Life After…

Coming back to a normal routine after death is a challenge. Bandit was such a fixture in my everyday life and I keep waiting for him to come around the corner, meow, or be lounging around on one of our beds or couches. The last week was a blur, but I kept busy with work and other things. It’s strange to be in mourning, yet keep going and finding a new normal. I wasn’t feeling especially inspired to blog last week because somehow logging my meals didn’t feel right when I was so sad. And I didn’t want to keep harping on the point. Things around here will be consistent again.

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It’s funny because while something so devastating has happened, other parts of my life are coming together. I am happy to announce that I will be starting to put my Personal Training certificate to good use officially! It’s so great to get to inspire people and help them find health and happiness.

Heading back to the weekend, it was packed, starting with Thursday. My workout included two kettlebell circuits with a friend before I hopped on the treadmill for a walk/run/sprint session. After work, I went out for Mexican with my friend Molly. I selected the steak fajita salad that had tasty grilled steak over greens with peppers, tomatoes, and cheese. Yum! We stopped for ice cream before heading home, despite how cold it was. Note: It is never too cold for ice cream. I will always persevere. I hadn’t seen Molly in so long so it was great to catch up!

On Friday, my day started with a crushing Spin class and some at-home Yoga. After my shift, I headed out for an impromptu dinner with a few of my co-workers. I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time and I really needed it.

Saturday morning, my alarm got my heart racing because I had been in a deep sleep. Once I’m up, I don’t mind the morning shift, but it was hard pulling myself out of bed in the dark! When my shift ended, I fit in my workout that was a total body strength session. With muscles burning (in the best of ways), I met my parents and grandma for lunch before the semi-storm. The storm that never really was, at least to Boston standards, was calming in a sense as we all were bundled up inside, watching the Bruins and then Inside Out. There’s something special about sleeping in a warm bed when you know the snow is falling outside.

I can’t say that Sunday wasn’t a disappointment, at least when it comes to the Patriots. Neither team played particularly great, except the Broncos’ defense, but I always expect them to pull it off in the end, so it was a shock when they lost. The social aspect of the game was still fun. I went with my friends Nouha and Sarah to a local bar for some nachos, wings, and beers, then back to Nouha’s couch to lounge on the couch and watch the crushing loss. To ease our sorrowed hearts, we played a few rounds of a card game then got absorbed in some of those Buzzfeed personality quizzes. Sometimes, they are spot on, it’s weird.

I won’t feel guilty about all the indulging, especially on Sunday, because I did have a kicks workout, including a body strength circuit and a run. But I will say, I am very much looking forward to healthy eating today as I don’t love the feeling of being overly stuffed. Whew.

Now we’re back to Monday morning. Hope everyone survived the storm in their neck of the woods. Let’s make this week a good one!

 

 

I Think I Broke My One Abdominal Muscle

Okay, I promise I know that there is more than one abdominal muscle in the body. I happen to be studying the muscles as we speak. But sometimes, especially in my regard, I feel like there is just a one-pack. Regardless, I just so happened to twinge one of those muscles yesterday and so I’m really feeling that little guy today.

I’m not certain what happened. Since starting my studying, I’ve realized just how important the core is, so I’ve been making an effort to extend that facet of training. One move that is uber effective is the ab roller and I even had my form checked to ensure that I was doing it correctly- which for the record, I was- but for whatever reason, it hurts in that NOT-A-GOOD-PAIN sort of pain. I did it on Monday with no issues, then tried it again on Wednesday and realized I needed another day of rest from it. Come Thursday, I thought, well hey, but I didn’t make it through one before the pain entered and did not go away. Great.

My workout before that was a fun one. I found a superset workout online, added a few exercises to make it a total body experience, and it killed in a super way. Supersets have you perform two (or more) different exercises back-to-back utilizing the same muscle groups. Whew. I haven’t felt that kind of tension in my muscles (this time, the good kind of pain) in awhile! Mission accomplished, I suppose.

After the ab roller fiasco, I stuck to other core exercises that didn’t twinge nearly as bad. Another fun part of my workout was this box jump/step up combination I thought up the other day. I start out jumping onto a smaller platform (I’ve got no game when it comes to jumping), jumping down, then stepping up onto a larger platform. I kind of felt like I was leap frogging, but there was barely anyone around and I had a blast (and an effective workout)!

I swear to you, I snapped photos of my lunch and dinner from yesterday, but my phone deleted them! Lunch was a salad using leftover steak from the previous night’s fajita dinner. For dinner, I gobbled down a piece of swordfish with brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and spinach rice. Both meals were excellent and they looked pretty too, so I’m bummed the pictures are gone.

This morning, I rolled out of bed later than I should have because I was a lady-on-a-mission to get to a spin class on time. First, I had to fuel up, which came in the form of and egg and egg-white scramble. I topped the eggs with a sprinkle of cheese and had a piece of whole wheat toast as well.

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Along with the all-important glasses of water and coffee, it was the perfect meal to energize me! Spin was a great class and once again, I feel like I’m improving. For the record, I made it just in time.

To follow up my cardio, I performed a few resistance moves, including tricep bench presses, lunge presses (note, hard!), clean and presses, seated rows, and lateral pull downs. There was no method to my madness as one of my goals this weekend is to formulate an entirely new workout plan. For today, I just went with what felt right in the moment. My ab muscle was feeling better, though still a little tender, and I focused on core moves that would stretch it out. In a circuit style, I did something I don’t know the name of but it required me holding a weight in one hand and leaning into it, leg ups, side box jumps, kettlebell goblet squats with pull ups, and kettlebell swings. I fit in some nice stretching before heading out.

My post-workout meal included a piece of peanut butter toast and a Greek yogurt with grapes!

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Have a great weekend!

Part 6: And That’s A Wrap

Our final full day of vacation was spent doing the best thing we planned and it didn’t cost a cent! Hiking is such a wonderful way to connect with nature and to the self. There is something humbling and powerful in crawling just above everything else. Maybe it makes you realize just how small you are, how insignificant the little things are, how wonderful and peaceful the world can be.

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Molly and I had breakfast and lots of water before making our way towards Griffith Park where we decided to hike. I had read online where to start, but the Uber driver was not feeling like dropping us off where we asked, so we went into the hike blindly. It wasn’t life shattering ebcause you just follow the trails and the other people hiking, but we were pleased with our navigation success, even if a few minutes of the hike was spent in a darkened tunnel with traffic on both sides and no side walk.

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Once we made it up the hill to Griffith Observatory, we stopped to snap some pictures of the view, including a shot of the Hollywood Sign, before deciding to dedicate ourselves to the climb and go as far up as possible.

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When the folks online said the Griffith Park hike was easy-medium, I am going to assume that they meant just the part up to Griffith Observatory because once we continued climbing, some spots were a straight shot up.

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My legs felt fine for the duration of the trip, but the steep hike combined with sitting on a plane for 5 and a half hours the next day, left my thighs feeling in more pain than I’ve experienced with exercise. I even tried to roll them out and found they were too sore. A little time has helped.

Had we been in Boston humidity, we would have suffocated. There was no shade and it was so hot, but we weren’t suffering from it. I had lathered on the sunblock real nice and wanted my hair to brighten from the sun, so I left the hat at home and felt fine throughout. The particularly hilly spots were challenging, but it was nothing we felt that we couldn’t handle. Sometimes, I do still like to complain.

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We stopped only in moments that we felt showed the best views and there were some spectacular views. I took a ton of pictures, certain to be careful and clutch my phone so as it didn’t roll down a mountain. I can’t believe some of these photos were taken by me, mostly because I am not a photographer, but it would be hard to mess up how beautiful the sights were.

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Having made it up to the highest spot, we found ourselves to be slightly above even the Hollywood Sign and looked down into Los Angeles. California is truly breathtaking and only some of that love I’m feeling for it has to do with the fact that I was visiting and don’t live there everyday.

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What goes up, must come down and I could fully appreciate that climbing uphill is actually easier. As I mentioned, some parts were steep and I had to move slow or my knees would buckle. I would guess that the hike was about 5-6 miles, but I am terrible at predicting these things and often overestimate my accomplishments when I don’t track it.

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Once we did make it to the base, we were hungry and ready for a filling lunch.

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I remembered that there was a cheap, but tasty sushi place nearby, so we walked another 10 minutes and ordered ourselves up a feast. The most satisfying part was all of the water we downed for the half hour we were at lunch. I selected the spicy tuna roll, which is actually the first time I’ve ever eaten raw fish, and I enjoyed it. I also got a mini chicken teriyaki bowl, which I assure you, was cooked all the way through. The restaurant happened to be next door to the Improv Comedy Place that Amy Poehler co-created, so I had to snap a photo!

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We had plans that night to meet my friend, Brad, for dinner, so we headed back to the hotel to spend the late afternoon by the pool. Besides the breakfast, the pool area was the best part of the hotel. The pool itself was refreshing, but the sitting area and palm trees outlining it made it something special. The only thing that would have made it better was if we could have ordered a few Pina Coladas, but we were content with the water we got.

After, it was time to stop by the store for some wine and hair dye. For whatever reason, I was inspired to make a little change to my hair, so I decided to dye it blonde. The results turned out nicely, though not as blonde as I want. You have to make these changes at a gradual pace, I guess.

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I even lucked out in the timing so that I got to watch the season finale of the show Baby Daddy, which I’m kind of obsessed with. I was very pleased with the ending.

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Molly and I met Brad at a semi-fancy Italian restaurant in Beverly Hills. We all ordered the spaghetti with marinara sauce. It was delicious, but could have easily been made at home…and cheaper. I mean, the six dollar sushi we had for lunch came with more food, but we did get to sit outside on a beautiful night with great company, so I won’t complain further.

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For dessert, we stopped at Millions of Milkshakes, which isn’t quite as fancy, but even more delicious. I went with a Reese’s Cup and Oreo milkshake.

On Thursday, we woke up to enjoy one last breakfast at the hotel. Having a complimentary breakfast that includes so many options was such a great aspect to the trip! It helped us save a ton of money and ensured that we had a nutritious start to our days. Once we finished eating and packing, it was time to check out and make our way to the airport.

Traveling home is always hard because part of you does not want to end vacation and the other part just wants to be home. This is why apparating (Harry Potter reference) would be such a wonderful and lazy tool in our society. Think of how much traveling and exploring we could all do!

Anyways, before taking off, Molly and I had lunch at a food truck inside the airport. I went with a short rib burrito that tasted yummy at the start, but I think my stomach had had enough of the savory indulgences of the past week and decided to rebel against me. A half hour before boarding, I was certain I was going to be sick for the whole ride, but a little time and Pepto-Bismol settled everything down. Phew.

Flying home had a little more turbulence than the seamless ride there, but it was also shorter and it’s nothing I can complain about. Overall, it was a wonderful trip and I’m so glad I got to do so many fun things with my friend!

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The Ab Roller Is Actually Evil

This weekend, I was nursing sore calves and painful abs. I had the brilliant idea of ending my Friday workout with the ab roller, which I’ve never done before and in the moment, it was too bad. It wasn’t until I woke up on Saturday that I realized how much it hurt. I must have been doing it wrong and it will be quite awhile until I try it again.

Look at it lying there innocently.

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Last Thursday, which is where we begin our new week of workouts for blog purposes, I actually enjoyed my rest day. I have mixed feelings about taking a week day for rest because I’ve noticed I start off on a better note when I wake up and fit in my workout, but I also like working out on the weekends when I have more time. I’ll see how it goes as I progress.

I was feeling rejuvenated on Friday and started things off with a kettlebell sequence. I went through two circuits, one with swings, goblet squat dead lifts, elbow to knee shoulder presses, high lifts, and lunging arrow twists, and the other with kickback rows, tricep pullovers on the stability ball, mermaid raises, hundred leg lifts, and Russian twists. After, I moved onto an assortment of moves, starting with box jumps, wall throws, push ups, mountain climbers, and hip lifts on the ball. I finished with six minutes of jump roping and sprints on the treadmill, which left my calves sore.

I realized the affects of the previous workout the next day. I think I might have been fighting something because I woke up tired and disoriented and never really settled into things. I did attempt a run on the treadmill when I got to the gym, but I found I had to go between running and walking, and after forty minutes, I felt blah. I was considering doing an ab or Yoga workout to accompany it, but my calves and abs were still sore, so I listened to my body and just relaxed.

After shopping and eating lunch on Sunday, I dragged my tired butt to the gym. I wasn’t excited about the workout, but once I got going, I woke up and felt so much better! I love what that happens. I went through my favorite barbell strength routine before finishing off with some box jumps and jump roping. My calves were feeling much better and though I still felt a bit of a twinge in my abs when I laid down or sat up for my bench presses, I got through my four minutes of planking without pain. And no, it wasn’t four minutes at once, for the record.

Monday, excited that it’s Christmas week, I got up easily. I met Nouha and started off with a body strength workout complete with step ups, tricep dips, plié squats, lunges, kickbacks, push ups, mountain climbers, mermaid raises, hip lifts, hundreds to v ups, bicycle crunches, and Russian twists. We moved onto a short, but refreshing Yoga sequence with planks, side planks, a reverse plank, full bridge, and shoulder stand. Now stretched and warmed up, we moved to the treadmill where I squeezed in a half an hour run that was much better than the one I forced myself through on Saturday.

I wanted to mix things up a bit, now that I admit that trying to swim on weekday mornings is stressful. Nouha and I went to an early morning cycling class that was good because I can never rev myself up like that on the bike on my own. I actually really loved Soul Cycle the time I went in New York, but it’s far too expensive for me to go on the regular. This was a fine substitute and I had enough time leftover to go upstairs and fit in a dumbbell strength routine before starting my day.

Even though it’s Christmas Eve, expecting and completely accepting the food and wine intake later on, I got myself to the gym for a quick run on the treadmill since it’s pouring outside. My sister met up with me to try the barre class my gym offers and we had fun working out together, earning our indulgences!

Feel The Burn…Of Positive Energy!

Everyone, exercise is so important, not just in the planned, executed workout you should do about five days a week, but also in little moments of every day such as walking, getting up, and moving around. Resting your body when you are feeling pain is equally important.

This summer, I’ve ramped up the length of my workout routines because I have the time and it helps me to remain motivated and energized, as well as to vent my stress. I’ve been feeling pretty great too until the week before last when I was just sore. Not in the good way sore, but in the I-can’t-move-sore and so I realized I needed a bit of a break from the planned, executed workouts I adore.

How convenient when vacation came around! New Hampshire is great because there are moments of sitting around, chatting, eating, drinking, and laughing- oh, the laughing!- but there’s also a lot of movement and exploring.

I realized two significant facts about myself during this vacation too that I will have to remember as I get myself back into my routine.

1. When motivated, I can hold a plank for two minutes +. Motivation comes in the

form of the majority of my family lying on the floor, staring desperately at one

another for the two minutes to pass. And then me holding it longer just to prove

that I can until my sister turned the timer off and I decided it was pointless.

I’ve been thinking highly of myself for holding my plank between a minute to seventy-five seconds, but now I know I very much like to compete and that I can hold it much longer.

2. I love to hike.

We did a bit of hiking and exploring but I think I’ve been bitten by some kind of bug (figuratively and literally you little mosquito bastards!) because now all I want to do is go hiking and be in the wilderness climbing mountains, standing on top of humungous rocks like I own the world, and wading into cold, beautiful water oases.

Perhaps the only factors preventing me from moving into the wilderness and becoming the Princess of the Jungle are lack of toilets, food availability, and bugs. Listen, all those big animals, I think I can handle because we’d be pals. Bandit’s kind of a threat to our lives anyways and I still love him. Maybe I should stick to hiking and then being a woman of materialism before and after. It’s far more comfortable that way.

And I suppose that if there is ever a time when I find myself in a cave or other small spots, I know with the right movement of body parts, I can fit through tight spaces. Hello, lemon squeezer!

During the week we also spent a couple of days at amusement parks, which has to count as exercise in some way because there is a lot of time spent navigating the park and standing in line for rides. And if you are anything like my cousins, then you must get a good arm workout in spinning the teacups around as fast as you can. I still don’t think I can see straight since.

The counterintuitive factor at an amusement park will often be the food options. At the first park, I saw the hugeness of a tortilla wrap and instead went for the garden salad with roast chicken on top which was pretty good and enjoyed a couple of French fries as my starch. With a couple of handfuls of popcorn (my favorite snack!) and a soft serve to end the day, I think I owned that first day. At the second park, the salad option was not appealing and so I had a piece of pizza with a fruit cup and popcorn. At the end of the day, I tried a fried Oreo, which I surprisingly did not enjoy! I love regular Oreos, but most fried foods do nothing for me but make me feel disgusting and sick inside.

I also believe that in some sense horseback riding has to burn calories in some ways because even though you are sitting and not doing anything of the movement part, you have to pay close attention to your body so as not to fall off into the muddy and feces-covered ground. You also have to hold yourself up and keep your back straight and whatnot, so in some sense it’s a workout.

These days, I’m not so concerned during periods where I don’t workout in an official way because that does not happen often and also I’ve set myself up in a way where I know I can jump right back into my routine.

For example, after a long, tight car ride back home, instead of flouncing down on the couch for the night, I took a break from my comfortable position, and ran the length of a 5k. In the scheme of things, that doesn’t sound like much, but taking that initial step after a break is crucial to maintaining a routine.

Sunday, I spent some much needed time sleeping in my bed for the first time in a week and then some quality time with my mom and sister at Paint Nite and so the workout thing somehow didn’t happen again. However, I accidentally was at the gym for two hours on Monday, one hour of strength, another hour of cardio, which I think makes up for it.

The strength was my regular barbell routine with weight added to a couple of moves. The cardio was a combination of Tabata bicycle intervals, treadmill sprints, box jumps, and jump rope. I left very sweaty and feeling good and then walked the dog with my mom.

Tuesday, I spent a good chunk of the day trying to make a schedule that fit all the workouts I wanted to do for the week, and then effectively broke an hour later. Instead of swimming, I walked with my friend Molly, chatting the hours away until we realized we hit about 8 miles, stopped at Dunkins for an iced coffee for her and an iced green tea for me, then walked the two miles home. To meet her at her house, I ran the length of a mile, and then after going our separate way, I ran another two miles because if we are being honest, I wouldn’t have gotten back out there once I got home.

Surprisingly, I wasn’t in that much pain except for the gigantic blister I didn’t even feel until I got home and realized I couldn’t walk. When running, my focus was on my leg chafing, which is annoying. 10 miles is a lot to walk, but it’s also very fun and productive when you’re with someone.

Today I was back in the gym completing a new strength workout I developed yesterday. To change it up a bit, I broke my workout up into different circuits in which I perform six moves in a row for three sets and ten repetitions. I did one circuit using dumbbells, two sets with kettlebells, and a cardio circuit that include step ups, jumping jacks, rope swings, high knees, and jump rope. This sounds like a lot, but it moves quickly because you go from one move to another in succession and break only between sets for thirty seconds and circuits for sixty seconds.

My body must be more tired from yesterday’s walk than it originally let on because I struggled today. I didn’t feel any pain, just fatigue, so I kept going. I accidentally on purpose listened in to these two youngish women discussing weight training and how it is only effective if your body shakes, you feel the burn, and can’t lift anymore. I suppose I would have to do a lot more research on this, and I get pushing your body, but that out look seems extreme to me.

I love challenging my body and seeing what I can do, but exercise, like eating, is meant to energize and strengthen, not diminish or exhaust. Yes, it feels good to end a workout slick with sweat, your body feeling the effort, but you should also feel positive energy! I was a little alarmed.

Note: It is very easy to move through these circuit workouts when there are not a ton of people with you at the gym. It is also difficult to perform these circuits when there is a crowd of people surrounding you because they want and need space to and you cannot go wherever whenever you want.

I’m not the best at sharing or communicating at the gym, but I’ve noticed this and I’m trying to at least appear kinder.

It’s funny because I wrote the majority of this post last night and then today someone stole the box I was using to jump on. He clearly saw me using it and waited for me to turn away for one minute, with my stuff still parked there, and grabbed it before I could see and stop him.

To sum up this edition of Workout Wednesday, I’d like to bring it back to the top. I was feeling some pain, I allowed my body to rest, and then I got myself back into it and felt great. When you allow yourself to rest and you listen to your body, you realize the difference in how your body reacts to exercise.

This is important.

There’s a reason why I could move through two hours of exercising and not feeling like I will die after resting. There’s a reason why I can’t always lift at my highest weight when I’ve had a succession of long, grueling workouts the days before and no rest.

Exercise your body. Rest your body. Find a happy medium.

This means listening to your body. It’s the only one you got. This rule applies for both exercising and eating and anything else you do with it. I’m getting better at this, but it’s harder than it should be!

I suppose I need to be as kind to my body in the gym as kind I am to other people at the gym. Okay. Maybe I need to be a tad bit kinder to all around.

Pain is Gain (Unless It’s The Bad Kind)

Never in my entire life have I had summer allergies up until last year. Spring allergies I understand. All the blooming and blossoming and colorful crap springs to life and brings new life as the snow melts and people around here can go outside again and not freeze to death. Over the years, I became so immune to the snot dripping down my face intermingled with the tears streaming from itchy, red eyes. That is, until the allergies didn’t go away come summertime.

Last year, the focus was more on my breathing, and I’m not certain that any breathing issues weren’t actually slight panic attacks at the idea of my Master’s program. It’s just not fair when your mother bans you from eating the delicacies that are summer fruit, such as cherries and apricots, peaches and plums. I get the apples in the Spring, okay, as it’s one season, as difficult as it is, but now it’s bordering on two seasons. I shouldn’t be judged for trying to eat fruit as a little child is for sneaking cookies out of the cookie jar!

Depending on how I feel that day and if I have reinforcements around to save me if I go unconscious, I will put my life at risk and enjoy some sweet cherries. The thing that really gets me is when the allergies affect my workouts.

The drip drip drip of my nose against my futile attempts to wipe it away with the back of my hand or snort it back in so I don’t choke as I run. The irritation and itch that plagues my eyes concealed by goggles, but no less resistant to whatever is in the air that affects me as I swim. Arms placed at my hips, bent over as I try to catch my breath after a tough workout when I suddenly can’t breathe. It’s not that I’m out of shape, it’s the allergies.

I take my allergy pill every night before bed. I (mostly) stay away from fruit and other irritants that stimulate my symptoms, and for the most part I’ve been able to stave them off. However, in those moments that my allergies do strike, there’s little I can do than just try to work through them and hope for the best (that I don’t die).

Regardless of these annoying obstacles, here’s another Workout Wednesday.

I met my friend Nouha to show her one of my strength routine’s on Wednesday. We ran through a dumbbell circuit routine four times, performing 8 sets for each exercise. Then, I hopped into the pool and swam for a good half hour. I went at a busy time, and therefore didn’t have the patience to go for a full mile, but I still felt pretty fired up.

Last Thursday, I waited for the sun to start to go down before taking to the streets for a run. Despite my constant drinking of water, I don’t think my body was properly hydrated because I didn’t feel as energized as I worked through my run and even had to walk in some parts.

The next day, I completed a part dumbbell/part kettlebell strength workout broke into circuits to keep my motivation up. I ended with a quick Tabata workout on the bike that consisted of twenty seconds of sprinting with forty seconds of slow pedaling.

Before the party on Saturday, I went on another run, a little earlier in the day than I normally would with the sun blaring, but turns out, it was a way better run than the one on Thursday. It’s so weird when that happens. When I got to the huge hill at the end of my route, I was even able to run all the way up it without tripping and rolling back down.

I enjoyed my scheduled rest day on Sunday with a brief game of basketball with my brother, which I won! Haha. He’s not been reading this even though he says he keeps meaning to, so let’s put this to the test. I did beat him though.

On Monday, I had a long strength workout which left me feeling a little bit on the wrong side of sore the next day. I didn’t feel any twinge during, even though I upped my weight for most of my exercises. After, I did another two circuits of Tabata intervals on the bike, five minutes at level 6, five minutes at level 8, with some medium pedaling in-between. I finished off with some incline speed-walking in-between running sprints on the treadmill. I even got up to 10 miles an hour, which is very fast for me, at 30 seconds sprinting, 30 seconds walking. That night I also walked two miles with my mom around the neighborhood.

As humid as it was on Tuesday, I performed a core/Yoga routine in my air-conditioned room, while watching Bob’s Burgers, my new obsession. I was feeling fine until I extended into a full bridge, fell, and felt the breath go out of me. I recovered quickly I think, though when I stood up again I felt a bit dizzy. In the mid-afternoon, I swam some laps in the pool, which is when my shoulder pain presented itself. Once the sun went down, I went for a run at the track to try and make my mile faster. It’s a process.

Today, I had another strength workout. I didn’t feel any pain while performing the moves, but as I’m writing this I’m definitely feeling tender. Part of the pain might have to do with the mile swim I did right after. Either way, at least today it’s a good type of pain.

Now enjoy this picture of Bandit doing some Yoga.

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I Am Runner

Like many, I have a love/hate relationship with running. It’s more complicated than the old love when it’s over, hate to do it relationship we had in the past. Truth be told, I’ve always wanted to be a runner. Even in the days when I never thought I could run down the street never mind a mile, I always envied those who were “runners.”

Running for me isn’t always easy. There are days when I feel like I could go on for miles, then days when a jog around the block hurts. This week, I’ve experienced both situations. Saturday, in the pouring rain, I had the best run of this short spring season. Unable to fathom the treadmill, I threw my hat on and trekked outside, having the time of my life. Today, on this beautiful, sunny day, I felt like I was going to break apart with every step. The weather apparently has nothing to do with how well I run.

I’ve learned the hard way that a number of random factors affect my run. This can range from how much I eat, when I eat, and how my stomach handles what I’m eating. Hydration, per usual, is a must, but it is challenging to find the right amount that you’re body is spongy and energized, but not so much that you have to pee within the first five minutes and this dilemma distracts and plagues you the whole way through, preventing you from finding that groove. What exercise I’ve done the day before is often a factor, and perhaps the split squats I tried yesterday have to do with the tenderness of my thighs today (thanks bro). 

Sometimes, a good run just flows when emotions are high and positive and you’ve found the right mix of music (Hello The Climb). There are days when I know without a doubt that I can run up that long, looming big hill to get back to my house, and days when I need to walk it at a slow pace. Days when not even the catchiest of musicals, of which in my head I am always the star, can’t inspire me to love that I’m running. When a good story idea pops into my head and infiltrates every other sense so I go on auto drive as I flesh out ideas, are days when I know I have good mojo.

Regardless of the outcome, the distance, the timing of each mile, the feeling at the end of each run is the same: success. So even if there are days, like today, when in order to get myself outside, I need to say “just one mile,” then in order to keep going, find random landmarks to push past. Maybe it was the sun shining, the Frozen soundtrack blaring, or even the promise of the weekend approaching, but today, when every step was painful and somewhat slow and I was running for the end, I made it through five miles. 

Five ugly miles, but it was worth it. If only because I can.

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