Things I’m Loving Lately

Lately I really like lists [you should see my color-coded to-do list] and I’ve been pretty lazy about taking photos. So here’s a lovely list of things I’m loving lately without any photos. You’ve been warned. But at least I bolded the items, so you can pick and choose what you want to read. What can I say, I’m a giver.

Orangetheory Fitness – I’ve never been a huge fan of group exercise classes. Most of my experience is based on classes offered at my current gym, like Body Pump + RPM, where you have to sign up 30 minutes beforehand. There’s a very slim chance of me making it to the gym 30 minutes prior to a class, especially if it’s in the morning where I value sleep or after work when I don’t have a set “end time” to my day. The classes always felt overcrowded and the clientele was clique-y. Not really my thing. Needless to say, I never went out of my way to get there. Lora had been posting a lot about supplementing her running routine with Orangetheory Fitness so I reached out to pick her brain about the pros/cons. She sold me on it immediately and only a few days later I took advantage of their free class offer. I was HOOKED. Sixty minutes have never flown by so fast. I’ve been a member for three weeks now and each class is completely different. It forces me to do strength training but also lets me run – ahem, sprint – during the hour as well. Sprinting at a 15% incline is absolutely miserable but I’ve seen a ton of improvement in daily runs since incorporating OTF into my workout schedule. Your heart rate [as well as everyone else’s] is up on a giant screen for you to check periodically and make sure you’re pushing yourself enough. Every night walking out of there I want to die from feeling destroyed, but by the time I get home I’m pumped for the next class. You have to sign up for classes in advance and it forces me to leave work at a reasonable hour [this is subjective … I go to the 8pm class, so you do the math] to be able to attend. If you don’t cancel a class with enough notice, you’re charged for the class anyway. This is key in keeping me accountable. I have an Elite Membership which is 8 classes per month, however I want to use them. I’ve been doing Tuesday / Thursday classes religiously and it works great with my schedule. Worth every damn penny.

 

Heart Rate Training – Not going to lie, I’ve always been a slave to the Garmin. For some reason pace is super important to me and as much as I try that whole “running on feel” thing – it doesn’t happen. But once I started focusing on my heart rate in Orangetheory, I realized it would probably be in my best interest to use this on daily runs. I set up my Garmin to only show HR and I begrudgingly wear that damn strap every time I lace up my running shoes. I’ve noticed my pace drop now that I’m more aware of how hard I’m working. This is completely different than staring at my watch and either cursing my slow pace or talking myself out of a faster one. This takes the guessing game out of everything pace-related. I’m a big fan.

 

Saucony Running Shoes – It would be impossible to count on both hands the number of running shoes I’ve been through over the past few years. From Asics to Mizunos to Brooks to New Balance to Skechers, I’ve had [multiple] pairs of each. In 2014 I finally tried the Saucony Guide 7 and they were everything I needed in a running shoe. I added my trusted green SuperFeet inserts and they were perfect. PERFECT. The lower drop helped me adjust my running form and quit the dreaded heel-strike. When I needed a pair of shoes for trail running, I went to the Saucony Peregrine. When I needed a pair of shoes with a little more cushion for long runs, I went to the Saucony ISO Triumph. When I needed a pair of shoes light enough for sprints + strength training in OTF, I went to the Saucony Mirage. Seeing a pattern here?

 

Non-Running Shoes – For some reason, I’ve been really into shoes over the past few months. This could probably be attributed to the number of fashion bloggers I follow on Instagram, specifically Emily Ann Gemma. It’s likely I’ll never be able to afford a majority of the items she owns but the shoes? I can afford the shoes. My current favorite pair is the Steve Madden Keenia, an obnoxiously tall wedge which increases my height by five inches and are surprisingly comfortable. I wore them out for a night of gallivanting around the streets of downtown Austin and for once in my life didn’t feel like throwing them in the garbage by the time 2am rolled around. These come in a close second – they pretty much go with everything. I won’t link the rest of the pairs because… coughcoughjessicasimpsonclaudettecoughcough … the sheer amount of recent additions to my closet is borderline embarrassing. Just know they are ALL fabulous.

 

And most importantly, my friends + family – the last few months have been rough, to say the least. Some have likely heard the same stories time and time again [Mayra, I’m looking at you] but I appreciate everyone’s love and support as I navigate this bullshit disguised as “life”. No one has asked for too many details, judged too hard, or tried to push their own individual thoughts on me. They’ve let me vent and deal with things on my own terms. I’ve conquered many situations and fell apart at just as many, but with the support of those around me I’ve made it through in one piece. This whole damn situation is terrible, but I’ll be okay. Not right now, not tomorrow, and probably not next month – but eventually. It’ll happen. I just need to figure out what’s most important to me and prioritize things according to how they’ll affect my overall well-being moving forward. I am a strong believer in karma and have been focusing on paying it forward with random acts of kindness over the past several months. I try to focus on those who have reached out and contributed to help make me feel whole again. Things would be a lot worse if I shut the rest of the world out and pretended like everything was a-ok, so as much as I hate to break down – it’s good for me. I hate talking about feelings as much as the next person, but I forced myself to do it. I knew I had to be open with what I was dealing with and the most important people came out to give me a shoulder to lean on when I needed it. And I can’t thank them enough for that.

Is CrossFit a Good Fit for You?

Hey everyone! I’m so excited to be guest posting for Melissa today! My name is Kristin and I blog at Shore to Run about health, fitness and life at the Jersey Shore. I have connected with many amazing people both online and at events like the Healthy Living Summit. I am thankful for the bloggers and FitFluential family who all have been great motivators for me in trying new things and setting new goals whether it be with running, recipes, or products. One of my “step-outside-the-box” or “push-myself” experiments has been dabbling in CrossFit.

For those of you looking for a “definition” of CrossFit, you can find it here.

Thus far, I have had two “formal” experiences with CrossFit (taking a class, led by CrossFit trainers/athletes):

The first was at a CrossFit location in Hoboken, New Jersey. As a newbie, I was introduced to the movements, philosophy, and safety precautions of CrossFit in this beginner’s class. Most of my research has shown that beginners are encouraged to take 3 intro classes before heading “fully” into a CrossFit program. Besides the education, introduction, and warm up, the actually workout in the beginner class was pretty intense… in a good way!

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The workout was sketched out on the board and was to be completed “for time”, meaning as fast as you can complete the rounds (safely of course). When it was time to go, the music got cranked and the sweat started dripping. The class offered a sense of camaraderie as everyone worked simultaneously to complete their rounds. The burpee box jumps were brutal to say the least… but definitely a strengthening movement.

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My second exposure to CrossFit was at the Healthy Living Summit (where I finally met Melissa in person!!)

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We were given some schooling on the foundation and beginnings of CrossFit and the basics behind it. It’s all about being able to MEASURE your workouts, your results, and your progress over time. For instance, our workout at the Summit was SIMPLE: 8 air squats and 12 jumps. Repeated. For five minutes. The goal was to get as many rounds as possible of those 2 simple moves within the five minute time frame. This way, with continued training and progress, you are able to revisit that exact workout in, say, one month, to see how you have improved (how many more rounds were you able to complete than the last time?).

What I like about CrossFit workouts like these is that they are simple to remember (not complicated) and simple to do (meaning they do not require equipment of any kind).

Of course, as CrossFitters progress, there are workouts that require weights etc., which is why I am eager to get back to another beginner class to become comfortable with the basic movements and lifts involved in many of their daily workouts (of WOD’s ß Workout of the Day).

If you have been curious about CrossFit, I suggest doing your research for beginner or intro classes in your area. Also, there is a mobile appthat provides you with weekly WOD’s to do at home or at the gym on your own (with proper knowledge of the movements to be executed safely of course!)

The app is called iCross WoD, I occasionally use the app for a new workout, or draw inspiration from a WoD to create my own timed routine. It allows you to post your time and then compare it to a previous time of the same workout completed in a previous month:

Here’s the WoD from Tuesday. You’ll notice many CrossFit wrokouts are named after women. According to one Crossfit coach: “Anything that leaves you flat on your back looking up at the sky asking ‘WTF happened to me?’ deserves a female name.” I think that’s a pretty sound justification J

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So, what are your thoughts on CrossFit? Have you ever tried a class? Would you ever want to?

Weekly Workouts: 8/6-8/12

Last week’s workouts were kind of all over the place, so hopefully this week will go as planned. Still trying to figure out the best way to get in both cross and strength training. Should I pair them together? What do you think?

Here’s what’s on my plate this week:

Monday, August 6

XT and/or P90X Back & Biceps

Tuesday, August 7

4 x 800 (4:37)

Wednesday, August 8

XT and/or P90X Chest / Shoulders / Tri

Thursday, August 9

5 mile tempo, 3 @ 10:03

Friday, August 10

Rest 

Saturday, August 11

12 mile run

Sunday, August 12

Rest

Weekly Workouts: 7/30-8/5

Here we go … Philly Marathon Training, week one!

Monday, July 30

P90X Back / Biceps / Abs RPM

Tuesday, July 31

3 x 1600m @ 9:29   2.5 mile run

Wednesday, August 1

P90X Chest / Shoulders / Triceps / Abs

Thursday, August 2

4 mile tempo, 2 @ 10:03 4 miles @ 10:35 overall

Friday, August 3

Rest 

Saturday, August 4 

10 mile run

Sunday, August 5

Rest 10 mile run

Weekly Workouts: 7/23-7/29

Well, this is it: the last week of freedom before Philly Marathon training “officially” begins! Hoping to keep the intensity moderate, as to launch into Week 1 fired up and ready to go.

Monday, July 23

P90X Back / Biceps / Abs

 

 

Tuesday, July 24

 

4 mile run

 

Wednesday, July 25

 

P90X Chest / Shoulders / Triceps / Abs

 

Thursday, July 26

 

4 mile run

 

Friday, July 27

 

Rest

 

Saturday, July 28

 

8 mile run

 

Sunday, July 29

Rest

Weekly Workouts: 7/16-7/22

We’re working on tweaking Phase II of P90X to work for us. We ditched plyo because our running suffers, and the same with legs. We’re also toying with the idea of taking an additional rest day (Friday) so we can get to bed early in preparation for Saturday’s long run. If not, Back / Bi will be done twice a week. We’ll see – still hashing out the details. Here’s the tentative plan:

Monday, July 16

P90X Back / Biceps / Abs

 

 

Tuesday, July 17

 

4 mile run {1 mile run, 4 x 400m (400m RI), 1 mile run}

 

Wednesday, July 18

 

P90X Chest / Shoulders / Triceps / Abs

 

Thursday, July 19

 

4 mile run

 

Friday, July 20

 

Rest

 

Saturday, July 21

 

7 mile run {3 mile run, 5K race, 1 mile run}

P90X Yoga

 

Sunday, July 22

Rest

Impromptu Speedwork

Last night we had P90X Chest / Shoulders / Triceps / Abs on deck.

P90X Disc 9 - Chest Shoulders Triceps

This workout was NO EFFING JOKE. Recovery week caused my strength to take a serious hit. Two weeks ago when I did side tri-rises I cranked out 25 the first round, 30 the second. Last night I barely eeked out 15. Don’t even get me started on one-arm or two-twitch speed pushups. My arms were TOAST halfway through!

I also had that issue of the missed run to deal with. Very rarely do I run back-to-back days because my shin splints almost always make an unwelcomed appearance.  Brad and I made a pact early on that if we completely missed/skipped a workout, we would forfeit our cheat meal for the week. Soooo, I moved our run from Tuesday to Wednesday night.

After P90X, Brad’s calves were super tight and despite telling me he’d be fine on the run, I was nervous he’d get injured.  I decided to fly solo for the miles and left him at home with the P90X Stretch DVD to loosen up his hard-as-rocks calves. It was dark by the time I left the house so rather than run outside, it was time to hit the hamster wheel.

Initially the game plan was to do 2 miles, slow and steady. When with Brad {completely new to running} we use 3:1 intervals. Which is fine, but ideally I’d like to run without any breaks at all. So that was my ultimate goal.

After a ten minute warmup, I bumped the speed up to 5.4. It was a comfortable, easy pace to maintain. Exactly what I wanted.

As I neared the 8oom mark, I had a brilliant idea: I could do speedwork! I kept the speed & recovery paces slower than I’d usually use since I’m running again tonight, but it still felt great to let the legs {slowly} fly!

  • 800m @ 5.4
  • 400m @ 6.0
  • 400m @ 5.4
  • 400m @ 6.0
  • 400m @ 5.4
  • 400m @ 6.0
  • 400m @ 7.0

Once it hit 2 miles, I slowed the treadmill to 4.0 and upped the incline to 4.0. Two miles, done and done, hit my goal.

Except…

I still felt like I could go a little further. Run a little longer. Fly a little faster. So at 2.25, I continued running:

  • 400m @ 4.0
  • 400m @ 6.0
  • 400m @ 5.4
  • 400m @ 7.0

Finished with 3 miles in 32:55. I’m a little disappointed I didn’t just go for three from the get-go – overall pace would have definitely been better. BUT! Technically I shouldn’t have even been running at all yesterday, let alone speedwork, so I’ll take it.

After a half mile cooldown walk, I left the gym just before 10pm. Not sure I’ve ever been at the gym that late – can’t say I minded it though! Had my choice of treadmill (with Big Bang Theory on repeat), the AC was pumping, and it was nice to let the treadmill do the work for me pace-wise.

Where do you prefer to do your speedwork: treadmill or track?

Weekly Workouts: 7/9-7/15

Phase II of P90X begins today, and running mileage gets a slight bump. Weight loss slowed to a halt after recovery week so I’m looking forward to working hard this week! Here’s the plan:

Monday, July 9

P90X Plyometrics

 

 

Tuesday, July 10

 

3.5 mile run  Rest {thunderstorm ruined the run & power outage = no P90X}

 

Wednesday, July 11

 

P90X Chest / Shoulders / Triceps / Abs

3 mile run {speedwork} + 1 mile walk

 

Thursday, July 12

 

3.5 mile run 3.65 mile run

 

Friday, July 13

 

P90X Back / Biceps / Abs

 

Saturday, July 14

 

6 mile run 6.21 mile run

P90X Yoga

 

Sunday, July 15

Rest

A nice little Saturday

A few weeks ago during a 5K fun run downtown with Scott Jurek, Brad and I decided we should follow up one of our Saturday runs with kayaking out on the lake. After a few weeks of putting in the miles at Brushy Creek, we headed down to Town Lake for our run this past weekend.

Town Lake Trail

We had 5 miles planned for Saturday morning so we set out on the Congress/Mopac loop, tacking on a little bit extra at the end.

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We probably started a little bit later than we should have – the temp was already 80 by 8am. Noted: next week we start at least 30-45 minutes earlier. We took a few more walk breaks this weekend than last, but the pace was still faster this weekend – awesome! We packed a couple sandwiches, pretzels and bottles of water to have post-run. After refueling we headed back out for about a mile walk to Texas Rowing Center.

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It was my first time kayaking (I know!! I’ve been missing out) so we went with a double kayak.

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Once we got settled into the kayak, our paddles hit the water and we were cruising!

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We continued east, making our way towards the South First Bridge, passing the dog park at Auditorium Shores on the way.

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Once we hit First, we decided to keep going to the Congress Ave bridge since it wasn’t that much further.

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We floated a bit here, just relaxing and soaking up the sun, and then made a u-turn to head back.

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I wore my Garmin while we were out on the water but started it late and forgot to turn off the auto-pause. Sometimes it wouldn’t resume until we had been paddling for a couple minutes. We hit 3 miles but definitely think it was a little further than that.

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A nice mile walk back to the car and we hit a total of 10 miles for the day – all before noon! It was a great workout and so much fun! Hopefully we’ll be able to do it again once a month or so.

Have you ever been kayaking?