I Survived Spin Class!

Let me share a secret with you – I hate spinning! I know that there are some of you completely aghast right now.  But truly, I have not been able to get in to this spin craze.  I keep trying it because I’ve heard nothing but good things about its benefits, especially for cross training as a runner.

Last year around this time, 5 months after my surgery, I tried a spin class taught by a coworker.  It didn’t suck as much as my previous attempts. The instructor helped me to understand gear shifting and positions which made it easier to follow along.  However my incision wasn’t too happy with being folded over the handlebars of the spin bike.  I had to stop halfway through the class because the throbbing was way too much for me.  I haven’t been back to a spin class since.

That is, until tonight.  A friend of mine from undergrad teaches spin class at a large gym not too far from me.  He reached out to a bunch of us to try the class.  He even shared his music playlist on Facebook so that we would have a sense of how he rolled (or spun).  I decided to take him up on his offer tonight.

For the first time ever, I got through spin class.  It was definitely challenging but I was able to push through and hang in there.  I don’t know if it is because I am in much better shape than the previous times I tried.  Or if it’s because I understand how it works. Or if it’s because the music was really banging.  But whatever it was, I made it through the class. Not only that but I followed it up with a 30 minute core workout class! I’m sure that I will be feeling the burn tomorrow but for right now I feel awesome!

vagina spin class humor

Have you ever tried a spin class? What exercise is your least favorite? How did you sweat today?

MNB Challenge Week 3–BELIEVE

This week was the final week in the Lorna Jane Active & Fit Approach Move Nourish Believe Challenge. It was quite timely that this week’s focus was BELIEVE and it was the week I celebrate my birthday! I tend to do some introspective looks at myself and some soul searching around this time of year so the challenges were helpful to me in doing so.

Monday, 2/17 – Spoil Yourself!

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As I like so many others had been trapped in the house for 4 days thanks to the polar vortex, I went to work on President’s Day rather than work from home again.  At lunchtime, I spoiled myself with a pedicure treat for my runner’s feet. After work, there was still a bit of sunshine so I took the opportunity to get in an afternoon run by myself with my music on loud.

Tuesday, 2/18 – 5 Mindful Minutes

Finding my zen usually includes daily prayer and meditation. Each morning, I try to stay in the moment as I pray to God for everyone in my life and for everyone whose life touches mine in any way. I try to keep everyone in prayer.

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Wednesday, 2/19 – Be Happy!

My happy place is not really a place but a space in my heart and mind of stillness.  However, in order to be happy, I have to be comfortable.  SOCKS are important to my comfort. I wore my Marine Wife socks because they are comfortable and make me happy. I also wore them because it was the opening day for registration for the Marine Corps 17.75K and I got in! Woohoo!

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Wednesday was my Birthday Eve! To celebrate, I met some friends at a club so we could see Black Alley perform live.  They are an awesome push the limits band whose sound is a fusion of funk, jazz, soul, and rock known as “Soul Garage.” Besides their own songs, they did an awesome cover of Pharrell’s song, Happy. How appropriate!

Thursday, 2/20 – Thankful Thursday – It’s my BIRTHDAY!

I am so thankful to be alive. Focusing on reasons why I was thankful all day was important to me.  One of the things I did was play the song Happy every hour in honor of my #24hoursofHappyBirthday! LOL! The video is literally 24 hours long. The version most people see splices together scenes from the extended version. I got a great run and workout in with my husband while my son was at school.  Then, I ran some errands and scored some cool boots with a gift card before heading out to a nice dinner with the family.

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Friday, 2/21 – Share the love!

Shout out to my #1 supporters/motivators – my husband and my son! If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have the strength some days to get out there and get my fitness on. There are days when I’m in a funk and my husband kicks me out of the house to make me go work out. My son is my biggest cheerleader. They both run with me at times.

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Maryland Road Runners’ Club Challenge – 2/23

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All of this believing culminated with me running my birthday with a 10-mile race today! Last year, I ran the Maryland Road Runners’ Club Challenge as my first 10 miles ever.  It was a tough race which left me with my first blister. This year I was ready for a comeback. I’m faster than I was then and have learned a lot about my abilities as a hysterrunner.  I finished much faster than my times at both this race and the Cherry Blossom last year in 2:18:35. I was aiming for 2:10:00 but my left knee has started to bother me lately so I walked more of the last mile than I planned.  Something that I am definitely going to have to invest in to make it through full training is a knee brace. I believe that I am ready for a full marathon this year.

Did you race this weekend? Did you take advantage of the break in the weather to get some outdoor exercise in? How did you BELIEVE in yourself this week?

#MNBChallenge Week 2–Nourish

nourish your body

This week’s focus was nourishing your body. The challenges from Lorna Jane Active encouraged us to focus on what we put in our body. It was good to focus on my clean eating. Being that I was trapped in the house most of the week due to the winter snowstorm that blanketed the East coast, it was good to focus on what I ate so as not to fall into bad habits and overeat. Here’s my recap:

Monday – Meatless Monday ~ No pics but I had a wonderful dinner of stuffed shells and roasted Brussels sprouts that was to live for! Yummy!

Tuesday – Take Your Lunch to Work Day ~ I do this almost daily. My jar salad was awesome that day with tuna added for protein. I like to use nuts in my jar salads for both crunch and amped up protein factor.

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I made the salad in the salad dressing jar so I could use the last dregs of the dressing.  If you haven’t tried OPA yet, you should.  Their Greek yogurt dressings are so yummy and definitely nourishing.

Wednesday – Write it Down ~ I use My Fitness Pal to keep track of what I eat.  My focus lately is less on calories and more on making sure I balance my carbs, proteins, and healthy fats.  As such, I was excited to share my progress on Wednesday. I came in within my goals.

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Thursday – Smoothie Day! I love my smoothies and have one almost every day.

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My beet smoothie has fresh beets, carrots, banana, and coconut milk! It is so sweet and full of good vitamins and minerals.

Friday – Go Raw Friday! Valentine’s Day! ~ After attending my friend’s wedding ceremony, I came home to a wonderful dinner with my hubby and son. He made baked Swai fish topped with kiwi and his own version of vegetarian lo mein. I was in charge of dessert and decided that I would do fresh fruit and homemade fondue.

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How did you nourish your body this week? Do you have a go-to lunch or smoothie recipe? Are you ready to BELIEVE in Week 3?

Faith and Fitness Friday–Valentine Style

love God valentine

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How I MOVE!

This month, I am participating in the Move Nourish Believe Blogger challenge sponsored by Lorna Jane with #SweatPink ambassadors.  The first week focused on different ways to MOVE!  This new challenge was a good way for me to transition from #SexyShred back into my normal healthy eating and exercise routine while up with my fitness and weight loss goals.  Each week day from February 3-21 there is a different challenge to do and then post your progress on Instagram and Twitter.  The first week challenged us to MOVE in different ways.  Here’s my recap.

Day 1 – 2/3: Sweat It Out

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My new favorite way to sweat is doing my ab work as I rebuild my core.  Here’s a pic in the middle of my crunch time with the exercise ball at the gym.

Day 2 – 2/4: Change it up!

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I kept my body guessing that night.  First off, the last #SexyShred circuit followed by an easy neighborhood run with the Twilight Tuesday crew. Then, I came home to do some boxing burpees courtesy of Shauna Harrison and ended with a post-run yoga series suggested by the #MNBChallenge crew.

Day 3 – 2/5: Let’s get planking!

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This was by far my most proud moment of the week.  I have hated planks for a while.  30 seconds at a time is usually my limit.  The challenge was to do 5 minutes of planks throughout the day.  I got 2 minutes done in 30 second intervals.  Then, I got on the exercise ball to attempt a few more planks.  Soon after I began, I got a call which I answered.  I talked and planked.  When I hung up, I had surpassed my goal! Longest planks ever! AWESOME!

Day 4 – 2/6: Buddy up!

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Workout with a fitness buddy! Woohoo! Dawn & I both did a circuit on Tuesday and did speed work together on the track on Thursday. (Side note, I am so tired of frozen finger runs! Spring, please come soon!)

Day 5 – 2/7: Fave Friday!

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again! The Fab 4 is instrumental for my fitness progress.  We hold each other accountable.  They are but one of my five fitness favorites.  You can read more about my Running Ingredients here.

I ended the week still moving by participating in the Baltimore Road Runner’s Club Valentine’s 10K Race.  It wasn’t my best race but it was definitely fun!

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The second week is all about how you can NOURISH your body.  I’m looking forward to some yummy challenges.

How did you MOVE last week? What is your favorite way to sweat?

Thank You #SexyShred!

Over the past 4 weeks, I have been participating in an awesome challenge. Started by @FeministaJones, it is a social media-based community Health and Fitness challenge.  It was created as a way for her to get off a serious plateau.  Now in its 5th and final cycle, I was happy to be able to participate as I have been firmly on a plateau for a few months now.

Very Clean Eating + Awesome Exercise Challenges = #SexyShredlifes short eat clean exercise

Clean Eating

Each week besides adhering to the clean eating diet, we were encouraged to do additional food challenges in the hope that these swaps would become lifestyle changes.  I have been eating clean for a while but I benefitted from being more mindful of my food choices and paying attention to portion sizes.  My personal challenge as I did this was to actually track what I ate and how much. I suffer from – Rungryitis. I run, I’m hungry, I eat like a bottomless pit.  This is a new issue for me.  But no matter how clean you eat, overeating is still overeating!

Thanks to #SexyShred, I have not had an overeating day and there have actually been days where I still had room to eat more yet felt full.  I think it’s because I was more mindful of what I was eating. The other benefit has been completely detoxing my body of sugar. The only sweeteners allowed are raw local honey and maple syrup.  So I’ve had honey but even that I’ve had sparingly.

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Here are some examples of foods that I ate on the challenge – Honey Oat Muffins, Zucchini with Eggs & Chicken Sausage for Post-Run Breakfast, and Pumpkin Blueberry Coconut Jars for afternoon snacks. Check out my Pinterest Healthy Recipes board for more ideas!

Exercise Challenges

So you all know that I am a Hysterrunner and that ever since my surgery I have been aiming to add more strength training into my routine.  Bikram Yoga and Aqua Zumba have been good to me for cross training.  But strength training and focused core work has been hit or miss.

#SexyShred had us aim for 240 minutes of exercise this week which is doable with my running schedule.  It also had weekly exercise challenges which pushed us to do things outside of our comfort zone – burpees, push-ups, crunches, wall sits.  All exercises which I hadn’t been incorporating regularly have been re-introduced into my routine.  One day we had to do 15 Russian twists every hour we were awake; another day was a 3-exercise circuit done as many times as possible in 20 minutes.  Being accountable to my fellow shredders was the motivation I needed to keep up with the challenges.

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Russian Twists with a 13lb weight!

Dealing with the Winter weather we have had over the past few weeks here in Maryland has made keeping up with my running hard.  As I wanted to not only hit the 240 minute mark but exceed it, I found other ways to exercise when running wasn’t possible.

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One Saturday morning the snow and ice derailed my long run plans but instead of sleeping in I did 3 workouts in one day – Yoga for Runners at Charm City Run and the circuit at Curves followed by a class at Xpose Fitness as a part of the #SexyShred group workout day.  Other days, I worked out in my basement.  I’ve finally started working on my upper body strength!

Results:

I have definitely seen improvements in my overall fitness levels in the past few weeks. Weekly 1-minute tests have improved for me – 0 Burpees in week 1 are now 15; 63 jumping jacks to 72! Today I will be completing the post-tests as well as my last workouts of the challenge and I can’t wait to see my progress.

Have I left the weight loss plateau? Sort of. After weeks of the scale not moving, I lost 1 pound on #SexyShred. My clothes are falling off as my body is changing from the strength training.  I’ll take that! It’s still Progress!

Did you do #SexyShred? Have you done any exercise or weight loss challenges for this year? Tell us about your progress in the comments.

Post Surgery Progress Timeline

This past weekend I was talking to someone who had recently had a hysterectomy.  She was determined to start exercising immediately and excited to get her body back.  She is 6 weeks post-op and started full force with Shaun T and T25. It was a bit much for her even with the modifications.

I realized that it seems to some people that I went straight from post-op to running long distances.  Nothing could be farther than the truth.  So I decided to share my timeline back to fitness after my total abdominal hysterectomy.

Weeks 1-2: RECOVERY – I couldn’t do much more than get out of be, especially in the first 2 weeks.  I listened to the the doctor as far as how to slowly resume normal activities.  NO exercise whatsoever.

Week 3-5: WALKING – I walked short distances to get moving.  Around the block. To the Lake. I didn’t do more than a mile or so at a time the first time.  I also started upper body strength training during my 4th week using exercises designed for women who had just had hysterectomies or pelvic floor surgeries.  You can read about my progress at that point here.

Week 6: RUNNING – I had my first run exactly 6 weeks post-op. It wasn’t my best run but it felt great to be out there.  I still was following doctor’s orders.  I could only do 1-2 miles at a time for a while but I stuck with it.

What I’m trying to say is that you should listen to your body as you get back into the swing of things.  It has been more than a year since my surgery and I still have issues with my lower abs and core.  I work on it and remind myself that I am making progress each day.  You will too.

How long was it before you started exercising post-surgery?  Did you have any setbacks that caused you to have to build back up your fitness levels?

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Rock N Roll Philly Half Marathon

Race # 10September 15th, 2013
Aiming for a PR!