Monday, February 29, 2016

Workout Wrapup (Monday 22nd - Sunday 28th)

Hello, hello! I'll be back soon with a recap of the Hustle, but here's my workout log for the week for now!

Monday, February 22nd
Monday was one of those days where life got in the way of everything. I had every good intention on Monday and I felt good all day. I had a doctor's appointment north of home so I was planning on running when I got back. I'd completely forgotten that the optometrist was going to dilate my eyes though. To make a long explanation short: I have some pretty bad issues with light sensitivity and depth perception, and the headlights of oncoming vehicles on my way home started a really bad headache for me. It got even worse when I got home I made dinner for my family because reading the recipe was so difficult. When dinner was over I went to my room and just laid in bed, in the dark. That is not a thing I do.

Needless to say...the run didn't happen. Oh well. Such is life.

Tuesday, February 23rd
It was my last day of training for the Hustle! I capped things off with 100 floors (nowhere near as crazy as some of the people climbing 150-200+ floors...I'm just so dedicated) in 22:55. I used my 920xt to time this climb and I strapped a heart rate monitor on because I was curious. The resulting graphs are actually kinda funny:

Avg HR 155bpm; Max HR 167bpm.
You can clearly tell what was happening between the elevation and heart rate. The points where it drops like a cliff are when I went down the elevator to start going up again.

Afterwards I met Cam at the gym for weights...and totally forgot to snap a picture of the log. It was nothing exciting...we had a 5-5-10 week, and Tuesdays are for deadlifts and bench, with some other stuff peppered in. So that's what we did.

Wednesday, February 24th
It was my rest day. I celebrated with a dentist appointment. I get to go back in a month because there's a potential cavity problem with one of my molars. Dumb rest days.

Thursday, February 25th
We started off our workout with a bit of easy spin (10 minutes), and then followed up with more weights. Cam told me I could go easy on my squats because of the impending stair climb. How sweet, right?

I don't have a picture of the log, but we didn't even do squats because there were too many people using the squat racks. So I leg pressed 225 (weak...) for my 5-5-10 (easier for the 10), and we did our decline and a few other upper body things, then we called it.

Friday, February 26th
I made it to hot yoga with Amy! The class itself felt kind of easy, although I admit I had to keep taking breaks because my ankle was bothering me and she was having us do tons of lunges. Since I sprained it in September my left ankle has had issues with lunges (mostly the flexion past 45* aspect) so I let myself ease up on it. I still got a good sweat in, and I wore a HR monitor because I was curious what the results would be for a hot yoga class:
Avg HR 99bpm; Max HR 140bpm.
This class definitely wasn't as intense as some of the other classes I've been too, so I'll probably test this out again Sometime. Not bad though!

Saturday, February 27th
Saturday morning I popped out for a 2 mile run before yoga. I'm about half way through 80/20 Running, but I want to start applying the training principle now, so I was intensely focused on keeping my heart rate below 150 for this run (which is what I suspect the author will say to do). There was a headwind for the first half of my out-and-back route which made this a little tricky, but I did my best!
Avg HR of 146!!
And then, as mentioned, yoga with my mommatrons. It was a fun class (only 6 students today!) with good vibes, and they all wished me luck for the Hustle so that was really encouraging :)

Sunday, February 28th - The Hustle Up the Hancock!
It was my only real physical activity for Sunday, and I'm saving it for another post ;) Stay tuned for that, it should be up later today or tomorrow.

On a side note...on the train ride home I read a lot of 80/20 Running, and I'm very close to finishing so I plan to do that this week!


Currently Reading:
M is for Malice (Kinsey Millhone #13) - Sue Grafton (audiobook)
80/20 Running: Run Stronger and Race Faster By Training Slower - Matt Fitzgerald (hard copy)
The Walking Dead: Compendium 3 - Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, Stefano Gaudiano (hard copy)

Finished: L is for Lawless (Kinsey Millhone #12) - Sue Grafton (audiobook)
You can find me here on Goodreads!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Fourteen Years

I've been doing Random Thoughts on a Thursday for the last few weeks, but I really don't have much for you today in the way of Random Thoughts, so I'll postpone until next week. It's been a busy, busy week for me, and I haven't had much time to have random thoughts, which is kind of sad when you think about it!

FYI, this post is only going to get more've been warned.

Since this is my blog and I can talk about the things that are important to me, and note the milestones that happen in my life, I will do that today.

The most important thing to me every February 25th is remembering my dad.

Every year I change my profile picture on Facebook to one of my favorite photos of the two of us:

Some years I change my banner photo as well:

I did both of these things this year as well.

But this year is different. It's been 14 years since he died...and this year has a bit more weight attached to it.

I was 14 when my dad died. Fourteen years and seventy days old. Which means that, in 70 days (May 5th, if anyone's counting), I will reach the point where I have lived more of my life without my dad than with him.

It's hard for me to comprehend that. Every year is hard, and this year gets to be hard in a different way.

And I don't even really know what else to say about it.


In Loving Memory of Colin John MacKenzie
9 January 1944 - 25 February 2002
~ The ones who love us never really leave us... ~

Monday, February 22, 2016

Workout Wrapup (Monday 15th - Sunday 21st)

This week went so-so. I need to get my head on straight about things though. I have a bit of an excuse this week as I was busier than usual today at work with some PrideZ stuff, but honestly, I still could have fit some more in. I'm not beating myself up about stuff, but I'm going to commit a little more this week to staying disciplined. you go!

Monday, February 16th
I may have had cake after dinner, but I got in my swim stuff first! It went like this:

300 warm up swim
3x100 kick
2x through:
     - 300 pull + 200 kick + 100 any (no free)
200 cool down
            =2000 yards

Not too shabby! And I have for sure figured out my Garmin! I wasn't hitting the lap button at the beginning and end of my rest times, and apparently that really confuses it. I've started doing that, and it's working fine!

Tuesday, February 17th - HUGE DEADLIFT PR!!!!!!!
I was not feeling good on Tuesday. I was plagued by a heavy headache all morning, and just felt tired. But I chugged water all day, determined to be good-to-go by our afternoon workout. And I WAS.

We started with 10 minutes of spin, and then this happened:
If you're having trouble reading it (I don't blame you) that's a 2 rep max of 185, and 10 reps at 135.
I kind of can't believe my deadlift numbers. The most I'd ever deadlifted before Tuesday was 145lbs. I threw 155 on for my first three set, and when I finished I felt like it was way too easy. Cam suggested I try 185, and I figured why the hell not. I cannot believe I managed to get 2 reps at that weight. That's 45lbs over my previous 'PR', and 20lbs over my bodyweight!!! First off, it made me realize I was underselling myself before - I need to stop being afraid to fail.

Also...being able to lift your body weight for any of the major compound lifts (deads, squats, bench, overhead press, etc) is a HUGE milestone to lifters. Even though I couldn't get the third rep off the floor, the smile on my face after those two reps was huge.

I don't know what happened with my bench though. I failed my first 85lb 3-rep and meant to try for 80 on the second, but miscalculated the weight (clearly the blood hadn't flowed back to my brain after the deadlifts). I told Cam I was doing 70 for my 10-rep or I'd fail in the attempt. I want to be OUT of the 60s for bench. Goodbye, measly weight, I don't wanna see you again!

Wednesday, February 18th
Wednesday is normally my rest day, but this week I really had the urge to run, so I went out and did 3.1 miles to complete one of my virtual races, the Be Brave Be Thankful 5k:

It's nice to see that my 5k time is NOT in the 40's...but I'd like to get it down, down, down a smidge more....

That said, I can't say I felt super stellar by the end of this run. I spent more time than I thought I would running on packed snow and there were a few icy patches, and by the time I got home my left calf/Achilles was bugging me, as was my left knee. For the last mile or so the area all around my knee cap felt tight and burning, and I could tell I was having some IT band issues. I spent some time Wednesday night rolling things out with my rolly-massage stick thing, some time Thursday morning with my foam roller, but clearly I need to actually spend some decent time foam rolling, and it's probably time to schedule a massage too...

Thursday, February 19th
Cam was working late so I ended up whittling time away at my desk while I waited to see when he was going to leave. I did actually get some (very important) stuff done in that time, but we ended up skipping our workout. *Shrug* Oh well...

I didn't let it go to waste though. I spent some time rolling out my left IT band, quad, and my calves to help out the tightness I felt in my knee during Wednesday's run. (I even rolled out Cam's quads - I'm just that nice, lol.) It's a good think I keep my foam roller and muscle roller in the dufflebag I take to Cam's :P

Friday, February 20th
Unfortunately on Friday I ended up working late and missed yoga. Instead I got to sit in traffic for and extra forty-five minutes because wind had knocked down some powerlines. It was just as much fun as it sounds. Two days in a row were a bust :(

Saturday, February 21st
I made up for it all a bit on Saturday. I went to yoga with my mom, and then headed to Cam's and we went and lifted quite a bit:
I hate leg press, so I did weighted lunges. That should also indicate a 3/3/10 for squat but I accidentally cut off the picture...
I'm happy with my decline bench (sticking to getting out of the 60s, and hopefully I'll be out of the 70s for decline soon. My squat also felt much better on Saturday than it has in a long time, probably because I didn't train for the Hustle at all the last two weeks (oops). I hope I can give my squats and lunges some extra attention before my summer training would be nice to have a solid, high-weight base for it heading into months of running and cycling.

Sunday, February 22nd
Annnnd Sunday was a bust again. I stayed up way too late (for me) on Saturday and just couldn't get things going on Sunday. I wanted to go for a run, but it didn't happen because by the time I got home from Cam's all I felt like doing was having lunch and laying on the couch.

Lesson learned for this summer - no staying up until 1:30 in the morning.


Lately I feel like I've been developing some bad habits when it comes to workouts. January was so solid, and February has been a huge crap shoot all over the place. One of the things I did this weekend was write out my tentative training schedule for this summer, and it made me realize that I have to get a handle on disciplining myself. There are going to be plenty of workouts coming up that I don't want to start, but that I'll need to finish, and I've gotta start sucking it up now.

And now that I've said that - this week is already shaping up to be crazy. I have an eye doctor appointment today (Monday), a dentist appointment Wednesday, and it looks like I might be busy all day Saturday as well (more on that later, I don't want to jinx things). In addition, the Hustle is on Sunday, and I've made plans with a friend around that event too! I'm hoping for two solid days of lifting, and one last day of training for the Hustle, as well as getting my butt to hot yoga. That's my plan of attack for now, and I'm going to push myself to stick to it!


Currently Reading:
L is for Lawless (Kinsey Millhone #12) - Sue Grafton (audiobook)
80/20 Running: Run Stronger and Race Faster By Training Slower - Matt Fitzgerald (hard copy)
The Walking Dead: Compendium 3 - Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, Stefano Gaudiano (hard copy)

You can find me here on Goodreads!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Random Things on a Thursday (#3)

This post does not contain many entries, but the first one is long and important, so there's quality to replace quantity, I promise ;)

Indomitable Will
Like (I think) most people out there, I subscribe to a number of online newsletters to keep up to date with all of my favorite things. One of them is from Ekhart Yoga, and when it arrived in my inbox this week I just about fell in love with one of the pictures:

I've been thinking about this a lot recently, so it wasn't hard for me to love this sentiment. Let me expound, because it's been a theme in my life this week.

For years I would see people do things and think "I would never be able/want to do that", without even considering the possibility. I looked at myself and the limitations I had (mostly physically), and let self doubt and insecurity take over. And I realized that, lately, I have stopped telling myself I can't do things.

Think about it. When you're born, you can't do anything but swallow, sleep, and poop (I was once an infant and have met many infants, so I'm pretty confident in saying this). The first time I ever held a baby I was told, "Make sure you support the neck," and I was told that because babies can't even hold their own skulls atop their fragile little necks. But given a few months that baby will develop the muscles it needs to roll over. Then to sit up. And then that baby will start to crawl, and walk, and run.

But it doesn't happen overnight. So why do we, as adults, expect to be able to do things just by wishing we could? Just because you can't do something right now, in this second, does not mean that you will never have the ability.

This ties nicely into my theme for the year: The first step of accomplishing something is believing you can do it.

Even if you never end up doing them, or if you fail over and over, you have to first believe you have the capacity to do things. Example: Even if I never actually squat 500lbs, I believe if I worked hard and long enough, I'd be able to do it. And it would hurt.

My mom likes to call me a 'show off' in our yoga class at Akasha, because sometimes I'll modify to make things more challenging for myself, and sometimes I practice asanas (poses) I struggle with before class. This week, I practiced my crow because we've been working on it at TriBalance. In case you're wondering, this is a crow:

FYI: I didn't complete the pose. I work on this pose for a few minutes every day, and I do so because I need to build the balance in order to hold it, but I was not able to hold it on Saturday. I could get one toe off the ground, but I still needed the other big toe planted to hold the pose.

But after I finished fail-whaling my crow, my mom mouthed, "Show off!" And I said, "Do you know how long I've been trying to do this pose? Almost two years!"

The part I left out when talking to her was that I tried it once, about two years ago, and could not do it. At all. I couldn't get anywhere close in the setup either. And I just...gave up. I remember thinking I wasn't strong enough, wasn't flexible enough, and weighed too much to be able to do it. It wasn't until we started working through it at TriBalance that I realized, 'Hey! Maybe I can do this...'

Then Tuesday happened. Tuesday was the epitome of my realization about Indomitable Will. And it is:

You have to stop being afraid to fail.

I have always believed I would "eventually" increase my lifts to more than my body weight (165lbs, for anyone keeping track). But it turns out I've also been selling myself short. You'll read about this again in my workout recap, but I started my deadlift on Tuesday with what I thought was a decent increase from my last 3-3-10 lift of 145lbs. I increased the weight to 155, and when I finished my first three set it just felt too...easy. Cam said, "I think you should put 25s on there" meaning replace the 10s on the bar with 25lbs (making it one 45 and one 25 on each side) for a total weight of 185lbs.

My immediate reaction was "but that's more than I weigh." And he shrugged and said, "155 was too easy."

In that moment I thought, 'What the hell. Why not. If I fail, then I fail. But I might as well try.'

And I went on to fail the three set. Except...

I successfully deadlifted two 185lb reps in the process. I lifted my weight plus twenty pounds off the ground twice. And it didn't matter to me that I couldn't do the third. The grin on my face felt like it spread through my entire body.

As I stretched a bit afterwards I decided to practice my crow for a few minutes. The nice thing about spotting in deadlifting is you don't actually have to do anything. If the weight is too heavy for the other person they...well they either drop it, or they don't pick it back up. So I squatted down to start my crow setup and one toe came off the ground...and then the other...and I held my crow for a fraction more than one second!

Right there, in front of all those gym goers, I decided to try my crow, not caring if I failed.

The Fear of Failure, or of looking foolish in my failure, has stopped me from doing so many things in the past. I don't want to let that trend continue. Even if I don't think I can physically do something, I like overcoming the mental challenge and telling myself I will try anyways. Because sometimes I surprise myself ;)

This week, I realized the core of Indomitable Will is overcoming the Fear of Failure.

It's been a great realization.


The rest of this post is silly things about my work life. Enjoy!

I park in the same spot every day. Every. Single. Day. One day a few weeks I got to work (10 minutes early!!!!!!!) and someone was parked in my spot. I was irrationally mad at this person. My spot is in the second row, towards the middle-back, even with the second spot to the right of the island in the row in front of it. WHO PARKS THERE?! When there are a ton of closer spots available, who parks in the back?!?!
For reference since the description of where I park may need clarification.
Me. I do. And that's what I told myself to calm down...but I know that car now. I know that black, Lincoln MKZ. It is marked. As is the black and red Dodge Charger that parked in my spot three months ago. I'm watching you people.

Working in Corporate America has given me some great perspective on what it means to be unexpectedly blindsided by a request to be responsible.

A few weeks ago at the gym, Cam and I were rehashing our days and talking about being put on the spot in meetings. He's recently had some good things happen at work and the number of meetings he goes too has quadrupled. I started telling him about a meeting my manager and I had the day before where I was just thrown into it in a big way. Like, I knew the meeting was coming (another department made this meeting with us) but there was no real direction given for it. My manager and I thought we were going to be asked questions and it wasn't until we sat down that I realized it was MY meeting. I was the main attraction. And I felt 0% prepared. I'd never used the web conference technology or anything.

I feel like most of my career has been baby steps...but once in a while you get a shove off a cliff and need to figure out how to use those wings you have.

This is a random picture I found but it describes how I felt.
The good news is that the aforementioned meeting (and the follow up) went really well. So...professional crisis averted!

I joined the Wellness Committee at work (I swear there is actual work I do at work, guys), and I'm excited to be part of it. One of the things I really love about my company are all the opportunities to get involved, and I'm really enjoying taking advantage of these things. Even if it does mean fighting with tape and poster boards all of Sunday afternoon (yeah, that happened).

I made a huge suggestion for their Couch to 5k program, and I really hope I get the chance to participate with it!

The Corporate Challenge
It turns out my company will not be participating in the Corporate Challenge this year. I was a bit bummed when I found out, but it's a significant expense for the company (they provide a lot of extra stuff for employees) and given all of the financial-results announcements lately I'm not surprised. Oh well...that's 75 bucks worth of registration fee that gets to stay in my pocket! Given how ridiculous the registration fee is, I don't even want to think about how much a tent at the event must cost...


Hopefully you've enjoyed wildly random edition of Random Things on a Thursday. I'll be back with more next week!


Currently Reading:
80/20 Running: Run Stronger and Race Faster By Training Slower - Matt Fitzgerald (hard copy)
The Walking Dead: Compendium 3 - Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, Stefano Gaudiano (hard copy)

Finished Reading:K is for Killer (Kinsey Millhone #11) - Sue Grafton (audiobook)

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Antibiotics: ACP issues an official statement agreeing with me!

This is one of those PSA blog posts, so you can totally skip it if you're not into them.

This morning when I got to work the monthly newsletter from out health affiliate was sitting in my inbox. I normally peruse the articles just to keep up to date with what's going on, even though some of them are really stupid. Last month it was about how if you lose only 12 pounds other people will find you more attractive. Okay, whatevs.

But today?! I nearly jumped for joy - it was well worth the read!

I'm sure, in many ways, I'm preaching to the choir on this, but I was very excited to see this article.

From The American College of Physicians: ACP and CDC issue advice for prescribing antibiotics for acute respiratory tract infections (ARTIs) in adults.

If you're not aware, there's an unfortunate trend in the States for doctors to prescribe something just for the hell of prescribing it. A lot of people don't like to go to the doctor to be told, 'Sorry, there's nothing we can do, just wait it out for a week and your cold will go away!', so doctors give their patients a prescription for an antibiotic even though it will do absolutely nothing to help the patient.

But this article today??


"Inappropriate use of antibiotics for ARTIs is an important factor contributing to the spread of antibiotic-resistant infections, which is a public health threat....Reducing overuse of antibiotics for ARTIs in adults is a clinical priority and a High Value Care way to improve quality of care, lower health care costs, and slow and/or prevent the continued rise in antibiotic resistance.

"ARTIs, including the common cold, uncomplicated bronchitis, sore throat, and sinus infection, are the most common reason for doctor's office visits. According to unpublished CDC data, an estimated 50 percent of antibiotic prescriptions may be unnecessary or inappropriate in the outpatient setting, which equates to over $3 billion in excess costs. Antibiotics are also responsible for the largest number of medication-related adverse events and the cause of about one in five visits to emergency departments for adverse drug reactions."

If you're one of those people who thinks antibiotics are a cure all, you should stop reading this blog right now (but please, come back!) and please GO READ THE WHOLE THING.

For me, hearing the words "do you want a Z-pack" come out of the mouth of someone who is not a doctor, are the most grating medicine-related thing to hear.

Offering someone antibiotics, or taking them yourself, when they are not needed is dumb and dangerous.

There. I said it. And if you're one of those people, I guess I just called you dumb too. #sorrynotsorry

I'm in an unfortunate spot that whenever I develop a sniffle I hear this, and I find myself explaining time and again (to deaf ears, mind you) that - A COLD IS A VIRUS. An antibiotic will not help, and taking antibiotics when you do not need them contributes to the growth of antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria. An antibiotic may actually cause more problems than it solves (which, in the case of a virus, would be none. It will solve NO problems).

This personal anecdote might broach into TMI zone but it's my blog and this topic is important to me, so here goes:

If you were a reader last year, you may remember that I trained for and ran the Runs for Cookies 5k while recovering from a (legit) upper respiratory infection. Like, coughing up pus URI. So obviously I needed antibiotics (and steroids...gah) to 'get over' it. I hadn't taken an antibiotic since I was about 13 and had a couple bad bouts of strep throat.

Well, I took my antibiotics and my steriods...and they worked GREAT. So great that (here's the TMI part) I got a super nasty yeast infection because of the antibiotics. I'd never in my life had one, and found myself wondering what I did to deserve it.

------- At this point, women are nodding their heads at this post like, 'Holy hell, you are so right, yeast infections are the worst!' and men, I'm going to tell you that you should be sitting there praising God Almighty in Heaven for not giving you a vagina. Or just rub sand paper inside your...nevermind. But that's how it feels. -------

It took two rounds of diflucan (antifungal medication) and MONTHS of probiotics to get things back to normal-ish, and it all left me wondering (in desperation) if I could have beat the URI without the antibiotics.

So now when someone offers me antibiotics FOR A COLD I cringe even harder because NO. NONONONO I do not want to go through any of that again. And no, the solution is not to offer diflucan with the unnecessary antibiotic. Got that, people?! The answer is to not take either and let your body take care of the VIRUS on its own. Taking an antibiotic will not help you get rid of the virus any faster!

Tl;dr here: I'm really glad to see that the ACP and CDC are urging physicians to stop over prescribing antibiotics, and to educate their patients on why they're completely unnecessary for viruses.

Don't get me wrong - antibiotics are freaking amazing. Their discovery has literally saved millions and millions of lives, and I would gladly take a yeast infection over something like blood-poisoning.

But, you know, if I ever get blood poisoning...I, like, WANT THE ANTIBIOTICS TO WORK.

And that is why I only take them when I have to.


Currently Reading:
K is for Killer (Kinsey Millhone #11) - Sue Grafton (audiobook)
80/20 Running: Run Stronger and Race Faster By Training Slower - Matt Fitzgerald (hard copy)
The Walking Dead: Compendium 3 - Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, Stefano Gaudiano (hard copy)

Monday, February 15, 2016

Workout Wrapup (Monday 8th - Sunday 14th)

Well it is. And it isn't pretty. There was mucho slackage this week.

Monday, February 8th
Things started out well on Monday with a swim, and I'm actually pretty proud of this swim because I felt strong the whole way through. A few months ago I described my stroke as "clumsy": During Monday's swim it was anything but clumsy.

I did the workout I meant to do last week. I omitted one repeat in the middle because Cam finished way before me and I didn't want to make him keep waiting (and I had to get home to make dinner):

Total: 1800yds (36 laps). My metrics are similar to last week's swim, and I didn't time a 100 yard drill.

Tuesday, February 9th
Hah. Hah. Whoops. The workout didn't happen. Again, I just was not feeling it at all. I didn't even do my stair climb. It was one of those days. However, I told myself if I skipped my workout I had to finish two chapters of reading for my next CPCU exam, and I did.

Seriously though...I gotta get out of this workout-skipping funk. January was so good, and February has been not-so-good :(

Wednesday, February 10th
Wednesday is my rest day, guys! Why would I change that now...? I mean, after taxing myself so fully I really needed it. /sarcasm

Thursday, February 11th
This is where it gets really disappointing. I skipped the gym again. Cam had to work (really) late that I just gave up and drove home. Normally I spend Thursday nights at his house, but by the time I left work (nearly 2 hours late because I was working on PrideZ stuff) he still didn't know when he'd be home. So I skipped my stair climb AND workout and went home instead. Such dedication, I know.

Friday, February 12th
I DID IT, YOU GUYS. I went to hot yoga! It was much needed, and every time I thought I couldn't hold a pose any longer (which was often), I pushed myself to try harder because I'd slacked so much all week. The only time I didn't was during a warrior sequence that got my left ankle burning...I was pretty sure it was muscle burn, but I wasn't taking any chances. No harm, no foul, though. It's now Monday and my ankle is doing fiiiiine.

Saturday, February 13th
I stayed at Cam's Friday night, and I'd packed all my stuff to go out for a run on Saturday morning (cold weather gear, yo!). Then I did something uncharacteristic. I actually looked at the weather on Saturday morning.

I did it because I knew it was supposed to be a bit cold (hah), and once I saw the temperature I changed my mind. It was a whopping 0 degrees Fahrenheit out, with a "Real Feel" of -14. Yeah. That wasn't happening. So I studied for a bit, made breakfast, and then headed back home to meet my mom for yoga. And yoga was all I did on Saturday!

Sunday, February 14th
Cam and I got off the slacker train and went to the gym. We hopped in the pool for an "easy" swim to get back in the groove of things. 1000 yards, nothing fancy, not tools. Just me and the water.

Here's what I have to offer you from that:

And that is all. Nothing spectacular this week..quite the opposite, in fact. But honestly is a policy around here so there you have it!


Currently Reading:
K is for Killer (Kinsey Millhone #11) - Sue Grafton (audiobook)
80/20 Running: Run Stronger and Race Faster By Training Slower - Matt Fitzgerald
The Walking Dead: Compendium 3 - Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, Stefano Gaudiano (hard copy)

My copy of 80/20 Running came and I've already started reading! I'll let you know what I think when I'm finished, but it sounds promising so far!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Random Things on a Thursday (#2)

I like having a day to dump all my random thoughts from the week on you unsuspecting people, so here's what I have from this week:

I've mentioned before that I hate feeling like I live in two places. To give a little perspective, I took a picture of all the bags in my car on Sunday before I left my house:

I travel with this much stuff literally every time I leave my house. Do you know what a relief it will be to not have that giant duffle bag in my car, and to get it down to a reasonable 5 bags + purse?!

It's too many bags, people.

Dove Promises
The other day I bought some Dove promises, and Cam and I each had one. If you've never had a Dove Promise before, they have a little motivational saying on the inside of the wrapper. I laughed out loud when I read the two we got:

I'm totally incapable of staying up past my bed time, but Cam lives for it. We're both snooze button hitters though. This is why I set 5 alarms for the morning!

This one is fun, but gross. Over Christmas one of my friends was in from NY state and we met for breakfast. She was telling me about her new apartment and said she's really glad it has an in-unit washer/dryer because she works out so often that she always has a ton of laundry to do. I've found (and she agreed) that with working in an office,work clothes don't need to be washed every time you wear them because you don't sweat and get gross in them (unless you spill on yourself, and the obvious exception is UNDAPANTS). Workout clothes though? I go through them like crazy, so by the time laundry day comes around I've got a hamper full of gross leggings and stuff to wash.

And let's be honest...laundry day is like every third day when you account for towels and pillowcases too. That's pretty frequent for one person.

Check your car lights, people!
I have seen a ridiculous number of vehicles with lights out in the last week. A ridiculous number.

Headlights, taillights, brake lights, fog lights...all sorts of lights are out. During a gross, cold, icy Midwestern winter this is just asking for make sure you're checking your car lights!

RfC and Heart Rate training vs Run-Walk method
I realized during my run this week that I kind of sold myself short with my half marathon training. Okay, maybe that's the wrong way to look at it, but Sunday's run got me wondering if the Run-Walk method was really for me. I think partly because of the heat it was smart to train that way, but I also think I could have pushed harder.

I mean...on Sunday I ran over two miles without even thinking about stopping, which wasn't something I considered doing during my half training. And then I started thinking...I want to PR the hell out of this year (see the next section on races)...

Katie at Runs for Cookies has been talking a lot lately about 80/20 running (heart rate training), and it makes a bit more sense to me. During my Sunday run I didn't pay attention to my pace at all - I just took it easy. The point of 80/20 running is that a majority of your training is done at an easier pace, and then 20% of your training is done at a higher aerobic threshold. It sounds very interesting, and I think I decided to invest in the book she mentioned:

Bottom line is...we shall see where this leads!

It started innocently enough. I went to see if there are races our PrideZ group can participate in, and I just tumbled down a rabbit hole. In addition to the Shamrock Shuffle in April I'm considering:

And I won't even mentioned the other sprint tri I found. Realistically, I need to look at my training schedule to decide which of these (hopefully all!) I can do, so we'll revisit this in the future.

Sidenote: I PR'd my 5k time at the Corporate Challenge last year (by running the whole thing)...but I'd like to have an official 5k race time for it. And, you know, beat my Corporate Challenge time this year. I'm actually looking forward to fitting these races into my training schedule (which, PS, I still need to write out...).

Pass Them Like You Love Them
Swim Bike Mom had a post this week about this group of cyclists in Georgia called Pass Them Like You Love Them.

Because I cycle on the road (when I do...which has not been frequently) I am always super, super cautious when passing cyclists on the road. But their mission? I love it. Imagine how much happier our lives would be in general if we acted like we love the people we're sharing the road with?

Note to self on that one.

My Cubicle
I've always meant to share some photos of my cube when I've decorated it, but I've never gotten around to it, so here they are!

We had a floor event that involved cutting out snowflakes...I did one of each to decorate my cube for the cold weather:

And okay, winter isn't over yet, but I wanted to do something for the Hustle Up the Hancock, so I did this! I found a printable cut out of the John Hancock building, and then made the lettering myself:

Also...why not share a duck! This guy is actually a tea steeper that my mom got me one year. I LOVE him, and it makes it easy to enjoy loose leaf at my desk!

And I think that's enough for today! Don't worry though - I'll be back next week with plenty more random thoughts!


Currently Reading:
K is for Killer (Kinsey Millhone #11) - Sue Grafton (audiobook)
The Walking Dead: Compendium 3 - Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, Stefano Gaudiano (hard copy)

I finished J is for Judgment...I'm still loving the Kinsey novels. I have a few more on hand to get through, so I've got plenty to keep my busy!

You can find me here on Goodreads!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Repost: Dust.

(This is a repost from last year)

I haven't kept it a secret that I am no longer religious, but I think Ash Wednesday is a good time for secular reflection as well.

The message is important regardless of what you believe. Ash Wednesday leads into Lent, a season of reflection, penance, and forgiveness.

Forgiveness is an important thing - knowing when you need to grant it, and when you need to ask for it. And asking for forgiveness can be difficult and humbling, but also important.

Every Ash Wednesday I repeat the following phrase to myself as a reminder that my life will one day end and the material things I gained will mean nothing. It is a reminder to make my imprint on this world a positive one:


Monday, February 8, 2016

Workout Wrapup (Monday 1st - Sunday 7th)

Monday, February 1st

Monday was a bust. Normally Cam and I meet at the gym to swim, but it wasn't happening. I was tired and wanted to go home, cuddle my puppies, and do some CPCU studying. I got halfway through my CPCU chapter and Nigel came over and basically dragged me out of my chair to go cuddle (okay, I'm lying, he nudged my hand...the guilt is what dragged me from my seat).

Tuesday, February 2nd

It went a bit better on Tuesday. I forced myself to do another 65 flights of stairs after work. 14:08 this time, so pretty steady with the pace. Cam and I met at the gym and we just weren't feeling the spin bikes. We got on, peddled for about 2 minutes, and then decided to go lift.

Which also ended up being kind of sad...and we only did 2 lifts: Bench and Deads. Yup. Lazy of us, but at least we did something! And I totally forgot a picture of our lift book this you don't get to see how much (or how little, depending on how you look at it) we lifted!

Wednesday, February 3rd

I decided to make up for my missed swim workout on Monday, and nail one on Wednesday. I stole a workout from Katelyn at Hungry Twenties...and then forgot to take it into the gym with me, so I totally butchered it. Here's what I was supposed to do:

That was definitely not what I ended up doing. Here's what I misremembered and did instead (it's comical, really):
It's funny, because I ended up doing just as many yards even though I totally didn't remember things correctly. You'll notice the lack of cool-down...and it's because my foot started cramping pretty badly, and it was the kind of cramp that I normally don't recover from by staying the pool. I was so disappointed that I didn't get through "the whole workout" because I didn't do 4 repeats...but looking at it later I realized that was dumb because my workout was only short by one lap!

I also did some drills during the "fast" 2x100s. I did one drill for 100 yard time that I was really happy with:
Next goal is to get this under 2:00 minutes!
And one 200 yard drill at a "comfortably fast" past that I think I could maintain for a race:
I'm not happy that after I did both of these drills my Garmin stopped remembering how to track laps, and I had to stop, save, and then start another session. I feel like maybe I'm missing a step that I'm supposed to do, so I guess I'll be browsing some user manuals soon.

Thursday, February 4th
I'm ashamed to say that Cam and I got to the gym, we were in the parking lot and...we decided not to go work out. I had some cards I wanted to get written and he's been working longer than usual days, so we kind of shoulder-deviled each other and went to the grocery store for dinner stuff instead.

All was not lost though...I did 85 flights of stairs in 18:40.9 before I left work. Not too shabby! (Although this definitely contributed to my not wanting to work out, haha.) It was also extra dry and left me with a persistent cough. Thanks, stairwell.

And those cards? They didn't get done until Friday morning. Whoopsies.

Friday, February 5th

I was looking forward to Friday because Cam agreed to try a couple's yoga class with me! The studio I go to by my house offered this partner class for the first time and I thought it would be fun.

Sidenote: Nana, I know you're reading that, and that's right! Not only have I convinced your baby to eat broccoli and tofu, I convinced him to try yoga!

It was fun, and everyone in the class got quite a few laughs out of it. Cam and I were, by far, the most mismatched by height (he's nearly a foot taller than me), so it made some things...interesting. Like, we were doing a reverse warrior at one point and they said to reach back and try to grab your partner's hand...well that wasn't happening because Cam's hand was about 6 inches higher than I just patted his head instead :P

They also had us do this challenge pose at the I present to you the first picture of me doing yoga!

I'm in blue doing the down dog - the teacher did this with me because Cam was afraid he'd break me. I did do this reversed with me in front with Cam though :)
Saturday, February 6th

Saturday was NOT a good day. Don't even ask, but it was shitty, and in addition to my personal life, it was the one year mark of finding out about Kayla. Ugh. February is a dumb month.

I had planned on weights, and it didn't happen, but I did stick to going to yoga with my mom. When the teacher asked us what we needed to work on I said, "My mind." (For reference, I usually say something like, "My calves are tight" so it was a departure for me.)

And I had a little PR in yoga too! I managed my first extended side angle with a bind! Bilaterally too! (I did it on both sides.) I've had a lot of tightness in my shoulders since my surgery two years ago, and combined with weight lifting poses like this are difficult for me, so I'm super proud! If you're wondering, it looks like this:
And now that' I've done it, I can't imagine why I couldn't do it before! Bodies are weird like that.

Sunday, February 7th

I finally said "Screw it!" and went for a run. I've been yearning for it for weeks, and after seeing so many people from the Hogwarts Running Club post about finishing the Molly Weasley Ugly Jumper Run on Saturday, I just needed to get out a run mine too.

My intention was to run the whole thing, but Cam called me about 1/4 of a mile in and we needed to talk a bit. I walked about 1/2 a mile while we were on the phone, and then picked it up for the rest of the run. I kept my pace really easy for this run. I didn't want to stress my body too much, and I figured I was already doing a bit of that by running 3 miles off the bat. So easy it went, me and Nigel pounding some pavement and avoiding icy patches. It was also my first run using my 920xt!

It's really hard for me to see a 5k time that starts with a 4, especially since I'd like to get faster this year, but I keep telling myself it's the first run back and I walked half a mile of it too. So yeah...just gotta play through that mental game.

It was nothing stellar, but I'm glad I got it done!
 And it didn't end there. I made up for all my slacking in the weight room this week by going to the gym and pounding out seven (eight?) lifts, including squats. So...go me? Yeah, I think so.

It is now Monday, and my legs are shot. 

See, I used to run alllll the freaking time, and I totally forgot that when you don't you get to be sore after your runs. My legs (especially my quads and hips) are feeling it today and I am sore. Between the running and the weights, my whole body is experiencing some DOMS today. But I'm happy to be back to running, so I don't even care ;)

Peace out for now, people!


Thursday, February 4, 2016

Random things on a Thursday the First (#1)

I have so many different things floating around my head that I thought I'd spill some of them out here:

1) Pop Tabs

I decided to put out containers at work and at home to collect pop tabs for Ronald McDonald House Charities. I've been meaning to do this for years. Well...years at home. It occurred to me when I was standing in the kitchen at work the other day that it would be a great place to collect. I'm not going to go into it in depth now (stay tuned to the blog for future announcements about RMHC), but one of my friends from high school really benefited from RMHC when her daughter was born two years ago and though this is a small gesture, it is a significant one too.
Here's the collection container I made. Pardon my cluttered desk.
If you happen to be in the northwest Chicago burbs and would like to start collecting, I am more than willing to get any tabs you collect and give them to Stephanie (my friend) to donate!

2) Overnight Oats

Last week I was in a pinch for something quick and easy to give Cam for breakfast (I know, how domestic of me). He usually stays over one work night each week, and I like to give him something for breakfast and lunch the next day. He's been digging Greek yogurt lately, so I decided to try out overnight oats on him. Vanilla yogurt + old fashioned oats + frozen fruit = done. He loved it, and said it's one of his favorite breakfasts yet.

Yesterday I upped the ante and bought a tub of yogurt and frozen fruit and mixed up enough for the rest of the week. I used one 4-serving tub of vanilla greek yogurt, 6 servings (3 cups) of oatmeal, and one 12 oz bag of frozen berries. It could have used a tad more fruit, but easily made 5 Cam-sized servings (6 Christina-sized servings, since I'm a full foot shorter than him).

3) I really, really, miss running.

I've mentioned it before, but I'm taking a chill pill on running while I train for the Hustle. If I haven't said why, it's because doing both stairs and running seems to exacerbate the lingering tendinitis I have, but if I only do one I've been okay. running until February 29th. And because of that...allllll I can think about is running. I really, really do miss it. I never thought I'd get to the point in my running-life when all I could think about is how much I miss getting hot and sweaty during an August training run...but I do. It has been nearly 5 months since I've run consistently, and I kind of hate admitting that. I know it's all been for a good reason, but I'm looking forward to the Hustle being over so I can lace up my shoes and start pounding the pavement again.
Here's a throw back to one of those runs in June!
4) One day this girl at the gym...
I'm just sharing this because it was hilarious when it happened. Cam and I were walking into the gym one day and these two girls were walking out to their cars. As they're saying goodbye, the one looks at the other and says, really loudly, "By the way, your butt looks GREAT in those leggings!"

Cam and I burst out laughing because it was so funny, and I yelled to the girl, "Hey! Can I work out with you? He only ever yells at me to try harder! I need a friend like you!"

Of course, I was totally joking. Kind of. Cam does always tell me to work harder when I get lazy with my lifts, but obviously (TMI) Cam thinks my butt looks good in my leggings. He's also a pro at helping me with the leggings "squat test" - which is when you squat to see if your underwear shows in your leggings. Sometimes it's hard to tell in a mirror, and having another person check for you is the best way to know.'s totally different when your girlfriends tell you that your leggings look good on you. It just means more. (No offense, boyfriends.)

Speaking of leggings - I got these super cool ones on sale at Dick's last week. I love them, because they are snazzy AND comfortable AND they pass the squat test (but not the down-dog test):

5) So many things to pay for and plan...

I have a list of things in the back of my planner that I have to take care of this year. Just a reminder that everything costs money. These things include:
  • 24 CEUs and my massage licensing fee: My massage therapist license expires 12/31/16, and though I'm not actively practicing I would like to keep my license in case I need it in the future. Not to toot my own horn, but I'm a good therapist and if I'm ever in need of a job or extra income I want to know it's there for me to use. I have planned out all the classes I want to take (in person and online) I just have to register for them.
  • CPCU 540 companion study guide: I have my eye on one, it costs $120, and I just keep telling myself that it's $300 to retake one of these tests so I should make sure I pass the first time (which my company pays for).
  • Race Fees: I've already paid for my Oly in August, but I want to do a Sprint or two before then. I've found two races that would be a good fit, and Cam can do one of them with me. The first is the Esprit de She in Naperville on June 12th, and the other is the Lake Zurich Tri on July 9th. Both are close enough that we don't have to pay for lodging (though it means a bit more driving the day before), and Cam can do the Lake Zurich one too (since he'll be training with me all summer!).
  • Hotels: I've already put my deposit in for a hotel for the Chicago Tri, but I'm waiting on one more for October. More on that later!
  • Learn to change a bike tire, buy a kit: So, I actually already kind of know how to change a tire, but I've never done it (which means I don't really know how to do it). I'm hoping my brother can help me with this - he was really into biking a while back and took care of his own bike, so I'm sure I can learn a lot from him.
  • Buy my brother a bike: While we're at it, this was my Christmas gift to my brother. So yeah, there's that. We're gonna get to go on lots of rides together this summer too! Wooooo!!!
  • Yak Traks: The weather is unpredictable, and I wanna be prepared. I don't know if it will being snowing or icy in March, but I'd like to be able to start running outside again. I haven't told my friends this (hi, friends) but we go to a cabin once a year for a weekend and I wanna make sure I run while we're there. Last year's cabin was right off a two lane road to nowhere so I didn't run...just walked up and down the street a lot. This year we're going back to a cabin we've already been to, and damnit I will run. The first year we went there it snowed a lot, and I would have needed Yak Traks. So this time I'm getting them.
  • Tri Kit: It's not one of those things that's 100% necessary right now, but I'd like to get one anyways, particularly the shorts. I'm looking at getting a kit before my outdoor training starts (April-ish).
Okay, I'm stopping now, because I'm sure you get it. I will have one bajillion American Express points by the end of the year. That's not everything on my list, but it's the stuff I'm most consistently thinking about - especially my massage license. Honestly, of everything on the list that's probably the only thing I need to make sure I do this year (and my brother's bike)...but the rest of that stuff would make my life easier, for sure.

6) Hustle Up the Hancock

Come on guys, you didn't think I'd let this one slide by, did you? So far, I've raised $655 (including cash donations), which means I'm 87.3% of the way to my goal of raising $750. I keep thinking that I'd love to reach if you're able, please consider donating!

If you made it to the end of this, you deserve a prize.

Since I'm cheap and won't spend postage to send something to wherever you are, dear reader, have a picture of a lizard in a top hat:

He was NOT happy with me doing this to him at 5:45 in the morning.
Hopefully I'll have time to pop in again soon. If not...enjoy the rest of your week!


Currently Reading:
J is for Judgment (Kinsey Millhone #10) - Sue Grafton (audiobook)
The Walking Dead: Compendium 3 - Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, Stefano Gaudiano (hard copy)

You can find me here on Goodreads!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Workout Wrapup (Monday 25th - Sunday 31st)

Edit: I published this without saying it but...

I promise there is more coming than just workout updates. I promise. At some point...promise...

Monday, January 25th

This was supposed to be the Runs for Cookies Virtual 5k, and I decided not to do it. I'm really bummed about this decision and it was harder to make than you think, but my ankle was bothering me a little more than a bit all weekend so I decided to cool it on running until I'm done with the Hustle. I don't mean I'm not going to run at all, I just don't want to do more than a mile or two at a time :(

And now that I've said friend Steffi called me yesterday and we both decided to sign up for the 8k Shamrock Shuffle on April 3rd. It's one of Chicago's biggest and most well known races, and I'm so excited I get to do it with Steffi! So...I'm currently not really running but I'm gonna do a 5 mile race in April. Hah, I'm so smart.

Anyways. Mondays are for swimming, and I made this one technical.

I actually swam 1,550 yards (not 1,250), but my 920xt doesn't count laps when I'm using a kickboard. I did laps in groups of 200 yards, focusing 200 on kick, 200 on pull, 200 on freestyle, and then a 100 yard recovery. I then repeated the kick and pull drills for 100 yards, then timed a drill for 100 yards (2:10.7). I know that doesn't add up to 1,550 - there were more laps. But anyways, I need to remember to do timed drills earlier on in my practice because I feel like it's not an adequate gauge of my improvement to bounce between doing them in the middle or at the end. Note to self on that one.

Tuesday, January 26th

I climbed 44 floors after work, then headed to the gym to meet Cam. We hopped on the bikes for 10 minutes (ow my quads, they burned so much) before starting our weight sesh, which went like this:

I highlighted my lifts to make it easier to see. This was a week of 5-5-10 lifts, and I'm most proud of my Bench sets. I am finally, officially out of the 50lb range (I have been for a while), but I'd really like to say goodbye to the 60s too. If I push it, I can be 70s and up by the next 10-8-10 set we do. But that's a lot of pushing. Fingers crossed, guys!

Although I should also add...that deadlift! I didn't think I'd see a number like that so soon. After being out of the lower-body lift game for so long, it's nice to see I didn't lose all teh gainz.

Wednesday, January 27th

As you know, this is my rest day! And rest I did.

Thursday, January 28th

Thursday we were back at it for lifting. I really didn't want to do more cardio at the gym, but I did do 65 floors (new record!) before I left work. It took me 14 minutes.

At the gym, we lifted things:

My bench is pretty solid, although it looks like my squat is really, really suffering. I think that should tick up when I'm done with the Hustle. The problem now is that I train stairs the same day as weights, so my legs are already pretty freaking fatigued by the time I get to lifting. Oh will get better!

This was also the week that I wished my gym had a greater variety of low-range weights. The gym we normally lift at has 5-10-15-20-25-30lb weights, but there's another LA Fitness we go to with odd weights inbetween (they have 7.5, 12.5, 17.5, 22.5, 27.5 weights). When I was doing those dumb bell chest flys ("db Butterfly") I was really wishing for the 17.5lb weights. I can crush it with great form at 15lbs, but that's just not enough for a 5 set, and I really struggle with the 20s. Ah well...I'll get there.

And check out those notes at the bottom. My arms were spent after this workout...good thing though because I did really push myself. Cam didn't think I'd be able to complete a 10 set at 70lbs for that Decline Bench, and when I did he made me write what I did at the bottom, and then go ahead in the book and put down 85lbs for my next 5 set. So...stay tuned and we'll see how that goes in a few weeks ;P

Friday, January 29th

Friday was another hot yoga day. My friend Amy was in Florida for the week so I picked her up from the airport and we went to yoga together, followed by Los Burritos (life guys, it's all about balance!).

Remember the stomach cramps that kept me out of the game two weeks ago? Well I got those again on the way to yoga. I was hoping the heat and some twisting would ease them up a bit, and it did. They didn't totally go away, but yoga helped!

Bad news...between Friday and Saturday's yoga classes (and lots of lunges) I seem to have put a little too much stress on my ankle. It bugged me all of Saturday and Sunday, and now (Monday) it's still not right :(

Saturday, January 30th

I went to the all-level yoga class at my home studio on Saturday, and it was eerie how similar the routine was Friday's. These are two totally different studios and teachers, but both routines were a version of Sun Salutation A, with a few modifications and challenges. What I really enjoyed about Saturday's class was that she had us do a truncated Sun A flow...with our eyes closed! Stepping back into plank and then doing crescent lunge with my eyes closed really challenged my proprioception and forced all the little muscles that help with balance to work harder. It was a great!

Sunday, January 31st

Cam and I elected to take Sunday as a rest day. By around noon we decided we wouldn't be going to the gym, and I was totally fine with that. I was still sore from yoga and had some studying to do and needed to get new tires for my car, so opting out of gym time just felt like the right choice.

And there you have it! Another week of pretty solid workouts. It's all just part of the flow now. Like I said above, I promise I have some other post ideas in the work...I just need the time to write them.

Peace out and have a good one!


Currently Reading:
J is for Judgment (Kinsey Millhone #10) - Sue Grafton (audiobook)
The Walking Dead: Compendium 3 - Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, Stefano Gaudiano (hard copy)

You can find me here on Goodreads!