Sunday, November 17, 2013

Saturday Snapshots

Here's a few snapshots from my day yesterday!

For my job, we have a Saturday Morning Meeting once a month and yesterday was our work day for November.  Sunrise was so gorgeous on my way in that I had to stop and pull over to take a picture!

The meeting runs from 7:30 - 9:30 and varies each month with a focus around a particular leadership topic.  Yesterday was Exceed Your Customer's Expectations.  One segment of the meeting had me almost crying as the company provided an update on Wreaths Across America.  It is such a heartwarming program and it was very difficult to hear the story of one family's loss of their son and what the program means to them.

From the meeting I headed straight to the gym.  I had scheduling challenges on Friday and wasn't able to do my arm workout.  It was busy in the gym but luckily I was able to get through the workout quickly.  The workout only required one machine and then the rest I was able to do with dumbbells.

I had booked my day very tight and had to get ready at the gym to make it to the next event on time...a baby shower for a friend.  Unfortunately when I packed for the day I forgot to pack a towel.  Good thing I was able to scrounge up $0.75 for a towel at the gym.  Lesson learned though because that towel was scratchy so I'll definitely try not to make that mistake again.

I headed out to the baby shower and got to enjoy Mimosas and Fried Chicken! The mom-to-be wanted Popeyes Chicken for her party so that's what we had.  I was thankful that they had ordered chicken tenders options too since I don't like to eat food on bones.  I've always been terrified of choking which is why I've never been a fan of fried chicken.

The party ended a little after 1:00 and I had some time to kill before the next event.  I have somehow misplaced my running headlamp so it was off to Rush Running to pick up a new one.  Then I headed to Hobby Lobby because I'm ready for the holidays.  I really wanted to make a wreath so I took my time shopping for supplies.  My vision changed slightly...I was originally going to go with a burlap look but the sparkle won me over plus the burlap wasn't on sale and you just can't buy things at Hobby Lobby unless they are on sale!

I knew that I wanted to put a big S inside the wreath and love how mine turned out.  I started with a plain wooden S, painted it lime green, and then hot glued some sequin foam balls onto the S in a mixed pattern.  I think the wreath turned out cute but I wasn't as even with the tulle around the frame as I would have liked.  Towards the end I figured out how to hang the wreath up so that it was easier to work with which is something I should have done during the phase when I was layering the tulle on the frame.

I skipped ahead...after my shopping trip, I headed to the Triple Threat Racing Kona Watch party and had fun catching up with fellow triathletes and watching some of the race.  I didn't actually craft my wreath until after I got home from the party!

All in all it was a busy Saturday and I was in bed early!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Plyos in the Park

Last week I met up with Aly from Triple Threat Racing for a plyometric workout.  I met her at her house for some backyard patio torture! Her patio surface is as she describes the perfect height for plyometric exercises.  The goal of meeting up with her was to learn the proper form and technique for the exercises so that when she puts them into my training plan I'll know what to do!

Today my schedule called for this type of workout.  I packed my gym bag with a couple of options this morning with the intention to do the workout after work.  Over the weekend I had scouted out locations for where I could do a plyometric workout.  You need a sturdy surface that is about knee height (or slightly higher) off the ground.  I found that one of our parks off the downtown square has a retaining wall that is the perfect height.  And for an added bonus the playground has a squishy rubber deck that feels much softer than concrete or even the ground.  

I headed out at lunch to run an errand and the sunlight inspired me to go ahead and get the workout done early.  Lucky again for me is that the Downtown Activity Center is centrally located between my office and the errand I was running so I just zipped over there and got changed.  As I was getting ready I made a discovery that could have been a fatal error for my workout plan.  I forgot to pack socks! I solved this momentary crisis by stopping at my car for money and then changing my warm-up run route to go past the local cycling shop Phat Tire.  I quickly picked out a pair of socks, put them on, and then got back to my warm-up.

I arrived at the park and was relieved that there weren't any kids around to make me feel guilty for borrowing their play space.  I began the workout and enjoyed the cool temps and warm sunlight.  It was a perfect Fall day even though the temps were cold.

It didn't take long for the workout to have me working up a sweat.  The most challenging part of the workout came when it was time for Side to Side Push Offs.  This picture shows me doing them at Aly's house using a bucket for the center surface.
Photo courtesy of Aly at @TripTRacing

I had to do some creative thinking since I didn't have a bucket! I found a platform on the playground that was a triangle that had a narrow enough spot to work.  It wasn't as high as the bucket but the intention was the same.

The workout ended with tuck jumps.  Last week I struggled to do the tuck jumps and stay in place.  I moved around tons doing them...not very far but I was definitely not landing in the same spot each time.  Today I was able to focus on the grid playground surface and keep myself in the same box for each set.  I tried to control my cheerleader arms on the tuck jumps but the photo is proof I had them up in the air!

I was surprised that I had worked up such a sweat in the cold air and wasn't really prepared for that.  I returned to the activity center and for some reason didn't take in any toiletries or hair products.  I got re-dressed in my work clothes and when I got to the car I was grossed out at how sweaty my hair line was.  I towel dried it as best I could with a towel from my swim bag and then kept the windows down slightly for the return drive to work.  It eventually dried but my hair was pretty flat and lifeless the rest of the day.  I had a hairdryer with me in the car but again I don't know why I didn't think to take that bag into the activity center.

I anticipate I'll repeat this workout and process in the future and will learn from this mistake.  Hair dryer and flat iron will be part of my locker room gear!

Have you tried plyometric workouts?  Aly tells me that they'll make me stronger and I'm giving it a whirl.  It's definitely a change from just a run workout or the boot camp workouts I have done in the past.

Monday, November 11, 2013

It's almost Holiday Bootie Buster Time!

This year marks the 4th year for me to participate in the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge. This annual challenge is hosted by  Amanda over at Run to the Finish.  Every year she changes it up slightly based on participant feedback.
The challenge is all about motivating yourself to keep active, eat healthy, and avoid holiday weight gain! Here are more details from Amanda.

This 8 week health & fitness challenge is meant to help everyone get a jump start on feeling great for the new year or stay on track with fitness/clean eating goals.  It’s a friendly competition to exercise, eat healthy and even do a little soul work. There are different fitness levels, so everybody can compete with a multitude of ways to earn points. {For some reason those points get you moving!!}
When: Nov 17 - Jan 5

Don't delay...sign up before the challenge starts on the 17th.  If you are like me, you'll quickly be motivated to earn those points.  This challenge always provides me with the extra motivation to get my miles in!  There are three different participation levels, costing $16.50 to $43.50 depending on which you choose.  There's great support on the Facebook page from all of the other participants too.

Here's more on what you can expect in the challenge.

2013 will be another chance for the challenge to grow and mature:
  • Over $3,000 in prizes again
  • Expert interviews with registered dieticians, world class running coaches, Ironman coaches, physical therapists and more
  • Weekly emails with tips pulled from the expert videos
  • Facebook support group - This group is like no other! Everyone checks in daily and provides a true support system
  • Optional 8 week training plan to get you through the holidays

Are you sold yet???? No, did I mention there are awesome prizes?  Well, there are opportunities to win prizes all through out the challenge. Prizes can range from apparel to product samples to GPS watches! Talk about awesome!!!  Click here to sign up and if you do please mention me for your referral.  Whitney Sutherland! 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Working on Strength - The Push UP-ocalypse

A few months ago I saw a note on Facebook about a new triathlon club forming in my area.  2013 was my first year to belong to a triathlon club and my experience with the club had not been what I had expected.  I knew the founders of the new club and knew that they had a great bond with all of their coached athletes.  I did some research on their website and then took advantage of an incentive offer to join the club for 2014 and get the last months of 2013 included.  One bonus perk was that they threw in a one month strength plan with the membership.  Perfect timing because I have a strength test on my docket to complete by the end of the year for my gym membership.

Coach Aly and I emailed a few times to talk about my goals and strength training history.  My goal is to do at least 36 push ups for the strength test (I only managed 24 last year.)  And for my strength training history...I have to admit to being a very bad triathlete that only does weight work during the offseason.  I haven't used a plan in the past, rather I would just attend boot camp class and count that full body workout as my strength training.  I think given my responses, Aly was a little scared that I was a rookie so we set up a time to meet at the gym and work through the exercises so that she could confirm I knew the correct form and so that I would understand what each exercise was when it showed up in my workout each week.

That day at the gym, she really put me through the ringer on push ups.  She definitely pushed me beyond my limits and challenged me that even though I can do them on my knees for the test I CAN do them from my toes so I should do them in workouts on my toes. Ha...I would never have pushed myself like that alone.

My workouts get delivered to me each week via Training Peaks.  We touch base via email and Facebook messages on any questions that I have about the workouts or comments on them.  I got started with the workouts and made my return to boot camp at about the same time.  The first workout was split up with boot camp class in the middle.  Let's just say the first night's push ups and core routine wore me out.  I had to do some Facebook recovery time between the sets and Coach Aly got onto me to get it done!

Fast forward and I've now finished up three weeks of Aly's crazy workouts! This past week marked a big achievement when I pulled through on Tuesday to complete 316 push ups.  I had a set of 8x10 push ups on toes with 7 sec set rest between each set and then 2 x 33 push ups on knees.  Then after the workout was all done and my core work completed there was another push ups set with another 8x10 and 3x30.

I like to do my push ups and core workouts in a hallway just off the gym floor.  It's quiet and I can suffer in solitude! Y'all... I almost cried these push ups hurt so bad.  I was dripping sweat and losing my grip on the mat.  Towards the end I had to increase the rest time and do a little mental pep talk to get going.  But I did it and finished the set!

I would say that this workout was a little bit of a break through for me.  I kept telling myself that if Aly believed I was capable of doing the workout then I should believe I was capable.  Often we don't realize how much more we truly are capable of doing.  Side workout Aly prescribed push ups with a clap.  Sadly on that one I couldn't clap but I could get my hands off the mat each time which amazed me.  I never would have imagined I could do that simply because I had never tried...and I had never tried because I thought I couldn't do it.

Back to the push ups...the next day I met up with Aly for a coached plyometric workout.  During one of the rest breaks, we were talking about the workout and I talked through the plan.  It was legs, push ups, core, push ups.  Aly looked at me and informed me she meant to delete the 2nd push ups set at the end of the workout.  HAHAHAHAHA...hilarious.  I told her it killed me and I had almost cried but I had kept going because that's what her workout said and while I'm a sarcastic person I am also at my core a rule-follower!

I need to remember in the future that I can only discover my limits when I test those boundaries and discover what I am capable of accomplishing.  I'm hoping to do my push ups test before Thanksgiving and I can't wait to see if I nail the 36 push ups to score bonus points on the testing.  I'll keep you all posted!