Tag Archives: challenge

Friends and Milestones (or Another Amazing Workout Week)

I feel like I’ve been killing it in my workouts week after week lately! I think that I really just want to do as much as I can in the next month (only 1 month to go until surgery!) and I know that the stronger I am the easier my recovery will be. I also want to see what limits I can push my body to now so I know what I will have to work toward when I’m recovering. I know that recovery will take time, but I think having strong goals to focus on will help me a lot.

Monday’s workout was a strength day and we switched between blocks. Knowing that it was a strength day and there would be inclines, I decided to walk all my inclines. Most of the time, I was walking at 8-10% incline instead of running at 5-7% incline. But I did run one of the 5% push pace to all out pace segments. And of course, I ran all of the flat road pushes and all outs. Inclines will probably be a struggle for me with running for a while, but I’m testing myself with it bit by bit.

On the floor, it was really an arm focused day. The first block was all tricep work and it was really tough. We did tricep chest presses, tricep push ups, and tricep kick backs with weights. My arms were so tired after that block. I wished they had mixed up the arm work and not had all the tricep stuff in one block, but I also know that it was that way to be tough and getting through it is an accomplishment. On the second block, we had strap work with low rows and pull ups. There were also hop overs on the benches which are always tough for me because of my hips. But I was able to almost do them as hops instead of steps which is a big deal for me. And the last block was a row focused one. I had a 200 meter row and really wanted to break the 40 second barrier, but it was done in 40.7 seconds which is so close but it feels like it’s taunting me.

Wednesday’s workout was a power day without switching between blocks. But it worked out pretty well for me even without getting to switch. On the treadmill, blocks 1 and 3 were the same and blocks 2 and 4 were the same. On blocks 1 and 3, I ran everything except for a 1 minute base pace that was in the middle. I probably could have run it, but I was scared of overdoing things and getting too tired. And on blocks 2 and 4 it was almost all 30 second intervals (with walking recoveries) so I was able to run everything. And I ended with a 30 second all out pace at 7.5 mph. That’s super fast and I don’t think I could do it longer than 30 seconds, but it was nice to know I could do a little sprint that quickly.

On the floor, we had a lot of ab focused work. My body wasn’t feeling 100% that day, but I was doing the best I could. Each block started with a sit up exercise, and sometimes I just had to modify it to just be a regular sit up instead of a fancy one. But I was still doing full sit ups and not crunches. Most of the other work on the floor was body weight stuff that was core focused (so more ab work), but we did have a quick rowing block at the very end. It was 30 second intervals like the treadmill was, so I wasn’t too focused on my distances.

Friday was a super awesome day! It was a special workout for St. Patrick’s Day and I had a friend taking her first class then! Grace works for the podcast that I work for and she wanted to test out Orangetheory to see if that could help her get back into a good workout routine. And the special workout that day was a partner workout, so I think it was pretty ideal for Grace to have as her first class. She and I were partnered up the entire time so I was able to help her out the few times that she wasn’t quite sure what we were doing next (but she got a hang of it super quickly and killed it in her workout!).

The partner workout had 3 blocks, but blocks 1 and 3 were the same. And since it was St. Patrick’s Day, a lot of things had 17 in them. For blocks 1 and 3, the treadmill controlled the switched between the partners. The treadmill ran .17 miles and the rower was rowing for distance. I was able to run every time I was on the treadmill and we did some pretty great distances on the rower. I forgot to take photos of our distance, but I do know that we did more in the last block than we did in the first.

And the 2nd block was the big one that lasted 30 minutes. This time, the floor/rower controlled the switching. You had to row for 170 meters and then do 17 reps of various floor exercises. And while the rower/floor person was going, the treadmill person was running until tagged out. I was running the entire time at the beginning because the switching was happening pretty quickly. I was on the treadmill for maybe 2 minutes. But as the block went on, the switching was taking longer and I had to switch things over to doing run/walk intervals. I felt most comfortable doing 1 minute intervals because that is something I’m so used to doing.

Like I said, Grace was so amazing in class especially since this was her first workout at Orangetheory! She was making me want to work harder to keep up with her and to try to be a good example. And I’ll be getting to do more workouts with Grace in the future because after she took that class she decided that Orangetheory is awesome and she got a membership! I’m excited to have another friend at my workouts with me. I love having people in class with me that are so encouraging and it helps me stay accountable since I don’t want to let my friends down.

Saturday’s workout was an endurance day and it was a 3G class so we were only at each section of the room for about 15 minutes. I was able to start on the treadmill and it was a 14 minute run for distance challenge. The longest I’ve run has been 10.5 minutes, but when I did that the longest I had run before was maybe 4 minutes. So I figured I might as well try to run the entire time. Plus, I had a goal in mind that I wanted to be able to run for a mile without stopping before surgery. I haven’t done that since middle school (20 years ago) and it’s a milestone that I’ve wanted to try.

It wasn’t easy to run that long. I was actually pretty tired much faster than expected. But I think that was because I worked so hard earlier in the week. Maybe if this was the first workout of the week I wouldn’t have struggled, but this was at the end. I kept the speed at 4.5 mph almost the entire time and didn’t focus on anything except not stopping. I got my mile done in under 13 1/2 minutes (not a PR but I don’t care since it’s the first mile with no walking breaks) and after 14 minutes I was pretty darn happy with myself and what I was able to do!

Next I was on the floor but I was taking a lot of breaks because I was pretty tired from the run. There was a couple of little blocks on the floor with the first one being leg and shoulder work. Then we had a very short block (maybe 4 minutes) of different types of squats. And we ended with a short core blast with sit ups, back extensions, and planks. And finally I had the rower which was rowing followed by half squats (which were so tough because my legs were done by that point). It was a tough endurance day, but I was so proud of myself for what I did!

With 1 month left before surgery, I’m really working on maximizing all my workouts. I’ll be doing the Dri-Tri again soon and I’m really excited about that. I’m also going to try to do 4 workouts every week leading up to surgery with the exception of the week I have my 5K race. There is another challenge coming at Orangetheory that I’m debating about doing. It’s during April, so I won’t have the full month to accomplish it. But I’m going to try really hard to do what I can. I want to keep having epic workout weeks each week, and it seems like that will be the trend for the next month!

Lots Of New Records (or Killing It In My Workouts)

This past week of workouts may have been the best week of workouts ever for me! I have no clue how I had such an awesome week or what changed in my life that made it work out so well for me! But whatever the reason, I seemed to break records of mine every single day.

Monday’s workout was an endurance day and we didn’t switch between blocks. It really felt more like we had one long treadmill block and one long floor block. On the treadmill, we started with a 4 minute progressive push which means that every minute we are supposed to get a bit faster. I was able to run all of it and I did increase my speed each minute (but I only did it .2 mph instead of the suggested .5 mph). For the rest of the treadmill block, we did a lot of 2 1/2 minute push paces, which I ran, plus a couple of 1 minute all outs. By the time I was getting off the treadmill, I had done over 2 miles on there! That was something I have done before, but it’s still impressive to me that I can get that much done in class!

The floor block was a pretty crazy block. It was just a single block with a long row in the middle of it. We had to do jumping jacks, running man, squats, push ups, toe touches, pull ups on the straps, and 4 point planks. It was tough but I was very happy to get through it. The jumping jacks were exceptionally hard and we had to do 70 of them. I can’t remember the last time I had to do more than maybe 20 jumping jacks in class. After getting through all that, it was time for a 1,000 meter row. That is a pretty long row and I didn’t have too much in mind as far as a time goal goes. I knew I wanted to do it in under 5 minutes, but I had no other plan in my head. I knew I was tired after doing all the floor work so I didn’t want to set expectations for myself. But somehow, not only did I do it in well under 5 minutes, I did my best 1,000 meter row time ever!

I’ve been working on my rowing technique over the past few weeks, but this improvement wasn’t something I thought I could do at all. After that row, it was time to get back to the floor work again to do the same exercises I did before the row. Everything was a bit tougher the second time around, but I was feeling on top of the world after the 2 miles on the treadmill and the PR row that I wasn’t too focused on being tired.

Wednesday’s workout was a mix of endurance, strength, and power and we didn’t switch between blocks so I knew I could try for another good distance on the treadmill that day. The endurance work was a 3 minute push pace, 90 second push pace, and 1 minute all out that I was able to run (I walked all the base paces). The power work was all 45 second intervals which mainly were push to all out pace (so 90 seconds of work) that I was able to run. And the strength work was all at 4% so I was able to run at that incline instead of taking that as a walking break. The very last thing on the treadmill was a 30 second all out pace on a flat incline and I knew I was super close to the distance I had done on Monday so I decided to push it and do those 30 seconds at 7 mph and was able to get even farther on the treadmill than I had on Monday!

On the floor, we had 2 blocks which both had rows. The first block was lunges, power jacks with a weight in one hand (which is so much harder than holding the weight in both hands), and a 200 meter row. I did the row in 42 seconds both times which is a good time but I was really trying to get it below 40 seconds and just couldn’t do it. The second block was pretty arm focused and we did chest fly, triceps, chest press, and hammer curls. Then it was a 100 meter row which I really wanted to push myself on. I wanted to see if I could get it under 20 seconds and my first attempt was in 19.5 seconds so I was pretty happy. Then our coach was saying how our second attempt is just to take fractions of a second off since it’s such a short sprint row. But I decided to see if I could get at least one second off and managed to take almost 2 seconds off and did it in 17.7 seconds! That’s by far my fastest 100 meter sprint and now I know I probably could have done my 200 meter row in under 40 seconds if I really push myself.

Friday’s workout was an endurance day with a 10 1/2 minute distance challenge. The last time we had that challenge, I proved to myself that I can run for 10 1/2 minutes at a time. So I knew I needed to do that again this time. On the first attempt of that challenge, I did manage to run the entire time. But the big difference this time was that last time I did the entire thing at 4.5 mph and didn’t pay attention to the push or all out paces. I just wanted to run the entire time and not worry about it too much. This time, I did increase my speed during the push and all out paces and then went back down to 4.5 mph during the base paces. I didn’t do my pushes as fast as I normally do, but any increase in speed with I’m doing an endurance run is a huge accomplishment. And because of that speed work, I was able to get much farther this time than I have in the past!

I was so happy about that and was really excited to see if I could beat that distance for the second attempt. Things started off really great and I was going faster than I had the first time. But about 3 minutes in my contact lens was starting to bug me and I couldn’t seem to make that feeling go away. And about 4 minutes into the run my contact lens actually fell out! I freaked out for a second because I need my contacts to see and I have no depth perception without them. I stopped the treadmill quickly so I could stop to see if I could find my contact lens, and my some miracle it had fallen straight down and into my sports bra! I guess I’m lucky that I’m not flat chested because then it might have fallen onto the treadmill belt!

I was able to run to the bathroom to clean my contact lens and pop it back in, but by the time I got back on the treadmill it had reset itself so there was no way to do the challenge again. I was trying to not let myself feel too down about it (it’s not my fault that my contact lens fell out) but I also didn’t want to overdo it to try to make up for things. So I ended up doing the rest of the challenge (I had about 5 minutes left) as a power walk with going pretty high up on the incline.

On the floor, we had 2 blocks both of which had rows in them. The first block was an 800 meter row which I did in 3:25. Then we had squats, hip bridges, and push ups. Then the second block was a 400 meter row (I did it in 1:29) which felt much better than the 200 meter sprints I had done earlier in the week. We also did single leg squats on the straps and I was able to do them as single leg squats and not regular ones! We also had knee tucks and I tried to do them on my toes but ended up having to do them on my knees. The floor work was a bit hit or miss with me that day, but I figured that the awesome run and row made up for it.

And since I’m getting in as many workouts as I can right now, I did a 4th workout this week (I’m hoping to do 4 workouts a week every week leading up to surgery except the week I have my 5K). The classes I’m going to now on Saturdays are almost always 3G workouts so I know there won’t be as much time on the treadmill and some extra time on the rower. But this time, that worked out perfectly for me.

We had 4 blocks on each section of the room (treadmill, rower, floor) and we rotated each block so we were never in one area for too long. The first block was 5 minutes, the second block was 1 minute, the third block was 3 minutes, and the last block was 1 minute. On the treadmill, since I knew that I would never be on the treadmill longer than 5 minutes, I decided to see if I could run for everything. Not just my push or all out paces, but also my base paces. I looked at it like how I did the 10 1/2 minute challenge the day before. The 5 minute block was a bit tough because we were doing all 30 second intervals, but I managed to run everything! For the 1 minute blocks, all we had was a 1 minute all out so that was easy enough to run. And for the 3 minute block, it was 30 second intervals again and I ran everything. This was the first workout where the only walking I did was during the warmup when it wasn’t a distance challenge (like the 10 1/2 minute challenge days). It wasn’t easy, but this was a huge accomplishment and I am so proud of myself for doing it!

On the rower, the long block was rowing sprints plus half squats. The 2 blocks that were 1 minute each were just 1 minute all outs on the rower (I got about 300 meters each time). And the 3 minute block was the same pattern as the treadmill with 30 second intervals. And on the floor, it was a mix of arms and squats for most things. We also had some plank work at the end, but since every block was so short there wasn’t a ton that we did on the floor.

This week of workouts was really incredible for me. I got new PRs on my rowing, did 2 miles on the treadmill for 2 different workouts, did another great 10 1/2 minute distance challenge, and did a workout where I did all running and no walking. This would have been impossible for me just a year ago. I know my running progress can be slow, but to me it seems like I’ve been doing really amazing! I know I’ll have a setback with surgery and I’ll have to build myself back up to all this, but I’m really hoping that all this training is going to make my recovery much easier.

Great Days And Not-So-Great Days (or Overcoming Workout Struggles)

This past week of workouts was a series of ups and downs. I’ve been working on doing more 4 workout weeks lately because I know I will be taking a break when I have surgery (and I don’t want that to affect how many workouts I do this year), but I’ll admit that this week I was really debating cancelling my 4th workout in the week. I’m glad I stuck with it, but it was really testing myself if I could do it.

Monday was probably the best and easiest workout I had. It was a power day and we were switching between each block which always makes things a bit easier for me. There were 2 main blocks on the treadmill, 2 main blocks on the floor, and then a partner challenge to end out the class. On the treadmill, the first block started with 30 second intervals and I ran everything even the base paces! I’ve never done that before and I felt on top of the world! The second half of the first block was 45 second intervals but I wasn’t able to run everything so I did my usual plan of walking all the base paces. The second treadmill block was 6 minutes long with 1 minute intervals and I walked the base paces again.

On the floor, the first block was sprint rows with squats and arm work. And the second block was timed work like burpees, medicine ball jacks, and ab work. But then we got to spend the last 12 minutes of class partnered up and that was awesome! We were rowing for distance as a team and we rotated between the floor and rower. The person on the floor had arm work and plank jacks and controlled the pace of the switching. It was a long 12 minutes but I knew my partner was counting on me so I worked really hard. And after 12 minutes, we got pretty far on the rower!

I’m not sure I did my fair share on the rowing distance, but my partner didn’t seem to mind and we were both very proud of what we were able to accomplish together.

Wednesday’s workout was just bad for me. It started out fine but then at the beginning of the class my hip popped out (like it does all the time) but I couldn’t get it to go back. It was causing me some very intense pain and I didn’t want to step out of class to take a painkiller since it usually takes time for them to kick in. So I just did what I could and sucked it up. On the treadmill, I walked everything. It was a strength day so I was able to work on walking hills, but I really was upset that I couldn’t do any running. I’m so stubborn so it’s tough to let myself take it easy when I know I could do better. But my body just wasn’t having it so I had to go with the flow.

The floor work that day was one long block where we did a lot of arm work. I was pretty grateful for that since I could do my usual stuff even with my hip hurting. The arm work was one sided work so that added some extra difficulty in things. But I think that I was still able to keep good form with the heavier weights I was using that day. We also had some spring rows that were 200 meters each. I really wanted to get it under 40 seconds but I did them in 41 and 40 seconds. That’s still pretty fast for me, but again it’s tough when I have a goal and I just fall short of it.

Friday’s workout was much better than Wednesday’s. I wasn’t really hurting that much that day so I was able to do running. I did take it easy because I didn’t want to overdo it, so all my push paces were at 4.5 mph and all my all out paces were at 5 mph. We were switching between blocks but all the treadmill blocks were all the same with intervals starting at 1 minute, then going to 45 seconds, and ending at 30 seconds. It was good to be able to run again and even though it wasn’t my hardest running it was still better than not running at all.

The floor that day had blocks that were all pretty similar. Each block at 3 moves in it and they were all mixed up between arms, lower body, and core work. The only bad thing was that because I was still feeling a bit low from my workout on Wednesday, I might have overdone it a bit with the weights because I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it.

And since I overdid it a bit on Friday, when I went on Saturday I was a bit sore. It was mainly in my hamstrings, so that was a nice change from being sore in my hips. And it was a 3G class so I knew I wasn’t going to spend that much time in any part of the room. But I didn’t get to Orangetheory as early as I normally do so I had to start on the rower instead of the treadmill. The rowing started with rowing plus medicine ball jacks. And the second half was rowing sprints with recovery in between.

Next I went to the floor where the beginning of the floor work was all straps. We did triceps, shoulders, and squats on the straps and that wasn’t too bad. But the second half of the floor was timed work and that was crazy. Everything was in 45 second intervals and we rotated between chest presses, shoulder presses, and crunches. We did that rotation 3 times without any breaks and it was so much tougher than I expected. I was pretty tired after that but I still had the treadmill to do.

The beginning of the treadmill was pretty easy for me with 45 second intervals all on 1% incline. I did my usual with walking the base paces but running everything else. Then for the second half of the treadmill time (which was the last 7 minutes of class) we did incline work. We did push to all out paces at 5% and 4% and I did manage to run those. Running at 5% feels so tough, but it’s not feeling impossible like it did before so I know there is improvement. We ended with 2 all out paces, one at 3% and one at 2% which pretty much felt like a flat incline to me after the higher inclines. I really hate doing my treadmill work last because I feel like I’m so tired, but it’s also good to mix things up from time to time.

There were some totally amazing moments in my workouts this past week and some seriously depressing ones. It’s so easy for me to work out when everything is going great, but it’s good to have a challenge to get through to know that I can push through it and still get it done. I’m continuing to do a mental countdown of how many workouts I can do before surgery. The number is getting smaller and smaller so I’m starting to feel like surgery will be here before I know it. But I’m also now trying to think of surgery as just another challenge for me to get through.

Meal Planning and Learning French (or Monthly Challenge Time)

The start of a new month brings the end to one monthly challenge and the beginning of another! Of course, I’ve kept doing almost all of my monthly challenges beyond the end of that month so it’s really not the end to anything this time. First, a quick recap on my February challenge.

My challenge for February was to work on weekly meal planning. This is something I’ve tried to do multiple times and I was hoping that this time things would finally stick for me. Meal planning is something I know I should do for both my health and budget, but it has never been easy for me. I’ve tried different methods of planning and nothing felt right for me. So this past month, I decided to give myself the month to test out different things and to see what I could come up with.

I started with trying a couple of meal planning apps. I was only trying the free ones because I didn’t want to pay something that I wasn’t sure I would like. I know that some people love the apps, but for me they just didn’t work. I couldn’t see things the way I wanted to and it felt like more work than it was worth. I really wanted an app to work because it seems to be what so many people like and have success with, but I can’t force myself to work with something that doesn’t work for me.

After that, I did various versions of writing down a list for the week. I’m still testing out a couple of options, but I’m finding that having this list system is going ok for me. I can work on the week’s list on Saturday or Sunday (whatever day I can go get groceries), see everything that I have for the week, and make a grocery list based on that. I’m not buying things that I don’t need, so I’m saving money. And I’m finding that if I can cook one night at home, that covers me for 3 meals and I can eat something home cooked most days.

I’m not 100% perfect with following my plan, but I’m doing much better than I expected. If nothing else, this has helped me get into a schedule with my food and I’m not having problems with not having something in the house for lunch or dinner. There is still room for improvement with this, but I would say this challenge is a success!

Moving on to March now. It was a struggle for me to think up a challenge for this month. I ended up doing some searching online for inspiration on what could be a good month-long challenge. There were so many good ideas, but many of them are similar to things I already do so it wouldn’t be enough of a challenge for me. But I kept gravitating toward some of the educational challenges so I decided to look more into those. And I finally found something that seems good to me.

For the month of March, I’m going to work on learning a new language every day. More specifically, I’m going to work on learning French every day. I’ve wanting to learn French before and I’ve tried it a few times (sound familiar?) but it’s never been a habit that I can stick with. But I know that doing something educational every day will be good for me and learning another language will be a tough challenge for me.

I’m planning on using the Duolingo app to do this, which is something I tried before. But now, I have reminders set up for me to work on this every day and I’m connecting it to my social media so I can have friends checking in on me. I’ve liked the app before, I just wasn’t consistent with it. But that was before I got really into my monthly challenges, so I’m hoping that the motivation will be with me this time and I can stick with it.

I don’t expect to be great at French within a month. I know that it will take so much longer than that to be able to learn another language. But in 30 days I can learn some basics and get into the habit of working on this. Maybe by the end of this year I can feel comfortable with how much I know. I don’t have any reason I need to know French right now, but I’ve got some motivation to learn it in the long run.

12 years ago, my mom and I went to France and Italy together. We had a great trip and have said that we wanted to go again. And if we go back, we’ve said that we’d like to go to Disneyland Paris. I know you don’t need to speak French to enjoy Disneyland Paris, but I think knowing it would be helpful and would make that trip even better. My mom and I don’t have any travel plans any time soon, but we know that we want to go back one day. And when that happens, hopefully I will be able to speak a little French and understand it as well.

I’m excited to see how a brainy challenge will go for me because many of the ones I’ve done before aren’t as much about learning new things. But I know I should be doing more things to keep learning every day, and this is a great way to add that to my daily habits!

Building Up Endurance (or Shocking Myself)

This week of workouts started out pretty normally, but it ended with an accomplishment that shocked me so much that I’m still not totally believing it. But I know that the accomplishment was all because of the hard work that I’ve been doing over the past few months.

My Monday workout was an endurance day where we didn’t switch between blocks. There were 3 blocks on the treadmill and each block started with a 3 minute push pace. I know I can run for 3 minutes, but since I didn’t want to overdo things I did my 1 minute intervals for all of them. I’m not sure why I’m so scared to run for 3 minutes at a time when I have done it before, but I’m sure it has to do with the lack of confidence I have in myself while running. I’ve been running since the end of May last year, but I still don’t feel like a runner. I’m hoping that I can build confidence running soon, but I know I also have to be patient with myself. With the rest of those 3 treadmill blocks, I did 1 minute intervals for the 2 minute push paces and I ran all of the all out paces.

On the floor for that workout, I did some squats with arm rows using 15 pounds (which is pretty heavy for me). I also did some plank work on my toes which is still a newish thing for me. My right knee has been bugging me so being on my toes is a necessity. But it’s not easy to do plank work on your toes after doing them on my knees for so long. I also used 20 pounds weights for my standing tricep work (again, heavy weights for me). And we had 300 meter sprint rows to end the workout. I did those in 1:07 and 1:04 which isn’t too bad for me considering this was at the end of the workout.

Wednesday’s workout was a power day and we didn’t switch between blocks. It was technically a run/row, but it wasn’t a run/row in a traditional sense. We had 5 different blocks that were guided by the coach and we transitioned between the treadmill and the rower for each one (3 run blocks and 2 row blocks). All of the run segments were short and I ran for all the push and all out paces. I was still walking during my base, but now looking back at it I might have been able to run the entire time. And for the rower, we had 100, 150, and 200 meter sprints with jump squats between each sprint.

On the floor, we didn’t really focus on one specific area and did more of an all over workout. We had arms, legs, squats, abs, and the ab roller. I tried to do heavier weights for most of the work but I wasn’t able to lift the heavier ones like I had the day before. And we ended the floor work with a 3 minute row (while the cardio side was in their last treadmill block). Also, on Wednesday’s workout I had a friend in class with me for her first class! It’s been a while since I had a friend with me who had never been to Orangetheory before, and I was trying to help her out with following the pattern of class. It wasn’t the easiest first class to go to, but she did amazing!

Friday’s workout was an endurance day. And this was the workout that shocked the hell out of me! We didn’t switch between blocks because it was a distance challenge day. It was a 10.5 minute challenge which we had done about a month ago. The month before, I pretty much did 1 minute intervals and I think I did amazing with my distance. But instead of focusing on distance like I normally do (and try to beat my previous distance), I decided to see how long I could run for.

Since I started running back in May last year, I’ve been trying to build up my running endurance. But I’ve been struggling with it lately and I’ve been scared that I hit a wall in my progress. I haven’t really run for more than 3.5 minutes before (basically when I run for .25 miles), so this was a perfect chance to test things. Going into the challenge, I thought maybe I could run for 5 minutes and then take a little walking break before running again. But I also am stubborn as can be and I thought that maybe I could run for the entire thing.

Despite this being 3 times longer than the longest time I’ve ever run, I wasn’t going to hold back in this attempt. I knew that I’d have a second 10.5 minute distance challenge after this one, but I focused on the first one when I was the most prepared and least tired. And there were plenty of times during those 10.5 minutes that I thought that maybe I should stop and go back to my intervals. But all of that talk was mental and not physical. I was surprised that my body wasn’t hurting more, but I was also keeping my speed pretty slow at 4.5mph. And in the end, I ran for 10.5 minutes without taking a walking break, jumping the rails, or stopping in any way.

Even typing that I ran for that entire time, I still can’t believe that I did it. I thought that I was so stuck at running for 3 minutes or under, but all that talk was in my head and I really was able to overcome that and prove to myself that I could do it. This wasn’t my furthest distance and it is tough to be ok with that since I am competitive with myself. But focusing on endurance is different from speed and it’s time for me to do endurance.

In the second attempt, I tried to run for the entire 10.5 minutes again but I was pretty tired. I had to take a couple of breaks where I jumped the rails to catch my breath or pop my hip. And because I’m stubborn and competitive for the last 30 seconds of the second attempt I increased the speed a lot just so I could beat my original distance.

After doing those runs, I was pretty tired but also so energized by the fact that I did something that I didn’t believe I could do. I was on cloud nine during the floor and didn’t focus too much and didn’t get as many rounds done as I would have liked. We focused a lot on arms so I was using slightly lighter weights. In the second floor block, we had a 500 meter row (which I did in 2:12 and I’m very happy about that) and ab work. But to me, the highlight of that workout was the running.

Now that I know I have much more endurance than I knew, I’m thinking hard about how I want to do my cardio in the workouts now. I know I probably can’t run for the entire cardio time (which can be up to 30 minutes), but maybe I can start with running for my base pace and then going down to walking when I need to. During the next mile challenge, I don’t want to go for a PR anymore but instead want to see if I can run a mile without walking. I haven’t done that since I was a kid.

I didn’t consider myself a runner when I started this past week of workouts, but I have to say that by the end of the week I think I finally am starting to think of myself as a runner and someone who can just be a runner (instead of a run/walker) one day. I don’t know if I will ever run an entire 5K race, but then again a week ago I didn’t think I could run for .5 miles and I did that on Friday. This past week has given me a lot to think about and reevaluate and I am hopeful that my progress will continue, just not in the way I imagined it would.

Time For Some Planning (or Trying A Challenge Again This Month)

It’s a new month and time for a new challenge in my Ink+Volt Planner! First, I want to reflect a bit on my January challenge. I set my challenge to be to work on tumor visualization every day. I set an alarm to remember to do this each morning and most of the time I would be able to do this before the alarm went off. Many mornings, I put my tumor visualization in my morning pages for “The Artist’s Way”. And if I didn’t write about it in the morning, I spent some time sitting quietly and thinking about my tumors getting smaller.

I won’t know if this worked until I have my next MRI in March, but I’m going to keep doing this until my surgery and then after surgery I will be doing liver visualization to work on getting my liver to regenerate quickly. I know that in the past, the power of positive thinking has worked really well for me so I’m looking forward to seeing how well it will work for me this time.

I’ll admit that my January challenge wasn’t too challenging for me. It was something I wanted to do, but I didn’t have to work too hard to do it. So since I did something easier last month, I’m doing something that has challenged me multiple times this month. My February challenge is to work on meal planning again.

I’ve attempted meal planning more times than I can count. I’ve tried doing it with bulk cooking, delivery diet meals, meal replacements, and just trying to cook more at home. They have all had moments of success, but none of them have really lasted that long. So this time, I’m attempting another method to see if this time it will be one that sticks. I believe that eventually, a method will be the one that I connect with and I can’t find that out until I try different ones.

I’m doing a pretty basic meal plan set up. I don’t have a specific diet or plan I’m trying to follow. I’m just trying to plan my meals so I don’t have to think too hard about what I’m going to eat that day and to be better and only getting what I need at the grocery store. I found a pretty basic meal plan printable and I started using that this week.

Originally, I typed in what I was planning to eat but because things keep changing I’ve been crossing things out a lot. I’m thinking about printing a blank template, getting it laminated, and using a dry erase pen or post-its to plan so it is easier to switch things around. There is also a grocery list printable that matches this, but I’m used to writing grocery lists on envelopes (if I’m using coupons) or on scratch paper so I don’t feel the need to use a fancy grocery list.

My ultimate goal would be where I could plan things out on Sunday and do my grocery shopping for the week and be done with it. If I don’t have to go to the grocery store to find something for dinner, maybe I won’t be tempted by all the things I shouldn’t be eating. If I plan things out, I can know exactly how many of each thing I need and then I can make better grocery lists. This could potentially save me money too, but that’s not the focus right now.

My main goal with meal planning is to be successful with following the plan for at least 2 meals a day. Breakfast should be pretty easy, but I do struggle with lunch and dinner a bit. But by having a plan, I can look forward to what I will be eating that day and hopefully it will take my mind off of thinking about what I should go to the store and buy after I’m done with work. I’m also hoping that it will help me with eating a better lunch on days that I’m working out. Sometimes, I don’t make the best food choices on workout days and my workouts do suffer because of that.

I’m not expecting a miracle. I know that there will be a lot of challenges with this and that there is potential that I will not be as successful as I like to be with my monthly challenges. But I have to try because I know that I need to make a change in my life to get into recovery and to lose weight. And if nothing else, this will force me to be more aware and a more conscious participant in my food choices and help to limit the lack of mindfulness that I do struggle with.

This won’t be an easy challenge for me to do, but it’s an important one for me. I’m going to do my best to plan and to figure out the best way for me to do the planning, and hopefully in a month I’ll be able to share with you all that this worked really well for me!

Ending My Challenge Early (or I Guess I Made A Mistake)

I just posted about how I was doing the new weight loss challenge at Orangetheory. And as of yesterday, I’m not doing the challenge any more. It’s due to a mistake that I made. I thought I had done everything that I needed to do for the challenge. I signed up and filled out the forms, paid the entry fee, and weighed in at the kick off party. I assumed that the weigh in at the party was enough since it did measure our weight and fat percentage, but I missed the instructions that I still need to do an official weigh in when Nutrishop was at Orangetheory or to go to Nutrishop myself.

I guess I wasn’t paying attention because I never did the second weigh in. I thought I was good to go and spent the past week and a half working hard in my workouts and trying to work on my food as much as I could. And then I got a text from the manager at Orangetheory asking if I weighed in with Nurtrishop because they weren’t able to locate the body scan I did with them. I could have gone to do it on my own, but by the time I would have had time to go it would already be 2 weeks into the challenge. And since it’s a 6 week challenge, I don’t feel like I want to pay to compete for only 4 weeks. Even though it isn’t about the money to enter (it’s only $25) or winning a prize, it just doesn’t feel right to do it anymore.

It’s weird to give up on a challenge that I started. That’s not who I am. But in this case, I would feel shorted if I did it. If I was close to placing in the top 3, I would be mad because I would think that if I had the full 6 weeks that I could have done it. I know how frustrated I would be with not doing the full challenge, and I think for me it will be easier to give up part way through instead of only doing 2/3rds of the challenge.

Giving up on the weight loss challenge isn’t really going to change much for me. I’m still on my own journey to lose weight and I am just as motivated not doing the challenge as I am doing the challenge since I have the goal of losing weight by my surgery date. That is the biggest motivation that I can have. I know that I need to do this to make my recovery from surgery easier. And the easier my recovery is, the quicker I can get back to life (and my workouts) after surgery. So that is a huge motivator for me. I just like doing fun challenges and since this one had some good prizes I was excited to see if I’d win.

Of course, I’m still going to do the required number of workouts that the weight loss challenge had (it was only 3 per week which is my normal). I’m going to track things the same way I did before (I might even still use the tracking chart on the window of the studio if they let me), and I will continue to support my friends who are in the challenge right now. Nothing is really changing outside of me not tracking my weight and fat loss through the studio and that I can’t win any prizes.

It’s a new feeling to give up on this challenge since I don’t usually let myself do that, but at the same time I almost feel a sense of relief. I can focus on my personal goals and weight loss patterns instead of trying to do what it takes to try to win. And yes, I know that I said that I wasn’t going to try to work hard to win this time, but that wasn’t happening. I wanted to see if I could win again and while I wasn’t doing anything crazy to do it, it was becoming a focus. Now, that competitiveness with others is gone and I can just be competitive with myself.

When the challenge ends, I’m going to weigh myself in at home and see if I hit my personal goal for the challenge. It won’t be easy (I’ve had a couple of not-so-great food days lately), but it will be a nice sense of accomplishment if I can do it without the challenge being my focus.

Getting Back To Normal Workouts (or Balancing Hard Work And Taking It Easy)

After Peak Performance Week, I was pretty tired from all the hard work. I knew I’d still be doing my 3 workouts for the week, but I didn’t feel like I needed to push myself as hard as I had the week before. Having a recovery day (or a recovery week) is a totally normal thing to do. But I usually am so competitive with myself that I don’t want to do that. But this week, I knew that I needed to. So I tried to find a good balance between working really hard and taking the recovery I needed.

Monday was a power day that didn’t switch between blocks. But even though we didn’t switch between blocks it almost flew like we did because the first 3 blocks were only 4 minutes each. For those short blocks, I was able to run all the pushes that were 2 minutes or under and all of the all out paces. We had a 3 minute push pace followed by a 1 minute all out. I did run for 2 minutes and then took a quick 1 minute walk break before running my all out. The last block on the treadmill was 7 minutes which was a mix of push and all out paces. I tried to follow the paces perfectly (only walking during walking or base paces). And by doing that, I ended up doing 3 minutes of running at the end which felt pretty good for me!

The floor work that day was a similar pattern with 3 short blocks and 1 long one. Each of the short blocks was 2 different things we had to do and I was able to get through 2 rounds most of the time. And for the longer block, we mainly did squats followed by rowing. I didn’t take it too easy while on the floor since the blocks were so short. I was using 20 pound weights for my squats and 25 pounds for the deadlifts we had to do. Even in my recovery weeks, I’m finding that sometimes I can use heavier weights (especially doing lower body work), so I’m glad I still did that.

Wednesday was an endurance day, but fortunately we did switch between blocks. For the treadmill blocks, on the first one I ran for 2 minutes, walked for 1, and ran for 2 again. I was really happy to see that I felt fine doing that but then after that first block my body decided that it was done. I was feeling pretty light-headed (I didn’t have the best food day before my workout) and was dealing with a bit of pain all over. So for all the other blocks, I ended up walking even during the all out paces. I ended up keeping my speeds and inclines lower than I normally do on a walking day because of all the issues I was having. But I was trying to keep focusing on remembering that this was now a recovery day and that was ok.

On the floor, I used some medium to heavy weights when we had our squat work. In the last floor block, we also had a 400 meter row which I did get done in under 2 minutes. But the light-headedness and pain were affecting me on the floor too and I was taking quite a few breaks. I thought that the toughness of the workout was just because of my personal issues, but after class everyone else seemed to agree that for some reason it was an exceptionally hard class. That did make me feel a bit better about all the struggles I was having in class.

Friday’s class was a power day without switching. I was still dealing with a bit of pain (all the rain we’ve been getting in LA makes my hips hurt so much), but fortunately my workout didn’t suffer too much from the pain. All of the blocks we had were 5 minutes or under and that was helpful. We had a lot of all out paces (I think it might have been 8 or 9 of them, but I lost count). We had 1 minute pushes to all outs, 90 second pushes to all outs, and 2 minute pushes to all outs. And I managed to run all of it. I did walk during the base paces and walking recoveries, but it felt really good to run as much as I did. I still want to push my running more, and I feel like this workout was a good way to do it.

The floor was similar with the short blocks. We had a lot of squat work, a lot of ab work with the ab roller, and I even attempted doing knee tucks on the ab roller on my toes instead of my knees for the first time (that only lasted for 2 knee tucks, but it was the first time I ever did that!). But one of the floor blocks was all rowing for 5 minutes. We had base, push, and all out paces on the rower; but basically it was rowing constantly for 5 minutes. I know I could have done better than I did, but I think I didn’t do too shabby.

For this being a bit of a recovery week and a bit of a challenge week, I think I found a great mix. I listened to my body when I needed to and adjusted when necessary instead of trying to overcome the issues. Hopefully this will be a pattern that I’ll be able to continue doing for a long time!

Weight Loss Challenge Time (or Not Worrying About Winning)

This week, a new weight loss challenge started at Orangetheory. I’ve done the challenge a couple of times before and it’s always been a pretty fun time for me. I’ve done well with it in the past and have even placed in the challenge. This time, the winner gets a cash prize and second and third place get free membership months. And even though I could totally use the cash, I’m not doing anything too extreme to try to win.

I am working on losing weight because of my upcoming surgery and hopefully whatever weight I lose from working on that will help me place. But to do anything that cannot be managed after the 6 weeks of the challenge ends isn’t something I’m interested in. I have about 3 months until my surgery and whatever weight loss plan I use for the next 6 weeks should be what I can do for the 3 months.

But having the weight loss challenge is extra motivation for me. I’m competitive and would love to place in any spot for the top 3. I like having a requirement to how many workouts I need to do (it’s only 3 per week so it’s what I’m used to) and having other people in the challenge holding me accountable for my actions. Plus, it’s a fun way to be involved at Orangetheory and that’s something that I love.

There was a kick off party for the challenge this past weekend. It felt so weird to go to the studio in my normal clothes (a lot of people who work there have never seen me with my hair down since I wear it in a top knot for my workouts) and it was nice to see my workout friends when we weren’t busy on the treadmills. They had the scale to do the weigh in so I got that done pretty quickly. But they also had some vendors there that could help us in the challenge. One of them was Tender Greens, which is discounting food for challenge participants for the next 6 weeks (sadly, the location by my house isn’t doing the discount).

They also had a food delivery service with samples there, massage therapists doing chair massages (that was pretty awesome), and SaunaBar which is giving us all discounts on services for the next 6 weeks. I’m thinking I should check out SaunaBar because it seems cool and something that could be nice along with the hard work that I’ll be doing. Plus, it seems like it would be a nice treat to do as a reward that doesn’t involve food or other things that could be bad for me.

I spent a while at the kickoff party (I was procrastinating on getting work done at my house), but it was really nice to get to hang out with people who I don’t often get to see outside of workouts. It was a fun change of pace for me and I’m glad that I went to the party instead of just doing my weigh in after a workout like I normally do. And getting to see my workout coaches outside of workouts is fun too. I do get to socialize with them a bit during class, but it’s pretty limited. So getting to have the time to talk and just have fun was good.

While I’m not planning on doing anything extreme over the next 6 weeks, I do hope that I am able to lose weight at a regular pace and that it helps to get me down to the weight that I am hoping to be at by my surgery. I don’t have a specific diet plan that I’m following (restricting myself seems to lead to more issues down the line), but I’m trying to just live a regular healthy lifestyle and hopefully that will help bring the weight down. I know that there is still a chance that I will have binge episodes, but hopefully the balance between those and the healthy eating will still result in some weight loss.

And who knows? Maybe in 6 weeks whatever I have been able to do will be enough to win! This challenge is based on fat percentage loss and not weight, so even if the scale doesn’t go down I still could do well in the challenge. I almost would prefer it to be based on weight so I could have an idea of how I’m doing (my scale doesn’t do fat percentage), but it might be better for me not to worry about my progress in the challenge but only in my progress toward my personal goals.

Either way, I’m hoping the next 6 weeks go well for me and when the challenge is done that I can be excited with what happens!

Going Big During Peak Performance Week (or A Week Of PRs)

This past week was Peak Performance Week at Orangetheory and it went really well for me! Peak Performance Week is something that I do look forward to each time it happens. It’s a great way to prove to myself that I’m making progress and since I’m so competitive with myself I can get some of that energy out. My original plan was to only do 3 workouts, but I decided to go for it and do 4 workouts during the week (which meant doing 3 workouts in a row) because I really wanted to see what I could do.

Monday’s challenge was the 500 meter row challenge. I don’t have as crazy of goals with the rower as I do with the treadmill, but I still set goals for myself and want to do better than I’ve ever done. So with 500 meters, I set a goal of being able to do it in under 2 minutes. I started on the treadmill but we only warmed up while the first group was on the rowers. When they were done, it was our turn to row (this way, we weren’t too tired before doing the row). Even though 500 meters isn’t really a sprint for me, I knew that I could just go really hard and hopefully it would only be about 2 minutes of effort. So I did just that, and when I got to 500 meters, I was pretty excited to see my time!

1:55.9! Totally under my goal time and that’s all that I could have asked for! After doing the challenge, we had the rest of the workout. On the treadmill, I ended up walking for it all because I went so hard on the rower. For the longer push paces, I did my inclines between 6-8% and the shorter push paces at 10-12%. But walking was fine with me since I was tired and I knew I’d have more running during the week. And when I was on the floor, I stuck with slightly lighter weights for my lunges. We also had some strap work and ab work plus some short rows (which I took easy).

Tuesday’s workout was the one I wasn’t sure I’d be doing, but when the challenge for that workout was announced I knew I had to go. It was the 24 minute run for distance. I hadn’t done that one since I started running, so I wanted to see what I could do. I had a goal in mind to go .5 miles further this time than I did the last time but I mainly just wanted to do my intervals as long as I could. I was doing 2 minutes of running and 1 minute of walking. I mainly ran at 5 mph and walked at 3.5 mph and was doing pretty good with that speed with my intervals. At the end, I did a few rounds of 1 minute of running/1 minute of walking and tried to bump my speed up. I really wanted to make it to the distance goal I had (which would have been 1.896 miles), and I was close but just missed it.

Even though I didn’t make that distance goal, I’m so happy that I went as far as I did and that I did so well with my intervals. I hadn’t done the 2 minutes of running intervals for that length of time before so it was really great to realize that I could do it!

After the 24 minute distance run, I had 2 blocks on the floor. Each of those block started with a 300 meter row and we did some arms and squats after that. And then after those blocks, we had a 3 minute core blast on the floor that ended with a one minute plank hold and I was able to hold it for about 45 seconds. That’s not my best plank hold, but considering all the other work that I did that day I’m very happy with it.

Wednesday’s workout was a floor rep challenge day. Since it was my 3rd workout in a row, I knew it would need to be a bit of a recovery day. I tried to run at the beginning of the workout and realized that my legs were pretty dead so it ended up being a walk day for me. We did switch between blocks and there were 4 blocks on the treadmill and 4 blocks on the floor. The treadmill was nothing spectacular for me since I was so tired, plus I knew I would be working really hard on the floor.

For the floor rep challenge, we got to do it twice and add up the reps from both attempts. We had 4 minutes and did 1 move each minute. We were doing squats, push ups, pull ups on the straps, and sit ups). I tried so hard to go each minute without stopping, but it wasn’t easy. I think for me, the easiest ones were the push ups and sit ups but none of them were too horrible for me. On my first attempt, I did 124 reps between all the moves and on the second attempt I did 110 reps. I think that that’s not too shabby considering how hard those 4 minutes were without a break. I would have loved to have done more reps the second try, but that wasn’t in the cards for me.

And Friday was the day I was stressing out about all week: the mile challenge. I think that I judge myself by the mile challenge more than I do with any other treadmill challenge. And since I recently had a major PR with my mile, I was worried that I couldn’t beat that. I know that I don’t need to PR every time I do the mile challenge, but that’s what I want to do. I knew that I went really hard with that last PR and I spent time this past week trying to figure out what I would need to do in order to PR again.

This time, I tried to stick with 2 minutes running/1 minute walking intervals. I had it figured out that I would only need to do that 4 times to get my mile done so it helped with getting my head in the right space. I started with doing as long as I could at 6 mph for my running time. I averaged going that for just over a minute and then I ran at 5.8 mph to finish out the 2 minutes. I did my walking at 3.8 mph, which is faster than I would have liked, but I knew I needed to keep my speed up. That plan worked fine for the first 3 rounds and then my stomach started to cramp up. I went back to 1 minute intervals and increased my speed even more. When I knew I had .1 miles left on my mile, I sprinted and kept increasing my speed. I knew it was going to be close to 11:48 (my previous PR) and I just wanted to get at least 1 second off of my time. And it made me feel so amazing that I did that.

It wasn’t a pretty mile for me. It was so difficult and I’ve realized that I need to figure out a new game plan for the next time I do a mile challenge since I can’t just keep increasing my speed. Hopefully I’ll have some time to figure it out before the next challenge, but for now I’m just happy that I got another PR.

We had a pretty low-key floor block while the other half of class did their mile challenge and then we all joined together to do a partner workout for the rest of class. One of us was on the floor and the other was on the rower. The rower person set the pace and had to do a 900, 600, or 300 meter row. While the partner was on the rower, the person on the floor had lunges, mountain climbers, ab work, and roll outs. We would repeat the floor work until our partner tagged us out.

I was pretty happy that we didn’t have to go back onto the treadmill. My right hip was really sore after my mile. It wasn’t my normal type of pain which is sharp and feels like an electric shock. This was more of a dull annoying pain and I didn’t want to push myself too much. I did take it easy on the floor since I wasn’t controlling the pace, but when I was on the rower I did my best to go as quickly as I could so I could tag out my partner. We each ended up doing 2 rounds on the rower so at least we were pretty equal with our work.

This Peak Performance Week was totally a win for me. While I didn’t meet every goal that I set for myself, I had a PR with everything. And those goals I set were pretty ambitious and I didn’t know if I could do every single one I set for myself. So to do 3 out of 4 isn’t too bad. Plus, I did 4 workouts in a week and 3 workouts in a row so that makes the week even more difficult! All of those things combined helped to make this week more amazing than I could have imagined!