6 Months

I’m notorious for going for long stretches without posting anything. 6 months isn’t my longest break.. but it is pretty long. So I’m going to jump into my first post in 2016 (Yes I know it’s May) by doing a little recap of my life since November.

Zeus

My puppy (or not so puppy) turned 9 in February. He is officially an “old man” dog, but I’ll always call him my puppy. Unfortunately, he has developed a health issue which has been ongoing for more than a year really, but it’s starting to get worse a lot faster these days. Mike and I have self-diagnosed him as having DM (degenerative myelopathy.) It’s a degenerative spinal cord disease similar in that to ALS in humans. He hasn’t been to the vet for it, so the diagnosis is unofficial. DM is not a disease that can really be tested for, rather it’s diagnosed after other problems are ruled out. It’s also something that can’t be treated, and there is no cure. I really didn’t feel like spending hundreds (thousands?) of dollars at the vet trying to rule out anything else.. and plenty of online sources I’ve read show dogs- including pugs- with DM, and they all look the way Zeus does. He is still himself really… he is not in any pain, still wants to play, still follows us around and greets us eagerly when we come home… but his hind legs have really been hindered. He stumbles when he walks, falls down a lot, and drags his back feet. At least, he did when it started to become apparent he had a problem beyond what I thought was just arthritis and aging.

The fact is.. we have noticed that his degeneration is moving rather quickly, at least in his hind quarters. Around Christmas time, we started to notice him stumbling more, dragging his feet, and walking stiffly. After the New Year, he was falling a lot more and seemed to have a harder time walking out in the grass. Last month we noticed he would fall and get stuck, especially on the tile in our kitchen. He just couldn’t get his legs up under him to push himself up. He was also having a really hard time not falling on uneven and slippery surfaces, like the grass outside and the tile. We decided at this point to look into getting him a wheelchair.

I did some research and found a great cart for Zeus on HandicappedPets.com. They sell doggie wheelchairs that are fully adjustable and customizable- and while they still were a little expensive- it was less expensive than having someone make a custom chair. We settled on a used/refurbished model and saved about $100. It came within a week and was pretty easy to put together. The hardest part was making all the right adjustments to make sure Zeus fit properly and comfortably in the chair.

Once we got him in and outside.. it was amazing the difference! He moved so fast! He no longer stumbled, and what was taking 15+ minutes to walk to the corner and back now took about 7. At first he walked in spurts- it does take a dog a little while to get used to the cart- and his front legs needed to adjust/build strength enough to support the work of walking by themselves. But honestly, he took to it very well. The cart is very light weight, and manuvers very easy. After some practice, he’s walking pretty good in it and sometimes walks ahead of me a little.

I do have to say, he looks a little ridiculous in the cart. BUT, he gets so much attention when we’re out. A lot people feel sorry for him and ask if he’s ok or what happened to his legs. Other people laugh, because it is quite funny looking. Overall though, I know it’s improving his quality of life and letting him stay with us a little bit longer.

Helping Mike change his oil... this is how he sits now.

Helping Mike change his oil… this is how he sits now.

As for me, Zeus is my baby. Seeing him struggle to walk breaks my heart, but being able to give him the wheelchair makes me feel so much better, even as he continues to decline. As of now (actually, we’ve noticed even more degeneration even over the past two weeks) he struggles to walk on the carpet, cannot walk on the tile anymore at all, and gets stuck a lot. He falls flat on his bum with his legs sticking out from under him, and can’t get back up. I’ve been trying to get him in the chair more inside so he can be mobile, but he can’t rest (sit or lay) while in the chair. My strategy right now is to take him for walks in the cart and then let him be in it while we are fixing meals/eating- that way he can come over and walk about the kitchen as he usually does- and then take him out when he goes in his pen, or hangs out with us on the sofa. I know it’s only a matter of time before the disease spreads and starts to affect his front and other body functions, but my goal as his mommy is just to make him as comfortable as possible and let him have a good quality of life as long as he wants it… ok now I’m getting teary-eyed… *snif*

Zeus in his wheels

Zeus in his wheels

 

Still sooo snuggly!

Still sooo snuggly!

Fitness

I think in my last post I mentioned doing the Supreme 90 day workouts. Well, I would like to report that I completed 60 days of the program, but then got distracted. Mike and I planned to stay home in MD for Christmas this past December, but planned a trip to NY to visit with his family for New Years. I had pretty good success completing workouts in my father-in-law’s garage when we visited in October, and I wanted to do something similar in January. I did a little searching for programs and I really got pulled in by Beachbody’s Insanity Max 30 workout program. First- I loved the idea that the workouts were only 30 minutes long. Second- I loved that it was intense, which would make me feel like I got a great work out in the short amount of time. Third- I loved that the program involved no equipment. Which means I didn’t have to worry about bringing anything with me (other than my yoga mat… but even this wasn’t “needed”) when we traveled.

So I bought the program and did my workout s the whole week we were there. I continued the program when I got home and finished all 60 days. IM30 is really tough and at times made me feel like I’ve never worked out a day in my life. I ended up needing to modify a bunch of moves due to my bum knee, but the program had a modifier person in every workout, and I quickly learned which moves I needed to avoid/change to reduce my knee pain. All in all, I got through it pretty good and was proud of myself for seeing the program through.

That said, I did not have very good results from the program, at least from a body composition perspective. I don’t fault the program at all, as I did see a great improvement in my Max-out times and thus improvement in my fitness. I just have a hard time with my nutrition. I love to eat. I’m addicted to sugar… and my body does not do a very good job of metabolizing it. I’m convinced that my nutrition is the #1 thing holding me back from progress.

In an effort to help boost my metabolism, I wanted to incorporate more weight lifting. I backed off a bit after S90D in order to make sure focus on finishing IM30.I decided to go with another Beachbody product, Body Beast. It’s a 90 day gradual weight lifting program. It’s really marketed for men. but plenty of women have done it too. I’d managed to complete the first 3 weeks.. and then life got in the way. The plan at this point is to re-start.. so hoping I can keep up with it.

Weight Loss

Lately, I feel like I’ve lost my mojo and haven’t been going to the gym. I still get my morning workouts done, and have been eating 21DF style, most of the time.. but I’m getting minimal results. I know it’s totally on me and I need to suck it up and pull myself together- but it’s so easy to get into the mind set of “well it’s not going to work, so why try so hard.” Sigh.. I need to get over myself and just do what I need to do. I need to start doing my weight training again, consistently. I also need to be more careful with my nutrition. See, I know the answers… Ok.. whine over.

 

Mental Health

For just about a whole year I’ve been seeking treatment for generalized anxiety and panic disorders. I’d been having pretty bad anxiety attacks since 2012, some of which would last for hours. By the time it would finally fade (usually when I went to sleep and woke up the next morning) I would be so worried about having them again, it would trigger anxiety and the cycle would continue. I also had a lot on intrusive thoughts I could not control… usually involving my untimely death by one means or another. It was exhausting, uncomfortable, scary, and cyclic. Finally, Mike and my doctor got me to seek treatment. I started seeing a psychiatrist who prescribed me medication. It helped a great deal- I was no longer having the intrusive thoughts, and my panic attacks had stopped,  but I was still having breakthrough symptoms of random dizziness and shortness of breath, which didn’t alarm me so much, bu was really annoying to feel that way.

My job requires employees to participate in a special reliability program in order to work with some of the compounds we have. It’s a safety issue, but mostly a security issue- they need to make sure they have the most stable and trustworthy people working with some of their most secure and toxic compounds. As a participant in this program, we are required to self report medical records, changes in health or life status, prescription medications.. etc. I reported my anxiety issues and my medication and was required to seek a formal behavioral health evaluation. Long story short- it was recommended that I be suspended from the program- and thus working with certain classes of compounds- until I underwent 90 days of therapy treatment to address my symptoms. It was a little annoying to have to comply.. but I knew it would be good for me.

So I’ve been seeing a therapist and been working using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques to de-sensitize myself from my anxiety triggers. The methods are quite simple actually, but do require a lot of practice. I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve actually been able to taper off my medication and am ready to move onto the maintenance phase of CBT.. which will help keep my anxiety in check, as well as be able to bring it down if I do have a spike. I even have an appointment for a re-evaluation to be re-instated in the reliability program at work.. so happy about that.

Anyways, I wanted to share this because anxiety is a very common mental disorder. Sometimes your brain just gets stuck and chemical imbalances can occur to make you more susceptible to it. Medication really helps, but it’s a band-aid. Plus, a lot of people have a hard time going on or coming off the medications. (Coming off has been, and still slightly is a struggle for me.) But CBT has done wonders for me.. and I wanted to let anyone who is reading this and dealing with these issues know that it CAN be treated! I know how it feels to feel absolutely crippled from anxiety and it’s symptoms. People who have never experienced it do not (and really can not) know how it can affect you physically and emotionally. At my worst- I even felt a little detached and depressed- “why can everyone else live perfectly normal lives while I feel like I’m dying.” But there IS relief, you just have to know where to go. I would start with your general practitioner- see if they have a list of recommended counseling centers you can seek out. You want someone experienced in dealing with generalized anxiety disorders and can help you through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It may seem like new-age hooey when you first look into it (how can just breathing and imagery possible stop my very real and tangible physical symptoms!?!?)  but trust me.. you will start to feel normal again with enough practice! Feel free to message me if you have any questions.. I’ll be glad to help!

Vacations

In April my mom, her boyfriend, Mike and I went down to Orlando to visit my sister’s family. My niece’s birthday was on the 10th, my nephew’s the 18th, and my sister’s on the 20th. We rented a house nearby through AirBnB and it actually worked out really well for us. (Despite some drama in the beginning regarding the air conditioning, which was legit,  and my mom’s over-the-top expectations, which were completely unfounded.) The house had a pool, so the kids could come over and swim, and we enjoyed cooking out on the grill and taking advantage of the mild weather. Over the weekend, my sister held a combo birthday party for the kids at her community pool- which turned out great. Later that week Mike and I joined her, my brother-in-law, and a family friend for a wine tasting and tour at a local vineyard. Overall, it was a great relaxing and low key trip.. which is exactly what we wanted!

My sister's table of goodies.. she made everything..so talented

My sister’s table of goodies.. she made everything.. so talented

 

Happy 7 year old!

Happy 7 year old!

 

Happy 4 year old!

Happy 4 year old!

 

A couple weeks ago, Mike and I booked our fall trip to Europe! We finally pulled the trigger after talking about it for almost a year. It’s been on our “things we want to do before we have kids” list and I’m so excited to finally be able to go!

We designed our independent itinerary through Europeandestinations.com. I was a little nervous about using an online booking company like this, but so far everything seems to be going smoothly. We are able to pay in installments, the last being in August, so we’ll be all set for departure in late September. We are visiting 7 cities in 4 countries over the course of our 17 day trip. Italy was the country he really wanted to visit.. being that he’s half Italian.. and a Catholic.. so we will be visiting several cities there- including Rome and the Vatican, Florence, Pisa and the Cinque Terre. We’re also visiting Dublin to get a taste or Ireland (his other genetic heritage), London, and of course Paris. The booking company also lets us book activities and tours, so we are doing a select few tours through them, and the rest will be done/seen via our city passes ( Dublin, London and Paris.)

This will be my second time abroad, my first being when I was 19 with a group of students from my former high school. On that trip, we toured Paris, Provence, the French riviera, and Venice. For this trip, Paris will be the only city I’ve been to (Paris is my most favorite city ever!) and I’m so excited to explore and share the experience with my husband! I’ve already made a list of things we may need for the trip, watched tons of travel videos on YouTube, and even bought our city passes and guidebooks. Can’t wait!

Behold, the countdown!

Behold, the countdown!

Whew.. that covers a lot… I hope I can blog a little more here and there and not wait another 6 months to update. Anywho.. keep on keeping on people!

Oh yeah.. my birthday was on Mother's day.. we had Mexican.. the margaritas were fantastic ;)

Oh yeah.. my birthday was on Mother’s day.. we had Mexican.. the margaritas were fantastic 😉

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Fitness Friday!

Happy Friday everyone!

I wanted to write a post about my fitness efforts as of late.

In September, I decided to try getting back to running a little bit using my Bioskin Q Brace and taping my knee with KT tape. It definitely helped, but there were still some aggravation in the knee. I started using C25K to try and ease back into it. After taking so long off.. my ankles and legs HATED me. My legs felt so heavy and fatigued very easy. But the more I followed the plan, the better it started to feel. I soon found though that downhill really hurts and knocks my knee out of alignment. But uphills feel wonderful. I feel strong again and have zero pain. (Except.. that hills are killer cardiovascular wise.. and I feel like I’m running in sand, but zero pain.. yay!) I made it through week 7 of the 8 week program, getting to about 3 miles without stopping. But, my knee was starting to hurt more and more, so I backed off and didn’t complete the last week. This was about 2 weeks ago. I think I’m going to give it another week and see what I can do from there. My husband wants me to run the YMCA Turkey Trot with him on Thanksgiving.. I think that should be fine, and if I have to walk, I’ll walk.

In the meantime, I had my revelation that I wanted to take the 21DF more seriously, as I started putting on more weight. I realized that my workouts lacked structure. I was doing weight training, but I would skip days here and there, and I was having a hard time being consistent. I was keeping up with my HIIT training, following a Bodyrock 30 day challenge, but felt like it wasn’t enough cardio. (Although, I have to say, my knee was not bothering me so much when I did these workouts.. which was a huge plus for me.) I was skipping out on weekend workouts, giving into my laziness. I realized that it wasn’t really my will not to work up to my potential, but rather, I needed a program, a schedule.

In 2011 I was supposed to be in my cousin’s wedding. I bought a bridesmaid dress based on what I tried on in the store, but when it came in, it didn’t fit. It was the right size and everything.. and I hadn’t really gained weight in the few weeks it took for it to come in.. but it absolutely didn’t fit. I realized I needed to MAKE it fit. Around the same time, I found Sparkpeople. This website REALLY took my interest- it was a huge health resource and weight loss community. I’ve never seen people who were nicer and more supportive to people on the internet. I found a group doing a program called Supreme 90 Day. It was a P90X type workout program, without the P90X price. People were liking the workouts much more (because they were shorter than P90X) and were finding great results from it. I decided that I wanted to do it, and purchased it at Bed Bath and Beyond for about $20.

I followed the program to a T.. except for the eating part, because it seemed too far fetched at the time.. the concept of “clean eating” was new to me, and I felt like I ate pretty healthy and tracked my calories, so I was good. My results… fairly good!

S90D progression, Summer 2011

S90D progression, Summer 2011 (Sorry a little grainy.. but you get the jist)

 

Me fitting in the bridesmaid dress

Me fitting in the bridesmaid dress

I think I lost 7 lbs total over the course of 90 days. But again, I hadn’t really been following any kind of meal plan other than tracking my calories. So, I decided to use this program to keep me in a fitness regimen, and adding the benefit of lifting with heavier weights than I have at home by doing the strength training workouts at the gym. So I watched the first few videos, wrote down the exercises, put them into spreadsheets that I print and take with me to do my workouts at the gym. I do the cardio based workouts at home because they do not require heavy weights.. and my husband has even been joining in!

The schedule looks like this:

S90D schedule

S90D schedule

I’m on Day 20 as of today. I’ll do it later after work. Next week will be a little tough- we are traveling to NY to visit friends and family, and I won’t be taking my weights with me. I’m planning on bringing some body weight workouts I can do while I’m there to keep my strength and metabolism up, and then pick up where I left off when I get back (probably around D24).

In addition to S90D, I’ve been trying to work in my morning HIIT workouts from Bodyrock to give my metabolism a quick boost. Unfortunately, life gets in the way, and sometimes sleep is more important than doubling up my workouts. But, all this effort seems to be working, as I’m down about 8 lbs from when I started round 4 of the 21DF and the S90D program. I won’t go into too much result detail, as I plan to write a post after I complete the first 30 days, but I’m feeling pretty good lately.. and think I’ve finally found my way to my goals.. as long as I stick to it!

Motivational Monday: Get Back Up

I haven’t posted one of these in a loooonnnngggg time.. BUT… after my gym stand-down last week due to illness and, well laziness, and my sugar binge this weekend (not to mention all the other lovely indulgences I ate during a cookout on Saturday) I think I need a little motivation to get back on the right track.

You-Can-Do-IT

So, yeah. What’s done is done.. and what’s important now is to get back into watching my food and getting in my workouts. It honestly could have been worse (I actually didn’t do too bad yesterday minus the sugary foods I ate), but it’s time to put it behind me and keep moving forward. I’m sure many of us working for a better version of ourselves have lapses in judgement.. we are all human after all, and life should be lived. But here’s to a better week!

Metabolism Test = Wake-Up Call

This past week I had an appointment with our wellness center at work to have a metabolism follow up done. The last one of these I had done was in November 2014. I was not happy with the results at the time and had to deal with the knowledge that my metabolism was pretty slow.. and I had to eat a painfully small amount of calories to shed weight. I tried that for a little while, but then Christmas came.. and Disney followed. Needless to say, Dec/Jan is not the easiest time of year to restrict calories. PLUS.. I began slacking/going light on my workouts because I was limited due to my knee injury. I did a post about a month ago about giving IIFYM a try, but I also made an appointment with the wellness center. It’s one thing to have calculators come up with your calorie needs, it’s another thing to actually have it measured.

SO.. knowing that I haven’t seen much scale change despite my efforts to being more careful about my food.. I went to my appointment begrudgingly.. knowing that I probably reverted back to where I was last Aug when I had my first analysis.

Well.. the results were a little worse than expected.

Metabolism wise…it decreased slightly. From a RMR (resting metabolic rate) of 1190 Kcal/day, to 1159 Kcal/day. A slight decrease that basically can be interpreted as staying the same. Unfortunately.. it also makes the results from the November visit more valid (ugh.. and here I was hoping it was all a fluke. Bummer.) Adding in a lifestyle (sedentary) count of 348 Kcal/day and the weekly average 66 Kcal/day for the 30 minute walk breaks I’ve been taking at lunchtime.. this puts me at 1573 cals for maintenance. YUP. My crazy slow metabolism means if I eat over 1573 cals/day.. technically I’ll gain weight. FUN. (And YES, that is what normal people eat when they are cutting calories.) Subtracting 250 calories from that number gives me 1323 cals. That is where I need to be eating to lose 1/2 lb per week (technically).

BTW.. in addition to this wonderfully slow metabolism I was blessed with… I also was born with a ravenous appetite. I’m pretty much hungry all the time. (Or think I am at least.)

And if anyone wants to buy me this shirt.... I won't complain ;)

No, seriously.. someone needs to get me this shirt.

Once I was all kinds of good and depressed by my metabolism results, we moved on to part two of the torture truth session- body composition. I stepped out of the space-capsule-like BodPod expecting some disappointing results… well, I got them alright. My body fat percent increased to 31.2%, and my lean mass decreased to 102 lbs. So much for being bloated.. it’s fat baby. I actually surpassed where I started in August, when I was 28%. Sigh. Damn this stupid knee injury.

My Metabolism test results

My Metabolism test results

My body composition results

My body composition results

So, I left feeling depressed, but also knowing that I really need to step up some things in order to get all this back down and beyond to reach my goals. I had said in a previous post that I wanted to increase my strength training. So far, I really haven’t. I’ve picked up my PiYo workouts in the mornings, and I’ve only been doing my weight machine circuit once or twice a week. I HAVE been walking during my lunch hour… so I made that positive change.. but walking alone is not going to get me where I want to be.

Reading up on it a little bit, I realize that I need to commit to lifting weights.. and not just the weight machines. I haven’t been able to do the Bodypump class I used to do because they were filled with squats and lunges- which I’m not supposed to do right now due to my bad knee. But there are plenty of other leg exercises that I can do.. and in fact, have been doing in PT that can replace those. I also can work my upper body like there’s no tomorrow. So I did a little research and came up with a new workout plan.

Monday- Legs (I usually go to PT on Mondays, which will serve as my workout.. considering that’s exactly what I’m working out… my legs!)

Tuesday- Yoga class & Back/Chest

Wednesday- Cardio, 30-60 minutes. I’ll probably do elliptical intervals for 30 mins and add in some cycling and incline walking.

Thursday- Arms/Shoulders

Friday- Legs again

Saturday/Sunday- rest and /or light activity

I also plan to continue walking at lunch for 30 mins (as long as the weather agrees) and doing the PiYo workouts in the morning. Eventually I want to transition to HIIT training in the morning, once my knee is doing better and can take the jumping and squats/lunges again. And of course, once I can start running again, I’ll have to re-arrange to accommodate that. It will probably involve 30-45 mins of running on Tues/Thurs and eliminating the second leg day… adding the long run, of course. But.. that’s still a ways away right now.

I sort-of started this week, although I couldn’t get to the gym on Tuesday (I went to a Poster gallery walk presenting the capstone research projects for high school students at the Science and Math Academy- a magnet program for gifted students through a local high school. I got to be a mentor to one of the seniors this year, who came and worked in our lab for her project. It was cool to see all the students’ work and to know we gave them an invaluable experience that they will be able to draw from in college and beyond. So proud of my student!) Anyways, I did PT on Monday, only PiYo and walking on Tues, cardio on Wed, and yesterday I ventured in the the land of the free weights for the first time and worked my arms and shoulders.

It was intimidating at first.. the free-weight area are where the big muscle head guys hang out to lift weights heavier than me, grunt, sweat, throw down their weights and drink from gallon containers. (Cue the I pick things up and put them down guy) I do see a few women over there occasionally, but for the most part it’s guys. BUT.. it’s not like I’ve never used free weights before or not know how to do the exercises.. so I just had to suck it up and do it.. and you know.. wasn’t that bad. Granted it was less crowded on a Thurs evening than say, a Mon or Tues, but mostly everyone kept to their own workout and didn’t really care I was there. Kinda like when people go to the gym for the first time.. you just gotta jump in, get your feet wet, and do your thing. and so I did… and my arms are SORE today. (Yay!)

I’ve cut my eating back too. I’m trying not to go over my 1322 allotted calories with a few acceptations… but trying overall to be under 1600, regardless of how much I burn in exercise. I’m also now eating in more of a 40/30/30 macro ratio.. or at least close to it. Today was my weigh-in day, and as I’m not surprised, my weight hasn’t moved. While it is a little de-moralizing.. it’s not and end-all be-all measurement of success, just a side effect.  Hoping my metabolism speeds up a little as I start building more muscle… but just going to do the best I can in the meantime.

Why can’t we all be pugs and just sleep all day?

10 Gym Pet Peeves

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I have to admit.. I do read my Kindle on the cardio machines…

I’m being super Judgey McJudgerson today.. but I know most if not all you guys reading this have had some or all of these occurrences while at the gym/working out. I understand that I too have been the exercise newbie and didn’t know the etiquette or have the knowledge base I have now regarding fitness. But sometimes.. you see things.. and you are just screaming in your mind about them lol. Here’s a bit currently on my list…

1- The person who comes into yoga class and puts their mat next to yours and on the same plane.

I understand if it’s crowded and you have to be close.. but really? You can’t stagger your mat in front or behind mine? OR, you have your mat staggered, but choose to stand smack in the middle, next to me.. who is at the TOP of the mat like you’re supposed to be. No, I absolutely have no shame smacking into you when I bring my arms up pre- swan dive.

2- Bad Form

I’m sure my form needs to be corrected from time to time… but honey, you are not getting a full work out laying all over holding on to the treadmill as you speed-walk or run. You look silly… and you might hurt yourself.

Squats and lunges are fun to watch too…  and clean & presses.. you can always spot a newbie by their clean & press. What really gets me is the instructor tells/shows you how to do it (in Bodypump class) and they still do it wrong. Sigh.

3- Believing the calorie count the cardio machine spits out.

“I burned 900 calories on the treadmill today!” Um.. no you didn’t. I burn a little over 1,000 calories during a half marathon.. that’s 13.1 miles.. over two hours of running.. without stopping.

4- Women who come to the gym with perfect hair and make up, and gently stride the lowest setting on the elliptical.

It’s not a beauty contest. If you still look glamorous after your workout.. you were not working hard enough.

5- Poor wardrobe choices.

Pajamas are not work out attire. Neither are scrubs. Or jeans. And yes, you look stupid wearing a normal (brightly colored) bra under your boyfriend’s white wife-beater shirt.. which is too-small for you. OH, and let’s not forget the giant hoop earrings that are so big they sit on your shoulders.

I once saw a woman in cardio kickboxing class not wearing shoes. I think the instructor even looked at her and muttered “oookkkkkk”

6- Back to yoga… wearing socks.

I’m not talking the special yoga socks with the stickies on the bottom.. which I still don’t feel comfortable in, but go for it.. I’m talking the newbie who comes to class thinking they are going to not take their socks off. If everyone around you has them off.. take the hint.

7- People who wear those plastic “sweat suits.”

You will not lose weight wearing that. You will lose water. And dehydrate. And possibly pass out. Not to mention it’s really gross when you take it off.. and whatever pounds you seemingly lost you put right back on the next time you drink a glass of water.

8- The girl running next to you on the treadmill.. wearing Nikes.

*rolls eyes*

9- People who say they don’t want to join a gym because there’s a lot of fit people there.

Fit people got fit GOING TO THE GYM! We’re not there to admire each others “super fit” bodies (well.. most of us aren’t lol) and scoff at the unfit people! We’re there to work towards our fitness goals! I actually feel really good when I see heavier people at the gym.. I admire them for taking their health in their hands and trying to improve their lives through health and fitness.  And you’d be surprised.. most people are so in their own zone anyways, they don’t care or notice what others are doing. So get to it!

10- People not wiping off machines when they are done.

OMG.. eww. Especially the neanderthal men who leave a puddle and their smell behind. REALLY!? I’m guilty of giving the stink eye to people when they do this… I think I’ve even asked people (a lot of the times it’s younger males) to wipe down before they leave. Be considerate people!

I meant to give only 10… but I had to add the bonus-

11- Resolutioner Season.

Encompasses all of the above for a 2-3 month duration at the beginning of every year.. only it adds lack of parking.. and the taking up of space in classes and on equipment. GAH. I even had a woman once move my stuff around in the shower stall I was warming up while I was changing to take said shower. REALLY!? Who touches other peoples stuff in a shower!?!? Obviously it’s in use! There are seven other stalls! Not to mention all the people who take up the lockers without putting locks on them.. so you have to open 10 of them before you find a free one.

If you are going to join a gym.. don’t wait for January. Do it this week, tomorrow.. today! Listen to/read and follow the facility rules.. take cues from other members.. sign up for an orientation to learn how to use the equipment, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Make a plan and stick with it! Everything else is purely common sense. Clean up after yourself.. avoid other people’s space.. don’t take/touch other peoples stuff or equipment they’re using. Not hard.

Welp.. that’s my dose of negativity for the day. Sorry if I offended anyone. But I’m a fairly non-confrontational kind of person.. so I tend to see things and not say anything. I figured I’d use this platform to vent some frustrations. I’m sure there’s a ton of other things out there that have bugged you in crazy ways.. and I’m probably guilty of some of them (Like grammar… or spelling :-p)

This is my CRAZY face!

This is my CRAZY face!

 

 

Dopey Training Week 27

Hi everyone! I’m back from Disney Marathon Weekend and what a trip it was!!! I can’t wait to tell you all about it! But first, I wanted to get this post out there. I’ve been writing weekly training posts since July 2014.. and I didn’t want to skip my very last training post! Sorry it’s so late… but I wanted to finish my streak!

Week 27 was my second and last week of taper/recovery. I really don’t see it as a taper exactly, as I ran a 6 mile long run in week 26, and a 7 mile long run this week. Also- I didn’t like how the Galloway training schedule only gave us 2 weeks for taper/recovery. I would have preferred 3 weeks and it may have helped me  on marathon day.. but we’ll talk about that later.

Monday the 29th was the first Monday back from vacation. I elected to work, but my husband took off. After work, my husband picked me up (because I still had no car) and brought me over to the shop when my car had been sitting for more than a week. The plan was for me to drive it 10 miles to the dealership, and my husband to follow me in case I had another breakdown. At first, the car drove ok, with minimal noise. I was feeling a little bit guilty at first, because maybe I didn’t *need* a new car after all. But, as we got further down the road, the clanking/vibrational noise was steadily getting louder, and the car shuddered a little while idling at traffic lights. Yup… making the right decision.

We made it to the dealership, and long (like, 5 hours long) story short, I dove away in my brand new Mazda CX-5!

was a couple of days before I could get a daylight picture... but here she is!

was a couple of days before I could get a daylight picture… but here she is!

Monday night, we were up pretty late arranging car stuff. I think I was worrying about only getting 4 hours of sleep, which made it hard to actually get any sleep. I think I might have gotten 2 hours. Needless to say, I was exhausted Tuesday, and a workout just did not happen.

I was going to run Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday to make up for my lack in activity in the beginning part of the week, but my husband wanted me to run on Thursday with him. So, I just took Tuesday as a loss, and carried on. Wednesday, of course, was New Year’s eve, and the gym was closed in the evening. I did get in a HIIT workout in after work though.

Thursday was my official start to vacation! I took off Friday as no one was going to be in the office anyways, and wouldn’t be returning to work until the 14th! I got a nice 3 mile run in with my husband.

Saturday was pouring rain all day, so I elected to used the day to take down Christmas decorations and begin packing for Disney. I worked on my costumes a bit too. My dad ended up visiting us for lunch, to see my new car, and to show off his super nice brand new Lexus SUV (which we had no idea he had bought the day before!)

Sunday, I got in my long run. I knew Dawn was working, so I ran by myself. It was a damp, cool, foggy day, and I just kept reminding myself that it would be warm and sunny in FL! I ran without my brace, but I felt pain creeping in my knee towards the end. I knew then that I would just have to run the half and full marathon in the brace- there would be no alternative at this point.

Foggy, soggy long run

Foggy, soggy long run

Total mileage in Week 27:  10.79 miles! (2 hrs, 15 minutes of running!)

Total Dopey training miles: 432.71

Week 26 Activity Report:

Week 27

Week 27

 

 

Dopey Training Week 25

I’m back from Christmas vacation and hope everyone had a great holiday and is ready for the new year! My week leading up to our vacation couldn’t have been more stressful.. and I fear I’ve been feeling the effects in the form of anxiety for the past couple of days. (bear with me.. this post is kinda long!)

Week 25 was my big peak week! 5 days of running, including a 4 day Dopey simulation, my second Dopey trial, culminating in my highest training mileage yet! 44 miles done in 4 days. Just another 4.6 and we’re completely Dopey!

Week 25!

Week 25!

Monday, I decided to stay home and did a 53 minute HIIT workout. It was killer to go that long, but I did burn almost 440 calories (based on my heart rate monitor) so I would say it was a pretty successful workout. Tuesday I went to Yoga and ran my scheduled 45 minutes on the treadmill. I noticed my heart rate monitor was acting up while I was running. During the first interval, it was telling me my heart rate was 160. (A little high for just starting the workout!) By the end of the workout, it was telling me I was around 110-120 bpm while I was still running. This has happened a few times before.. but only recently. I even tried to change the battery in my HR band, but it’s still acting up. After 45 minutes (and over 4 miles) my watch told me I only burned 280ish calories.. a very low number for this workout. I’m not sure what is going on, but it might have something to do with the treadmill. I know my kindle will re-boot spontaneously on the treadmill.. a lot. I think it has something to do with the electromagnetic field and static charge the treadmill puts off. I’m wondering if it has something to do with my HR monitor acting up. It does seem to be wonky only on the treadmill.

Anyways, sorry for the tangent. Wednesday I made an appointment at the vet for Zeus.. he has some kind of skin condition that has discolored the skin on his belly. I think it’s just allergies, but since we were going away the next week, I wanted to make sure he would be ok. I had the intention of heading to the gym after the appointment, but that was before my car broke down. Ugh. So I made it home and that was that. I had to cancel the vet, and we had my car towed to a shop for diagnosis.

Thursday we learned that the repair for my car would be more serious than we’d hoped. We had to make the decision to have it repaired (which, we weren’t even sure what repairs it still might need at this point) or look for a new car. We decided that we didn’t want to sink money into my 10 year old Pontiac.. so we started looking for a new one. Meanwhile, I’m now without car. I was able to get a ride home from work on Thursday, but obviously wasn’t able to go to the gym. so I wore the brightest colored shirt I owned and ran a 3 miler outside. I’m not a fan of running in the dark, but the cool thing about running in the dark in mid December is you get to tour the neighborhood and see everyone’s Christmas lights. It was pretty and peaceful, so it worked out well.

Day 1

Day 1

Friday I hitched a ride from a coworker to work, and had her drop me off at the local Enterprise car rental on the way home. My husband and I decided it was best for me to rent a car for the weekend because I needed to get around in order to do all the running I needed to. Plus, we were leaving on Monday morning for NY, and if anything happened to our remaining car, we would have problems. So I reserved a car for rental. When I got there though, I was told there were no compacts left, so they gave me a 2015 Chrysler 200, a twice-over upgrade. I wasn’t a fan of how it drove, but it was a pretty smooth car. It had all the bells and whistles.. and gave me a taste of some features I was going to have in my new car- back up camera, touchscreen interface, key-less entry, and remote start. Ah remote start.. I’m in love.

I got home from the rental office and my husband and I did a quick run. My husband only had to run for 30 minutes, but I had to do 6 miles as part of my Dopey trial. By the end of 6 I was having a little bit of knee pain and my legs were pretty tired. I thought that strange considering 6 is a short run compared to the longer ones I’ve been doing.. but I had no time to dwell on it. I showered quickly and my husband and I headed out to a dealership to check out the car I wanted.

Day 2

Day 2… yes, I spelled “Trial” wrong :-p

We spent a while at the dealership looking at the car, test driving it, going over numbers and details. We ended the night deciding to talk about it some more, but with a 1:30 pm appointment at the dealer for the next day. It was 9:30 by the time we got to eat dinner, and tired was an understatement.

Saturday morning I met up with Dawn to run a 12 miler. My legs were still kinda tired from the day before, but I had to hurry and finish the run so I could make the 1:30 appointment. As soon as we finished, I jumped in the car, placed a pick up order from Panera Bread (coolest thing, the Panera App) and raced to the store to pick up some supplies I needed to make cookies (yep, because I wasn’t in enough of a time crunch, I still had to make cookies.) Now, “raced” is a loose term, because there was beyond belief traffic everywhere. The last weekend before Christmas is not the time to be trying to get anywhere in a hurry. I was amazed when I finally DID get home, that there were any cars in neighborhood at all, considering everyone and their brother was out on the roads. I scarfed down my food in 15 minutes, took a rushed shower, and was back out the door again to head to the dealership.

Day 3

Day 3

We spent a lot more time at the dealership, going over numbers, choosing colors and features, and trying to get the price down (but unsuccessful! Apparently, no one negotiates anymore! Least not for a new car.) Finally, we determined the only way to possibly get the price lower, was to have them appraise my old car and hopefully get more than the promised trade-in. (Haha.. good luck!) The problem was, my car was still sitting at the shop we had it towed to, and the shop had my key.. and they were not open on the weekend. Also, we knew there was not enough time to transfer our down-payment from the account it was in to the checking account, nor could we get a cashier’s check because the banks were closed late on a Saturday anyway. So, the buying of a new car had to wait until we got back from vacation. We headed home to finish wrapping gifts, do the laundry, and make some cookies.

Sunday was my big 23 miler, and I had to do it all by myself because Dawn had to work. (She finished her’s the day before after our 12 miles.) I don’t like to run around town by myself for safety reasons, so I dove out to the NCR trail. This trail is out in northern Baltimore County.. and it takes about 40 minutes for me to get out there. It’s a scenic drive, so it’s not that bad. Plus I was driving the fancy car, so I didn’t mind the commute.

When I started out, I was a little depressed. I guess as much as anyone would be knowing how far I had to go.. but a little more so because my legs and knees were already tired and sore from the three days before. I really wasn’t sure how far I could make it.. and knew if I ran out too far one way, I still had to make it back. I decided to play it by ear and take it a little at a time. After the first mile or so, I loosened up a bit and it wasn’t so bad. The weather was cool, but not too cold and the sun was coming out. The trail runs along a river and has large cliffs on one side, so it’s very pretty. There were people here and there, but most of the time I was alone. It was peaceful being out there and enjoying the nature around me. The trail itself is pretty flat.. and I think that helped me out a bit. Not sure how I would have made it on the hills near my home.

NCR trail

NCR trail

river

river

large rock formations

large rock formations

sun came out

sun came out

peacefull

so peaceful

cliff side with icicles..

cliff side with icicles..

icicles

icicles

random weird gnome garden...

random weird gnome garden…

To get my mind off how far I had to go, I started playing a game in my head. I would get to a mile and immediately think about the next mile. At mile two, I was singing..”Three! Gotta get to three! Mile three, mile three, mile three!” As soon as I hit the next mile, I would move up. It helped me focus on the mile I was on, and not worry about how many more I had to go. There were some fast miles and there were some hard miles, but I just kept focusing on the next one and it kept me going. Between miles 7 and 8 there was a real bathroom. The water fountains along the way had been shut off, but the water was still on in the bathroom. I used the toilet and filled my water bottles in the sink, then I used a bench outside to stretch. The little rest stop definitely rejuvenated me a bit, and I felt better moving on.

I ran to 11.5 miles, feeling tired, but ok. Actually, I felt pretty accomplished considering I was not sure if I’d even make it this far. I sat on a bench to stretch and ate a cliff bar before heading back. I continued my mile-by-mile chant, but I needed to stop to stretch more frequently. I made it back to the bathroom stop and again, used the facilities and stretch. I was tired and sore, but I knew I only had 7 miles and change left, so I was excited to be almost done. I was also making pretty good time and was set to finish around 4.5 hours. Somewhere during mile 17, I noticed my knee twinging in pain a little. At mile 18, it was starting to really hurt. I scaled back my intervals from 90:90 to 30:30, but it was hurting before the 30 seconds were up. So I decided to walk a while. After I finished out the mile, I tried to run again. It still hurt. Mile 20, I tried again, it still hurt. I resigned to just walk the last three miles. I was kinda bummed, but I didn’t want to push either. I knew it would mean another hour out there, and that kinda sucked. It’s a lot colder when you’re walking. Plus, my legs were REALLY tired at this point, and even walking was hard. I had no choice though, as I had to get back to my car.

The pain as best I can describe it, feels like the sort of pain I had the last time I ran a marathon. Only this time, it was my left and not my right. It kinda starts on the lower outside and radiates under the knee. It feels almost like a cramping pain.. as it comes on gradually and gets worse over time. Could be my IT, but I thought that I would feel it further up on the knee. I can’t say I’m surprised.. I mean look how much I ran in 4 days.. but I also know I had very little time and effort in trying to recover my legs in between runs due to everything that was going on. I wasn’t particularly worried about it affecting my ability to race.. because I had some things I could do to combat the problem, but I will say it was in the back of my mind.

Day 4

Day 4

After I was done (and scarfed down an entire foot-long Subway sub!) I drove home, showered, and took Zeus to my mom’s.. his home away from home while we were away. I did all my packing and got everything ready to go for our trip. Monday morning we returned the rental car  and headed north.

Total mileage in Week 25: 48.53 miles! (10 hrs,  58 minutes of running!)

Total Dopey training miles: 408.46

Week 25 Activity Report:

Week 24: Total workout time: 6 hrs 15 minutes. Cross training workout time: 2 hrs 55 minutes.

Week 25: Total workout time: 13 hrs 44 minutes. Cross training workout time: 2 hrs 46 minutes.