Tag Archives: challenge

Another Weight Loss Challenge (or Getting Back On Track)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Celebrating At Orangetheory (or 3 Years Down)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another Monthly Challenge Down (or The Prosperous Heart)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 Year Of Running (or A New Anniversary To Celebrate)

Earlier this month, I was talking to a friend of mine about my running adventures at Orangetheory and in my 5K races. In some ways, it seems like I’ve been doing my running for a long time. In other ways, it seems like I just started last month. And when my friend asked me how long I had been running, I had to think about it. I figured it was close to a year but wasn’t too sure. Fortunately, one of the benefits of this blog is being able to go back and look at when I posted certain things. And by going back to looking at that original running post, I realized my 1 year running anniversary is today!

I still remember that first class when I tried running. Running for 30 seconds seemed like it would be impossible, but I am so stubborn and when I was told to try it I knew I had to go for it. And it shocked me how easy those 30 seconds were for me. I was terrified that it would be painful to run since I was told that it could be with my hip issues. I think maybe I in disbelief about how easy those 30 second running spurts were. And that just got me into making some big plans with my running.

When I started running, things were coming very easily for me. Going from 30 seconds to 45 seconds or to a minute were pretty easy. I was able to get my speed up often without issues. I was on such a high about running and had some great ideas of what I wanted to be able to do. I hadn’t really run since I was a kid, so I had no idea how my body would react to anything and only based my ideas on how easy it was in the beginning.

After a little bit, I definitely hit a wall with my running progress. But I’m very lucky that I have so many running friends and I was able to turn to them for tips and advice. I worked on different stretching, increased my weights at Orangetheory to make me stronger, and planned out some interval training. I started to do my own interval work at Orangetheory instead of just following the coaches. But since all my coaches knew I was working on running, they were all very supportive and didn’t mind that I wasn’t following the standard workout.

Then I started to hit some huge milestones. I was able to run a 1/4 mile. I was able to run on inclines. I took a running class. I was able to run for 5 minutes without stopping. I ran for 10 minutes without stopping. I ran for a mile without stopping! I think running a mile without stopping is still something that shocks me and I’m so proud I hit that milestone.

I also started doing running on my own outside of my workouts. I got a running watch and did my own interval training work. I met up with friends to do running interval training and didn’t let me bug me that they were doing so much more than I could do. I focused on my own training and my own path and didn’t compare myself to others.

Even though I did all this work, I still questioned how my first attempt at a run/walk 5K would go. I had never done run/walk intervals for that long and I wasn’t sure my body would be able to take it. But I think between being stubborn and the adrenaline I get on race days, I was not only able to do it but I beat my big goal I had for how fast I wanted to do a 5K!

Then when I got to my second 5K as a run/walk, I was increasing my intervals and had hills to deal with. I hadn’t done as much running training as I had the first time (due to all my medical stuff) so I tried to not set any goals for myself. I knew the combination of all those differences meant that I might not be able to do better than my last time even though I was running more. That race was more of a struggle than the first one, mainly because of the hills. But I had to be flexible and willing to change my running plan. And by doing that (and probably again because I’m stubborn), I was able to PR at my race!

Now, I’m feeling more and more comfortable with my running. I’ve hit a few walls lately, but I think a lot of that has to do with other health issues. I’m running for pretty decent stretches at Orangetheory and I’m trying to plan what my goals are going to be coming up. I also may be meeting with a running coach soon to discuss a training plan and what may be possible for me in the long run (no pun intended). I’m also toying with the idea of trying to do a 10K for the first time, but that won’t be happening too soon since I need to do some training for that.

To think that I’ve come this far in just one year of running is insane to me! I never thought I’d be able to do most of what I’m doing now. And sometimes I do wish that I had tried running sooner because I’d be farther along now. But I can’t look back and wish I had done things differently. I can only work on moving forward and continuing to improve myself.

So here’s to my first full year of running! I never knew I’d get here, so I can’t even imagine where I’ll be when I’m celebrating my 2nd running anniversary!

It’s A Fitness Challenge (or Being Calm and Plank Time)

Last month, I set my monthly challenge to work on staying calm. That was a pretty easy challenge to do, but I had that be easy on purpose. I wasn’t sure what I was going to be able to accomplish last month and I didn’t want to set myself up for failure. Of course, I ended up not needing a simple challenge for the month and I was feeling like I didn’t really get that much done. I’ve really gotten used to pushing myself in my monthly challenges and last month didn’t push me. I didn’t know that my month was going to be the way it was, so I can’t be too upset. But that got me thinking about what would challenge me a lot in May.

As I mentioned yesterday, I realized in last week’s workouts how tough it was for me to hold a plank. I used to be great at doing a basic plank and could hold it for over a minute without any issues, but most of the time in workouts now they are planks with other movements too. It’s been a while since I’ve focused on holding a plank and it’s something that I just assumed I could still do. That’s not the case and I want to get back to having my core be as strong as possible.

There are a ton of 30 day plank challenges out there (even though May is 31 days, I can use a 30 day challenge and just repeat the last day). I’m going to be using an app I already had on my phone, but it seems like the set up is pretty similar to something I found online.

I don’t know if I’ll be doing the rest days, but it’s nice to know they are there in case I need it. I have a feeling that it’s going to seem really easy at the beginning but once it gets to doing them for a minute it’s going to be very tough and challenging for me. And that’s exactly what I want in a monthly challenge!

I think doing another physical monthly challenge will be good for me. Since I discovered I have the liver tumors, I’ve had some very mixed feelings about my body. I feel like my body has betrayed me because getting these tumors is such a rare thing. I’ve been working so hard on improving my body and my body decided to screw it all up. But I also feel so grateful for the strength I have now because I’ve been able to do at least 2 5Ks with the tumors in me (I have no clue how long I’ve had the tumors so maybe all my races have been with them). And by some miracle, my body has been able to shrink the tumors when nobody thought that would be possible.

Because I’ve had those mixed feelings, I need something that should be totally positive for my body and to help me reconnect with myself. It’s weird how disconnected I’ve felt lately and I don’t think I’ve ever experienced disconnection like this before. I had a similar feeling when I rapidly lost weight on the UCLA RFO diet, but this time it was even worse. I didn’t feel like I had any power over my body or what it was doing. I didn’t feel like I had control like you should have. And once I found out the tumors shrunk, that feeling continued because I don’t know what shrunk the tumors and I didn’t feel any different. How am I supposed to be connected to my body when I don’t feel the difference between a 10cm tumor inside of me versus it only being 4cm? I need to get back to feeling like myself again and I think doing a physical challenge will help me.

At the end of this month, I’m supposed to be able to hold a plank for 300 seconds. I honestly don’t know if I’ll be able to do that, but it will be interesting to see how close I can get to it. But if I can’t do it, that’s not what the priority of this challenge is for me. I need to reconnect to myself, feel strong again, and take control of my body in a healthy way. And hopefully by the end of this month I will be able to say that I accomplished that!

I know some of you have also been doing monthly challenges and I’d love to know what you are doing for May. And if you are doing a plank challenge, hopefully we can support each other.

Friends and Family Workouts (or Getting Pushed To Do Better)

This past week of workouts was awesome! And it’s not just because I had thought for so long that I wouldn’t be able to work out. I really had some great things happen in my workouts and in each workout I had someone with me to cheer me on! I was planning on doing 4 workouts once I knew that I wouldn’t be having surgery, but it ended up being a 3 workout week. But that’s ok because I think I got more out of each workout than a normal workout day!

Monday’s workout was while my parents were still in town. One day I’ll get my mom to take class with me, but this time it was just my dad. He’s done a couple of Orangetheory workouts before so he knew what he was in for. And since he reads this blog (hi Dad!) he knows what some of the workouts consist of so he can try doing things at his gym. Since going to Orangetheory he has started to use inclines on the treadmill and he pushes himself harder in his workouts. But he always says that he works hardest when he’s in a class with me because there is a coach pushing him on (plus, he and I are competitive).

The workout on Monday was endurance, strength, and power and we didn’t switch between blocks. My dad and I started on the treadmill and the first block was endurance based. We had some longer push paces and I was able to run all of them (I really did want to impress my dad with my running). The second block was a mix of strength and power and we had only short all outs but they were all on hills (3, 5, and 7% incline). I usually don’t run at those higher inclines, but again I wanted to impress my dad so I did it! It wasn’t too bad doing the 7% incline for only 45 seconds, but I don’t think I’m ready for longer running at that incline. So with the last block, it was longer hill time so I spent that block walking all my inclines. But even with the walking, I got to about 2 miles on the treadmill in class.

On the floor, each block started with rowing. Rowing is where my dad and I are most competitive. He easily beats me with running and I almost always beat him with weights. But rowing is where we challenge a lot. He still tends to beat me, but I’ve had some great rowing workouts lately and he doesn’t usually get to row at his gym. So I was happy to see what we were going to do. Between each of the floor blocks we had a 300 meter row (I did it in 1:03.3 and my dad did it in 1:03.1), a 90 second timed row (I got 384 meters and my dad got 387 meters), and a 15 stroke pull test (I don’t remember the exact numbers but I beat my dad that time). This was the closest I’ve been to beating my dad on the rower and that was awesome! I’m even more excited to see what I will be able to do by Thanksgiving!

While we were rowing, another friend in class took a photo of me and my dad getting our rowers set up. It is a super cute photo and I loved seeing that the official Instagram account for my Orangetheory location put it up in their Instagram story!

I think my dad was super excited to see us on there (and he doesn’t use social media so for him to be excited about it means it’s that much more awesome). For the rest of the workout that day we had squats, chest presses, lunges, triceps using the straps, plank work, and ab work. I think my dad had a great time working out with me and he said he was a bit sore the next day.

Wednesday’s workout was a power day and my friend Dani was in class with me! It was a switch day, but we did 2 treadmill blocks back to back before switching the first time. The running was mainly very short segments (either push to all out paces or just all out paces) and I ran all of those and then walked my base paces. It was a pretty good speed running day for me but I didn’t hit any new records with my speeds. But to me, I’m still so happy that I can run so I’m always impressed with running days. I did end up walking the last treadmill block, but that’s because of what I did on the floor.

When we moved to the floor, we mainly had squats with shoulder work and then sprint rows in-between the sets. The sprint rows were 100, 150, and 200 meters and Dani and I decided to race. Dani is insanely good at rowing and I knew that she could always beat me, but the idea of racing her would probably help me get my sprint rows done faster. And while Dani did beat me each time, I managed to do some PRs and almost PRs with my rowing! The downside to that was that I was starting to hurt pretty badly after the rowing. My hip was killing me and I was starting to get some stomach cramps. So because of that, I had to take it easy for a lot of the workout (which is why I walked on the treadmill).

My last workout of the week was on Friday and my friend Elizabeth joined me! She’s a new member of Orangetheory and we aren’t always able to be in the same classes. But she might be able to start going to the same time on Fridays as me. And our workout this day was a run/row that had endurance, strength, and power elements to it. I was excited for a run/row and this one seemed pretty awesome for me. The running segments that I got to were .5 miles, .4 miles at 2%, and .3 miles at 3%. I was able to run all of them (not run/walk, just run) and it’s still so amazing to me that I can run for .5 miles without stopping!

For the rowing, I only got to 2 rowing segments which were 100 meters and 200 meters. My 200 meter row was good, but nothing special (I was also pretty tired by that point). But for my 100 meter row I decided to see what I could do. My PR for that distance is 17.7 seconds and I had done 17.8 seconds on Wednesday. I was going as fast and as hard as I could on the rower and I managed to get it down to 17.6 seconds! At the speed I’m going on that row, there isn’t a ton of room for improvement so just taking that .1 seconds off is a huge accomplishment! I didn’t get that far down the run/row plan, but that’s because my running is still on the slower end of things.

On the floor, each block was 3 moves and then we were supposed to hold a plank until time was called. We had a nice mix of things including hop overs, lunges, squats, burpees, chest presses, and bicep work I only made it to the point that I had to hold a plank once and holding the plank was tough. I don’t think I hold plank too often in my workouts and that got me thinking (more on that tomorrow).

I’m so glad that I was able to work out this week and that I’m already back to my normal workout schedule. I had been so worried about how much time I was going to have to take off and I’m glad that I didn’t have to experience that. I’ve made so much progress lately because I was worried about the time off, and I’m thinking that pushing myself all that time was perfect. I’ve proven to myself that I can do more than I thought and I have the intention to keep that momentum going.

A Short Workout Week (or I Would Have Ended On A High Note)

When I thought that this past week of workouts was going to be my last week before surgery, I knew it would be a short workout week. There were only so many days in the week before Thursday and I booked 3 classes in a row so I could at least get 3 classes in. And once my surgery was cancelled, I decided to keep my workout schedule the same since my parents would be in town and I was going to spend time hanging out with them. But if this week had been my last week of workouts before a long break, I would have been pretty happy with myself. It was a great week of workouts and I felt super accomplished!

Monday’s workout was one that I had heard about online the week before. It was called the Everest Challenge and it was 23 minutes on the treadmill all at inclines. We started out at 2% incline and went all the way up to 15%. I’m not that used to being at the much higher inclines as I was before so my goal was to try to wait as long as possible to reduce my speed on the treadmill. I made it until 13% incline at my usual walking speed that I use for my base pace and then I dropped it down a bit for the last 2 inclines. And even though I spent the entire time walking and sometimes walking slower than I’m used to, I still got 1.3 miles done during class.

The floor was mainly upper body work which was good after all those hills on the treadmill! The first block was chest presses, hammer curls, squats with shoulder work, and a 250 meter row which I got done in 50 and 48 seconds. The second block was a lot of work using the weight bench including leg lift ab work. I usually can’t do the leg ab work because of my hips but I decided to test it out and found that I could do them with a decent range of motion. It took me forever to do all my reps for the ab work, but I did it and that’s what matters! I totally felt it in my core and not in my hips which is a huge victory for me.

Tuesday’s workout was a power day that was a very unique switch format. There were 6 total blocks, but it wasn’t just floor, treadmill, or rowing blocks. I started on the treadmill and had all push to all out paces. Since there were no base paces, I was able to run everything. Next, I moved to the floor where it was all work with the Bosu ball. I had lunges, squats, mountain climbers, and sit ups all using the Bosu. Then it was back to the treadmill where we had more push to all out paces but in between each set we had squat bicep curls. Then it was to the rower where we had sprint rows with squat shoulder presses. Back to the treadmill again for more push to all out paces. And finally I was back on the floor for lunges, chest presses, and pop jacks.

It wasn’t an easy workout, especially for a power day which usually are my favorites. Moving around like that was fun and it was a nice switch from the standard blocks that we do most of the time. Even though it was tough, I was having a lot of fun and felt like I was challenging my body more than normal because the blocks were so short. I also had to think more about my workout than I usually do because it wasn’t the routine that I’m used to. All of these things are good things that challenge me that I don’t get to do as often as I probably should.

My last workout of the week was on Wednesday which was an endurance day. Originally, when I thought this was going to be a big deal workout since it was going to be my last one for a while, I tried to get a bunch of friends to sign up for a class with me. But once I heard that surgery was cancelled, some of my friends decided to try another class another time. It’s not a great time for many of my friends to take class and I’d rather have them in a class where they are more relaxed and not stressed about traffic.

The workout had 2 different 6 minute distance challenges on the treadmill. I know that I can totally run for 6 minutes and I was excited to see what I could do during the challenges. It’s not easy to do these challenges sometimes because I overdo it in the beginning and then the second challenge suffers. This time, I took it easy the first time just to get more comfortable with a longer run. But even though I took it easy, it wasn’t easy. And for the second attempt, I bumped my speed up more just because I wanted to be able to beat myself. And I managed to do over .5 miles each time which it pretty great for me!

Between those challenges we also had a regular treadmill block. I did my normal plan of walking all my base paces and running my push and all out paces. I probably could have run the entire time, but I wanted to save my energy for the last distance challenge. And I’m glad I did that because I’m so happy with both of my distances.

On the floor we had 2 blocks that were a nice mix of work. We had alligator and tricep work on the straps, 4 point plank and sit ups for core, and burpees and mountain climbers for all over body work. Plus, we also had a 600 meter row that I did in 2:28. Overall, the floor work was pretty awesome but I unfortunately was hit with some bad nausea while on the floor and I forgot to pack my anti-nausea prescription in my pill container I keep in my purse with the medications that I don’t take all the time (I keep pain pills in that container mainly). I was taking a lot of breaks on the floor to make myself feel better so I didn’t get as many reps in as I could have done. But it was important for me not to push things too much because I didn’t want to make the nausea worse.

Overall, these were 3 incredible classes where I got to push my body a lot and worked really hard. And if these were my last classes before surgery I think I would have felt ok about that. Of course, I’m much happier that I didn’t have surgery and I’m not missing any classes now. I’m back to my regular workout schedule already and can keep working toward more and more goals! I’ve got about 6 months before my next 5K race and I’m already looking at my workouts as training for that!

A Challenge For A Weird Month (or French And Deep Breaths)

Another month brings another monthly challenge! It’s crazy to think that it’s a quarter of the way through this year already. It seems like it’s been flying by so far and that March went by so much faster than I ever expected!

My monthly challenge for March was to work on learning French every day. I was using the app Duolingo which I had tried to use before and just couldn’t get into. But I decided that I was going to go all out for the month with trying to learn French and if I hated it that I wouldn’t force myself to continue doing it. I did 2 lessons each day (each lesson took less than 5 minutes) and I really did make an effort to take it seriously and work hard at it.

It wasn’t easy to learn French just through the app (that might have been my problem the first time), but I was able to get through the entire month and have continued to work on it each day. I do go back and review past lessons often and the way the app is set up they do have words that seem to be the toughest for you in each lesson to work on. Some of the stuff is hard to understand because I don’t know why things are one way versus another or the different way to use various verbs. But I am understanding much more French than ever before and I am looking into other ways to work on learning the language. Overall, I think it’s another very successful monthly challenge.

When it came to planning what my challenge for April would be, I struggled with it for a while. There are several things I would love to use as a monthly challenge, but with surgery and the recovery coming up I knew there would be a good chance I wouldn’t be able to do it each day of the month. I don’t want to set myself up for failure when I know that it might be impossible for me to do something while in the hospital or while I am restricted in what I can do.

I probably thought about this for almost all of March, but I finally thought of what I could do every single day in April that would benefit me even though it is an easy challenge.

This month is going to be a stressful month and I don’t need to do anything that will add more stress in my day-to-day life. Taking deep breaths is something I don’t do that often but when I do focus on it I notice a benefit in my day. Taking time to take some deep breaths allows me to take a moment to just focus on that and not what else is going on around me. It allows me to center myself again and then get back on track with whatever I need to be doing.

There will be a lot of things that will be benefitted by deep breaths. I’ve got my MRI coming up this week and dealing with the IV needle is always tough on me. And the time inside of the MRI machine is very stressful and I know that if I use that hour inside the machine focusing on my breathing that I won’t be thinking about how small the MRI tube is or how loud the noises are. And after my surgery I’m sure I’ll have moments of pretty bad pain and taking deep breaths can give me something else to focus on instead of waiting for painkillers to start working.

I know this is a simple monthly challenge, but I’m taking it as seriously as I have with any of the past challenges. I am taking time each day to work on deep breathing and just a few days into this month I’ve already noticed a difference. And I think knowing that I have a challenge this month that will be able to be accomplished before surgery, after surgery, and while I’m recovering has made me relax a bit because I won’t be worried about trying to get something else new done while dealing with recovery. I am hoping that I will be able to continue with all of my monthly challenges while recovering, but I also know that I have to be lenient and forgiving with myself if I can’t do it. All I can do is to stay calm, take deep breaths, and focus on being the best me possible through this entire crazy month.

The Artist’s Way Recap (or 12 Weeks Later)

I previously blogged about how the podcast I work for was doing a group to support each other through the 12 week process of “The Artist’s Way”. I’ve attempted to complete “The Artist’s Way” a few times in the past but I usually didn’t make it beyond week 2 or 3. But having an accountability group really helped to keep me on track and this past week I completed the full 12 week journey.

I’m pretty proud of myself for making it through the entire thing. I’m pretty stubborn when I set my mind to things, but this was something that for some reason I wasn’t able to complete before. I don’t know what was holding me back, but clearly there was some block happening that was making me quit each time I tried. And the irony on how the journey is about unblocking yourself wasn’t lost on me.

The two main elements of “The Artist’s Way” for me were the morning pages and the artist date. The artist date was a bit odd for me. There are a lot of things I do each day that make me happy. I don’t usually set aside a time each week to do something like that since I try to do things every day. But I did try to do something each week that felt a bit more special than the usual things that I would do. That could be going to the Pantages for our shows, going to a movie screening, or just sitting on the couch and watching something on Netflix that I’ve been wanting to watch. I think it will be easy enough for me to keep up the weekly artist dates because it is not that far removed from what I’ve been working on with my therapist.

The morning pages were something totally different. When I was in high school, I kept diaries. These were done every night at the end of the day and I would recap what happened that day. It was a great way for me to work out my thoughts and to decompress. Now I have this blog (although I do still keep some things private to me). I don’t keep a diary and don’t feel the need to do so.

The morning pages are supposed to be 3 pages of freeform writing each morning. I’m not a huge fan of handwriting because my writing is so sloppy, but it’s encouraged to handwrite the morning pages instead of typing them. And even though these could be stream of consciousness pages, I still wanted to write in full sentences with proper grammar. I did get frustrated when I made a mistake or spelled something wrong and had to cross it out. I like to do things perfectly and I hate seeing mistakes.

I totally struggled with my morning pages. I take a while to wake up in the morning and I didn’t want to write as soon as I was up. I tried to get my pages started within 15 minutes of waking up and I usually could do that. But more days, I was using it as a diary like I had in high school. I would recap what the past day was like and I didn’t have much else to say. Occasionally I would write about a weird dream I had the night before, but most of the time I didn’t know what to write.

There were plenty of pages filled with me writing how I didn’t know what to write or how I wasn’t loving the morning pages. It got me through the 3 pages on those days I couldn’t think of anything to write, but I know that doing that is not the goal of the morning pages. But when I don’t have any other ideas of what to write in the morning, I didn’t want to try to figure it out for a long time. I had things to get done in the morning and couldn’t spend an hour trying to get 3 pages done.

Besides the artist dates and morning pages, there was a chapter to read each week and questions and ideas at the end of each chapter. I dedicated a bit of time each Sunday to read my chapter and to work on the questions. Most of the time, I kept my answers to the questions to myself. Sometimes I would share (or they would inspire me to write something on here), but the journey is a personal one.

Now that I’m done with all 12 weeks, I’ve been reflecting back a bit on what the journey did for me. I don’t necessarily feel more creatively open in my life, but I do feel more open in general. I’ve been more relaxed in what could be a stressful and uncertain time for me. I’m a planner and not being able to plan for things next month could easily bring out some OCD tendencies in me. But I’m happy to see that I’m not experiencing that and that I’m more open to see what will happen.

I’m also in a better morning routine than I was before. I’ve been working hard at getting up at the same time every morning. It’s not easy, especially when I have a tough night or am out late. But I really want to be more consistent in my wake up time every day so it doesn’t feel as tough in the mornings. At the beginning of the 12 weeks, there were plenty of days that I overslept past my alarm. It usually was only oversleeping by 30 minutes to an hour, but that was affecting my morning. But now, I’m usually getting up within 5-10 minutes of my alarm going off and I’m not hitting the snooze button. The latest I have slept in this month was 10 minutes after my goal wake up time. That’s so much better than an hour.

While I did have some victories over my 12 week journey, it wasn’t as life altering as I expected it to be. But when I reached the end, that actually was discussed in the book. Some of the changes in my life might have been during those 12 weeks and other might not happen until a year or so later when I reflect back on things. And I have a feeling that will be exactly how things work for me. When I started my Spark Planner/Ink+Volt Planner, I didn’t notice the results the same way at the beginning as I did when I reflected back at the end of the year. I need time away from the process to see the change that I’ve been able to make.

I’m very proud of myself for completing all 12 weeks. I’m glad I stuck with it and I’m so grateful for the other people from the podcast who did this journey with me. And I now have friends who are about to start the 12 weeks and I’m excited to see what they are able to do. While I don’t plan on necessarily continuing my morning pages and artist dates regularly, it’s good to know that I have those habits to go back to if I need them. And I might try to do this again for the first 12 weeks of 2018 just so I can see how I change over this year.

No matter what I do, I finally can say that I completed the entire “The Artist’s Way” journey and that’s something that I haven’t been able to say before. It’s an accomplishment that I’m so happy with and I know that it will only do amazing things for me.

Dri-Tri Time (or Beating My Own Records)

As I mentioned in my workout recap post this week, my 4th workout of the week was the Dri-Tri at Orangetheory. I’ve done the Dri-Tri once before, and while it was tough I had a great time. I had such a sense of accomplishment when I was done with the event and it felt like I had really been able to push myself more than I ever knew I could. So when I saw that the Dri-Tri was coming up again, I knew I had to sign up.

I was hoping I could get one of my workout friends to join me, but nobody was able to do it too. But that’s ok since we had an amazing group of people doing it and a bunch of the Orangetheory staff was there to cheer us all on.

The first event of the Dri-Tri is the 2,000 meter row. I’ve been doing a lot of rowing lately and my power and speed have been improving quite a bit. But even though I’ve been doing significantly better on the rower, 2,000 meters is a long distance. We rarely do rowing that long (although we did have the 2,017 meter row in January) so I was feeling a bit unsure about my ability to do the rowing. Last year, I really wanted to do my rowing in under 10 minutes and couldn’t do that. So I decided to set my goal to something that seems reasonable and wanted to do it in under 10 minutes.

While I was rowing, I tried to zone out. I didn’t go that hard because I knew that I could do too much in the beginning and burn out. I wanted to keep a relatively steady pace and just hope that I could get through it quickly enough. I was starting to notice other people finishing their row and getting up, so I knew that I must be getting a bit closer to finishing my row. I ended up being the last person off of the rower, but that doesn’t matter since I was only competing against myself and what I was able to do last time. And I ended up not only doing my row under 10 minutes, I did it in under 9 minutes! I did my 2,000 meters in 8:45.2! That was so much better than I ever imagined that I could do.

But there was no time to celebrate my amazing row because it was time to move on to the second part of the Dri-Tri: the floor work. This was a set of 300 body weight moves that we had to do. There were 2 rounds of the floor work (each round had a total of 150 reps) and it consisted of squats, push ups, burpees, hop overs, plank jacks, and step ups (I had to do lunges instead of step ups). I was pretty tired from the row, but I knew that last time the floor work was a struggle and I needed to stay focused.

I was taking breaks for water, to wipe off sweat, or to catch my breath quite a bit. But each time I was taking a break was when I was switching moves and not in the middle of a set of something. While it’s nice to have things broken up into 2 rounds, it was hard to think after the first round that I had to do that all over again. And again, I was the last person to be done with that part but I was ok with it because I knew I had the treadmill still to go.

The treadmill portion of the Dri-Tri is a 5K run. If you are a power walker, you do half of a 5K. I knew I’d be doing run/walk intervals and thought that I would try to go for the full 5K this time instead of doing half like I did the time before. I had my intervals at 2 minutes running/1 minute walking and that was going ok for me. But my hips were starting to really hurt (which usually happens when I do rowing or floor work before the treadmill) and I realized that it would be best for me if I only did half of the 5K. I was a bit sad that I wouldn’t do what I set out to do with doing the entire 5K, but I also realized that this way I would find out exactly how much faster I was this year.

I kept my intervals up for the entire thing. My speeds were pretty stable except for the very end when I took it to a sprint for me so I could get as many seconds off as I could. And I was happy to see that my half 5K was faster than what half my 5K was during my last race by about 20 seconds.

This gives me high hopes that my race coming up next week may be a PR again! But I’m still worried about how I will do with a full 5K as a run/walk again. But I couldn’t focus on that because I completed my Dri-Tri! And when compared to my Dri-Tri last year, I took just over 9 minutes off my total time. That’s a pretty impressive improvement in my mind.

When I was done, there were still a few runners finishing their 5K run. I was more than happy to hang out and cheer everyone on because I know this is a pretty tough challenge to do. This is much more difficult than a regular class since you are not stopping between blocks to pay attention to instructions. Once the clock starts, you are on the go until you complete everything. And even though I was done in under 45 minutes, it didn’t feel easier than an hour-long class.

I’m so lucky that I’ve been able to do the Dri-Tri twice so far. And I know that I will be doing it again in the future. It may be another year before I do another one because of the timing of things, but I’m excited to see what I’ll be able to do whenever I have the next one. Maybe I can take more time off of my row. Or maybe I can do the full 5K! Whatever I can do, I’m just so happy that I’ve been able to prove to myself that I’m so much stronger and powerful than I was last year!