Tag Archives: goals

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!

What Fitness Goals Are Next? (or Continuing To Impress Myself)

You may have noticed in my past few fitness posts that I’ve been hitting some amazing goals lately. I don’t know why things have been going so well for me, but I think it might be that the weight of thinking I need surgery is off of my mind now. I’m able to focus on me again and doing what I want to do and I don’t have to stress about a setback that would potentially set me back months.

With this positive flow going in my workouts, I’ve started to question if I’m doing enough. I’m not in a plateau or anything, but I wonder if I could do more or better. And I also have to figure out what that more or better means to me. I want to do so much, but figuring out the steps to get there are tough for me. So this past week of workouts, I focused on just doing my best and seeing what I could do so I could start planning some ideas for new fitness goals.

Monday’s workout was a power based one and we switched between each block of work. Not only did we switch between blocks, every block was only 4.5 minutes long which isn’t that much. I knew I would need to focus on doing as much as I could in those 4.5 minutes each time to maximize the time I had in that section of the room. The treadmill work started with push to all out paces and I was running everything. I kept my speeds where I’m comfortable with my push at 4.5 mph and my all out at 5.5 mph, but in the end we were just doing all out runs with very short walking recoveries. I wasn’t able to recover that much in those short walks so I had to bring my running speed for those all outs down to my normal push speed.

On the floor, we had 3 blocks with 2 moves in each block. It was a good variety of work with squats, weighted arm work, sit ups, hop overs, and single leg deadlifts (which I was able to do as single leg deadlifts with one hand on the bench for support). With the blocks being so short, I never got to do too much of each exercise so I didn’t really get too tired at all. And the last floor block was actually a rowing block that had the same pattern as the treadmill (45 second all out rows with 30 seconds of recovery in between).

Wednesday’s workout was an endurance day and it was the perfect day to test out some new fitness goal ideas. I’ve mentioned in the past that I’m wondering what I should do as far as training for my next 5K. I’m torn between increasing my run time (like I did with my last 5K) or decreasing my walk time. I don’t know what would be best for me and I haven’t really had a lot of opportunities to test each out. That is until this past workout.

Pretty much the entire treadmill time was 90 second push paces followed by either 30 second or 45 second base paces. I ran all my pushes and walked all my bases. While 90 seconds is less running time than I did in my last race, the walking time was decreased too. It was an interesting test for me to see how my body would take it and I think that it’s still something that I need to try out more often. I was feeling a bit more tired than usual during the workout because of the reduced walking time, but I wasn’t feeling like I couldn’t keep doing it. And it make it happy to see that even with the shorter running time, I was still able to do more than 2 miles in class.

The floor had another day of a good variety of floor work. There were squats, hamstring work, ab work, and shoulders. We also had a 1 minute timed row. My best 1 minute timed row was 313 meters, but that was a while ago. I know that I can do 300 meter in a minute since I finally got that back down, but this time I was so tired at the end of the workout that I knew I wouldn’t be able to get that far. But even with the tiredness, I was able to do 285 meters on the first round and 288 meters on the second. Not too shabby for me.

Friday was a power day which meant a ton of running for me! There were 3 treadmill blocks that all had the same pattern. It was push to all out paces where the all outs in block 1 were a minute, block 2 were 45 seconds, and block 3 were 30 seconds. Since there were no base paces except during the warm-up, I pretty much ran everything that was supposed to be a run. I wanted to work on increasing my all out pace and was able to bump it up a bit each block, but I finished that workout knowing that I probably could have done more than I did. I hate that feeling, but sometimes I don’t know how far I can push myself until I’m done.

The floor had 3 blocks this time. The first block had skater lunges, plank work, weighted swing work, and rows with the straps. There was also a 250 meter row in that block. I only made it to the rower once and that was a bit annoying to me. The next block was all core work with mountain climbers, planks, and sit ups. It was so tiring working my core that much, but I’m glad I got through it. And the last block was on the rower with decreasing rows with frog squats.

Saturday’s workout was a strength day and it was also a 3G workout. The very beginning of class was a mini tornado workout. We were on each part of the room for 2 minutes and switched. The treadmill was 2 minutes on a hill, the rower was a 2 minute row, and the floor was a mix of push ups and squats. After those 6 minutes, I felt like we had done half a class! But then it was time to get the class really started.

I started on the treadmill but I knew as soon as I got to class that I’d be walking the entire time. I had worked pretty hard the rest of the week and taking one easy day is helpful to make sure I don’t exhaust my body too much. I think I’m finally finding the good balance that will allow me to make 4 workout weeks the norm and not something I do only sometimes. The treadmill work was some pretty high inclines. In fact, even for the people who run they were instructed to walk so I didn’t feel as bad about having to walk for that class. It was only 15 minutes on the treadmill, but we were pretty much at an incline the entire time. I was usually between 6-10% but there were a few times we were up at 12% and that was starting to get a bit too much for me.

Next I was over on the floor where we had one long block with lunges, shoulder work, arm work, and abs. Even though it was just one block, it felt pretty quick unlike some of the other times that one long block feels endless. And after 15 minutes it was time for me to head to the rower. On the rower, we had 500 meter rows with lunges in between each row set. I didn’t really have that much of a goal in mind with my rowing because I couldn’t remember what I had done in the past and I wasn’t going to look it up on my phone. I decided that maybe under 2 minutes would be nice. And for both of the rows, I was able to do just that! And it turns out that my second row was actually a new PR for me!

I’m glad that I did some new PRs and tested some new things this past week. I’m still working on what I want some new fitness goals to be but at least I have a much clearer picture in my head on what my body is able to do now!

Rowing Adventures (or A Funny Workout Injury)

This past week of workouts were very rowing focused for me. This could be because I’ve been making a lot of progress in my rowing and I want to continue doing that. I’ve got some really high goals that I’m trying to reach in rowing and it’s getting tough to get there since it’s now trying to take off fractions of a second in many cases. And because of my intensity with my rowing, I ended up starting off my workout week with what might be my funniest workout injury.

Monday’s workout was endurance, strength, and power mixed together. I was dealing with some odd hip pain (I think I slept funny) so when I was trying to run on inclines I was having some issues. I was able to run at 2 and 4%, but anything higher than that ended up being a power walk. In the endurance block, I was able to do the 3 minute push and pushes to all outs as runs (which is always a good thing). And for the power block it was a bunch of 30 second all outs and I ended up getting to 7 mph!

The floor was split into 2 blocks and the first one was a shorter block. It was chest work with the straps, hip bridge chest fly work where I could do the hip bridge part, and plank work (which again made me laugh because of my monthly challenge). The second block was a longer one with squats, squats to bicep curls, squat fly work, and push up with rowing with weights. And then we also had rowing sprints. It was supposed to be 100 meters to start and each time we got back to the rower it went up 100 meters.

I really wanted to PR on my 100 meter row and I know that in order to do that I have to go pretty crazy on the rower. I must have a ton of power and I need to have very long pulls. And I guess that I was going a bit too intense because somehow the seat of the rower went forward and I went backwards! My feet were still strapped in, the seat was under my knees, and my butt landed hard on the rails of the rower! It took me by surprise and fortunately I was able to bend forward to unstrap my feet and get up, but I couldn’t believe that happened to me. I’ve never seen someone fall off of the rower before!

My Monday coach, Brendon, told me that he’s seen it happen a few times when people are rowing super hard. And he said that I should look at this as a badge of honor because it doesn’t happen that often. He knew I was working on PRing on my 100 meter row, so when I went back to the rower I did 2 rounds of 100 meter rows instead of 1 round of 200 meters and Brendon was coaching me and giving me tips on what to do. I still didn’t beat my 100 meter time, but I’ve got some really great things to work on and I have a feeling that I’ll be getting a new PR soon.

After falling off the rower, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to have rowing on Wednesday but we ended up having some rowing again. My butt had some impressive bruises from falling off but I was determined to do my best. But since I started on the treadmill I had some time before I had to worry about that. Wednesday’s workout was a strength day which means hills on the treadmill. We had 3 blocks on the treadmill that each followed the same pattern: a push on flat incline, base pace, 2 minute push on a hill, base pace, and an all out on a flat road. The hill running ranged from 6-8% and I was determined to do what I could with the hills before going down to a walk. And somehow, I was able to run the 2 minutes on the hill each time! Even at 8% which has been a struggle for me to walk at in the past!

Because I was doing a lot of running on hills, I was able to get my 2 miles in on the treadmill. This used to be a huge accomplishment for me but lately it’s been happening most days that we don’t switch between blocks. But to know that I did this on a hill day was even more special since running on hills is something that has been tough for me since I started running.

On the floor we had 2 blocks and a lot of the work was squats or ab work. But I was really happy with that because I did get to test out how much stronger my core muscles are now with the ab work. I usually can’t do the core work that involves lowering and raising my legs because it bugs my hips. But because my core is getting much stronger the pressure isn’t as bad on my hips and I’m able to do them! And on the second block on the floor we had 300 meter rows. I’ve been working on getting my 300 meter row down under a minute again and while I was a little worried about falling off the rower again I wanted to see what I could do.

And to my surprise, I was able to do it in 59.9 seconds! I was so excited and then I realized my phone was over by the weights section and I couldn’t take a photo of the proof! So when I had another attempt at the 300 meter row, my only goal was to get 59.9 seconds again so I could take a photo. Not only did I do that, I took another .5 seconds off of my time. Those small decreases in time is all I can ask for at this point so getting half a second off is huge for me!

Friday’s workout was another day with endurance, strength, and power. With the endurance block on the treadmill, I was able to do my usual plan of running the push and all out paces and walking my base paces. But I did increase my base pace to 3.5 mph (instead of 3.4 mph) so that was pretty great for me. On the strength block, I ran when we were supposed to be at 2% but when I tried 4% my body was just too tired. I ended up walking everything else above 2% for that block. And the last cardio block was on the rowers with 30 second push, 30 second all out, and 30 seconds of rest. I really didn’t pay too much attention to how far I went but my wattage was pretty low for me so I know it wasn’t anything too great.

The floor work was more squats and abs! This was totally the week for squats and abs. I was able to do some single leg squats using the straps for support and did some good modified ab work. And the very end of the floor time was 30 second timed intervals of speed skaters, mountain climbers, and weighted torso rotations. It was tough to switch every 30 seconds and I sometimes wasted a bit of that time trying to catch my breath but it was a good challenge to end the workout.

Saturday’s workout was a tough one for me. I debated cancelling class because I felt like I might need it as a rest day, but I went and decided to do my best. It was an endurance day but since it was a 3G class I knew I wouldn’t have too much time at any particular part of the room. For the treadmill, I started the first push as a run and realized within 30 seconds that it was not going to be a running day for me. My legs felt like lead and I didn’t want to risk getting hurt. So I did the entire treadmill block as a power walker and noticed that I just couldn’t get my heart rate up into the correct zones. I don’t know if my heart rate monitor was acting up (I’m thinking about getting one of the new armband ones instead of the chest strap I use) or if my body is just really used to running so walking isn’t enough of a workout anymore. But I tried to not focus too much on my heart rate and just think about the workout.

After the treadmill I went to the floor where it was a lot of arm work. We had 2 small blocks with shoulder work, chest press, low rows with weights, bicep curls, tricep kickbacks, and a little bit of ab work. I was using some pretty heavy weights and was happy to see that they weren’t as tough as I thought they would be. I think I might be getting close to being able to increase my weights again on the floor work. And my last block was on the rower with 3 minute timed rows. The goal was to get over 700 meters and the first time I did it I only got to 640. But the next time was just over 700 meters so I was happy that I was able to reach the goal that was set.

It still surprises me how much I’m able to do in my workouts now. And the achievements I had in my rowing this week was beyond what I expected could happen right now! I do still have the bruises on my butt as a badge of honor for falling off the treadmill, but that’s ok. Now I just need to focus on what I want to focus on for my next set of rowing goals for the workouts over the next few weeks!

My 2017 Word (or I Am A Warrior)

As I have the past few years, I’m declaring a word for the year. I feel like my words have been going along the same theme. In 2015 it was bold. In 2016 it was strong. And for 2017, my word is going to be warrior.

I actually had this word in mind for the last month, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to use it. It almost felt too much for me and too out there. But then I realized that those reasons are exactly why this should be my word for the year. I shouldn’t be scared of what word feels right to me for the year and so I’m going for it even though I’m a bit intimidated to declare it my word for the year.

The main way I want to be a warrior is for my health. Some of the eating disorder resources I follow call people in recovery “recovery warriors”. I love that term and the feeling it gives me to think that I can be inspired by warriors. Eating disorders are a battle and being a warrior is the best way to win a battle. I want to be a warrior for my eating disorder. I want to win this battle. I know that the battle will very likely take more than 2017 to win, but I need to be a warrior this year to set myself up for a win in the future.

I also want to be a warrior for my liver. I’m not scared about my surgery this spring. In fact, I’m excited to have it so I can get through it and prove to myself that I can get through the recovery of having part of a liver removed and then the pain associated with my liver growing back (I have read that this is painful). I want to be a warrior with my recovery from surgery and to prove to myself and the doctors that I can recover better than expected. I did that with my hip, and I don’t see why I can’t do that with my liver as well. I totally want to get this shirt for my surgery recovery, but I laugh because I do see myself as a fighter. I am a warrior for my liver and I can’t wait to use this year to prove that this is true.

I love the word as well when it comes to my fitness. I love that my Orangetheory workouts feel more like I’m training for something and not that I’m just trying to get a workout done. I like the idea of preparing for something and that is a warrior mindset. My workouts are preparing me for surgery, my next race, and to live a healthier life. So being a warrior when I’m working out is perfect.

And I want to be a warrior for my life. I feel like being a warrior for my life goes along with being bold. I want to be a bit forceful in making sure I’m doing what I want to do. I want to push to have more fun and go on more adventures. And I want to make sure that I don’t let myself be walked over by others and that I stand up for myself. All of those things feel like warrior traits. My life should be as amazing as I can make it and I need to be the person responsible for making that happen. I can’t just stand by and let others dictate my life. I need to take control and that is something that I have been slacking on in the past. But I’m not going to let that happen again if I can help it.

I’m excited for my year of being a warrior. I know I already have some battles that I need to fight in 2017, but I’m ready to do that. I am in the mindset that I need to be ready for anything and that is going to help me get through what I need to do this year. And hopefully I still have a more positive year than negative, but being a warrior for myself should help to do that. And even with the negative things, I can make sure that I am doing everything that I can to try to turn them positive. Sitting by and being a victim isn’t working for me, so I need to step up and do something different. And I have a feeling that 2017 will be the perfect year for me to do that.

My 2017 Goals (or I Know This Year Will Be Amazing!)

It’s the beginning of 2017 and I’m ready to make this year so amazing! I have a lot of things happening this year and while they are not all great things I know that I can do incredible things even with the struggles I know the year will bring. As always, I don’t set resolutions because I don’t feel like those have a long-term feeling. I like to set goals for what I can get done in the year and I’m ready to share my 2017 goals with you all.

My first goal is a fitness related one. I didn’t quite make my fitness goal for 2016, but I’m still trying to do better than that goal. This year, I want to do 181 workouts at Orangetheory. This is going to be a huge challenge for me. First, I only did 177 workouts last year so this is 4 more than what I did before. But also, with my liver surgery, I may need to take several weeks off of working out. Because of that, I will have to do more 4 workout weeks before surgery and after I recover. But I’d love to make 4 workout weeks more of the norm so setting a goal of 181 workouts is a great way to push myself to do that.

My next goal is to get through my liver surgery as easily as possible. I know that this will be hard to do since I have no clue how my body will react to surgery and recovery. But I am a big believer in the power of positive thought and that’s what I’ll be doing. When I had my hip surgery, I was in the gym the next day on the recumbent bike working out because I was told that moving would be good for me. So my plan is to think that I will be able to get through surgery with few problems. I will have to spend some time at the hospital after surgery, but with positive thinking I’m hoping the time will be as limited as it can be. I know this will be a painful process, but I still want to focus on the positives and hoping that the pain will be manageable and that I will have a fast recovery.

The next goal is to continue on my journey through recovery and to reduce my binge episodes even more. I know that setting a goal to eliminate binges is setting myself up for failure, but to even reduce the average to be one fewer a week would be awesome! I want to continue to reading my recovery books to be inspired and get my brain in a place where recovery is possible. This isn’t an easy goal, but I’m excited to see what progress I can make this year.

Next are money related goals. I have a number that I want to get my debt below this year. I’m not sharing that publicly because that won’t mean much to everyone else, but it will be a reduction of about 25% of the debt I currently have. I would love it to be lower, but because I am not making a ton of money right now I know that I must have slightly realistic goals. And along with that, I would not only like to pay down my debt but I would also like to have some savings as well. I don’t want to have to use my credit card for unexpected expenses like car problems or wanting to buy things like my Disneyland pass. If I had savings, I could use that for those expenses while still being able to pay down debt.

I also have a goal of hopefully setting a PR again in my 5K race time. I have 2 races planned for this year so hopefully I can PR at one or both of them! I plan on increasing how long my running intervals are so that should hopefully help to make getting a PR easier for me. I’m not as focused on increasing my speed right now, but maybe that will be something I work on toward the end of the year for future PRs.

And my last goal (which I seem to set each year) is to have more fun. I’m even trying to make my liver surgery fun by telling my friends that they will have to come and visit me in the hospital so I can have a good time there. I plan on continuing my adventures to Disneyland and Universal Studios and hopefully having more fun random outings. There is so much stuff in LA that I haven’t done yet even though I’ve lived here for almost 16 years and I want to have more fun in the city I call home.

So that’s it for my goals for 2017. I think I’ve set some really good ones and I’m excited to do my best to accomplish them all! And I hope that at the end of December, I look back at this post and am proud of what I got done. But for now, I’m just happy to start working on all of these and checking things off throughout the year!

Recapping My 2016 (or Almost Doing All That I Wanted To)

I can’t believe that it’s the end of the year! It’s so true that the year flies by and that it seems like it wasn’t that long ago that I was writing what my goals were going to be for 2016. My year didn’t totally go the way I expected (both in good and bad ways), but I’m happy to say that I almost got all the goals I set for the year accomplished.

My first goal for 2016 was to do 180 workouts at Orangetheory. Sadly, this one wasn’t a goal that I accomplished. I will have one more workout for the year tomorrow, and that will bring my total for the year to 177 workouts. I know that 177 workouts for the year is still impressive and better than I did last year, but I really wanted to reach my goal. I had some setbacks that I wasn’t expecting, so that contributed to missing some of the workouts that I thoughts I’d be able to do. It’s not the end of the world that I didn’t hit this goal, and I’m trying to remember that the quality of the workouts that I did this year were so much better than last year.

I was lifting heavier weights than I ever have before. My form on the bodyweight exercises is significantly better. And most importantly I started to run this year! I never thought that was going to happen for me this year and I’m so happy that my coaches pushed me to do it. I still have so much progress to do on my running, but the amount of progress that I’ve had this year already has been incredible!

And that leads me to my next goal I had for 2016 which was to have a PR on my 5K. And because of my running, my most recent 5K was an amazing PR for me! Even with all the running training I had been doing, I had no clue that I could do that fast of a race! I accomplished so many goals I had for my 5K timing with that one race and now I have to figure out what new goals I have for 2017 for my races. My next race should be before my liver surgery and the second one will be after. And I have no clue how the surgery will affect my training so I need to be cautious with the goals I set.

The next goal I set for 2016 was regarding money. I wanted to budget better, reduce my debt, and possibly start saving money. While things haven’t been as great as they could have been with money, I think I’ve been doing a lot better than I have before. My budgeting is going better and part of that budgeting is budgeting money each month to go into saving money for big things like when I have to do car repairs or my new computer. I’ve also brought my debt down this year. And even though it isn’t as low as I hoped it would be, getting it down is tough so any reduction is an accomplishment.

I also set a goal to travel more and go on more adventures with my friends. I really didn’t do a ton of traveling this year, but the trips I did take were really fun. I didn’t get to do the trip with my sister-in-law like we had planned, but we are working on a trip idea for 2017 so at least trip planning happened this year. But I totally did do more adventures this year with my friends. I’ve been going to shows quite a bit and those still make me so happy. I got to go back to Magic Castle and had so much fun with my friends being silly there. And of course I had a ton of outings to Disneyland and Universal Studios.

The one goal that I didn’t really even get close to doing is being in another acting class this year. I debated doing the next level of improv at UCB, but I decided against it for a couple of reasons. I looked into a few other acting classes and I’ve found a couple that do interest me, but there was an issue with scheduling. And with knowing that I have surgery coming up in the spring, I’m very hesitant to try to get a class planned for the new year. I know I need to get back into a class, and I’m a bit upset with myself that I didn’t do any action with this during 2016. But I’m ok with not doing it because I didn’t want to waste money on a class I didn’t really care to do.

And my final goal for 2016 was to be in recovery or on my way into recovery from my eating disorder. I’m not in recovery at all, but I’m working toward it and the steps I’ve made this year have been significant. I think I’ve made more progress this year than I have in the past few years combined. I’m working on recovery every day which is something that I haven’t done before. I’ve had fewer binge episodes a week than before and the binges I have had were not as severe as they were in the past. I still have a lot of work to do, but it’s getting there.

Considering all the craziness of my life this past year, I’m pretty happy with how my goals went for the year. I know that things could have been better, but they also could have been so much worse. And I know that 2017 is just going to be even better!

My goals post for 2017 will be next week (along with the post with my word for 2017). I hope you all have an amazing New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day! Please be responsible and call for a cab/Uber/Lyft if you are out drinking so you get home safely. And here’s to all of us having an incredible start to 2017!

December Monthly Challenge (or Wrapping Up For The Year)

It the last month for my monthly challenges for 2016! I’ve had a lot of amazing monthly challenges and they have really changed me for the better! But before I get into my December challenge, I want to do a quick recap of last month.

Last month, I set the challenge to drink more water. More specifically, I wanted to try to drink 80 oz of water a day. I picked that amount because the cup I use to drink water at home is 20 oz. So it was easy to say I wanted to drink 4 cups a day. I managed to accomplish this almost every single day last month. I was able to get the timing down to where I knew when I needed to finish each cup. The only time I really didn’t meet my goal was when I was out-of-town. This was mainly because I wasn’t focused on how much water I drank (plus I didn’t know how big the cups were at the rental house). But overall, I’d consider the challenge a big success!

I had some really big ideas for my December challenge, but after some consideration I decided to scrap that idea. I’ve already ordered a new planner for 2017, so I can do some of the big ideas next year. And there are some really big ideas (like having a month completely binge-free) that I’m very excited about. But for December, I decided that this monthly challenge is a time to do some reflection.

So I’ve decided that my December challenge is to rededicate time to the challenges I set throughout the year. Most of them have been easy for me, but I’ve totally been slacking on a couple. And being at the end of the year is the perfect time to make sure these challenges become habits and I make sure that I start 2017 in the best place possible.

The ones that I’ve been able to keep with pretty much no effort have been properly tracking my food intake (although there are some improvements I’d like to make), doing daily gratitude lists, not ordering delivery food (although I may get delivery Chinese food for my Christmas dinner), weighing myself every day I’m home, working on self-submitting for acting jobs every day, meditating every day (but there is improvement I can focus on), reading 10 pages of a recovery focused book daily, and my water intake.

While those have come easily to me, I know that I’m not doing them 100% all the time and I have taken notes on steps I want to take to make these new habits even stronger and better for me. I think those steps should be pretty easy since they are small tweaks versus starting from scratch. But I think improvement and progress with habits is a good thing so I’m happy to work on making these better.

The ones I’ve been struggling with have been practicing mindful eating, a yoga class online (or at least a yoga pose) every day, and doing a daily task sheet. The mindful eating one has been very tough. I have an alarm to remind me of it, but because my eating schedule isn’t the same day to day, sometimes the alarm is too early or too late. I need to work on a different system, but I’m not totally sure what that is yet. But I’m happy to be working on it this month. Yoga was working really great for me for a while, and then time just got away from me. It’s another thing that I have an alarm to remind me of, but I need to make it more of a priority in my life again. It was a good thing and I know I need to work on bringing it back. And while the daily task sheet was a challenge I didn’t end up liking, I know that having a daily to-do list is good and I’m seeing how that could be most productive for me.

I think spending the month working on the year’s challenges will put me in a place where I’m ready to take on 2017 head first. I know that 2017 has the potential to be a very rewarding yet very challenging year so I want to be in the best head space possible. And getting back to my challenges will be a great way to accomplish that.

My new planner should be arriving in the next week or so, and I’m so excited for it! Buying this planner really was one of the greatest things I’ve done for myself and I’m so excited to make next year’s planner even better!

And because the team at Ink+Volt know how much I have loved my planner this year, they gave me something to share with you all! This is a link to the entire 2016 planner that you can download and use! Even though 2016 is almost over, you can use the December pages to make sure you also end 2016 the best person ever! And if you love it, you can still buy the 2017 planner and hopefully get it delivered before the new year starts!

I’m really excited for this month’s challenge/reflection/rededication and seeing how I am able to solidify my challenges in my life. My next monthly challenge post will be my first challenge for 2017!

My First Run/Walk 5K (or I’m Still In Shock)

This past Saturday I had the Hard Rock Cafe 5K. I’ve done this race several times in the past and I had been really looking forward to it. It’s a really nice out and back flat course and since I have done the race before I’m very familiar with the course and know when I’m getting close to the turn around. For a while, I had been training hard to make this a run/walk race (for the first time ever!). But after getting sick I wasn’t able to train like I was before and I felt like I lost a lot of progress and endurance. I figured that I would do my best, but I wasn’t expecting too much for this race.

I was able to pick up my race stuff on Friday after work, so I prepped all my stuff Friday night before going to bed. I usually wear a hip pack to carry my phone, keys, and anything else I need before/during/after a race. But I knew that wearing that would make running very difficult, so I had to plan differently. Since my workout pants have a little pocket, I could put my phone in there and I strung my keys through my headphone cord and put those in the pocket too. So I was feeling very free for whatever running I was going to be able to do.

Race morning I woke up at 5am and quickly got ready. I ate a little bit of a banana so I’d have something in my stomach, but my nerves were getting the best of me so I couldn’t eat or drink too much. By 5:30am I was in my car and headed to Hollywood and Highland where the race was. Once I parked, I got ready in my car and in the parking lot since it was nicely lit down there and it was a bit warmer than it was outside. And about an hour before the race was supposed to start, I headed up to street level to stretch and do my best to prep before the start.

pre-race

I tried to keep moving around so I didn’t get too stiff and was stretching my legs and hips. I really didn’t want pain to be a reason why my race wouldn’t be good, so I was working hard to make sure my body was ready to go. I did find some friends before we started, and seeing them made me feel a bit more relaxed and ready to see what I could do. And before I knew it, we were ready to go (we started right on time at 7am which was nice).

I had my running watch ready to go with 1 minute intervals set. So I was planning on running for 1 minute and then walking for 1 minute for as long as I could. In my training runs on my own, I usually could do that 5 or 6 times and then I would have to start cutting back on the running time. I would do 45 or 30 seconds of the 1 minute run and then walk the rest. I knew this was likely to happen, so I wasn’t thinking ever that I could do the full running minutes for the entire race. I just wanted to try my best and see what I could do. For this race, I really just wanted to finish in under 50 minutes (which would easily be a PR). My long-term goal was to finish in under 45 minutes, but that wasn’t even a though for this race.

Once I started, I started my watch and my music and started to run. The first minute of running went by quickly and very easily. I tried to stay toward the side of the course so that I wouldn’t bother people by walking. Sometimes I had to go around walkers when I was running, but that wasn’t that big of a deal and just tried to not obstruct any other races.

When my running watch is doing intervals, the default screen is showing how much longer is in that interval and how many intervals I’ve done. I keep it on that screen and while I can get an idea of what time it is, I didn’t want to focus on my time while racing. The first mile marker came up and I was still able to do my full minute of running each interval and I was very happy with that. I passed the water station while walking and took a few sips of water before focusing on the second mile.

The second mile is always the tough one for this race for me. The turnaround is in this mile and I know the course probably too much so I’m pretty focused on how many blocks were left before turning back. I just tried to focus on my music and trying to do the best running I could do. I was still able to do my full minute of running each interval, which is significantly better than I’ve ever done during a training run. When I saw the turnaround sign, I was very happy. Normally, I try to tap the sign and I see it as good luck. But there was a slowish walker in my way and I couldn’t touch the sign this time. I tried not to let that get to me and just thought about how I was halfway done!

The second half was a bit tough. There were times where the running minute was feeling like it was taking forever. I would glance at my watch and see that there were less than 15 seconds to go before I could walk and I kept deciding to finish the running minute. I know that I told myself that I didn’t have to run/walk the entire race, but I am so competitive with myself and wanted to test my limits. Once I saw the 2 mile sign, I finally started to realize that I might actually be able to maintain my intervals for the entire race. There is a bit of a downhill going toward the finish line and that is always really nice to get to. I saw the markers for the 10K race and knew I had .2 miles left to go. I just kept saying to myself that I can totally finish at this pace because it was almost done.

My last walking interval was very close to the finish line. I knew I didn’t want to finish knowing I could have done more running. So I cut my walking minute short and decided I would run for the rest of the race. It ended up being about 90 seconds of running and I finished the race sprinting across the finish line.

I stopped my watch as soon as I crossed the finish line. I had seen the official race clock say that it was almost 46 minutes and I knew that I started after the official start since I was toward the middle of the pack. But when I looked at my watch to see what it said, I was so sure that I had screwed something up because I really could not believe it.

garmin-watch

My watch was saying that my time was 44:47.8. I really thought that I either started it too late or stopped it too soon and figured I would wait to see what the official time sheets said before I got too excited. I knew I finished in under 46 minutes because of the official clock and that was also unbelievable but I knew it was right.

While I was waiting for the official times to be posted, I found some of my friends. My friend Brenda is a part of the Oscars/Halloween party group. She also had some issues with being able to train recently and was not expecting anything too crazy. But she was able to PR for the race and did amazing!

with-friends

I also ran into Heather, who is the executive director of My Friend’s Place. My Friend’s Place is the official charity for the race and they always have a team running it. It was great to get to see her again and I’m hoping I can do some more work with My Friend’s Place in the near future.

with-heather

Finally, the official time sheets were updated so I could check what my time was. And after looking at it, I finally had to believe that I did was well as my watch claimed.

official-time

My official time was 44:48 (which is basically the same thing as 44:47.8) Not only did I PR (by over 9 minutes) I actually beat the long-term goal I had of doing a race in under 45 minutes! I really did not expect to do anything close to this and even a few days later I’m still in a bit of shock. After having several disappointing races when I felt like I did really great, I was expecting this to be similar. But I actually did better than I ever could have imagined!

post-race

I wasn’t able to drive home right away because I was in such disbelief. I made a couple of phone calls to people who I knew wanted to know how my race went. Each time I said my time, I could barely believe what I was saying. But soon enough hopefully I’ll start to believe that I did it. I’ve got to focus now on some new race goals because I did all of them in a race that I was so stressed out about.

Once I got home, I added my new medal to my medal hanger (I’m looking at buying an extension for it since I’m running out of room).

medal-wall

I spent the rest of my day relaxing and trying to nap since I had gotten up so early that morning. I kept looking online at my race time trying to believe it and not think that I’m dreaming or that some mistake happened. I know that I had trained hard for this race, but my training never got such incredible results. I think a lot of it had to do with race day adrenaline and that helped me to run more than I normally can do.

I never expected to have such an amazing race day. I’m glad that I still pushed myself even though I knew that things might not go the way I was hoping they would. Even though I thought I had given up on myself a little bit, I guess deep down I really hadn’t and this was my mind’s way of telling me to keep pushing it. And I’ll get the chance to test that out again in about 6 months when I have the next 5K happening (unless I find another race I want to do before then). But for now, I’m just so happy and grateful that my hard work paid off and I had the greatest race day I even could have wanted.

best-race-ever

Going Back To Normal (or An Early End To My Birthday Adventures)

I’ve had a really great birthday this year. I loved having dinner on my birthday with my birthday twin and my birthday party was really one of the highlights of the year so far. I feel so loved and I’m so grateful for the amazing friends that I have in my life. I am so lucky.

Normally, I have a ton of smaller birthday adventures leading up to and following my birthday. That usually happens because when I have a birthday party a bunch of people can’t make it. So I end up meeting them for dinner or drinks on another date to celebrate with them.

But this year, my birthday party had such an amazing turnout that I’ve gotten to celebrate with almost everyone who I wanted to celebrate with at once! I’m not used to having everyone in one place (and it was so much fun watching everyone meet each other and make new friends), and it was really just perfect.

But because of that, I’ve realized that my birthday celebrations are basically over. I still have to pick up a couple of the birthday freebies that I love and I might get birthday pie with a friend, but I’m done with planning birthday outings beyond that.

It’s not a bad thing that I’m done celebrating my birthday. I’m totally happy to have just one celebration and have that be that. It’s just weird when for so many years I’ve pretty much planned a birthday month and I feel like I’m missing or forgetting something now. But then I remember how amazing this past weekend was and I feel like I got all the birthday I needed in that one night out.

It is nice to be getting back to normal so quickly. I over ate during my birthday and I want to get the scale moving back in the correct direction. I need to focus on my health and recovery and birthday adventures are not the best time to plan that (I’m aware if I go for birthday pie that I will have to not focus on recovery for that moment).

I’ve been able to really pay attention to what I’m eating and what my behaviors are like. I got into some bad habits last week and it’s tough to break them but I know I can do it again. I’m working on remembering what I was doing earlier this summer when things were working really well for me and doing those again. And hopefully I will be back on track again within the week and if not, I know I’m making steps towards that.

I’ve got some big goals in mind for the next month or so, and I’m glad that I will be able to put my attention toward those. One of my biggest goals is with my next 5K race, which is the first weekend of November. I know that it will be here before I know it, and I want to make sure I take the time to do what I want to do. Things are going well so far, and I want to make sure that continues and things only get better!

While I’ve loved having a birthday month to celebrate my birthday, keeping things short may be the best thing for me right now. I need to focus on “real life” and not celebrating and going out for lots of meals that are splurges. I’m not eliminating the idea of a birthday month again in the future, but for right now this ended up being the perfect thing for me.

Another Monthly Challenge Down (or July and August Challenges)

With July being over already (it really just flew by!), it’s time to recap my July monthly challenge. This time, my challenge was to read 10 pages of an eating disorder recovery book every day. I set this as a challenge because I’ve been having trouble finishing any recovery books and I thought breaking it into smaller chunks would help.

I’ll admit, this challenge got off to a rocky start. Since I do almost all my reading on my Kindle, I was finding it tough to switch between the recovery book and whatever fun book I happen to be reading at the time. Fortunately I solved this problem pretty quickly. I have my fun book reading on my Kindle, and my recovery book is read every day on my iPhone on the Kindle app. I don’t love reading on my phone for too long, but this works for the 10 pages I read (which usually only takes a few minutes).

There were a couple of days where my 10 pages were done at almost midnight, but I did set an alarm on my phone right around when I go to bed to remind myself to read my pages. Most days, I ended up doing my reading right before of after dinner so I got them done pretty early. And even though I knew I could read more than 10 pages a day, I didn’t want to get myself burned out like I have in the past so I tried to keep myself to that limit (I went over a bit when I was close to the end of a section or chapter).

By reading my 10 pages a day, I got one book finished and I’m about halfway through another one. I have several recovery books that I’ve purchased over the years on my Kindle, so I’ve got a ton of options for future reading. And since it seems to take me about 3 weeks to read a book this way, I could also get Kindle books from the library (the e-book rental period is 3 weeks so it would be cutting it close). I’m not going to worry about my book choices until I read everything I already own, and that’s going to take me a while.

Just like all my previous monthly challenges, I plan on continuing this one. It’s a good habit to be in and I don’t see how I could have anything but positive results. And because of my reading, I was inspired for my August challenge.

This month, I challenge myself to start practicing mindful eating. This is something that I read about in one of the books I read and I know it will be a challenge for me. While many people who practice mindful eating pray or say grace before eating to get into a mindful mentality, since I’m not religious that’s not really going to work for me.

Instead, I’m going to use the self-meditation timer on the meditation app I’ve been using for my daily mediations (my June monthly challenge that I’ve kept up). I can set the self-meditation timer to be as short as 1 minute so I don’t have to worry about it being too long. Eventually I’d like to be at a point where I am practicing mindful eating before every meal, but I know I need to ease into this. So I’m setting a goal to practice mindful eating for at least 1 meal a day.

This isn’t going to be easy for me. For my first day, I struggled to even try to do this before most of my meals. I was able to do it before dinner, but I had to force myself and it felt like the least natural monthly challenge I’ve given myself. I know this will be a good thing and I need to be pushed to do this, but I hate feeling like this is tough. I don’t give up easily that often, but when I’m really struggling it can feel useless. I even debated changing the monthly challenge but that’s the moment I knew I needed to do this. If I wanted to give up, that meant it was a good challenge that was pushing me to a new place and that’s the entire point of this.

I’ve got a couple of ideas for the monthly challenges for the rest of the year, but I also have to see what inspires me along the way to do. I have a lot of things I want to accomplish this year and I feel like I’m making some great strides toward all my goals. I love how successful this year has been so far and I just keep reminding myself in my down days that overall I’ve been doing so much better than before.