Checking In- It’s Almost Spring!

I know February is the shortest month, but to me, it always feels so long!  Sometimes I think I suffer from seasonal affective disorder.  By the end of February, I am just at my wits end with the cold and the dark.  I need more sun!  I did just notice this week that is has been light out by the time I get to work (6am) and it is still light out when I get home (4pm) which has been a huge boost.  Even the smallest amount of natural Vitamin D makes me happy!

Running- I finally ran outside this past weekend 🙂  It was amazing.  Even if it was cold and windy, it was still awesome.  I am so tired of the dreadmill!  I plan to run outside this weekend as well, although the weather is going to be a bit colder.  I am pretty excited that I have less than two months until my first half of the year.  More excited that I am going to be super prepared for running than I was this past November!

Ballet/Barre– Last night was the first class I missed since starting.  My legs were a little sore from my Sunday run, mostly from the terrain change I think, and I just didn’t want to push it.  Barre class continues to kick my ass in the best possible way.  I really think this is my favorite work out.  I am so excited to be able to go extra over spring break!

Nutrition- I have done really well.  I am very happy with how my nutrition is going.  The pounds aren’t dropping but the inches are and best of all, I feel better!

Sleep- My goal over spring break is to get 8-9 hours of sleep each night.

 

Other life events-

-I am on Spring Break from March 2-17.  Wooohooo!  I swear Spring Break is for adults.  It is so needed.  Ours is quite long because we have international students.  They travel home to 17 different countries and 6 different continents!  Having a full two weeks gives them real quality time to visit with their families.  Even though I will waitress during this time, and pick up extra shifts, it is still a chance to sleep in.  And for that, I am so grateful!

-In three week, at this very time, I will be landing in Mexico 🙂  One of my very best friends is getting married and having a simple ceremony on the beaches of the Riviera Maya!  Of course, this comes on the heels of my Spring Break, so I wasn’t able to take the full five nights.  This will be a whirlwind trip of only three nights. Nonetheless,  I am excited for the tropical weather and time with some of my good friends!

I’ll end with this, which I just absolutely loved:

beautifulrunner

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Finding Time, Making Decisions & Staying Motivated

If there is one question I get asked more than any other, it is, “how do you have/find time for everything?”

notime

The truth is, I don’t have time.  Honestly, I really don’t have the time. And I certainly don’t find time! (If you ever find a way to “find time” please let me know!) So what is my secret?  Sounds crazy, but like most of us that make health and fitness a part of our daily lives,  I make time.  (And I don’t even have kids! It amazes me how working moms/dads keep up with everything…but I know it really is just the same as me.  You make the time!)

So what does making time look like?  For me, it means sometimes having to give up the opportunity to go out with friends, watch a TV program I like or sleep in on a weekend morning.  I know what needs to be done and I do it.   That doesn’t leave me with much time, especially on the days/nights I work both jobs.  In fact, on those days/nights, I get up at 5am and work straight through (with exception of my commute) to anywhere between 9-11pm.  Since that leaves no time to work out and barely time to shower and sleep, I have to fit my workouts in on days and nights I don’t work.

Rest days?  I’m sorry…what are those?

I don’t think it would be possible for me to hold a schedule like I do if I didn’t want what I get out of it.  I want to be healthy and fit.  I want to look good in a bikini.  I want to get a PR on race day.  It doesn’t mean I love every work-out.  I just really like the results.  That is what makes it worth it.

Being dedicated to something takes motivation.  Motivating myself is not always easy.  In fact, it is rarely easy.  I know that the decisions I have to make every day.  I know these decisions will serve to assist or hinder my  long-term goals.  On days when I really don’t want to work-out, get to the gym or even get out of bed, I remind myself that it is so worth it when it is over.  I am faced with choices and challenges every day.  I am only accountable to myself.  I know the only person I am letting down if I skip a workout, is myself.  One of the ways I keep myself motivated from day-to-day is to have a schedule.  I know what days I have to work, which nights I take ballet and barre and what days I have to run.  For me, it helps to know what each day is going to bring.  I keep a schedule on my calendar at work and on my fridge at home.  More importantly for me, I think about my schedule for the next day each night before I go to bed.  This helps me both get ready mentally for what is ahead and serves as way to remember my goals on a nightly basis.

Here are some of my additional tips for motivating oneself:

  • Set small goals that lead towards bigger goals.  I find that if all I am focused on is the big goal, I get lost and lose patience.  One way I do this is by focusing on the day-to-day and week to week workouts.  I allow myself to get through one run before I think about the next run.  Same with my swims and most recently my barre and ballet classes.
  • I keep in mind that I train for reasons other than just the end result.  For me,  training also builds my confidence.   There is a direct relationship between how fit I am and how good I feel.  When I don’t want to workout, I remind myself of how good I feel when I am done.  When I am exercising on a regular basis, I don’t feel guilty about dessert with dinner or worry about the extra glass of wine.  When I don’t want to work out, I don’t allow myself to talk myself out of it.  Same with racing.  Even when I feel like I am not at my best or when I have anxiety over a race and I am questioning my ability.  I remember that if I’ve trained well, I’ll do well.  I know I can do the distance, so even on a bad day, it’s just a matter of doing nothing more than keeping myself moving forward for a given period of time.
  • I keep it fresh.  I do a variety of work-outs.  I run, use the elliptical, lift weights, swim, take spin classes, dance ballet and take barre classes.  I also do a variety of each workout.  I take different instructors for barre classes and spin classes.  I have my favorite instructors, but they all have something to offer and mixing it up keeps it fun.  While I prefer to free swim, I will also take in my fins or kick-board just for a change of pace in the pool.  I change locations for my runs and do different workouts.  Sometimes I run alone and sometimes with others.  Sometimes with music and sometimes not.  There are days I lift with heavier weights and do less reps and other days where I lift with lighter weights and do more reps.  Whatever it take to keep it from feeling boring.  Different is good!
  • I look in the mirror more than I look at the scale.  I won’t elaborate too much because I am working on a separate post that goes into more detail, but I will say that this was probably the smartest thing I have done when it comes to staying fit.  I force myself to look at myself.  While the number on the scale might not change, I know by the fit of my clothes and I can tell just by looking in the mirror that my body is changing for the better.
  • I just do it.  I don’t skip scheduled workouts (except in case of emergencies or if I am sick) and I put aside distractions.

What it ultimately comes down to is this:  I know I need to make better decisions more often than I make not-so-good ones.  (Skipping my barre class because of a bachelorette party the night before was perfectly acceptable to me.  Using being tired as an excuse to not work out on a regular basis is not acceptable.)  Making good decisions is what will lead to success.  I mean, it is simple.  We begin learning this lesson as babies.  Keep trying until you get it right.  Don’t quit.  Fight for what you want.  Work hard and see results.

I find that the more you put in the effort and hard work, the more easily you will choose wisely when it comes to making decisions.

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How do you make time for you?  How do you motivate yourself?

What We Should Learn In School

Found this gem on Thought Catalog.  (LOVE that site).  I loved this post so much and related to it in so many ways, that I decided to add my own commentary as it relates to me.  My thoughts are in red.

1. Keeping close track of your bank account and preparing a detailed budget is the most practical kind of math you will ever know.  Unless you intend to be a Mathematics major, there is no reason the every day student has to know Algebra and Trig.  No one is ever going to stop me on the street and ask me how to plot a point.  We should be teaching students from a very young age about savings accounts, budgets and credit card spending.  Luckily, I had financially aware parents who DID teach me about money from a young age.  I credit my ability to manage a budget and keep a savings to my parents.  Their teachings are also why I have an amazing credit score.

2. People who have to leave your life for one reason or another do not automatically leave your social circle, geographic location, or local haunts. It is imperative to learn how to deal with them without making a mess of yourself as quickly as possible.  I really need to learn to deal with this; I still run from aisles when I see people I know and don’t like or don’t want to talk to.

awckward

3. If you wear an amazing outfit and no one got to see it, you can wear it again, guilt-free.  Definitely.  Same with photos.  If there are no photos, it was like it was never worn.

4. Learning to cook basic meals for yourself instead of consistently relying on pre-made stuff is, beyond better for you health-wise, an extreme relief for your wallet. Yes. YES, YES, YES.

4. There are going to be horrible roommates in your lifetime, and learning to extricate yourself from those living situations, a) gracefully and b) with security deposit intact, is an art everyone should practice. My ex-roommates list of awesome qualities included: leaving shit in the toilet, not taking out the trash for days, turning the heat up to hell and having sex on my couch.  She was also the most financially irresponsible person I ever met.  She didn’t pay bills most of the time because she “didn’t want to” and after I moved out (deposit in tact!) she proceeded to not pay rent to 4 months.  I bet my landlord regretted letting her stay and me leave.  How am I sure of this?  He asked me to come back after he kicked her out.  It gave me great satisfaction to say, “sorry, I bought a house!”

5. If you don’t learn to fix minor problems — electrical, automotive, or otherwise — you are likely going to be exploited by people who know how to do them and want your money.  True.

6. Shopping around for any big purchase is always the best decision, even if you fall head-over-heels for the first thing you see.  The prom dress I ended up with was the first one I tried on.  However, I didn’t want to just get the first one I tried on, so I went ahead and shopped for a few weeks.  Then, when I ended up with the first dress, I knew it was definitely the right one.

prom2Still friends too!

7. There is no reason to eat less than you actually want to eat while out to dinner because you want to impress someone or make them think you’re more dainty. They’re going to find out you eat entire large pizzas by yourself sometimes anyway. I eat like a pig and figure if you can’t handle it, I am not the girl for you!

8. Everyone wears their jeans at least five times before washing them, it’s perfectly okay and it doesn’t make you dirty. If you say you don’t, I will think you are a liar anyway.

9. Breaking up with someone is difficult and messy, but the best way to do it is always to be up-front and honest with them as soon as you know it’s over. Dragging it out may make it slightly less hard on you, but it makes it excruciating for the person you’re dumping. If R2 had done this, it would have saved me a lot of pain.  I have never and will NEVER do this to someone.

10. Having a good handshake and a trustworthy smile will be one of your greatest professional assets. (In fact, there should have been a semester-long class in how to handle the first five minutes of any job interview.) I judge people by their handshakes.  True story.

11. Learning how to do your own taxes is essential — even if you ultimately end up paying someone else to do them. You should always know what is happening to your money. Check and check!

12. The differences between political parties are not always very clear, but there may be key issues to be tuned into that can change a lot, especially when you are voting in local elections.  Know why you are voting.  Regardless of party lines, just know why you stand where you stand without regurgitating MSNBC or what your parents have always told you.

13. Voting in local elections is important, in many ways more important than voting for the President. I believe every vote counts…but it DEFINITELY counts where you live.  And if you pay taxes, even more reason to vote.

14. Credit cards are almost never worth it, except in the rare instances they are necessary, in which case they should be used with extreme caution and attention to the fine print on the agreements. I have always known this and yet, I got into debt.  Working on getting out.  Getting out is a whole lot tougher than getting in.  Beware.

15. A credit score is a thing, and you have to maintain it. And if you just accrue a bunch of debt in the early days of adulthood and are really bad about paying it off, it’s going to be terrible and take a lot of effort to fix.  One of my proudest accomplishments in life has been keeping a high credit score, even through debt and some college repayment issues.

16. Flossing is extremely important, arguably more so than brushing, and your dentist is going to be able to tell when you go and you’ve only actually flossed for approximately three days before your appointment.  I know how true this is but I hate flossing. And that is just the truth. I do it anyway, but I seriously hate it.

17. There is nothing unhealthy, weird, or dirty about masturbating.  Who cares what anyone else does in their own bedroom?

18. Everyone should have condoms at their disposal, and no one is a slut or gross for having them. If we listened to more of this and LESS of Teen Mom, we might not have a teen pregnancy epidemic.

19. Traveling is very expensive, but there are many ways to make it less so. There are dozens of websites which will allow you to find cheap boarding, discount flights, transportation shares, and other people who speak your language.  A life well traveled is a life well lived.  Spend money on memories, not things. 

arubaAruba 2007

20. The metric system is a thing you should be vaguely familiar with, even if you live in stubborn, standard America.  I have no clue.

21. Borrowing and loaning money amongst friends is a very dangerous endeavor, and should only occur if there is a profound level of trust between the two parties. If you end up on weird terms with someone because of money problems, it was your own fault for agreeing in the first place.  Could not agree more.

22. Being on the lookout for good happy hours or specials at bars is an essential component of being an adult with an active social calendar, unless you are a secret millionaire who is happy paying 12 dollars for a cocktail. Especially when you have the bedtime of a preschooler.

23. There are some people who are going to need to get cut out of your life, and doing it for your own mental health doesn’t make you a bad person.  I have done this.  It has made me a better person.

24. No one’s choice of career is inherently better or more deserving of respect than anyone else’s. Thank you!

25. The only way to be sure you’re not going to get something you want is by never asking. Exactly!

What do you think?  Anything to add?

Winner, Winner & What’s In My Gym Bag?

Found out yesterday that I was the winner of Kim’s knock-knock give-away 🙂

I love the knock-knock stuff and could really use this after the past month I have had, so I was double excited!  What a great way to start off a Monday morning!  And a great reason to check my mail 🙂

Recently, Nicole posted that she would need some help with what to pack in her gym bag.  I realized when listing my items…mine might be a little ridiculous!  I use a simple ADIDAS bag; it is usually stuffed with little room for anything else.  No wonder it is so heavy!!!!  The thing is, I get ready at the gym so often (sometimes for work, sometimes for after work, sometimes on weekends) that I had to buy double of the important things to have when getting ready.  It just became too much of a nuisance to keep packing and unpacking.  And it was beyond frustrating when I would forget something; especially if it was something I couldn’t be without.

In my gym bag-

Main Part-

  • Extra socks, underwear, a regular bra and sports bras.  Pretty much the worst ever when you forget to pack those!
  • Sliders to wear in the shower.  I would rather go to work like a sweaty pig then dare step in a gym shower without shoes.
  • Hair-dryer and flat iron.  I wouldn’t subject anyone to what my hair looks like without them.
  • Lotion.  Big bottles. Two of them; in case one runs out.  Because I am obsessed with lotion.
  • Towels.  I forgot my towels once.  I dried off with a single t-shirt that I luckily had in my bag.  It was not fun.  I never forgot towels again.
  • Change of clean clothes.  Bet you had that one guessed.

Side pocket-

  • Hair ties.  At least 342 of them.
  • Shower needs: shampoo, conditioner, body wash, razor.  You aren’t supposed to shave in the gym showers.  But since the rules about walking around naked in the locker room and sitting on the benches without a towel get broken all the time by women who have disgusting hygiene, then I figure what is the big deal if I shave my legs in the shower?
  • Small bottles of lotion.  Listen, I said I was obsessed.
  • Deodorant.  I try not to smell.
  • Advil.  If I have a headache and plan to go from work to the gym, I won’t go.  But in the time it takes for Advil to kick in, my commute from work to the gym is over and I am ready to work out!
  • Gas-X.  Why more people don’t take this before running, I will never understand.
  • Make-up.  Sometimes, I get fancy.

Other side pocket-

  • Goggles, swim cap and fins.  I don’t like any of my swim stuff to touch anything that is non-swimming.  Oh, to be so Type-A.

 

Ok- so fess up!  Are you an over-packer?  Do you use a gym bag at all?  Pack and re-pack or have doubles of things?

Checking In & Staying Accountable

When I first started this blog (broken record- how many times have I started a post with this sentence?!?!) I did it as a record of my training and progress as I dove into the world of running and triathlon.  I have spent much of the last few months re-reading my old blog entries.  Mostly because I wanted to remember how awesome it was when I was blogging but also because I knew it would motivate me back into my training.  It was really fun to re-read all my race posts; it was especially great to see how far I have come over the years.  It definitely did the job of motivating me.  But you know what wasn’t fun- seeing how statistical I had become.  Holy shit, I kept track of ever step I took!  Or at least it seemed!  I did weekly reviews, months reviews, broke down my mileage for swimming AND biking AND running.  I really feel it is important to keep a training schedule and I still think it is important to keep track of my miles, but I also think I took it to a level of crazy before.  In planning how I was going to approach this year, I knew staying healthy and uninjured were at the top of the list.  That meant following a good nutrition plan, not pushing too hard and following the 10% rule like it is my job.  Obviously, this means I have to keep track of things as I go along.  But more than that, I need to stay accountable.  Which brings me back to the exact reason I started this blog.  As a record of my training and progress.  I don’t need to do specific re-caps.  But I do need to stay accountable with at least a monthly post of where I have been and where I am going.

So where was I in January?

Running- I ran consistently two times a week building a base throughout the beginning of the month.  Towards the end, I threw in a third min-run as I began to get into my half-marathon training schedule.  Right now, my “long” runs are still short and I am working on speed and consistency.  As the mileage builds, I will focus more on endurance.  My runs thus far have been good for the most part and I am pretty excited to see where this training cycle takes me.

Ballet– I am loving these classes.  I take one ballet class and week and one Barre class a week.  When I get  rare Monday or Friday night in, I do an extra one.  Ideally, I would be doing two of each a week, but unfortunately a schedule like mine isn’t very accommodating.  I am looking forward to Spring Break when I can pick up some more classes.  If you are looking for a new way to strength train or just a new activity, I high recommend a Barre class.  I cannot believe how much my body has changed in just six weeks.  My weight hasn’t dropped all that dramatically, but I see and feel such a difference!

Nutrition-  I have been using My Fitness Pal to track what I eat.  Accountability matters most here.  I don’t put the cookie in my mouth because I know I have to write it down.  I don’t have the second glass of wine (or even the first lately) because I don’t want to use my calories for it.  I am eating so much smarter this year because I know I have to own it every single day.  This isn’t new information; it is a n0-brainer being accountable for what we eat will result in eating better.  With that said, I am always amazed at how much I change when I practice this on a daily basis.

Sleep- I am pretty sure that as long as I work two jobs and have to get up at 5am for the first one, I will never get enough sleep. Maybe I can catch up on Spring Break?!?!?

Resolutions- I am trying.  In January I finally set up my guest bedroom so that was a huge check off my list.  I haven’t read a single book but I did pay off more debt.  I also continued my promise of only paying cash for everything.  If I don’t have it, I need to either pick up another waitressing shift, or not have it until I can better afford it.  The only purchases I put on my credit cards are online purchases.  The only other way I will use my credit card are for big purchases (new appliances coming soon and hopefully new living room set) and real emergencies.

Other life events-

-As you already know if you read my blog, my friend Jessica lost her battle with CF two weeks ago.  Sadly, last week, only a week after Jessica passed away, my friend Will lost his battle with lung cancer.  It has been an emotionally tough month for me, but I have been blessed overall and that is what I am focusing on right now.

-I am really excited that the Raven’s won the Superbowl.  Joe Flacco grew up a few towns over, went to school with my cousin and is married to a friend of our family.  I don’t follow Pro sports all that much (I love college sports) but I do cheer for the Ravens, so that was an exciting game 🙂

Do you track what you eat?  How much you exercise?

What do you focus on when you are going through a tough time?