Spring has Sprung!

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted, I know, and admittedly, I’m not back to running.

I’ll get there, I know I will.

It turned out that I did have bronchitis, and it seems to take me longer and longer to get over it each time (I guess that’s not surprising). But with spring being in the air, I have felt a bit of cabin fever lately, so I have been working out…more on that in a minute.

As I mentioned in my last post, I joined Weight Watchers. I’d finally decided that I’d had enough of the scale going up, and that I needed to do something about it. And I have to say, the points system works really well for me! I’ve lost just over ten pounds since I started, which I’m very excited about.  I have a bunch more to lose, but I’m trying to look at it in small increments so I don’t get overwhelmed. And there are days (and weeks actually), that I don’t eat particularly well, but I’m mostly sticking within my points, and still losing, even if it’s just a half a pound here and there. So I’m on the right track! Continue reading

An Open Letter to Jillian Michaels

Dear Jillian Michaels,

I hate you.  No, not because you’re a bad person or anything (I’m convinced you’re not), but because you say things like “you’re on your way to being shredded” and “those abs aren’t coming for free.”  Also, because you make me do things I’m convinced are impossible, like endless plank poses combined with cardio, strength or abs, cardio jumping/punching with weights, and “rockstar” kicks.  Ugh.  Plus, where did you find these “buddies” of yours?  The “perfect” factory?  It’s a bit disheartening to get to level three and realize that Anita – you know, the girl doing the “easy” version of everything – actually has zero percent body fat.  Thanks.

But maybe the reason I hate you most is because you’re right and your workouts do work.  Though I thought I’d be stuck following Anita the entire way through (which I considered even a stretch on day one, level one), I’ve found that by day 10 of each level, I can follow you and, once in a brief while, Natalie.  I truly believed I was going to trip and injure myself attempting to do those rockstar kicks, but by day 3 of level 3, I was managing them.  And today, while resting my sneaker on the desk, I noticed a muscle in my calf.  Without flexing.  That wasn’t there before. Continue reading

The 30-Day Shred, Joining a Gym, Doctors & Finding Motivation

Well, I’m finally at Day 6 of Level 2 of the Shred. I feel like it’s taken me FOREVER to get to this point, between taking off a couple of days (not in a row) for shin splints, and then having to take off an extra day yesterday because of a migraine.  I feel like I just about get some momentum going, when something gets in my way.  The good news, besides the fact that my last two days off I did make sure to do some free weights (8lbs), crunches and push ups (girly ones, I’m not very strong :)), is that in the past, if I’d taken a day or two off in the middle of a workout run like this, I would have just quit.  I have a big all-or-nothing personality, so anytime I’d start something, if I missed a day, I’d think “Oh well, I’ve already missed one day, why bother?”

But fortunately, learning to run last year and committing to that helped me to realize that you can miss a day or two here and there, and still come back.  I’m definitely struggling with level 2 of the Shred, to the point where I am drenched in sweat by the time I’m done, but I’m sticking with it.  Despite the fact that I’m terrified of level 3 – my sister said it was the first time she had trouble following the harder girl, while I’ve been having trouble following the easier girl all along!  But I can just give it my best shot and see how it goes.  I’m starting to see results – I feel stronger and a bit less like I want to keel over by the end of the workout, and I’m down about 1.4 pounds from last week (adding in a bit of dieting helped that too).  The biggest motivator for me (I’m totally embarrassed to admit) has been watching old episodes of La Femme Nikita.  Peta Wilson is in such great shape for the show (which finished up when she was 30, like me) and watching her kick butt makes me want to be stronger and tougher.

I realize I’m not going to get there on just 20 minutes a day of Shred, so I’m also thinking about joining a gym.  I happened to get a postcard in the mail the other day for the Ocean Club, which is about 15 minutes away from me.  They have a pool and water aerobics classes, which I’ve always looked for in a gym, and some great group classes offered too.  If I’m going to get in good shape for the Mud Run in July, I’d better get moving.  Plus, my biggest motivator for joining this particular gym is that they have very reasonably priced massages and I’m a sucker for a good massage.  So I’m hoping to get over there on Friday to take a look around and maybe sign up.  They have monthly membership options, which I like, and it would give me a place to keep running in the summer, after I basically fizzled last year because of the humidity.  We’ll see what happens.

And in good news for my running career, I’ve officially made a doctor’s appointment for a week today, when I’ll be up visiting my parents.  Hopefully I don’t have to wait two hours to see him like the last time, but I should be able to figure out my wheezing/coughing/chest tightness, toe injury, stomach pain, and maybe sort something out about the migraines that have been cropping up with more regularity and severity again lately.  We’ll see what he says, and hopefully I’ll be back running in a couple of weeks’ time!

Snowmageddon & Jillian Michaels

The blizzard that hit over the weekend here at the Jersey shore, among other places, is not technically running related (though I do know of a couple of people through Twitter who actually competed in races on Sunday after the blizzard, before everything was truly cleared!).  However, it definitely is related to working out, since shoveling is a great way to kick your own butt – if it snowed like that every day here and I didn’t break down and buy a snow blower, I’d be in fabulous shape!

Normally, I like to keep up with the snowfall so that it doesn’t get overwhelming, but it just wasn’t possible in this storm, unless I wanted to stay up all night.  So I was greeted with 12 inches of snow when I woke up – certainly less than what those to the south were dealing with, but it was plenty for me.  I was praying that my neighbors would take pity on me and offer to use their snow blower to clear me out, or that my driveway-sharing neighbor would come out and help me shovel, but unfortunately, none of that happened.
I started with a small path on the porch for the pup and realized I was way overdressed in my warmest coat.  I switched to a slightly lighter coat, and was still sweating like mad even though it was only 29 degrees outside and I just had a base layer on underneath.  I managed to get the sidewalk in front of my house cleared (though I nixed even attempting to clear the sidewalk by the street) and then started on the driveway in front of my car.  I’d parked further back than usual, because it made it easier for me in the last snowfall to shovel that way.  Even though I have just a little car, it had blocked some of the snow and created a weird wind tunnel, so instead of a solid 12 inches of snow, I had some almost clear parts and other big drifts.  I finished up with clearing off my car and thought I would collapse, so I took a break.
Like any other workout, I needed to make sure I was well hydrated. I started with a glass of juice, because I figured I could use the sugar as well, and followed that with a big glass of water.  After a break of about thirty to forty five minutes, I was back at it again (it was still snowing, with another 6-12 inches predicted, so I wanted to stay on top of the first snowfall so I could keep up with it).  This time, I cleared the other end of my driveway – at least part of it.  The snow plows had been through twice, and because I live on a cul de sac, they didn’t get close enough to the curb.  So I had about seven extra feet of road at the end of my driveway to shovel as well (not to mention it was piled a bit higher at the end thanks to the plow).  It was really defeating to feel like I’d gotten a lot done, only to turn around and realize how much was left!  I also moved my car up a bit so I could shovel the huge drift of snow between my car and my neighbor’s cars.
Then, it was time for another break and some more water and juice.  I didn’t sit down for too long this time because I was so exhausted that I could feel my muscles starting to stiffen up and I thought if I rested for too long, I’d never get out there again.  I bundled up again and headed out, this time to finish up.  I tried to get into the rhythm of shoveling the top layer of soft fluffy snow, moving that to the top of an every growing pile (my arms were SO tired), and then shoveling the bottom layer, which was heavier and slushy.  When I’d get really tired, I’d move to another part that I hadn’t finished shoveling yet, chip away a little bit of the snow, and just push it along the part I’d already cleared to another pile of snow.  Sometimes though, I just rested my head on the handle of my shovel – it was not fun.
Finally, four hours after I’d started, it was clear!  Of course, the wind was so fierce that it would blow, and snow would immediately be back on the area you’d just cleared (I saw a neighbor clear his whole driveway, only to end up caught in a huge blast of wind and snow that left more snow for him to clear again).  It was a bit frustrating to say the least.  I headed back inside, figuring I’d go out again at four and then seven, when they said the storm would stop, which would be it for the day.  In the meantime, I made myself take a nice hot shower and sit with my chair massager for a little while to loosen up my muscles.
When I went out again at four, I’d just cleared my sidewalk when my neighbor came outside to say that they were waiting until the storm had stopped to plow, and they’d be happy to help me out.  Very nice of them, but I wanted to say, where were you this morning?!?!  But it did mean no more shoveling for me, so I just cleared off my car and headed back inside for the night.  My driveway-sharing neighbor also must have shoveled my driveway after the snow stopped because it was clear when I got up Sunday morning.  It’s great to have good neighbors!
With all that shoveling, I decided to put off Day 6 of Level 1 of the Shred until today.  I’m still waiting to notice any real results, though I’m feeling less exhausted in the middle of the workouts and able to push myself a little more.  I could tell I’d lost some momentum today because of the two days off – even though I was working out on Saturday with the shoveling, it was a mostly different set of muscles. So I won’t skip two days in a row again.  My sister took a day off in between each of the 10 day sets, so I’ll aim for that.

Four more days at Level 1 and then I’m on to Level 2!  I’m a little bit scared, but I remember being so scared that I couldn’t run 20 minutes straight, and I did that, so I’ll try to remember that!