Catching up

I haven’t written in a while, I know (sorry!), so I thought it was about time I did. Life has been pretty  busy over the last couple weeks with all the wonderful holiday craziness. 

I love this time of year, mostly because it’s a great reason to get together with my friends and family (and I won’t lie to you, the awesome food associated with this time of year isn’t too bad either, haha!). 

J and I hosted our first ever Christmas Eve dinner for both of our families. I made a prime rib roast for the first time ever, which was probably one of the most intimidating things I’d ever cooked. It turned out well, thank goodness, and both of our families had a great time! 

On top of the typical holiday business, J and I have taken up snowboarding again this year. In the past, when I’ve tried it, I’ve ended up falling most of the way down the mountain (some of my falls being more entertaining than others). This season (so far) has gone a lot better – I’ve managed to make it all the way down the mountain without falling more than once! 

I love being up in the mountains; the scenery is beautiful, and the snow brings a feeling of peacefulness that’s hard to find. 

With all these new aventures, I’ve found myself missing running. I’ve had to take breaks from running before, fortunately mostly because of life craziness instead of injury. The longing for a good, consistent running routine always calls me back. 

I find myself missing the freedom, the energy, and the certainty about life that I feel when I’m out on a run – that’s when I make the time to get out, even if only for a couple miles. I feel so much more like myself afterward.  

It’s my goal over the next week to get back into my routine, and begin working on my training plan for my next marathon. There’s something that feel so right about starting out the new year training for my next big race.

How were your holidays? What are your plans for New Year’s Eve? 

The back of the gym…

“If you want something that you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done” – Thomas Jefferson

Until recently, I never ventured into the back of the gym – the area with the big weights. It has always been pretty intimidating to me with all the crazy looking machines that I didn’t really understand how to use.

I was always just fine using the cardio equipment, pool, and doing my own body weight cross training. 

But, in the spirit of pushing myself out of my comfort zone, I decided to change that. Fortunately for me, my dear boyfriend has offered to show me how to use the machines and guide me through my first weight training workouts. 

Since I’m pretty new to adding weights to my workouts, and have a pretty weak upper body, we’ve started out by incorporating arms, chest, and upper back. We also have added leg presses and calf raises, to help strengthen my running form. 

To finish things off, we also do some core work at the end of each weight session (in the form of flutter kicks and passing a weight ball back and forth while doing sit ups). You know, just to add some variety.

Holy cow, after the first work out my arms were SO SORE. I don’t remember the last time my arms were so sore. Like, had trouble lifting my arms above my head SORE. 

But, after today’s workout, I can already tell that my body is making improvements, and I’m excited to see how my body continues to change.

Do you incorporate weights into your workouts? What are your favorite ways to incorporate them?

A little delay, and December goals

It’s been a while since I’ve had time to do anything substantial, other than study for the CFA Level 1. Fortunately, I got that out of the way yesterday (thank goodness!), so it’s back to relatively normal life for me for the time being (happy dance!). Here’s a little update on what’s been going on. 

Since studying occupied most of my time for the last couple of weeks, I had to cram in workouts wherever (and whenever) I could. 

I had all of last week off, which was great for studying, and also meant that I had more flexibility with my workout schedule.

The ability to get moving makes a huge impact for me when things get stressful. I’m a much calmer, happier person when I’m able to channel my energy into something else (other than what’s causing my stress). I tried to get some kind of physical activity in every day to break up the monotony of studying. 

However, it didn’t always work in my favor. One night when I went out running after studying all day, I narrowly missed getting hit by a car, and ended up getting a flat tire and twisting my ankle while jumping out of the way. The car did eventually see me, thanks to all of my crazy awesome reflective gear, and my ankle ended up being ok after some ice and elevation, so everything ended well (phew!).

Since I didn’t want to push my ankle too hard, I opted for low impact cross training for a couple days. 

On Tuesday, for the first time ever, I was able to go to the gym before everyone gets done with work for the day, meaning that I didn’t have to share a swim lane with someone else (score!). 

Wednesday was a hardcore studying day, meaning that all I could cram in was some circuit training in my living room (just so I didn’t go completely stir crazy). This also had the benefit of giving me an excuse to lay on the awesome rug on the floor, which definitely contributed to my overall happiness level, haha. 

On thursday, I was able to make time for some hot yoga, which was relaxing and totally necessary after sitting while studying all day. 

Friday, it was pouring down rain – not entirely unusual for December (or anytime, really) in Seattle – but, the one thing keeping me going through the last couple hours of studying was the promise that I’d made to myself to go for a run along the water. 

So, after finishing working my brain for the day, I went out and did just that. It was cold, it was wet, and it was muddy, but the feeling of being outside and the feeling of the cool mist from the waves on my face made it totally worth it. I was also one of the only people there, meaning that my short two miles were pretty much entirely uninterrupted. There is something so rejuvenating about a good run like that (no matter how short). 

The test was yesterday, and unlike a marathon, I won’t find out my results until mid-Janurary (ugh). So, to keep it off my mind until then, here’s what I’m hoping to accomplish this month:

  1. Build a base for my marathon training plan that’s starting in January.
  2. Incorporate, and eventually master, rhythmic breathing while I’m running to help avoid injury (there’s a great article here that describes it)
  3. Work on my cadence, specifically trying to avoid overstriding.

What are your goals for December?