Category Archives: Fun Stuff

Just A Normal Workout Week (or Being Ok With Being Ok)

I’ve had amazing workout weeks the past few weeks. Something has kicked in that has helped me reach so many amazing goals. It’s been so great that I’ve been struggling with figuring out what new goals to set for myself. I’m still working out new goals for myself, but this past week of workouts wasn’t anything spectacular. That’s not to say that my workout week was bad, it was just nothing super special. But that fact makes it special because it’s still crazy to me that this is my normal now.

Monday’s workout was a run/row day. I still love run/row days, especially now that my running and rowing are so much better. There were 3 blocks each with 3 runs and 3 rows in them. The first block was all 1 minute all outs at 1, 2, and 3% inclines. I was able to run all of those pretty easily. We all had 150 meter rows between the runs. I did ok on the rowing, but since I was tired from the running it wasn’t close to a PR. The second block was all 45 second all outs at 2, 3, and 4% inclines. Again, I could run all of those pretty easily although the 4% run was getting a bit tough. And between each run we had a 300 meter row. Again, no PR times for me but I was doing pretty ok. And I only made it to the beginning of the  third block which was a 450 meter row. All of my running was at 5.5 mph which is my pretty standard all out pace.

Once I got to the floor, we had 3 blocks each with 3 moves. Since it was an endurance, strength, and power day we had one move representing each element in each block. That was a pretty fun thing to have. We had a lot of rowing type moves using the straps and the weights. We also had skater lunges which have been something I’ve been improving on slowly. I used to always have to put my back foot down, but now I can pretty much do them without ever touching my back foot to the ground. There were also burpees that day which are always a tough one for me, but they didn’t seem as tough as usual for me.

Wednesday’s workout was a mix of strength and endurance and it was a switch day as well. Every block was 10.5 minutes long which seemed pretty great with the switching. The treadmill was pretty much all 90 second push paces with 45 second base paces. But in the first block we were doing our push paces on increasing inclines (1-5%) and in the second block we did decreasing declines (5-1%). For some reason, running was going really smoothly and I wasn’t having much problem running at 5%. It was nice to feel like things were falling into place even if I wasn’t doing anything too crazy.

On the floor, the first block had 4 moves but different numbers of reps. One round was endurance with higher reps and then we repeated the same moves with half the reps to represent strength. For the endurance reps I was using 15 pounds weights and for the strength rounds I was using 20 pound weights. The second block had rowing in it and we had a 300 meter row. This has become such a marker for me in my workouts and I thought maybe I could do it in 59 seconds flat. I ended up doing it in 59.4 which is still great and I had to remind myself that it is still considered an amazing time for me.

Friday’s workout was endurance, strength, and power. I was a bit tired (more about that in tomorrow’s post) and I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to do running. The endurance block on the treadmill was increasing push paces starting at 30 seconds and going up to 90 seconds. I was able to run all of those but it was a bit tough. The strength block was 45 second hill intervals and I knew that I just couldn’t run on the hills that day so I walked that entire block. And the power block was all 90 second intervals with a mix of push to all outs. And again I was able to run all of those.

The floor was also 3 blocks but I wasn’t feeling my best on the floor. I tried to do what I could, but I was just feeling really tired. The first block was chest, shoulder, and abs work. The second block was rowing with froggers. I didn’t go that fast on my rowing but it wasn’t that horrible either. And the final block on the floor was abs and arm work.

Saturday’s workout was an endurance day, but it was a 3G workout so there was only 15 minutes at each section. I started on the treadmill and the entire time we alternated 1 minute or 90 second push paces. Between each push we had a 1 minute base pace. And I did my usual walking for the bases and running at 4.5 mph for the pushes. I originally planned on walking that workout, but for some reason I felt like I should try running. And I’m glad that I did because the running felt really good. Again, it felt pretty smooth to me and very normal and regular to me. It’s such a nice feeling and I’m glad that I had that on a day that I usually look at as a recovery day.

Next for me was the floor work where we had one long block. It was nice to have it as a long block so I didn’t have to worry too much about what I had to do. The floor work was a mix of strap rows, squats, pull overs, chest flys, and mountain climbers. The 15 minutes on the floor seemed to go by really quickly for me.

The last part of Saturday’s workout was the rower which was a bit complicated but really awesome. It started with a series of timed rows and rests. We had a 3 minute row, 1 minute recovery, 90 second row, 45 second recovery, and 45 second row. At the end of those 7 minutes, we were supposed to see how far we rowed. I was able to do about 1300 meters which isn’t that great but I had to remind myself that I had a lot of rest/recovery time in those 7 minutes so I couldn’t think about it as a 7 minute row. After that timed row, we were supposed to take that distance and take it in half and then do that as a row (so for me that was 650 meters). And to end the workout we had a 1 minute wall sit and a plank until time was up. My last monthly challenge was plank work and I’m currently in a wall sit challenge, so I thought it was pretty funny that my workout ended with those.

So like I said, this wasn’t a goal or record-breaking workout week, but I still did a lot of great stuff. And the more normal this feels to me, the better I feel about my fitness journey. I want this to just feel like any other week and not something that I have to keep struggling to push myself to do better. I do want to keep improving, but I don’t want to burn out when I’m not able to break any records.

Going Out Because I Blog (or What Came First?)

I’m getting close to my blog’s 5 year anniversary and that’s so crazy to me! I’m at almost 1300 posts and I’ve been able to be consistent with the posts since I started almost 5 years ago. And maybe it’s because of the upcoming anniversary or my consistency that has made a lot of people come to me recently about my blog and how I do it. It’s funny because I still feel like I need to ask others for advice and now people are coming to me for advice.

I still consider myself a small time blogger since I’m not out doing the crazy events that so many bloggers get invited to. I don’t have thousands of readers every day and I’m not making that much money off of my blog (I think in total I’ve made around $100). But maybe me being a small blogger has made me more approachable? I’m not sure. But because so many people have helped me in my journey, I’m more than happy to help anyone who comes to me. It’s all about paying it forward to me.

The number one thing that people have been asking me is how to start a blog. And my only advice is to just start. I knew I was going to start this blog for a while before I wrote my first post. I was terrified about what to write and if anyone would care to read what I have to say. I’m so glad that you all do care about what I have to say because it helps me feel more confident about putting myself out there. I wish now that I had started it when I got everything set up instead of waiting. The sooner you start blogging the sooner you feel comfortable about blogging.

And the other thing that people ask me about all the time is how I come up with ideas to write about. And this isn’t really an easy one. There are a bunch of days that I have nothing to write about and it takes forever to think of what I could possibly have to say. And when my editorial calendar is empty, I get worried that I won’t know how to fill it. It does make it easier now that I do my fitness recaps on Mondays and I’ve got some ongoing posts like my monthly challenges. But as an example, next week the only post I know I’ll be writing will be my Monday workout recap. I have no clue what I’m going to write about the rest of the week.

But I recently posted something I got through Shine Text that was so relevant about blogging for me.

When I saw that in Shine Text, it got me to reflect on things. But instead of things being for novelty, they are because I know they will make a good blog post. When I get invited to an event and my editorial calendar is empty I feel like I have to go. I know I’ll need something to blog about and going to an event is the perfect way to be inspired. And I’m so lucky that in LA there are so many fun events that I am able to go to. It’s still tough sometimes for me to make the time to go to events, but I’m working on it.

I have become a more social and outgoing person and it is partially because of this blog. But I don’t know if I became more social and then got the courage to blog or if I felt like I had to start blogging and then I had to start finding things to blog about. I’m not sure what came first, but I’m so glad that I have both things in my life.

I’m so much more well-rounded now and I’ve found new things that I love because I took a chance with going to an event. I’ve become really gutsy in trying new things and those new things bring other new things to me. It’s a cycle of awesome for me and I never knew that this would make me so happy.

Coming up on a big blogging anniversary does give me time to reflect on things. But I probably wouldn’t have thought as much about how I’m doing more now if I hadn’t seen that message in Shine Text and if friends hadn’t been asking me about blogging. Sometimes things come your way because you need them. I’ve been in a bit of a blogging slump (sorry in advance for any boring posts in the next week or two) and this just reminded me on how far I’ve come from 5 years ago when I was terrified to write my very first post.

More Thoughts On Online Dating (or Not Letting My Past Dictate My Future)

I know that I just recently wrote about online dating, but I wanted to write about it again. I still think it’s so crazy how I was having no luck with dating for years and now it’s coming much easier to me. I’m still not dating anyone seriously, but I’m having fun meeting new people. And the fact that dating is fun again for me is a novelty that I’m not used to. I’m glad that this is a fun experience for me since it hasn’t been that way before. I’m due for lots of good things in my life and I’m glad that dating is now one of them.

For so long, dating meant putting up with someone who I lowered my standards for. Or dealing with someone who didn’t treat me the way I deserved to be treated. There are many dating regrets I’ve had in the past and I have tried to learn from them. I’ve always assumed that this is due to low self-esteem but never thought too much about it. But I’ve had some dates lately where I am able to see that I don’t want to put up with someone like that so I leave and I couldn’t figure out why I’m able to react like that now when I wasn’t before.

I’ve been doing some soul-searching and having some honest conversations with friends and I think that being open and honest has helped me make the most of this dating adventure. I’m finally realizing things that may have been affecting me and my life without me really knowing about it.

When I was a teenager, there was someone in my life who told me that I was unloveable. They told me that people didn’t care about me and that nobody would ever care about me. They felt this way about me because I was fat. This person was someone who should not have treated me this way, but they did. When this person told me all this, I knew that they were crazy and I tried to ignore it. I didn’t tell anyone else in my life that this happened for years and just tried to put it behind me.

But now that I’m having some more reflection in my life, I think that maybe this person did end up influencing me and my beliefs about myself. Maybe I have been tolerating people who didn’t treat me the way I deserve to be treated because deep down I’m terrified that I’m unloveable. Maybe I’ve clung to something because I’m scared that the guy is the only person who will ever like me. Maybe I have let rejection affect me more because I am afraid that this would be the last guy that I would date. I know that those things aren’t the truth, but it’s tough when there’s something deep down in your subconscious mind.

I’m trying to remember that if one guy rejects me that I like, it doesn’t mean that everything is over. It can feel like that sometimes when I will meet a bunch of people one week and then nobody the next week. But just when I think that I will never match with someone else online, I match with someone and have a fun first date! I’ve never been a big dater before so I’m not used to this pattern. But I’m trying to realize that this is just the way it is, no matter who you are and what you look like.

Even though in the dating world I have to fight this voice in my head saying I might be unloveable, I’m so lucky that I don’t have to fight that voice when it comes to my friends. And having great friends while navigating the online dating world is so important. I sometimes need to rant after a really horrible date or talk to someone about a really great date.

And because I know how important it is to be careful, I have a friend who I send details of who I’m meeting before I meet them. I usually send her their name, phone number, where I’m meeting them, and a screenshot of their profile. I joke that this gives her what she needs in case something happens to me. But I really haven’t felt unsafe on any dates which is good too. In the past, it seemed like my bad dates outweighed the good ones. I don’t know if I’m being picker now or what, but most of my dates are now good ones. And I have met guys who I would like to keep seeing but that just hasn’t happened yet. But “yet” is the key to that sentence and I’m trying to stay hopeful.

I’m sure that having the voice in my head saying that I’m unloveable is part of the problem in my dating life in the past. I just never realized that before and let it keep affecting me. But now that I’m able to do more reflection on myself I’m glad that I have realized this and am now able to make some changes in my attitude so I don’t have to let this voice in my head control things from now on.

Another Weight Loss Challenge (or Getting Back On Track)

This past week, a new weight loss challenge got started at Orangetheory. This challenge is only for the month of June and there aren’t too many requirements for it. Mainly it’s a weigh in at the beginning and end of the month and I have to do a certain number of workouts (it’s either 15 or 16 but I know I’ll get that done). There will be a prize for the winners, but they haven’t announced what that will be yet.

I’ve done a couple of the weight loss challenges at Orangetheory and they are a fun challenge to do. I’ve placed in one of them, but usually I’m not able to do that because it’s based on a percentage of weight loss and I have more weight to work with. But I like that it’s a challenge with everyone supporting each other and that nobody is too competitive. Everyone is excited for everyone else and I am just as happy seeing someone else win as I was when I placed in second.

While my focus right now hasn’t been on weight loss, it should be again. I was trying to lose weight before my liver surgery and I didn’t do as well at that as I had hoped. And after finding out that my surgery was cancelled, I stopped stressing about losing weight and got focused on getting my life back to normal. It was important to get my life back (and I’m honestly so much happier now than I was before), but I need to focus back on my health again. And yes, I’m aware that losing weight can totally be related to getting my life back. It just hasn’t been that way in my mind recently.

I think that my exercising is pretty close to what I need it to be right now. I probably should be doing more on my days off from Orangetheory, but working out 4 times a week is pretty great. My trouble is (and pretty much always has been) food. I hate how hard dealing with food can be for me. I’ve said it before that I wished that my addiction issues were with something that I could avoid every day and not something I had to deal with 3 times a day. But that’s the hand I’ve been dealt and I just have to work with it.

I had lost quite a bit of weight around the time I found out I had the tumors and managed to keep most of it off. But it has slowly been creeping back up on me over the past month or so. I haven’t gained all of it back, so that is a victory for me. But I’m up about 10 pounds from where I was and I want to get back down to that and to continue to lose more. Ideally, I want to get to my goal weight/goal size and stay there. But I also know that this journey isn’t a linear one and can easily have lots of ups and downs. That’s how my journey has been for pretty much my entire life and I have no reason to believe that it would be any different now.

So while I’m doing this weight loss challenge this month at Orangetheory, my main goal isn’t necessarily to win. Winning would be awesome and I’d love it if that happened. But I can’t just compare myself to other people like that. What other people are able to do shouldn’t affect what I can do. And I just need to focus on myself and use this challenge as a personal one. If my personal challenge ends up winning, great. But if it doesn’t I don’t want that to affect how I feel about any weight loss that I have this month.

Hopefully, things will be able to get back on track this month and I will be back down to (or lower than) the weight I was before. I still have some big weight loss goals that I’m trying to accomplish and I know that I have to take baby steps to get there. The first step is to get back to where I was and keep going. I actually reset my weight tracking app to start at what I weigh now so I don’t have to see the recent weight gain. Seeing that gain was actually causing me to feel less motivated and even though the number is the same now, I feel much better about it. I feel like I’m starting fresh and able to kick some butt again.

Maybe in a month I’ll be sharing with you all that I placed in the weight loss challenge. That would be awesome. But to me, what would be even more awesome is if I could tell you all that I lost the weight I gained recently and am still continuing to lose. That is the best thing that I could hope for right now and I really want that to be true.

Celebrating At Orangetheory (or 3 Years Down)

I didn’t realize this going into this past week of workouts, but this week was my 3 year anniversary at Orangetheory! It’s so crazy to think how 3 years ago I had my first class that was so tough I could barely walk the next day. I’ve come so far in those 3 years and I’m just so grateful that I was given the opportunity 3 years ago to try a class. I never thought I could fall in love with a workout so much, but here I am 3 years later loving things more and more and wanting to push myself further and harder.

Monday’s workout was a 3G because it was a holiday. Holiday workouts are always like that, so I was prepared going into class that it would be a 3 group workout. I started on the treadmill and it essentially was a 15 minute run for distance. It really was more like run 1.5 miles, walk, and then run more; but I knew that I couldn’t do 1.5 miles in 15 minutes so I looked at it as 15 minutes for distance. I had never run for 15 minutes before, but I’ve done close to that so I figured I should go for it and see what happens.

I did the first 12 minutes at 4.5 mph and tried to kind of go into my head and just think about anything other than running. I went through my schedule in my head and did some blog post planning and just kept running. Then for the last 3 minutes I was bumping up the speed a little bit each minute just because I wanted to see how far I could get. I didn’t really have a real goal in my head for how far I wanted to go, but I figured 1.125 miles sounded nice to me. And of course because of how stubborn I am, I was able to do more than that and ran the entire 15 minutes without stopping! Sorry for the blurry picture, I was so out of breath at the end of the run!

Next, I went to the rower where we had a 2,000 meter row. We don’t have 2,000 meter rows that often, but I do have them when I do the Dri-Tri so I’ve done them a few times. I was not expecting to PR on the row since my PR was during the Dri-Tri when the rowing was first so I wasn’t tired. All I wanted to do was row the entire time without taking a break. And I wanted to see if I could be under 9 minutes. Those seemed like good goals considering I had just come off of a 15 minute run.

Again, I just tried to get into my head and think of anything other than the rower. I was daydreaming and just trying to keep a steady rhythm on the rower. It was tough not to go really hard at the beginning since I do that a lot on my sprint rowing. But I started slower than I’m used to and was able to stay pretty steady the entire time. I didn’t take a break, did it under 9 minutes, and I was only 12 seconds slower than my PR! That was totally unexpected!

The floor work that day was pretty varied and I focused more on form than anything else since I was so tired from the running and rowing. We had chest presses, deadlifts, pullovers, strap work, and plank work. By the time class was done, I was feeling on top of the world from all the awesome work I did!

Wednesday’s workout was a power day. Every block was 4.5 minutes long so I decided to challenge myself to run everything including my base paces. With the blocks being so short, I would only have to run for 4.5 minutes at a time before having a walking recovery. It would be more running than I’m used to, but the length of each run wouldn’t be too bad. I used my normal push pace speed to be my base pace and only increased the speed about .2 mph to be my push pace. That’s not as much of a difference as you are supposed to have, but I didn’t think I could do much more and still come back down to a run. It wasn’t easy to not have the walks that I’m used to, but this was a good test for me with intervals for 5K training. Maybe I can do 4 minutes running/1 minute walking next time?

The floor was also 4.5 minute blocks and each block had 2 moves in it so it went pretty quickly. We had lots of chest and plank work in those mini-blocks and we had rowing in the last block. It was a 100 meter row and I wanted to see if I could PR. I had thought that my PR at the time was 17.4 seconds so I wanted to beat that. I did the rows in 17.6 and 17.5 seconds and was a bit upset about that. But then when I looked at my rowing record tracking, it looks like my old PR was 17.6 seconds so it looks like I did PR after all! I’m not as good at tracking my rowing records as I am with my treadmill ones (mainly because I don’t always have my phone with me to take photos on the rower) but I’m working on getting better at that so I can focus on those records now too.

Friday’s workout was an endurance day where we didn’t switch between blocks. I didn’t try to do anything too crazy with my running since I had 2 very run heavy days already. The entire workout on the treadmill was basically 90 second pushes with bases in-between. The bases were between 30 seconds and 2 minutes and I did walk then for each one. I kept my pushes at my normal speed but worked really hard to sprint for the all out paces that we had (I got up to 6.7 mph). In the 29 minutes we were on the treadmill I got 1.95 miles done. So I was pretty much at my 2 miles in class target.

The floor work was in 2 blocks and the first block had chest presses and squats which I was able to do with 2 20 pound weights. We also had Spiderman planks and rowing. The rowing was 300 meters and all I wanted to do was be under a minute. My first attempt was 59.7 seconds and my second attempt was 59.2 seconds which was a new PR for me! I’m only able to take a few tenths of a second off of my rowing PRs which is tough for me since I’m used to huge PRs on  the treadmill. But any improvement is a good thing and I’m starting to get used to seeing only minor improvements. The second block was mainly strap work and abs which was a nice break and I was able to slow down my heart rate a bit and just focus on my form.

Saturday’s workout was a strength day and a 3G class. I had decided even before knowing it was a strength day that I would be walking. But it’s always easier for me to walk on strength days. It’s funny how I’m thinking of a day where I only walk as a recovery day compared to even a year ago where my recovery days were on the bike. It’s funny to me how much I’ve changed when I was so sure that I wouldn’t be able to do it.

The treadmill was pretty normal for a strength day. Lots of incline work and I just tried to increase my inclines a bit more than I’m used to. I was doing a lot of my work at 8-12% incline and kept my speed steady at 3.5 mph. I didn’t get my heart rate up as much as I would have liked, but again this was a recovery day and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to do as much as I normally do.

After the treadmill my group went to the rower where we had increasing rows with bicep curls on the rower and lunges off of the rower. The first row was 300 meters and I had no goals in my head. I wasn’t even worried about getting it done in under a minute. It ended up being around 1:06 (I’m not totally sure) but that was fine with me. The bicep curls on the rower were a nice recovery and I was able to go really deep with my lunges because I could steady myself on the water tank of the rower. My next row was 350 meters and I don’t really remember what time I did that in. My last row was 400 meters and I had an idea in my head that I want to be able to do this in 1:30. That’s really fast considering not long ago I was doing 300 meters in 1:30. But since it was my last row I went all out and ended up being pretty close to my goal! Now I’ve got something to work toward and I’m excited to see how long it takes me to get those last few seconds off.

On the floor, we had a longer block that had a lot of things that I was able to do with 20 pounds weights (lunges, deadlifts, single arm thrusters) and we also had a bit of plank work. And on the floor we ended with a 3 minute core blast where we had regular crunches, static crunches, toe reaches, leg lifts, and a 1 minute plank hold. That 1 minute plank hold wasn’t too bad, but I think that’s because I’m used to the super long planks from my last monthly challenge. I’m so happy that I’m seeing the results from that challenge in my workouts.

Overall, another amazing 4 workout week for me. I didn’t know it was my OTF anniversary until Thursday, so I think it’s awesome that I was able to accomplish some great challenges and PRs not even knowing that I was celebrating my time at OTF. I’ve accomplished so much in the past 3 years, and even more in just the past year. And I can’t wait to see what my fitness journey will look like in the next 3 years!

Another Year Of Universal (or Hanging Out With A Little Wizard)

My Universal Studios pass expired a little over a month ago and I wasn’t sure originally when I’d be back. I knew I’d be getting another pass eventually, but I figured I probably wouldn’t start using it until after the summer since the pass level I get isn’t good for the summer. But when my friend Erin mentioned that she and her daughter Olive were going to be there on Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, I decided that I should get my pass sooner than expected.

Even though the pass I get isn’t usually good on weekends, when you have a new pass you can have your first day be any day. So that worked out pretty well for me. We knew that it would be pretty crowded going to the park on a holiday weekend, but we figured that even if we only got one ride in we would be pretty happy.

Olive loves all things Harry Potter, so our first stop had to be the Harry Potter section of the park. Olive has one of the wands that can be used to do spells around that part of the park and she wanted to test out her wizard skills as soon as we got there.

Olive is really cute with all of the wizard stuff. She believes in it (which I loved!) and she practices the various spells so she can do them all when she gets to the park. She can even do them behind her back or with her non-dominant hand!

And since we were in the Harry Potter section, we did the main Harry Potter ride first. Because of the way the seats are on that ride, I have to use the alternative loading area. That’s fine with me (and I’m no longer fat-shamed on that ride) but sometimes it can be a bit of a wait because only one magical bench can be used at a time with the alternative loading. It usually goes pretty quickly, but it seemed to be taking forever for us. We found out later that the ride had broken down and the people who were on it rode it again. But they were given one time front of the line passes because they got stuck and they decided to give one to Olive! That was so sweet of them and then it was our turn to ride.

And somehow we got stuck on the ride too! We were only stuck for maybe 2 minutes and it wasn’t in too bad of a spot (and we weren’t hanging in a weird position). The ride started up again pretty quickly and the rest of the ride was fine. But the employee at the loading area felt bad that we had to wait so long and we got stuck so we got 2 more one time front of the line passes! This was amazing because we knew the lines would be horrible all day and these passes were going to save us so much time!

After the ride, we made a quick stop for lunch and then did the tram tour. I’m sure I’ll be sick of the tram tour eventually, but I do still love it and how silly it is. I enjoy seeing the fun theme park elements of the tour and I really love going past Bates Motel and remembering the good time I had working there during Halloween Horror Nights.

After the tram we headed down the set of escalators to the lower lot to ride some of the rides down there. Erin and Olive haven’t been on any of those rides and Olive decided to try the Jurassic Park water ride. I usually don’t go on it because I don’t like water rides, but it was hot enough out to want to cool down a bit. I think Olive was a bit nervous about how big the drop is on the ride, but she seemed to enjoy all the dinosaurs on it and I promised to warn her when the big drop was going to happen. And when the ride was done, she seemed pretty glad that she tried the ride. And she didn’t get that wet because it seemed like all the water hit me! I’m glad I wore quick drying workout pants but my shirt was dripping with water.

Erin wanted to try the Mummy roller coaster, which I love, and we thought Olive might want to try it too. But after being in line she decided she didn’t want to do it so Erin and I did the kid swap service so I rode first and then she went on it after. It was fun getting to have some time hanging out with Olive and she and I decided to work on planning out what else we wanted to do that day.

And of course, all that Olive wanted to do was the Harry Potter stuff some more. That was fine with me so we headed back up the escalators to go back to the upper lot. We rode the Harry Potter ride one more time (we didn’t get stuck this time) and Olive did some more spells around the park. And since it was warm out, we made a stop to get frozen Butterbeer, which is one of my favorite treats at Universal.

We just walked around enjoying our drinks and I was glad that the park wasn’t nearly as crowded as I was afraid it would be. Of course, having the front of the line passes helped a lot too. But it was a gorgeous day out and it could have been much worse with the combination of the holiday weekend and the nice weather.

Olive had been saving money to afford some glasses (I don’t know Harry Potter stuff too well but I guess this is a big deal for a character she loves) so we did some souvenir shopping to end our day. Olive seemed so excited that she got exactly what she wanted and that she was able to pay with the money that she had been saving.

After shopping, it was time for me to head home so I could do some of my normal Sunday chores (like laundry). I’m so glad that Erin and Olive invited me to join them at Universal that day. Even though I had been recently, this was the first time I had been with a kid in a very long time. I think the last time I was there with a kid was when I went with Olive which was almost 7 years ago! It’s so fun seeing a theme park through a kid’s eyes and I hope that I get to go with Olive again soon!

Another Monthly Challenge Down (or The Prosperous Heart)

A new month brings the end to one monthly challenge and the start to a new one! I’ll admit that last month’s challenge was much more challenging than I thought it would be, but I’m glad that I got through it.

I originally wanted to do the plank challenge to help connect myself to my body again. It’s been weird feeling so disconnected and I had high hopes that this would help bring things back to normal. And this challenge didn’t do that at all. Sometimes, it almost made things worse because I was comparing myself to how I could do planks 10 years ago and the lack of core strength that I have now.

But even with this challenge not doing that, I finally do feel more connected to my body again. It had nothing to do with the challenge, but through just getting back to life I feel more like me again. I think I needed this challenge to force me to work on connecting with my body again, it just wasn’t the thing that did it. But having something push me to work on it was good. I might try another one of the fitness challenges in the app, but I’m not as concerned about doing them as I was before. But I’m glad that I tried and that I made it through.

And for this month’s challenge, I’m actually going to do something that I started earlier this week. The membership of the Inside Acting Podcast has done some fun book club type things this year. At the beginning of the year we did the 12 week process of “The Artist’s Way”. I’m glad that I did it with the support of the membership because I’ve never been able to complete the entire 12 week journey before on my own. I didn’t love the entire process, but I learned a lot and I’m seeing changes in my life because of it.

And this past Sunday, we started our next book within the podcast membership. This time, we are doing another book by Julia Cameron, “The Prosperous Heart”.

There are a lot of the same concepts in both books, including the Morning Pages. I didn’t enjoy the Morning Pages before and I’m not going to stress myself out doing them this time. But this book is much more focused on money and financial things.

I’ve been tracking my budget for a while now using YNAB. Using a budgeting app has been really great for me. Even though I’m still struggling a bit financially, I feel much more in control of things and understand how to pay down my credit card debt now without feeling overwhelmed.

Part of this book is to track every single expense you have. This will be pretty simple for me since I’m already doing it, but I’m going more detailed now and that’s what my monthly challenge will be. I’m not only going to track what I do bank transfers for or when I use my credit card. I’m going to track every single penny that is spent.

A lot of times, I’ll get cash at the beginning of the week and plan on using that for random things. But before I know it the cash is gone and I don’t know where I spent it. Or I don’t know where all the quarters I got for laundry went when it seems like I just went to the bank to get a roll. Some people don’t spend as much when they use cash, but for me using cash has become mindless since I don’t track it in YNAB. I need to stop this because I want to track my money better. And using this as my monthly challenge is a great way for me to get into this habit.

More often than not, my monthly challenges become something I do all the time. So if I take this month to work on tracking my money better, I have a feeling that I will be able to continue to do this and hopefully it will only help me in my money management skills. I know that I’ve been doing a lot of great work with money, especially in the past year or so, but I need to do more and this might be the perfect thing for me to do.

Gospel According To First Squad (or Enjoying A Play Reading)

I am so fortunate that I get to go to a lot of shows in LA. Most of them are with my season tickets to Pantages, but there are a few random shows I buy tickets for. But it’s a rare treat when I get to see a show that a friend is in. Even though I have a ton of actor friends, most of us work in film and tv. I watch them on tv or see them when I go to the movies, but it’s not the same as seeing someone in a live show. But this past weekend, I had the treat of getting to see some friends in a show!

The show was “Gospel According To First Squad” and the hosts of the podcast I work for, Trevor and AJ, were in it. This was a reading of the play, but I had seen this play performed previously. When I saw it before, it was actually the first time that I had met Trevor and AJ in person. I had been listening to the podcast (before I worked for it) and they mentioned doing the show. I got tickets, loved the show, finally met the guys, and soon after that they brought me on as the production coordinator! So it was pretty fun to get to see the show again.

The reading was held at the Kirk Douglas Theater which is pretty close to my house. Since it was a reading with general seating, I got there early because I wasn’t sure what the seating situation would be like. But it ended up being held in the rehearsal space in the theater so it was a nice intimate venue. I found some of the other people who work for the podcast and we all decided to sit together. And since it was a small venue, Trevor and AJ were able to see us all there supporting them right before the show started.

“Gospel According To First Squad” is about the war in Iraq and it’s a pretty serious play. But even though it’s a serious show, there are some fun comedic moments. Some of the cast from when I saw the show years ago were in this reading and some of the cast were new. But it was still such a powerful performance even with all the actors just standing and reading instead of acting it out fully like I had seen before.

Of the group that I was sitting with, I think I was the only one who had seen the show before. Since it had been years since I had seen the show, it felt new to me too. But I do enjoy getting to revisit shows (or books or movies) that I’ve seen before. I always seem to pick up on new things or view it a new way when I’m experiencing it again. There were some moments that shocked me the first time I saw it that didn’t shock me this time, but it was still powerful and I’m so glad that I was able to see the show again. And since it was a reading, it was recorded so others will be able to enjoy it in the future!

After the show was done, there was time to hang out with everyone. I’ve had the chance to see AJ a bit recently because he has been at a few SAG-AFTRA events with me. But it had been a while since I had seen Trevor so it was great to get to catch up in person. If you listen to Inside Acting, you hear them call me out from time to time. It’s usually when they aren’t sure about something and they figure I will know. I’m known for texting them when I’m listening to the podcast (I’m not there when they record the bookends to our interviews) with corrections and stuff. I think they get a bit of a kick out of me doing that and it’s almost a joke between us all now.

I joke online that these guys cause me so much trouble and frustration, but the truth is I love them both so much. Because of them and the podcast, I’ve gotten to do great things and be a part of something that I truly feel passionate about. I’m so grateful that I’ve been the production coordinator for as long as I have been and I can’t wait to see what the future of the podcast brings for us. We’ve got some really great things in the works (including our 300th episode this fall!) and being able to support Trevor and AJ in any way I can makes me so happy. It’s nice that I got the watch them perform because I know it’s something they both love and I hope that I get more opportunities to do so in the future.

Another Netflix Night (or A Comedy Panel)

Recently I wrote about going to the Gilmore Girls panel that Netflix had put on. That was an awesome night and I had so much fun there. I knew that Netflix was doing an entire series of events, but I figured that going to that one was the one chance I was going to have. But last week, I got an email from the SAG-AFTRA Film Society letting me know that I could RSVP for another one!

This time, I was invited to a panel of comedy shows on Netflix. This panel included Alan Yang from “Master of None”, Bill Burr from “F Is For Family”, Chelsea Handler from “Chelsea”, Judd Apatow from “Love”, Marta Kauffman from “Grace and Frankie”, and Victor Fresco from “Santa Clarita Diet”. Even though I don’t watch all these shows (although they have been on my list for a while), I was so excited to go and hear what they had to say!

I had the option to bring a guest with me, but unfortunately none of my friends could make it. I used to attend events like this alone all the time, but I’ve gotten used to having someone with me. But I was solo for the night and that was ok. I was able to get in line pretty early so I figured I’d be able to get a great seat. I wasn’t worried about seeing all the Netflix stuff in the space since I had seen it the time before, so once I got inside I immediately headed to the panel area.

So many of the seats were reserved so it was pretty limited seating. But I found what seemed to be a pretty great seat and was happy to just sit and wait for the panel to start.

Since I was alone, I spent the time waiting for the panel reading and working on my phone. They did have food and drinks like last time, but I wasn’t hungry so I didn’t get anything. But it seemed like the snacks were different and they had some sort of fried chicken thing instead of the hamburgers they had at the other panel.

When it was closer to the time that the panel was going to start, people started to come sit down. I’m lucky I got a seat because it felt like about half the room ended up standing in the back the entire time. But because I was sitting and the seats were on a flat surface, I ended up not really having a view of the stage. The guy in front of me was pretty tall and most of the time I was just staring at the back of his head.

But it’s ok that I couldn’t see anything since I just wanted to listen to the stories that the panel had to share. It’s always so inspiring to hear people talk about projects that they have worked on and what the challenges were that they had to overcome. It makes me feel that I’m doing the right stuff when I hear others who have had the same struggles that I have had too. And I love hearing about how working on a streaming network like Netflix is different from a broadcast or cable network. Streaming is still a newish thing but it’s nice to learn about the common things most shows on streaming networks face.

The entire panel was about an hour-long, but I wished it could have been longer. There were so many people up there and I wished they could have had more time to speak. But it was a nice sample of learning more about each of them and it got me feeling like I need to watch more of those shows on Netflix soon. I’m behind on Netflix shows, but since summer is usually quiet for most tv shows I follow I know that I will be catching up soon enough.

Once the panel was done, I decided to wander around the various setups for the Netflix shows to see if anything was different. Most of the stuff was the same, but some were moved around to different areas of the space so it felt new. And of course, I had to stop by my favorite thing from last time: the bubble wall!

It was a different color this time (last time was more blue) so of course I did a mini-photo shoot in there! I don’t know why I love that bubble wall so much, but it just makes me happy!

It was feeling a bit crowded in the space and it was a bit awkward hanging out in there so I decided to head back home. I know that I should be ok at events like that alone, but it’s not as fun when I don’t have someone enjoying all the cool stuff with me. Hopefully if I get invited to more Netflix events I’ll be able to bring another plus one with me.

But even with not really doing much else beyond sitting and listening to the panel, I have to say that this was another amazing night. I love getting to be a part of events like this and it motivates me more and more each time I get to see people who have had success like I dream of having one day.

Setbacks and Goals (or Still Figuring Out What’s Next)

Last week I wrote about how I’m trying to figure out what is next in my fitness journey. I’ve hit more goals than I ever could have imagined and that has encouraged me to set my goals bigger and better. So many things I’ve done this year were not even an idea in my head a year or two ago. I never imagined a year ago that my running would be where it is now. So while I really do want to have more goals in my workouts, it’s hard to know what to set them at because I don’t know what I can do. But I decided to try this past week to see what I could do to try to get some new goal ideas.

Monday’s workout wasn’t one of my better ones. I’m still having nausea issues now that I have my period again. It’s much better than when I was a teenager (before I went on the pill), but I can get some days where it’s pretty horrible. Fortunately, my OB/GYN prescribed me some anti-nausea meds and those help so much. And I am now packing them in my purse with me for emergencies. But having them in my purse is a new thing and I didn’t think about it on Monday.

My workout on the treadmill started out ok. It was a strength day which meant running on hills. I started running at a lower incline when my nausea hit me hard. It almost took my breath away it was so bad at first. I immediately stopped running and started to walk. I did my inclines as usual, but the nausea was making me need to jump the rails of the treadmill pretty often to catch my breath. And when we were about 27 minutes into the 30 minutes on the treadmill, I remembered that I have my anti-nausea medication in my purse which was in my locker in the lobby. I ran out of class (probably the fastest I’ve ever run), got my purse, took my meds, and hoped the medication would take effect quickly. Most of the time, I feel relief within about 10 minutes and I knew I’d be on the floor then. It’s unfortunate that my treadmill workout had to suffer so much, but hopefully if this happens again to me I’ll remember that I pack my medication.

Once I got to the floor, I was waiting for the medication to kick in but I got to work on the first block right away. It was squats, tricep work, and knee tucks using the ab dolly. I’ve been testing out using the ab dolly on my toes and not my knees and was able to do about half of the knee tucks that way. I still need to work on strengthening my hips to be able to do all the work on my toes, but I’m getting there. On the second block we had lunges, roll outs on the ab dolly, and hip bridges followed by a 300 meter row. I’ve PRed on my 300 meter row recently and figured that feeling the way I felt I probably couldn’t PR again that day. But I still wanted to be under 1 minute (I’m so stubborn!). I worked so hard and felt like I was going to make it, but I did my row in 1:00.0 exactly. It’s a bit frustrating to know how close I was to hitting that goal even when I felt as bad as I did.

Wednesday’s workout went better for me. It was a mix of endurance, strength, and power and I was doing some pretty good running. I was fine with the longer push paces on the endurance block which included a 3 minute and 2 minute push. When we got to the strength block, I was able to run at 2% but after that I decided to walk. And in the power block it was push and all outs and I was able to run them all.

The floor was one long block that had a good mix of things to do. We had squats, hip swings, rowing on the straps, push ups, plank jacks, and ab work. But then there was a rowing component that started with a 1200 meter row. 1200 meters is a pretty long row and I remember back when I couldn’t row that much without taking a break. Back then, my goal was just to try to do it without stopping. Now that I know I can do that I’m working on what time goals I want to have. It used to be that I would do 100 meters every 30 seconds. My power on the rower has been increasing a lot, so I decided I wanted to see how close I could get to 5 minutes for the 1200 meter row. That would have been an average of 25 seconds for each 100 meters and that’s pretty fast for me when I’m doing more than 300 or 400 meters. But to my surprise, I was able to do it in 5:06.2! That’s a lot closer to 5 minutes than I thought I could be!

Friday’s workout was another strength one and I knew going into the workout that I wasn’t going to be able to do a lot of hill running. Fortunately, this workout has some decent flat road work and there was a walking segment built in. Each of the treadmill blocks started with 90 seconds of a push on a flat incline so I could run that. Then there was a 3 part hill climb where runners were supposed to run at 4%, 8%, and then power walk at 12%. I did that as a walk (6%, 8%, and 12%). And each block finished with an all out pace at 4%. 4% was a bit tough for me that day, but I’m glad I challenged myself and did it.

The floor work was 2 blocks and the first block was all work on the bench. We had chest fly, triceps, plank rows using the bench for balance, and hop overs. My hop overs are getting more like hops and less like steps, but there is still a lot of work to do to get those better. I’m not sure what work I need to do to make my hips move better for hopping (or if that just isn’t possible), but it’s something to think about. And the second block on the floor was lunges with bicep curls, strap work, ab work, and then rowing after. My first row was 350 meters and I did it in 1:14.4. That’s pretty good and I’m still thinking of a goal idea for 350 meters. And my second row was 250 meters which I knew I wanted to try to get it under 45 seconds. I did it in 47.4 which is pretty close to my goal!

Saturday’s workout was a power day and it was 3G so I was only at each section of the room for about 15 minutes. I started on the treadmill where we had 3 short blocks. Each block has a longer push followed by a shorter push and an all out. I ran everything except the base paces but I didn’t really do much speed work like I should have done for a power day. I think having this be my 4th workout of the week was making my running a bit slower than normal, but at least I was running.

Next I was on the rowers. The rows were all 200 meter rows followed by a lot of squats (seriously, my butt has been so sore lately from all the squat work!). I know that when I’m going really fast I can do 100 meters in about 17 seconds. So I was thinking and decided that I wanted to set a new goal for my 200 meter row and one day be able to do it in 35 seconds. Usually, I think my 200 meter row takes me about 40 seconds when I’m going fast, but for some reason I felt like I could do much better on Saturday. On my first attempt, I got my row done in 38.7 seconds. My coach was super impressed with me and said she wanted me to try for 38 seconds flat. I told her my 35 second long-term goal and said that I would be beyond excited if I could get it done in 37 seconds in that workout. And for my last row before switching to the floor, I beat my own goal for the day.

36.7 seconds is so close to the goal I have right now for that row! And being able to do that has made me think that I might need to start tracking my rowing and running goals a different way. Right now, I have each time or distance written down in Evernote with a log of how fast I have done it. I put the fastest one on top (with the date) and then move them around as I get faster. But I might want to set something up to help me track what my long-term goals are for those as well. It’s a work in progress and I’m sure that eventually I’ll figure out the best way to work on my new fitness goals.

After the rowing, I was ready for class to be done but I still had the floor work to do. This time it was a mix of lunges, squats, pop jacks, plank work, and sit ups. I was grateful for the sit ups because that gave me some time to lay on the floor and catch my breath a bit. The rowing really took it out of me but I made it through the entire set of floor work just as time was called to end class.

I think considering I had some setbacks this week, I did pretty awesome. I gained some extra motivation for goals in my workouts and really started to think more about my workouts as training with goals than just a workout. I want to start tracking things better than I am right now. This blog is great because I can go back and remember what I did, but I might need to take things to the next level now. I have so much more than I can do, but I won’t know what I can do until I start tracking and pushing myself more.