Monthly Archives: October 2017

Halloween Awesomeness (or I Am Covfefe)

The Halloween party that my friends Marie and Chris throw was this past weekend. As it is with all of their parties, I knew that they would be doing some amazing decorations around their house and I couldn’t want to see what it was going to be. They had been sharing about how hard they had been working on decorations but weren’t giving any clues on what the theme was. So I had no idea what I was in for.

As far as my costume goes, I tend to be a bit lazy with costumes. I wish I was better at them, but it’s just not something that I’m creative with. So when a friend jokingly suggested I could go as covfefe by just wearing a “Hello my name is” name tag, I totally went for it!

I made extra name tags and was thinking that I would be sticking them on other people, on beer bottles, and other things like that. It was a super easy costume, but everyone who saw it seemed to think it was pretty funny.

But while my costume was low-key, the party was anything but! Marie and Chris really outdid themselves this year and they turned their house and backyard into all things Indiana Jones!

And of course, they dressed to fit the theme of the house.

They’ve done some amazing things with decorations before, but this was beyond what any of us expected. I loved the sacrifice pit that was in the middle of their yard.

But I think the greatest thing they made for the party was the golden idol room they had on the side of their yard.

Between the backdrop and the amazing painting work they did and the props that were in the room, this was seriously one of the coolest things I’ve seen! And we all were taking so many photos in there because of how awesome it looked (plus it had some really great lighting).

And I loved getting to see all the creative costumes that my friends did. Everyone always has really fun costumes and this year there seemed to be a lot of family/couple themed costumes. Of course, seeing little kids is costumes is just so cute! But I loved the couples costumes too because they were all really fun and clever. I’m glad that I go into the party not expecting to win the costume contest because the competition is stiff!

But the reason I go to the parties (besides the incredible decorations and awesome costumes) is getting to spend time with amazing friends. And there were so many amazing people at the party. I was able to get there toward the earlier side of things so I got to see a lot of people who had kids but had to leave early to get their kids to bed. But I also stayed later than I normally do so I saw some of the late arrivals too. There were a few people who arrived after I left, but I think I got to see almost everyone that I wanted to.

Some of us took some time to watch the World Series. It was fun because some of the people at the party are die-hard Dodgers fans but there are a lot of people there from Houston so they were rooting for the Astros. But it was all in good fun and I think pretty much everyone was happy to see that the Dodgers won the game that night. And the home run they got toward the end of the game was pretty impressive!

I really tried to be as social as possible at the party. But I had been up since 7am since I worked that morning plus I had a Hell Week workout that afternoon. I was hoping to get a nap in between my workout and the party but that didn’t happen. So I was a bit tired and run down. But it seemed like a lot of people there were feeling a bit low-key too so a lot of the time we were sitting around and talking. There was so much catching up to do at the party and we got the time to do that.

As with all of the parties that Marie and Chris do, I had the best time! They put so much effort into their parties and making sure that we all have so much fun. And we all do! I think their next party will be New Years Eve and I’m already looking forward to it!

Welcome To Hell (or Pushing Myself Even More)

This past week of workouts was the beginning of Hell Week. Today is actually the last Hell Week workout for me so I can earn my free shirt, but I did 4 of the 5 workouts I need to earn that shirt this past week. And because Hell Week was going from Tuesday to Tuesday, I ended up doing my first ever 5 workout week in order to get in the workouts I needed!

Monday was my only non-Hell Week workout. It was a mix of power and strength and it was a 3 group class. Because I knew that I’d be doing 4 Hell Week workouts that week and this was the beginning of 3 workouts in a row, I knew it was in my best interest to walk all the treadmill work. We had 2 blocks on the treadmill. The first block was longer pushes that I did at 6, 8, and 10% incline. The second block started with 30 second intervals and ended with 45 second intervals. But that second block was a bit tough so I ended up doing everything at 6% incline instead of working on my inclines like I did for the first block.

The floor had a very interesting first block. It was one long move that included bicep curls, squats, shoulder presses, and lunges in a fluid motion. So instead of doing a set of each thing before moving on, it was just one long movement. I was surprised that I didn’t find this as difficult as I thought it would be. Something about the order of the movements and continuously going helped me and it felt kind of badass to be doing it! The second block was more of a normal format with squats, row work with weights and straps, and mountain climbers. And on the rower the first block was 500 meter rows with lunges between each set and the second block was 250 meter rows were we worked on stroke counts.

Tuesday was day 1 of Hell Week and the name of the workout was Don’t Fear The Burpees. While the burpees were bad, it seems like the rower is what I needed to be scared of that day. I had run into one of my coaches in the parking garage before the workout and he recommended that I start on the rower instead of the treadmill for this workout. And I’m so glad I listened. On the rower, we had 3 rounds of 6.5 minute rows for distance. The first 2 rounds were coached where we were told when to do base, push, or all out paces on the rower. And the last round was on our own and just trying to get the best distance possible. Round 1 I got 1335 meters, round 2 I got 1354 meters, and round 3 I got 1372 meters so I was very happy to have made improvement with each endurance row.

After doing all that rowing, I was very nervous about the treadmill workout which had all the burpees in it. My legs felt like jello and I knew that I had to walk on the treadmill. The fact that I walked at my normal power walking speed was a victory enough for me because I was feeling so tired. The treadmill segments were all pretty short and after each segment we headed to the floor to work on burpees. There were 4 types of burpees we had to do and each round we did more of each type. I only made it to the third round because I was taking a lot of breaks. But I was still glad I did the rowing first because I don’t think I would have done any better if I had done things in the opposite order.

Wednesday’s Hell Week workout was called Don’t Breathe. This was originally going to be another walking day for me since this was my 3rd workout in a row, but as soon as I saw what the workout would be I decided to work on running. The first block on the treadmill was 8 rounds of 30 second all out paces followed by 30 second walking recovery. I was able to do all 8 of those at 5mph. The next block was 5 rounds of 45 second all out paces followed by 45 second walking recovery. And the last block was 3 rounds of 1 minute all out paces with 1 minute of walking recovery. And we ended with a 90 second all out. For the second and third block, I did all the running at my normal push pace of 4.5mph. But to do that much running felt awesome and I was so glad that I was there for that workout!

The floor was 1 long block with progressive work. Every round started with the same 3 things (bicep curls, tricep work, and rows on the straps) and each round we added one more core movement to the end of that. The core work included bicycle crunches, regular crunches, heel taps, and hip dips. Also, each round we had increased the number of reps we had with the first 3 moves of the round. We started at 10 reps and the last round was 25 reps. It didn’t seem too bad in the beginning, but at the end it was very difficult to do 25 bicep curls or rows on the straps. While this wasn’t the hardest Hell Week workout, it was still tough and I pushed myself a bit more than I normally would.

Friday’s workout was called 28 Reps Later. I wanted to run, but I was dealing with a bit of lack of sleep and just wasn’t feeling like I could. The treadmill work was all runs for distance which I usually love for running but this day was just something I had to get through. We had a 3, 4, 5, and 6 minute run for distance and I really didn’t focus too much on the distances I was getting. But I did try to play with both incline and speed with my walking. So when we were doing longer pushes, I would first increase my speed from 3.5 to 3.6mph and the next minute I would bring the speed back down but increase my incline. It was something different from what I normally do and it helped to make the distance runs more interesting since I wasn’t focused on the distance.

The floor work is where the name for the workout came from. We had a slightly different format where we did 28 reps of one thing before going to the rower to do a 280 meter row. Then we’d come back to the floor and do 28 reps of another thing and did the rower. So it felt a bit long since there wasn’t any variety in the floor work between each row, but I tried to break things down in my head so I wasn’t just waiting to get to 28 reps. The moves on the floor includes walk outs to push ups, lunges, side plank crunches, and pop jacks. My rowing wasn’t anything great and I was almost using it as recovery time after doing so many reps on the floor.

And Saturday was my first time having a 5th workout in a week! I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to do it, but I’m so glad I did. I had to take it easy because I was dealing with a bit of hip pain that day, but that was ok because it was a 3 group workout. This one was called Thighday The 13th and I really felt like my thighs were on fire. Every section had 2 blocks and I started on the treadmill. The first block was rounds of 90 second push paces with inclines. The idea was to get to 13%, but I was keeping it at 6 and 8%. And the second block was rounds of 45 seconds at 13% incline and then we went behind our treadmills where we did 13 goblet squats and then 13 normal squats. For this block, I did have the treadmill at 13% since it was only for 45 seconds but I decreased my speed a bit.

On the floor, the first block started with hop overs and then had skier swings, tricep work, and push ups. The second block was mountain climbers, squats, froggers, and lateral raises. I felt pretty good on the floor and it didn’t seem too tough for me, but that could be that I wasn’t feeling as tired from the treadmill work. And the rower was kind of the opposite of the treadmill. The first block was either 130 or 260 meter rows with 13 goblet squats and 13 regular squats after each row. And the second block was 90 second rows for distance. We had 3 rounds of those and I got 315, 325, and 349 meters on those. I was very happy to get better with each row even though I was getting more tired each row.

By the time you are reading this, I’m probably done with my workout today so I got my Hell Week shirt! But to know that I did my first 5 workout week this past week was almost a bigger victory. It wasn’t that long ago that a 4 workout week seemed to be impossible and that is now the norm for me. I don’t think a 5 workout week will become the norm for me, but I’m not saying never. But to prove to myself that I am stronger than I thought I could be is exactly what Hell Week is all about. And to not only do those workouts successfully but to do more workouts in a week than I ever have is the best thing ever!

Stock The Crock (or I Hope This Gets Me Back On Track With Cooking)

As much as I want to be an awesome cook, it’s something that has been very difficult for me to get into. It’s always tough to cook when it’s just for you because you know you’ll have a bunch of leftovers for a while. Also, I hate buying a ton of ingredients for just one meal and it seems like many recipes call for things that I just don’t have at my house all the time. But I’m trying to be better about cooking especially since I can use my slow cooker on days that I’m not going to the gym after I’m done with work.

So when I was offered a chance to get a copy of “Stock The Crock” I immediately said yes!

I’ve gotten a few slow cooker cookbooks since I got my slow cooker, but this is the one I wish I had gotten first! So many of the cookbooks I have involve too many ingredients or they require you to cook things before putting them into the slow cooker (I’ll admit, I’m lazy). But this one has an amazing mix of recipes that are simple and basic (but not boring) and the more involved recipes that I haven’t really been doing yet.

When I was looking through the cookbook, everything looked great to me. But one recipe stood out. It was the recipe for chicken with salsa.

This is a basic recipe, but that’s what caught my attention. This really only requires 2 ingredients; chicken and salsa.

The original recipe called for chicken thighs, but they were much more expensive at the store so I used chicken breasts instead. But what’s awesome about “Stock The Crock” is that there is a section for substitutions at the bottom. There are a bunch of different options for how you can change the recipe to fit different dietary restrictions or tastes. And it gives the directions on how to use those substitutions so you don’t have to worry about what to do.

I’m aware that I’m a bit skittish when it comes to cooking. I’ve tried some recipes that sounded delicious and ended up pretty much going immediately to the trash. But most of the time, that happens when the recipes are too complicated or need me to use ingredients I’m not used to using. But since salsa and chicken are both things I’m familiar with, I was excited to try this recipe.

It couldn’t have been easier. Put the chicken in the slow cooker and cover it with a jar of salsa. Then set it on low for about 4 hours (it was a bit faster with the chicken breasts). Once it’s done, shred the chicken and you can use it however you’d like. I decided to make a bowl with rice, some pico de gallo, cheese, greek yogurt (I use that instead of sour cream in most things) and avocado. It was the perfect dinner bowl!

And I have a ton of leftover chicken to use for more bowls or other things. I might see what else I can do with shredded chicken so I don’t waste any of it.

I’ve said this before, but each time I successfully make something I gain more cooking confidence. I don’t know how long it will take before I feel totally comfortable trying to cook new things from time to time, but I have a feeling that this cookbook is going to be a big part of that journey. Even the more complicated recipes are on the easier side. And if they are too complicated, there are enough modifications I can make to make it something that I can do and not need to buy too much stuff.

But I’ve also been inspired by some of the recipes in the cookbook to try some more ambitious things. I know that you can bake using your slow cooker and there are some recipes that I might want to see if I can do it. And getting this cookbook reminded me of how I should be using my slow cooker more often. I don’t think about using it as often as I should because it always seemed like slow cooker recipes were big deals. But this has reminded me that I can make simple and delicious meals. And this is the perfect way to cook when it’s too hot to think about using any other appliances.

I’m so grateful that I was given a copy of “Stock The Crock” because I have a feeling that I will be using it all the time. I have so many cookbooks that only have one or two recipes that I want to try and they just take up space. But this one has inspired me to try lots of new things and I’m getting excited about trying out each recipe and seeing what becomes new favorites of mine!

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I Hate Complaining About The Heat (or Can It Be Fall Now?)

If you don’t live in LA, you might not know we are going through a pretty bad heat wave right now. It’s hopefully going to end soon, but it’s been miserable. I know that we have had some heat waves in October in the past, but this is much worse than normal. It has been hotter now than it was over the summer when we had heat waves. Just the other day, this was the temperature by my house (where it rarely gets to 100 degrees).

I know that I’m luckier than others. I do have a little window a/c unit that I can use. And my a/c is pretty energy-efficient so when I use it┬ámy electricity bill doesn’t double or triple like some a/c units do for my friends. But even though it isn’t expensive to run, I try to limit how often I run it because I don’t want to get dependent on it and use it more than I can afford. But it’s nice to now that I have it there so that I’m not dealing with nights where it is still over 90 degrees inside my house when I’m trying to sleep.

Over the past few days, I’ve had just fans on for the first part of the day and then when I get home from a workout or whatever I did that afternoon I have to run my a/c until I go to bed. Then I can usually get my house down to a reasonable temperature to sleep in. But it’s still not fun to be stuck in the heat, especially when it heats up my computer while I’m working too. I haven’t resorted to sitting on ice packs like I did in the past, but I’m getting pretty close to that. I also got these cooling towels over the summer to help me sleep when it was too hot inside my house at nighttime. I have been using those around my neck or on my back while working to keep things more comfortable.

I really hope that it cools down soon. I want to feel more comfortable in my house and I hate what the heat does to my body. I’ve been working hard at getting things back on track but now it’s tough to tell if it’s working or not. All of my clothes feel way too tight on me but I know that my body is swollen from heat because nothing fits including shoes (which isn’t affected by weight loss or gain for me). Fortunately, workout clothes have a lot of stretch in them so I’ve been wearing those a lot. But I want to know that my efforts to get things back to how they should be are working and the best way to tell that is how my clothes feel on me. And having everything feel too tight does mess with my head a bit.

I’m sure it’s annoying to complain about the heat. But honestly that is occupying a lot of my mind right now. There are other things that have been bugging or annoying me, and having it be ridiculously hot doesn’t make things any better. But I am trying to make the best of things right now. I’m grateful for my workouts because there is really great a/c at Orangetheory. And it does motivate me to get out of my house more to relax somewhere else. It’s nice to have something breaking up the day when I have been working from home for 7 hours. I hate staying home all day so a post-work errand or adventure is good and now it has the added bonus of hopefully being a place that is cooler than my house.

I do wonder if the heat is really that bad or my negative attitude about other things is making is worse. Either way, it’s not fun and I keep checking the weather report to see when things will be getting better. If things are accurate, today will be about 20 degrees cooler than yesterday (but it will still be warm) and it will drop another 20 degrees by next week. To have it go down 40 degrees in a week is proof on how hot it is right now!

So for now, I’m just going to keep working and doing what I’m doing since there really isn’t anything that I can do to fix this. And before I know it, I hope that I’ll be complaining about how cold it is. Although I do prefer that sometimes since I can always add more clothes to warm up.

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This Might Be A Breakthrough For Me (or Trying To Believe I’m Not Unloveable)

I’ve talked about how in my past I’ve had someone who told me how I was unloveable. They tried to convince me that nobody would ever want to be with me and that anyone who claims to love me is lying to get something out of me. They tried to tell me how my friends didn’t love me and that my family was embarrassed by me. They told me the only way to change this was to stop being fat because being fat was being a 3rd class citizen. This didn’t cause my eating disorder (I had that for years before this conversation) but it didn’t help either.

As much as I wanted to not believe what they told me, I couldn’t get the idea of being unloveable out of my head. And the fact that I had really bad luck dating reinforced this and made me believe it more. I have been cheated on several times and that made me think that I wasn’t worthy of being the only person that someone wants to be with. I have tolerated not being treated the way I should be treated. And I allowed this to happy to me because I really did think that I wasn’t worthy of something better.

I know that I am worthy and lovable but it’s tough to believe that sometimes. Even with all the luck I’ve had lately with online dating, I still don’t believe that maybe someone will like me for me right now. And because of that, I have noticed that I am putting up with things that I shouldn’t have to. I am trying to be more open-minded about things, but being open-minded doesn’t have to mean lowering my standards. And I have noticed lately that I’ve been tolerating things I shouldn’t have to and I don’t want to put up with that anymore.

There is one particular guy that I’ve been seeing very casually for a little while. I hadn’t mentioned it really on here because we weren’t serious and I was still going out with other guys since I didn’t know where this would be going. I’m not a fan of casual dating because I like to know what is happening, but again I’ve been trying to be open-minded and didn’t feel like I needed to rush or push things. So we had been seeing each other on and off for a little while and it was going fine for a while.

But then things changed. He seemed to be flaking on me and then reappearing like nothing happened. I think if you are texting someone every day for a while and then you don’t text for a week or two you should probably apologize. But he didn’t and I didn’t want to push anything so I never really asked about it. I gave him another chance and he did it again. And again I thought that maybe I would give him another chance because I didn’t want to end something that was fun.

I’ve never been the person to end a relationship. Even when I was cheated on, it was more of a mutual decision than me ending things. And I’m sure that a part of the reason why I’ve never been the person to end things is because I’m terrified that the person I’m going to end things with is the last person who would want me. I don’t want to end something and risk being alone the rest of my life. I know how crazy that sounds, but that’s really how I was thinking.

But with this guy, I knew that I was pretty much done with him. I understand casual dating doesn’t mean you hear from them every day, but that doesn’t mean you can be a flake or fail to follow through with plans you have been making. So I decided to end things with him. But even though I knew that is what I wanted to do, I couldn’t get the courage to do it. I didn’t want to just send a random text to him saying that I thought we should both move on. So I waited for him to send me another text so I would have something to reply to.

It took about a week between when I had decided I wanted to text him and when he texted me next. And he texted me to ask what I was up to for the weekend and I was honest. I told him that I had fun seeing him but that I thought that this thing had run its course and ended. I was shaking when I sent the text because I couldn’t get the voices out of my head. But when he texted me back, I knew it was the right choice. Because his text back to me was something about how he was busy watching football. Not really the response I was expecting and I don’t think he actually looked at what I sent to him. About 3 hours after he responded, he responded again asking what I was doing for the weekend. And I sent my text back to him saying how I thought we shouldn’t see each other again. That was a few days ago and I haven’t gotten another text from him.

I still feel terrified that I will never find another guy to go out with, but I’m trying to keep those thoughts quiet compared to what I know is true. I am lovable and I will find someone who treats me the way I deserve to be treated. I don’t have to tolerate something that isn’t right because of a fear of being alone.

I really feel like this was a huge breakthrough in my life to prove that I am worthy of things that I want. I don’t have to settle in any sense of my life. And I’m hoping that this breakthrough will have the potential to lead to more breakthroughs in other parts of my life where I know that I haven’t felt worthy before. I need to get that voice out of my head telling me that I don’t deserve things because that was just one person’s opinion of me and not the truth.

Time For A Spa Day (or This Is Exactly What I Needed To Do)

A friend of mine is taking some time off from their job right now and she posted online that they were looking for some fun ways to spend the time off. She was looking for people who work non-traditional hours who maybe wanted to hang out and help her fill her time away from work with awesome stuff. And since I work non-traditional hours, I immediately sent her a message saying that I typically have Mondays free. So we made a plan to get together this week on Monday and it was such an amazing day!

The main reason my friend is taking time away from work is because they have dealt with some medical issues lately and needed to relax and take some time for herself. So I was thinking of some fun things we could do and I remembered that I have a bunch of day passes to Burke Williams from various swag bags! And since my friend lives in the valley we decided to go to the location in Sherman Oaks. So this was the 4th Burke Williams location I’ve been to!

Our plan wasn’t to get any treatments (I don’t have the money for that right now), but having a day pass to the spa is pretty great too. And my friend had never been to a Burke Williams before so I was so excited to share it with her.

We arrived around noon and since we didn’t have any appointments we were able to take our time doing whatever we wanted in the women’s spa section. So after we got changed and into our spa clothes (I just bring a bathing suit with me), we immediately headed to the hot tub for some relaxation. Since it was a weekday, we pretty much had the place to ourselves which was pretty awesome. So we just soaked in the hot tub and enjoyed spa water and the cool wash cloths that they had there.

After a little while, we were getting a bit warm so we went into the misting room which is basically like a cool steam room. It felt so nice to be in there! It was a really hot day (over 100 degrees outside) so being in a nice cool room felt great. I think we were in there the longest. And once we were nice and cool, we went back to where the steam room and sauna were. We decided to skip the steam room and went into the sauna. It was so hot (we joked how it felt similar to what it felt like outside) so we only lasted in there for a few minutes.

Then it was back to the hot tub for some more soaking before we decided we were ready to leave. We were there for over an hour which is a pretty decent amount of time to sit and relax. We ended up in the sauna one more time because we used it as a way to dry off after rinsing off (I took a shower so I wouldn’t smell like chlorine). It was a really smart idea and I was able to get my bathing suit much drier than I would have without the sauna.

After our spa time, we were both feeling a bit hungry. And the mall that Burke Williams is located in also has a Cheesecake Factory so we decided to stop there for a late lunch.

We didn’t get any cheesecake, but the food is still good. I got my usual salad that I almost always get there and it felt like the perfect post-spa meal. And getting time to hang out with an awesome friend and just be silly and gossip was exactly what I needed to do. Things have been a bit more stressful for me than I would like and I know that a lot of that stress is coming from me. But having an afternoon where the focus was on just relaxing really helped. I felt so separated from my regular life and stress while we were at the spa and after we left I was happy that the stress didn’t come back the way I thought it might.

While some of my stress is gone, not all of it is. But the good thing about the stress that is left is that I seem to have a bit more clarity on some things. Maybe I just needed a break from my normal life to step away and figure out what I need to do. I’m so glad that my friend needed some fun things to do this week because it gave me the perfect excuse to do a fun thing for myself and not feel any guilt about it. I was being lazy and relaxing at the spa, but I was also hanging out with an awesome friend and feeling like I was taking time for myself without worrying if I should be doing it or not.

I’ve got a few more spa passes left, so I’m hoping that I’ll be able to make it to the spa again soon. And I want to get another facial from my friend Michelle so that would be an opportunity to go to the spa but not have to use one of my passes. I don’t know how soon I’ll be able to make it back, but it’s something in my head now that I know I need to do more often for my mental health.

Feeling More Back To Normal (or A Good Week Of Hell Week Prep)

After having weird workout weeks the past few weeks, I’m happy that this past week was almost back to normal for me. I’m finally feeling almost better from this cold that I’ve had for a few weeks and I was able to push myself more in my workouts. It wasn’t always back to what I know I can do, but it was much more normal. And that’s good because this week is going to be a crazy workout week (but more on that in next week’s post).

Monday’s workout was a power workout. Normally I would work on my running, but I wasn’t feeling ready to get back to running that day. But I was finally back at my normal treadmill speed for power walking. It still felt a bit fast to be back at that speed, but it was something I could do for the shorter segments that we had on the treadmill. Everything on the treadmill was a push pace to an all out pace and the longest segment was 2 minutes total. All of the all out paces were 30 seconds long and the push paces varied. While I wished I had been able to run, I was just so happy to be back at my normal treadmill speed.

The floor work was 2 blocks. The first block was push ups, chest presses, and single arm snatches. And the second block was pull ups on the straps, skaters, plank work, and crunches. Most of the floor work was uneventful for me (which was actually a good thing because it meant I was back to normal), but my skaters were significantly better than they ever have been. I had much better balance than I could remember and I was able to jump to the side further. I have no idea how that got better, but it was pretty exciting. And on the rower we had 2 blocks. The first block was decreasing rows with squats between each round and the second block was increasing rows with lunges between each round.

Wednesday was the workout that made me feel the most like myself this past week. It was an endurance run/row day and the run/row started with a 1 mile run. I know that I’ve run for a mile without stopping before, but I hadn’t really done any running for a few weeks so I didn’t want to push it that much. But I still wanted to push myself so I decided to go for longer intervals that I normally do. I did 3 minutes of running and then 1 minute of walking. Sometimes the 3 minutes were tough to get through, but I just tried to zone out and not think about it too much. I increased the speed for the last minute because I really wanted to see how fast I could get the mile done in. I had a goal originally of just being under 14 minutes, but I ended up beating that by quite a bit.

It wasn’t my best mile time, but it was one of the better ones I’ve had. After the mile run, I went to the rower for a 400 meter row. Then I was back on the treadmill where I was going to do the rest of the run segments as a power walk. I was only partially through that run segment when time was called to switch to the floor. I know that I would have gotten further through the run/row if I had power walked the first segment (it would have only been .5 miles instead of a full mile), but knowing that I was able to run like that again was worth the limited run/row work I did.

The floor was 3 blocks that all had a focus on shoulder work. That was nice after my legs were feeling pretty tired from the run/row. The first block was front raises, triceps, and biceps on the straps. The second block was ground to press with weights, plank leg raises, and tricep work on the straps. And the last block was strap Ys, strap roll outs, and crunches.

Friday was a power day, but it felt like an endurance day to me. So I didn’t do any running on the treadmill even though I probably could have done some. The treadmill work had 3 blocks. The first block and second block were similar with a 3 minute push pace to an all out pace plus a stand alone all out pace. Because it was a longer push to all out pace, I knew walking would be the best option for me. But again I was back to my normal treadmill speed and inclines so I was happy with that compared to the slow treadmill work I had been doing the week before. The last block on the treadmill was all shorter push to all out paces and I probably should have tried to run those. Something was holding me back, but I think it was just a mental block.

On the floor, we had a mix of floor work and rowing. The first block was on the floor and had goblet squats and single arm swings. Most of the time I will do both of those moves with a 20lb weight, but this time I pushed myself and used a 25lb weight. The second block was on the rowers where we had 200 meter rows with squats using the medicine ball in between each row. The goal was to get faster each time we rowed, and I managed to take about a second off each time I did a 200 meter row. And the last block was strap rows, squats, and plank work. While I left that workout regretting not working on my running, using heavier weights made up for that in my mind.

And I made it to my Saturday workout so I was back to my 4 workout week! This workout was a mix of endurance, strength, and power. I started on the treadmill where we had 2 blocks. The first block had a 3 minute push pace, a 90 second push pace, and a 30 second all out pace. I ended up walking all of these because I was feeling a bit off when I started the workout. Fortunately, by the second treadmill block I was feeling more like myself because it ended up a good block to do some running. For that block we had a 30 second all out pace and after we did that we did frogger squats. After the squats, we went back to the treadmill for another 30 second all out pace but we increased the incline by 1%. In that block, I was able to run a 30 second all out pace at 1%, 2%, 3%, and 4%. I rarely run on inclines but 30 seconds is short enough to feel ok doing it.

After the treadmill, my group moved to the floor. On the floor we started with strap work, lunges with uppercuts using weights, and ab work. And on the next block we had chest presses, triceps, and walk outs to plank jacks. The floor work was a bit tough for me, but I used heavier weights than normal for my chest press and triceps so that might have been making things difficult. And finally I was on the rower where we had decreasing rows with squats between each round and timed rows at the end.

I’m glad that I got back to my 4 workout week. I needed this sense of normalcy back in my life. And it’s still crazy to me to think that having a good workout schedule gives me a sense of normalcy. This week and the beginning of next week will be Hell Week and I’m as ready as I can be for it! But it’s not only Hell Week, this week will be my first attempt at a 5 workout week and next week I will be hitting a milestone workout. But that will all be shared soon.

Making It Through A Tough Week (or I’m Glad I’m Scheduling Some Fun)

While I was finally feeling a bit better this week, it was a tough week for me. I’m still working on getting things back on track. The convention throws me off a bit and then being sick made things worse. I set my monthly challenge this month to be working on cleaning, but things got so much worse when I wasn’t able to do it. It’s been getting overwhelming and I’m trying to not let it get to me.

And this week was a week where I guess some people decided to be extra mean to me. I don’t know what I did to deserve it or if it was deserved, but I take it personally. Usually when customers get angry at me at my day job for not doing something I can’t do, I don’t stress. I can’t override company policies or give out information that I don’t have access to. So when people get upset with me for not doing them, I don’t mind because I know I’m not doing anything wrong. But this week, a customer decided that she was unhappy about something I did (which is a normal thing for us to do) and make a complaint on social media. Fortunately my manager knows what we go through and knows that I didn’t do the things she said I did, but it’s still tough to deal with it. Even though I’ve been working this job for a few years, I’m still in fear of being fired for something. I doubt that will happen, but my mind still goes to that place.

I also dealt with some online dating meanness. One guy did something that isn’t bugging me, but I’ve decided I don’t want to go out with him again so I’m working up my courage to tell him that. But another guy accused me of something that I know I didn’t do and was pretty horrible to me. I talked to a friend after it happened and we both think that I didn’t do anything wrong, but the words this guy screamed at me are still going through my head and I wish that I didn’t have a tiny bit of fear that they are true. I know they aren’t and that this guy has issues that I didn’t know about, but I still hate that I believe that what others say about me is true.

I am focusing on the positives with all the negativity I’ve dealt with. My work situation has been dealt with and I am going to rephrase how I say some things so customers aren’t misunderstanding me. I can see how someone could get the wrong idea if they don’t hear everything that I’m saying so I’m going to make it a bit simpler so that there is not that risk. And with the guys who have treated me badly, I’m just not going to tolerate it. I’m not going to give them another chance because I’m done with dealing with things like what they did. And I know that not putting up with stuff like that is progress. I still deal with low self-esteem, especially when it comes to dating. But I’m starting to believe that I’m worth better than what I have tolerated and that’s good (I bet my therapist would be so proud of me!).

Because this week was a bit of a low point, I’ve been making an effort to add more fun stuff into my life for the next few weeks. I’ve got some fun friend hangouts planned and a few things that I want to do. And I’m making an effort to focus on my happiness checklist stuff to add more happy things into my life. There are a few places where I’ve been slacking that I know will make me feel better and I need to work on doing those more. I’m not going to let this negative week affect me any longer. I’ve dealt with it, I’ve gotten mad about it, and I’m ready to move on. I don’t plan on dwelling on it, which is part of the reason I’m writing about it.

I’ve said that this blog is a bit of therapy for me and that’s exactly what this post is. I’m mad and I can feel my body relax and my mind calm down as I’ve been typing each word. I also like to be honest about my life on here and I don’t want to put up a front. Everything hasn’t been good for me this week and I’m not going to pretend like it was awesome. It kind of sucked, but that’s life. And I’m moving on to what I hope will be an amazing and awesome week next week.

Trivia Night (or An Unexpected Friend Hangout)

Since I’ve been trying to be more involved in SAG-AFTRA events, I’m trying to not say no to things when they fit into my schedule. So when the NextGen Performers committee posted that they’d be doing a trivia night on Tuesday I figured that I should go. I don’t know if I’ve ever gone to an organized trivia night before but it sounded fun. I tried to get some friends to come with me, but nobody seemed to be able to so I planned on just being there on my own.

But right after I arrived, my friend Rayshell walked in! I hadn’t texted her since she lives on the other side of town and usually can’t come over to my side of town after work, but she heard about the trivia night and also wants to be more involved in the union so she made the effort to go. It was so exciting to see each other there when we weren’t expecting it!

And I’m glad she was there (and had a friend with her) because it turned out that this trivia night was a team event. We ended up with a group of 4 and named our group The Misfits. There were lots of really clever names, but we were rushed to come up with a name because we missed that part of the instructions so we didn’t have any funny puns with ours.

At first, the trivia night seemed a bit complicated but I think that’s because we missed some of the instructions. But we picked up the idea pretty quickly. There were 4 rounds that each had 4 questions plus a bonus question. You bet a certain number of points for each question based on how you feel about your answer. And in the first round, we got all the questions right and were in 2nd place!

But after that amazing first round, we hit a slump. Rounds 2 and 3 didn’t go that great for us but it seemed like other groups were struggling too. And after the last round but before the last bonus question, we were all updated on how the scores looked. We were pretty close to the middle of the pack and the last bonus question was one where you could bet up to 20 points, but you risked losing those points if you got the answer wrong.

We figured we had nothing to lose so we bet 20 points and tried hard to think of the answer for the last bonus question. The question was which movie was the only one where Harrison Ford was nominated for an Oscar. All of us immediately thought “The Fugitive” but we weren’t rushing to answer. But then one member of our group remembered that he was in the movie “Witness” and that was probably the answer. So we put that down, turned our answer in, and hoped for the best.

Once everything was done, the MC was announcing the scores starting with last place. Once he got through half the groups we were so excited to know we were in the top half of the groups. Then he announced the 3rd place winner and that still wasn’t us so we knew we were in the top 2! We couldn’t believe it, but somehow we came back from the middle to end up in second place!

There was a basket of prizes to choose from and I got a SAG-AFTRA key chain. A lot of the stuff in the basket was similar to what we got in our swag bags at the convention so I didn’t really care too much on what I got. But just knowing that we got second place was awesome enough for me! I really wasn’t thinking we’d do that well and I think the entire group was shocked when we realized that we were in the top 2.

Even though winning second place in trivia was amazing, what was even better was getting to hang out with Rayshell again. Neither of us knew the other would be there, but fortunately there was a lot of downtime between trivia questions for us to catch up. It was like one of our happy hour hangouts! And this time there was free food since the NextGen Performers events have free food (actors always love free stuff!). We will still do another happy hour hangout soon, but at least we won’t feel as guilty about how much time will pass since we got to see each other this week.

After trivia was done, I had to get home. I’m still getting over being sick and I wanted to get home to get some sleep. But most people were leaving once the winners were announced. This mixer was more of a trivia night than a hangout night, but that was ok with me. It was something new for me and I had a great time. And even though it wasn’t the most actor related event, it was still a great night out with my union friends and that is always a win for me.

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Tumor Update Time! (or Guess I Won’t Have Another Of These For A While)

As I mentioned in my post about getting my most recent MRI, I already knew that my liver tumors had shrunk again. That’s awesome news and I was so happy to hear that since if the tumors had grown or stayed the same I might have needed surgery. While I was mentally prepared for surgery since I thought I was having it earlier this year, I really don’t want any surgeries if I can help it. But even though I already had that good news, I didn’t know too much about what was happening which is why I met with my liver surgeon this week.

I actually hadn’t seen my liver surgeon in almost a year. I didn’t realize it had been that long, but the last time I saw him was after my second liver MRI (when we determined what type of tumors I had). After my MRI in April I didn’t see him since we had a phone call instead of me spending money for an appointment. He didn’t have a ton of answers for me then except that we should not do the surgery then because my case is pretty unique. So I was happy to see my surgeon again to discuss the plan and see what he thinks is going on.

I seriously have an awesome liver surgeon. I was randomly assigned him after it was discovered there was something happening with my liver, but I couldn’t have picked a better doctor. He totally gets that I want photos of my tumors, sends me the full radiologist report, and doesn’t mind that I always come in with a list of questions. And he talks to me normally (not talking down like some doctors do) and I think he is honestly entertained by my case since I’m so weird. In this past appointment, he said how he read about a case like mine in school but never thought that he’d get a patient with shrinking liver adenomas. I’m happy that he’s excited about what’s happening too.

This appointment was pretty easy. I already knew that the tumors shrank and he knew I’d want a bunch of photos of the screen showing my MRI so he set it up where we could see a side by side comparison. I did some editing since I know not everyone knows where the tumors are in my scans, but as you can see it’s pretty clear that the tumor is significantly smaller than it was a year ago.

In October last year the big tumor was 10cm, in April this year it was about 4cm, and this month it measured at just over 3cm. The smallest tumor is still gone (or too small to be seen on a scan) and the medium tumor is 1cm (it started at 3cm and measured at 1cm in April). My surgeon said that I’m in a pretty good spot now. He doesn’t recommend surgery for me since the tumor is small enough to not be a risk for me and the placement of it now has improved. There are still risks of it growing if I am pregnant one day, but he said that he isn’t worried about it.

We discussed options to get rid of it. There are some less invasive options than surgery, but because of the placement of my tumor they aren’t things I can do. My tumor is pressed against my stomach so anything like radiation or burning the tumor would risk injuring my stomach. The risks of those procedures outweighs the benefit of taking out the tumor. But we did talk about how there is a chance I’ll still need my gallbladder out one day and he said we could easily do the tumor removal at the same time. So now I know that whatever comes first (needing the tumor out or my gallbladder out) will also make the other surgery happen at the same time. I kind of like the idea of a 2 for 1 surgery.

We also discussed things for my future. Pregnancy is no longer as risky for me as it was when the tumors were larger and I pretty much knew that already. But in the past my surgeon mentioned that fertility treatments and hormone replacement therapies would not be an option for me because of the tumors. But this time, he said since it would be such a small procedure to take the tumor out, if I needed either of those one day I could just have the surgery to take out the tumor and then I could do them. I was not expecting that and it actually was a relief to hear that. I hope that I don’t need fertility treatments, but I’m aware of how many of my friends have issues getting pregnant (and I’m not getting any younger) so it’s nice to know that is an option if I need it. And I know that many women really have relief from menopause from hormone replacement therapy so it’s good to know that could be something I could use if I need it.

Besides discussing those few things, there really wasn’t much else to talk about in my appointment. There is still no medical explanation for why the tumors shrank when they usually don’t. I think it’s my visualization work that is helping do this. But there is nothing that my surgeon can tell me that I need to do or keep doing so my plan is to not really change anything. Since we don’t know what is doing this, I don’t want to change something only to discover that is why things are working.

Since there is no plan to have surgery (at least not until I need my gallbladder out), my surgeon told me that if I didn’t want to do any more follow ups I didn’t have to. While that’s a nice idea, I don’t think I would be able to not be worried about the tumors. So the plan now is that I will do another MRI in a year and we will have another chat about what’s happening. Hopefully the tumors are smaller in a year, but even if they aren’t I know they are an ok size right now.

It was weird enough to not have to do any liver related stuff for 6 months after my surgery was cancelled, but to be able to go a year without anything is even crazier! But I have no reason to worry about anything and now I get to work on hoping to continue to be a medical miracle and hopefully my appointment in a year will go as easily as this one did!

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