Spring Break in Chicago, and Zoo Trips

It’s spring break! This means I (finally) have a one week break from work and class (kind of, I still have homework), and I’m in Chicago visiting my grandparents. Monday was a beautiful day 72 degrees and sunny, and I was stuck in the car driving from Ohio to Chicago, I would have preferred to be running.

By the time we got settled into the hotel, and stopped by my grandparents’ house for a quick hello, I was too tired to think about doing anything other than sleep, so that’s exactly what I did.

Saturday was spent driving to Pittsburgh where my mom and I spent Sunday with my sister. We got to go to the zoo, which was cold, but lots of fun! Also I love animals so it’s the perfect way to spend a Sunday.

I got to see

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Pink Jellyfish

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And majestic penguins! They were my favorite.

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I also promised myself that I would run as much as possible on this trip. I’ve only really been back at it for about a week now, and the last thing I want to do is lose my momentum. Luckily the hotel we’re staying at has a fitness room that has everything I need.

While I would prefer to run outside, I have a scarily bad sense of direction that doesn’t go well with new unfamiliar locations. I may have convinced myself that running outside would mean getting horribly lost and going missing. I may or may not be prone to over dramatization.

So far I’ve run twice, and Tuesday I managed to run four miles, before my ankle started acting up and I called it quits. Which is far better than what I’ve been managing recently: two miles in thirty minutes, with lots of walking before I have to call it quits.

I’m still trying to figure out whether or not I’ll be ready for a half marathon at the end of May. As far as my stamina goes, I know it won’t be an issue, but my ankle is another story. As much as I’d rather not, I’ll be taking it slow and holding off a little longer on registering for the Zooma Half.

Do you like zoos? What’s your favorite animal?

Everything tastes better in a Crepe and Other Life Lessons

It’s been a little bit since I’ve been able to update (not having a working computer makes that a bit difficult) but I’m finally back with a working computer! I know everyone is as excited as I am.

So what exactly have I learned from this unexpected time off from the blog?

1. Working full time, and taking two grad school classes is no joke, and then just add on the fact that my computer was broken so I couldn’t do any homework at home. This has felt like one very elaborate juggle act, is it summer yet?

2. If I never see this screen again in my life I will be a happy woman.

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3. Also in the six years since college I have definitely not missed studying for midterms.

At least my study buddies are keeping me company!
At least my study buddies are keeping me company!

4. I really love snow days that create unexpected four day weekends. I have, however, really started to hate the snow.

5. Sprained ankles are the worst, but your first week back at the gym feels amazing!!

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6. I have gone a little overboard since my return to running and have started to sign up for every race I can think of…I may need to tone it down a bit.

7. Everything tastes better wrapped in a crepe! I learned how to make crepes and I may or may not have eaten one for lunch and one for dinner yesterday. That’s a crepe filled with avocado hummus, feta, mushrooms and caramelized onions, YUM!

Yes, it is sitting on a textbook. That is my life now.
Yes, it is sitting on a textbook. That is my life now.

 

8. Games on the rowing machine at the gym make things fun, even if I am not very good at them.

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9. White grapefruit doesn’t taste any different from regular grapefruit.

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10. Small apples also don’t taste any different from regular sized apple, but they’re MINI, and cute!

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11. New running shoes are the best!

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12. Wanting to go for a run and then realizing that you left your sports bra at your boyfriend’s, however, is not the best.

13. And lastly, with a midterm coming up on Thursday night what I really should be doing is studying, or sleeping.

Body Pumpin’!

I went to my first Body Pump class at my new gym this week and I’m going to my second tonight! If you couldn’t already tell, I loved it!

To say I was a little nervous to go back after so many years, was an understatement. Still after a minor snafu in my original plans to go on Saturday morning, I swallowed my nerves, and got my butt to the gym on Monday evening after work.

Despite having done Body Pump for a while I was a little rusty on what equipment I needed to pick up at the beginning of class. I had also convinced myself that it would have probably changed so much that what I remembered would be completely inaccurate (rational thoughts for the win!). Luckily while waiting in line before class I was in front of a very nice lady who immediately took me under her wing. In addition to making sure I got all the right equipment, she also let me know all the classes she enjoys taking and which instructors are her favorite. I now have a list of other classes I want to fit into my already busy schedule! With running, body pump, and adding my grad school classes soon, we’ll see how that goes.

Well, surprise, surprise!  Body pump hasn’t changed much from when I last went. I grabbed a bar with weights, some free weights, a mat, risers and a step. When I last took the class I had worked my way up to being able to do the routines with a max of 15 pounds on each side of the bar. I knew, however, that was not going to be realistic for my first time back in a long time, and I remembered how hard the class can be even if you have very light weights on. I stuck with five pounds on each side for the entire class.

I am so glad I did! Even with the five pounders it was tough, I’m still sore two days later! For those who don’t know body pump is a group fitness class that uses light to moderate weights with lots of repetitions. Each workout is about an hour long and is set to a playlist of music. Each track focuses on either the warm up, cool down or a specific body part.

Like I said at the beginning I loved the class, and this is definitely going to help with my cross training. Now I just need to incorporate some sort of Pilates or yoga into my schedule and I’ll be set!

I Joined a Gym!

It’s been years since I joined a gym that I have to pay for so it’s a big deal for me that I took this step, plus it’s also exciting that I’m finally able to justify the cost of a gym!

I was thinking about my goals for 2015 and how strength training/cross training is a big one for me. I know there are lots of things I could do at home and the gym at my work/school has equipment I could use so it’s not like I lack options for strength training.

Let’s be honest though, I’ve said it before strength training bores me! The thought of going to the gym and doing an hour of strength training sounds mind numbing and boring. I have tried listening to music or podcasts while doing it, but inevitably my headphone cord gets wrapped up in the equipment and there’s probably a very real risk of me choking myself (I’m pretty sure I’m the only person with that problem…).

I have tried switching up my routine so I’m not doing the same thing, but to me doing a different version of the same thing every time is just a different brand of boring.

I have tried doing home workouts and which produce great results for some people! However, when I try I end up not putting in 100% and ultimately choose food, tv, reading, sleep, over squeezing in a quick workout. I need to get out of the house in order to feel motivated!

I even got a personal trainer for a stint a couple years ago. The trainer did motivate me to start running regularly and keep it up after I stopped seeing him. However, I was not motivated to continue to strength train. Once the personal training ended so did the strength training.

Despite all this I know, especially for accident prone me, strength training is an important aspect to any fitness routine. So when trying to think of ways to keep me motivated in that department I remembered when I was a paying member of a gym years ago, my gym offered group fitness classes including body pump, which I loved!

Even when I got lazy with my gym schedule, which at the time happened very easily, I still made sure that I made it to body pump every week. I loved how fun the classes were and how I felt after the class, plus I got strong as a result of the class.

Well I found a gym that offers body pump, as well as a number of other classes, at a price that I can totally afford! I was excited and jumped at the chance. As a plus there is a gym near my boyfriend’s new house so I can go when I’m at his house as well.

I’m hoping to go to my first body pump class in three years tomorrow morning! Hopefully I love it as much as I did before, and this motivates another positive change in 2015!

I’m Back!

Finally! I didn’t mean to go MIA on this blog, but as I wrote in the one blog post I found a moment to spare, something had to give. This past month has brought about a lot of changes!

Starting with my move!

This is huge and so exciting for me. After living a year in the Howard County and commuting an hour both ways to work, I am now living in Gaithersburg and have a five minute to commute! However, this also means that the distance between my boyfriend and I went from 30 minutes to an hour or an hour and a half depending on traffic. This was a big decision but in the end, for the sake of my sanity, it was decided that money and time saved by a lesser commute to work and grad school would more than make up for the increased distance between us.

Moving means packing, unpacking, cursing your hoarding tendencies, throwing everything away, and then wondering where you put that one item you really really need right now (oh yeah, it’s in the trash).

This has not been much fun, and has eaten up what little spare time I have left for now. Thankfully most everything is unpacked, except for one box hat may never get unpacked, because I just don’t feel like it! My current kitchen is much smaller than my previous one, so fitting my kitchen stuff has felt like a game of tetris, but my room hasn’t been much of an issue. I love my bigger room and walk in closet so much!

My first grad school class is over!

When I wasn’t unpacking I was completing my take home final and my project. Everything is submitted, and all I have left to worry about is my grade. I’m pretty sure I did well, but let’s be honest, I won’t be able to truly breathe until I find out how I did. Fingers crossed!

Running?

Running took a temporary hiatus, and cooking and eating properly was been pretty hard to fit in recently. I wish I could say that despite all these changes I found the time to eat healthy and work out, but the take out containers in my trash would say otherwise. It’s hard enough to find time to be healthy when work is busy and you have to study, but it becomes near impossible when you’re trying to move and get settled in a new location.

Still I was really excited last week to squeeze in my first run in a very long time. Now that I live five minutes from work (!!!!) Waking up in the morning for a run is much more feasible than it was before. Overall, it was great, I’ll write about it later in the week.

Anyways, now I’m just gearing up for Christmas and New Years. I get about a week and a half off from work starting on the 24th. I don’t think I’ve ever welcomed my winter break quite as much as I am now!

Somehow I did manage to send out my Christmas Cards this year.
Somehow I did manage to send out my Christmas Cards this year.

 

Thanksgiving Fun

Life has been crazy! I’ve got a lot going on right now, and recently this blog has taken the back burner. My lease is up at the end of the year, and I found a new place whose lease starts on December 1. I’m really excited about the place, it’s SO much closer to my work (five minutes as opposed to fifty) which is going to make my life so much easier! It does have a MUCH smaller kitchen, however, I’m also going to have a walk in closet, which I’m very excited about. It’s the little things.

So currently I am devoted to packing my stuff up and moving it to my new place. When I’m not doing that I’m studying for my statistics final and finishing up my class project, I can’t believe it’s the end of the semester already! My boyfriend is moving at the same time too (we planned that out really well). Needless to say there’s a lot going on, and what little free time I do have I’m trying to squeeze in runs or work outs. Unfortunately, this blog is not currently the priority. Once things calm down though, I’ll be back to writing on my regular schedule!

With all of this going on I was so grateful for the Thanksgiving break! I love Thanksgiving, largely because it’s dedicated to spending time with family and eating really delicious food! Still I was nervous about it, after my Whole30 I was feeling really great, and suddenly introducing a ton of non compliant foods was nerve wracking. Plus I didn’t have just Thanksgiving, my boyfriend and I had two Friendsgivings planned for the weekend before Thanksgiving chock full of delicious food. Ultimately I decided to enjoy myself, but not over stuff, and eat what I wanted to without guilt.

It actually worked really well, I won’t lie, I definitely felt over full a couple times but the fact that I’m eating so much healthier in my everyday life means that one day of overeating isn’t the end of the world.

For a few weeks leading up to Thanksgiving day I had been contemplating doing a Turkey Trot in my hometown, despite not being able to convince my sister to run it with me I made a last minute decision the night before to brave the cold and run it Thanksgiving morning. I’m so glad I did! It was a great race, so much fun, and the perfect way to start Thanksgiving, I’ll be recapping that race soon.

My family eats Thanksgiving dinner earlier, around 1 pm, and usually that’s my only meal of the day. I don’t know if it was the race in the morning or the fact that I am more aware of my eating habits, but this year once dinner time rolled around I was actually hungry for more food so I made a plate of leftovers. I have to say I prefer feeling that way over feeling so stuffed that even thinking about more food makes me sick.

Overall, Thanksgiving was full of personal victories for myself. I couldn’t help but think how different my outlook is from where I was a year ago. It makes me so much more confident going into the Christmas season.

How was your Thanksgiving?

Things Are Getting Back To Normal!

Yesterday was a big day for me! I may hate the fact that the weather is getting colder, I’m a spring and summer girl all the way and I’ll take the heat over the cold any day. However, it does make for great running weather. I knew I had to get a run in after work, it was just a matter of where.

I usually go to a park about 10 minutes from my house but ever since my accident all my runs have been around my neighborhood. Which works fine, but it’s pretty boring. I end up doing several loops around and unless I’m super motivated, the never changing scenery means that I’ll often cut my route short out of boredom. I usually only run in my neighborhood when I’m pressed for time, or I forget to pack my running clothes.

The reason for this? The day of my accident I was on my way to that very park to go for a run. I was about 2 miles from the park when I rear ended the person in front of me. I’ve been nervous about driving in general since then, but the idea of driving back to that park has brought me even more anxiety that I have decided to just avoid going there and figure out other ways to get in my runs.

I’ve managed to deal with a lot of the other stresses that accident caused me. I didn’t turn to unhealthy habits, I continued my running, I’m making sure I’m much more alert and less distracted when driving, and I’m giving myself more time to get to my destinations so I’m not in a rush. However, I still hadn’t attempted to go back to that park, and pass exactly where the accident happened.

Well yesterday I went to the park and ran! I know this is a small victory, and in the grand scheme of things isn’t a huge deal, but it felt so good to conquer that thing that was bringing me a lot of anxiety. When I passed where the accident occurred I was definitely aware and nervous but I made it safely and was able to relieve some of those nerves by having a great short run!

I’m taking this entire process one step at a time, but I’m excited every time some progress is made!

How do you deal with things that bring you anxiety?

Friday Recap!

Has it been a crazy week for anyone else? I can’t believe it has taken this long to get to Friday, but boy am I glad it is Friday! I decided to not do Non-Scale Victory Friday this week since I did that on Monday instead. It’s been a weird week, no reason to change that today!

Since my accident on Thursday it feels like so much has happened. I’ve already started going car shopping (even though I have yet to hear back from my insurance company). It’s been hard at times, but I’ve tried to stay as positive as possible throughout this entire ordeal.

I wanted to go running a lot more than I did this week, to keep my mind off everything and help me destress but things really didn’t go as planned. I already wrote how I went running on Monday and then skipped Tuesday because I had some errands that needed to get done.

Wednesday I was excited and ready to go running after work and before my grad class. At 5 I went to the bathroom, changed into my running gear and then went back to my office to put on my running shoes. It was at that point I realized that I only packed one running shoe. The other was patiently waiting for me in my room at home. How convenient!

This was not the first time I had left something at home that I needed to work out. Last week I left my sports bra at home. Usually, I can make do. However, there isn’t much you can do with just one shoe. After I recovered from the disappointment, I opted for shopping, at least I got to do something enjoyable.

I didn’t go running last night either I needed to cook up a ton of vegetables that were about to go bad, so I did that instead. I made roasted carrots for the first time ever. They were delicious! I also finally applied my Jamberrys. So far I like them!

 

The nail design!
The nail design!
The running girl design is so cute!
The running girl design is so cute!

I’m not upset that I didn’t get out more than I usually do this week, but my legs are feeling so restless! It’s been so long since I took a break from running, and I can tell my body doesn’t like it. Luckily this weekend my boyfriend and I are planning to do be outside, and hopefully do some hiking, and I’ve already planned out my running schedule for next week!

Have a great weekend! Do you have any fun plans for the weekend? Let me know in the comments!

Then and Now

So I’ve thrown away my scale. I stopped counting calories. I don’t use a tape measure to measure my various body parts unless I’m ordering clothes online. I’m running more, and incorporating other exercises into my routine (some more successfully than others!). I don’t eat when I’m sad, stressed out or angry anymore. I love the changes I’ve incorporated, and overall, I feel so much healthier.

That doesn’t stop the fact that I want to see results. This past weekend I confessed to my boyfriend that I was a bit discouraged. Lots of people have been telling me that I look great, I’m fitting into smaller clothes and most importantly I feel healthier. I’m proud of myself for not falling back into comfortable but unhealthy habits. However, I haven’t been able to see the changes.

I look in the mirror and I don’t see a difference. In my mind I look like I did before and while I’m certainly not negating the positive feedback I’ve gotten, it would be nice if I could see it myself.

It’s hard though, changes like this don’t happen overnight. I’m never going to go to sleep one size and wake up the next day smaller. It’s a subtle difference so when I look at myself in the mirror day to day it’s a lot harder to see a difference than when I have a friend that hasn’t seen me for a month or two.

My boyfriend was awesome, he listened to my frustration and then he sat me down in front of his computer and pulled up my Facebook page and proceeded to go through all my pictures from a year ago or more and then put them side by side with all the pictures that had been taken in the last few months (since I finished whole 30 and after).

Then and Now

It wasn’t immediate, but then I saw these pictures. Both pictures were taken from weddings. The one on the left from March 2013 and the on the right a little over a year later this past June. I think I look fabulous in both (never mind the hair in my eye on the left!) but there is definitely a difference in how I look. Yay for progress, and actually starting to see it!

I’m Running Further and Further!

Shopping, shopping and more shopping! I feel like all I’ve been talking about recently is how my boyfriend and I are shopping for furniture for his new place, because it feels like that’s ALL we’re doing! As you can probably guess, it was another long weekend of furniture shopping, but that’s not what I’m talking about today.

If you read my blog on Friday (and if you didn’t read it here) you noticed that I was very excited about my 7.5 mile run last Tuesday. That was a major accomplishment for me as it’s the furthest I’ve ever run. For me it was really a validation that all the hard work I’m putting in is paying off.

About a month ago I realized that while my stamina when running had increased my legs were giving out long before I was actually tired. That can be very frustrating, especially when it means you have to stop long before you’re actually ready to. It didn’t take me long to figure out that the reason for this was probably that my legs simply aren’t strong enough.

I focus so much time on cardio, because it’s what I love, and I tend to neglect strength training, because I hate it and find it so boring. What I love about running is that I can escape in my head and just think without interruption. I don’t listen to music while running because I don’t want that distraction. I don’t find strength training relaxing so I avoid it, but neglecting it comes with a price, and for me that meant weaker legs.

Anyways I started incorporating some body weight strength training and on Tuesday I was really excited to see how much of a difference just a week of this would do. Well it’s making a difference! My goal was to run until I couldn’t anymore. I ended up running 7.5 miles, the furthest I’ve ever gone! I stopped at 2.5 and 5 miles for water and to check my phone to see if my boyfriend had officially gotten his house yet, and then for the last 1.5 miles I started walking up all the hills and then running the rest.

I was, and am so proud of myself, but man was I exhausted. I immediately went home, showered, put on some compression sleeves and ate my dinner in front of the TV watching Gilmore Girls. I fell asleep at 10 pm and didn’t wake up until my alarm went off for work the next day.

Awkward Luke hugs are my favorite :-)
Just what I needed!

Getting to experience exactly what my body is capable of is a great feeling and gives me so much motivation to keep pushing myself. Measuring success based on strength and overall health has managed to keep me more positive and on track than any number on a scale ever did. Plus any setbacks I experience aren’t such a big deal anymore, and that’s a great feeling!