That’s the Way I Roll

Sitting here in my Nike tempo shorts is just too comfy. I’m supposed to be packing for orientation (YAY!), but right now I am simply basking in my day. It was one of the days you don’t expect to be amazing, but it was amazing anyway!

My day started with oats in a jar.


While I love oatmeal, I ran out of steel-cut and had to use blueberry instant in my emptied jar of Dark Chocolate Dreams.

I bought this jar on Thursday. Don’t judge.

Okay, you can judge, but it was DELICIOUS.

I also put in strawberries, blueberries, and strawberry yogurt. (In case you can’t tell, I dig strawberries!) I wasn’t wowed…maybe because it wasn’t overnight? Maybe because it was just too much sugar for me in the morning? It was awfully sugary, even for me, and I’m a sugar fiend!

After this experiment, I think I’ll stick to salty/savory flavors for breakfast, the most amazing meal of the day for me.

Speaking of amazing, I have two new features on my page! There is now a Races tab (where I can eagerly stare at the upcoming Walt Disney World Princess Half-Marathon in 2012), as well as a Blogroll! If you’d like to be added to the Blogroll, simply shoot me an email at adventureapril(at)gmail(dot)com. I love reading blogs and the best way to find gems sometimes is simply to ask nicely! That’s a good rule for life, I think, too. Asking nicely never hurt anybody.

Today, on a whim, my mom and I decided to have a picnic at the local park. I love an excuse to lug a ton of food with me, so I packed the cooler with fruit salad for the two of us (blueberries, peaches, bananas, watermelon, and strawberries!) along with a regular salad for me with breaded chicken, cucumbers, cheddar, and honey-dijon dressing. Yes, that cooler was packed full and 95% of the food was for me.


(Baby carrots are hiding in my hip Mickey Mouse container.)

Hey, that’s just the way I roll. =D

The park was crowded, but it was a nice ride down to the marina. There was a 50s-70s car show going on, so we got to look at all the cool vintage cars! My favorite was a VW Beetle, like this one:


We rode by quickly, keeping about a 9:30 pace (slight incline), and about 7:30 on the way back. Halfway through, we stopped to eat at a picnic bench!

(Take a photo! Of me! Of the bike! Of me…looking like a palm tree?!)

(Yes, that is my red helmet in the corner. Safety is sexy. Yes, I whip out cheesy quotes like nobody’s business. But seriously, the Safety is Sexy campaign is a great movement, and you can find more info and swag here.)

After a quick stop at the bike shop to fix my flat, we headed home. It turns out that I rode 3.42 miles on a slow leak. I suspected that was why it was so hard to balance, but I didn’t want to derail the picnic. I biked for 33 minutes to top everything off (and it was a MUCH smoother ride!) Today’s total mileage was about 8.5 miles–my Garmin is charging, so all my data will be in this week’s total.

I love biking, and that was my first long ride outside in over a year.

It’s good to be back.

What’s your favorite picnicking food?

Have you been biking lately?

5k and Saying Saturday

Today was my much-anticipated 5k. The local Luke M. Parlatore Memorial Run was held today. This was my first-ever 5k last year, so I was excited. I must have woken up five times last night to check the clock (every hour, on the hour!) to make sure I didn’t oversleep.

And then…I overslept!! Luckily, my dad kicked me out of bed at 7:30–I was supposed to be there by 8, yikes! I bolted out, threw on my race clothes, snagged some pb, and headed to the race start. I was there by 8:15, which was fine, since the gun was at 9:00. I mingled, picked up my shirt, and soon–we were off!!

(I snapped a quick photo before leaving my house. I’m wearing my favorite Killer Socks shirt, that has a nifty zipper in the back for my ID.)

My lovely parents took this shot of me at mile 1. It’s totally normal to act goofy in just a 5k, right?? My lax coach paced me for the first mile (10:08), but then I was on my own. I was in bliss! I was running faster than I have in ages, accompanied with some music (Disney classics next to Simple Plan. I hadn’t listened to either of them in a while. Best mix ever).

As much as I was enjoying myself, I was afraid of burn-out. I knew I couldn’t hold a 10:00 pace for three miles with no training. I’d only run a few times this month, and I’ve only run three miles twice! One was about 37:00 and the other about 35:00. I knew I had to slow it down.

Still, I was GIDDY!

(Around the three-mile mark, I’m still pacing well and feeling strong.)

I had started my Garmin late, so I knew my time was off, but after the first mile, I slowed to about an 11:15 pace. Which quickly became an 11:24 pace. I tried to keep it around 11:20 or so, and took the third mile back up to about 11:00. Toward the last half mile, I saw my pace creep to 12:00, and I fought it back down to 11:16 for the final lap around the track. That was a tough fight.

Somehow, for me, the second the finish line is in sight, it all gets so much harder. You’d think it would be easier, because it’s *right there*, but all my mind is thinking is…less than a quarter mile? I’m practically there! Can I walk now? I’m thirsty. My calves are bothering me. Those people staring think I’m evolving into a turtle, I bet.

I dug out all I could and finished in 32:10. That’s right, nearly a two-minute PR. With no formal training!!

I was so thrilled. Fueled up with a banana and took some more goofy photos before heading home.

Of course, because I just can’t get enough activity into my day, I went KAYAKING!

There was a local festival out on the bay, so my mom and I took a two-seater kayak out and paddled. My arms were much stronger than the last time I did this (yay, weight training!). <- I never thought I would say that. Should I preserve this moment?

Anyway, some good food this week:

Roasted red pepper hummus (Athenos), baby carrots, and crackers:



Grilled eggplant with mozzarella and tomatoes on a bun, and sauteed asparagus:

And the first ice cream cone of the season! Mint chocolate chip, my favorite.


(Okay, I try not to play favorites. They are all delicious and I would never turn ice cream down, pretty much.)

A runner today had a shirt that said “The only difference between try and triumph is the UMPH!” on the back. I loved it. I’m a sucker for cheesy motivational sayings.

What’s your favorite ice cream or froyo flavor? I’m long overdue for froyo. =D

And do you have a favorite saying?

Something That Scares You

I promised a while ago that I would post about trying spin for the first time. Technically, it wasn’t my first time (I tried it once in June 2009). I’ve blocked that memory from my head.

This is what I knew when I first signed up for spin that fateful day:

-It was on a bike.
-It was set to music.
-It was a good workout!

Hey, it sounded good to me. At the time, I had just started my gym membership and only taken half-hour classes, so I assumed spinning was a half-hour, too.

HAHAHA. As you spinners know, it is quite intense. However, I didn’t read fitness blogs at the time, and I had absolutely no idea what was in store for me.

I had only been running for twenty minutes at a time back then, and I was just starting to get in shape. When the instructor said to increase the tension, I increased it every time. I struggled, waiting for the half-hour mark. When we showed no sign of cooling down, I assumed it was a 45 minute class. At 40 minutes I realized it was an hour class. I looked around me at all the hardcore spinners and felt crestfallen. They were still going strong.

They even had fancy water bottles. =(

I was exhausted. I was intimidated. And I wanted OUTTA THERE! I hopped off that bike at the conclusion of the class, felt happy that I survived (and defeated at the same time), and thought I would try again someday. When I was ready.

“When I was ready” turned out to be two years later. Today. I’d been eyeing the spin schedule, but I didn’t have the guts to take it on.

Thanks to prom, my sleep schedule was all messed up. I woke up at 5:00 am. I’m an early riser, but that’s pushing it for me! Despite trying to get back to sleep, my stomach was roaring, so I gave in, made breakfast, and decided to do something crazy. Spin.

I drove to the gym with classical music on, hoping to calm down. I mustered the cheeriest good morning to the receptionist and signed up at 6:10 am, then hopped on the treadmill for forty minutes. Guilty pleasure while walking on the treadmill: reading the Gossip Girl series. It’s so addicting! My 2 miles were filled with the cattiness and glitz of Manhattan socialites.

I was so scared of taking spin again that I almost walked out after my warm-up. After a quick stretch, I entered the workout room. Luckily, some nice spinners showed me how to move and adjust my bike.

I’m proud to say I didn’t struggle until about 40 minutes in. I stopped increasing the tension, then, and didn’t hesitate to back off. After injuring myself from pushing it, I’m slooowly learning the difference between challenging your limits and pushing myself past the critical point of pain. Discomfort is okay. Sharp pain is NOT okay. This is now permanently ingrained in my head.

I walked out of the class today encouraged by the friendly spinners. I’m going to back just to completely get over my fear of it, but today was encouraging. I really love working out in the morning.

Good day! Now if only I could get my left eye to stop burning from too much chlorine….


(Dinner was leftovers from T.G.I. Friday’s: Jack Daniel’s chicken and sweet potato fries on top of romaine and tomatoes. My mom thinks I’m weird because I combine potatoes and lettuce. I THINK NOT.)

My legs were sore today, so I took it easy and stretched out with a swim.

I was craving a burger (although I doubt nothing will surpass my beloved Shack Shack), so I decided to head to Checkers. I got a Cheese Champ accidentally, but it was good. Next time, I’m going to forgo the mayo. (Sometimes, I just have to say AYYYYYYYO, PLEASE NO MAYO.)


(I took it on my phone, because in true classiness, I ate in my car.)

For dinner, I cooked grilled some delicious eggplant with mozzarella and tomatoes, on top of spaghetti. I also had a salad with tomato, mozzarella, and honey mustard dressing. YUM.


(SO DELISH. I could eat eggplant forever, pretty much.)

(I love putting the cheese from the main course in my salad. It’s like the previews that get you excited for the movie.)

(My snack on top of my workout schedule. The banana is covering all my “tough” workouts, I swear. Accompanied by much more than two of those amazing chocolate-covered cashews. I could munch on these lots more. Soooo good.)


Sunday:
40 min. walk (2 miles) + 60 min. spin + 45 min. swim
Monday: 30 min. swim

What’s something that scares you? Is it a workout that pushes your limits, or a new situation that gives you the jitters?

The Party That Never Stops

So, since high school has finished up…I went to prom last night!

PROMPROMPROM. (Okay, I had to get that out of my system. *phew*)

Now, I am not a girly, extravagant sort of person. Yet, for some reason, prom still gives me the jitters and I get ridiculously excited. It helps that my date was absolutely wonderful.

No workouts, just dancing! A very good Friday indeed.


(Please excuse my messy living room. Painting your nails > tidying up, right?)

Anyway, I didn’t get back till four am (due to traffic…yes, traffic)! For this early riser, it was super late. I didn’t fall asleep till around 5:30.

I may have indulged in some fantastic ice cream cake at prom and a chocolate croissant when I got home, but hey, it’s prom! Only happens once. (Okay, well, twice for me, but I’m just going to stand by that. Indulging = perfectly okay on fancy occasions. Heck, indulging is just okay overall in my mind!)

After waking up at noon and lounging around my house, I decided I should actually DO something today and headed to the gym.

Since I felt so good with running before and there’s a local 5k coming up, I decided to see if I could run one. I could! I averaged about a 12:00 pace (once tuuuuuurtle pace for me), because I didn’t want to push it. I ran the 5k in 37:22. Now I think it’ll be safe to run the official race on Saturday, no matter how slowly. I just hope registration isn’t filled and the t-shirts aren’t gone yet. I ran the same 5k about one year ago, so it’ll be neat to do it again.

I also did strength training. I could only manage about 10 lbs on the shoulder press, which is sort of pitiful. I’m going to work on that. I think I’ll look up similar exercises to do at home, too.

The only thing that got me through it was “Give Me Everything” playing on repeat in my head, from last night. Sometimes I love when music gets stuck in my head and distracts me. I replayed my favorite moments from last night while I worked out–it was a continued party! Hey, at least it made the workout more fun. Blech, shoulder presses.

Do you have a local race you’ve run more than once?

And, more importantly, what song is stuck in your head at the moment? “Give Me Everything” can’t last me forever!

Couldn’t Wait for Weights!

Ten past midnight–it’s officially Friday!

Lots of exciting events happened this week!

Monday was my first LONG RUN in about three months (thanks, dailymile!). Granted, “long” is twenty minutes for me now (and probably under two miles…my Garmin had died.) Still, it’s a HUGE improvement when I had to stop after six minute intervals (and I could only run two segments of six, so it’s a big deal!). I’m really pleased.

On Tuesday, I realized that the HIKING TRIP OF DOOM I signed up for departs on August 19th. That’s just about two months away, and I know my muscles have been quite comfy being wimpy lately. I headed to the gym for a vigorous ride on the wonderful Expresso bike. Nothing beats a ride outside, but my area isn’t the greatest for biking…so to the gym it was!

My weights workout took me about an hour. Everything is 12 reps, three sets:

Torso Rotation (30 lbs)
Seated Leg Curl (40 lbs)
Leg Extension (35 lbs)
Glute (or as I skillfully call it, the skip/push machine!) (45 lbs)
Seated Leg Press (40 lbs)
Fly (30 lbs)
Abdominal (30 lbs)
Row/rear Deltoid (30 lbs)
Shoulder Press (15 lbs)
Chest Press (15 lbs)
Triceps Press (30 lbs)

I was keeping track, and I starred the ones I had the hardest times with.

**Leg extension – (this machine was broken today, so I didn’t try it…)
**Row/Rear Deltoid – I can’t imagine what it must be like to row crew! Whoa. I kinda like this one, in a struggling, tough way.
*****Shoulder Press – HOLY COW. I only lifted fifteen lbs the first time, and I was struggling to maintain perfect form by the third set. Today was MUCH better, but it’s clear that these muscles (and my arms in general) are a weak point.
**Chest Press – (Okay. Tough, but manageable.)
Triceps Press – The first day, the machine was busy, and that was enough excuse for me. My muscles were so tired. Today, I tackled that machine NO PROBLEM.

Today was fine, but on Tuesday, I was like…I have to do more of this?!

YIKES.

Muscles learn so quickly, though! I’m really amazed. I’m working my way up to 40 lbs (the size of the backpack I’ll be carrying) by the end of July.

Wednesday I had a picnic in Central Park with friends. It was fantastic, and afterward we walked down to Times Square and through several stores. I might have picked up several items in Forever 21 (all for the good purpose of working out my arms, of course!). Hehe.

I came equipped with a whole wheat bagel thin topped with pb and banana,


and a bento box chock full of baby carrots, blueberries, and watermelon.


(Eating something in a pink container makes it cool, right?)

Today, I felt like quite the bad-a** with the weights. I dread lifting, but I know it’s so good for me. There’s nothing like pushing yourself! (Plus, I get to have an ice-cold glass of milk afterward, in the name of protein and fuel.)

I had a gigantic salad for dinner with romaine, corn, black beans, cantaloupe, cucumbers, pineapple salsa, and grilled asparagus.


(Note to self: next time–more cantaloupe, fewer cucumbers! They were a little bitter.)

While I had the grill out, I grilled a banana with crushed walnuts and cinnamon, and topped it off with honey. Delish!

Here’s to a great weekend!

Monday: 15 min. swim + 20 min. run.
Tuesday: 50 min. bike (9.1 miles) + 60 min. weights
Wednesday: LOTS OF WALKING
Thursday: 30 min. bike + 60 min. weights, 60 min. recumbent bike
Friday: Rest!

Week’s Total: 4 hours, 55 min.

What’s the toughest strength workout for you? What are your favorite machines (and the most dreaded)?

There Are Some Weeks…

where everything just rocks.

This week was one of those weeks!

Last Saturday, I finally GRADUATED! Done with high school at last!


Was it bittersweet? Sure, but I’m definitely glad it’s SUMMER! Time for my favorite things in the world: the state of practically living in the pool, devouring watermelon, ice cream, sleeping till whenever.

I am so excited! I’ve been so excited lately it’s practically my permanent state of being.

I was excited to make a GIGANTIC SALAD with all the summery food in my fridge:
Romaine, black beans, steamed broccoli, corn, seedless red grapes, cheddar, and watermelon.

Luckily, this excitement translates to my workouts.

Monday: 60 min. swim
Tuesday: Rest!
Wednesday: 60 min. swim
Thursday: 30 min. swim, 40 min. bike (~8.8 miles), 60 min. Zumba
Friday: 40 min. swim, 30 min. walk, 15 min. stairs
Saturday: Rest!
Sunday: 60 min. swim

Workout Thoughts:
Thursday was excellent! I really liked spreading my workouts through the day. I usually only take one rest day, but this week, two felt right, and I’m glad I did.

Can you tell I’m addicted to swimming? Since running long distances isn’t manageable right now, swimming has become the equivalent of my “long run.” It’s not quite the same, but…my shoulders have never been quite so toned. =D I love the rush afterward, of course, and I feel swimming makes me more flexible.

Are you addicted to a certain kind of exercise? (Running AND swimming for me!)
Why?


Dare I Say It?

For the past two weeks, I haven’t dared utter a word of what I have been doing.

Running!

What has been taboo since March 23rd for me (after an ill-timed torn tendon), is now slowly creeping back into a habit. I have been taking the process extremely slow. I injured myself by doing too much too soon, and I’m determined not to do so again.

I’ve been jog/walking, actually, and even though I’m of the “if you put on running shoes and slog through any kind of weather, no matter what the speed, you’re a runner” camp, I felt as if I were deceiving myself.

Today I ran for six minutes and walked for one minute. Just for a mile. Granted, it was a slow mile, but I had no pain at all afterward. My watch even said I was on track for an 11:17 mile. I am going to focus on the fact that I RAN A MILE WITH NO PAIN and ignore that it was only a little over twelve minutes, actually, because I took two walk breaks.

I’m okay with walk breaks. (Repeat to self ten zillion times until I actually believe it.)

I know eventually I’m going to tear through the Walt Disney World Princess Half-Marathon, and I’m going to be in tip-top shape because I’m being careful.

I hope.

Ahhh, caution.

A good adventurer should not throw caution out the window. Maybe you should just tuck it in a back pocket–the kind with a zipper, you know, the one where it won’t fly away.

After over two months of molding my body to my couch (seriously), I’ve had a lot of time to ruminate about my running philosophy. After all, my life philosophy is to BE ADVENTUROUS.

How this translates into my running/fitness life:

Try new ways of cross-training. Rock climbing! Swimming! Biking! Even spin. Uh-oh. (My second-ever spin class post is coming this week! I blocked the memory of the first one out of my mind. From the horror.) Triathlon sounds like a fantastic idea to me–I can count cross-training as my real training! I love multi-tasking.

Be practical. I love the idea of barefoot running. Born to Run romanticizes it, but I have no doubts that humanity thrived barefoot for ages and the technique has its benefits. However, I don’t think it’s easy in the Northeast to run with my toes peeking out in the dead of winter. Minimalist running is a good compromise–I run in New Balance WT101 shoes. My knee problems have disappeared in them, and they’re both lightweight and durable. The majority of my running is asphalt, not trail, but whatever works! They’ve molded well to my feet and they’re comfy. I don’t need bells and whistles on my shoes as long as I can do what I have to–run, and run well. I shaved a minute from my mile time with my first timed run in these shoes, and I definitely think it was because lighter shoes made me increase my step cadence.

According to Galloway, “When you practice running with a lighter, quicker turnover, you become a faster, more efficient runner. An increased cadence also decreases your risk of injury, because your feet spend less time pounding the pavement.”

Sounds good to me!

LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. I tooted this one around before, but now I truly try to follow it. I never skip a warm-up or cool down. There is a difference between “sore” and “hurt” and I learned it the hard way.

Happy adventuring! I’m back on track for my goals, and that’s a successful day in my mind, no matter how slow.

Scare Yourself

I’m a big believer in pushing myself out of my comfort zone.

That is…until I actually have to step out of it!

I’ve always been a little bit afraid of heights. Or more accurately, I’ve been afraid of falling. I’ve learned to enjoy the thrill of roller coasters, but one thing has always sent me shaking–views of cliffs and harnesses.

That’s right: rock climbing.

My adventure the other day may not have been momentous as the rock climbing I’ve been eyeing on Expedition: Impossible, but it was an adventure nonetheless. At a local festival, I attempted the task of inflatable rock climbing:

Step 1:
Ditch the shoes! YOUR SHOES HOLD YOU BACK. Hmmm, well, that quite fits with all the reading I’ve done on barefoot running recently. (More on my running philosophy later this week.)

Step 2:
Strap on that harness!
There comes a time in life when you don’t want anything to tie you down.
This is not one of those times.

Step 3:
CONQUER THAT INFLATABLE TIKI TOWER!

It was not easy. I attempted it once and only made it halfway up. But the second time, that tiki tower was mine! Take that!

Of course, I rewarded myself with some lovely, complimentary popcorn afterward.

Now I’m absolutely looking forward to experiencing indoor rock climbing at The Inner Wall this fall. I’m not quite ready for outdoor climbing yet….

After all, the very next day, I was shaking on a ladder as I put up yard decorations. I told myself that if I could make it up a tiki tower, I could certainly make it up to the third step of the ladder.

And I did.

Whether your fear is climbing the local mountain or stepping foot on a ladder, you can overcome it!

Happy adventuring!