Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Becoming more mentally tough.

I haven't had much time to blog in the past few weeks, but I have had time to workout! Despite having three jobs, I have found that there is almost always time, even if it's just a quick 30 minute run. Heck, sometimes it's only a 20 minute run, but guess what ... it's better than absolutely no workout at all.

Yesterday Josh and I hit the treadmills, side by side. Lately I have taken to using the 'Trail Blazer" setting. I enter the maximum speed and maximum incline and it varies both for the amount of time that I entered. Lately I have been doing a maximum speed of 5.5mph, a maximum incline of 2.5 for 30 minutes. On days when I am not working, I try to do 45-60 minutes.
When I was on the treadmill yesterday I wanted to quit after just 5 minutes because I was so mentally and physically exhausted from having worked all day. But once I got past the 10 minute 'brick wall' (a psychological mind-set which tries to get me to give up), I am good for the 30 minutes. The 'brick wall' will try to creep in from time to time, but once you get in the rhythm, it's hard to stop  :)
I think that being able to fight that 'brick wall' is proof that I am growing mentally. I am developing a toughness that helps me push past the difficult moments and continue so that I can succeed. In turn, that success makes me feel more confident in my running, which in turn develops my mental toughness even more.
If I can keep growing mentally, it will become easier to push past the 'weathers' when I start running outside. I don't have much tolerance for the cold, or wind or heavy rain (hahaha, wow!), and so that is something new I will need to learn to push past. Once I am dealing with that stuff, there will be no time to battling with the running 'brick wall'. There will be enough to deal with when it comes to the 'weathers brick walls'!

Anyway, I have a day off work today and so I must run! Happy Running!!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Change change change.

Quite a few changes going on in my life. I don't like too much change, especially if it brings a lot of stress. I have taken on a third job because I am sick of stressing about money and have taken more shifts at one of my existing jobs. I am working every day of the week, but for usually no more than 6 hours. It's funny how suddenly it feels like I have no time to workout. Well, it's more like I'm too lazy after a day at work.
I've also still been dealing with student loan issues. They wont give me the money because well ... I won't finish that sentence. But anyway, that has been stressing me out. Though I think I have pretty much given up on that. There is only so much you can take/do before it's just not worth it anymore.

So after my minor quad injury I took a few days off of working out. Then I took an extra two days to get over an ear infection. But thank goodness, I am now back in the gym. I don't seem to have lost too much, though runners itch was back in full swing yesterday. Today's workout was much more productive and without the sensation of ants crawling all over my skin.

When I got off work today, I had a headache, sore feet and was exhausted. But I still very much wanted to workout. And awesomely enough, all those aches and pains went away for the hour I was in the gym  :)   I am now, however, very much ready for a full nights rest!

So hopefully I am back on track with no more interruptions. Onwards and Upwards!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Changing Routine

 Nothing messes up my workout motivation more than when my routine changes. I don't mean my workout routine, I mean my work/life routine. This week has consisted of a lot of training for new jobs or new positions. The information overload mixed with the general anxiety of something new has left me exhausted to the point where I am ready for bed before 9pm and just want to lay on the couch.
I did manage to get a workout in on Tuesday with Josh. We did the bike for 24 minutes. We were planning on 30 minutes but my right thigh went from being sore to me getting sharp pains extending from my hip down to the middle of my thigh. I guess it's called my quad muscle. I didn't want to risk injury so I stopped. I then just focussed on upper body strength. Then on Wednesday I was training to be a server at the pub and a few times when I was squatting down the sharp pains came back. So I didn't workout yesterday either, though after working two jobs I can't imagine that I would have had the energy!

So for the next few days I am going to take it somewhat easy. I have training for my new job at the Vegan restaurant at 7am for the next 3 days as well as my night job at the pub.Once I have my new work schedule I will settle back in a workout schedule. Though if I am feeling up to it, I will get in a few workouts between now and Monday.

This is just a minor set back. I will be back on track really soon :)

Friday, November 26, 2010

And on the forth day I shall rest ... I can't wait till the seventh.

I woke up this morning with an exhausted body and a few sore muscles after yesterday's run. I wasn't 100% sure if I would workout today but I ate a salad for breakfast just in case. Sure enough 2hours after breakfast I was ready to go.
I decided to do some cross training today. I did 30 minutes on the sit down bike and then some strength training for my abs and obliques as well as some dips and pull-ups for my upper body. Having done that, tomorrow is most definitely a mandatory rest day  :)
May the awesome workouts continue!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Okay ... Where is the pie?!

Because today is Thanksgiving, I figured the gym would be quiet, but to my surprise there were quite a lot of people there. The gym closed at 2:00pm today so I guess anyone that wanted to get a workout in had to do so early in the day.
I went in with the plan to just hit the 'quick start' button on the treadmill  and run until I felt I couldn't go anymore. But I didn't want to over do it so I hit 'manual' instead and entered in 60 minutes. I said to myself that as long as I got to 30 minutes I was good.
So I started with a 2 minute warm-up where I worked my way up to 5mph (12 minute mile). I did that for 30 minutes and then upped the pace to 6mph just for 2 minutes and 30 seconds. I then brought it back down to 5mph and continue until I reached 37 minutes. I was getting a little tired but at this point I knew I could reach the 60 minutes, so I did a 2 minutes and 30 seconds recovery walk at 3.6mph and re-hydrated a little.
The last 20 minutes consisted mainly of 5mph with 2 more sets of 6mph for 2 minutes and 30 seconds and a final cool down for 2 minutes.
As exhausted as I was, I felt accomplished. In 60 minutes, I ran 5miles and burned just over 400 calories. Somewhere just before the 30 minute mark I very much wanted to give up, but I am very glad that I pushed past that because it was clearly psychological. I not once felt out of breath and my legs didn't really burn or feel tired so I know for the future to check all those before calling the workout complete because chances are that it is just psychological and I could very much just keep going.
After that I did just 5 minutes of the rowing machine so that I would feel that I got some upper body work done.

So having done all that .... please pass me the largest slice of pie!!!  ;)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

"Hello Motivation, welcome back!"

After a few days of no motivation what-so-ever, I finally enjoyed my workout today. Yesterday ended up being an unplanned rest day during which I napped and just rested on the bed often. The day before, I got to the gym, did 10 sulky minutes on the treadmill and went back home. After all, there is no point in doing something if you're not enjoying it.

Today I woke up feeling tons better and much more positive. With my head stuck in the fridge wondering what to have for breakfast, I remembered about the lady who eats salads for breakfast. We had spinach etc so I decided to give it a shot. And what a pleasant surprise I had when I loved it! It felt refreshing and light and I felt more re-hydrated when I was done. My salad consisted of: baby spinach, peppered turkey, a few pita chips, sliced almonds, dried cranberries, dried apricots, veggie cheese, salt & pepper, topped with a little bit of raspberry walnut vinaigrette. That with a glass of water and I was fully satisfied!

It kept me going all day long! I didnt feel the need to eat again until early evening when I had some fish before work. Once Josh got home we headed to the gym. My day had felt so positive that I expected to have a fantastic workout. I did just 30 minutes on the treadmill. 25 of those minutes were at 5mph and 5 minutes of it were at 6mph. I never actually became out of breath. The 30 minutes were over before I knew it. I then did some strength training for my hips and chest. 
I hope I can have another awesome workout tomorrow. My plan is to run longer!

Monday, November 22, 2010


Along with running, strength training, stretching and resting, EATING RIGHT is very very important. The book I've been reading the book 'Born to Run' which focuses on a tribe in the Barancas called the Tarahumara. They are the 'running people' and have tremendous strength and endurance. It seems (what I am getting from the book) that this is due to their pure love for running, their need to run (after animals or to get from one place to the next), their running gear (sandles) and how they eat!
The Tarahumara eat what most Americans would probably consider bland food. Their diet consists mostly of rice, corn tortilla, beans, pinole and fresh fruit and vegetables. Through eating this way they can run better than most Olympians and don't suffer the ailments of most western civilizations.
So while I am not converting to their diet 100%, I have been incorporating their ideas into my daily meals.

Above is one of my favorites. Whole grain pasta, fresh & lightly sauteed vegetables and some yummy tilapia fish. This and variations of this is a typical lunch for me ... or sometimes dinner depending on my day. 

In the chapter I was reading last night it talked about the idea of eating a salad for breakfast. The reason being that you can eat until you cant eat anymore and still go workout an hour later. You are getting the daily recommendation of veggies right from the get go and something I didn't consider: Vegetables are made up mostly of water, and what better way to rehydrate yourself after 8 hours in bed! So this morning I tried it (my own variation due to the lack of spinach) and this is what I ended up with: 

1/2 red pepper, 1/2 green pepper and some onion roasted for a few minutes with rosemary and garlic. I also added some frozen veggies (heated up of course) and had 1 slice of multi-grain toast with peanut butter. It was pretty good. I had that just about an hour ago and I feel that I would be able to workout now without any problems. Oooooh the art of eating!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Too stressed to workout?

Today was another awesome day in the gym with my love. We were both on the stationary bike for 30 minutes, competing as usual haha. But unfortunately, the bike is not something I can beat Josh at. Just a few minutes on the bike and my legs burn. I have never been a big fan of the bike, but it is great cross training, a nice break from running and I get to spend that time next to Josh rather than on the other end of the gym.
Being as small as I am, I have to gave the saddle on the lowest setting so I can reach the peddles, but sadly I could use one more notch down, if you know what I mean ... it is not a comfortable 30 minutes! Besides that we did strength training for abs, back and obliques. It was a lovely Sunday workout.

Yesterday was a different story though. I woke up already stressed. This might have been brought on by the dreams I had. But I was in a crabby mood for the entire day. I had planned to workout but I got myself into such a tizzy, that I ended up laying on the bed and doing nothing for the entire day. Before my evening shift at the pub, I was getting ready for work and while washing my face I just started crying. It was a solid 10 minute cry after which I felt exhausted but better. A very wise friend (you know who you are!) once told me that crying is scientifically proven to help you feel better and think more clearly because of the hormones it sends through your brain. So I was still stressed, but thinking more clearly and able to get myself to work on time.

However, I still missed my workout. Usually I feed off of the stress, anger etc to make myself work harder in the gym. But there is a line, and when I cross that line I become useless and don't want to do anything. If only I had cried earlier in the day! But my lack of workout was quickly forgiven, as it was only my 2nd rest day of the week and they weren't in a row.

Anyway, today I am feeling better today. Still stressed because the problem hasn't gone anywhere, but better non-the-less. Onwards and Upwards!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Ginger Bread Houses :)

Today is a rest day from the gym. I woke up and my body was feeling sore and exhausted. I used to plan my rest days (I get 1-2 per week), but I found that my body wouldn't follow that schedule and want to workout on rest days and rest on workout days. So now I just wing it ... the only rule is that they cannot be two days in a row unless I am sick.

So today I went to Bekki's house to build a ginger bread house. It was a lot of fun! We each did our own, covering it in m&ms, gummy things and some other pure sugar foods I'd not seen before. I spent just under an hour on mine.

Mine is on the left with the gingerbread man in the window and Bekki's is on the right.
Personally I think it was a perfect rest day activity  :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Solid Workout!

Today was another solid workout! Josh and I went to the gym just before 1:00pm because we knew it would be considerably quieter than in the evening. While we went together, we did separate workouts.
I hit the treadmill for a little bit of speed work. I ran 6mph (thats a 10 minute mile) for 20 minutes. I remember the days when I couldn't run 6mph for one mile, never mind two! Boy did it feel good :)  There were moments when I didn't think I would finish, but I guess that was just psychological because my body did just fine!

I've been reading the book 'Born to Run' by Christopher McDougall and towards the beginning of the book we come across an ultra-runner named Ann Trason. There is one thing she said that has really stuck with me, even though I am close to finishing the book. She says that you have to relax into your run like it's a hot bath until your body no longer resists the shock and just enjoys the run. She says that if you can relax enough your body will become familiar with the cradle rocking rhythm so much so that you will almost forget that you are moving.

On days when I am feeling tense in my run or feeling like I am just not going to be able to finish my run I think about what Ann said. I think about all the muscles that are tensed up and slowing me down ... and I knock the little guy off my shoulder who is telling me I can't do it. I imagine myself slipping into a steaming hot bath and just relax into my run. It is pretty amazing how well it works. I guess it really is all in the mind.

After my 20 minutes on the treadmill I did strength training for my abs and upper legs. Needless to say I was pretty tired once I was finished. But I was feeling awesome! Looking forward to tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Getting back on that Darn Horse.

So yesterday (Monday) I got back to my training. I hadn't worked out since Thursday cause I'd been feeling like crap with the sore throat, chest and intermittent headache. Sunday I felt ready, but my family came down from Santa Barbara to celebrate my 24th birthday, and so I decided to take one more rest day.

Monday I went to the gym with the plan of running for 20 minutes at 6.0 mph but after just 8 minutes my lungs were giving out and I started to feel physically ill. I didn't want to completely give up on my workout so I decided to walk for at 3.5 mph at a 4.0 incline. My legs were burning a little bit and I still got a decent sweat but more importantly, I still felt like I got a workout. There were a few moments where I felt almost guilty for walking instead of running, but I reminded myself that listening to my body was much more important.

Today I went to the gym with Josh. I wasn't quite feeling the treadmill, and after yesterday I didn't want to push it, so I hit the stationary bike with Josh. We both did 30 minutes at level 3. I did the cardio workout where my target heart rate was 158 bpm. It took me 27 minutes to get it there ... but my highest heart rate ended up being 161 bpm, and I was happy with that. The best part was that at about 25 minutes Josh and I both got very competitive where the miles were concerned and started seriously biking. I was sure I was going to win, but when our clocks hit 30:00 we both had gone exactly 10.8 miles. Not to worry .... I told him I would win next time hahaha!
After the 30 minutes of cardio I did some weight training for my upper back and chest. I didn't push it, but did enough to feel it.

Tomorrow I will be back on the treadmill feeling awesome :)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Lazy or Clever?

Last night I got maybe 3-4 hours of sleep ... probably closer to 3. I got up at 7:30am to coach gymnastics for 3 hours. I've been feeling like my cold has pretty much passed but having not slept and working 2 jobs today I decided it might be wise to take the day off of working-out to avoid a possibility of getting another cold.

However, this is my second day off in a row and I instantly feel guilty about that because I am afraid that I would keep taking days off and lose all the conditioning that I've worked so hard for. It is much to easy to get lazy, easy to make excuses but I am hoping that I will be strong enough to get past all the excuse making. After all, I did work-out on Thursday even though I felt horrible.

Tomorrow I will probably be taking the day off also UNLESS I get off of work early tonight, get some descent sleep and get up early to work-out before my family arrives. If that can'y happen, I guess there is always the option of doing a late evening work-out seeing how 24 hour fitness is open 24 hours.

Okay, I feel better about my decision to take today off. I need to take care of my body so that it can take care of me. In fact, I've been working pretty hard all week, so two recovery days might prove to do me well.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Finally taking an unscheduled rest day.

Work was crazy last night ... something I wasnt quite prepared for. There were only three servers and the busser/food-runner was sent home due to a death in the family, so I was the hostess/busser/food-runner and took some orders for the servers who couldnt keep up. Did I mention that it was busier than a Friday night?!
I had taken ibuprofen and zantac before work and so I felt okay for a few hours, but the constant running around  finally caught up to me and I left over 5 hours later with a pounding headache.
I got home and ate a little something which made me feel somewhat better, but I decided to take a sleeping pill and go to bed. I slept about 12 hours and woke up with a sore throat and earache and was feeling like I was in a daze.

Having said all that, I decided that today would an unscheduled rest day. I don't like not working out but I dislike  feeling like this even more. I do still have to work tonight though, and even though it is a Friday, I am secretly hoping that it will be a quiet Friday.

Tomorrow I will definitely work out, but depending on how I feel, it may just be a little bit of cross-training.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Working-Out While Sick

I wanted to write here yesterday but by the time I got back from the gym all I wanted to do was go to bed. For the past few days I have been feeling like I've been getting a cold, but it wont quite break.
Whenever I am not feeling good, the first thing I think about is whether or not I will get to work-out that day. I plan most work-outs days in advance and hate to veer from that schedule. So despite feeling horrible for most of yesterday, when 7:30pm came around I put on my running clothes and hit the gym.

I ran on the treadmill for 20 minutes at 6mph. That can be tough to keep up on a regular day for me, but despite not feeling good I finished the run. Half way through I could feel it in my chest, but I was glad I kept going, cause the good sweat made me feel a little better. I did, however, have an early night!

Today when I woke up I was feeling pretty congested but I decided to hit the gym early anyway. I was a little sore from yesterday's work-out so I went with cross training on the stationary bike. I just did 30 minutes and got to just under 11miles. I did a little bit of weight training and decided that was enough until I am feeling 100%.

Hopefully I am feeling stronger tomorrow because I have a 60 minute run planned and would really like to get that done. But we will see how I feel.

Onwards and Upwards! xox

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Plans from Now until June 2011

All my plans are tentative and are subject to change BUT I really like to have some kind of schedule to go by because it keeps me motivated and keeps me on track.

--- November/December 2010: Work-out only in the gym 5-6 days a week. Concentrate on running at a constant pace for a predetermined time on the treadmill. Take 1-2 days a week to cross train on a stationary bike. Use the stair-master 1-2 times a week to work other muscles. Rotate muscle groups for weight training every day that I am in the gym in order to build strength. 3-4 sets of 12-15 reps in order to build strong, lean muscle. Stretch after every work-out.

--- January 2011: Incorporate outdoor running 3 times a week with strength training 2-3 times a week in the gym. Start working on running in the elements and also work more on stamina so that I can run for longer. Find hills if possible.

--- February 2011: First race of the year. 5k race. So far I have two that I can chose from in the Irvine area. One is on February 19th and the other one is on February 26th. So I just need to decide which one I prefer in regards to charity, trail etc.

--- March/April 2011: 10k race. I have two to chose from again. One is a road race on April 2nd and the other is a trail race on March 6th. Technically I could do both, but I don't want to push myself to hard, too soon. If I just do one of them I will probably pick the trail race just because they are more adventurous and more challenging for me.

--- May/June 2011: This is when I plan to do my 1/2 marathon (21k). I want to do it before my trip to Ireland because I don't want my hard work to go to waste. As of now, there is only one within 30 miles of me on May 30th. It looks like a good one, so I am okay with not finding any others.

I feel that I should plan the rest of my year once I return from Ireland so that if I happen to take more time off running than I would like, then I can plan accordingly and not feel guilty for spending time with my family and friends for 3 weeks.

Starting My Journey

I decided to do this a few days ago while I was on the treadmill at 24 hour fitness. I was running at 4.6 mph, hitting 30 of 45 minutes and it was then that I decided the year 2011 would be the year I would complete my very first full marathon.
2010 is the year that I started taking running seriously. I started to think of it as something more than just exercise to do on a regular basis so I could continue my habit of In&Out.
In 2010 I completed 4 races: A 5k with my dad and friends. A 10k trail race that almost killed me as I had never ran a trail race before and I got lost, a 15k trail race which was beautiful and another 10k in which I came nearly last - only beating a dad with his 10 year old daughter and an 80 year old man with his caregiver.
I feel like those races were just to test the waters, to see if it was something I wanted to pursue. And I am itching to get back on the road and/or trail.

So just about 2 weeks ago I joined 24 hour fitness. I joined for two reasons: 1) So that Josh (my fiance) and I could spend more time together and 2) so that I could start strength training and cross training. 2 weeks in, and even though I am feeling very tired and a little sore, I am excited to continue.
I have started this blog so that I can take you with me on this new adventure. You can follow me, encourage me, join me, advise me or just tell me how crazy I am!!! I hope you enjoy my blog and I look forward to following your blog and reading any comments you leave me. Have a great day and keep moving!