Two workouts, some yoga, and hot new threads

Today was yoga day at my house.  After two back to back intense gym days, where I managed to run a total of 5 miles and do every possible kind of squat, pushup, lunge, dip and pulldown/pullup in the book, today was yoga day.

Oh boy did I need it!

I’ve had a pretty successful week of working out since being back from vacation.  I’m moving up in weight for most of my exercises, and I’ve started being very purposeful with my warmup cardio.  Instead of just warming up for 10 minutes, like my trainer suggests, I make sure that every minute I spend on the treadmill has a purpose.  Either it’s a mini 3-4 mile tempo run, or a maybe couple miles of intervals.  I’m really starting to feel stronger, and it’s super fun.

I have to admit, though, when I get crazy intense about strength and cardio, I always end up getting injured.  I was considering heading to the gym tonight after work, but my glutes and thighs were suggesting that maybe it’s time for a rest day.  I’m carrying a lot of tightness today, and spent pretty much my whole shift on my feet taking care of a sick little cardiac surgery baby!  So I gave my body what it wanted.  Runner’s yoga!   (Is this the beginning of an addiction??)

Here it is, boys and girls, the runner’s yoga I did today.

And here is the quick little ab circuit I tagged on the end, just for kicks.  It’s day 6 of the 30 day yoga challenge that I am (sort of) following.  (And by sort of, I mean that when I decide to do yoga, I pick up where I left off in this challenge.  So I guess that means I’ve done yoga exactly 6 times so far this year.)

I am still absolutely terrible at most poses, especially downward dog and runner’s lunges…  I actually thought I was getting better last week, but after all those squats and treadmill runs this week, I must have looked pretty pathetic tonight doing my sort-of-downward-dog.  But I’m just beginning my weekend of work, which means working 12 hour days Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and this really is a beautiful way to kick it off…  my legs feel AMAZING after that runner’s yoga, and I think I’ll be ready for some post-work cardio tomorrow night now that things have had a bit of a rest, and a chance to loosen up.  🙂

Oh, and ps, I almost forgot!  I got some awesome new workout clothes for my birthday this week!!!  Wuuuut…  I really considered photographing myself in them for this blog, and then quickly realized how terrible I am at selfies.  I’m just not the girl who photographs herself in the change room and posts it on the internet…  So you’ll have to just trust me on this, but I got some great Under Armour and Adidas stuff, and I am in love.

So happy running/training/yoga-ing to all of you this weekend!!

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Don’t think about it – Just do it

The last few workouts I’ve had have really started to get fun.  I recently had a great session with my trainer, where she introduced a new circuit that involves rotating between different kind of pushups, among other things.  The first time I tried the pushup circuit, I was really dying.  She could see that I was determined to get through my third set, but I knew it was going to be tough…  so she yelled at me “Don’t think about it, just do it!”

I really stopped thinking and just did it.  It was truly that simple…  turn off your brain, and let your body do it’s thing.  It was like magic, having her say those words to me.

During that same workout, I was chatting with my trainer about how quickly I’ve been increasing my weight on my strength training exercise.  When I look at my workout plan, it has me going up on weight after 3 workouts at a given weight.  That means that I generally increase my weight every week if I’m doing my workouts regularly.  In my mind, that seems fast.  I look at the number written down on paper, and I’m surprised that I’m able to lift that much.  My trainer just laughed at me when I told her that.  “It’s mostly psychological,” she said.  “Sometimes you just need someone to tell you that you can do it.  Your body adapts fast, it’s your mind that needs to catch up.”

Woah.  Is she ever right.  Maybe this is one of the best parts of working with a trainer.  I have someone telling me that I can do it.  Someone who is there to yell at me to turn off my brain when she sees me starting to doubt myself.  Stop thinking!!  Just do it! 

I never realized how much my own self-doubt figures in to my training until I heard my trainer say those words.  It really stuck with me.  I look at a distance, and I say to myself Nope, that is farther than I’ve ever run before.  I don’t think I can do that today.  I see a number written down on paper and I say I can’t lift that much, that’s more than half my body weight!  How crazy of me to be the first to count myself out.  I am my own worst enemy.

I know I didn’t make any official 2015 New Year’s resolutions.  It’s not really my style to do stuff like that…  but I have officially made a new goal for myself.  I’ve decided to stop being my own worst enemy when it comes to training.  I don’t want to be the only thing standing in my own way of achieving my goals.  I will set workout goals, and I will meet them, because I can.  I can do it. 

When it comes to training this year, I’m going to stop thinking, and just do it.

Staying fit on vacation… even if your vacation is to Austin, TX, and all you do while you`re there is eat

Joe and I just came back from a somewhat last-minute long weekend trip to Austin, Texas.  This weekend was my Birthday, and we both managed to finagle a couple days off from work (which rarely happens for both of us at the same time) so we hopped on a plane to someplace where the temperature was above freezing and where we knew we`d have lots to explore.  So please forgive my lack of blogging over the past few days, I`ve been knee deep in BBQ, Tex-Mex, Super Bowl festivities, more BBQ, and my 29th Birthday celebration!

I had an absolutely fabulous time, but I’ll admit that I was a little concerned about this trip from a fitness perspective.  I’ve been very consistent about going to the gym, but I always struggle to maintain my consistency while on vacation.  Add to that the fact that I’m a pretty heavy drinker when I’m on vacation, and that a trip to Austin is almost exclusively about eating way too much…  I wasn’t sure how I’d keep up with my workout routine.

Time Out:  First, everyone please take a moment to stare at this photo of the best BBQ ever.  (Thank you La Barbecue for the fantastic eats!!)

ATX 3

I would say that I was about 80% successful in sticking to my routine.  I had 2 really good workouts, which included a good cardio workout as well as a complete weight routine.  I spent an hour and a half at the gym each time, so that was a huge success.  I didn’t feel like I was rushing through my workout, and there was enough equipment in the hotel gym to keep me occupied.  I would have been happy if I’d made it to the gym one more time during the weekend, but there was one day where I almost died of BBQ (yes, that is a thing that you can do) and I took a nap instead.  So that was a bit of a fail.  But the goal of the weekend was to relax, so I didn’t beat myself up too much that I took that nap…  Joe and I both desperately needed to get away and get some rest, so in that sense, I think we were successful!

Here are the things I did this weekend to make sure I didn’t totally neglect my fitness while on vacation.

1.  I intentionally booked a hotel with a nice gym.  I’m the kind of person who will couch surf, stay in a hostel, sleep in a bus station, etc…  but this time around, I stayed in a real hotel with a real gym on purpose.  I visited the gym when we checked in, and made a mental note of how I would adapt my workouts for these facilities.  For example, the only weights in the hotel gym were free weights, with no barbells or machines.  I took a few minutes to consider what modifications I could make to my usual routine in order to maximize the equipment that was available.  And that sort of leads me into my next point…

2.  I had a plan.  I had 2 solid workouts planned before the weekend even started, which made it easier to stay focused.  I like showing up at the gym knowing exactly what I intend to do.  More on this in future blog posts, I am sure.

3.  I didn’t drink until after my workout was done.  I know this seems obvious, but I honestly used to be the kind of girl who could knock down a 6 pack at a party, peace out early and still be able to run 4 miles before bed.  The only problem with that is that once you’ve had a couple beers, it’s that much easier to justify skipping a workout.  “I’m too tired, I’m on vacation…”  So that meant no boozy brunches and it also meant skipping the free beer in the lineup for lunchtime BBQ.  As hard as it was to do, I know it was worth it.

4.  Don’t cut corners.  This has actually become a mantra for me, and I’m sure you’ll see me writing about it a lot.  I wanted to be able to go up on my weight in my strength training routine when I returned from Austin, which meant that these workouts were more than just maintenance workouts.  I needed to be building my strength just as much as I would be at home.  The only way to do that is to show up and work your ass off, no excuses.

Here’s a picture of me mid workout sweating like a toilet in the Texas humidity, but loving every second of it.

ATX 2

I have about a trillion photos from our trip, because it was just so much fun and we ate so much great food, but I’ll hold back and only share a couple so that you don’t all get sick of me…

ATX 1

And finally, the best birthday meal I’ve had in a looooong time at Barley Swine (with my goofy and wonderful husband.) If you’re a foodie, this definitely needs to be on your Austin to-do list.

ATX 4

Workout Recap and Recovery Day

Yesterday I worked a night shift, starting at 7:30pm.  I decided to do a little pre night shift gym time, since I’m useless the morning after a 12 hour shift, so I knew it wasn’t going to happen today.  I ended up having a great workout, putting in 20min of warm-up cardio, and then hitting the weights for about 45min afterwards.  I lifted the same weight I was lifting pre flu, and I’m barely sore today.  It’s taken me roughly two weeks to get back on track, but it feels great to be back in the swing of things again.

Here is yesterday’s workout:

3×15 squats at 40lbs

3×15 lunges with 15lb kettle bells.  My trainer tells me to complete all 15 reps on one leg before switching to the other leg, you get a better workout that way!

3×12 bicep curls at 10lbs (I AM SO WEAK AT BICEP CURLS)

3×15 tricep dips

3×10 in and out pushups.  To do one “in and out pushup”, you do a pushup with your hands set wide apart, then you push your body up and throw your arms into a pushup position with your arms tight next to your body.  Do a pushup from this position.  That is one rep.

3x 1min low plank.  “Low plank” may also be known as “sliding plank.”  You want your feet to either be on a slippery surface, or on gliding disks.  You start out in plank position, and then glide your feet back, maintaining your strong core the whole time.  Once you feel yourself ready to lose your strong core, you contract your abs and slide back to your original position.  If you’re a pro at plank, do this variation for an extra challenge!

Finally, my ab circuit consists of:

3×15 reverse crunches

3×15 hip raises

3×10 leg raises

That workout is really starting to get fun for me.  I’m still pretty shaky on my third set of the pushup, plank and ab circuit, but I managed to get through all of it this time without absolutely dying.  Practice makes perfect, I suppose!

After finishing up at the gym last night, I had a quick snack and was off to work.  Had a busy night with almost no break, and didn’t get home until 9:15 this morning.  So exhausted, but of course, unable to fall asleep after I finally made it home!

So today, after waking up from my post night shift snooze, I spent the afternoon running errands.  I got a new bank card, after having my purse stolen last week, and finally replaced my purse.  Since I’m only operating on 3 hours of sleep, I’ll be taking it easy tonight with pancakes and eggs for supper…  best cure for a night shift hangover!!  My workout tonight will be a bit of yoga and when Joe gets home from work, we’ll have ourselves a little mini date night.  I’ll be back at the gym again tomorrow, hopefully feeling a little more rested.

I hope you all had a happy Monday!

Fun with the treadmill

After yesterday’s workout with my trainer, I am feeling pretty sore today, especially in my thighs and definitely in my butt…  (thank you olympic squats, that’s a part of my ass I’ve never really worked before.)  And after a long day at work, I promised myself that tonight’s workout would be light.  It’s one of those times where I just needed to show up at the gym and be happy if anything happened.

On a typical work + gym day for me, I’m out the door at 6am, at work all day, at the gym for a bit, and back home for supper by 10pm.  Anything longer than 30-40min at the gym, and it turns into a crazy long day.  So given my soreness and my timing constraints, today was the perfect day for a little 5k treadmill workout.

treadmill meme

Obviously, I much prefer to run outside, but given the fact that I basically live in the North Pole, I am forced to treadmill it for a few months every year.  Lately, I’ve been reading about different ways to work out on the treadmill.  If you want some resources on that, check this out.  And this, and this.  For my purposes right now, it looks like playing with pace and incline are two great ways to keep things interesting and push myself while on the treadmill, without over complicating things.

While my trainer has been showing me different ways to play with incline, tonight I just really felt the need to let my legs turn over.  The thing I love about speed intervals is that feeling of just letting your feet fly…  you know, right before your lungs start to burn, you get that feeling that you might vomit, and everything just goes to shit.  So tonight, I didn’t want to just jog an easy 5k.  I wanted to add some speed intervals to make it fun!

My workout today consisted of 1 warmup mile at my recovery pace, followed by about 1.25 miles (maybe a bit more) of intervals.  I finished a total of 3 miles at an easy pace, with a slightly increased incline just to make it tough.

The way I approached my intervals was to start at a pace 0.5kph faster than my recovery pace, and do 1min interval at this pace, followed by 1min of recovery.  (Unfortunately, the treadmills at my gym are in kilometers per hour, and I much prefer using miles when I’m running…  so I’m sorry for the confusion.  It actually confuses me, too…)  Then for each consecutive 1min fast interval, I increased my pace.  I was sort of just playing around to see how different speeds felt, because I usually run intervals outside and have no idea what the numbers on the treadmill mean.  I didn’t really get that speedwork lung burn feeling until my last mile, when I started increasing the incline, and then I could tell that my heart rate was nice and high and I was feeling the burn.

In the end, I covered 3 miles in 32min, with all the speeding up and slowing down of the intervals.  I felt awesome afterwards, and had a lot more fun doing this type of workout than I normally do if I just jog on the treadmill at a constant speed, even if my speed is normally overall faster than that.  Now that I’ve got a feel for it, I’ll definitely repeat this workout with faster intervals, and maybe throw in an extra mile or two…  there’s a lot of potential to build on here…  For a light day, I’d say it was an overall success!

Workout Recap

I’m back from Boston, and I couldn’t be happier!!!

I had a brief little work trip down to Bean Town this week that ended up being a bit of a nightmare.  You can read alllll about my adventure (aka that time I got mugged while traveling alone in a foreign country) here if you didn’t read it already.  But now, it’s on to much happier things!

I had a trainer appointment today.  And I’ll be honest, I almost cancelled it.  I still have a lot of phone calls to make and a lot of errands to run to get all of my ID back after having my purse stolen, and today is my only day off.  But in the end, I decided that it would be good for my sanity to get my ass to the gym.  It was also my first trainer appointment since getting over the flu, so I was a bit apprehensive about it.  But no excuses, people!  Sometimes, you’ve just gotta show up.

My workout today consisted of:

Warmup for 10min on the treadmill.  I did this at an easy jog and ran just over 1 mile.

3 x 15 reps of front squats (35lbs)

3 x 15 reps of lunges (30lbs)

3 x 12 reps of olympic squats (started at 30lbs, realized my shoulders are way too weak for 30lbs, then did the last 2 sets at 20lbs)

3 x 15 reps of shrugs (30lbs)

3 x push-up set of 5 regular push-ups, 5 wide push-ups, 5 triangle push-ups, and 5 spiderman pushups on each side

3 x 1min plank

It doesn’t seem like a very ab-intensive workout, but after the olympic squats, my abs were actually pretty tired.  There’s a lot of shoulder and ab involved in that exercise, it’s not just legs!  It was my first time trying olympic squats, and I almost died trying to lift 30lbs…  so now I’m obsessed with this exercise, and I intend to become awesome at it.

Tomorrow will be a cardio day after my day shift, and I’ll hit the weights again on the weekend!

Any awesome treadmill workouts I should try out tomorrow?  Who else has big weight lifting plans this weekend?

Reflections on a Mugging

So I`m in Boston at the moment.  I`m here for a conference related to Nursing Research, and have been collaborating with some nurses at one of the hospitals here.  I’ve spent a lot of time in this city, gone on jogs all over it, been out in many different neighborhoods, am very comfortable with the public transit system.  Tonight, I was walking through the Back Bay after doing some shopping, and I got mugged by a homeless guy.

One minute, there was another lady walking on the other side of the street.  Then she turned the corner, and I must have been alone on that little stretch of sidewalk for half a second.  I was half a block away from a street full of traffic.  I was focused on my phone, texting my husband to tell him I was walking back to my hotel.

Bam!!  I’m sure he was waiting for a victim in the alleyway.  Probably camped out there all night ready to pounce.  I had my purse strapped across my chest, from one side to the other to make it more secure.  He just came up behind me as I passed by, ripped my purse off my shoulders, breaking the straps, and ran away down the alleyway.  It took about 5 seconds.  I didn’t even hear him coming.

My first (questionable?) instinct was to chase him.  This was an overweight homeless dude wearing clunky winter boots.  I could easily outrun the guy…  There is no doubt that I can run farther and faster than this dude.  I took off behind him and started screaming…  and then no one answered my screams, and I realized that I was alone in a dark alleyway chasing down a homeless man who is desperate enough to rob me.  I thought twice about chasing him further into a dark alley.  No one can hear me screaming.  Let it go, it’s just a purse.

I gave up and called 911 as I walked back to the street.  I went to the corner and flagged down a very kind man who was in his car waiting at the light, and told him what had happened.  He parked his car and stood on the street with me while I waited for the Cops.

My passport was in my purse.  My credit cards, my cash… my passport was in there.  I’m flying home in two days and some homeless guy just ran off with all of my ID.  I’m trying not to cry in front of this very kind man.  Thank God I still have my phone.

The Cops come, and take my description.  This man is known to Police, I guess he does this all the time.  I explain that I’m from out of town.  I have no ID, no money.  There is a homeless man out there with a bit of American cash, some Canadian cash that he can’t even use, and my entire identity.  I never carry my passport with my other ID, but I had just been on a plane, and I put it in there with my boarding pass…  Uuuuggghhh.

I could see the reality my situation sinking in with the very kind man.  He realized I was alone in a foreign country.  He offered to drive me to my hotel, but the Cop said I’d be getting a ride with him.  He offered to give me his number in case I needed any more help.  I thanked him, but said I thought I’d be ok.  He gave me 40 dollars out of his wallet.  Then he offered me more.  “I have more, take more!  I can give you at least eighty bucks!…”  I started to cry.  I took his 40$.  I told him I couldn’t even explain how much I appreciated it.  Just typing those words brings a tear to my eye.  Those are the only 40$ I have right now.

I call my husband from the back of a Police car.  I apologize, and he tells me to stop apologizing.  This makes me cry, and then I apologize for crying.  I’m sure the Cop thinks I’m a mess.  I get myself together and start problem solving…  I’ll call my bank, I’ll cancel my credit cards.  I have photocopies of all my ID back home.

One thing that I can’t shake…  I keep blaming myself.  How stupid was I to walk alone after dark near a back alley?  Why did I leave my passport in my purse??!  How did I not see the guy coming?  He could have raped me.  No one would have heard me screaming.

I know this wasn’t my fault.  It was 7pm in a busy neighborhood.  I always thought my purse was secure strapped across my body like that.  I never leave my phone in it for this very reason…  my phone is always in my pocket.  There were other people on the street two seconds before I was mugged.  And this guy planned this attack, how could I have seen it coming??!  How do the victims of crimes like this always find ways to blame themselves?

Somewhere out there in Boston tonight, there is a homeless man who has my purse.  I’m sure he needs my money more than I do.  I’m sure he is very desperate and needs more than just a few dollars.  I hope he’s buying himself a hot meal right now.  If I would have seen any of this coming, I would have bought him a meal, a hotel room, and a new outfit, if I could have only kept my passport.  All I can think about tonight is how much I want to go home.  But I have a home to go to, I have a husband who will help me figure out my next move.  I have a hotel room that I’ve already paid for, and a warm shower waiting for me when I get back.  So I’ll be honest, I think I’ve already forgiven the homeless man who stole my purse.

And somewhere out there in Boston tonight is a very kind man.  He waited for the Police with me while I was vulnerable and upset.  He gave me money out of his own pocket.  I don’t know his name, but I hope if he ever needs any help from anyone, another kind person will help him too.