Category Archives: Tough Stuff

Working On Money (or A Prosperous Heart Update)

I wrote before about how the podcast I work for was going to do the 12 week journey in “The Prosperous Heart”. We just got to the end of the 12 weeks and I figured it was time to do an update.

I’ll admit that I did not follow the 12 weeks as strictly as I did with “The Artist’s Way”. The main thing I did do was the morning pages. I struggled with the morning pages when I did “The Artist’s Way” and I really didn’t enjoy them. They became something that annoyed me at the end of that journey and I really was not enjoying having my mornings start off on such a negative note. So I decided that for me, doing the morning pages wasn’t going to benefit me the way that it should so I didn’t do them.

I know that some people will argue that I didn’t really do the 12 week journey this time if I left out doing the morning pages, but that’s ok with me. I have to do what is right for me and I would rather try to do the journey the best that I can instead of not doing it at all. I did do the weekly reading and the questions at the end of the chapters, so I feel like I did a majority of the journey.

The biggest thing about this 12 week journey is to track every single penny that you spend. Since I already do that with YNAB, I figured it would be pretty easy for me to keep doing it. And fortunately it was pretty easy for me. The only annoying this was with credit card spending. I track it in YNAB and it was a bit weird to have to track it in a second location as well (for “The Prosperous Heart”, I tracked everything in a little notebook). I didn’t like having to do everything twice, but it was a minor issue.

But while I track all my credit card spending, tracking cash was a new thing for me. I was looking forward to seeing how being extra aware of my cash spending would help me out. And for the most part, I got much better about being more cautious on what I was buying. There were a few times I forgot to track my cash spending (mainly laundry money or parking meters), but I would say I tracked all but maybe 10 times I used cash. It’s not perfect, but I’m pretty happy with being close to perfect.

I think that many people in our group weren’t as into this 12 week journey as they were with the other one. Some of us felt like the book didn’t speak to us the same way. Some people felt that the chapters were repetitive and a bit disconnected. It was not easy for us to admit that we didn’t enjoy this journey as much as the other one since we all felt so great after finishing “The Artist’s Way”. But it’s important to admit to yourself when you don’t feel like you are getting what you want out of a book/class/lecture.

We tried to encourage each other to stay on top of the weekly chapters and the lessons, but this time the group online wasn’t as active and sometimes it felt like we were each on our own journeys instead of doing it as a group. It’s not bad to do it alone, but it was different. And I don’t know if I preferred the group version or being a bit more on my own. Each journey was so different because of what was in it, so it’s not easy to compare them to each other.

Now that this is done, I’m going to keep some of the lessons and challenges going but I’m not going to keep all of them. I might continue to track cash spending, but I think just having the extra awareness I have now will be helping me so much. And for credit card spending, I already track that and I have noticed that I haven’t been charging as much stuff as I did before. So it’s nice to know that I did learn something and that I’m not spending as much as I did before. I’m not saving as much as I’d like, but it’s baby steps toward that.

Overall, I’m glad that I took this journey. Even if I didn’t do everything that was supposed to be done, I feel like I have made a change and I’ve learned new things about myself. I’m hoping that I can continue to spend less and focus less on things that cost money and look for things that are free that I like to do. I know that I need to get my credit card debt paid off and I really want to get it done soon. I just need to buckle down and work harder toward that. And hopefully the lessons I learned from “The Prosperous Heart” will help me over the next weeks and months to accomplish that.

Back To More Walking (or The Heat Is Messing Up My Running)

Last week I wrote about how I got back into doing more running and how happy that had made me. I was on such a high from those workouts and really thought that I was getting back to what I was doing before and that more of my workouts would be able to be running based ones. But of course, life never goes that smoothly for me and this past week of workouts ended up being a lot of walking ones. I know that progress is not a straight line, but it’s crazy how I’m really having 2 steps forward 1 step back so often.

Monday’s workout was my best one as far as running goes. It ended up being only a 2 group workout (my Monday workouts are normally 3G ones) and it was a special Orangetheory bingo workout. That meant that we had 3 challenges that we could choose from for cardio and 3 challenges we could choose from for the floor. We didn’t have to get through all of them, but we were encouraged to see how much we could do.

The first cardio challenge I did started with .5 miles on the treadmill. That I was able to run in full and I felt pretty amazing. Then I had a 250 meter row before going back on the treadmill. My body was feeling so exhausted already and I wasn’t able to do the second .5 miles on the treadmill as a run (I did .25 miles at 8% as a walk). It was throwing me off so much that I couldn’t run. But I also know that sometimes when I do something after being on the treadmill and try to go back to the treadmill my hips don’t like it. So I just tried to accept it and move on. To finish this cardio challenge, I had a 500 meter row. I was just heading back to the treadmill when time was called to switch, so I only ended up doing one cardio challenge.

For the floor, I was much more successful. With the 3 challenges, each followed a similar pattern with the first move being 30 reps, the second move was 20 reps, and the third move was 10 reps. These moves includes squats, strap tricep work, burpees, situps, bicep curls, rows on the straps, and plank work. I actually made it through all 3 challenges and was getting ready to start on the bonus round when class finished. I wasn’t expecting to make it through all 3 challenges and I felt pretty great for doing that.

Wednesday’s workout was an endurance day. And going to the workout I was feeling pretty bad. There has been a heat and humidity wave in LA and it’s really been affecting me. But the worst of it is that I’m not sleeping as well as I normally do. And when I toss and turn at night, I can sometimes hurt my hip or make it painful in the morning. And that’s exactly how I felt when I walked into class.

The idea of this workout was to work on increasing our base pace. And I guess that worked out pretty perfectly for me because my base pace is pretty much always a walk (unless it’s a super short block and I’m trying to challenge myself a lot). My normal base pace now is 3.5mph and it can still feel a bit challenging at times for me. But this was a good opportunity to test myself and see what I could do. The treadmill time was 3 blocks and I decided to try to do the entire thing at 3.6mph. All of my push paces were at 6% incline and all my all out paces were at 8%, but I kept my speed at 3.6 the entire time. It wasn’t easy, but it was much easier than I expected it would be considering how I was feeling that day.

On the floor, the first block was squats, hamstring work, and rowing. For the rowing, we had 90 second timed rows and 30 pulls for distance. I didn’t do anything spectacular with either rowing thing, but if I’m being honest I wasn’t really trying either. And the floor ended with squats to hammer curls, hip bridges, and plank work. I was pretty exhausted after class and knew I needed to work on getting more sleep, but the weather wasn’t really letting me do that.

When I got to Friday’s workout, I was having the same hip pain I had on Wednesday and was still dealing with the effects of not sleeping well. But I was in a much better mood because that morning I found out that I won a prize during OTF Bingo! I honestly wasn’t expecting to win because I only had 3 raffle tickets, but I did put them all in the container to win a new blender (because my current blender can’t even blend frozen fruit). So to find out I won the blender totally put me in an amazing mood!

Even though I was in a good mood from finding out I was a winner, that didn’t change the fact that I was going to have to walk during this workout again. And not only was I walking, I wasn’t able to use my faster base pace that I had worked on the other day. It was a mix of endurance, strength, and power and most things were 45 seconds. For endurance it was 45 second intervals, for strength it was 90 second hills, and for power it was 45 second intervals again. I really thought about trying to run during the power block, but I knew that it was for the best for me not to do that. It’s tough to have the heat making things so painful for me, but at least it’s a temporary situation and not that I injured myself.

But because my cardio work wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be, I was pretty tough on myself on the floor. The first block was 45 second timed intervals to go along with the treadmill. We had chest presses, shoulder presses, and double crunches. I used the 20 pound weights for the first two moves, and while that was fine on the chest press it was a bit too tough for the shoulder press. I probably should have gone down to a lighter weight, but I wanted to be tough. The second block was all strap work with Ys, triceps, and lunges to Ys. And the last block was on the rower following the treadmill 45 second intervals.

Saturday’s workout was a 3G one and I’m glad it was that way because I was hurting and pretty tired. I knew I couldn’t take 30 minutes on the treadmill. I started on the treadmill where it was all incline work. Because of the inclines and because I didn’t sleep well again (I’m so ready for this heat wave to be done), I knew I’d be walking the entire time. But I tried to do as much of the work as I could at 3.6mph this time. I wasn’t able to do it the entire time, but it was much more than I thought I’d be able to and I’m really thinking I need to start using that speed as my base pace. Even if I can’t keep that up the entire time I’m on the treadmill, I should start that way and see how it goes.

Next I moved to the floor where we had 2 blocks. The first block had lunges, arm swings, and abs. And the second block had a new move that intrigued me. They are called swing lunges and you basically start with a reverse lunge and when you stand up you swing your back leg forward for a forward lunge. I knew there was no way I could do this unassisted, so I decided to see if I could use the straps for stability. I know my lunges weren’t pretty and I had to pause a lot to get balanced, but I was able to do them! I was so sure that I couldn’t and that the attempt was going to prove that. I’m glad to know that I was wrong and I figured out how to do a new workout move! Also in the second block we had tricep and plank work.

And my workout ended with rowing where I know I was extremely slow. This might have been my slowest rowing all year so far but I finished each row that I could. And in-between each row segment, we had squats to do. Unfortunately the squats made it a bit tough for me to get back on the rower, but again I just took my time and did what I was able to do.

Even though this past week was not as amazing as the week before, I still had some victories. I didn’t let not being able to run get me down as much as it has in the past. I did what I could to make my walking better by working on increasing my speed and I didn’t go easy on myself on the floor. And I didn’t feel like I was upset with myself as much as I had before because I knew that this issue wasn’t something I caused but was a result of the circumstances of the weather. I’m working on figuring out how to sleep better at night so the heat doesn’t affect my workouts this week, but I know that no matter what the heat wave will eventually end and I will get back to normal soon enough.

It’s Like I’m Back At The Beginning (or Muscle Memory Is Weird)

I started my new temporary gig for my old job this week. It’s kind of weird doing this job but I’m so grateful for it. It is commission only so there’s no guarantee that I will make money, but I’m hopeful that I’ll make some sales and it will be extra money that can be used for paying down my debt.

I’m so lucky that this is yet another job that I can do from home. I think originally this was supposed to be something I did from the office, but because I’m working so few hours each day and I’m doing split shifts it wouldn’t make sense if I had to commute back and forth twice a day. But to know that they are letting me work from home is a sign that they remember me from when I worked before and that they trust me.

Even though I’m not going into the office, it’s so crazy how much this reminds me of my old job. I worked for this company when I started this blog. It’s almost creepy how much this job is like my old one. There are plenty of differences and it’s nice being able to work from home, but it still feels so much the same. And it’s crazy to think that it’s been quite a few years since I had worked there and that’s where I was when I started this. I’m not the same person I was back then, but it still has a weird deja vu quality to it and I’m trying to remind myself I’m not the same.

When I started the job, it took a few calls to get back into the groove of making telesales calls. This is different from what I was trying to sell before (back then it was memberships and tickets and now it’s tickets to a one night only gala) and I’m not as familiar with the theater as I was when I worked there before. I don’t need to know about the season since I’m only working for this gala, but I probably should be doing some research so I’m not totally uninformed. And it is still a bit nerve-racking because I haven’t made a sale yet. But I’m sure I will and once I make a sale I’ll feel so much better about this all.

But the weirdest thing for me is how quickly everything came back to me. I haven’t worked in telesales in several years yet I seem to remember everything. We used to code our leads based on if we got a hold of them or what they said. We had different abbreviations and ways of sorting things so we could stay on top of everything. That was necessarily since there were 5 of us making calls and we didn’t want to call someone back who already said they weren’t interested.

But I’m working on my own and can code and organize things however I want. But even from the very first call, it was an automatic response to code my lead the way I used to. I didn’t even think about it before doing it. It was like my body was on autopilot and I didn’t have to do anything to remember. And I even remembered all the various codes we used (I had to use 5 of them on my first day back).

I know that I remember so much from past jobs, but it’s never been like this. I remember so much from when I was a tour guide at WB, but I couldn’t give a tour again. I just remember lots of random facts and stories. I’ve even gotten a bit lost and turned around on the lot when I’ve been there more recently even though that never would have happened when I worked there. And I still remember lots of weird stuff from when I worked in credit card disputes, but I couldn’t probably win a dispute if I tried from the corporate side now (I can still win probably from the customer side).

But to have everything come back to me immediately was just mind-boggling to me. I even texted my old boss to tell him how I was doing this work again and how everything came back to me without me needing to think about anything. He said that muscle memory is a weird thing and I agree. But then I also joked that this information has been taking up space in my brain that could probably be used for more important stuff.

Since this job is only about 6 weeks, I’m probably not going to try to change anything. It’s nice that I don’t have to worry too much about remembering how to do anything and there’s no reason for me to try to do things differently. When I was doing this before, I made lots of sales. All I can hope for is to do the same with this so that I can make enough money to balance out that I will not be getting hourly pay (which was an option for half of the commission rate). It’s only the first week and I can’t be too worried since I know that sometimes it takes time to get the ball rolling on sales.

Even though it feels like it was years ago, I probably need to still remember that I won’t be able to be back to where I was at the end of my time with that job at the beginning of this job. I need to build up my momentum and soon enough it will feel even more like old times.

So Many Birthdays and Anniversaries! (or A Month Of Celebrating And Remembering)

August is a pretty amazing month for me. Obviously it’s amazing since it’s my birthday month and I usually have lots of birthday celebrations. I think the birthday month thing started because growing up I wasn’t always able to celebrate my birthday on my birthday. When I was in school I would be out-of-town a lot on my birthday. I spent multiple years at summer camp on my birthday so I’d celebrate at camp and then have my birthday party when I got back home toward the end of the month. So I think it’s just a continuation of that when I have a birthday month now.

It also is such a full month of other celebrations so it naturally feels like I can continue my celebrations as well. I don’t want to steal the thunder at someone else’s birthday, but if I’m at a birthday party in August and it comes up that I just had a birthday usually people will say happy birthday to me as well. That doesn’t always happen, but it has happened a lot. And because I have so many different friend groups and we are all so busy, having multiple birthday celebrations seems required.

And it’s not just me that we celebrate toward the beginning of this month. In my birthday week we have my parents’ anniversary, my cousin’s birthday, a friend’s birthday, my birthday twin’s birthday, and my acting coach’s birthday. All of those things take place within 5 days. It’s a lot and it can be a bit overwhelming. It’s especially overwhelming when I have to get cards for everyone. I write down each person and what they are celebrating so I don’t forget anyone. And I usually mail all the cards off at the same time to make things as easy for me as possible.

I love getting to celebrate the people in my life. It’s so fun getting to do that and I love picking out the perfect present for people. And I know I’ve talked about this before, but this is also a bit of a tough time for me. My friend and my acting coach have both passed away in the past few years. I don’t get to celebrate them anymore the same way I used to and it can put a bit of a damper on everything. I miss all the birthday jokes we had together because of the back to back birthdays. And it’s not the same without those stupid jokes.

I try to not be sad about not getting to celebrate them anymore. I’m trying to focus on the happy memories I had with them and to celebrate their lives on their birthday. It’s still weird and I’m still getting used to it. I don’t know if it will ever feel normal that they are gone. And there are still times I forgot that either of them passed away. I will have something happen to me and my first thought is to call one of them. I can’t seem to erase their contact information from my phone so it’s still in there. And just as I’m about to look up their number I remember and stop. Fortunately it’s not that way on their birthdays, but it’s still a bit heartbreaking when it happens.

It does take me by surprise when it hits me this hard each year that they have passed away. I keep thinking that I won’t remember or that it won’t affect me. But it’s still a hole in my heart and I can’t forget about it. But that’s probably just a sign of how much I loved them and how important they were to my life. I know that both my friend and my acting coach changed my life for the better and I wouldn’t be the person I am today without one or both of them in my life. And I’d like to think that if they were still around that they would be proud of me.

There is so much I feel like I’m celebrating this year on my birthday. I wish that I had everyone I love who usually celebrates around the same time as me still alive and able to celebrate too. But this is the reality of life and I know that while things might keep getting easier it will never completely go away. I will always remember that I’m not able to celebrate them the same way, but hopefully I’ll be able to focus on celebrating all the fun that I did have with them while they were still alive and can make their birthdays a positive and happy day for me.

My August Challenge (or Being Selfish To Be Happy)

Another month is here! I can’t believe July is over and it’s already my birthday month! And as always, a new month brings the recap of my last month’s challenge and announcing what my challenge will be this month.

Last month, I wanted to work on practicing more mindful breathing. More specifically, I set a reminder to work on breathing and staying calm at 2 of the times that I commonly feel like I want to binge eat. This was a challenge idea I got from therapy and I was curious to see how it would go for me. Doing things like this have been tough for me in the past because I get super focused and forget to do it. Or I get distracted by something else and forget. But having a reminder on my phone does help since I have to dismiss it to make it go away.

While I didn’t always do the 10 slow breaths that I planned on doing, this still was a successful challenge to me. If I was feeling like I wanted to binge, this alarm stopped me and made me think. It didn’t always stop it, but at least I was not in the trance that I’m used to being in when having an episode. I was more aware and even if I didn’t always make the right choice I knew it was my choice. Because this gave me so much more awareness, I will be doing this beyond just last month’s challenge. I think that the benefits will continue each month that I do it and it is a helpful thing for me to have.

But doing challenges beyond the month that they are for brings me to this month’s challenge. I really struggled to figure out what I wanted to do. I’ve added so much to my days between my happiness checklist and all the monthly challenges that I’ve continued to do. I’ve continued almost all the monthly challenges beyond the month that I did them for and that’s a lot of stuff for me to remember to do.

So this month’s challenge isn’t necessarily something I will be doing every day but instead something that I want to have as a focus for the month in general. I want to focus on figuring out what makes me happy and what I want to continue to do. I have to do so much out of obligation or responsibility and I want to make sure all the stuff I add to my life are for fun and not because I feel like I have to because I’ve been doing that for a while.

On my happiness checklist, most things are things that I want to keep on there. They do make me happy and when I haven’t done something for a while I’m reminded to do so. But the ones I’m thinking about taking off are the ones that I do every day and I don’t have to focus on doing. This mainly is about reading and eating disorder recovery research every day. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t read at least a little bit. I read every single night before bed and I read a lot in my down time too. And I do recovery research every day because I read 10 pages of a recovery book every day. While these things make me happy, I think maybe I should add 2 other things to my list that I don’t do every day so I can challenge myself to keep focusing on my happiness.

And with my monthly challenges, most of the time I want to continue doing them when the month is over. But I’ve been noticing that some things are either stressing me out or I’m not doing them. I need to start removing those reminders from my phone so they don’t remind me that I’m not doing something. It can make me mad when I get a reminder to do something that I know I won’t do. But my idea of wanting to try to be perfect has prevented me from just deleting those reminders. I’m going to go through them this month and figure out what I want to keep, what I want to delete, and what I might want to add.

And when I’m figuring out what I want to edit and add, I have to work on being very honest with myself and not worrying about not being perfect or caring what other people think. That’s not easy for me, but that’s why this is a good challenge for me. It’s my birthday month and I want to make this an amazing month! And I think focusing on exactly what makes me happy is the perfect way to make the month the best it can be!

Rethinking Being A Warrior (or Refocusing On My Word For The Year)

I’ve talked about how my word for the year this year is “Warrior“. It’s a strong and powerful word and I’m very glad that I chose it this year. It meant a lot to me to have it as my word at the beginning of the year when I was preparing to have a major surgery. When the surgery was cancelled, I didn’t immediately think about how the word warrior was going to change in my mindset. But recently someone asked me about my warrior bracelet and why I had it.

I explained how it was my word for the year and how I was planning on being a warrior through my surgery, but that was cancelled. They asked me if it was still my word for the year and I told them yes. But later I was thinking about how I want to be a warrior for the rest of this year since I’m not focused on recovering from surgery.

I guess I never really thought about how I should readjust my thoughts for being a warrior. It wasn’t all about my liver, but honestly a majority was about it. And that’s not really something I’m focused on anymore.

I’m still being a warrior for my liver. I’ve got my next scan in the fall and I want my tumors to be even smaller! That’s the best thing I could ask for and I’m doing everything I can (which really isn’t much) to try to make that happen. I’m working on my visualization every day, I’m not drinking since that puts stress on your liver, and I’m now taking some supplements that help with liver health. I know I can’t really fight for my liver to get better, but I think that I’m doing the best that I can to be as close to fighting for my liver now.

And I’m still a warrior in my workouts. I’m trying to run more, but I’ve been having some setbacks lately. I’m lifting heavier weights when I can and I’m trying to not let my mind tell me that my body can’t do something. It’s tough not to be frustrated when I don’t make the progress I think I should be making, but maybe being kind to myself is also being a warrior for myself in a way. But I’m still hoping that this year will be a good year for me making progress in my workouts.

I guess you can also say that I’m being a warrior in online dating. Part of me being a warrior with dating is catching cheaters and calling them out on it (and telling their wives/girlfriends so at least they can find out). That’s not something I would have done before this year. I’ve been the other woman before and I didn’t tell his girlfriend that he was dating me too. I didn’t feel like it was my place to do that and I kind of regret it. But I’m also being a warrior by putting myself out there and trying online dating again when I’ve been burned in the past. It’s not easy doing it, but I do want to find someone and this is one of the few ways I know I can do that.

But all this reflection has made me think about where I’m lacking in trying to be a warrior. As much progress as I’ve made with my eating disorder, I haven’t been fighting as hard as I should have toward recovery. I’ve made some great steps and I know that they are helping me build good habits that I need to make recovery a possibility for me. But I also know where I’ve been slacking and ignoring some warning signs that I need to work harder. I don’t need to get into specifics, but just know that I know I’ve been doing things that aren’t helping me and I haven’t cared enough to try to change those. It isn’t something that I can just turn on or off, but hopefully awareness and admitting that I haven’t been doing great will help get me a bit more on track.

And the other thing that has been less than warrior like is related to something that is a warrior thing. Because I’ve been going full force into online dating, I’ve been prioritizing others over myself. If I’m chatting with a guy and he wants to meet up for a drink or coffee, I’ll rearrange my schedule to make myself available because I’m scared that if I can’t meet him then that he will move on and I will miss my chance. That has happened to me before, but I shouldn’t be in fear of that. If a guy can’t wait a little longer to meet me because I have a busy schedule, then I shouldn’t want to meet him. But I’m still in fear that whoever I meet will be the last person who will like me and I need to get over that.

Every time that I’ve been scared that I will never find someone who wants to go out with me, I meet another guy and that cycle happens again. I don’t get dates as often as I probably would like, but going out with someone every other week or so isn’t that bad. It’s significantly better than what I was doing before I put myself out there. And I need to be more focused on fitting someone into my life instead of rearranging my life to fit someone else.

I don’t know how to phrase it properly, but in essence I need to be a warrior for myself first and foremost. That’s the most important thing. I can be a warrior for myself in fitness and health but I also need to be a warrior for my emotional wellbeing and my life. I don’t have to let someone else’s schedule dictate mine or wait for a text or phone call to find out what the plans will be that night. I don’t want to be the girl sitting at home waiting for the guy to let her know what’s going on. I need to put my life and what I want to do first and hope that I can find someone who will either join me or will fit in. Or at least someone who makes plans with me in advance so I can schedule around it.

It’s going to be tough for me not to prioritize others, but I know that doing that will make me happier. And if I’m happier and doing more of what I want to do instead of waiting for others to make plans with me, that will make me a better person and hopefully someone more fun for a guy to date.

I usually don’t focus this much on if I want to alter how I think of my word of the year in the middle of the year, but I think it was necessary this year. It’s not that the word of the year took a backseat after my surgery cancelled, but I didn’t take the energy I was focusing on getting through the surgery and put it toward other things once that wasn’t needed anymore. Hopefully now I can make the second half of this year even more powerful and more warrior like.

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Another Peak Performance Week (or Some PRs and Some Not-So-PRs)

Another Peak Performance Week is done and to be honest it didn’t quite go the way I thought it would. It seems like most of the time during that week I will PR or come really close to getting a PR on all the challenges. But this week didn’t have that in the cards for me and it’s not easy to accept that. I know so many of my posts about my workouts lately have been how I need to go easier on myself, and this week was another example of that.

Monday’s challenge was the 500 meter row. It was a 3G class and I started on the treadmill. But because I knew the rowing would be after my first treadmill block I took the treadmill pretty easy. Once I got to the rower, I knew that my PR going in to that workout was 1:53.7. My goal in my head was to get it under 1:50 flat. I went pretty hard and fast as soon as I started and fortunately I didn’t seem to gas out until the very end of the row. I tried to not look at the timer on the rower and just focus on the countdown for the meters. And when I got to the last 100 meters I went as hard as I could since I knew it would be done soon. When I got my 500 meters done, I took a look at the timer and was pretty surprised with myself.

I had a feeling I had gotten under 1:50, but I had no idea I had done it that quickly! That’s about 7.5 seconds faster than my old PR which was only done earlier this month! I was not expecting to have such a huge improvement in such a short time frame.

After the rower challenge was done, we were into a more normal 3G workout that had a strength focus. I pretty much overdid it with the rower and was still dealing with a bit of nausea so I walked everything on the treadmill. On the rower, besides having the challenge we had 200 meter sprints with 20 seconds of rest in-between and also a 3 minute row for distance (I didn’t do so great with that since it was at the end of class). And on the floor, we mainly did upper body work but there was a bit of ab work and some squats thrown in there too.

Wednesday’s challenge was the floor rep challenge. I have done this before but I hadn’t looked at what my previous rep counts were before this class. This class had 4 blocks on the treadmill and 4 blocks on the floor and I started on the treadmill. The first treadmill block I was able to do my normal running for the push paces and walking for my base paces. Next on the floor was some lunges, abs, and a 200 meter row. Then I headed back to the treadmill.

I knew that right after this treadmill block I’d be doing the floor challenge so I walked the 4 minutes I was on the treadmill. I didn’t want to get too tired before the floor work and I think most people were taking it easy for that same reason. Then I went to the floor where it was 4 minutes of continuous work. The challenge is that you count how many reps in those 4 minutes you do. It’s 1 minute of squats, 1 minute of push ups, 1 minute of pull ups on the straps, and 1 minute of sit ups.

Since I didn’t know what my old count was, I didn’t worry too much this time on what I wanted to get done. I did 95 reps total in those 4 minutes and felt pretty happy with myself. Then back to the treadmill where I did another 4 minutes of walking before going back to the floor to do the floor challenge again. This time, the exercises were reversed (so sit ups, pull ups, push ups, and squats). During the squats I knew I’d be close to 95 again so at the very end I did 2 really speedy squats and got my count up to 96. All I ever want to do is at least 1 better than what I did before and that’s exactly what I did. But after class I realized that I had done well over 100 reps the last time I had this challenge and I was a bit disappointed that I wasn’t able to do better.

And Friday was the last day of Peak Performance Week and it was the mile challenge day. This is always what I look forward to and fear that I will struggle with. I don’t know how I got it in my head that the mile challenge is such a big deal, but that’s what I think of it. Since I knew I wanted to get it done first, I made sure that I started on the treadmill. I had been trying to plan out how fast I need to go for how long to get a PR. I already knew that I wasn’t going to try to run the entire thing but instead do intervals with really fast sprints.

As soon as we got started, I did my first sprint. I did 1 minute at 6mph followed by 1 minute at 5.5mph. I then walked for a minute to recover at 3.8mph (this is the same pattern I had when I PRed). This worked really well for 2 rounds and then things started to fall apart. I was already having a bad hip day and had only gotten about 3 hours of sleep the night before so my body wasn’t feeling so great. And after my second round I knew that I was overdoing it. I had to jump the rails to take a quick break. Since I didn’t stop my treadmill, this is totally cheating and I’m not happy about it.

For my third round, I reduced the run time and increased my walking because I knew the last round was coming up for me to finish my mile. And I knew that I’d be pretty close to what my old PR time was so I wanted to make sure I went as fast as I possibly could go. I don’t remember the exact speeds I went, but I think I was between 6-6.8mph for the last 90 seconds or so. And once I got my mile done, I stopped my treadmill.

This is exactly what my PR was from before. But since I jumped the rails to catch my breath, it doesn’t really count. But to know that I was able to tie myself isn’t too shabby. I haven’t been doing as much running lately as I had before the last Peak Performance Week and I was dealing with some physical issues this time. So I think to have expected to PR was almost unreasonable even though that’s exactly what I had hoped for.

After the mile challenge, we moved to the floor where we had some arm work and rowing. I was still working on catching my breath and wasn’t feeling so great so I was going pretty slow. But at that point, I didn’t really care what I was doing as long as I kept going in class. After the other group finished their mile challenge, my group was back on the treadmill. I knew I’d be walking because I was in pain and I was actually walking slower than I have in a long time. But I got it done and that’s what counts. We ended class with a block on the floor that included burpees, running man, back extensions, and ab work. I was exhausted after that class but I was glad I survived the 3 days of Peak Performance Week that I set out to do.

Saturday’s workout was back to a normal workout (Peak Performance Week is just Monday-Friday). It was 3G like it normally is on Saturdays for me and it was a mix of strength and power. Since I was still hurting a bit from Friday’s workout, I knew going into the workout that I’d be walking. But I was a bit disappointed when I saw the workout because it would have been a great one to work on my running.

We had 3 blocks at each station and we switched after the first 2 back to back. Every block was 4 minutes long and it was pretty much a 4 minute run for distance on the treadmill. The first block was increasing inclines, the second block was decreasing inclines, and the last block was at a flat incline. I would have loved to work on running for 4 minutes at a time, but my body wasn’t in any shape to run. I knew if I even tried that I would probably end up hurting myself. But I couldn’t just walk and not try for anything extra so I did increase my walking speed each time I was at the treadmill. I felt like this made up for having to walk extra slow the day before after the mile challenge.

On the floor, it was more leg and plank work than anything else and I decided to work on trying to be better with what weights I used. We started with lunges that had shoulder/arm work (front and lateral raises). Normally for lunges I use 15 or 20 pound weights and for those arm moves I use 12 pounds weights. But I decided to split the difference and use 15 pounds weights. It was tough to do the shoulder/arm moves, but since it was only 6 reps I was able to keep it up. It was nice to have something feel like it’s improving since I haven’t really felt that way on the treadmill. We also had decline mountain climbers, Spiderman planks, lateral lunges, and squats.

And on the rower we started with seeing how far we could go in a certain number of pulls on the rower. It started with 25 pulls and went down by 5 each round. Normally I can average 10 meters on each pull, but with the pain in my hips I wasn’t able to get as much power behind my rows as I normally can. I decided to not pay too much attention to the distance since I knew I wouldn’t be happy with what I saw. Another block was 200 meter sprints with froggers in-between each set. Again, I lacked the power I normally have so I didn’t look too much at my time for the row. And the last block was 150 meter sprints with squats in-between the sets. We were supposed to try to squat so low that we touched the rails of the rower, but I couldn’t get that low down. But I’m pretty certain my squats were lower than they probably ever have been.

This was not how I thought Peak Performance Week would go for me, but it wasn’t all bad news. I was able to work on being more patient with myself which is slowly happening for me. I did get some PRs and I learned how to push myself better. And that’s all I can ask for a Peak Performance Week. Now I just want to focus on seeing what gains and improvements I can have before the next challenge week!

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Mixing Up The Workout Week (or Still Working On Being Easy On Myself)

This past week of workouts was another 3 workout week. I originally planned for it to be a 4 workout week, but some plans for Saturday changed that (more on that later this week). But honestly, having it be a 3 workout week was probably for the best since it was another tough workout week. I hate when my body isn’t willing to do what I know it can do and I struggle with not pushing myself to do more than I’m able to do. But this week allowed me to practice being easy on myself and hopefully that will get me ready for this week since it’s Peak Performance Week again!

Monday’s workout was not what I was expecting. First, I arrived at the same time I usually get there at but all the treadmill cards were already gone! It’s pretty rare for me to not get a treadmill card (maybe under 5 times in the 3 years I’ve been working out) so to have to start on a rower was very weird. But while I was preparing for that weirdness, we also found out that the workout was going to be a 3G workout too. That time on Monday may be 3G from now on so that will be different. But maybe that will be a nice since then in a 4 workout week I’ll pretty much have 2 3G and 2 2G workouts each week.

With the 3G workout we had 2 blocks at each station and we switched between each block. On the rower we started with increasing row distances and had squats with medicine balls between each row. And on the second block we had decreasing row distances with shoulder work with the medicine ball between each row. That went pretty well for me even though I wasn’t going that fast and didn’t have times that were close to my PRs. On the floor, it was a mix of upper and lower body work. Between the 2 blocks we had bicep curls, lunges, deadlifts, hip bridges, shoulder work, and back extensions.

But the treadmill is where I really struggled. I can do fine in switch or partner classes so I thought maybe started on the rower would have been ok for me. But I think I’ve realized that the problem comes from not warming up no the treadmill. Maybe my hips need that walking time to get ready to run? I’m not sure but whatever the reason the treadmill was not my friend during class. When I got to the treadmill for the first time, we started with a 2 minute push. I started by running but had to stop within the first 30 seconds. My hips were hurting so badly and I was scared that I would hurt myself if I kept running.

It’s frustrating to not be able to run and it seems like this is happening more and more often. I need to look into more stretching and hip strengthening work because there is something happening that I need to work on. I did everything in that first block as a walk and just tried to think about it as something I had to do to stay healthy and safe. But fortunately the second block had 30 second all out paces so I did run those and felt a bit better about myself. But for this class, I had my lowest calorie burn ever (even lower than when I was on the bike or just starting out). That’s tough to see since I know I worked hard, but again I also know that I tried my best given the pain I was in.

Wednesday ended up being my best workout of the week. It was an endurance day and we didn’t switch between blocks. What we had were 2 different 11 minute distance challenges. Lately when we’ve been doing distance challenges, I just try to run for the entire distance. But I’ve been feeling like I’ve been burning myself out lately and I haven’t been doing a lot of speed training. So I decided to follow the coached program and run for the push paces and walk for the base paces.

The first challenge was decreasing push paces so I tried to bump my push pace up .1 mph each time. And for the second challenge it was increasing push paces. But since I knew what I was able to do with the decreasing push paces, I went even faster than I had with the same time in the first attempt. It wasn’t my fastest running ever, but it was pretty good. My distances aren’t records for me, but I’m still happy that I went further on the second attempt than I did on the first and that I did get my speed training done.

Once I got to the floor, I was a bit tired from the running, but nothing too horrible. The first block on the floor had squats, abs, and lunges and then we had a 2 minute row for distance at the end of the block. The second block was strap lunges/squats, pull ups on the straps, and more lunges. And again a 2 minute row for distance at the end of the block. I was feeling a bit off (my period was starting and I’m still having issues with feeling sick when I have my period) by the end of the floor, but again it was nothing too horrible.

Friday was another off day for me. I knew it was going to be a strength day so I assumed I’d be doing a lot of walking. But within the first 2 minutes of the warm up in class, my nausea took over and I was feeling like I needed to throw up right away. This is exactly how my period was for me as a teenager (and the reason I went on birth control originally to stop my periods) and it’s annoying that I still have the same problems now. Fortunately I didn’t get sick, but I did step out of class to take one of my anti-nausea pills. Most of the time those pills kick in right away, but I don’t know what happened because I never felt better in class. I tried to focus on walking on the inclines the best I could, but I was taking breaks every few minutes to put my head down because I was pretty much dry heaving. I wasn’t feeling so horrible that I didn’t think I could continue with class, but it was pretty bad.

Once I was on the floor, I decided that I was going to take it easy and just do what I could. There were 3 blocks on the floor and the first block was triceps, chest, and squats with burpees. Fortunately most of that didn’t seem to make me feel that nauseous. The next block was squats with shoulder work and then rowing. I wasn’t focused on making my rowing fast or strong, just good form. I did the 400 meter row in just under 2 minutes which really impressed me. I wasn’t expecting to be even close to what I can normally do. The last floor block had arms, strap rowing, and running man work. During that last block I was finally feeling a bit better although still not 100%. I was pretty happy that the workout was done since I knew I just needed to get home to rest.

It’s weird to me how much having my period back affects my workouts. But I guess I should just consider myself lucky that I got a 15 year break from this and only started to have my period again at the end of last year. But I do need to think up a better plan on how to handle the issues I have in my workouts during that time. I don’t want to have to take a week off each month because I feel horrible.

I was originally going to work out on Saturday, but I had some plans change and ended up cancelling that workout (more on that later this week). But it was probably better that I skipped the workout since I was feeling so off. And I know I needed the rest and break time so that I could do the best I can during Peak Performance Week! I’m excited to see what I’m able to do now and can’t wait to report back to you all next week!

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Working On Forgiveness (or Accepting Things As They Are)

Between my recent appointment with my therapist, working on the 12 week journey of “The Prosperous Heart”, the goal setting workshop I attended, and just me thinking things through; I’ve come to a lot of ideas about myself. One of them is how I need to work on mindfulness. I thought I had been working on that, but clearly based on what I’m discovering about myself that is still something I really need and want to work on. That’s a tough one for me to do, but obviously it’s important to me since it has come up for me so much lately.

But I’ve come to another conclusion about myself that I haven’t really had the chance to work on even though it has come up in almost all the same places as figuring out I need to work on mindfulness. And the thing I realized is that I need to work on forgiveness. This isn’t really about forgiving others (although there are a few people who I probably should work through my anger about). This is more about forgiving myself and that’s not an easy thing.

It’s funny how I came to this realization because this week’s chapter in “The Prosperous Heart” is all about forgiveness. I read the chapter after I thought that I wanted to work on it, so it really felt like fate to me. And it got me even more motivated on trying to work out what I want to forgive myself for.

As far as within the work I’m doing for “The Prosperous Heart” I have to be able to forgive myself for not remembering to write down every single expense that I have. I pretty much write down everything, but I realized this week that I had been forgetting to write down the quarters I spend for laundry each week. That’s not a huge deal, but I wanted to do everything right and forgetting to track some cash expenses isn’t part of that plan.

I’m also working on trying to forgive myself for not making the progress I should have been making in my weight loss. I’ve unfortunately gained some weight this past month and that really makes me mad. That progress was really tough to get and to lose it is so frustrating. I know that I can’t be perfect and always lose weight, but to gain weight is something that I still view as unacceptable and it’s not easy for me to realize that to slip up is normal. I want to be able to get back on track, but its hard.

And the latest thing that I’ve been trying to work on forgiving myself about is a bit tough to discuss. To make a long story short, I have come to realize that while I was taking the birth control pill it was changing my personality and repressing certain emotions. Since getting my IUD in I’ve come to find out more about who I really am and part of that is why I’ve been putting myself out there so much with online dating. But I’ve started to wonder that if I had switched from the pill to the IUD sooner (or never went on the pill), maybe my life would have been so different. Past relationships of mine might not have failed. Or a different relationship could have happened. It’s tough not to think about the what ifs, but I can’t help myself.

The dating one has been hitting me the hardest because I’ve been going over so much in my head lately with past relationships and what might have been if I hadn’t had the issues that I now know the pill was causing me to have. It’s so crazy to think that I didn’t realize that I wasn’t my full self for almost 15 years. I don’t want to keep looking back, and that’s why it’s so important to work on forgiveness. I know I don’t have anything to really forgive myself for with past relationships, but I want to forgive myself for the feelings that I’m having about them.

Just like with mindfulness, this is not going to be a fast process. It will take me a while to learn to forgive myself and to just accept things as they are. Hopefully moving forward I won’t be as hard on myself, but I know myself well enough to know that I probably will still be my harshest critic. That’s just who I am and maybe I need to forgive myself for feeling like I need to change that too?

I don’t know what has brought so much reflection on my life lately, but I have to think that it’s a really positive thing. These changes I’m hoping to make can only be for the better and hopefully I will see more positive changes in my life once I’m able to implement these more often.

A Goal Setting Experience (or Mindfulness Seems To Be A Theme)

I’ve been pretty good about setting goals for myself. I set goals each year that I want to be able to accomplish in a year. I also set weekly and monthly goals in my Volt Planner. While goal setting is relatively new to me, I feel like I’ve gone in head first and really have embraced it. I like to have things to try to achieve and while it is frustrating when I don’t make a goal I’m learning how to be ok with that.

So when the podcast I work for was going to do a goal setting workshop, I was so excited to be able to participate! I ended up hosting the event at my house because it is a pretty central location and my living room is a good space to hold events like this. It ended up being a pretty small group, but I think that allowed everyone to get more out of this workshop than they would have if we had more people.

The workshop was based around the idea of the 4 Tendencies that Gretchen Rubin created. There was a quiz to take to help us figure out what type of person we are. Of the 4 Tendencies, I was a pretty even mix of 3 of them (Upholder, Questioner, and Obliger). I don’t know what I was expecting, but I knew that I wasn’t going to be the other type (Rebel). But to be a mix of the other ones was interesting.

I know that some of the reasons I’m a mix is because of my OCD and panic/anxiety disorder along with me wanting to be a perfectionist. But I totally want to look more into these things so I can learn more about each type and see if there is a way I can maximize knowing this to help me do better with my habits and goals for the future. I haven’t really thought about how I could adjust my goal setting process to benefit me so this was really educational for me.

After learning about what type of person we were, the next step was to work on our goals. I’ve already got so many goals for the year and I really didn’t want to cover something that I already am working on. We were advised to try to only set goals for parts of our lives that we need to work on. If we have a goal but are making good progress, we shouldn’t be writing it down since that goal is working.

So for me, the first thing I wanted to do was to write what is working in my life so I can remove my focus from that. The main things that are working for me right now are my day jobs and my exercise. I do have goals for both of those things right now, but I’m doing really great with them so I didn’t need to brainstorm more about it. And once I had that written down I worked on focusing on what I wanted to do.

I got it narrowed down to 3 aspects of my life that I know I want to set goals in. I want to have new goals in my personal relationships, financial life, and my recovery effort. I wrote down several things within each aspect that I know I want to accomplish in the long-term. Most of them are pretty basic, but again it’s always good to write stuff down. I don’t have a lot of variety in what I want to set goals to do, but those few things that I’m focused on aren’t necessarily the easiest.

For personal relationships, that’s about dating and friendships. I want to be more active on both sides. I need to set more plans and not have my relationships just be virtual (FB with my friends and online dating with dating). I want to be ok with being bossy or forceful with trying to make plans. I’ve been ok with being wishy-washy and not trying to get something scheduled. But I don’t want to be ok with that anymore. That’s how I can go months without seeing a friend or spend weeks messaging back and forth with a guy online. I want to be more aware of the relationships that I’m focusing on and not getting as distracted.

For finances, I want to stay aware as well. I’m doing pretty great with that so far but I want to make sure that it continues for a long time. Mindless spending is easy to do (especially with online shopping) and I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to use shopping as a distraction for something else. And hopefully by doing that I will reduce my spending, get my debt more in control, and be in a better place financially.

And for my recovery, it’s a very similar thing. I want to work on being more aware. I want to use what I’ve learned recently in therapy and really work hard and seriously on taking those steps. I don’t want to make excuses for myself and to take responsibility for whatever I chose to do. I don’t want to let my eating disorder rule me. I want to be making choices, even if those choices are bad ones.

After writing down these ideas and 90 day and 6 month goals for each one, I totally noticed a theme. Everything is about being mindful and aware. I don’t know why this has become such an important thing to me now, but clearly it’s something I need to focus on. I don’t feel like I’ve been on auto-pilot, but maybe I have and I just didn’t realize it. Maybe I needed to combination of my appointment with my therapist and this goal setting workshop in the same week to come to this realization.

Whatever brought this realization to me, I’m glad that it’s more obvious than ever on what I want to focus on and what I think I really need to do. Saying that I’ll be more mindful is easy to say but hard to do. But I think that having some action steps and ideas is going to help me get closer to accomplishing this mindfulness now and hopefully things will snowball from there in the right direction.