It’s the start of a new month so that means it’s the end of one monthly challenge and the beginning of another. And this time, it’s the last monthly challenge of the year for me! But before I share that challenge, I’ll recap my November challenge.
I had the challenge to work on mindfulness again. It’s a challenge I’ve struggled with several times in the past, but I really want to keep on working on it. So I decided to work on taking notes on the books that I’ve been reading that are about mindfulness. I figured taking notes and having more action steps instead of just ideas would be helpful.
I did take notes on one book, but then when I started another book I found that there were printable things that I could download and use. That was very helpful! There are checklists and guidelines to use and I’ve started to work on them. I think that the more I work with them the better I’ll get at using those skills. And hopefully the better I get at those skills the more I will be working toward recovery.
I’m feeling really hopeful about this now and I think that this was the right way to look at working on mindfulness. I can’t guarantee that this will work this time as it’s been a struggle every other time. But I feel much better than I have in the past and I feel like there are ways that I can keep working on these skills beyond the month which is nice.
So for my last challenge of the year, I was thinking about something fun that I wanted to work on. There were a couple of ideas, but I ended up settling on one that I’ve been thinking about doing for a while. I’ve decided that I want to challenge myself to improve my handwriting.
I use my computer (or phone or tablet) a lot, but I do handwrite things from time to time. I handwrite thank you notes, birthday cards, and things in my Volt Planner. And my handwriting is pretty horrible. It’s always been bad. I blame being raised by a doctor and a nurse (so I have doctor handwriting). My writing wasn’t total chicken scratch, but it’s not that nice. So working on my handwriting would be a good challenge for me.
I’ve mixed the idea of working on my handwriting and learning some basic calligraphy skills. I’ve found some things about brush calligraphy which doesn’t require a calligraphy pen (which I’ve tried using before and never liked). And there are lots of free worksheets I’ve downloaded to start working on handwriting and calligraphy. I don’t know what the plan is as far as how much I want to do every day, but the goal is to do a little bit every day.
Even if I totally fail at calligraphy, I think working on handwriting and taking my time working on this will help make my normal handwriting nicer looking. I’ve always wanted to be someone who had pretty handwriting because it always seems like such a nice touch when I do send cards to people. And I would like it if I knew when I send cards that I don’t have to worry about people being able to read them.
This is a pretty good month to work on this skill because soon I’ll sending out holiday cards to my friends. I won’t have to do a ton of writing on them, but I do like to personalize them a bit and I want them to look as nice as possible. So hopefully by the time that I start working on them (which is going to be pretty soon) I’ll have some skills I can use to make them look better than it would have looked if I hadn’t worked on my handwriting.
This should be a fun monthly challenge to end the year on, but I’m already thinking about next year. I already ordered my planner for 2018 and I’ve been thinking about my big goals for the year and what challenges I want to take on. Hopefully I figure out some good ones and I can make next year’s challenges just as good or even better than this year’s!
I’ve tried to work on mindfulnessmultiple 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!
This past week of workouts was the beginning of HellWeek. Today is actually the last Hell Week workout for me so I can earn my free shirt, but I did 4 of the 5 workouts I need to earn that shirt this past week. And because Hell Week was going from Tuesday to Tuesday, I ended up doing my first ever 5 workout week in order to get in the workouts I needed!
Monday was my only non-Hell Week workout. It was a mix of power and strength and it was a 3 group class. Because I knew that I’d be doing 4 Hell Week workouts that week and this was the beginning of 3 workouts in a row, I knew it was in my best interest to walk all the treadmill work. We had 2 blocks on the treadmill. The first block was longer pushes that I did at 6, 8, and 10% incline. The second block started with 30 second intervals and ended with 45 second intervals. But that second block was a bit tough so I ended up doing everything at 6% incline instead of working on my inclines like I did for the first block.
The floor had a very interesting first block. It was one long move that included bicep curls, squats, shoulder presses, and lunges in a fluid motion. So instead of doing a set of each thing before moving on, it was just one long movement. I was surprised that I didn’t find this as difficult as I thought it would be. Something about the order of the movements and continuously going helped me and it felt kind of badass to be doing it! The second block was more of a normal format with squats, row work with weights and straps, and mountain climbers. And on the rower the first block was 500 meter rows with lunges between each set and the second block was 250 meter rows were we worked on stroke counts.
Tuesday was day 1 of Hell Week and the name of the workout was Don’t Fear The Burpees. While the burpees were bad, it seems like the rower is what I needed to be scared of that day. I had run into one of my coaches in the parking garage before the workout and he recommended that I start on the rower instead of the treadmill for this workout. And I’m so glad I listened. On the rower, we had 3 rounds of 6.5 minute rows for distance. The first 2 rounds were coached where we were told when to do base, push, or all out paces on the rower. And the last round was on our own and just trying to get the best distance possible. Round 1 I got 1335 meters, round 2 I got 1354 meters, and round 3 I got 1372 meters so I was very happy to have made improvement with each endurance row.
After doing all that rowing, I was very nervous about the treadmill workout which had all the burpees in it. My legs felt like jello and I knew that I had to walk on the treadmill. The fact that I walked at my normal power walking speed was a victory enough for me because I was feeling so tired. The treadmill segments were all pretty short and after each segment we headed to the floor to work on burpees. There were 4 types of burpees we had to do and each round we did more of each type. I only made it to the third round because I was taking a lot of breaks. But I was still glad I did the rowing first because I don’t think I would have done any better if I had done things in the opposite order.
Wednesday’s Hell Week workout was called Don’t Breathe. This was originally going to be another walking day for me since this was my 3rd workout in a row, but as soon as I saw what the workout would be I decided to work on running. The first block on the treadmill was 8 rounds of 30 second all out paces followed by 30 second walking recovery. I was able to do all 8 of those at 5mph. The next block was 5 rounds of 45 second all out paces followed by 45 second walking recovery. And the last block was 3 rounds of 1 minute all out paces with 1 minute of walking recovery. And we ended with a 90 second all out. For the second and third block, I did all the running at my normal push pace of 4.5mph. But to do that much running felt awesome and I was so glad that I was there for that workout!
The floor was 1 long block with progressive work. Every round started with the same 3 things (bicep curls, tricep work, and rows on the straps) and each round we added one more core movement to the end of that. The core work included bicycle crunches, regular crunches, heel taps, and hip dips. Also, each round we had increased the number of reps we had with the first 3 moves of the round. We started at 10 reps and the last round was 25 reps. It didn’t seem too bad in the beginning, but at the end it was very difficult to do 25 bicep curls or rows on the straps. While this wasn’t the hardest Hell Week workout, it was still tough and I pushed myself a bit more than I normally would.
Friday’s workout was called 28 Reps Later. I wanted to run, but I was dealing with a bit of lack of sleep and just wasn’t feeling like I could. The treadmill work was all runs for distance which I usually love for running but this day was just something I had to get through. We had a 3, 4, 5, and 6 minute run for distance and I really didn’t focus too much on the distances I was getting. But I did try to play with both incline and speed with my walking. So when we were doing longer pushes, I would first increase my speed from 3.5 to 3.6mph and the next minute I would bring the speed back down but increase my incline. It was something different from what I normally do and it helped to make the distance runs more interesting since I wasn’t focused on the distance.
The floor work is where the name for the workout came from. We had a slightly different format where we did 28 reps of one thing before going to the rower to do a 280 meter row. Then we’d come back to the floor and do 28 reps of another thing and did the rower. So it felt a bit long since there wasn’t any variety in the floor work between each row, but I tried to break things down in my head so I wasn’t just waiting to get to 28 reps. The moves on the floor includes walk outs to push ups, lunges, side plank crunches, and pop jacks. My rowing wasn’t anything great and I was almost using it as recovery time after doing so many reps on the floor.
And Saturday was my first time having a 5th workout in a week! I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to do it, but I’m so glad I did. I had to take it easy because I was dealing with a bit of hip pain that day, but that was ok because it was a 3 group workout. This one was called Thighday The 13th and I really felt like my thighs were on fire. Every section had 2 blocks and I started on the treadmill. The first block was rounds of 90 second push paces with inclines. The idea was to get to 13%, but I was keeping it at 6 and 8%. And the second block was rounds of 45 seconds at 13% incline and then we went behind our treadmills where we did 13 goblet squats and then 13 normal squats. For this block, I did have the treadmill at 13% since it was only for 45 seconds but I decreased my speed a bit.
On the floor, the first block started with hop overs and then had skier swings, tricep work, and push ups. The second block was mountain climbers, squats, froggers, and lateral raises. I felt pretty good on the floor and it didn’t seem too tough for me, but that could be that I wasn’t feeling as tired from the treadmill work. And the rower was kind of the opposite of the treadmill. The first block was either 130 or 260 meter rows with 13 goblet squats and 13 regular squats after each row. And the second block was 90 second rows for distance. We had 3 rounds of those and I got 315, 325, and 349 meters on those. I was very happy to get better with each row even though I was getting more tired each row.
By the time you are reading this, I’m probably done with my workout today so I got my Hell Week shirt! But to know that I did my first 5 workout week this past week was almost a bigger victory. It wasn’t that long ago that a 4 workout week seemed to be impossible and that is now the norm for me. I don’t think a 5 workout week will become the norm for me, but I’m not saying never. But to prove to myself that I am stronger than I thought I could be is exactly what Hell Week is all about. And to not only do those workouts successfully but to do more workouts in a week than I ever have is the best thing ever!
The beginning of a new month is always exciting for me. But it’s been even more exciting since I started using my VoltPlanner last year because it means it’s the beginning for a new monthly challenge! It can be a struggle sometimes to think of a new challenge each month, but once I pick one I really get into it. And knowing that I’ll be doing that again each month is something I look forward to.
Last month, my challenge was to tweet more. Specifically I wanted to tweet more about SAG-AFTRA and union related issues. My role as a SAG-AFTRA delegate is officially just as the convention (which is this week), but I don’t want the end of the convention to be the end of my involvement. And while being on social media isn’t the most active thing, I figure that every little bit helps. And I also got a lot out of doing this because every day I was reviewing tweets that might be ones I wanted to share. So I was learning more every time I reviewed them. I feel so much more educated about union issues (and not just actor union issues) than I ever have.
This month, I struggled a bit with picking something to set as my challenge but it wasn’t for the usual reason. I have a couple of things I want to do, but this month is going to be very crazy for me. I’ve got the SAG-AFTRA convention, lots of doctor appointments, work, podcast stuff, some projects I’m working on, and then trying to have a social life. I know that I will be a bit stressed and I didn’t want to pick something that might add more stress to my life. I’ve picked some challenges that have done that in the past, and it can work when the month isn’t going to be stressful. But I know October will be crazy. I’ve been telling people my life won’t be normal again until after the 16th because that’s when I seem to finally have free time in my calendar.
But there has been one thing that I’ve had on my monthly and weekly planning sheets in my planner that I don’t see to ever get around to. I really need to clean my desk and my closet. I probably need to work on my entire house, but I really see how packed my desk and closet are and I know I don’t need everything I have. I also keep bringing more things in without removing stuff so it gets more and more cluttered. But when I look at it it seems so overwhelming.
So I’ve set my monthly challenge for October to do speed cleaning/organizing every day. I have an alarm set and I want to do maybe 5-10 minutes every day. The idea is that I’d focus on one thing each day. For example, with my clothes I’d look at tops one day and dresses another. I don’t need to look at my closet as a whole since that has been what is looking like too much of a project. With my desk, I might break it down my the drawers or by category but I’m not sure yet. And there are so many other areas in my house that I could organize by breaking it down into chunks like this.
I had read “The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up” a while ago, and while I don’t agree with everything in the book there are some really good points. I only want to have things in my home that make me happy and bring me joy. My definition of those things are a bit different from what the book talks about, but the general idea is the same. There are things in my closet that I look at and get annoyed about because it doesn’t fit anymore (either too big or too small), it doesn’t fit right, or it just is something I never can figure out when I should wear it. I don’t need that taking up space in the tiny closet I have.
But besides decluttering, I just want to have a clean house that makes me happy. It’s never too dirty, but there are times that I have to spend a good amount of time cleaning every room before I have company over. I know that nobody cares if my house is a little messy, but I do. And if I worked on 5-10 minutes of cleaning a day (either by cleaning one room or doing one type of cleaning like vacuuming or dusting), it shouldn’t get too overwhelming before I have company over.
I know that even 5-10 minutes of cleaning might be a bit tough for me to do on the craziest days I have coming up this month, but that’s ok. I understand now that I don’t have to be perfect every single day but instead I want to get into the habit so that it becomes something I don’t even have to think about each day. It would be nice to know that I have a clean house pretty much all the time and not a semi-clean house most of the time and a super clean house occasionally.
This past week of workouts was an interesting one for me. I’m so set in my routine that when things change it can throw me off. And this past week, I couldn’t work out on Wednesday and I switched it to Tuesday. I don’t want to say that I’m set in my routine, but it is weird when I’m not doing my normal schedule. My Tuesday felt like a Wednesday, my Wednesday felt like a Tuesday, and I didn’t know what day it was on Thursday since I had 2 days off from working out. But I still managed to get my workouts in and it’s good for me to mix things up sometimes.
Monday was a 3 group class and we did a mix of a partner workout and a tornado workout. It was very unexpected but it was pretty awesome! It was a 3 partner workout for most of the class, but only the partners on the floor and treadmill switched. The treadmill partner did .1 all out runs 3 times with some recovery between and then tagged the floor person. I did the first and third .1 as a run and the middle one as a .05 power walk. When it was my turn on the floor, we had a mix of jumping jacks, push-ups, abs, pop jacks, and arm work. But I was never on the floor that long because my partner on the treadmill would tag me out.
My turn on the rower was in the middle of the workout and it was just a 10 minute distance row with some guidance of when to do push or all out on the rower with some recovery. Overall, the goal was to get to 2000 meters and I thought that was perfect because I have the dri-tri soon and 2000 meters is how we start the dri-tri. But in the 10 minutes I was on the rower, I only made it to 1700 meters and it made me realize that I need to work on distance rowing more to get ready for the dri-tri.
After the partner workout was done, we had a 2 minute tornado workout around the room. So we were only at each station for 2 minutes. On the treadmill it was a 1 minute push pace to a 1 minute all out. I was pretty tired by that point so I ended up walking it. On the floor we had 2 minutes of plank work. And on the rower we had a 2 minute row for distance and I was just under the goal of 400 meters.
While I’m getting pretty used to working out 2 days in a row, it was still very weird to me to work out on Tuesday. It’s pretty rare that I’ll work out then but it was the only time I could fit in the workout in my schedule unless I wanted this past week to be a 3 workout week (which I didn’t want). The workout was a mix of endurance, strength, and power and we did switch between the blocks. And I was very happy to start on the treadmill after all the times I haven’t been able to start on it lately.
There were 2 mini blocks on the treadmill for the 2 times we were on it. And all of them were pretty much the same format. We had a 1 minute push pace which I was able to run, a 2 minute hill which I walked, and a 30 second all out pace which I ran. I was happy that I was able to do a little bit of running and since I rarely run on hills I didn’t mind walking my hill work.
On the floor, we also had 2 blocks and each block started with rowing. The first block had an 800 meter row and the second block had a 400 meter row. Both rows were under the time we were supposed to be under, but neither were spectacular times for me. And besides the rowing we had squats, abs, planks, and lunges on the floor. Even though it felt weird to be working out on a Tuesday, it was the first workout in a while that felt totally normal to me. I felt like myself and that I was working out as hard as I could.
Friday’s workout was a challenging one. I knew going into the workout that we were going to have a 23 minute run for distance challenge. Usually I would check my records to see what I usually can do for those challenges, but I forgot to this time (I’ll come back to that). I’ve been pushing myself more with my running and have found that sometimes I can run for a lot longer than I thought I could. I was pretty certain that I couldn’t run for 23 minutes without stopping, but I figured that I could do my best and see what happened.
I didn’t follow any of the coaches instructions of when we were doing base or push pace because I just wanted to run at a steady pace that I know I can handle. And it did start off pretty rough and I debated if I just wanted to do some intervals instead. But I decided that I was just going to go for it and when it got to be too much that I’d take a walking break. I focused a lot on the clock on the treadmill and was telling myself when I was 10%, 25%, 30% done because it did help me think that I was doing ok. And I eventually decided that I would take the middle minute of the challenge as my first walking break. So when the clock on the treadmill said 11 minutes, I went down to a recovery walk.
Originally, my plan was to run the last 11 minutes after taking my walking break, but my body wasn’t going to do that. For the last 11 minutes, I took 2 or 3 more walking breaks (I honestly can’t remember how many I took) but they were each only about a minute. And when we got to the last minute of the challenge, I bumped my speed up a bit. My long-term goal for the 23 minute distance challenge is to be able to do 1.75 miles, so I was pretty happy with my distance when I was done this time.
But the problem was that after the workout was done I looked at my treadmill records and saw that my PR was 1.640. I was only 0.001 miles off of my PR and that would have been only like 1 second less of walking or bumping up the speed a tiny bit for a second or two at the end. That was so frustrating to see and I was a bit mad at myself. I know if I had looked at my record before the workout that I would have made the effort to beat it this time.
After the treadmill work, I was pretty exhausted and fortunately the floor work wasn’t too bad. We started with a 4 minute distance row, but for me I was more focused on just getting through the row and not seeing what my distance was. I did manage to get over 800 meters, so I was happy with that. Then we moved on to the first floor block which was all Bosu work. I had to make some modifications with my workout so I did squats with one foot on the Bosu instead of lateral hop overs, plank leg lifts (but I skipped using the Bosu), and running man. And the second block was strap work, push ups, and crunches on the Bosu. And we ended the workout with a 2 minute row for distance.
Even though I was pretty disappointed after my workout with being so close to getting a PR on my run, I was still pretty happy overall because I did manage to run for more time than I ever have before in class!
Saturday’s workout had to be a bit of a recovery workout for me. I was still feeling my long run and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to do what I can usually do in class. We had a mix of endurance, strength, and power and it was a 3 group workout. Each section of the room had 2 blocks and we did both blocks for that section before we moved on.
I started on the rower and the first block was a series of 30 second all out rows followed by lunges and squats. I didn’t stress too much about how far I was going each 30 second challenge so I didn’t reset my rower each time. I know I did at least 100 meters each time, but I really didn’t think too much about it. And the second block on the rower was decreasing rows starting at 500 meters with weighted swings between each row. I only was able to complete the 500 and 400 meter row before time was called (I was working on the 300 meter row then).
Next I moved to the floor where again we had 2 blocks. The first block was arm work, squats with weights, and seated knee tucks. The knee tucks are tough on my hip, but I was able to get through half of the set before I had to take a break each time. And the second block was pull ups on the straps, skaters, and plank jacks. And all of those ended up being much easier for me than I thought they’d be.
Finally, I ended up on the treadmill. I knew that it was going to be a walking workout no matter what. We did a lot of 2 minutes of work either on an incline or at a push pace (which means at an incline when you are walking) followed by base pace for the time we were on the treadmill. Since I wasn’t running and this was at the end of the workout, I didn’t really focus on what I was doing and felt like I was a bit on autopilot.
This week is the dri-tri and I’m hoping that all the work I’ve done lately will help me get a new best time. I know that it might not be possible, but I can still hope for it. But I know that this crazy workout week that I had last week was good prep work since I had a long row and a long run to use as training. I guess I’ll have to see how it goes when I attempt the dri-tri for the third time this week!
Since pretty much the beginning of my time at Orangetheory, I always want to start on the treadmill. Part of this is because I want to get the treadmill work done first because it’s the hardest for me most of the time. But the other part is that when I start with rowing and floor work my hip can be very temperamental on the treadmill. I almost always struggle on the treadmill after being on the floor, so I figured I should just try to always start on the treadmill to prevent this.
But this past week, I ended up challenging myself to start on the rower/floor each class. I didn’t start the week with the challenge, but after my first 2 workouts of the week starting that way I decided to keep going with it and seeing what happened.
Monday’s workout was a 3 group workout that had a mix of endurance, strength, and power. I had to start on the rower because I was running late, but it ended up being a good thing for me. We had kind of partner workout between the rower and the floor work which made the workout pretty interesting. When I started on the rower, I started with an 800 meter row and then I went to the floor to tag my partner. I then did pull ups on the straps and crunches before my partner tagged me and I went back to the rower for a 700 meter row. I finished that row and then time was called to switch.
Next I was on the treadmill where most of the work was endurance type work with longer push paces. I started out with running, but my hips were really tight and my ankle was bugging me so I ended up walking the entire treadmill work. The end of the treadmill time was work on inclines so I knew that walking those would be the only option for me with how I was feeling. It was frustrating that my body wasn’t letting me run, but I also knew that power walking is a good workout when I do it fast enough and at a high enough incline.
After the treadmill, I went to the floor where it was the partner workout again between the floor and rower. On the floor I did squats, hammer curls, skaters, and mountain climbers. And while I was on the rower I did the 600 and 500 meter row before the end of class. The second time doing the partner workout was a bit easier, but I think that was also because I knew how the partner work was going to go and had a better idea of how long I’d end up spending on the rower.
Wednesday’s workout was a power day, and I started on the rower not by choice. It was very weird what happened because there weren’t that many people who got to class before me but they couldn’t find the treadmill cards. But I figured again that starting on the rower was a good challenge for me. When you start on the rower and it is a 2 group class, you usually start with floor work.
The floor had 3 blocks. In the first block we had lunges, squats, and plank crunch work. The second block was froggers, situps, and superman work. And the third block was burpees, strap work, and situps. I went a bit easier on the floor than I’m used to because I knew I had the cardio still to go and I didn’t want to be too tired when I got on the treadmill.
The cardio work was a run/row with weights. It started with an endurance run that was supposed to be .6 miles. I decided to do that as a power walk so I did .3 miles at 6% incline. Then we did shoulder and tricep work with weights before doing a power row of 150 meters. Then back to the treadmill for a power run of .15 miles. Since that was a pretty short run, I decided to do it as a run and not a walk. Then the weight work again before going back to the rower for the endurance row of 600 meters. I just made it back to the treadmill to start the endurance run (or for me, power walk) when class ended.
Friday’s workout was an endurance day and I chose to start on the rower. I figured that I might as well challenge myself to do the rower as the start for the week and see what I could do. And not only did I start on the rower, it was a weird day for me because I did a morning workout! I don’t do mornings on Friday because of work, but I had to take the day off work (more about that later this week) so I was able to do a Friday morning workout. It was fun because so many of my Monday morning people were in that class so we were all cheering each other on.
This time, we had 2 blocks on the floor and 2 blocks on the treadmill and we switched between blocks. On the floor, the first block was squats, rows using the straps, pushups to plank work, and a 600 meter row. I ended up going slower than normal on the row and it took me over 3 minutes to complete it. I think I was being a bit too cautious and worried about overdoing it in the beginning of the workout, and I could have done better. But there wasn’t a lot of time to be upset since that was just the beginning of the workout. The second block on the floor was squats, triceps, abs, and pop jacks.
When I got to the treadmill, I had already made the decision to walk the entire time. I had a big day of walking ahead of me (again, more on this later this week) and I didn’t want to overdo it because I didn’t want to spend the day in pain. The first block was decreasing push paces that started at 3 minutes and went down to 1. I did all my push paces at 6% and my all out paces at 8%. The second block was increasing push paces starting at 1 minute and going up to 2 minutes. And I did the same inclines on the treadmill this time.
Saturday’s workout was one that I was really thinking about cancelling. I was exhausted and have not been sleeping well because of the heat wave. But it ended up being the perfect way to end my rower challenge so I’m so glad that I went. It was a 3 group power workout and again I started on the rower. But this time, we had been told that Water Rower, the company that makes the rowers we use, was going to donate $1 toward the Red Cross for hurricane relief for every 1,000 meters we row and post a photo of on social media. So when I started on the rower, I didn’t follow the plan and just decided to row the entire block without stopping. I got just over 2,000 meters and then moved on to the treadmill.
I tried to run on the treadmill, but had to move to power walking after about a minute of running. But that worked out ok because I ended up having a plan in my head with the rowing and wasn’t thinking too much about the treadmill. I then went to the floor where we had some weights and ab work.
Then it was back to the rower where I decided that I wanted to see if I could stay on for more than just the rowing block. Someone else in class was doing the 10,000 meter challenge and I thought that maybe I could get to 5,000 meters total. So I knew I had to row another 3,o00 meters and that would pretty much take me 2 blocks. Fortunately, there was space in the class for me to stay on the rower so I started rowing and tried to get into a zoned out state.
Rowing over 2,000 meters is pretty rare in class. And any time we have to row 1,000 meters is extremely tough and usually I have to take a break. But I knew my time was limited and I couldn’t take breaks like I wanted to. So I just tried to stay steady in my rowing and not look at the distance that often. I was at about 1,500 meters when it was time for my group to move to the treadmill, but I stayed on the rower. I never thought I’d skip the treadmill to keep rowing, but I was determined to get to 3,000 meters. And when that treadmill time ended, I just got to 3,000 meters and was able to get a total of 5,000 meters in class!
That’s $5 that Water Rower is going to donate to the Red Cross! It’s not a lot of money, but between everyone in my class I think we got probably $50 in donations. And when you add up all the classes in all the studios that is going to be a lot of money!
I think that I pretty much killed it in my rowing challenge this week. I don’t think that I will be starting on the rower regularly because this confirmed to me that it is still tough for me to run on the treadmill after rowing and doing floor work. But I won’t be as worried or nervous about it now that I’ve proved to myself that I can do it.
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!
This past week wasn’t my best week of workouts, but it was exactly what I needed to do. I’ve been feeling a bit down about my running progress lately and how often I’ve had to power walk instead of run. And having a not-so-great Peak Performance Week really brought me down. I tried to not let it get to me, but it really was making me feel like a bit of a failure in my workouts. Fortunately, I was able to do some stuff this week that really helped me feel like I am strong again and that I’m just in a plateau and not losing progress.
Monday’s workout was a 3G one and it was a power day. Not only was it a power day (which are normally my best running days), it was a switch day so I wasn’t on the treadmill for very long at once. Each section of the room had 3 blocks (so 9 blocks total) and I was able to start on the treadmill like I like to. Each treadmill block started with a 90 second push pace followed 30 second all out intervals. I was able to run all the push and all out paces without struggling too much. It felt really great and freeing to be running like that again. I never knew that I could miss running, but clearly I had been.
On the rower, we had the same pattern as the treadmill with the 90 second push pace followed by 30 second all out intervals. I didn’t do any spectacular rowing, but that wasn’t really my focus during the workout. I do my best rowing when we have a timed or distance event that I can work toward. This time, I was just focused on trying to row the entire time I was on the rower and not how far I was going or how high my wattage was.
And on the floor, we had a nice mix of things. Everything that we did was 7 reps and that helped to make things easy. We had squat swings, mountain climbers, lunges with hops, squat jacks, and roll outs. We also had pike to knee tucks on the ab dolly. Those are extremely tough for me to do because I still struggle with doing knee tucks with my toes on the ab dolly. But it’s almost too easy for me now to do them on my knees. It’s tough that I can’t find a good middle ground, but for now I’m doing what I can on my toes before switching to my knees. This time, I only could do 1 pike on my toes before I had to stop. So I did double the knee tucks to make up for it.
Wednesday’s workout was an endurance day where we didn’t switch between blocks. Those are the toughest ones for me for running, but I had extra motivation to try my best in that workout. Whitney used to be one of my regular coaches, but she doesn’t coach at the times I go to now. The last time I saw her was when we ran into each other at Disneyland. So when I got to class and realized that Whitney was coaching, I was super excited! I love all my coaches and I’m always sad when I don’t get to see someone regularly. So this was a special treat and motivated me to push myself harder.
The treadmill was 3 blocks and they were pretty tough for me. The first block started with a 4 minute progressive push pace where you are supposed to increase your pace every minute. I was able to go from 4.5mph to 4.6mph after the first minute, but I couldn’t go any faster after that. But to do 4 minutes of running is good for me since I haven’t really done that in a while. After the long push, we had a long base pace followed by a short push to all out pace. The next block had a shorter first push pace but a longer second push pace. And the last block had an even shorter first push pace and a longer push pace leading up to the all out. It was a lot of running, but again it felt really great to do it.
The floor was one long block that took up the second half of class. It was a mix of weights, strap work, body weight work, and rowing. For weights, we did lateral raises and squat rows. For straps we had high rows and chest presses. For body weight work we had push ups and running men. And for rowing we started with 400 meter rows that went up by 200 meters each time. It was tough because it felt like some of the work we did back to back was using the same muscles (squat rows to rows on the straps and chest presses to push ups), but I managed to make it through 2 full rounds. The goal was to do 3 full rounds, but I didn’t quite make it back to the rower for the last round.
And of course, since it’s a rare treat to have Whitney as my coach we had to get a selfie together after class. I was so gross and sweaty, but I still had a smile on my face from an awesome workout!
Friday’s workout was a run/row day. I was pretty excited for a run/row since I had been making so many improvements with my running. And this was going to be a challenge for me. The running segments were longer than they usually are for run/row days. The first round was .75 miles and the second round was .5 miles. I kept my speed stable at 4.5mph and was able to run the entire distance both times! It wasn’t easy to do .75 miles but I felt so accomplished once I finished it. And while I only made it half way through the run/row assignment (the rows I did were 250 meters and 500 meters), I think getting the running done as a full run was worth the extra time it took me.
The floor had 3 blocks and they were a good variety of things. The first block was all body weight work with squats, pop jacks, and sit ups. The second block was all weight work and we were encouraged to try to use the same weight for all the exercises. We had rows, squats, shoulder presses, deadlifts, and lunges. The weight I used was a challenge for most things, but it was too light for the deadlifts. I probably should have switched my weights up for that, but I was more focused on getting through the rounds and not how easy the weights were for that move. And the last block was a core blast that had knee tucks, leg lifts, and crunches.
And I was able to do a Saturday workout too! And the running theme continued this week (it’s like Orangetheory knew I needed a running focused week) with the 3G workout I had. The treadmill block was a 12 minutes for distance run. I know that in the past I could run for 12 minutes without stopping, but I wasn’t sure that was going to happen this time. I was very tired from not sleeping that well the night before and I was tired from the workout the day before.
My plan was to keep the speed at 4.5mph and go as long as I could run before needing to take a walking break. Ideally, I would have been able to run the entire thing but I was realistic and didn’t push myself to the point that I was hurting. I managed to run for about 4 minutes before I had to go down to a walk. My plan then was to walk for about 3 or 4 minutes and then start running again. But after my walking break I tried to run again and my body wasn’t able to do it. I did end up running for the last minute of the 12 minute run, but it was disappointing that I wasn’t able to do as much as I wanted to. Still, my distance wasn’t too bad considering how much walking I did.
Next I went to the rowers where we started with an 800 meter row followed by squats. Then the row went down to 600 meters and more squats. I had just started the 400 meter row when time was called to switch. I didn’t do any spectacular times on my row, but just like earlier in the week my focus was really more on just rowing without stopping and not going fast. And on the floor we had squats, tricep work on the straps, plank work, and toe reaches. It was a hard block but I tried to only take breaks in-between exercises and not in the middle of a set.
I thought that the class was only going to have one rotation around the room, but there was one more short rotation after that. Everything was 2 minutes long. On the treadmill it was a push to all out pace and I had to walk it. The rower was also a push to all out pace. And the floor was skaters and plank jacks. It was a tough workout, but when it was done I was pretty happy that I had another running day where I was pushing myself.
This was exactly the week that I needed in my workouts. It pushed me harder than I had been pushed before and it reminded me what I am able to do with running. I’ve been underestimating myself and letting my mind control what my body can do. But obviously I’m stronger than that and this past week proved that to me again.
Another PeakPerformanceWeek 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!
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.