Wednesday, October 01, 2014

My arms are so weak.

… and it's October! September always flies by because of the new school year but it still amazes me every time. The air is crisp and it is that awkward time of year when you want to bundle up in the morning because it is close to freezing, but by the afternoon it is sunny and warm and you feel way too overdressed. Scarves are my absolute favourite accessory and I am thinking about changing my October goal to "Wearing a scarf every single day in October." I went to the gym nice and early this morning and because it is October, it is socially acceptable to put the seat warmers on, right?

I just consider sitting on heated seats my exercise "warm up." I was kind of nervous and excited to run this morning after taking the last week and a half off. I didn't take as much time as I should have to recover after my marathon because I wanted to remain in "training mode" for the St. Albert Fall Challenge half marathon that was four weeks later. I could feel it in my body that I needed a break so immediately following the half, I stopped running and took a 9 day break

This morning I kept it nice and easy, running 4 miles on the treadmill at an 8:43 min/mile pace. It felt reeeeeeeally good. I ellipticized, spun, walked, cycled on a wind trainer, swam, and lifted weights but there is NOTHING like the high you get from running. I did 40 minutes of elliptical after my run because I wanted more cardio but equally wanted to ease back into running and not go overboard on the first day. Then, I did 30 minutes of legs and 17 KNEE pushups. Yup, without pausing or losing form, I could only do 17. I think that at least makes a pretty good starting point for Day 1 of my October pushup challenge

In case you were wondering, it IS possible for an iPod shuffle to go through the washing machine and come out PERFECTLY FINE! Whenever I do my laundry, I usually throw it in as soon as I get home from the gym so I can make sure and get all my sweaty clothes washed. Last time I did my laundry I took off the hoodie I wore to the gym, tossed it in the washing machine without a second glance, and pressed start. An hour later, I was putting my clothes in the dryer and saw the hoodie… and then saw my headphones peeking out of the pocket. I wrecked my last iPod in the washing machine but luckily this one survived and works perfectly! 

When I got home from the gym this morning I made the decision that working from home in my leggings and big fluffy scarf was a better idea than commuting to school and sitting in my cubicle all day. It also meant I could cook up a big bowl of hot oatmeal and enjoy a peaceful breakfast without rushing off to school. 

The latest oatmeal trick: adding eggwhites to your oats while cooking them. My mom looked at me like I was crazy… "Aren't you having oatmeal?"… "Yes"… "Why are you getting egg whites out then?" 

I learned this trick from Julie at PBF. It makes the oatmeal SO fluffy and even more filling because you get that added protein and a bit of extra volume. I usually use between 1/2 cup and 2/3 cup of quick oats, adding just less than 1/4 cup of egg whites to that amount. In my bowl this morning: 2/3 cup of oats, 3/16 cup of egg whites (PRECISELY THIS AMOUNT ;), a tablespoon of flax seed, and a dash of cinnamon. I start cooking the oats on high and when it begins to boil, I stir in the egg whites. Continue stirring until the egg whites are mixed in and cooked, and you will notice the oatmeal getting fluffier. Ahhhhmazing! You can't taste the egg whites, it just makes the oats more filling and fluffy.

I remembered reading somewhere that an apple was actually better to have in the morning than coffee for making you awake and alert. In order to be super duper productive today I had both. I don't know why I am holding the apple slices so close to my face, it just happened. 

October is going to be a good month, I can feel it. I can also still feel that deep burn in my arms from those 17 pushups. Only twelve weeks until Christmas… maybe if I keep doing pushups I won't have to ask Santa for muscular arms again

What are you eating for breakfast lately?

Did you do your pushups today? You don't have to tell me how many you did because I will just be embarrassed of my weak arms. 

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

My quads of steel and October goals.

In the beginning of September I challenged myself to do a wall sit every day. My goal was to make it longer than the previous day each time and see how long I could hold it by the end of the month. I remembered to do it every. single. day. One day I even jumped out of bed at about 11pm because I remembered I hadn't done my squat for the day! It was tough, especially these last few days when my legs would start shaking by the end because I was holding it for so long. I usually tried to grab my phone or something to distract me while my legs were on fire.

Yesterday I spent an hour on the elliptical, but I brought the latest Women's Health magazine to keep my occupied. It lasted 56 minutes out of the hour so I didn't get bored until the last 4 minutes! It had an article about the Kona Ironman and it got me back to thinking about trying a triathlon next year. I can't seem to get that idea out of my brain and the more I swim the more I think I can do it. I just know I would be sacrificing a lot of running time and I don't know if I am ready to give that up!

After the elliptical I did some weight lifting with the 5 lb. dumbbells for a while… serious muscle building action. I also did a 6:23.55 wall sit and thought my legs were going to fall off. 

This morning I woke up and got my sweat on before school with 50 minutes on the wind trainer. I also did ONE LAST WALL SIT. 7:37.96. Boom. 

One of the coolest quotes I saw in September:

One of the best things that happened last night: Perfectly ripe pears in Kashi cereal = love.

October tomorrow! I don't know why but I am really excited for this month. I am really liking school so far, I am enjoying cross training in the pool and on the bike, and the cooler temperatures mean I can wear scarves and boots until my heart is content. Another month means another round of monthly goals. I nailed my September wall sit challenge and it definitely strengthened my legs. I also got a lot of swimming in which was another one of my goals for the month. 

After a 9 day hiatus from running I am back at it tomorrow. I am going to slowly get back into it because I put my body through a lot of training in the summer and I don't want to dive back into anything really stressful on my muscles/bones/body. We're talking 3-5 mile runs to start, working on form and running efficiency which I tend to forget about when I start racking up the mileage :) 

In the month of October I am going to work on my swimming form and try and get into the pool as often as I can. I looked up some swimming workouts and a lot of them start with a warm up of kicks, pulls, glides, flit, floos… or something like that (Goal #1: Looks up what these terms mean so I can pretend like I know how to talking swimming). I am going to try and put in a few structure pool "workouts" so I don't just jump in every time and swim leisurely for as long as I want to and then scurry to the hot tub!

Instead of working on leg strength again this month I am going to work on arm/core strength. I find that pushups actually really work my core AND my arms so I am initiating an October push-up challenge. I am going to do as many consecutive pushups as I can, (most likely from my knees because as of now I can do 0.13% of a real on-your-toes push-up) and try and increase that number by the end of the month. Who's in?

What are YOUR October goals?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Motivation Monday: September 29

Only two days left to complete my September challenge! My quads are getting stronger that's for sure because last night, on day 28 I held a 6:20.32 wall sit. My legs were shaking and I actually started to sweat, but I beat yesterday's time by 7 seconds and that is all that matters. It is weird that October is just around the corner but that means it's time to start thinking about goals for the new month!

It is Monday. It is dark until at least 7:30 am in the mornings now, and that makes it really difficult to crawl out of my cozy warm bed and get some exercise in. I think my new home gym will make it a little easier because I don't have to drive anywhere to workout and I don't have to set foot outside, I just have to wake up, take twenty steps, and head to my garage! How about some Motivation Monday with your oatmeal this morning?

I received a text message yesterday with the most jaw-dropping breaking news. The marathon WORLD RECORD WAS BROKEN at the Berlin Marathon! Dennis Kimetto ran a 2:02:57 marathon to become the first person EVER to run a sub-2:03 marathon. The man to finish in second place also broke the record, running a 2:03:13… which, as Runner's World put it, will be one of "the most under-appreciated marathon performances in history." That is a 4:40/mile pace. I can't even comprehend that degree of speed.

Another marathoner of note in Berlin was Shalene Flanagan. It was well known that Shalene wanted to break the American women's marathon record at the Berlin event. I feel pressure to run fast when I think about my marathon pace goals in my head, I can't even imagine announcing to the world what my goal time is and being held to that time by many people and organizations. She ran a great race and came in at 2:21:14, just short of the 2:19:36 record. 

She is such a graceful runner. It's amazing to see these elites run. She also has some tough critics and I always laugh when I read articles about their performances. 

"She could ONLY manage to cover the last 2.2 kilometres in 7:59, a pace which equates to 5:51 per mile."

Ya, she sure dropped the ball. Only a 5:51 pace. How could she run so SLOW?! What was she thinking?!

I don't even know what to think about these crazy elites. All I know is that they are fast, and it seems they keep getting faster. Kimetto believes a 2-hour marathon is possible and is going to happen. Motivational is an understatement. 

As my dad and I were driving around town yesterday we noticed that some of the trees were almost bare already! My mom and I loved getting a long walk in through the forested trails on Saturday and apparently we aren't the only ones. Canadian Running Magazine published an article that said walking in the forest has been shown to increase happiness and decrease stress more than walking in an unfrosted setting (read; the street). I believe it. It is always so peaceful running or walking in nature and I always come out of the trails a happier person! Motivation to get onto the trails and into the forest before it is all covered in snow and ice!

Maybe I'll bring trees and plants into my garage to make my cycling set-up a little happier ;) I am hitting up the gym this morning for a solid workout before the sun rises. Wednesday I will be getting back into running but for now I am trying to give my body a bit of a break from it!

What is motivating YOU this week?

Do you try and run/walk in nature or do you stick to the streets and treadmill?