A Moment and then Movement

Before I begin this week’s Workout Wednesday, I want to take a moment and tell you that today would have been my Nana’s 90th birthday. We lost her thirteen years ago earlier this month and I still miss her dearly. No doubt she is celebrating with a drink and her sisters up in Heaven. My family speculates that she is where I get my penchant for celebrities, parties, and conspiracy theories. There really was no one quite like her and I am grateful for the eleven years I did have with her, reading People Magazine over her shoulder, trying to learn how to write the letter A with her frustrated because I kept writing it upside down, watching her try to get off the moving log ride at Storyland in time then having to go again because she couldn’t and then again when her horse in the merry go ride stopped at the highest point, and the time she had to swat the ants off my ass when I sat in a pile, laughing and muttering obscenities under her breath. Everything she did, she did with a smile, gentle care, and with a touch of sarcasm, which are other facets I hope I get from her. She was one of the strongest, most selfless, and most loving people that I have had the pleasure of knowing, and so it is with bittersweet emotions that I say, Happy Birthday.

Now to take a more judging stance, at the gym, I just witnessed a man stack the barbell with a ton of weight, do two reps, wait five minutes in between each set and only do that three times. He struggled through them and didn’t even complete them fully, which makes me question what his intention is.

When weight lifting, I’ve read many different accounts, and I myself feel as though it is important to push yourself, but only to a point. You want to be able to get through a number of reps, rest, and do a couple of sets of each move. If you put on too much weight and can’t do the moves properly or fully you will hurt yourself and/or make very little improvement. To each their own, I suppose.

From what I’ve read, if you can’t do a move at a certain weight at least five times in a row properly, then it’s too much weight. It just gets me when people feel as though exercise is about killing yourself, when what you really want to do is improve. Working out and pushing your body is so important, but not to the extent of your health!

This past week, I played kickball and found out that I’m actually pretty clumsy. As I was running to first base, I almost tripped over myself (the ball was caught in the air anyways) and then I stumbled trying to field as well. I did make one pretty good catch and was feeling pretty good about my abilities until of course I was running to second on a play and remembered my fateful fall. I am glad to say I have made a full recovery and there has been no pain in the past week!

The next day, I did some strength training and a quick elliptical workout. Since my college roommate was visiting for the weekend, on Saturday, all we did was walk around, which is acceptable, but I was raring to go on Sunday.

That day, I did another strength and elliptical workout, along with some core exercises. I’ve been trying to increase my plank, and I am now up to about a minute and fifteen to a minute and thirty, though I feel like last week I was doing two full minutes. I think that this is partly because instead of only planking once, I include them in my core circuit so in the end, I’m actually doing more time spread out.

Monday, I was loving the fall air and went out for a run after a long walk with the dog. I came back and did some body strength and core moves, including some Yoga.

The next day, I went to the gym and did a few moves with the medicine ball, including my hated burpees. This move is the pits, but I included a quick ball lift and throw down to make it even more fun (sarcasm noted). At the end, I did some box jumps and jump rope before heading down to the pool to swim laps. It feels as though it takes a long time to swim a mile, and maybe it is, but I have been getting faster. Only 43.5 minutes this time around and I was huffing and heaving by the end of it. I completed my day with an even longer walk with the dog, which left me feeling a bit parched.

Today, I went through another strength workout. To change it up a bit, I incorporated eight moves using heavy weights and performed them in five sets of ten reps and then did eight body strength moves in four sets of twelve reps. I was feeling nice and sweaty, but strong, after and went out for a quick two mile run to try and improve my speed. My legs were feeling tired, but I’m definitely seeing an improvement! I topped it off with a mile walk to recover.

The biggest issue I’ve been dealing with these week are respiratory problems that seem to be correlated to my allergies. I have always suffered through spring, but never summer or fall before this past year. An allergy pill will usually help, but I needed to switch products because during random parts of the day and night, my lungs felt as though there were pressure on them and at times I was wheezing. I can handle to disgusting nose dripping because I can just blow it away, but the constricted breathing is scary. Luckily, they did not happen at times during my workout, and I never would have exercised in that moment, so it leads me to believe that it’s not anything more serious than allergies. With a new brand, I have been feeling improvements. Let’s hope there won’t be any allergies in winter at least! I want to eat apples again!

It’s All Fun and Games Until You Fall On Your Ass

Last week, the games for the kickball league I joined began. I had been discussing my past kickball abilities in a slight braggish tone because I remember tearing it up on the blacktop way back in elementary school. It didn’t seem to matter that that was about 15 years ago because it shouldn’t be hard to kick, catch, or throw a ball or run the bases.

I felt confident going into the game, but I was thrown off by the ball’s size upon arrival. This was not the standard sized kickball I remember in my past. Part of me wanted to commandeer the game and throw in the size that I am used to, but in the end, I decided that it shouldn’t make too much of a difference.

We were up to kick first and I got up in the first inning. As the ball rolled slowly towards me, I took a slight running start and I’m actually not sure where the ball went because I was running. All those home runs I envisioned kicking cleared out of my mind pretty quickly because the ball was heavy. Yes, I’m strong, but I don’t think I will be knocking it out of the softball field anytime soon no matter my strength. That might be the point of the extra-large kickball.

Regardless of the weight, the ball flew, somewhere, and I took off running towards first. I’m happy to report that I was safe and ready to run those bases. The guy kicking behind me sent out a nice line drive, but the fielder was too close to second base for my liking and I was nervous that I’d be thrown out. That would just be embarrassing. I revved it up and stepped on the base, safely, and then all of a sudden I was on the ground.

Listen, I’m a klutz. I fall all the time, on my own, completely unassisted, but this time it wasn’t my fault. The base was not tied down and the way I stepped on it caused it to go flying, which means I went down, hard, budging my shoulder. I think I jammed my shoulder so hard that my wrist didn’t hurt when I think it should have, neither did my leg all that much. My shoulder took the brunt of the fall. A small spot on my hand remains the only physical indicator of injury, but let me tell you, I was in pain. At first, I sat in shock and thought I had broken my shoulder or collarbone. No one had noticed though because there had been a play at the plate that was far more important.

My wound:

photo 1

I limped off the field, terrified that I had somehow managed to break myself in a game of kickball and opted not to play the field. It definitely hurt, but I could still move it and feel my fingers, so I decided it wasn’t broken. I even made a catch in the field later on that sort of bounced off my chest and there was this terrifying moment when the ball was just bouncing around in my arms, but I held on for dear life. I also kicked two more line drives that were easily caught and I’ve realized that in order to succeed in this league, you need to kick it on the ground because it is immensely hard to throw and fielders will be more likely to make a mistake that way.

The next day, I took a nurse-mandated rest day (my mom) and though the pain wasn’t sharp, it was nagging at me the entire day. I took another rest day on Saturday just to be sure, but also mostly because by the time I got home for the day, it was raining outside and the gym was closing. On Sunday, I met my workout buddy, Nouha, for a strength training routine, but we only did three sets of ten and I stuck to lighter weights than usual. Oddly enough, the only exercise that aggravated my shoulder at that point was the jumping jack. It was just the way my shoulder was angled that caused some pain, but it wasn’t too bad. After that, I took myself to the track and legged out four miles in the beautiful sumfall (summer-fall, ha!) air with little to no pain.

Workout buddy:

photo 2

On Monday, I went to the gym to swim laps, a little hesitant that it might hurt, but it felt fine for most of my swim. It wasn’t until the very end that it felt a bit sore, but nothing serious. Then I got home and read an article online about how a person must be in awesome shape if they can do a pull-up, which both my brother and sister can do, but I still can’t. I’ve actually never considered working on it, but with the article, and my brother’s pull-up bar taunting me in the background, I was motivated to try it.

I kind of just hung in the air for a little while, my core and arms aching, trying to lift myself up, which I suppose is some sort of accomplishment, yet not the big bang. Now I’m determined, except of course that I overstretched my ailing shoulder, preventing me from going to a hot yoga class that night.

The only exercise I have encountered that I cannot do in any way is the pistol squat. This means that you stand on one leg, squat as low as you can, with the other leg laying out in front of you in the air. My brother can do this. It is physically impossible for me to not fall on my behind attempting it. I’ve been doing split squats to try to get to that level, mostly so I can just prove that I can.

No fear about the pain as I was feeling just fine and back to my regular strength workout on Tuesday with no pain. I did go to the pull-up machine, but I did the half-ones where you hold yourself up and lift or swing your knees. I was going to attempt another pull-up, but that motion did flash warning signs of pain and stopped.

I was back to the track on Wednesday, but my body was feeling tired. When I finished at a little more than two miles, I walked one more and was wondering why it seemed so difficult to go further this time. Upon further inspection of my running app, I noticed that I had actually run a good 30-40 seconds faster than I normally do, which is a big deal in running. I’m not sure if I outpaced myself or what, but the speed didn’t feel bad, just my legs were tired (and I needed to pee). Let me tell you, if you have to go even a little when you run, you feel it. The moment I stopped, I was fine.

New fitness mission: do a pull-up and a pistol squat.

I’m Running Out of Clever Titles for Workout Wednesdays

(And yet, I’m still able to fit a pun in there!)

Lately, I’ve been doing my regular workouts too late in the day and I feel as though I’ve fallen off schedule. This keeps me up later at night because I have so much energy, but at least it’s getting done. In the summer it can be hard because it’s so hot outside, but also so nice so it’s hard to get the motivation to go to a gym.

Last Tuesday’s workout was a nice run, but incredibly sweaty run around my neighborhood. Even though it was a bit more humid than I prefer, I found the perfect time to go when the sun is still shining, but not as bright.

Wednesday I had a strength workout with the barbells, performing each exercise three times with sets of ten. Lately, I’ve been doing Tabata intervals on the bike, which means cycling 20 seconds as fast as you can and resting for 10. This high intensity cardio only lasted about five minutes as it is more tiring than it seems. I coupled it with a couple minutes of jump rope.

On Thursday, I did a very brief body strength workout consisting of deep squats, lunges, push ups, and . After, I went to Zumba with my friend Nouha, which was a good workout and something fun to add in with my other workouts.

The weekend did not include a lot of regular exercise sessions. I only got a barbell strength workout in as well as another cycling Tabata session before starting my weekend. I was far too busy on Saturday having brunch with my sister, sweating my way through Harry Potter trivia, and spending time with my family. I should have been more proactive on Sunday, but it was technically a day I was going to run and by the time I could have gone without it being so humid, I was off to spend another evening with my family. Instead, I played a brief game of kickball with my cousins, which is far more important than a run anyways.

Feeling a little guilty, but more itching to get back to it, I did a barbell strength workout on Monday, again with three sets of ten before going to the track to run. My legs were so sore from my strength workout (I don’t usually run on the same day as I use weights) that I was only able to run a little over two miles and walk another two. It felt good to get moving again though.

Last night I forced myself to leave the comforts of my own pool and head back to the gym so I could swim longer laps. I could definitely tell the difference, so it’s something I need to remember when I’m trying to motivate myself in the future. I also took my dog on a long walk that he wasn’t very happy about, but in fairness, the heat affects him more than me, so he took awhile to recover. I also had the pool to help refresh me.

Finally, tonight, I was afraid I wasn’t going to make it because I spent this very hot day swimming in my own pool with my cousins Erin and Mikey, then had dinner with my friends Lauren and Andrea. It was difficult dragging myself to the gym so late, after delicious ice cream, but I made it and did a kettle bell strength workout. This time, I performed three different circuits, choosing four exercises and doing three sets of twelve before moving on to the next circuit. After, I did a quick abs workout before another Tabata cycling session.

I may have gone reluctantly, but my body will be happy tomorrow when I run and don’t have to worry about getting a strength workout in with weights! No matter how I feel beforehand, I always become invigorated, energized, and focused after a quality workout.

The key is taking that first step!
photo