Thanksgiving Recap & Christmas Ahoy!

Happy December, everyone!

I hope you all had an awesome Thanksgiving holiday (though I know I’m already like, 2 weeks late on the well-wishes for that… it’s been busy around here!). Sean, Penny, my parents, and I all joined Sean’s family for Thanksgiving this year, and it was epic. Penny enjoyed turkey but really went wild for the homemade mac ‘n’ cheese that I contributed to dinner, which made me swell with pride.

We also had a mini-second-Thanksgiving dinner at my parents’ house with Ben, Taylor, and Marnie (who spent actual Turkey Day with Tay’s family) and because of course my mom randomly happened to have an entire second turkey that she needed to cook. Oh well, any excuse for more tryptophan-induced food comas is A-OK by me!

Going back to my parents’ house this week also gave us the opportunity to help my dad pull out some holiday decorations, and had me tripping down memory lane when I found an old photo album filled with baby pictures of yours truly! Which confirmed what lots of strangers stop to tell me anytime I’m out with Penny, which is that she really is my mini!!

 

Well, my strawberry-blonde, blue-eyed mini. 😉

And actually, turns out I got quite a bit of extra time in with my parents over Thanksgiving week, since the weekend after I went with them to the Kennedy Center to see the National Symphony Orchestra’s Decade of Disney concert.

 

Sadly, my Thanksgiving weekend did not end on a tremendously high note, as Sunday I came down with some kind of crazy stomach bug / food poisoning / some kinda something that had me hugging the porcelain throne all night long. UGH. Not sure what happened there, but it had me pretty much out of commission for most of Sunday and Monday. Blech.

I’m feeling much better now, but between getting sick after returning from Atlanta, Thanksgiving, and then that lovely ’bout of illness, it had been a seriously hot minute since I’d been to the gym or worked out at all. I also made the potentially grave error of agreeing to a Christmas Eve 5K with my sister and some friends, however, so I knew that I needed to get back on the horse soon.

I felt better on Tuesday, so I managed to drag myself to the gym and put in a half-hearted workout. Not great, but it was something. And then on Wednesday and Friday, I managed to do some real running and real lifting. Training-wise, even on the mend from being sick, I managed to make it to 1.6 miles, so hopefully by the time 12/24 rolls around I’ll actually be able to do the full 5K.

  

Anyway, that pretty much catches us up to today! And as today is, y’know, December, this officially means we are BRINGING ON THE CHRISTMAS CHEER!!

You can find me (and Penny… and the dogs…) dressed festively for the next 22 days and I’m not even a little bit sorry.

 

On the work-front, I’ve got my regional summit the first half of this upcoming week, so I’ll be camping out at Yelp’s DC office pretty much nonstop for the next couple of days. We all had dinner together last night, and it was great — I love getting to see so many of my coworkers (we all work remotely, so it’s one of the few opportunities each year for all of us to get together), but as I’m sure anyone who’s ever had a work conference derail your daily duties a bit, it’s also for sure going to make for a bit of a crazy week.

And even though I so treasure this time spent with my regional team, it is a teeeeny bit bittersweet. I mean, it’s really only because I’m so spoiled, but even though Penny goes to daycare twice a week, I’ve never had to worry about stuff like traffic and commuting during rush hour — this morning will be my first taste of that. So I’m dropping her off extra early and will just have make peace with the fact that the 20 minutes I spent with her first thing in the morning is the only time I’m gonna get with my girl over the next couple of days (since I’ll be getting home loooooong after she’s gone to bed.) I know, I know, this is the daily reality for tons of parents so I should probably just shut my face. It’s just not my daily reality, so it makes me a little wistful. Also, she hardly eeeeeever naps at daycare so, you know, pray for Sean.

Anyway, on that optimistic note, I’ll bid you adieu for now! Hope everyone has a super fun, festive week as we really start getting into the holiday spirit, and Happy Hanukkah to my friends who are celebrating!

 

Workout Motivation

Yesterday marked my last of three personal training sessions that I purchased when I joined a gym as part of my Lenten resolution. I have actually really enjoyed strength training with my trainer, Jordan, and am a little bit worried about putting in the same effort on my own. There’s no internal argument when I have someone there telling me what to do — I just, I dunno, do it. Ideally, I think I would honestly prefer to work out with a trainer on a permanent, regular basis, but monetarily that’s not very practical for me at this time.

I do know that I want to keep going with weight training, however, because I am actually enjoying it more than I expected. I wouldn’t say I like it, but I decidedly don’t hate it (yet), which is a big step for me! Alas, it will be up to me to (try to) remember all the exercises that Jordan has taught me, and to devise a few workout sets of my own to keep going. I suppose I’ll also be joining the ranks of people who scour the internet for workout plans and inspiration, too. And whaddya know, I’ve already found a few that I am more than happy to get on board with!

katniss and peeta

Theodora‘s company recently sent me a workout plan that was developed by Lisa Wheeler, the Fitness Program Director of DailyBurn. This workout is specifically inspired by The Hunger Games. I know how cheesy it sounds, but honestly the simple act of combining something that I don’t like (exercise) with something that I love (Hunger Games, durr) makes the whole idea of actually, y’know, doing it more exciting. Honestly, I should probably capitalize on this excitement most by taking a full-on archery class (resistance training, whoop whoop!) but we’ll go with what we got for now, haha. And what we got is a free workout that you don’t even need a gym to be able to do!

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ARMS
Exercise: Single Arm Row with Rotation
Equipment: Resistance Band
Description: A single arm row simulates the upper body action in archery by drawing one elbow back (engaging the deep muscles of the back) and slightly rotating the torso. Hook tubing around a stable pole or door jam and place both handles in your right hand. Step back until the tubing has some tension. Pick up your right foot and balance on your left and then begin to pull the tubing back, right hand moving towards right hip. Add a slight rotation to the right, opening up the shoulder.

ABS AND CORE
Exercise: Bear Squat
Equipment: none, just your body weight
Description: The bear squat combines a full plank, which is fantastic for the core, and an explosive leg press. Begin in plank then bend your knees and send your hips back over your heels keeping the knees off the floor (spine is flexed and arms are extended). With a powerful push from your legs, extend back out to plank and hold.

LEG STRENGTH
Exercise: Curtsy Squat Side Lunge
Equipment: Dumbbells
Description: To truly develop strong legs that are functional for running, jumping, leaping and carrying heavy loads, you must train them in all directions. Holding heavy dumbbells in each hand begin with feet together. Step out to the side with your right leg, keeping your left leg straight. Hinge forward slightly but keep chest lifted with the dumbbells on either side of your right leg. Push off your right foot and immediately step back and cross behind the left leg, bending both knees into a curtsy squat.

AGILITY
Exercise: Quick Feet Drill
Equipment: none, just your body weight
Description: To be quick on your feet and have the agility to change direction quickly, you must train the muscles to fire rapidly and with power. This drill is about quickness and endurance and really elevates your heart rate. Begin in the athletic ready stance (feet a little wider than shoulder width with knees slightly bent and a slight hinge forward from the hips) with arms out the side, palms forward. Start moving your feet as fast as you can as if running keeping the feet close to the ground. Keeping your shoulders and torso stable, randomly twist your hips (knees and feet as well!) to the right and quickly back to the center. Repeat to the left continuing to keep your feet moving as quickly as possible.

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As you can see, these aren’t exactly as simple or easy as your basic bicep curl. They are much more complex exercise moves that most definitely fall under the category of a “full body workout”. Each move seems to challenge your stability and balance along with the body part they are targeting – more bang for your workout buck! I’m happy because at least for OMGRIGHTNOW, I have some new moves to test out as I figure out how I work solo in the weight room. My legs are crazy sore (again, sigh) from my training session yesterday, but you can bet I’ll be attempting the faux-archery Arm Row exercise tonight!

How do you do your gym workouts? Do you need a gym buddy? Personal trainer? A workout ripped from the pages of a magazine or printed off of a website?

Being Productive

What is more productive than being stuck at home for two days straight with intense kidney stone pain? Why,vlogging, of course! In keeping with my past attempts, I am continuing to try to up the ante in terms of production value. Enter my brother’s amazing (er, expensive) camera and me spending 10 minutes just trying to focus the lens (and still not totally succeeding.) Oh well!

That may or may not be Vampire Diaries paused in the background. NO JUDGING.

To sum up the video for those of you who can’t watch it yet, I feel much, much better (thank you so much for your concern and well wishes!) According to Le Doctor, this means I either passed the kidney stone or never had one to begin with (I am rather skeptical of the latter hypothesis, for obvious reasons.) I’m not super thrilled at the fact that I’ve used up two days of PTO from work, since I’m taking more days off for my trip to Ottawa over Halloween weekend, but there’s not much I can do about that now. What I can do, however, is figure out a cute, creative Halloween costume that is carry-on-able so I can take it with me when I go! Hopefully you guys can help out with that one, since my creativity feels pretty spent at present moment (for what reason though, I couldn’t tell you. Maybe I’m just not as creative as I like to think, hahaha.)

48/365 This Is Not The Enemy
source

In other news, I weighed in this morning but I’m making yet another executive decision NOT to officially report it here since I don’t feel it really counts. Don’t get me wrong, I would LOVE to be able to count it, seeing as how two days of pain, irregular eating, and the inability to, er, hold onto my food (gross!) has brought me not one, not two, but THREE pounds lost. However, I’m not stupid (well, not always, anyway) so I know it’s not a “real” loss. And now that my appetite is finally back, things are sure to go right back to where they were. I’m eager to keep the false hope to a minimum, haha.

Hopefully these fading twinges of pain mean that I can get on track with training for the 15K. I’ve actually decided to follow a training plan FORREALZ (whaaaat?!) So today I’ll see if I’m up to some yoga and tomorrow I’ll be on Thursday of Week 3: 2m + strength training. It feels oddly good to have a set schedule like this! Even though I fully acknowledge I’ll probably be terrible at sticking to it. It’s the thought that counts, right? 🙂

Any halloween costume ideas for me? Remember: needs to be packable, TSA-approved, and awesome. You are all much, much more creative than me soooo… HALP!

Weigh-in Wednesday

And now, after a short schnauzer hijacking, we’re back to our regularly scheduled programming! Although actually, it’s still kind of irregular, since this is the very first Weigh-in Wednesday (oh how I love alliteration.) The times they are a-changing, folks!

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So… we meet again.

Admittedly, the past two weeks of my “weigh-cation” (badoom-ching!) have gotten me a little scared. On the one hand, it’s been nice not having my self-esteem ride the emotional roller coaster that is a weekly weigh-in, but on the other… well, we all know what can happen when I don’t have some kind of structure to keep myself in check (no more 5-month plateaus please kthxbai.) So, building off of my pseudo-confidence after my 5 mile walk/run Monday and my 30-day shred from last night (Level 1… let’s not get too ahead of ourselves, haha), let’s just go ahead and do this thing:

Starting Weight: 246 lbs
Last Weigh-in: 187.8 lbs
This Weigh-in: 186.9 lbs
This Week’s Loss: -0.9 lbs

Well hey there, almost a full pound’s loss! Granted, for a two and a half week timespan, it’s not quite Tony-the-Tiger-grrreat, but I will TAKE it. I almost fainted right on the bathroom floor when I saw the 6 in there (even if it’s just barely there, haha.) I’m SO close to hitting my progress goal of 185 lbs!

I’ve been getting pretty down on myself with the looming 5 mile race I have coming up on Sunday, so this little loss is definitely what I needed to feel better about my slow-but-at-least-sorta-steady progress. So after much hyperventilating (and what may or have not have been a fair bit of fantasizing about somehow injuring myself so I wouldn’t have to do it. DON’T JUDGE ME.) I’ve peacefully come to the realization that I am physically capable of finishing 5 miles. In fact, I did it on Monday. Bam. So even if I end up walking most of it, I’m sure I’ll be motivated to run at least PART of it, which means I’ll beat the 15 min/mile required minimum pace. Goodness knows I never set out to actually “race” these races anyway (Heaven forbid!)

Chillin
Bad. (Christmas 2009)

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Better. (Last weekend!)

I am fully aware that I really dropped the ball when it came to training for this thing, so if I end up being the absolute last person to finish, so be it. At least I’m still doing it, right? And that “it” refers not just to the race, but to this whole healthy weight/healthy living trying thing in general. I mean, if you had asked me if I thought I’d still be blogging, let alone if I’d actually lost any weight, when I started this thing, I would have laughed right in your face. Feel free to pop on over to my “real” mid-way pictures page if you’re in need of a (graphic) reminder of where I really started.

What suggestions do you have to prepare me for the 5 miler on Sunday? I had intended to run-run yesterday, but ended up, y’know, not, haha. I have a happy hour to go to after work so I will be spending my lunch hour on the treadmill today, but what about for the rest of the week? Should I try to run/walk another 5 miles, or just try to run as far as I’m able or…? I don’t want to be in pain come Sunday but I want to be as prepared as possible and I’m clueless when it comes to this stuff… which should be obvious, given how much not-training I’ve been doing over the past, ummm, 4 months or so since I signed up for this thing. I knew I was forgetting something…

Time

Time is a fickle, fickle thing.

They always say how “time flies when you’re having fun”, right?

So clearly, the converse of that would be that time all but stops when you’re doing something decidedly UN-fun.

Like running on a treadmill.

OH. EM. GEE. Time has never moved so slowly in my LIFE.

As my oh-so-brilliant Facebook friends have already seen, during the lifetime that was my tready time yesterday, I came up with the following formula:

30 minutes of Modern Family (aka the most hilarious show ever, and I say that as a Scrubs fan.) = 30 seconds.
30 minutes of driving = 30 minutes.
30 minutes on the treadmill = 30,000,000,000 hours.

Those are exact figures, by the way.

I am just so aware of every second spent running. In general, when you think of a span of time like 2 minutes, it’s nothing. Passes in the blink of an eye, even if you’re not doing something particularly enjoyable. Not so if you’re spending those 2 minutes huffing and puffing like a fool while the other three lunchtime work-outers (all men, by the way) politely avert their eyes.

It wasn’t good. My legs felt like lead and I spent almost the entire time just looking at the elapsed time on the machine (I used to cover the dashboard with a towel so I wouldn’t look at that stuff the whole time, but all that did was build the anticipation until I checked anyway, and then was crushed when I saw I had only gone like .2 miles, haha.) At one point I asked myself, “Why do my legs feel so heavy?” before remembering that, oh yeah, I’m still 30 pounds overweight. Womp womp.

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Old picture. Same outfit.

Oh well, at least I did it! Thanks to all of your encouragement about my 5 miler freakout yesterday, I actually went to the gym. And at this point, that’s really all that matters. I roughly followed your advice to run for a few minutes and then walk for a minute, although the ratios got a lot closer the longer I was on there (5:1, 4:2, 3:2… you get the idea.) And after all that work, it ended up being slightly over 2 torturous miles. Nothing to brag about, I know, but since it’s basically like I’m starting from scratch, I’ll take it.

That, along with the intense amount of stuff I bought at Trader Joe’s yesterday (seriously, like a bazillion things for $50. Yet another reason why I love TJ’s.) means that the plan is off to a good start.

And to ensure that this post ends with something good as well, I invite you to enjoy:

Seriously. Amazing.