Thursday, May 12, 2016

A Running Post!

Two posts in one week?  This must means that I am publishing these on an automatic schedule, since I'm finding it verrrry difficult to keep up lately.  Still, this post is going to be a fun one for me to write because it has to do with running!!

I've mentioned this here before, but sometime after the new year, I saw that Mark Zuckerberg started a "year of running" in which he'd try to run at least 365 miles this year.  It took me more than halfway through the month to get on board with this, so I was running a lot of catch up and as of last week, I'm at 179 miles for the year, which I believe leaves me in good shape because it's still early May.

Most of my miles were on the treadmill, but I'm doing more outside now, carving out paths around my hilly neighborhood.  The weather has mostly been amenable to running outdoors (for now!), though sometimes it calls for this little number from CozyPhones that "The Ukrainian" is modeling nicely since it doesn't quite look right on my larger head and bunchy hair.  These are great because there aren't any ear-bud-falling-out moments, and it keeps the cord away pretty tidily.

Also, I was recently sent the book below to review, and this one is kind of near-and-dear to me because I initially used Hal Higdon's training programs when I started running long distances.  Hal Higdon's Half Marathon Training is a compilation of many of his half-marathon training plans from novice to advanced, and it pretty much starts out from a pure-beginner's standpoint as to not intimidate.  Much of the content is familiar to me since I have followed Hal for years, but it was nice to refresh my memory...

...because I'm running a half-marathon next month.  I already announced this on Instagram, but now it's on the blog record.  It was sort of an impulse decision.  I had wanted to run my 30th half-marathon (which is what this will be) before I ended year 30, but alas, that did not pan out for various reasons, mostly because I didn't feel I was ready to train or wake up early.  Of course, I was also nowhere near in-shape, which also contributed.
So I'm STILL not totally in half-marathon shape, but I have done a 5, 6, and 7-milers in my ramp-up because my previous post-partum distance record was about 5 miles that I think I did once last year.  I'm going totally "novice" and am probably going to peak at 10 or 11 miles because I didn't have as many weeks as I would have liked to ramp up any higher.  So far, the runs have been going fairly well considering this is kind of uncharted territory for me again, and nowadays, I am training on much hillier terrain, which I hope will help carry me through my race since it's flatter. 
I feel like a beginning again in many ways, as I often second-guess myself.  For example, each week that I go another mile longer, I start feeling my favorite ole' right calf tightening.  I tweaked my ankle on my last long-run in the trail-y area.  Also, I haven't bothered to wear compression socks for this, mostly because I prefer running in pants these days, but I may consider wearing them again starting next week????  And I should probably start carrying hydration with me.  I also haven't decided if I want to try to train to finish the race without fuel or not, but whatever I decide, I better start incorporating soon, and all my old energy things are expired.  If this was Instagram, I'd be using a hashtag along the lines of #newoldrunnerproblems .
As for goals, I am not fast by any means, so I really just want to finish the race in one piece and preferably not be walking a lot.  I haven't been walking during my training but fully expect that things can go awry on race day.  More specifically, I am hoping I can run this at pace I've been training at so that I don't take forever.
Needless to say, I am excited about rounding out my half-marathon count and finally doing something that I missed in my two-ish years of gestating and being a mom.  I can't say whether this will be a one-time thing, since yes, my priorities have changed, and it really is a commitment in both time and energy when I do have other goals, too.  So we'll see how this next month or so goes.
FTC Disclaimer: I was sent samples of the above-mentioned products to review but was not otherwise compensated to provide a positive opinion.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Review: INSANITY Max 30 - Sweat Intervals

Happy Monday, everyone!  It's already May, and Mother's Day weekend came and went.  It felt really early this year, but then again, everything feels like it sneaks up on me these days. 

I spent the weekend with my in-laws and niece and the extended version of my nuclear family, and by that, I mean all my sisters and their families.  It's always a good time having a bunch of kids under 5 (and mostly under 3) running around my parents' house!  And of course, I spent lots of time cuddling my little one, who was getting over a bug and let me snuggle him and cut his nails without a fight!  I called the easy nail clipping my Mother's Day gift.

Anyway, it's back to reality.  I've been reviewing the Insanity Max 30 program, and I'm getting really close to the end of the first month, doing the workouts consecutively but not on this schedule since I didn't want to give up running.  More on that later this week. ;)

I did Sweat Intervals all four times (as prescribed on the calendar) before getting to this review to make sure I captured my feelings about it over time.

At the beginning of Sweat Intervals, Shaun T says, "This workout is called Sweat Intervals, and you're about to find out why."  At the end, after the stretch portion, he then says, "...come back; don't be afraid."  Each time I popped this DVD in, though I was afraid, though.  To start off, after the regular warm-up, there is no actual water break, just a brief stretch.  Then, the actual workout starts.

The first portion involved moving jabs, push-up punches, and squat lunges.  You can see a lot of the cast "maxing out" already, which makes me feel better about feeling like death.  I can outlast many of them by this point, but it really varies by how I'm feeling that morning.  The breaks come about every 5 minutes, and they are much needed by then.  One comic relief in this workout is the appearance of Shanita, one of the original Insanity cast members that I briefly made fun of here because she's always quitting.  However, I don't blame her for pooping out early in this video!

As the workout goes on, you end up doing things like wide pike-ups (this is usually when I "max out," only about 11-ish minutes into the workout), ski abs, hop-hop runner... it feels like a lot because my quads usually feel heavy and don't really have a chance to fully recover.  I guess I'm not supposed to be fully recovering during such a short workout.  And just when you're kind of dying by the end, squat obliques, hit the floor, and cross-jabs are thrown in. 
This is definitely one of the more difficult workouts on Month 1, although they are all hard.  I just get an extra pang of dread when this one comes up.  Also, you're supposed to do the Ab Attack (10 minute that I mentioned in my first post afterward.  I think I actually followed through with this half the time due to time constraints that I had on those particular days.  Yes, I still battle time issues even with such a short workout... blah!

I have two more workouts to review before I get to Month 2, again, trying to go through them a few times before recording my thoughts.  I'm pretty freaked out about getting to the next set of DVDs, because as I said, these Month 1 ones are already pretty difficult!

FTC Disclaimer: I purchased this product and was not compensated to provide a positive review.  I am not affiliated with Beachbody in any way.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Getting in Gear - the "31" Edition

My birthday is this week, and the first thing I have to say about that is..., that came up quick(ly).  Pretty sure that's going to be my reaction every year from here on out.  I'm not sure if it's my aging brain or the whirlwind of parenting that is making time pass disproportionately quickly compared to my younger days.
Speaking of younger days, here's the little one, who is 17 months today!  Lately, he's been refusing to let me feed him, so there are a LOT of messy times.  This picture below is slightly dated, and he is actually much, much cleaner about it now.  Other than that, he's started saying some words and thinks that the world is his oyster.
Oh, so back to 31, the number of flavors they used to have at Baskin Robbins.  I am definitely feeling like I am getting "up there" in age!  I am also somewhat embarrassed to admit that I've hit up this establishment a couple of times this past year... alone!
Looking back, thirty was the year that I started feeling somewhat human again... make that, the second half of the year once sleep improved.  I'm finally at a point where I think I can commit to healthier choices so I don't feel like I need to hide behind baggy clothing so much.  Besides times when I had to watch my intake, I was easy on myself these past couple of years because I often felt hungry and deprived.  If I couldn't have freedom/sleep, then at least I could eat when I felt like it, right?  I generally ate healthy things, but I also ate them whenever and in whatever portion.  Although I worked out regularly, this clearly was not something I wanted to do long-term.
So here's to hoping that 31 will be a healthier year!
To start off, I have been sitting (lol) on some fitness product reviews.  The first is this Card Ninja smartphone wallet.  It's a great idea since it's pretty easy to dash out of the house and remember your phone but not the other stuff you might need, like money, your license, etc.  I live close to a grocery store, so I sometimes end up walking/running there, and there's nothing worse than starting off and then realizing you didn't bring your post-it with your shopping list.  Yep, that happened to me, and yes, I also realize I could have gotten that on my phone somehow.  A plus -- it's reflective!
Second, this Flip Belt has been a staple on my runs outside.  I had to get a new running belt because I can't find my older one for the life of me, which is sad because it means I haven't been needing it and also because it was a good belt.  I am so happy with the Flip Belt, though, that I am even showing my very much in-progress pre-run abs so that you can see it on a person rather than on a table.  I really like that I can cram my phone (+case) securely in the flaps, and there is a zippered compartment for stuff that I am paranoid about.  I was told it can even hold a passport.  Finally, it has a little hook for my key, and the cord stretches so I can open/close the door without removing it from the belt. 
I bought this one at the Surf City expo, proving that yes, you can buy stuff at an expo if you're not even running the race!  Truth be told, it does ride up a teensy bit, but it is very, very minor, coming from someone who is easily annoyed by stuff like that.

Finally, here are some Perfect Fit meals that I was sent to try.  They are available at Albertson's (Safeway) and can hang out in the fridge for a while or frozen.  These things have saved me on certain busy nights, as they contain protein, veggies, and a side.  I'd split the portion with "The Ukrainian" and add rice, though I have also just eaten the entire thing myself just by itself.  I like that they are high in protein and are generally "clean" meals on their own.

This one below is the Chipotle Barbecue Chicken, which wasn't as spicy as I feared.  I should mention to my longer-time readers that yes, I am still eating meat right now.  I spent a few years as a 99% vegetarian, then added fish, then in particular when I had to manage my blood sugar during my pregnancy, I started eating meat regularly.  Nowadays, I have cut down and generally only do fish and poultry and am not sure what I'll end up doing in the future. 

I especially love the shirt that I got with them!


Anyway, if anyone is wondering what I want for my birthday, I think I've already received the gift of generally consistent sleep.  I think I keep mentioning that here, but man, it's a big deal so I finally have my nights back... and even some mornings!  Besides that, some time off work so I can shop at the mall would be amazing right now.  I've been trying to de-frump myself and could use a bit of a wardrobe refresh and makeup.  But one thing at a time!

FTC Disclaimer: I was provided a sample of the Card Ninja and Perfect Fit meals but was not otherwise compensated to provide a positive review, so... just posting my true opinion!