Sunday, January 27, 2013

"Just A ---"

Oh, those two little words.  "Just a ----"

Today, I was asked how I like my job.  I love it.  Seriously.  I do.  I was then asked what do I do.  And I said, "I'm just a secretary."

Just a.

But really, I'm not.  I coordinate the schedules for both the administrator and the assistant administrator of a 725 bed nursing home.  That, in itself, could be a full time job.  I make sure we have current insurance/license/certificates for all the doctors and vendors that perform services at our facility.  I maintain the contracts for the different clinics at our nursing facility.  I make sure we maintain compliance with various EOE/deficit reduction/Title VI postings.  I gather tons of information when the Department of Health comes in.  I take meeting minutes.  I coordinate and design postings for the employee of the month.  Heck, I coordinated the employee of the month luncheon (designing invites, maintaining an invite list, contacting those that didn't respond).  I joined the wellness committee.  Because of that, I am now involved with the health fair at our facility (which, by the way, is open to the public).  I coordinate the anniversary recognition ceremony (for people with 20-25-30-35+ years of service).  I help rewrite policies.  I am one of the first points of contact when families or residents have issues and want to talk to the administrator.  When people have a random question, they tend to come to me.

Just a secretary.

And to top it off, I've had several conversations with both the administrator and assistant administrator in which they both told me I should get my nursing home administrator license.  They think I would be a perfect candidate, and have both volunteered to let me study under them.  (Granted, I don't have the money for that right now, but it is refreshing to know that I have the support of others.  And I was amazed that I made such an impression on them.)

Just a secretary.

I've only been in my current job for four months.  But I hardly think I'm "just a secretary."

Anyways.  This IS fitness related.  I swear.

We all too often sell ourselves short.

"How far did you run today?"
"Just two miles."

"How many pushups did you do today?"
"Just 25."

"How long did you swim for today?"
"Just a half hour."

Just a.

Honestly.  JUST two miles?  JUST 25 pushups?  JUST a half hour of swimming?

I remember when I could hardly walk a mile, let alone run two.  I definitely remember not being able to do any pushups (and the extreme joy/surprise/awesomeness I felt when I realized I could do JUST one.)  And just a couple of month ago, swimming one lap sucked royally.

We need to start owning our awesomeness.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Goals.....What Goals?

I went to a nutritional seminar offered by Warrior Fit this morning (which is a whole other story....) and the topic of goals was addressed.  What are your goals?  What do you want to accomplish?

Ugh.  Goals.

I'm always so torn with goals.  They used to be easy.  I want to lose "x" amount of pounds.  Work your bum off and bam...done.  Next goal, lose "x" amount of pounds.  Repeat.

Somewhere along the way, it stopped being about losing weight.  My goals morphed into running a 5k, then a 10k, a half marathon, a Warrior Dash, a Tough Mudder.

All were admirable goals, but now, I don't know what I want.

Actually, that's a lie.

I want to lose weight.  But I want to train like a bad-ass and lift like a man.  But I want to work on my endurance running-wise.

Long story short (and something I've kinda-sorta known for a while) is that it is very difficult to do all that at once.  Distance running requires a different kind of eating compared to strength training (for muscle mass gains) compared to losing weight.

So, I think I've just avoided making goals.  Then it becomes a non-issue.

But being aimless sucks.

After the whole nutritional seminar thing, and after talking my thoughts out with some very good friends, I think I might have an inkling of a game plan.  Of course, I'm going to discuss it with trainer Frank, and see what his opinions of it are, but at least it is a start.

For now, I'm going to focus on strength.  My knee is feeling better, we're bringing more legwork into the mix, and I want to lift some heavy stuff.  While I'm working on the heavier lifting, I'm also going to focus on a 5k at the end of May.

I know, I I am, mixing the lifting with running.  But trust me, there is a method to my madness.

In my mind, a 5k isn't a real endurance distance.  It is roughly a half hour of running.  Which is a perfectly acceptable, normal cardio session.  I'm going to focus on getting my time for the 5k below 30 minutes, which isn't even terribly fast.  I'll incorporate more intervals of varying intensities for 30 minutes, instead of focusing on distance.

I feel like this type of running....short, intense bursts, will be much easier to fuel for while I'm working on lifting heavier.

After the 5k, my focus will change.  I have a goal of running a half marathon sometime in the fall.  I'll start training for that during the summer.  (Hear that, Kimberly and Melissa?  Early morning running!)  Instead of lifting heavy at Death Gym, I'll switch to more interval-style workouts....keeping the heart rate up, but also involving some weights while increasing agility.

I'm realizing that if I want progress, I have to get back to setting real, concrete, definable goals.  Goal #1 is lift heavy and run a 5k at the end of May in under 30 minutes.  I'm hoping I can do some kind of eval with trainer Frank to see where I am strength-wise, so I can measure my progress in May.  Goal #2 is to run a half marathon in the fall.  (Time-specific goals on that will be evaluated after my 5k.)

So....what kind of fun and exciting goals are in store for you?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Run, Swim, Omelet

I have to start with the omelet.  Oh. My. Yum.  Some background for you.  I'm not a huge fan of breakfast.  (*Gasp*  I know, I know.  How can I be a part of a group called the Breakfast Club Runners when I'm not a fan of breakfast?)  I'm kinda allergic to whole eggs, and can only eat egg whites.  And they have to be cooked completely.  I can eat pancakes, and sometimes french toast (being dipped in egg batter, well, I'm usually pushing my luck with that).  Oatmeal kinda grosses me out, especially when I'm ordering it out.

The hubbs and I decided to try out The Breakfast Table.  The restaurant has been around for a bit, but we've never made it there.  It was voted the best place for breakfast by a local newspaper, so we now had to try it.

Holy moly.  I got a Sicilian omelet.  (It was one of today's specials.)  Egg whites, prosciutto, artichoke, black olives, roasted red peppers and sharp provolone cheese.  Best. Omelet. Ever.  Seriously.  I have NEVER EVER in my life had an omelet this wonderful.  I couldn't stop raving.  And it came with home fries mixed with peppers and onions and toast.  I looked around at some of the other offerings....the pancakes were as big as the plates, the sides of bacon and sausage looked amazing, and you could tell everything was fresh.  Plus, the service was impeccable.  Super friendly, attentive.....I now have a favorite place for breakfast eats!

I've been having a spate of really good treadmill runs lately.  I know this wont last forever, I mean, the machine is commonly referred to as a dreadmill.  But hey, I'm not going to complain!

This was my workout today.
3 min walk 3.8 mph
1 min 5.8 mph
1 min 5.9
1 min 6.0
1 min 6.1
1 min 6.2
Repeat for a total of 35 minutes

Now, I know this isn't terribly impressive.  Before I got injured, I averaged a tad quicker than a 10 minute mile, but that was running constantly with no walking breaks.  But the fact that I'm 4 months out from my knee scope, and doing this, and feeling FABULOUS, well, I'm happy.  Plus, breaking things up into one minute segments really made the time fly.  I'll definitely be doing variations of this more often.

Let me tell you.  Trying to put a swimsuit on a sweaty body sucks.  If I ever decide to do a tri, I fully intend on wearing something that can be worn for all three segments.  Putting anything that involves spandex on a wet/sweaty body is difficult.  That's the only way to describe it.

When I swim, I usually also involve walking, squats, etc.  I'll swim to one end, walk backwards to the other. Swim again, then maybe squat my way back.

Today, I just wanted to swim.  And swim I did.  A little over 20 minutes of just swimming.  For me, this is HUGE, because I took out all the walking, which essentially would give me recovery time.  I stopped every so many laps, just to catch my breath, but I was so freaking impressed with how far I could go!

I so deserved that awesome omelet!

This afternoon we're going to watch some football, drink some beers, and enjoy the fact that we're off tomorrow.  

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Where to Start?

So this week was an epic fail.  Maybe not epic, but well, not so hot.  Aside from some pool time today, I didn't work out since Wednesday.  Why?  Because my stupid back was hurting.

I would love to have one freaking day where I feel healthy.  No issues.

Anyways, some of you know I have back issues.  I can't complain too much, because I haven't had a back freak-out in a loooong time.  For those unaware, I have: minor scoliosis, which also means my hips are slightly uneven; the curves of my spine are very extreme, which means there is less space for my discs; my neck, instead of having a curve to it is just about straight; I have an extra vertebrate in my lower back because they didn't fuse properly when I was growing up; and my coccyx is too long (or as Chris likes to call it, my prehensile tail).

Now, I'm not listing all this nonsense for you to feel sorry for me.  Not at all.  Because I'm still going to do what I'm going to do.  I go to the chiro every three weeks, and that tends to keep things in check.  It certainly helps.  But every once in a while, it goes wacky.

Plus, I was having this nagging, muscular pain in my upper back, on the left side.  (Almost all my back pain is on the left.  Interesting.)  Anyways, turns out I sprained a muscle up there.  I'm thinking it might be from the bodyweight dips.....gonna lay off of them for a bit.

So when my whole left side of my back feels crappy, I definitely don't feel like working out.  And when I don't feel like working out, I eat like shit.


Saturday evening, for dinner, I had a bunch of three cheese artisan bread and ice cream.  Not mixed together.  The bread first.  That wasn't enough.  I needed ice cream as well.  (No.  I know I didn't NEED it. But I did.  Understand?)  And this is just an example.  There were other, equally embarrassing meals.

So my fabulous Friday weigh-in?  Blown.  I was 187.0 Friday morning (from 199.1 on January 1).

My weekends always derail me, especially in winter.  In Spring/Summer it isn't so bad, because I'm outside doing stuff.  Now, it is cold, drizzly, dreary, and depressing.  I hate it.  So I hole up inside and crave things like three cheese artisan bread and ice cream.  Yes, I know ice cream is cold.  I eat it while sitting in front of a heater.  :)

Today I swam.  I was in the pool doing my little routine for 45 minutes.  I felt strong.

The hubbs and I went grocery shopping.

I'm good for the week.  The top shelf has a mixtures of sliced strawberries and diced kiwi.  I'll eat that with cottage cheese for breakfast.  (Yep.  I LOVE cottage cheese.  Call me crazy.)    Below are yogurts and fruit cups and lunches.  Grab 'n go.  I love prepping food on Sunday, and then being ready for the week.  Dinners are usually up to Chris, but this way, I don't have to think about what I'm eating before I leave for work.

 I also made some beef barley veggie soup in the crockpot.  All. By. Myself.  No. Recipe.  I'm so excited for dinner!

Goals this week: do not let rest days/off days derail my nutrition.  Just beacue my body needs a rest does not mean my eating well can take a rest.  (I do understand that perfection is impossible.  I just need to be in better control.)
Monday: Spin before work, Death Gym after
Tuesday: Walk/jog intervals on the treadmill before work
Wednesday: Swim before work/Steps after (maybe)
Thursday: Walk/jog intervals on the treadmill before work/Death Gym after
Friday: REST
Saturday: Bike/Death Gym

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Sunday Funday

One very important thing was reinforced in my mind today.  Not every single workout needs to be a knock-out sweat fest to count.  I have such trouble remembering this, especially when I'm trying to track everything.

I generally wear my heart rate monitor (HRM) when I work out because those online calculators always lie for me.  Ellipticals say I burn almost twice as much as my HRM!  And if I'm trying to stay within a calorie range that is based off of the amount of calories I burn in a week, well, having seriously skewed numbers isn't going to help anything.

Anyways....back to today.

This morning the hubbs and I went to the gym for a little swim.  When we got there, all the lanes were full.....ugh!  So we chilled soaked in the hot tub until a lane was free, and we shared that one.  I have a little routine I do in the pool, and then end it with some laps.  I can definitely tell I'm getting better at the whole swimming thing.  Still not terribly good, but I'm working on increasing what little endurance I have swimming-wise.

Later in the afternoon, I met Kimberly for an exploratory ride along one of the bike paths.  We started out a Penn Pump park, and headed towards Tatamy.  For some reason, on Map My Ride, the maps show that you can go straight from Penn Pump all the way to the path at Plainfield.  I need to revisit that map, because the bike path clearly ended in Tatamy.  Maybe we'll have to venture on some roads?  I don't know, but I'll be looking into it!

We then turned around, and headed in the other direction.  The "powers that be"  (whoever is in charge of the whole bike path/rails to trails thing) have been adding onto the paths, slowly connecting them.  So we rode back to Penn Pump, and carried on past Bushkill Park and saw how everything connected to Hackett's Park.  Once we got there, the path was entirely snow-covered, so we decided to stroll and explore.

See....there is no way I was riding my bike over this gotta remember, I still kinda suck at riding bike.

 See the trees in the background?  We don't let anything stop us!  Also, if you look to the right of Kimberly, behind the trees, you'll see a multi-colored building.  That's one of the Crayloa buildings.  

We eventually got to a fence, and it was pretty icy around it (plus it said private property), but once everything melts in the spring, Kimberly and I have already decided we're going to explore back in that area as well.  We've seen runners back there, and we want to know where it goes!

Back to my earlier point.  (I know, I know, I ramble.  But you needed that background info.)  Kimberly and I were out there for about an hour and a half.  We were biking at a leisurely pace.  The walking was more of a meander, only because we didn't want to fall on the snowy/icy mess.  I kept thinking, maybe you should bike harder....get the blood pumping.  I kept telling myself I wasn't going to burn enough calories, and then what's the point?

The point is this.  We were out there for an hour and half.  And had a blast.  My HRM may have said I only burned 399 calories in roughly 90 minutes (I burn more than that in 45 minutes of spin), but we were out there, we were active, and I'm not going to burn out exercise-wise b/c today was officially an easy day.  A fun easy day.  And tomorrow, I'll be able to spin, and not worry about being sore from today.

I went home, and prepped my breakfasts and lunches for the week.  Breakfast will be steel cut oats with a tablespoon of peanut butter and half a banana mixed in.  Lunch, a tasty soup I decided to try making.

I didn't have quite enough butternut squash, and I had an overabundance of kale, but it turned out pretty tasty.  I also used boneless skinless chicken breasts, and threw in a packet of Goya Sazon, because the broth was a tad bland for me.  (I lie here.  I say this like I did it all.  Chris handled the chicken.  And I bought already cut/cleaned squash and kale.  Made things MUCH easier.)  

Oh, and it made a VAT of soup, so I'll be eating this stuff for a while.  Not that I'm complaining.  :)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Smashing Start

The past couple of days have gone really well.  I've been working out, tracking my food and feeling generally good.

Some highlights:

Thursday was my first day of the 100 pushup challenge thing.  I went to the gym bright and early, did my walk/run intervals on the treaddy, and then headed home to do the stupid pushups.  (Note to self: next time, just do them at the gym.  Having a hyena in your face, who then lays down thisclosetoyou while you're trying to do pushups sucks.)  I had to do 12-17-13-13-17, with a minute rest in between each set.  O.M.G.  That last set was rough.  Seriously.  Oh....and do you see how many that is?  72.

I figured I was good for the day pushup-wise.

Wrong.  Two words: Death Gym.

I went to Death Gym after work, and started out doing rows with a heavy bag.  Next, Frank wanted me to do 16 offset pushups off a step, followed by overhead slams with a super heavy slam ball.  Repeat all that nonsense 4x.

I told Frank that I had already done a ton of pushups earlier.  He said good, now you're going to do more.  Ugh.  16x4= 64+72=136.  136 fucking pushups.  I didn't even do that many in a single day last month during the bajillion pushups in a day challenge.

Pushups suck.  (Oh, which reminds me.  I'm thinking that next month I'm planking every day.  Side, normal, side.  Length of time to be determined.  But planning ahead.)

Friday was a rest day.  But it was also weigh-in day.  I debated about whether or not to do it.  I mean, I had just stepped on the scale on Wednesday for the new year.  Was there really a point?  But, well,  I said Friday, right?  So I weighed in, and it was at 192.4.  Sheesh, talk about some serious water weight.  To go from 199.1 on Wednesday to 192.4 on Friday just shows how bloated I was from all the crap.

This morning I went to the gym and did my walk/run intervals on the treaddy.  The back of the knee started to feel icky on the walking parts, but I felt so strong on all the jogging parts.  I went home and iced that bad boy, and then the hubbs and I took the hyena for a walk.  Well, that was our plan.  The hyena had a different set of plans.  So there I am, on the bike path, jogging with the hyena.  Just short little bursts, b/c the back of my knee started hurting on the jogging parts, but then would feel better on the walking parts.

So I broke the whole "no running outside until spring" rule.  Rules are meant to be broken, right?  Honestly, it is quite amazing I lasted this long without running outside.  (Did you guys secretly make bets about when I'd be running outside?  If so, I want to know who won!)  Don't worry....I still plan on spending most of my running time indoors for now.  It is better for me in the long run.  (At least, that what I keep telling myself.)

In other news, I have an official goal race for next year.  Well, not really next year.  It will be January of 2014. Kimberly and I have decided we're running the Florida Keys Ragnar Relay.  I don't care if I have to ditch everything else for 2013, I'm saving up enough money to get my bum to Florida next year.  It was such an incredible experience last year that I really want to do it again.

Tomorrow I plan on swimming in the morning and then biking in the afternoon.  I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Beginning

Okay, it really isn't the beginning.  The true beginning was four years ago.  (Holy moly, have I really been a member at this for four years now?  That's pretty impressive.)

This is a new beginning.  Did you notice that little progress button up there next to the "home" and "about me" tabs?  It wasn't there yesterday, and now it is!  Amazing.

Anyways, time to own up to how far behind I've fallen.  Sure, I've still been half-heartedly working out.  But my eating has been through the fucking roof.  Seriously.  Disgusting.

I know I say I hate the scale, and weighing in pisses me off, and then I become obsessed, but I need some way of staying accountable.  So my little progress tab will show weekly weigh-ins, along with (probably monthly) progress pics.

I last weighed myself back in July.  I was a robust 185.  I haven't stepped on a scale since, because, well, I was terrified of what I would see.  My clothes have been getting tighter, I've been feeling huge, and just blech.  I was pretty certain I'd see at least 205, quite possibly 210.  I didn't think I'd be able to deal with seeing that stupid number.

New Year, new approach.

My mantra:  The scale is just a tool to help me chart my progress, not something that will make or break me.

Phew.  I know, I know, a mouthful.  But for those who have followed my previous blog on SparkPeople, you know how much that stupid little number affected me.  I needed to say something to myself to make it okay to weigh-in, but to not have that number completely ruin my day.

Anyways.  New Year.  199.1

Ugh.  Bad.  But not nearly as bad as I anticipated.  Since July, I've gained roughly 15 pounds.  Better than 20, right?  Plus, I'm in much better shape than the last time I was hovering around 200.  So it shouldn't be too hard to shake it up, buckle down, and get to business.  (Trying to be positive here, ok?)

So, you know my workout plan is in place.  Here's what I have in store for January:
Sure, it is a work in progress, and things are subject to change, but at least I have a plan for the whole month.  Well, this, and the 100 pushup challenge thing.  I'll just write them in on the days I do them. Plus, there is plenty of room to write in any other fun things I might do!  (On a side note, if you're interested in the 100 pushups in a row thing, the google play store has an awesome app.  Look for it!)

Eating-wise, for the month of January, is to track.  I'll use my SparkPeople app to track food, and make sure I get within my recommended calorie and fat/carb/protein ranges.  I'll be aiming for the high end of protein and the low end of carbs, just because I know that is what has worked for me in the past.  The simple act of tracking my food also helps make me more aware of what I'm eating.  If I'm committing the food, and all its nutritional glory, to paper, do I really want it to be something super crappy?  It also helps to curb the mindless eating.  Can't be mindless if you're writing it down.

Now, I understand we can't all be perfect, and I, obviously, am super far from perfect.  (Hello?  Gaining 15 lbs since July....hardly perfect.)  But I'm going to try my best for January.  At the end of the month, re-evaluate and plan for February.

Month-long, bite-sized portions.  That's how I'm approaching 2013.