Friday, November 29, 2013

'Unstuff the Turkey' Workout

Good morning! Yesterday, I did a fun little workout before we headed north to see family for Thanksgiving dinner. I thought it would be fun to share in case anyone else is having a case of the "I ate too many pieces of pie/mounds of mashed potatoes."

So, if you're looking to get in a good workout and have some fun, join me on a little 'Unstuff the Turkey' workout!

It was 30 degrees when I got up so I wasted some time by hopping on our bike trainer at home for 30 minutes before heading outside for my run. While I had already done a little exercise, I wanted to get in a run since I haven't been able to run much these days.

Here's what I did:

Run easy for 1 mile (get the legs warmed up and just enjoy). 

At the 1 mile mark (or every 5 or 10 minutes or so if you don't have a GPS device), stop your watch and do 20 jumping jacks, 10 walking lunges, 10 alternating jumping lunges, and 10 push ups.

Start running again for another mile or so. For the middle two miles, I threw in some speed work just for fun. Thursdays are usually speed work for me. Plus, it breaks up the monotony of running when you're tired or not super motivated.

I ended up doing 4 x :30 speed intervals and 3 x 1:00 intervals (AKA just run HARD) with some easy running in between). 

At mile 2, find a nearby park bench, picnic table, stairs or railing and do 25 dips (legs straight out resting on heels for a challenge, or knees bent to modify), then 10 step ups on the left side and 10 step ups on the right side, and finally 10 jump squats. Feel the burn!

Continue running again. Your legs may feel a little dead for the first 15 minutes or so (mine did), but it should go away. 

At first, I thought I'd run 3 miles, then my dead lead legs went away and I decided on 4...

At mile 3, you could decide to be done with running, but try to knock out one more round of strength/cardio fun! A few fun options are: 10 triangle pushups (hands together to make a triangle), 10 burpees, and 50 mt climbers (focus on your core w/ these).

From here, I decided to run home, finishing with 4.7 miles of running plus some extra fun strength and cardio thrown in. 

Word of warning: I was wearing gloves thanks to the cold temps, otherwise, I might have been sketched out to put my hands on the cement in some places. 

Stretching afterward probably isn't a bad idea either...

And as always, listen to your body and do what works for you. You could swap out another cardio option (like spinning or walking) for running if that's more your style. 

And for the record, I'm also totally okay if you have no plans for working off yesterday's turkey, stuffing, yams, or pumpkin pie. Sitting on the couch in PJ's, drinking hot cider, watching holiday movies and doing some online shopping sounds pretty perfect to me! :)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thankful Thursday: Thanksgiving!

Here we are at a week that most of us can't help but think of things we are thankful for. Isn't it funny how we seem to forget other times of the year and then November hits and all of a sudden, we're thankful. It's definitely a good reminder for the rest of the year. ;)

This week, I'm thankful for:

Coffee shop chatter - This may sound like a strange thing to be thankful for, but Saturday I sat between two tables of ladies who were chatting about things that were not only enlightening, but made me really happy. Of most interest, were the three women in a graduate program discussing their various ethnic studies classes and race relations.

During my undergrad I took a few women & gender studies classes, which I absolutely loved. Just hearing their conversation made me thankful for new insights and ways of thinking that don't occur much in my everyday thinking. The other table were two young women talking about new love, in which the happiness was just palpable. I LOVE love.

Sun - Although it's been unusually cold around these parts, the rain has stayed away for the most part. I'm soaking in as much Vitamin D as possible during what is usually a very dreary time of year in Oregon.

Beautiful, but freezing the first 3.5 miles of my run

Yoga - It's no secret that I really enjoy yoga and Saturday morning power yoga, but I just feel like it's helping to keep me sane and happy these days. Plus, I'm noticing more and more growth as I continue to practice regularly. Unfortunately, I have a little tendonitis in my left arm (strangely my non dominant arm), which may be in part due to yoga and part from computer work.

Date night - Over the last few weeks, the manfriend and I have gone out for simple date nights involving a fun drink or a beer flight. You forget how different your conversations are when you go out to do something rather than stay in. Definitely a fun, but important treat!

Not date night, but a fun wine & cheese party with friends

And last, but not least:

Family - We had an early Thanksgiving brunch with my mom's side of the family last Sunday. It was a good reminder that I needed that time with family more than I knew. Studying had to wait, and that's okay. While I love catching up with family members, one of my favorite parts is seeing the little ones running around.

My cousin's daughter Mickaela was adorable. First to sit down for brunch!

Okay, time to get my sweat on before the big Thanksgiving dinner! I think I'll do a little run with some fun exercises thrown in every mile or so.

Did you do a Turkey Trot or a fun little exercise to get your day started right? Anyone doing a little black Friday shopping? I think I'll try to stay far away. I may check out a few online sales, but this weekend it sounds more fun to just hunker down and enjoy the extra time off work and school. 

To those of you celebrating, 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thankful Thursday

Whew! School is kicking my butt, I tell ya. This Friday I have another chemistry test, followed by an anatomy test on Monday. Other than two social events this weekend, I won't be doing much else beyond studying.

This week's Thankful Thursday seems to have a them of COLD.

This Thursday, I'm thankful for...

The moon - I've been lucky enough to run a few miles with the moon the last few mornings. Morning runs are peaceful enough on their own, but with clear skies and a view of the moon, my runs have just felt a little extra wintery special.

Puffy Jackets/Vests - It might be silly, but my down jacket and vest have been keeping me warm, which makes me really happy as I'm almost always cold.

Heated Seats - It has been cold lately in Eugene and I've been enjoying on occasion, switching on the seat heaters while heading to or from work or class.

It was 26 degrees this morning during my 3.5 mile run around the neighborhood. Warming centers in local churches around the Eugene area have been open the last few nights to provide a place for homeless to sleep on these bitterly cold nights. Having a warm house, cuddly clothes and food to eat definitely makes me extra thankful this time of year.

With Thanksgiving just a week away, I'm really looking forward to a few extra days off work and some down time to enjoy family, friends and good food!

Do you have any fun plans for your Thanksgiving weekend? Any recipes you're planning to make? I need to come up with something for our early Thanksgiving gathering with my mom's side of the family this Sunday.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Stories We Tell Ourselves

If you don't mind, I'm going to get a little deeper than normal today. The subject for this post has been bouncing around my head for a little while now. 

I don't know about you, but my head often tells me stories about myself that aren't always 100% true. Since I was young, I have fought to maintain a decent self esteem. I don't blame it on any one piece of my childhood, but likely some of it stems from being a "fat kid" during some of my younger years. Memories of extended family members and classmates talk about my weight to my face still sting a little bit. In reality, I wasn't that fat. I was chubby at most. 

Alas, I've fought that battle and would like to think I won. Running has no doubt transformed me and made me more confident in my abilities than anything else. 


But when I'm feeling vulnerable, I let my mind wander to mistruths if you will. I start telling myself mistruths about my career, my personal success, my future, our financial goals {dreaming of owning a comfortable home with a large kitchen, a fireplace and a mantel}, my dreams, etc. And as you might guess, the more stressed out I'm feeling, the more prevalent these mistruths are in my daily inner dialog.

In a dream world, I would love to be one of those people who just doesn't let that stuff get to me. The kind of person who always sees the glass half full (or overflowing), but I'm just not hard wired that way.

Does anyone else struggle with this on a regular basis? And if you feel like you have a pretty good handle on not letting your expectations run away with your thoughts, how do you do it?!

Since we got back from Chicago, and after reading Julie's post on Habits of Happy People, I keep thinking of my sister-in-law's quote "It's just small potatoes" {in regards to the little stuff in life}. Deep down, I KNOW I shouldn't let little stressors tear me down or let these thoughts or what-ifs hold me back, but I do.

I also like what Amber and Julie both echoed that for them, when they start to get stressed, they think "Will this matter in a week? In a month? In a year?" Chances are, it won't. A little perspective definitely helps.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thankful Thursday

Hard to imagine it's already the middle of November, isn't it?! I feel like I've heard so many people say that lately. This fall is flying by, but I'm still trying to enjoy every moment amidst the chaos. 

This week I'm thankful for time with friends. Even if just for an hour or two at a time, I feel truly lucky to be able to catch up with friends I haven't seen in far too long. This makes me so ready for the month of December when I hope to soak up some extra hours with friends and family members. 

After being in Portland for a work event last Sunday, I got to spend the night and catch up with high school friend Taylor and then spend the first half of Monday with Jessica (hs friend & one of my bridesmaids) and her daughter Evie (our flower girl) and meet their newest family member, five week old Avery!

Morning walk for caffeine = entertaining with a 2 yr old

Baby Avery was a good sleeper. This is the life right here. Don't you just love those cheeks?

Tonight, a group of us celebrated our third annual Heidi Tunnell dinner. Tasty, local food with good friends - can't go wrong. 

A great showing of skinny jeans with boots

Colder temps = perfect Porter drinking weather

The past two years, we've gone on bacon wrapped meatloaf night, which has been A-mazing. Tonight we had red wine, mushroom & bacon braised local chicken, boiled potatoes (semi-mashed), salad with apple chunks & delicious croutons, and ciabatta rolls. It was good, but bacon wrapped meatloaf still holds #1 in my heart.

What are you thankful for this week?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Autumn Trails Race Recap

Last Sunday, the manfriend and I ran the Autumn Trails 10 miler. I had preregistered, but the manfriend definitely "hopped in" this race on race day. I think he didn't want to let me have all the fun. ;)

I had originally hoped to run the 16 miler, but had to drop down to the 10 because I needed to leave shortly after for a work event in Portland. 

Because this was a "just for fun" race, I didn't do any kind of tapering. It's hard for me to think about easing back for a race that's less than a half marathon. Call it distorted perspective. In fact, I ran a HARD workout Thursday night with the speed group, ran 3 miles on Friday, and 5 miles before yoga on Saturday. Nothing like running on happily tired legs!

 16 mile start

The weather was foggy and in the mid 40s at start time. The start was staggered with each distance starting every five minutes (16-10-6-3.5 miles). I was in the porta potty line until two minutes before my wave went so that was a little nerve wracking, but it all worked out! 

Luckily, the race organizers let us do a mile warm up on the flat bark before sending us up, up, UP onto the Ridgeline Trail.
Lookin' strong

I was quickly reminded how not ready my glutes and hamstrings were to be running these kinds of hills. I had no intentions of running this thing balls to the wall, in fact, I think running hilly trails like I would a road race would be absolutely miserable. Your heart race sky rockets, your muscles start burning, and frankly it's not maintainable. So I took the steep inclines easy, but steady and pushed it a bit faster on the flat(ish) sections.

Thank you Long Run Pictures for some great race photos!

By mile 7, I was definitely feeling fatigued, so I loved hitting that last mile, which was pretty much all downhill. I was flying down the trails. It's kind of my specialty (still working on flying up them).

I finished in 1:28:26 for the 10 miler (~8:51 avg pace). My Garmin was short mile off so it's hard to say what the exact distance of the race was. Turns out, I was 5th out of 35 women running this distance. Oh the benefits of running a small race. ;)

 Pinning your bib on straight is overrated

For good measure and a little cool down, the manfriend and I jogged an easy mile afterward. The manfriend ran pretty strong and would have finished about 10 min ahead of me, but he accidentally took a wrong turn, running an extra .5 mile or so near the end (dang!). He finished in 1:23:16, 7th of 30 males.

Afterward, we stuck around for some free post race goodies while prizes were awarded: Grizzlies granola, Qdoba rice, bean and pork bowl, and Planktown beer. Nicely done, Eclectic Edge Racing! Another great thing about this race was that I only had to pay $10 as I had $20 race bucks to use that I had won at the Lucky Clover 10K (had to dance an Irish jig to earn my prize).

Moral of the story: must. run. more. hillz. more. often!

Other fun reading:
Small Town Runner's recap of Autumn Trails (It's always fun to see a fellow blogger in little ole Eugene!)
60 Below Zero - My youngest brother Max's blog about his time in Antarctica (he just got there about a week ago and will be working at the South Pole until the end of January)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Thankful Thursday

You may recall I've done  Thankful Thursdays during the month of November for the last few years. I think we all have something to be thankful for no matter how rough life gets.

This Thursday (and frankly the last few months), I'm especially thankful for the manfriend and how he has stepped up during this crazy busy time. Taking on two hard classes and working a lot, I knew I would need his help more so than before to cook dinner, clean the house, run errands, etc.

While it definitely has taken some learning to get here, I have finally figured out that asking for what I want and need can be really valuable to both of us. {Somehow, he can't magically know what I'm wanting him to do.}

Before fall term started, I warned him that I'd like him to make dinner on the week nights I'm not in class. Within a week or two of classes starting, it was clear I was going to need a lot more support to maintain my sanity. So I laid it out there: I need help with the dishes, the vacuuming, the laundry, etc.

So while neither one of us is perfect and we don't live in a spotless home, Pete has been a huge support and helped to fill in when I need it. He has made dinner a few nights a week, done laundry, cleaned the bathroom, vacuumed the house, took Jonah Bell (our dog) to get a bath, etc. And on top of that he's been really encouraging!

One thing is for sure, when someone is struggling and unsure if the path they're taking is the right one, some reassuring words really do help!

What are you thankful for this week? 

P.S. I think my seven year old mac book pro may have just bit the dust. It looks like two sections of the battery have literally blown up like little balloons! I had to pry the battery pack out of my computer with a butter knife. Womp womp. Thank goodness the manfriend's computer is still going strong!

Exercise challenge: I'm excited to try the Fitnessista's hard core workout, focused on you guessed it: the core! I skimmed over the video the other day and it looks like a fun one.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Just Enough

I'm glad you guys liked the virtual run date! We'll go on another soon.

I was thinking this morning on my two mile run (yes, you read that right), how lately I've been enjoying life on just enough of almost everything. Meaning, it's not sustainable long term, but for now, it's enough to get by.

The things I've been getting just enough of are:

Running - Noted by this morning's 16 minute run and Monday's 25 minute run, I'm not running a much, but I'm getting in enough sweatage to maintain my sanity and health, and frankly to feel like me. While I really want to be running 5+ miles at a time, it is rarely doable on weekdays other than Thursdays, typically. Truth is, I need to be getting my learn on even though it pains me to run less.

Studying - Instructors will tell you that each class (especially in the science field) require 10-20 hours outside class of additional reading, studying and homework PER WEEK! I'm taking two classes. I'll tell you that I'm definitely NOT doing 20 hours per class per week, but I am probably studying close to 10 hours per week per class. It's barely enough to get by, but I'm trying not to beat myself up over it. Of course, that could mean this Anatomy class might not end so well.

Social - For my liking, I'm really treading water here. I'm lucky if I have a few conversations in a week with a friend whether via phone, email, or at yoga or run group. December is going to be my month of social, I tell ya. I'm totally craving a day out at the wineries with girlfriends (and possibly their menfolk). The drive out to wine country is so pretty this time of year and the view from King Estate or Sweet Cheeks (while sipping a nice red) is pretty fantastic. Oh and a fun dinner party with lots of good food.

$$ - I know it's taboo to talk about money. I'm going to do it. School is expensive, even at a community college. I'm lucky to still be able to work 32 hours per week, which makes it possible to cover most of my regular bills, plus school, but not much else. Life is expensive! Random costs pop up and add up quickly (rubber floor mats for our car, Urgent Care bill from my sinus infection visit a few months ago, etc.)

Are there areas of your life you're just getting enough in and hoping to strengthen in the coming months?

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Virtual Run Date

You know those coffee chat posts people have been doing for a while now? Well, I'm going to do that, but instead of going to coffee, we're going for a run. Lace up your shoes, it's time to get movin'!

If we were going for a run today, I'd take you to one of my favorite viewing spots. It's just a few blocks behind the University of Oregon campus in a beautiful neighborhood. You run up a steep hill under some large oak trees (take it slow and steady) and emerge at a clearing across from this funky cool house  at a view that makes me want to just sit and stare.

Stop here and just take a look around. Looking east from this spot you'll see the Willamette River, Pre's running trail and the Cascade Mountain Range.

Looking west, you can see more of the river, running trail and even Autzen Stadium (home of the Ducks!).

Just up the road from here is a famous landmark, in fact. One which I don't run by or think of all that often because it is so tucked away from my normal routes.

But just around the bend, you'll find Pre's Rock one the side of a road where he crashed his car and died one night after drinking. Every time I run past it, there are new pieces of memorabilia, medals, notes, running shoes, flowers. There's no doubt Prefontaine has left his mark on the running world as runners near and far come here to this legendary spot.

After we go up to take a peak at Pre's Rock, we turn to run up and over the hill toward Hendricks Park where we're greeted with more hills and trails. We'll run for at least another mile or two on the trail before turning around because you just can't leave this place without running trails.

This is my happy place. Whether it's a coffee shop, that friend who knows your entire story, or a coveted hiking trail, we all have things and places that just feel right. This run always makes me feel on top of the world. 

If you ever come to Eugene, I'd be happy to be your personal running tour guide. Just give me a holler!

P.S. I took these photos on my run about eight weeks ago so that's why it looks so pretty and sunny. We're currently enjoying a little rain and temps in the 40s and 50s here in Eugene.

What's on your list for today? I'm heading to get my namasté on at my favorite yoga class and then I see lots of studying and homework in my future. Oh joy!