Category Archives: Tough Stuff

Easing My Way Back Into My Normal Workouts (or Not Being Upset I’m Slow)

I wrote about how recently I likely broke my toe. It’s unfortunate that it happened, but there’s nothing I can do to change that. And I probably pushed myself a bit too much in the beginning of that week of workouts and I’m paying for it now. My toe is getting better, but I realized that I needed to be easier on myself in my workouts. I am back on the treadmill, but I’ve had to decrease my speed (and there is no running happening). And while that it’s ideal for me, at least it’s more than doing nothing.

Monday’s workout was a 3 partner 3 group workout. A lot of times with a partner workout there is just a long block for the entire class. This time, there were 4 blocks that were 10 minutes each. And each of those blocks had a bit of a different format. For the first block, the floor person set the pace by doing squat flys and running man. While the floor person was working the treadmill ran for distance and the rower rowed for distance. In the second block, the treadmill set the pace. I did it as a power walk so I went .1 miles at 6% incline. And while I was doing that the rower rowed for distance and the floor person had a series of things to do. The floor included dumbbell swings, uppercut lunges, strap roll outs, and strap low rows.

The third block was paced by the rower who rowed 400 meters before switching. The treadmill person ran for distance and the floor person continued working on the same moves as the previous block. And for the last block the floor person set the pace with plank reaches and toe touches while the treadmill ran for distance and the rower rowed for distance. For each of the 10 minute blocks, we didn’t reset the rower and the idea was to see how far we could go as a group in 10 minutes. Some groups did well over 2000 meters, but my group averaged about 1800 meters each time. I felt a bit bad that I wasn’t pulling my weight in the group, but I think we were all pretty equal in ability so I tried to feel better about that.

Wednesday’s workout was one that I wasn’t sure would happen. The fires were really bad that day and I didn’t know if I’d be able to make it to Orangetheory. But I decided to try seeing if I could get there (I knew they were still open) and it ended up being the fastest I’ve ever gotten there. I guess most people were staying home and only the crazies like me were on the freeway.

It was a run/row workout with endurance, strength, and power elements. There were 2 blocks in the run/row. The first block was a 600 meter row, a 6 minute run for distance with increasing the inclines every minute, and then another 600 meter row. My row wasn’t too slow but on the treadmill I did have to lower things. I was able to do my normal speed for the first 2 minutes but then I had to lower it and stop increasing the inclines. The second block was a 300 meter row, a 6 minute run for distance with increasing inclines, and another 300 meter row. Again, I started at my normal speed but lowered it after a bit. I also was only increasing the inclines every other minute instead of every minute.

The floor also had 2 blocks. The first block was shoulder work, high row lunges with weights, bicep curls on the straps, and knee tucks. The second block was chest flys, more shoulder work, pop jacks and pikes on the ab dolly. I wasn’t able to do the pop jacks because of my toe so I did weighted goblet squats instead. And I couldn’t do the pikes (my hip and the broken toe prevented those) so I did more knee tucks. I was feeling a bit better about my workout that day and while my toe was still hurting it was less than it had been before so it seemed like progress.

Friday’s workout was an interesting one. I almost always start on the treadmills but there is currently holiday bingo at my studio and one of the squares of bingo is to play equipment card roulette. That means you don’t get to pick where you start and you don’t get to pick the number you start on. My friend Dani had already done it for that class so I did it too and we both started on the rowers. But for some weird reason, everyone in class started on the rowers! It’s usually that everyone wants to start on the treadmills so to have nobody starting there was something I had never seen before. Also, we only had 12 people in class so we ended up being a 1 group class which is also rare.

So I started on the rower for my warmup and then the floor for the first half of class. There were 3 blocks on the floor. The first block was single arm snatches, a lunge low row with weights, and release pull ups. The second block was single arm snatches, swing lunges (which I held on to the straps for support), and ab work. And the last block was 10 strokes on the rower for distance, single arm snatches, 20 strokes on the rower for distance, and push ups. For the distance rows, I was able to do about 115 meters in 10 strokes and 220 meters in 20 strokes so I was pretty happy about that. I know my personal goal is always at least 10 meters a stroke so to do better than that is always good.

Then we went to the treadmills and we worked on inclines. I knew that it was going to be very difficult for me to do all the inclines and my toe was already a bit sore so I took it easy. I did a much lower speed than normal and didn’t do the inclines as high as we were supposed to. I also had to keep taking breaks. My hip doesn’t like doing treadmill work after weights and I also know that my stride is off right now because I’m being careful with my toe. Those combined make treadmill time difficult, but I was just trying to keep reminding myself that I have to start easy again to get back to where I was.

Saturday’s workout was another 3 group one and it was a day full of squats! I started on the treadmill where there weren’t any squats but the entire time we were on the treadmill was one long block! Again, I had to be slow but fortunately I didn’t have to go too high with my inclines. We did have some 3 minute push paces that I did at 6% incline and had to take some breaks. But I was a bit faster than the day before and I think I took fewer breaks than before as well. It’s all progress even if it is slow.

Next I was on the floor where we had lateral raises, Y-raises on the strap, triceps on the strap, and hip work. But between each move we had to do squats. The first time we went through it we had 9 squats in-between everything. The second time we had 12 squats between everything. I was just starting the round where we had 15 squats between everything when time was called for us to move to the rower. And the rower had more squats. We had timed rows with squats in-between. The first round was a 45 second row with 9 squats. Next was a 90 second row with 18 squats. Then it was a 3 minute row with 27 squats. And the last round I did was a 90 second row with 36 squats. The goal was if you got to where you repeated timed rows to do better the second time. I managed to get about 10 meters further the second time so I felt like I ended my workout on a really high note.

I don’t know how much longer my toe is going to be an issue, but I’ve learned from past experience that I need to be patient with myself. If I’m not, I’m at risk for making the injury last longer and I don’t want that. I hate that I set a goal to get back into running and to do better than I had before and then I had this setback. But maybe this is just setting me up for some amazing workouts in 2018!

Southern California Fires (or Some Ways To Help)

Even if you don’t live in Southern California, you’ve probably heard on the news that we have multiple fires happening right now. While wildfires are something that we get from time to time, this time it seems different. Having multiple fires at one time isn’t the norm. But also they seem to be surrounding us.

There is a combination of things that are happening that make things worse. We had a good rain season this past winter so there is more plant life around than there was when the drought was at its worst. But since our summer was hotter than normal the plants all died which left dried plants everywhere to catch on fire. The humidity in the air is lower than normal so the fire risk is higher. And we currently have the Santa Ana winds which are very strong and are blowing the fires and embers into new areas. All of that combined means that the fires are big, tough to fight, and keep moving.

There is a fire up in Ventura County near where my brother and sister-in-law live. My brother was working at his hospital the first day of the fire and things were getting pretty bad then. He hasn’t worked since that day, but the fire continues to get worse and more out of control. Their home should hopefully be fine, but it’s still scary to see the fires getting closer to them.

I have a lot of friends in the valley who are on evacuation watch. Hopefully those fires won’t get into their neighborhoods, but even without there being a fire it is still difficult to breathe. The smoke is pretty thick and the wind doesn’t seem to be clearing it. The smoke and wind are the problems that I’ve been encountering. There is a fire near my gym and that smoke has come over to me. I’ve been trying to stay inside but since my house doesn’t have the best insulation it smelled smokey inside my house.

And I’ve had some family that was evacuated because the fires are in their neighborhood. We are all very hopeful that their house will be fine. There was a fire in that neighborhood about 70 years ago and their house was still standing because it was built out of stucco and not wood. We don’t know when they will be able to go back home to check on their house, but I hope that it is soon so we can find out what their next step is. And we all just want all of the fires to be out so more homes aren’t lost.

But the sad reality of these fires is that there has been loss of property, animals, and some people. And help will be needed because not everyone will be able to rebuild on their own. I read one news story about a family that just closed on the purchase of their house last week and it burned down this week. Hopefully they had some sort of insurance, but insurance doesn’t always cover everything.

There are a couple of ways to help. If you live near an affected area, there may be volunteer opportunities but it seems like a lot of those are filling up quickly. I’ve seen people who are buying bottled water and leaving them near where the firetrucks are so that the firemen fighting the fires have water. But with many disasters the best way to help is with money. Organizations that are set up to help with disaster relief need funds and they will know where to put that money toward.

The Salvation Army is a good place to donate. They’ve been setting up shelters around Southern California and many people in the shelters have no idea when they can go home or if they will even have a home to go back to. And there are so many animals that have needed to be evacuated. Many of these are larger animals like horses that need to be transported to a safe area and that is not cheap. So the Humane Society is accepting donations to help animals affected by the fire. There is also the Southern California Wildfire Relief page through the California Community Foundation. That page has a lot of different places that are providing help and offering information to those looking to find out what is going on.

I don’t know how much longer the fires will be burning, but the relief efforts are going to take a while. There is no quick way to rebuild someone’s life after a fire has taken everything. If you have the ability to donate, please do. I know that is what I will be doing it when I figure out how much extra money I have in my budget this month. I know that there have been so many natural disasters lately and it can seem overwhelming. But hopefully the links that I’ve provided can help you find where to donate so that you can help those affected by the fires happening all around Southern California.

Getting Back To Normal (or Friend Hangouts And Doctor Appointments)

Even though I wasn’t out-of-town that long for Thanksgiving, it still took me out of my routine. And when I got back, it felt like I needed to focus on getting back to normal and doing what I usually do. It’s funny how being away for even a few days can affect me as much as being away for a week. And since I’m not gone that often, it isn’t super easy for me to get back to my old routine. But last week was one where it did seem to work out well for me.

It never hurts to have an outing to a theme park since that is something I do pretty often (and I’m aware how lucky I am to get to do that). But that alone isn’t enough to make me feel normal again. It also didn’t help that last week I didn’t have my normal work schedule until Friday.

But what was surprising that did help was having a doctor appointment. I had to see my dermatologist on Thursday for a follow-up appointment. It was at a new medical office building (which was right by my old work), but having a normal doctor appointment was a nice change for me. I’m so used to crazy doctor appointments (and hopefully those will be very limited now), so having a normal one felt routine. It was an easy appointment and I was out of there pretty quickly, and I’ll be back again in a month for another follow-up (which might be my last one).

And not as surprising was feeling normal after hanging out with a friend who I hadn’t seen in over half a year. She and I just never could make our schedules match so we could meet up. But on Saturday she texted me to see if I happened to be free that night for dinner. Shockingly, I was and we made plans to get dinner and finally catch up!

It was so wonderful to get to have a fun dinner out. I’m so used to seeing her all the time (she used to go to Orangetheory with me) and it’s weird not catching up as often as we used to. The last time we hung out, I still thought I was having surgery. And she had been seeing a new guy and was talking about maybe moving in with him. Now I don’t need my surgery and she is living with her boyfriend (and they are talking about getting engaged!). So much has changed in the months we hadn’t seen each other!

But not only was getting to catch up with a friend an awesome night out, it also made me feel back to normal and connected with my life. I struggle with being over scheduled and under scheduled at the same time. The balance is tough to figure out and it seems like that’s a pretty common struggle. But as with many struggles I have, I think recognizing it as a struggle is one of the ways I can make it better. If I know that I’m having a tough time, I can work on fixing it. I think that’s one of the reasons I have over and under scheduling issues. I see that I’m over scheduled and I cut back, but then I’m under scheduled and add more things in, and the cycle goes around.

But the reality is that this struggle is one of the ways I feel like things are back to normal. I’m used to fighting this fight and it feels routine at this point in my life. I know that with the holidays I’ll be dealing with it more, so I guess I’m just getting an early start to the craziness for me.

A Week Of Walking and Biking (or Getting Through Some Low-Key Workouts)

It seems that whenever I have a really great plan to try to get my workouts back to the progress I am trying to make, something happens that stops me. But at least now, even when things stop me from making progress it doesn’t stop me from doing my workouts. So this past week of workouts ended up being much more low-key and low-impact than I wanted them to be, but I was still there.

Monday’s workout could have potentially been a day I worked on running, but it was a day that had endurance, strength, and power in it and I knew I couldn’t do the endurance or strength portions as a run. The endurance block on the treadmill had a 3 minute push and the strength part was all running on inclines. Between the incline runs, we also had frogger squats which were a nice break after incline work. The floor work was one long block that had low rows on the straps, front raises, squats, hip bridges, and plank work.

And when I got to the rower I finally felt like I could do better than I had in the rest of the workout. We had 2 blocks on the rower and in the first block we had 400 meter rows with squats using weights between each row. But where I really did my best was in the second block where we had timed rows. We started with a 3 minute row and then had a 90 second and 45 second row. The goal was to do more than half of the distance we had done in the row prior. And each of the times I was supposed to do that, I was able to go much further than half of the previous distance.

Wednesday’s workout was an interesting one. On Monday, after I got home from Universal Studios, it seems like I might have broken my toe. I was taking off my shoes and jammed my toe into the leg of my couch. As soon as it happened, I knew it was bad. My vision went white, I was in horrible pain, and my toe was not looking normal. Tuesday I was starting to be able to walk a little bit more on it (I think the damage was to the top of my toe and not the side or bottom), so I decided to try to walk slowly in my workout. It was another endurance, strength, and power workout and I just tried to take it easy. By the end of the treadmill time, I realized that I probably would have been better off using the bike but it was too late.

When I got to the floor, I had to focus on taking some of the pressure off of my toe. The first block on the floor had 400 meter rows with strap reaches and plank rows. I adjusted where the rower strap went on my foot to keep me from pressing off the foot plates with my toe. The second block was squats, shoulder presses, lunges with rowing, and ab work. It was tough to stay on my heels and not my toes, but I did my best. And the last block was squats with 150 meter sprints. By the end of my workout I was feeling a bit more pain in my toe, but it was still feeling better than it did when I hurt it on Monday.

When I got to Friday’s workout, I knew I needed a break from the treadmill. I went on the bike for our endurance day. This workout would have been a good one to work on my running, but it wasn’t meant to be. It was a single block where we had different distances to go with walking recovery. We did everything at our own pace and I tried to stick with the plan for the bike. When I started I thought it would be nice if I could make it to 10 miles on the bike, and that’s exactly what I got to when it was time to switch to the floor.

The floor work was another interesting set up. Everything was timed so we didn’t have to count reps or worry about it. It was 3 rounds of deadlifts, squats to walk out push ups, shoulder raise to lateral raise, side plank rotations, and 2 minute rows. It was nice having it all timed so I could focus on the work, but it was tough. It’s sometimes easier when I know how many more reps I have before changing moves, but this time I just had to try to get through the time and knew that it would be done before I knew it. My rowing wasn’t anything spectacular, but I did row the entire time without stopping each round.

And when I worked out on Saturday, I stuck with the bike again. It was a 3 group workout, but I figured that my toe needed the rest (I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be on the bike, but I’m going to try to go easy on myself). It was an endurance, strength, power day again; but I really didn’t pay too much attention to the workout when I was on the bike. I was dealing with my toe plus some bad nausea so my goal was mainly just to keep moving and not stress about much else. I had to take breaks while on the bike, but for most of the time I was able to go at a slowish pace and just move.

On the floor, we had a progressive workout. Each round started with chest presses and then we added on moves from there. We also had triceps on the straps, low rows with weights, lunges, and abs. I was just getting toward the end of the plan when time was called to switch. I had to take breaks to not feel nauseous which did slow me down a lot. But I got through almost everything so I was proud of myself. And on the rower was where I struggled the most. We started with 3 rounds of 90 seconds for distance. I did ok, but it was not easy to keep rowing for 90 seconds based on how I was feeling. And after that, we had rounds of 200 meter rows with squat work between. I was feeling pretty relieved when the workout ended because I was feeling done.

Obviously I couldn’t predict that I was going to break my toe, but my nausea is something I can plan for. I never know how bad it will be each month, but it comes without fail every month. I need to keep working on how to workout and not let it get to me since I can’t take a week off every month. But having a tough week like this past one was a great training week for pushing through whatever my health circumstances may be.

I Know The Holidays Can Be Tough (or Trying To Give Support To My Friends)

When I was younger, I was diagnosed with depression. At the time I thought that the diagnosis was correct even though no medication was helping me. Now looking back, I’m pretty sure it was a misdiagnosis and my depression was more of a side effect of my eating disorder, panic/anxiety disorder, and mild OCD. But even with it being a misdiagnosis, I understand how helpless things can feel at times. But fortunately for me, I can get myself out of that mindset before things get too bad.

But that’s not the case for several of my friends. I have many friends who have depression and other mental issues that lead to depression. I’ve had friends attempt suicide and have been the person that someone calls in the middle of the night to hear a voice of reason when things seem impossible. I’m more than happy to be that person for my friends because I don’t want to see someone harming themselves because they don’t think anyone cares or can’t get a hold of someone. I sleep with my phone on and next to my bed so I can be available for calls in the middle of my night. I’m fine sacrificing sleep if it helps someone else not do something that cannot be reversed.

Like many other mental health issues, I think depression and suicide are getting more attention in the media and that it is becoming less stigmatized. If you haven’t seen last week’s episode of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” (spoiler alert), the episode is themed about this. I think that this episode was so powerful and that they will continue to be as sensitive about the subject in the coming episodes. But just because something is being discussed publicly more often doesn’t necessarily make it easier for those dealing with it.

I know that depression can hit at any time of the year, but I also know that for some of my friends it can be worse during the holidays. If you are used to being with your family and can’t do that it can be tough. If you are surrounded by happy people and you feel like an outsider, it can be tough. Anything can be a trigger and it doesn’t have to be for a reason or make sense. But when depression hits and you feel like there is no escape it doesn’t matter what else is happening in the world. You just feel like you need out and that isn’t always the right thing to do.

I’m posting this now because I’ve recently had a few friends try to kill themselves. I’m glad that all of them were unsuccessful in their attempts so they are still around and are able to get help. But it’s still hard to think that someone I love that much felt like they were unloved. And no matter how much I try to support them, I know that depression is a personal battle and they have to work on it on their own. But not everyone has the same support that my friends have and I want to make sure that everyone knows where they can get help.

One of the best ways to get help if you feel like there is no other choice is to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

There is someone you can talk to 24/7 and help is free and confidential. They can guide you to resources to get help and will listen to you without judgement. And if you are a friend or family member of someone who is suicidal, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can help you too. There are resources so that you can help someone else. I have used those before to help my friends. And I’ve also used their guides on how to report suicidal posts on social media so you can help someone who you may not know in person. Sometimes people joke about suicide and it’s tough to tell if they are being truthful or not. I’ve reported people who weren’t being serious on social media, but I’d rather be more cautious than to think someone is joking when they really are reaching out for help.

Hopefully if you are feeling helpless or know someone who is that you know that help is possible. I know that it doesn’t always seem that way, but it’s true. And when you talk to someone who has overcome depression they will tell you that there is hope and help when you need it. And once they are on the other side they are so grateful that they didn’t do something that they couldn’t come back from.

I know that for my friends battling this that many of them have a long way to go. But I love them so much and want to support them in any way I can. And I’m in it for the long haul with them. They are with me with battling my eating disorder and know how wonderful it feels to have someone supporting me on my best days and worst days and isn’t wondering how much longer it will take me to get over things. So by doing the same thing for someone else (even if it is about a different mental health issue), I’m just trying to pay forward the support I’ve been so lucky to get.

SaveSaveSaveSaveSaveSave

A Mid-Week Realization (or Forcing Myself To Run)

Last week, I blogged about my lack of 5Ks in my future and how I felt that was affecting my workouts. That post was in the middle of this past week of workouts and it was what I needed to get my butt back in gear. I was struggling during the beginning of the week because I was having horrible nausea (I’m looking into finding new medications that should help me) but when I wrote that post I was coming to the end of the problem and was able to get back to what I know I should be doing.

Monday’s workout was a power and strength day and it was one of the worst days for my nausea. I was terrified that I would throw up during class and wondered if it would be dangerous to take more medication before I was supposed to (I didn’t, but for me to want to means it was really horrible). Because I was feeling so awful, I only had a goal to get through class and not worry about anything else.

It was a 3 group class and each section of the room had 2 blocks. On the treadmill the first block was increasing 1 minute hills and the second block was 45 second all out paces with front raises with weights in-between each all out. I had to decrease my speed for the entire time because just walking fast was making me feel sick. But I did manage to do what I could and didn’t give up which was all I could ask for.

On the floor, the first block was squats, lunges, and scissor ab work. And the second block was lateral lunges, rotations on the straps, and plank work. Unfortunately, there was a lot of up and down while on the floor and that again made things tough on me. I took time to sit and tried to feel more like myself while I was working because I knew that pushing myself harder wasn’t going to be a good thing for me.

And on the rower, the first block was 200 meter rows with shoulder presses in-between each row. I didn’t look at my rowing time because I knew it was bad. And the last block was a 6 minute row for distance and I ended up taking a break every minute or so to try to feel better. It was a tough class to get through and I tried not to be hard on myself because I know that these were not normal circumstances for me.

Wednesday I was finally starting to feel better and I had the extra motivation of trying to get back to my running. And this class ended up being a run/row switching format so it was a good opportunity to work on my running. It was interesting to switch a couple of times during a run/row, but that allowed me time to rest and recover. There were 3 blocks in the run/row and the first block was .1 mile runs with 200 meter rows. I was able to run every time I had the .1 mile run. The second block was 3 rounds of 30 second intervals, 2 rounds of 45 second intervals, and a 1 minute all out pace to end the block. I ran all the push and all out paces and walked my bases. And the last block was an incline .1 mile run which I ended up doing as a walk because I didn’t feel ok with running on an incline. And the rowing in the last block was 200 meter rows that increased each round.

The floor was a lot of arm work and lunges. The first block was single arm snatches, pop jacks, and lateral lunges. The second block was lunges with weights, upright rows with weights, and crunches. And the last block was rows on the straps, pullovers with weights, and plank work. I felt pretty strong on the floor and only had minor moments of nausea so I was feeling proud of myself. And I did a decent amount of running so that really helped my confidence.

Friday’s workout was a power day so it felt like another perfect opportunity to work on my running. All of the blocks on the treadmill were really short. The longest block we had was 4 minutes but most of them were closer to 3 minutes. The first few blocks started with a push pace that was between 30-90 seconds and then had a base pace and ended with a push pace to an all out pace. I ran all the push and all out paces and walked my bases. This was more what I was used to so I was feeling amazing!

On the floor, we mainly had 1 long block. In that block, we had 3 sections that each had 2 moves in them. We were supposed to do 3 rounds of the 2 moves in that section and then go to the rower to do a 1 minute row for distance. The moves were push ups, skaters, chest presses using the straps, low rows using the straps, lunges, and plank work). I think my rower was having issues because it was telling me I was only doing 40 meters in 1 minute when normal for me is around 200 meters. At the end of the workout, we went over to the rowers to row in the same pattern as the treadmills. It was a 3 minute row for distance and again my rower was having issues with telling me the distance. It ended up saying I did just over 100 meters when I know it was closer to 600. But I was able to row for the 3 minutes without stopping so that was an improvement over the beginning of the week.

I was feeling pretty awesome about my running when I got to Saturday’s class and found out it was an endurance day. Those are tough days for me to work on running, but I was going to do my best. Since it was a 3 group class, I knew I’d only be on the treadmill for about 15 minutes so that helped. The treadmill was distance runs on our own time. We started with a .25 mile run which I was able to run without stopping. Next was supposed to be a .5 mile run and I was going to try to do running intervals. I did about 90 seconds of running before going down to my walk and thought I could get back to running after about a minute. But my legs were feeling like they weighed 1,000 pounds and I ended up walking on an incline to finish it. But I did do it as a .5 mile run/walk and not doing the power walk option of .25 miles.

Next I was on the floor were we had increased rep work. Each round started with 5 burpees (I was so glad my nausea was gone because the burpees would have been horrible otherwise) and then we had squats, push ups, sit ups, and pull ups on the straps. Those other moves started at 10 reps each but went up 5 reps each round we did them. I made it through the 20 rep round before time was called to switch to the rower.

On the rower, we started with an 800 meter row and the row went down 200 meters each time. Between each row we had jumping jacks with a medicine ball. About halfway through the time on the rower, things switched to be squats with the medicine ball between each row. I was able to do my 800 and 600 meter rows without stopping and the only reason my 400 meter row had a break was to learn about what the new move was going to be in-between the rowing.

While this past week of workouts got off to a tough start, it ended on a pretty great note. I had 3 decent days of running including running .25 miles without a walking break. It wasn’t that long ago that running that distance without walking seemed impossible and I was able to just jump back into doing that. Hopefully I can figure out some more motivation for my running and I can figure out better ways to handle my nausea so this doesn’t become an issue for a week each month.

I Guess I Am Doing Some Cutting Back (or My Willpower Is Coming Back)

I’ve been trying to work on getting my food back on track and it’s not going the way I was hoping. I want to get back to how things were last year but it seems like things are preventing me from doing that. Or at least that is the excuse I have been making to myself. I really want to work on this but it’s not easy and I know that the more frustrated I get about things the harder it will be.

Since this has been so difficult, I’ve wondered if I have lost the willpower I’ve had in the past. It’s never easy for me to have willpower and I know that it’s not something that I can get back easily. And of course, I know that willpower isn’t necessarily real, but it is nice when things are going easily for me and that I don’t have to think about food. I don’t think it will ever be easy for me and it’s been tough to understand that reality. But I think that knowing it is a step forward.

But while I’ve been in a bit of a funk about my lack of willpower about my food, I’ve realized that I haven’t totally lost my willpower. While I’m not a huge clothes shopper, I do like to shop and when I find things that fit and are a good price I usually get them. It’s not too often I find things that are right for me so I feel a need to get them if I do find them. I know that this is a problem and I’ve been trying to be better about not buying more stuff. I’m trying to go through my closet to see what I already own because I have rediscovered things that I forgot I owned. But there are still times that I can’t resist an amazing sale.

But yesterday I was looking at the Nordstrom Rack Clear The Rack sale online and found a bunch of things I’ve been thinking of getting in the sale. There are some dresses I’ve looked at that are down to almost $10 (they were $50 previously). I looked at a bunch of stuff and had a lot of tabs open with what I was thinking of buying. I was just trying to decide what I wanted and what I could skip on getting.

But the more I looked at what I was looking at, the less I wanted to get it. I have been wanting to get a lot of these things for months so I don’t know what changed. Maybe it was the money I didn’t want to spend (even though getting 6 things was going to only be about $60) or maybe I didn’t want to buy things until I lost more weight. But whatever the reason, I closed all the tabs with all the things I was looking at and didn’t buy anything.

It was a bit depressing for a minute thinking that I was no longer interested in things that I have been wanting for a while. But then I realized that not buying this stuff was a bit of willpower. Nothing I was looking at was something that I needed. It was all fun stuff that I liked but could live without. So by not getting them I was resisting spending money that I didn’t need to spend and getting clothes that I don’t need.

I know I’ve mentioned before that I wish my willpower could be transferred from one area of my life to another. I’m good at having willpower for things that aren’t too important, but when it comes to the big things it’s not always there. I don’t necessarily know how to find it again and it’s a mystery to me a lot when I do have it. But maybe being aware of having it in an area of my life that I’m not expecting it I can use that to try to find it where I need it.

I know that being on the right track with my food now is a tough thing. I have lots of things coming up that are going to make it easy to fall into bad habits that I’m trying to avoid. I have the holidays coming up and all the parties that happen this time of year. Again, I don’t want to use these as excuses, but I’m aware that allowing for things to not be as structured as I’d like will help in the long run. I don’t want to feel like I’ve screwed everything up and will try to start another time. I’m not putting off getting back on track because then I will never do it. But I need to find the balance I need to have in my life and the willpower that will help me not go off the rails like I have in the past.

Trying To Make A 5K Plan (or Maybe This Is The Motivation I’m Missing)

I’ve been feeling a bit stuck (or even going backwards) in my running lately. It’s unfortunate that I’ve been feeling like that because I have made some amazing progress. But things like getting sick or having a weird schedule have been affecting me more than I would like. I want to get back into making awesome progress with my running, but I don’t know what it will take.

You might have also noticed that I haven’t written about doing a 5K in a while. I usually have a race around this time of year, but I actually won’t be doing one. The race that I normally do was supposed to be last month but then it never happened. It was very odd because it was promoted as a certain date but you couldn’t register for it. And then the week it was supposed to happen they announced it wouldn’t be happening. I wasn’t thinking I would be doing this race since there was nothing about it online, but it was still a disappointment when it didn’t happen.

And I haven’t signed up for the race that I usually do in the spring yet. That race has always been a 5K, 10K, and half marathon. But we got an email earlier this year that the race was merging with another race and it now appears that there are only options to do a 10K or half marathon. It’s also more expensive now. So I’m not sure what I want to do about that.

I’ve never done a 10K but I’ve been considering it. But I said I would want to do a 10K as a Disney race because that would be extra motivation to work hard. And then Disney announced that there won’t be any races coming up at Disneyland because of the construction happening. So there went that idea.

It’s weird to not have any 5Ks in my future. There are a few other races I’ve done in the past that I’m thinking about doing toward the end of this year or sometime next year, but it’s not the same as the tradition that I’ve had for the past few years. But I really think I need to get back into doing races because I think that is what I need to do to get my running back to where it was.

When I have a race that I’m getting ready for, I’m so competitive with myself. I always want to PR on a race and I know that I have to work really hard in my treadmill workouts to do that. Plus, then I also go out and do running workout on my own. Right now, I don’t feel the sense of urgency that I have in the past and maybe that is allowing me to be a bit lazy in my workouts. As much as I want to blame not feeling well, I have to remember that one of my last 5Ks was right after I had been at the hospital for the day with horrible stomach pains (which helped to lead me to discover I have the liver tumors). If I could have an amazing race after being in the hospital, then I can work on my treadmill workouts after feeling sick.

If I had a race that I was working toward, I would push myself to work harder in my workouts because I know what I have to be able to do to match what I’ve done in the past and I usually push myself to do more than that. I have a goal in mind that I’m working toward and I didn’t realize before how important that is for me in my workouts. I really need another race to know is coming up to keep me accountable and working hard. Otherwise, I can take it easy but still feel like I’m doing a good job because I’m there for my workouts.

I need to look at my schedule to see what 5Ks I could possibly do and which ones aren’t too expensive. And I am going to think about doing that 10K in April but I’m really torn if I think I’m ready for that or not. But the planning needs to start happening because if I don’t then these races will happen and I won’t be a part of them. And as hard as it is to believe, I think I actually miss doing 5Ks. They have been a part of my life for a while and it feels weird not to be doing them or having more medals to add to my collection. Hopefully I can figure out a plan to keep doing them so that I don’t feel like something is missing in my workout life.

Finishing Hell Week (or I Need To Get Back To Running)

After doing 4 Hell Week workouts the week prior, this past week I only had to do 1 more Hell Week workout in order to earn my shirt. Even though I was tired from having my first 5 workout week, I knew this past week I wanted to stay on track and do a 4 workout week. It’s nice that 4 workouts a week is becoming so normal to me, but I’ll admit that I think that after a 5 workout week I probably should have taken things a bit easier.

Monday’s workout was the final Hell Week workout for me (there was another Hell Week class on Tuesday, but I wasn’t going to be working out on Tuesday). This time the class was called Inclines Of Death. I was prepared for this to possibly be the hardest of the Hell Week classes, but I think I lucked out by having this class be a 3 group workout. It wasn’t as tough as some of the other Hell Week workouts but it was still a tough day.

I started on the floor this time, but the floor and rower people worked together (kind of like a partner workout). On the floor we had triceps, chest presses with weights, chest presses with straps, rows on the straps, hammer curls, and rows with weights. We had some of those moves and then we tagged out the person on the rower and did a 500 meter row. When we were done on the rower, we tagged the floor person and repeated things. And when it was my turn on the rower, it was the same thing as the floor except that I didn’t set the pace. So I rowed until I was tagged by the floor person and I did the floor work until the rower tagged me.

The last rotation for me was on the treadmill which was all inclines. Because I had done so much on the floor and the rower my body was not really too happy to be on the treadmill. I ended up walking everything at a much slower speed than I’m used to. The format for the treadmill was to go up 1% every 30 seconds until we maxed out and then we went down 1% every 30 seconds. When we were working on decreasing the inclines I decreased it to 8% and then stayed there for the rest of the treadmill time.

I didn’t love that I ended Hell Week with a workout that wasn’t to the best of my ability, but I still completed 5 workouts and earned my Hell Week shirt. And not only was this day the day I completed Hell Week, it was also my 600th Orangetheory workout! That’s pretty amazing and I am proud of myself!

Wednesday was a run/row workout that focused on strength and power. Because of some issues traffic I got to the workout a bit later than normal and had to start on the floor instead of on the treadmill (there will be a studio opening up in a few months that will cut my commute to my workout from 30 minutes to 5 minutes and I can’t wait!). The floor was focused mainly on squats and my thighs were feeling it! We had goblet squats, regular squats, weighted squats, jump squats using the straps, and lunges to squats. We also had pull overs, jumping presses, and ab work.

After the floor, I got to work on the run/row. Usually a run/row is one long block for that half of class, but this time we had 2 blocks. The first run/row block was decreasing distances with increasing inclines and increasing rows. The second block was increasing distances with decreasing inclines and decreasing rows. I ended up walking all the treadmill segments but I was able to keep my speed at my normal speed and the inclines at the inclines that were recommended to do (instead of a lower incline). And my rowing wasn’t super fast, but I finished in under the recommended time each time I was on the rower.

Friday ended up being kind of a run/row too. It was pretty great to have 2 run/row days in a week since they tend to be my favorites. But this time, everything was timed and we weren’t on our own to switch back and forth. Everything we did was a distance challenge. We had a 6 minute challenge on the treadmill, then a 3 minute challenge on the rower, and then repeated both things. On the 6 minute run challenge, I would have loved to run the entire thing. But I realized that I hadn’t done a lot of running lately (which I really need to fix) so I had to do the 6 minutes with run/walk intervals. Both times I did it I ran for 2 minutes, walked for 1 minute, ran for 1 minute, walked for 1 minute, and ran for the last minute. But I did increase my speed for the second attempt so I was able to get farther than I did the first time.

When I was on the rower, I wanted to focus on keeping my wattage up but my speed down. It’s tough to do that since my wattage only seems to get high when I’m moving really fast. But I did my best to figure out quickly what a good pace would be that I could try to do for the entire 3 minutes. The goal was to get between 600-900 meters in 3 minutes. The first time I got 627 meters and the second time I got 634. Unlike on the treadmill, I can’t really tell if I’m going to beat my time or distance. While I can see if my speed or wattage is higher, it’s tough to tell if I’m doing better. So it was a surprise to me that I beat my first row!

The floor was 3 blocks. The first block was a long one with deadlifts, alligators on the straps, and pushups. The deadlifts were supposed to be single leg deadlifts and I did do one round of them like that but while holding onto the bench to keep my balance. I know it’s good for me to work on balance but it’s tough to do with my hip issues. But challenging myself with these were good for me. But I wasn’t able to do more than one round as single leg work, so the other times I did them I did them with both feet on the ground. The second block was skier swings, hip bridges, and toe touches. And the last block was a 3 minute core blast.

Saturday was a 3 group workout that had endurance, strength, and power. I went into the workout with the intention of doing running, but I had a combination of a bad hip day and horrible nausea. So again, running wasn’t in the cards for me. On the treadmill, we had 2 blocks. The first one was more endurance based with longer push paces. And the second one was more strength based with working with the inclines up higher. I was able to do my incline work a bit higher than I normally do which was great since I was a bit down on myself for not running at all.

I was on the rower next where we also had 2 blocks. Every block was focused on 1 minute rows for distance. On the first block, we had wall sits between each row. And on the second block we had squats between the rows. I know that I can do 300 meters in a minute if I work really hard, but I also knew that I’d be doing lots of attempts at 1 minute rows. So I just tried to work on keeping my pulls long on the rower and I averaged around 230 meters each time (which is better than the 200 meter minimum we were supposed to do). The wall sits were much easier than I expected and I was able to balance a lot better than I could the last time I tried doing them.

And on the floor, we had a mix of things. We had squats to shoulder presses, triceps, squats with flys, knee tucks, and hip bridges. I was starting to feel super nauseous on the floor and that wasn’t helped by going from standing to laying down as often as we did. I just tried to keep breathing and going slow, but I was really waiting for class to be done because I didn’t want to feel any worse.

Overall, it was an ok workout week. With each individual day, I thought I had done well. But as I look as the week as a whole, I’m a bit disappointed with myself. I know that there have been outside circumstances that have preventing me from running or making all the progress I have been hoping to make, but I don’t want to make excuses for myself. I know that I can do better and I need to make myself do better. I want to be running more often and seeing what new running goals I can hit. It’s been a while since I’ve had a big running accomplishment and I think I’m due to make that happen soon.

Another Attempt At Mindfulness (or I Think I Need To Work On This Until I Figure It Out)

I’ve tried to work on mindfulness multiple times and it has never seemed to stick with me. But it keeps coming up in my life and I feel like that is a sign of something. So I’ve been inspired to try mindfulness again and the timing is perfect since it’s time for another monthly challenge! But first, time to recap last month’s challenge.

Last month, I challenged myself to work on doing daily speed cleaning. Ideally, I would spend 5-10 minutes a month focused on a small space in my house to clean and organize it. I wanted to do this because I had felt like my cleaning was getting overwhelming and I didn’t know where to start. So I wanted to take away the pressure from doing a big cleaning in my house because that seemed to be what was stopping me. I set an alarm to work on this each day and I tried my best to do what I could.

I wasn’t totally successful with this, but it went better than I thought it would. There were several days that I couldn’t do cleaning because either I was gone all day (like during the Convention) or I had no energy because I was sick. But when things like that weren’t stopping me, I really did accomplish a lot. And by telling myself I only had to do one small cleaning thing allowed me to just do it and not worry about not having time to finish it. There were some times that I did a really small cleaning job like using a new multi-hook hanger to put all my tank tops in one spot (it also saves room in my closet). And then there were other times where my small cleaning job ended up getting me motivated to do a bigger cleaning job. But it has gotten me into the habit of spending a bit of time every day working on this so that I don’t feel overwhelmed again.

Last month went well and I’m really hoping this month will too. Mindfulness has been a struggle for me each time I’ve tried to work on it. I’ve found little things that have worked, but they aren’t enough. I want to be more aware of so much in my life. This isn’t just a food thing because there are days where it seems like the entire day slipped away without me knowing what happened. I want to avoid days in a fog like that if possible.

The book that I’m reading as my 10 pages of a recovery based book right now is all about eating mindfully. I actually wish I had read this book when I first started trying to be more mindful because it’s pretty great. Each section has a lesson along with some action steps to take. And so many of these action steps are things that I haven’t done before or thought of doing before. I actually think I need to go back and start reading from the beginning to take notes on things because I haven’t been doing that. And that is part of my challenge for this month.

I want to go through the book again and other resources I can find and start finding action steps to take to work toward mindfulness. Maybe the reason why it has failed to stick with me before is because mindfulness is more of an idea and less of something I can do. If I had steps to take and work with, that would probably be better for me. I need something tangible or to check off on a list to work with and I don’t know why I didn’t think of doing this before.

This month’s challenge won’t necessarily be about putting mindfulness into practice right away. I’ve tried that a bunch and it hasn’t worked. But instead, this challenge is going to be about researching action steps and ideas to put into use over time. I want to devote time every day to re-reading the book I’ve been reading as well as looking online or in other reference books to make a list that I can use moving forward. I want to make mindfulness work for me and it’s not something that I can just turn on right away. I need to work toward it and I have failed at doing that before. Because other challenges have come to me so easily, I assumed that this one would too. But I am learning and have realized what I hope will be the missing step to be able to implement this into my life in the long-term.

I know that this seems like a much more passive monthly challenge than others have been, but this is what I think I need to focus on this month. And there are only so many things I can add to my life with these monthly challenges, so having one that is more of a reflective thing is probably going to help me not get burned out on them. And I totally don’t want to experience burn out because I just got my 2018 Volt Planner so there will be another year of monthly challenges next year!