels?
 
What's your favorite condiment?



Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Are You Afraid of the Dark? & Pumpkin Protein Pancakes

Do you guys remember that show as a kid?? I used to watch it with my brothers and sisters ALL the time. We loved turning all the lights off and just waiting to get scared! Ha. Good times.
 
But let's talk about running.
 
 I used to be a fearless runner, much to the protest of my boyfriend and family. I'd run in the dark because it's when I had the time. (How else are you going to fit in 15 miles before you have to be somewhere at 9 AM?) I know that there are stories about runners (especially female) having terrible things happen to them, but terrible things happen everywhere.
 
I'm not going to stop doing what I love to do because there are sick people out there.
 
I have made an effort to be better prepared though. I've been running with my mace (day or night) and I've also started to take my headphones off when it's dark, so I'm more aware of my surroundings.
 
Yeah, terrible idea. Apparently, I am in fact, afraid of the dark.
 
 
Do you know how many animals there are in these woods?? Deers, rabbits, squirrels, raccoons, mice.....They are everywhere! Dancing along in the leaves just to scare the shit out of me.


 
 
They obviously did a good job.  I took my headphones off at the beginning of mile 3 and started booking it......Never in my life did I think I'd actually run faster without music.
 
It felt GREAT though. I should try "running away" from things more often.
 
Today, I'm running mid-day though. What a weekday treat! My daughter had a teacher-workday so I had to stay home with her. (She loves biking beside me while I run)
 
I fueled up with this delicious bowl of oats.
 
 
I don't know who I am these days, because I usually despise frozen fruit, but frozen mango is totally doing it for me;-)
 
and just because breakfast is the best meal of the day.

 
I made these pumpkin protein pancakes last week. I modified the original recipe a bit:
 
1/4 c. nonfat, plain greek yogurt
1/4 c. pumpkin puree
2/3 c. old fashioned oats
1 egg
1 egg white
TONS of cinnamon
A dash of nutmeg
A sprinkle of chia seeds
 
I let mine sit for about 10 minutes after I mixed it up, just to let the oats soak.
 
Topped with Sunbutter and bananas. Seriously good!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Spicing Up Your Workouts

My workouts this week have been amazing! I have been excited to do every single one that I had planned. As a runner, I think it's extremely easy to become bored with your routine, especially when we're training for an event. Everyday, day in and day out, we run. As much as I love running, it becomes sort of like a chore when I'm seriously into my training.

30 degrees outside? Too bad. Suck it up.

Raining? You ain't made of sugar.

Windy? Bring some chap stick.

Oh, so you're tired? You can sleep when you're dead

(haha. I may have gone a tad bit overboard on that last one.)

The point is, sometimes we need to switch it up a bit. Not only does it mentally recharge you, but it's better for you physically. If you don't challenge yourself, if you're afraid to feel uncomfortable, you're body is never going to change. You're never going to get faster, or lose those last 5 lbs, and you might end up with an overuse injury. (Lord knows I've had enough of those)

So I'd thought I'd give you guys a look at what I've been doing this week. How I've been switching it up, and why I'm having so much fun.

1. Run on a new course. I think this has to be one of my favorite ways to change up my workout. I usually run on the Indian Head Rail Trail, which is great. It always has traffic. It's close to home. It has porta potties and water fountains.....but it's a straight line. Seriously? Do you know how mentally challenging it is to run in a straight line for an hour? Sometimes I'm just not up to it, so Sunday I headed somewhere knew. I went to a new park, Smallwood State Park, and ran on the trails there.


My glutes were definitely a bit sore after doing those steps twice through.



Not only does running trails keep you constantly engaged (if I lose focus for a second I WILL eat dirt. Or slam a shoulder, skin a knee, you get the idea. I've done it enough times) but it was much more challenging then 3.5 miles on the pavement would be. There were hills, turns, declines, grass, gravel, dirt, etc.

2. Take a class. After my trail run on Sunday I headed to a 90 minute yoga class. Yoga is SO beneficial for everybody, especially runners though! We are so hard on our bodies, we need to give it a little relief. Even though I know this, I don't stretch as much as I should, or focus on my breathing (I think most runners are guilty of this). I HAVE to force myself to go to class to get it done most of the time. I always walk out of there feeling relaxed, rejuvenated and ready to conquer some shit.

3. Pick up some weights. Seriously. As strong as I feel running, I feel even stronger by doing weight lifting. I've really been focusing on weights for the past couple of months and I'm really starting to feel/see a difference. Plus, it's always a plus to walk over the free weight rack, with all the men surrounding it, and feel like you're just as bad ass as they are.

4. Do a speed workout. Most people hate doing speedwork. It's hard, it's uncomfortable. It may not last as long as their normal run. However, it's a necessary evil if you want to improve. You're legs are not going to learn to turn over quickly unless you force them too. Thursday's workout for me was 400s. I did a mile warm up, 4x400s (with an active recovery 400 in between each) and a .75 mile cool down. I finished with enough time to really focus on some foam rolling and stretching (things I'm usually lacking on).

5. New music. This one is pretty self explanatory, and I feel like the majority of people already know this, but it's worth stressing. I am a HUGE music fan and blasting some new tunes in my ears always get me pumped. I'm a Pandora user, so you never know what's coming and it's a great surprise.


I've been loving the Rise Against Station recently....
 
And just because every blogger loves food, I'll share a picture of today's lunch. I went to Truckeroo and had Korean BBQ for the first time.
 
 
Delicious Bolgogi taco with Spicy Kimchi Slaw.
 
I may have also had an Indian veggie empanada and some cappuccino crunch ice cream that I ate to quickly I forgot to take a picture of:-D
 
How do you spice up your workouts?
 
Ever had Korean BBQ?
 
Do you go to food trucks? (It's a huge thing in DC these days)
 
 
 



Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A Girl Obsessed.

Did you know that the crappiest weather really is the best to run in sometimes? Today brought chilllllly temps (especially compared to the 90 degree days we had this weekend) and sprinkles of rain all day. I wasn't looking forward to rushing outside and getting my run in.

But I should have been.

As soon as I started running I knew that I was stupid for trying to avoid it. It was one of the best runs I've had in a few months. While it was only 3 miles (wish I could have done more but baby girl had a 2 hour early dismissal today) it felt AMAZING:-)

 
Oh hello negative splits, it's nice to see you again.
 
I told myself that my last mile was going to be sub-8, just for shits. I could have done it, but I'm glad I didn't push myself too much. I need to remember that I'm not training for anything these days. I'm running just because I love to run.
 
I'll save the sub-8 and 7s for my next 5K;-)
 
After my run I did 20 minutes of ankle weights and resistance band work for the bootay.
 
I don't know what has been going on with me recently, but my hunger is out.of.control. Seriously. It's almost burdening. I mean, I allllllways have a healthy appetite, but recently it's been crazy. Time to check myself.
 
Perhaps it's all in my head though, and I just want to fill up on these goodies while I can.
 

Best Greek Yogurt Ever.

 
These pita crisps are AWESOME. Combine that with a pumpkin ale (who doesn't crave salty carbs with their beer) and you've pretty much entered.
 
What can I say, I'm a girl obsessed. And that's just 3 of the pumpkin treats currently in my kitchen. I'm not going to show you the pumpkin cereal bars, pumpkin ice cream, and pumpkin granola.
 
People say that they gain weight during the holiday season. Screw that. I'm about to put on 10 lbs of strictly this delicious, orange, fall gourd.......
 
You know the scene in Willy Wonka where Violet turns into a blueberry. Yeah. It's going to be just like that.  

Sunday, September 29, 2013

AFSP Community Walk - Washington, DC

 
Saturday morning started bright and early for me (which is easy to do when you're in bed by 9:00 on a Friday night.) While the house was still sleeping I snuck off to the gym.
 
1 mile WU @ 6 MPH
Intervals for 10 minutes (1 minute at 6MPH, 1 minute at 9 MPH)
 
Back Extension
Ball Crunch
Single Leg Squat Touchdown
Step up to Balance - Frontal Plane
Box Jumps
Power Step Ups
 
I did 3 sets of 12 reps of the weights, 10 reps of the plyometrics.
 
Ever done power step ups? The box was decently high and those were TOUGH.
 
After my workout and baby girl's soccer game we headed to D.C.
 
Baby girl's first time on the metro.
 
We went to support a cause close to us. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Community Walk.
 
A year and a half ago my Brother in Law took his own life. He was a wonderful, caring man. I firmly believe that if he had just gotten the help he needed, he'd still be with us today.
 
You probably can't tell from the picture but my daughter and my BIL look quite a bit alike (it's probably the crazy, curly, firey red hair).
 
"90% of people who commit suicide have a treatable mental disease". They need our help.
 
The walk itself was beautiful! The weather couldn't have been better. It was a 4 mile walk that took us along the perimeter of the National Mall during sunset.
 
 
 



 
 
The AFSP holds events in many different locations. If you're interested in participating and/or donating you can visit here.


Friday, September 27, 2013

Distressing.

The last time I posted I was just about to begin Phase 2 of my workout program, based on the OPT Model. I was SUPER excited to begin this phase. I knew that it was going to be extremely challenging, and I was ready for that. Unfortunately, the gym at my work was closed indefinitely.

**I work at the Washington Navy Yard. As I'm sure most of you know, my work was attacked last Monday. I started posts about it, planned them out in my head, but nothing seemed to do the situation justice. Nothing seemed to come out right. I am extremely thankful to be here today. I am thankful for to the emergency personnel and my gracious coworkers who threw themselves into the situation to assist those in need. I am sorry for the loss that has been suffered by the families of the victims, by NAVSEA, and by the nation as a whole. **



Due to the closure of the gym, I've been forced to be resourceful, and take my workouts elsewhere. As I do in most situations when I don't have gym access, I ran. Probably more than I should have to be honest, but it's how I distress so I went with it.

I ran on pavement.


I ran on dirt.

 
 
 
 
I enjoyed the wonderful 50-60 degree temperature, blasted my music and took off. But my achy foot brought me back to reality. I can't run 5 days a week at this point in my life.

So yesterday I took it back to the weight room. On the agenda:

Front Squats - 40 lbs
Bent over row - 20 lbs
Lunges - 40 lbs (each side)
Shoulder Presses - 15 lbs
In & Outs - 15 (slow)
Single Arm Bicep Curl - 15 lbs
Single Arm Tricep Extensions - 12 lbs

I did 12 reps and 3 sets and BOY did I feel it when I woke up this morning!

After my workout, I was discussing the "front squat" with my coworker. I choose to do the front squat yesterday because I didn't have access to a rack. I really enjoyed the front squat. It allowed me to sink deeper into my squat, and I felt like my upper body wasn't falling forward at all (I usually feel like it is).  However, if it's easier to do, is it really working me as much as I need?

I took to the internet. (Obviously, all of the references here are entirely credible.) Sure enough, the front squat does isn't really what I want to focus on. It targets quadriceps more than anything, when that big old gluteus maximus is what I really need to be working on:-D

I feel like there is SO much information when it comes to working out. So many variations, so many different philosophies. I'm anxious to learn more about it and keep expanding my knowledge.

And to get a rack and get some real squats done!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Jam Packed Weekend

PHEW! What a weekend it was. The boy was in Ocean City for Bike Week so Baby Girl and I hit the road and headed to VA for some quality time with our family.
 
First stop was my moms, where my starving ass was greeted with this awesome plate!
 
 
That egg muffin was amazing!! It was full of mushrooms and Italian sausage. That muffin on the side was a cranberry coffee cake muffin. My mom is a really good cook:-)
 
After a few hours with her, we went and meet up with my twin sister and one of our best friends for her birthday lunch. We headed to Uncle Julios......really mediocre. Good thing I wasn't that hungry since I had just eaten a few hours earlier. I swear, all chain restaurants are pretty crappy.......
 
After lunch I shopped for a couple of hours (Hello gorgeous Ralph Lauren Pumps) before heading to visit my father for a bit, then meet up with my brother and his family.
 
By the time we hit the couch at my sister's it was 10:00 PM and we were exhausted! 12 straight hours of visiting is A LOT of fun, but it's also a lot of work.
 
Sunday morning we were up bright and early in order to get to the Race For Grace on time.
 
My twin ran the 5K and did really well! (I am so proud of how dedicated and motivated she's been with her running recently).
 
 
I'm in the pink, baby girl is in the middle, my twin is in the purple.
 
 
 
Baby girl ran the 1 miler! I was SO proud of how hard she pushed herself. She's even excited to start practicing and wants to do another run in a couple of months:-)
 
While I didn't get to run (my foot just isn't there yet and I couldn't because nobody would have been there to watch my daughter) I did end up winning in the end...
 
 
I won a GoPED from a raffle ticket I bought. A motorized scooter! How cool is that?!? I've never won anything in my life. We had a great time on it tonight. That little thing goes pretty damn fast.
 
By the time I got back to MD, got my Sunday prepping and dinner done, it was getting too late for the run that I wanted to take tonight.
 
Instead I did 2 all-out sprints down the street while my daughter biked next to me, then I grabbed a jump rope and did 25 fast jumps and 10 push ups, 4 times each.
 
Holy crap was I huffing by the end of it. Not the longest workout ever, but sometimes the best are short and sweet and get you out of your comfort zone.
 
We finished the night with one of these bad boys.
 
 
Pistachio cake and cream cheese frosting:-)

Friday, September 13, 2013

Phase 1: Stabilization - Check!

Hello there! Hope that your Friday is going well. Mine was looooong. I worked from home today, and it always seems like I have SO much more to do when I'm at home. Then I had to go sit at the MVA and pay them over $800 just to get a title and tags for my car?? Highway robbery.
 
Anyways, I took today as a rest day since I've had some serious workouts the past four days. As I mentioned, I finished Phase 1: Stabilization of my new workout routine this week and thought I'd let you know a little about that.
 
The main focus of Phase 1 is to work on your balance and stabilization. Every move you do is on a box, one leg, or a stability ball! I have absolutely ZERO balance so this was pretty tough for me.
 
I have 2 days with 30 minutes of cardio in zone 1 and my core/stability/plyo workout, 2 days of cardio intervals and weights, and 2 days of yoga.
 
My core/stability workout is as follows:
Ball Bridges - 20
Quadrup Opposite Leg/Arm - 20
Single Leg Hip Rotation on a half foam roll - 20
Single Leg Lift and Chop (with a 6.6lb medicine ball) - 20
Tube Walking
Box Jump Up and Down with Stabilization - 8
Jump Squats with Stabilization - 8
 
I do 3 sets of each exercise. This workout is not necessarily challenging, but I have really felt the difference in my balance and my core. Who doesn't love that??
 
The interval and weight workout though, now that gets me sweaty!
Step up, Curl to Press (Frontal Plane w/10 lbs) - 20
Single Leg Hammer Curl - 20
Ball Combo (Shoulder/Back) - 12
Hamstring Curls on Stability Ball - 12
Stability Ball Tricep Extension - 20
Stability Ball Single Arm Chest Press - 20
 
Again, 3 sets of each move.
 
Since I've started this routine, these have made a daily appearance.

 
The foam roller is my new best friend. I do it faithfully (combined with static stretching) before and after every workout. Boy oh Boy do I feel it in my quads, IT Band/TFL, and adductors....for some reason I get NO feeling doing it in my hamstrings or calfs. Does anybody else experience this?? I KNOW that they are tight though, because when I hit them with "The Stick" it's serious business.
 
As you can see, this phase is not about high weights, building muscle, etc. The purpose of it is to focus on correcting your muscular imbalances, strengthening your core and improving your balance/stability.
 
and hopefully, to avoid all these pesky injuries I seem to keep accumulating.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

To say it's been a while would definitely be an understatement. I had a lot of things going on in my life, and running wasn't happening all that much, so I took a step back.

Most of my time for the past couple of months was dedicated to studying for my Personal Trainer Certification through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). Let me be the first to say that this course was no walk in the park. It was hard, intense, and there is a ton of information to learn. Isn't that the point though? I'm glad that I picked NASM to get my certification through, because fitness is something that I really want to know. Not just cram for a test, do really well, and forget all of the information I've learned.

Since I received my certification I have revamped my own workout plan a lot. I basically started from scratch, which I really feel I needed to do. The first phase ends next Thursday. I have spent the past 5 weeks realllllly focusing on my core, stabilization, and balance. I feel like I've made huge improvements and I'm ready to move on to Phase 2: Strength Endurance. I'm really anxious because I have never put the focus more on weights/core. I've always been a cardio junkie......but it's time for a change!

I've also moved! After 26 years, perfectly happy and in love with Northern Virginia, I decided to make the move (with my daughter of course) to Southern Maryland. What could possibly be my reason for leaving the only place I've ever known and called home? It might just be this country boy that my daughter and I are pretty damn fond of.

Baby girl also started soccer when we moved (plus a new school)! What a commitment that was, for all of us! We have been going to practices a couple of times a week and practicing in the back yard almost every night. What a great way to still get in a bit of cardio since it's recently taken a back seat in the gym.

As you can gather, the break wasn't for negative reasons. Everything is changing and exciting and I wanted to be able to give it my full attention.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Slowly Getting Back There and The Greatest Find

The weather around these parts (Washington, DC) has been CRAZY! Seriously. 2 weeks ago we had the biggest snow storm of the year and today, it’s over 90 degrees. While most runners detest the high
temperatures, I yearn for them. I don’t want an overcast, 50 degreeday. I want it sunny and 75 when I lace up those shoes.

This was exactly what the weather was when I left my desk at 9:45 AM to take my “lunch” break early and go for a jog.

Anybody who has read my blog before knows that January was the last time I set out for a run. I was deep into marathon training and diagnosed with a stress fracture… My second fracture in 6 months…Many x-rays and doctors appointments later I was cleared! But not to run, to walk, to slooooowly
incorporate jogging, and to slowly build up my base.

Since I'm tired of my bones being made out of glass, I am going to take the doctor’s words seriously.

Today was my 5th time running since I was told that I could. What I’ve been doing is a mix of walking and jogging, using my music to let me know when to switch, since I’m determined not to time myself for at least a couple of months. Until today, I’ve been walking one song, jogging one song, and repeating until I hit 4 miles. Today, I bummed it up to jogging 2 songs and walking 1.

It was amazing:-)

I don’t even care how fast I was running. I’m just happy to be out there doing it and promise myself to NOT overdo it and truly listen to my body!!

After my run, I hit the weights and tackled an arm and shoulder workout:
Bicep Curls - 15 lbs
Upward Row - 15 lbs
Tricep Extension - 20 lbs
Lateral Raises - 10 lbs
12 reps, 4 circuits.

I am going to try focusing on one body part a day, lifting 3x a week and see how it goes. Recently, I've been doing full-body weight workouts 3-4x a week and I just don't think that's my jam.

In other news, I have found the.BEST.SNACK.EVER.




Angie’s “Sweet and Spicy” Popcorn. It’s kettle corn with paprika, cumin and cayenne pepper on it, and it’s perfect. I am a HUGE fan of popcorn, so really fantastic popcorns are my weakness. I thought freshly-made kettle corn was the best but this just brought it up a level!

I have plans to venture out into the city on Friday with some friends and find what is said to be THE BEST popcorn ever though, so we'll see were we stand after that:-)

What do you prefer for your weight routine?

Do you LOVE popcorn like me?

Where is the weather where you are?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Race Envy

First and foremost, I want to send a huge "congratulations" to my twin sister, Becca. She totally killed the Rock N' Roll DC Marathon on Saturday! PRed by over half and hour!!


Now to the bitching portion of this post.

I have serious race envy. Everybody around me is running races! Marathons, 1/2 marathons, 10 milers. You name it. I know somebody running it.

The weather is just beginning to get warm yet we're months away from the summer heat waves. It's the perfect time of year to lace up my Brooks and de-stress with a run. But I'm not. I'm not even allowed to walk for long distances.

So as much as I love talking about running with my peers and cheering my friends (and family) during their races, I want to be out there with them. I want to feel the adrenaline rush as I pass people and conquer courses, I want to feel the pride that comes from saying that I completed something that I have a passion for. I want to run.

I have an appointment with my podiatrist on Thursday. Even if the xrays come back ok, I know that my foot isn't. I know that even walking for an extended period of time makes it ache and that I shouldn't rush back into running, or I'm going to end up in the same predicament that I am now.

I know that I can still say in decent shape without running in my life. I've had great workouts and I'm taking this time to get stronger and focus on different areas of my fitness and when the time is right, running will be there. It's not an end all.

But right now, I just want to bitch.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Stability Workouts and The Bosu Ball

Who has tried the Bosu ball?? Stability ball? I'm sure the majority of people reading this post have, as I had to before last week. However, this week I cranked up the intensity!
Inspiration for my stability packed workouts? My NASM knowledge being put to work! (and I'm only on the third chapter!) The idea behind NASM's personal trainer certification is whats called an Optimized Performace Training Model, or OPT Model. I'm not going to go in depth too much but one of the key concepts is that people must first teach their bodies to use their stabilizing muscles and to strengthen them before they can reach their fitness goals.

How many people actually start working out like this? We all know that our "core" is important but to what extent really? It's not just about flat abs (that's just an added bonus). It's about adequately preparing our bodies. If we skip this step, injuries are bound to occur. I know many have for me!

When I first started working out I dove head first into cardio. I walked and I ran and I ellipticized my little heart out. I could literally run for hours but you ask me to do a plank? HA. Something is wrong here....

Since I have a stress fracture and can't run right now I am taking advantage of this new little nugget of information and focusing on my stability muscles.

Workouts this week have looked a lot like this:
 
10 minute elliptical warm-up
Circuit 1: Back Extension - 15, Jump Squats - 15, push-up on bosu ball - 10
Circuit 2: Squat to press on bosu ball - 15, Pull down (80lbs) - 10, Row on stability ball - 15
Circuit 3: Lateral lunges on bosu ball - 20, Step ups w/knee on bosu ball - 20, Crunches on stability ball - 30

I did each circuit three times. I also added 10 one-legged squats on each side between them, just for fun:-)

and just because I love food and I love sharing my food with others. Tonight's dinner....

 
Brown rice with black beans, chickpeas and chicken. Topped with cucumber, garlic & supremely spicy hummus, Siracha and avocado.
 
Food baby.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Personal Trainer Certification and an AWESOME Circuit Workout

Wednesdays are typically really hard for me to get through with a smile on my face the entire time. The week is half way over but the weekend seems SO far away.
 
This wasn't the case today!
 
One of the things that I love most about blogs is that they give me so many ideas for healthy living and fitness that I wouldn't have thought of on my own. One of my favorite things to try is a new workout. As I was reading She Rocks Fitness today I got some great inspiration. (This is a great site and the woman who writes is it amazingly strong and beautiful)
 
I warmed up on the bike for 10 minutes then jumped right into this circuit workout.

 
 
I wasn't sure that I'd be able to complete all of those burpees and mountain climbers with my stress fracture but I felt no pain or discomfort at all.
 
This workout is intense! I was a sweaty mess by the end, which is an awesome thing!
 
The only change that I made was 15 push ups instead of 20 because my upper body strength just isn't there yet and overhead tricep extensions with a 10 lb weight instead of tricep dips because there was no bench in that area of the gym. I really love that I was able to complete the entire workout (in 34 minutes) but that there is potential to make the moves more intense as you build up your fitness and strength. I'll definitely be bookmarking this one!
 
My workout left me in such a great mood that I decided to do something that I've been wanting to do for a LONG time. I decided to pursue my Personal Trainer Certification!! I am so anxious to get my materials and begin studying.

 
I decided to go with NASM. After reading great things about them on Peanut Butter Fingers and doing some extra research I decided that they were the best choice.
 
Even if I don't use this certification for employment purposes, I'm excited to become more knowledgeable about a topic I'm extremely passionate and benefit myself.
 
Wish me luck!!
 
PS - I have my follow up with the podiatrist on my foot tomorrow! As excited as I am to see what he says it definitely isn't feeling 100%. Sometimes I have a weird feeling/discomfort, similar to the feeling I had when I came back from my full fracture this summer.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

My Favorite Workout DVDs

This weekend was one of those weekends that you never want to end. It was too perfect. I had no set plans (especially since I'm not doing any long runs at the moment) so everything was relaxed and chill.
 
Friday night my boyfriend's son, being the sweets fiend that he is, asked if I could make bake him some cupcakes. I happily obliged and dedicated my Saturday afternoon to some time in the kitchen. 
 
 
These cupcakes are by far my most requested. They are a dark chocolate cupcake with a semi-sweet ganache filling and a white chocolate buttercream frosting. These can pretty much do these with any frosting. My personal favorite is cream cheese (because cream cheese icing is by FAR the best thing EVER) and my boyfriend leans toward the peanut butter. Mocha is pretty damn good too.
 
That bread next to them is Honey Beer Bread. I can thank my friend Courtney for that delicious addition. She brought me some to work on Friday and I knew that I had to make a loaf. This bread is SO good and seriously one of the most easy recipes ever. I made mine with Blue Moon.
 
When those were done it was time to make the main course.

 
Barbecued pork chops, baked potatoes and salad. Damn that was a good a meal. I cannot wait until warmer weather rolls around so this can be the norm. Luckily, I have a boyfriend who loves food as much as I do and is willing to light the grill during pretty much any weather.
 
Since I'm obviously still harboring a runner's appetite, you'd better believe I've been getting some workouts in to offset it:-)
 
I have been doing a variety of different DVDs and at home workouts. This week I've done:
 
1. Ab Ripper X
2. Brazilian Booty Lift - Sculpt
3. P90X Legs and Back
4. My ankle weight routine
5. The Fitsugar Full Body Workout
6. Insanity Cardio Recovery
7. 30-60 minute bike workouts
 
Along with maxing out on wall sits and push-ups. I'm up to a 3:00 wall sit and 23 push ups. I'm going to try and get those up to a 4:00 wall sit and 30 straight push ups by the end of the month!
 
Yesterday I also tried this Jillian Michael's Workout for the first time.

 
She is seriously amazing. I have loved every single DVD of hers that I've done. They range from 20-35 minutes and leave me sweaty and exhausted. I'm hoping to be able to try her Body Revolution soon but that one cost some serious dollars.
 
One more quick thing, I'm making homemade granola right now. You should try it. It's SO easy and my house smells amazing right now.

I loosely follow this recipe. I didn't have any honey this time so I used molasses and cut the brown sugar in half. I use 1/2 a cup of almonds, sunflower seeds, cashews and unsweetened coconut.
 
Do you have a "most requested" item that you cook or bake?
 
What's your favorite thing to BBQ?
 
What's your favorite workout DVD? Have you tried Jillian Michael's Body Revolution?
I'm always looking for more to add to rotation!
 
 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Back to the Boot

I have some good news and I have some bad news. Let's start with the bad news because I would rather end on a happy note.

The bad news is I won't be running anytime soon. I especially won't be running a marathon. I had my podiatrist appointment yesterday. The diagnosis, stress fracture.

If you aren't aware, last year during the Marine Corp Half Marathon in Fredericksburg, VA I snapped my 2nd metetarsal in half. Not only did I do that but I continued to run on it for 10 miles. Bones grinding and displaced. Needless to say, a bone with that amount of trauma isn't going to heal straight. The word used most commonly used by my doctors has been "deformed".
 
You can read about that story here.

Me and my deformed metetarsal were doing fine though. We were golden, ready to go! What I wasn't aware of is that this deformity was causing extra pressure to be added it places of my feet that weren't used to it. (ie. my 4th metetarsal). Long story short, when you run long distances your feet muscles become fatigued and stop adequately absorbing shock, causing stress fractures.

Add a deformed metarsal and fatigued muscles due to long runs and you've got a recipe for a brand new stress fracture. 2 weeks in a walking cast and around the clock Motrin 800 (which I've yet to actually get)

Shitty.

Despite that bad news, yesterday was a really good day. I was really excited for my little girl to come home and tell me about her day at school. I remember that when I was in elementary school Valentines Day was one of my favorite days of the years! The activities, the candy, the cards....such a blast.
 
In the afternoon we went to have dinner at my mom's.
 
 
She made chicken, rice, lentils and green beans.
 
I love me some lentils (along with my mother's cooking!), especially smothered in Cholula which was poured all over the plate right after this picture was snapped:-)
 
 
After dinner we got down to business. The Valentine's Day cookie decorating.
 
 
My nephew.

 
My ridiculously, crazy neice.

 
and of course my little girl....tasting some of her creations!
 
I put a lot of frosing on my cookie! <----My daughter just wrote that. She wanted to blog:-)

 
All in all a great night:-)