Grad classes, house buying, and races…oh my!

I have been all over the place the past few months.

When I wasn’t taking some of my final classes in my graduate program, I was working on finding a house.  My boyfriend and I will be moving to Manayunk in June if all goes well, but we looked at probably 25 houses before finding THE ONE. Not only is it time consuming, it’s emotionally draining…at first it’s fun and then you’re like “FOR THE LOVE OF PETE JUST FIND ME A PLACE TO LIVE THAT IS PERFECT AND CHEAP.” Spoiler alert: doesn’t exist. But we did find one we loved, so hopefully everything goes according to plan!

Now that I’m in my final grad class and we’re going through the home buying process, I am finally refocusing and paying attention to my health and fitness goals.

Being busy shouldn’t be an excuse, but sometimes it is.  Not to say I didn’t workout and do my best to eat well, but I wasn’t really focused on anything. I was definitely enjoying myself, but now it’s time to get back on track with a hopeful PR at the Rock and Roll Philly Half in June!

How am I going to do that?  Well, first off, I’m giving up my expensive fitness classes.  Did you guys know buying a house is expensive? I did, but I don’t think I let myself believe it. So until we are settled and I’m feeling more financially secure, I am cutting way back on my time at the fitness boutiques around town…wah.  Luckily, my work gym kills it with classes, though not necessarily with the schedule.  The past few weeks have shaped up to look a little something like this:

Monday: running and Body Pump

Tuesday: yoga or barre, depending on what times work better for me.

Wednesday: swimming

Thursday: spinning

Friday: running and Body Pump

Saturday: long run

Sunday: rest

I don’t know if 6 days a week will be the norm for me, but I will keep doing it until I’m not enjoying it anymore.

Focusing on food will be important as well. I’m lucky that I’ve been craving mostly healthy foods these days, but some health issues have sent my cravings all over the place. Hopefully a visit to the doctor this week will help with that, but I need to take time to realize that just because I want something doesn’t mean I should have it.  Not every day is treat yo’self.

Treat

Def do it, just not as much as I have been doing it…

Meal planning has been key to save calories and dollars.  On this week’s menu:

Maple Soy Salmon & Roasted Asparagus (I adapted it from this Skinnytaste recipe)

Italian Pulled Beef Sandwiches (again, Skinnytaste because if it ain’t broke…)

One Pot Sausage & Sun-dried Tomato Pasta

Ground Turkey with Potatoes and Spring Peas

I also whipped up some Kodiak Cake blueberry muffins for my mid-afternoon snacks at work.

Hopefully all of this pre-planning will keep  me mostly on track for the week. We’re not perfect, but if you’re not aiming to be your best…what’s the point?

Here I go again on my own (ish)…

My last attempt at a marathon wasn’t pretty.  It was the Rock N Roll DC in March 2015 and I had basically set myself up for failure…

  1. I had to train through winter. I hate winter.
  2. We had a pretty bad winter, so I slacked off and didn’t stick to my training plan like I should.

It poured the entire first half of the race and I tripped in a pothole around mile 15. I ended up half running/half dragging my leg behind me until mile 21 when I realized how stupid it was to keep doing something that made me so miserable/injured…and I quit.

I don’t quit.

So that brings me to the Philly Marathon 2016, which I am running November 20. I couldn’t let my last marathon be a DNF.

I get to train through the summer, which is hard because of humidity but easier than winter for me (I HATE ICE!!). I’ve also lost about 10lbs since the race in 2015, so I think that will be helpful to me come race day.

The training plan I’m using was made for me by my friend’s father who is an amazing runner.  I’m running 3x/week, with 2-3 days of cross-training. My body responds the best when I am not running super high mileage but still getting the necessary cardio in each week.  I’ve mainly focused on swimming, spinning, and yoga for my cross-training, but I recently rejoined Classpass and I look forward to adding in RowZone, pilates, and strength training to supplement my running.

As far as goals for my race go, I’d love to run a sub-5 hour marathon, but my #1 focus is finishing strong. To me, it’s much more important to cross the finish line happy and healthy than to hit some arbitrary time.

Here goes nothing!

 

 

Passions (Not the soap…RIP)

I’ve been at my current job for about 4 years now and I’ve been bored for 3 and a half of them.  I like my coworkers, love my company, but as far as my day-to-day job goes….eh.  I don’t feel challenged. I think that lack of stimulation is working its way into other parts of my life.

While I search for another job, I’m left figuring out how to reignite passion in other areas of my life.  I committed myself to training for my 4th attempt (hopefully third finish!) at the marathon distance. I rejoined Weight Watchers and have been working on cleaning up my diet and losing weight so that I feel like (and run like) my best self. I started a book club with my girlfriends from high school, which definitely helped me rediscover my love of reading.

Unfortunately, very rarely do you find a job that encompasses those things and allows you to make a living doing what you love.

So I have continued to find ways to do that outside of the office.  I love writing, so hence my return to blogging. My goal is to add in a little freelance writing, not necessarily for extra money, but for the love of it.  Maybe there will be fitness certifications in my future allowing me to share my love of working out with others.

Don’t get me wrong…I am still ferociously on the job hunt. I know that I can find a job that fulfills me more than I am fulfilled currently, but maybe I am meant to get my jollies outside of the 8-5 hours.

I’ve started by picking up a planner and following a pre-written “To Do” list (I. LOVE. LISTS.) in hopes of focusing my efforts after work.  It can be hard to come home after the office and gym and focus on another task, but I am always happy when I start.

Right now, I just need to try and stay focused on my goals!

PhelpsFace

Not this focused, though. Don’t want to scary anyone.

 

Cleaning up my diet.

It’s no secret I’ve struggled with my weight.  I’m an emotional eater and that is not an easy habit to break.  I’ve tried severely limiting my “approved” foods, My Fitness Pal, juice cleanses and low-fat diets.

Tina

The only thing that has ever really worked for me has been Weight Watchers, but when I started it a few years ago the plan emphasized a low-fat diet without paying much attention to the quality of foods.  As I learned more about proper nutrition, I realized that it really wasn’t the way to go.  Yes, half an avocado is more than 2 tablespoons of fat-free cream cheese, but which is the better option?

With the new changes to the Weight Watchers plan, I noticed a shift in their thinking: encouraging a healthy, well-rounded diet as opposed to low-fat.  I think that’s a positive step in the right direction for those who struggle with the scale.

I started it again after coming back from my vacation to Arizona in March.  While we hiked a lot, we also ate ALL the Mexican and drank most of the beer. 🙂  I regret nothing, but when I looked at the photos from the trip, I realized that my outward appearance didn’t reflect how healthy and fit I feel.  I knew that my workouts were on point, but I had to take an honest look at my diet…and portion control.

I joined Weight Watchers, pulled out the measuring cups and started tracking every morsel of food that passed my lips, be it an egg white veggie omelet or four margaritas and some chips and salsa. Just because I didn’t track it doesn’t mean I didn’t eat it, and the best tough love comes from within.

So far it’s working.  I’m down 8lbs, which might not seem like a lot, but it feels like 80 to my brain and my clothes.  I have a few pounds to go, but I’m aiming for steady, sustainable weight loss and it seems like I’m on the right track.

May Goals

Since turning 30 last December and feeling like I wasn’t where I expected to be at that age (I know, I know…join the club.), I have been hyper-aware of falling into any sort of rut or complacency with my life.  Be it fitness or professionally, I want to make sure I’m always challenging myself to try a little harder and do something new.  I really think goal setting is the only way to ensure that I stay focused and make moves.

So here it goes!

  1. Ramp up my running so I can run a personal best at the Oddyssey Half marathon in JuneThe Oddyssey Half is the frenemy of the Philadelphia running community.  Held in early June, it’s often hotter than most half marathons in the area and it is DEFINITELY hillier.  I don’t compare it to my other half marathon times because the race is much more difficult for me than Rock and Roll or the Philly Half in September or November.  I’m going to work on incorporating more hills into my runs, as well as ramping up speed training at RippedPHL and Unite Fitness.
  2. Seriously begin a job search. – I love my coworkers and working at my company is great, but the position itself is leaving me unfulfilled.  It’s hard coming home from the office and the gym and then spending more time in front of the computer, but it needs to be done if I want to get out of my job rut.
  3. Read more. – I went on vacation with my mom and aunt last month and read 2 books in 5 days.  I forgot how much fun I have just kicking back with a good book.  As the weather gets warmer, I’d like to turn off the Netflix, get outside and read a good book.  I highly recommend The Darlings and What Was She Thinking?.

ClassPass: A review.

After a tough year running wise last year, I ended 2015 with a hamstring injury.  I never went to PT, but after a semester at Google University I self-diagnosed a proximal hamstring strain.  The suggestions were resting and strengthening, so I decided that I was not going to run for a month and give my leg time to recoup.

The problem was, what would I do instead?  I belong to a great regular gym, but if I can’t run it limits my cardio.  They don’t offer as many spin classes as I would like and I can only take so many elliptical sessions before I want to throw myself off a building.

That’s where Classpass comes in!  A few friends suggested that I try it, given that I love new fitness classes and a lot of my favorite studios are on there already, such as Flywheel and Unite.  You can attend each studio 3 times during the month using Classpass, but you can take an unlimited number of classes overall.

It’s $89 a month, although by using this link you can get $20 off your first month.  No commitments and no sign up fee, which was key for me.  While it’s definitely a great deal, I’m not sure if $89 is sustainable for me.  This way, I’m not stuck with an expense every month if I decide can’t afford it.  They also offer an option of freezing your membership for $19/month.  You still get to take one class during the frozen months and you’re probably still spending less than you would if you registered for the class normally (hello Flywheel and your $28 fees).

After one month of using it, I can definitely tell you that I’m hooked.

Overall Rating: Five Stars (out of 5)

Number of Classes Attended: 10

Studios Attended: Priya Hot Yoga, Flywheel, Unite Fitness, Row Zone, Anjali Power Yoga

Pros:

  • There are sooooo many studios on Classpass.  From spinning to barre to Crossfit to rowing to boot camps, you can really find anything on there.
  • You can try studios that have been on your radar for awhile without actually committing to a membership there.
  • At $89 per month, you’re spending a lot less per class than you would if you signed up via their website.
  • You can take Classpass on vacation with you.  Changing your “metro area” is super easy and allows you to take classes in different cities while you’re out of town.
  • My workouts have been so varied and inspired lately that I can feel my body making some great changes.  I was lacking this with my own non-running workouts.

Cons:

  • It’s not cheap.  While it can be a great deal, it’s also still a large expense that I’m not sure is sustainable for me right now.
  • There are limited classes available.  I was a little disappointed that some studios, like Unite, offer very few classes to Classpass members.  I understand they need to keep them for their own clients, but I think they could do a little better with offering more accessible times.
  • Classes fill up quickly.  If you want to go to Flywheel, sign up early!!

I think I’ll end up keeping it for another month or two to get me through the winter and into distance running weather, but after that we’ll see how I’m faring financially.  Definitely worth a shot though!!

Thursday Thankfulness

As anyone who looks at my blog (Mom, thank you) knows, I’ve been terrible at updating this.  I keep saying “I’ll start Monday!” or “I’ll do it after I study for chem.”  Well, my last chem test was yesterday (WOOHOO!) and I found myself making an excuse about posting something until I read Ali’s newest post.  Not only is she possibly the busiest fake friend I have (new husband, new puppy, new giraffe stories) she’s also living with Crohn’s disease.  And she manages to write beautiful, meaningful, puppiful posts that I love.  So here I am with Thursday Thankfulness.

I’m thankful that my chemistry class is over.

I think we all saw this one coming.  Online learning is a struggle for me (both with motivation to act on my own behalf as well as not having immediate feedback and the ability for face-to-face discussions), especially when it’s something like chemistry.  Too much math!  Too many numbers! Brain melting.  I’m starting anatomy next semester as an on campus class and I’m both scared and excited.  One step closer to becoming an RD!

I’m thankful I got to travel so much this year.

One of my goals for 2015 was to visit a new city, and I visited a lot more than that!  Early in the year I went on a road trip with my brother to move him to Colorado and we stopped in Indianapolis, Columbus, St. Louis and some smaller towns along the way.  Then I spent a long weekend in Nashville for my friend’s bachelorette party, a weekend in Boston and Salem with my boyfriend, and another long weekend in Chicago to see my friends that recently moved there.  All of these places were beautiful and amazing and interesting, but I left each time with even more of a love for Philadelphia.  There’s no place like home!

I’m thankful to be turning 30.

Sometimes.  Ask me again next Friday.

I’m thankful to take a short break from running.

I’ve been having some leg pain and just want a little break so I can strengthen my hamstrings and glutes and try out new fitness options.  I doubt I’ll make it until January without running at all (I already cheated this morning), but I’m definitely doing less distance and more HIIT and strength.  I am hoping to run the 2016 Twin Cities Marathon and I know I’ll need major leg muscles for that!

There are about 54000 other things I am thankful for, but I feel like that’s a good end to my first blog post in about 54000 months.  

What are you thankful for?