Sunday, March 19, 2017

Sunday Sweats: Leprechaun Chase 10K recap

Last weekend, I participated in the Leprechaun Chase 10K for the third time. Well, I tried to.

The day before the race, we got a little bit of snow. By Saturday morning, the snow had stopped and the streets were clear. However, part of the race was supposed to go on the trails, which are not a high priority for snow removal. About an hour before the race, officials decided the trails were not safe enough for runners, so they changed the race to a 5K.

My head was disappointed. I wanted to see if I could conquer 6.2 miles after a lackluster winter of running.

My legs were happy. They were not ready for a 10K. A 5K was just fine.

It was a little cold at the start of the race (25 degrees), but once I got going, I was fine. I felt really good for most of the run, although the new route was really boring.  Just an out and back. My least favorite. But I did it.

Overall, I'm just glad I completed the race. It gave me a lot of energy for the rest of the day. I'm looking forward to my next 5K on April 8.


Last week's workouts
Sunday - Off

Monday - Cardio Kickboxing

Tuesday - Barre

Wednesday - Off

Thursday - Tabata
Friday - Off
Saturday - Off -- but we officially moved, so you can imagine how much work this was.

Honestly, all week, whenever I wasn't working or sleeping, I was packing. So I feel like the lack of workouts is justified. And if not, oh well.

I'm sure Holly and Christy did awesome this week. Go check out their Sunday Sweats posts!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Truths about packing and moving

I'm in the middle of moving hell. In other words, don't expect any more posts this week from me until Sunday.

I'll tell you all about it in the form of memes and gifs.

I'll probably read emails, so if you want to comment with your favorite moving advice or stories, go right ahead.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Music Monday: Pentatonix - "Imagine"

Here's another Music Monday selection that wandered across my path over the weekend. I love Pentatonix, and "Imagine" is a beautiful song. And this video is really well-done. Simple. Poignant. Timely.

I hope Pentatonix comes through Des Moines soon. I'd love to see them live.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Sunday Sweats: Another Xtreme Revolution is over

Eight weeks have never gone as fast as they did with Xtreme Revolution, the workout program at my office. OK, so the first few weeks were kind of slow. But then I blinked and we were at the last week. I'll admit, I'm really going to miss these classes and the challenge.

Sure, there will still be classes (some very similar), but most of the people will drop out. And half the experience was the other people. I got to sweat alongside folks from all departments in my building. Before the program, we probably wouldn't have even acknowledged each other. During Xtreme, there was a sense of camaraderie when we'd pass each other in the halls.

I'm also worried the future classes won't have the same intensity. This program was appropriately called "Xtreme." The workouts were tough. Often, I was sweating within the first five minutes. And I was sore for most of the past eight weeks. But it was the good kind of sore. The trainers really knew how to push us and get us to push ourselves. I need them to kick my butt on a regular basis.

Here are some of my numbers from the program.

Number of workouts: 31 classes + 8 solo workouts
Pounds lost: 2.5
Body fat %: down 0.5
BMI: Down 1.5

Inches lost ...
... neck: 0.5
... bust: 0.5
... waist: 1.5
... hips: 0.5
... bicep: 1
... thigh: 2.25
...TOTAL:  6.25

One minute fitness test
Pre-pushups: 28 (including 7 on toes)
Post-pushups: 31 (including 15 on toes)
Pre-crunches: 41
Post-sit-ups: 25 (for whatever reason, we did different moves at start and finish)
Pre-X-jumps: 28
Post-X-jumps: 39

Maybe the weight didn't come off like I'd hoped, but I still feel really good about the results.


Last week's workouts
Sunday - Off
Monday - Xtreme Cardio & Conditioning
Tuesday - Xtreme Barre
Wednesday - Xtreme Cardio + Abs
Thursday - Xtreme Tabata
Friday - Off
Saturday - Leprechaun Chase 10K ... that was actually a 5K (more on this next week)

I'm sure Holly and Christy did awesome this week. Go check out their Sunday Sweats posts!

Friday, March 10, 2017

New house wishlist

We haven't been able to really buy anything for the house while we waited for the loan to process. Apparently the bank frowns on any big purchases while they're digging into your finances. I guess it makes sense. But when you know you're getting a new house, you want to buy ALL THE THINGS!!

Today, we sign the closing paperwork on our new house. We're celebrating by going out to dinner and then going furniture shopping. A new bed and a new couch are on our agenda. Eventually we want bar stools for our counter as well. Fortunately, we don't have to worry about a table. Sean's grandpa gave one to the family when he moved to assisted living. It's beautiful, and we just have to figure out how to get it three hours across the state. We will find a way.

Beyond the big items, there are a few other little items I fancy for the new house. I need to watch the spending, so I probably won't splurge. But I feel like sharing them here anyway.

from Etsy
We're doing a music theme in our bedroom, so this pillow would be perfect.
I'm just not sure I can justify $37 for one pillow.

from Etsy
We love the Des Moines skyline and envision a print of it hanging over our fireplace. We'd also love to support a local artist (and may hold out to do just that), but we really love this one.

from Uncommon Goods
Let's be real. This will be be bought sooner rather than later. I already have one, but I've had it for six years, and it's definitely showing its age. Time for a new one!

from the Calphalon web site (because I love Calphalon pans)
On our first date, Sean asked me what my favorite food was. When I said, "breakfast," he responded with, "OK, this might work." On Sundays, we really enjoy making breakfast together. This double griddle would make cooking pancakes and sausages so much easier!

We also really want a turntable, but haven't yet found one that completely won us over. We don't want to spend a ton of money, but we want it to sound decent.

I think this is a pretty good list. Whatever we don't buy in the next year or so, we can always put on our wedding registry, right?

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Stuff & Things 3/9

:: The other night, I was so tired, I practically hyperventilated while laughing because one of the SnapChat filters made my cat look like Milton from "Office Space."

:: This was my reaction when I found out closing costs were going to be 2/3 of what I expected:

:: Shopping for new house items is half-fun and half-frustrating. Why is it so hard to pick out new bedding?

:: This is how I feel about people who bring a surprise party bus of 20 people to the brewery during my shift and none of them tip:

:: I'm running a 10K on Saturday. I don't feel prepared for it at all. But I'll do my best.

I'm so glad tomorrow's Friday. I'm so over this week.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

"I have to live with a boy!"

Sean has officially been moved in for a little over a month. We're currently occupying a 600-square-foot, one-bedroom apartment. Oh, and we share it with my two cats. And they take up a ton of space of course. Even though he was here a lot before officially moving in, life is definitely a little different now that we have the same address.

Since he moved in ...

... I run the dishwasher.
Seriously, I never used the dishwasher when it was just me. I washed them by hand. Now, we use too many dishes for that.

... I try more new recipes.
When I was just cooking for me, I'd stick to the tried and true favorites. I rarely branched out. Now, I'm always on the hunt for new dishes to try.

... I clean up the kitchen faster.
I used to be fine letting dishes sit for a day or two. But he said his mom taught him to clean as he goes. My mom tried to teach me that too, but apparently he listened better.

... I go to bed earlier.
I am a night owl. It was nothing for me to stay up until 11 or midnight during the week. Since he gets up at 3 a.m. for work (for now), he is usually in bed by 9. And I'm usually not too far behind.

... I had to buy a new shower head.
I'm 5'2" and he's 6'1". Clearly, we have different needs when it comes to water disbursement.

... I purged a lot of clothing.
He needed room to put his things in my closet. It forced me to be more serious and selective about which clothes I kept. I honestly can't remember any of the pieces I got rid of so it was obviously time for them to go.

What changes happened in your life when your significant other moved in?

Monday, March 6, 2017

Music Monday: Lorde - "Green Light"

It's been a while since we've heard from Lorde. I wasn't even sure she was still doing music until I saw Taylor Swift, John Mayer, and a few others posting about her new single on social media. Well, if they endorsed it, I needed to check it out.

The video is a little weird. But that's what we expect from her, right? But the song is pretty solid. I think it'll take me a few more listens to begin to get the message she's trying to convey, but I like it. I think we'll be hearing it a lot over the next few months.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Sunday Sweats: Strength training won't make you bulky

My office workout program is almost over. Eight weeks has gone by so fast. I still think back to the first week, when I wasn't at all sure I would like the format (three days of cardio, one day of barre, and one day of tabata). Now, I love it and look forward to it every day. Barre, especially, is a favorite. It gives me the strength training I need but am not good at doing on my own.

During the first week of the program, one of the girls told me she was going to skip the barre class days because she didn't want to "get bulky or start looking manish."

I didn't know how to respond. And I hope my face hid how I really felt about her comment.

We're using hand weights. How is that going to make you bulky? And you can choose the size of your weights if you're REALLY concerned about building muscle.  Although I can't begin to imagine why anyone would be against burning muscle. I just can't imagine that.

I know women who lift a lot more than a few dumbbells who do not look "manish." I follow many women who are very into powerlifting and crossfit. They are strong and sculpted, but they don't look like men. They look like fit women. That's it.

My first reaction to her comment was that she was dumb. But as I contemplated it more (and believe me, I did) I honestly think she's just misinformed.

I hate that there's such a myth about working out with weights. There's a huge difference between strength training and bodybuilding. And the answers about the differences are all over the internet. I particularly liked this article from Prevention magazine that lists 10 popular myths people need to ignore. Of the myths in that link, a few definitely spoke to the conversation I had with this girl.

The second one on the list -- "It'll turn you into a hulk." The expert quoted in the article stated that "90 percent of women are physiologically unable to build muscle to the degree where they would be considered bulky. It is simply a function of estrogen and lack of testosterone."

I got the sense she also believed she'd burn more calories by doing cardio on her own. Not true, according to that article. By increasing lean mass through strength training, you can increase your resting metabolism, which helps you burn more calories by just existing. There's a quote in the article that says "the muscles of a strength trainer burn 50 percent more calories than the muscles of a runner or walker."

Strength training is also not just about building muscle. I know it also helps with balance, posture, and bone health. The article informed me that it also helps with cognitive function. In other words, it's good for the brain too. And some studies have shown that 10 weeks of progressive strength training can reduce anxiety, depression, and fatigue. Who wouldn't want that?

I guess I should just let it go. If she wants to miss out on all the benefits of strength training and barre, then that's her choice. But I'm definitely going to keep it up for all of the reasons above and also just because I enjoy it and feel better after those classes.


Last week's workouts
Sunday - Off
Monday - Xtreme Cardio
Tuesday - Xtreme Barre
Wednesday - Xtreme Cardio + Abs
Thursday - Xtreme Tabata
Friday - Xtreme Cardio
Saturday - Off --  but I did pack some boxes and worked a killer shift at the brewery, so ... maybe it counts?

I'm sure Holly and Christy did awesome this week. Go check out their Sunday Sweats posts!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Stuff & Things 3/2

:: As I mentioned last week, we bought a house! It was a much faster process than I expected. We looked at the place on Feb. 5. One day later, our offer was accepted. The inspection was done on Feb. 14. We submitted tons of paperwork. Purchased home insurance. And the other day, we found out we received final approval and can close next week. Whew!!  There's a lot to do in the next few weeks, but I'm so ready to get into our new place. (Here are a few photos of our place from the realtor's web site.)

:: Sean and I have had a lot of things in the fire the last month or so. We keep wondering when we'll get to have a boring, dull week. I suppose it'll happen when it happens. In the meantime, we're both sleeping pretty well, exhausted at the end of each day.

:: Spring training baseball has been filling my ears and social media feeds the last week or so. That makes me super excited!! A new season is always thrilling.

:: During my workout yesterday, I got a little lightheaded. Well, it started out as a little, but I tried to power through. Then the room started spinning. And I felt nauseous. I decided to just sit and try and get my bearings for the last five minutes. I felt better with some food and water (so I'm guessing it was a blood sugar issue). It wasn't fun though.

:: I don't observe lent, but this year I'm thinking about participating in some way. Most people give something up. I, however, am thinking about adding something to my day. Five to ten minutes of meditation. I think it'll be a good exercise to stick with and I know there are some apps out there to help me. Are you giving up anything?

What's up with you?

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Currently: March 2017

Listening to ... the new John Mayer tracks. He's been releasing four at a time. It's the sound I fell in love with when I first discovered him. I won't get to see him on his upcoming tour, but I'm glad he's back to making music.

Watching ... "Chopped." Thanks to Roku and Playstation Vue, I get to binge watch my favorite cooking competition show. I love it!!

Reading ... "What She Knew" by Gilly Macmillan. The opening lines were really thought-provoking, and the story is riveting. I only wish I had more time to read.

Sipping on ... coffee with almond milk. I'm trying to make better choices here and there. While I prefer half and half or heavy cream, the almond milk is a nice substitute.

Eating ... at home a lot more! Sean and I love cooking together, which is good because takeout gets expensive and we need to watch money. So we've been better about looking at recipes on the weekend and meal planning. Last night, we had a burrito casserole (we used turkey instead of beef) from Budget Bytes. So delicious!!! (I'm using the Budget Bytes photo because I was too eager to eat mine to take a photo.)

Looking forward to ... closing on our townhome! That happens next week, and I can't wait to have the keys. We plan to celebrate with dinner and furniture shopping.

Worrying about ... getting everything done so we can move. I keep going over lists in my head and even writing things down. It calms me a little, but I'll feel a lot better when it's all done.

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Mental health days do not make one weak

Last week, I was listening to my regular dose of morning talk radio. One of the hosts mentioned that he allows his kids (teenagers) one mental health day per semester. The other host was appalled and just could not understand why kids would need a mental health day. Host one said he understood that school can get grueling and stressful and could relate to just needing a day to regroup. Host two insisted it was not necessary and -- without saying it directly -- implied that mental health days make kids "soft."

I disagree on a few levels.

First of all, let's stop pretending young people don't have stress. While it's true teenagers don't yet have to pay bills or worry about job performance, they do have stress. It's a different than what adults carry, but it still exists. I remember my high school days. Beyond just classes, I was also involved in a number of activities -- cheerleading, speech, band, theatre. I put in some long days, and I probably got burned out more times than I ever admitted. I didn't have time for a day off, but looking back, it sure would have been nice. And it might have helped me perform better in the classroom and all of those extra activities.

Secondly, I'm offended by the notion that needing a mental health day means someone is "soft" or "not strong." I think lack of acknowledgment of kids' emotions and stress is the source of a lot of our societal problems these days. Boys especially aren't taught how to deal with any of their emotions, so they express them in the only acceptable manner -- violence. Early on, this is through childish war games with friends. Later, it might be released through football. They're taught that hitting people is a sign of strength while crying or acting defeated is a sign of weakness. I truly believe this is the foundation of all the sexual, domestic, and general violence committed by young men.

But that's getting a little deeper in the issue than I intended to go.

I like that host one recognizes his children's needs and honors them. He clearly trusts them to use their mental health days wisely. By all accounts, they are smart, well-behaved, and well-rounded kids, so he must be doing something right.

The bottom line is that I think everyone needs mental health days every now and then. We live in stressful times. As adults, we are often overworked and stretched thin. Kids lives seem to be filling up these days as well. A day off to leave obligations behind and regroup our thoughts could do a world of good.

What do you think?

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Sunday Sweats: February recap

 February goals:
- Do 10 push-ups a day. Every day. 
I didn't quite do this every day. I probably missed one day a week, but that's still progress. And I'm getting better at push-ups. 

- Run 5 miles each week.
I think I only managed this one week. Oops.

- Do yoga once a week.
Fail. I didn't do any yoga. After that challenge in January, I was just a little burned out.

Number of days I worked out:18
I have two more workouts this month. Not too bad.

Miles Ran: 15
It's progress from January, but I have a feeling that 10K in two weeks is going to be tough.


March goals:
- Do yoga once a week.
- 30-second plank every day.

Last week's workouts
Sunday - Off

Monday - Xtreme Revolution - Cardio

Tuesday - 3-mile walk

Wednesday - 3-mile run

Thursday - 30-minute upper body workout
Friday - Xtreme Revolution - Cardio
Saturday - Off

I'm sure Holly and Christy did great this week. Go check out their Sunday Sweats posts!

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