Kettlebell Hell!

Met with my trainer today for another circuit workout.  Wow.  I feel like these sessions are somehow getting more challenging yet easier to accomplish.  That may not even make sense and I’m not sure if I even understand it.  Today we did a workout with just one kettle bell.  That’s it.  One tiny little piece of equipment + one awesome personal trainer = one heck of a workout.  The thing I learned about the kettlebell is that it is incredibly versatile.  Did a couple variations on swings, crunches, and my personal favorite (NOT) rows followed by hip raises (ouch).  Powered through it like a champ.  I thought we were using a 10lb kettlebell until I looked at my journal just now.  The thing was 20lbs!  Yay, go me!  I truly feel that these sessions are improving my fitness and are a nice compliment to the lifting and running.  And they’re fun.  Well, at least now looking back at it I can say it was fun. Toward the end of the last circuit I can tell you I would have had something else to say about it. 🙂 Maybe I should rename the post to “Kettlebell Superhappyfuntime” but it just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Now to round out the week with one more 5 mile run!

In other news I’ve registered for 2 more races since I thought about cutting back.  I may need to seek professional help. 

Channeling the Energizer Bunny

Some of you may remember those old battery commercials about the Energizer Bunny featuring the rabbit with the drum who would “Just keep going and going and going and going…”.  (I don’t watch much TV anymore – is that guy still around?)

The bunny had his pros and cons.  At face value it looks pretty darn awesome to have that much energy!  To just keep going!  (And going!) Forever!  I’ve had a week of doing my best to emulate that rabbit.  Get the kids to school (just keep going…), get to work (and going…), work all morning/workout over lunch/resume work (and going…), get the kids/make dinner/clean up/hockeyhockeyhockey/check homework (and going…), kids in bed/Ph.D. studies (and going…), chat with the hubs/pack snacks & lunch & water gallon for the next day (and going…), wake up and do it all the next day! (and going…)

I know I’m not the only one with this type of nutty crazy schedule – we’re all so busy!  It’s great to feel so productive and accomplish so many wonderful things in the day.  That said, the Energizer Bunny also seemed a little boring.  All he did was bang that dang Energizer drum all day.  I truly believe it’s so important to work as hard as you can but then also play as hard as you can.  This weekend is Superbowl Sunday.  I don’t necessarily enjoy football but I love the eating and commercials.  I truly believe that having something fun to look forward to is super important for mental health and overall well being.  So this weekend, I’m seriously looking forward to playing hard (and eating mountains of greasy food).  🙂

Until then, I’ll just keep going and going and going and going…

Racing: How much is too much?

Only a month into winter and registrations for the spring race season are opening left and right.  I ran over 20 races in 2014 and it was one of the best years of my life.  I love racing!  The past two years I’ve taken the summers off of my grad studies to train, race and recover to my heart’s content. The thing is I’m also trying to finish a doctoral degree and the way the stars align, I can’t take this summer off of school.  Bummer right?  I told myself I was going to seriously cut back on racing this year and only do 2 half marathons in preparation for the full marathon in October.  That’s it.  And then the crazy sets in…Okay, maybe one 5k with my son because he’s really interested in it.  And this 17 mile trail race looks really cool.  And It might be fun to travel for a race or two and see another city.  I haven’t done any races at all since October.  I’m really itching to get out there.  Maybe next month, is there a race next month?  Just one?

So far here is what I’m registered for.

  1. Hot Dash – 10 mile
  2. Get in Gear – 10K
  3. Zumbro – 17 mile trail
  4. Rock & Roll – Half marathon

I feel like a little kid who was told “just 2 cookies” only to be found 15 minutes later in the cookie jar up to my elbows, face covered in chocolate.  And no, you’ll notice the actual marathon isn’t on that list.  The registration doesn’t open for that until next week.  And it’s a lottery (don’t worry I have a backup 26.2 if I don’t get in).  The 2nd half marathon for training isn’t on that list either.  Oops.  Or the 5k I want to race with my 6 year old. Oops again.  So, it looks like… I’m an addict.  Not sure what to do about it.  I see a race online and immediately start checking the calendar (can’t overlap with hockey!) and digging in my purse for my credit card.  I don’t care about the stuff, the swag, the medal.  I don’t care about the entertainment or the beer.  It all honestly doesn’t even matter.  If it’s a race within a 2 hour drive of my house, I want in.  I don’t know if there’s a cure for this but I am going to have to figure something out.  Or learn how to write a dissertation while jogging and chugging power aid.

Outside!

Capture1Wow.  Wow wow wow.  37 degrees, in Minnesota, in JANUARY!  The weather today was the very best present I could have asked for.  And it truly felt like a gift to be given a spring day in the middle of winter.  I went for a fabulous run with a good friend and let me tell you, the experience was just phenomenal.  I invested in a nice treadmill with some really cool features a couple months ago and it’s been great and super convenient.  But let me tell you, nothing compares to that fresh air, wind in your hair, sunshine on your back feeling of a good run in nice weather.  My pace wasn’t great.  I didn’t achieve any personal records.  I didn’t run any huge distance.  But I ran.  I ran outside and I had fun.  It was a great day.

Back in Business

Got my groove back this week!  I’ll admit, last week was rough.  Not every week will be spot on or perfect.  What’s important is recovering and jumping back in to keep the momentum going.  That grad paper I put a million hours into last week?  Got it back today – 100%!  Making progress on the new projects at the office.  Husband was out of town the past few days so it was just the kids and I.  No hockey practice the past couple nights (weird) but we’ve been spending time on their homework and piano practicing.  My grad work for this week is about halfway done which is a comfortable place for me on a Thursday.  I was able to get an earlier start to it this week which has made all the difference.

Capture2This week I powered through 3 out of my 4 lifting sessions, 1 HIIT session with my trainer and then 5 miles on the treadmill yesterday.  Another lifting session with HIIT to follow tomorrow and will round out the week with another 5 mile run on Saturday.  Weather is forecasted to be a balmy 32 degrees on Saturday so I may be able to run outside comfortably.  Comfortable running weather in Minnesota in January is such a treat so I plan to make the most of it. 🙂

If it Fits

…your macros.  I want to take a minute to talk about nutrition.  All of this training I’m trying to cram into my nutty schedule won’t do anything to change my body if my nutrition is working against me.  My sister in law turned me on to the If-It-Fits-Your-Macros (IIFYM) diet this past Spring and let me tell you it has been a game changer.  IIFYM is basically an eating style that allows you to eat some processed or traditionally “unhealthy” food in moderation as long as it fits within your macronutrients goals.  That is my really basic explanation of it although there is lots of information out there on the subject.  IIFYM.com is a great resource with calculators and the science behind it.  IIFYM sometimes gets a bad rap because it doesn’t put any foods on a ‘bad’ list or restrict them.  That said,  things I eat do have to fit my goals for protein, fats and carbohydrates at the end of the day.  For example, I know I can’t eat a bucket of fried chicken because it wouldn’t fit within my goals.  But if I want a cookie after my grilled chicken and steamed veg dinner?  It’s fine and I don’t have to feel guilty about it.  And I LOVE that about eating this way.  If I want gummy bears (as I often do!) I have them and I don’t cry about it.

mfpI still work toward eating as many fruits, vegetables, lean protein and whole grains for most of my nutrition.  Yesterday I did not have produce available to me and was constantly on the go from thing to thing.  I wound up eating almost exclusively convenience foods and somehow still hit my macros.  Hit the macros but felt like garbage.  I didn’t feel guilty or terrible mentally but I just didn’t feel as good physically. Today I met about the same macros but included more (not all!) whole foods and produce and felt much better.  It’s all about what you do with what you have.

So today I’m celebrating this (pic)!  A perfectly zeroed out macro day.  The goal is to meet each macro within + or – 5 grams.  Dead on for me is pretty rare.  Feeling fit, feeling strong.  Now time for that 5 mile run. 🙂

First NHL Game!

wpid-wp-1421803889577.jpegWe had such a great time taking the boys to the see the Minnesota Wild play at the Xcel Energy center last night.  We got to St. Paul around 5:30 PM for the 7:00 game.  Our 6 year old had a little too much smoothie from Caribou on our way so we spent a frantic first five minutes looking for a bathroom.  Once we found one, let me tell you I’ve never seen that kid run so fast!

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It turns out the Xcel doesn’t open their doors for the game until 5:45 so we waited to get in for a few minutes.  Once we were in the boys immediately wanted to go see the ice.  One of the security guards noticed how excited the kids were and asked if it was their first wpid-wp-1421803830740.jpegNHL game.  We of course said yes and he told that we take them to guest services for a free puck to mark the occasion.  How cool!  Virtually no line at guest services and they were so nice.

We spent the rest of the game walking around, eating game food (“trickle fries”, fried pickles were awesome!) and taking pictures with the mascot, Nordy.  We purchased tickets for this particular game through the boys’ youth hockey association so there were lots of kids they knew in our section.  The boys had a blast chatting and cheering with their friends and team mates all night.

I only wish the Wild would have scored more!  The Wild lost to the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-1.  Oh well.  Something tells me there will be more Wild games in our future.wpid-wp-1421803917358.jpeg

Rest is Overrated

Running twenty miles a week in November was tough.  Twenty miles a week over the holidays was almost impossible.  Turns out I actually do need serious and legitimate study time for this class I just started.  So as I was doing my weight lifting today I was trying to figure out how I can get back up to my 15-20 miles per week.  I looked back and reconsidered why I had the goal of this mileage in the first place.  The whole point was to build running back into my life on a regular basis in preparation for actual marathon training which will require 40+ miles per week.  Goals need to be realistic and I need to face the music that right now 20 miles a week, with this particular grad course also on my plate, isn’t actually realistic anymore.

However, 15 miles may still be doable.  My lifting program is Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday.  That leaves 3 days.  15 divided by 3 is… yup, 5 miles.  So it works out perfectly if I run 5 miles on Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday each.  I’ll only have to get up early or sacrifice one evening a week (more likely) to exercise on Wednesdays.  The rest of my evenings can be devoted to this finance course for the remaining 7 weeks.  Weekends are easier to flex in a run around kids hockey practices and games.  (If it’s nice out, a run from my house to the rink is actually about 5 miles on the nose.)  Only minor down side to this plan is that leaves 0 rest/recovery days.  That said, I’ve had plenty of weeks without an official “rest” day before and have lived to tell the tale.  I think this will be fine.  This will also put me at 10 this week, and then back up to 15 starting next week which is a nice ramp up.  Once I’ve got this down I can look at increasing back up to 20 miles per week and beyond.  And if this doesn’t work… I can always re-evaluate again. 🙂  The important thing is to not throw in the towel and give up.

Measly Mileage

Type the word measly into google and here’s what you get: paltry, meager, scanty, miserable, inadequate, insufficient.  This perfectly describes my running mileage this past week.  Reviewing my mapmyrun app I put in about 5 miles.  That’s generous, let me rephrase: barely 5 miles.  5 miles on a goal of 15-20 is not so hot.  Rest assured though, I was not napping all week!

Here’s what did happen while I wasn’t running those additional 10+ miles:

  1. Started my finance class.  Put in at least 15 hours on this class this
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    Hubs watching our 8 year old’s game with our 6 year old.

    week just reading and putting together my outline.  I still have a little less than half the paper left to write later tonight/tomorrow.

  2. Started my new weight lifting routine.  Managed to get every work out in.  Had to cut the last workout of the week short because my 8 year old had a stomach flu so I couldn’t go to the gym as planned and I don’t have all of the equipment at home.  So I got in what I could and called it good.
  3. It was our first week on a new initiative at work.  Crazy busy with lots of new meetings and activity.  Definitely well over the 40 this week but am very excited about this project.
  4. I did get my 2 HIIT sessions in without issue – yay!  Felt good to meet with my trainer again.
  5. Went to 5 hockey games for my kiddos.
  6. Went to my monthly book club meeting with my girlfriends, went to my husband’s company party and we also had date night tonight at the Minnesota Wild Game.  (Yes, the fun stuff counts too!)
Date night!

Date night!

Here’s the good news.  I still have 8 months or so before the actual marathon.  5 miles is better than none and next week will be better. 🙂

Fastest Mile in a While

I wanted to get in a quick warm up before my strength routine today so I figured I would get in another mile on the treadmill to contribute to the weekly total.  I ran it in 9:08.  That is the fastest I’ve been in a long while.  My fastest mile ever was a 7:06 during the Sioux Falls half marathon this past September.  I must have been somehow magically (and briefly!) possessed by a cheetah.  I’m still not sure mapmyrun wasn’t experiencing some sort of technical glitch.  But I haven’t run anything under a 9:30 in about a month and a half.  I’m so excited to start to get some speed back!

Weight routine was good.  It took some time to figure out what to set the machines to for the assisted dip and pull up exercises but otherwise it was fun and got a good burn in.  So far the first week on the Simply Shredded has been going really well!  Today was incredibly busy at work.  One of those back to back meeting kind of days and I needed the good sweat to clear my head.  I notice I always come back sharper after working out over lunch than if I had stayed at my desk.  However, what I do not recommend is an appointment with the personal trainer for a strenuous HIIT routine the same day as weight lifting.  Let’s just say I’m glad I survived.  🙂

On another note, I’ve been excited to find some simple meal ideas that are incredibly quick with few ingredients and minimal clean up.  They’re not fancy, they’re not pretty, but they’re fast and nutritious.  Here is one but I think I’ll start a new page and keep some ideas there so I don’t forget them when in a pinch.

Turkey Cheeseburger with Peas
Calories: 405
Protein: 23, Fat: 28, Carbs: 20
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Told the hubs I would write at least 3 pages of my 9 page paper tonight.  It’s due Sunday.  I should probably get on that. 🙂