Ups & Downs

Some days are good, and some days are bad. It has been a week of ups and downs.

I tried to go for a run about a week ago, and my foot pain returned. At this point, I have no idea what’s going on with this foot – it doesn’t hurt when I run, and seems the worst first thing in the morning. I backed off of run/walking again and think I’m going to have to finally have this checked out (instead of ignoring it and pretending it wasn’t an issue). Bummer.

In addition to the weird foot, I definitely injured a tendon in my elbow at a yoga class last week. It doesn’t seem to be anything major, but it does hold me back a little bit in some classes. I’m trying to keep up with my cardio classes and avoid anything that’s too intense on my elbow for now.

BUT…despite these setbacks, I had a major week of breakthroughs, too. First, I sat front and center at my absolute favorite rowing class at Brooklyn Crew. I have been feeling really strong in these classes (45 minutes of rowing on a Concept2 dynamic rower), and even got some props from the instructor after class on Saturday about my performance in class. The dynamic is a lot different than a Model C or D, and really works the core muscles – a weak area for me. The feedback from the instructor has really boosted my confidence and helps me know that I’m making progress.

My other big milestone was taking – and surviving – a spin class last weekend! I had only tried spinning once before, and was completely WRECKED afterward. No joke, I had to work from home the Monday after I took the class because I literally couldn’t walk, and I was in pretty extreme pain for over a week. I finally got up the courage to try another class and I LOVED IT. And, the day after I’m a little sore, but totally functional. Woohoo! Not only did I feel great during and after the workout, I absolutely adored the studio, The Monster Cycle + Studio and instructor. It was so great that my husband and I both bought shirts from the studio on our very first visit and already signed up for more classes. One of the great draws of this studio is the two giant screens playing the music videos of the great playlist songs. It’s really awesome to have something to look at while pedaling to the beat. And the instructor was just the right ratio of encouraging, fun and silly. Another great perk was being able to order a smoothie before class, and have it ready and waiting as soon as class was over! I absolutely cannot wait to go back next weekend!

To balance out all of this high intensity workouts, I make sure I’m getting 1-2 restorative yoga classes in per week. My restorative teacher often talks about chakras during class, and I’ve recently discovered malas. I think these meditation tools are really awesome, and I started making some malas that correspond to chakra colors! My first two handmade malas are below! It was so fun to make these, and they turned out so well I decided to put them up in my Etsy store (click on the photos to visit the Etsy listing!). I can’t wait to make more. My plan is to have one mala for each major chakra color, to wear or meditate with on days when I’m feeling like the skill or organs connected to that chakra are in need of a little help!

Green Heart Chakra Mala

Green Heart Chakra Mala

Blue Throat Chakra Mala

Blue Throat Chakra Mala

Have you ever used a mala? If so, I’d love to hear more about your experience and how you’ve used it!

Dealing with the Little Bumps in the Road

A slow workout week, since my knee was sore from the 7 miles of marathon walking last weekend! I knew I was just sore and not injured, but didn’t want to aggravate the soreness, so I laid off the cardio.

Instead, I hit up my beloved restorative yoga with Gina at Ishta Downtown on Monday. Although I’m at a relatively low-stress period in my life, I still find great benefits from these restorative and meditative classes. I can’t imagine what wonders they would have worked had I discovered them in more stressful times.

On Wednesday my knee was still bugging me, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me from getting in some sweat time! I guess one thing I’ve learned from being hurt so often is not to give up when there are bumps in the road. So, I did some body weight exercises that wouldn’t stress my knee with repetitive motion. I ended up doing:

With the exception of the pushups and side planks, all of these exercises have been prescribed to me by physical therapists in the past to help with weak/deactivated glutes. That glute weakness leads to knee and hip issues in both legs. I was really proud of myself that instead of sulking that I was sore, I was able to turn it into an opportunity to strengthen some weak areas!! Huge mental progress for me.

Thursday also tested my mental strength. I was having a hard time sticking to my clean eating. I had some appointments in the evening, I was super hungry and Five Guys was calling my name. BUT — I resisted, and had a lovely dinner of delicious, paleo leftovers. Exercising my willpower muscles big time!

Friday was Zumba time! My knee was all clear by Friday, and I had a blast in class. Apparently my best move is twerking. The instructor went nuts. Who knew?

I was feeling great with the fresh knee and a good sweat on Friday, so I decided that today would be the day I went for a run. I had taken a few weeks off when I developed some really nagging and concerning pain in my foot. It was a crisp, cold, beautiful day in Brooklyn, and I just HAD to be outside. I picked up right where I had left off with:

  • 5 minute warm up walk
  • 12 x 2 minute walk, 20 second run
  • 2 minute brisk walk
  • 5 minute cool down walk

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It was so great to finally get out and get some running in, if only for a few minutes. I can definitely tell that the classes I’ve been taking this last month are translating to my running. Yay crosstraining! I closed out my week by registering for a few Classpass classes for next week!

Overall it was a really fantastic week in which I overcame some mental hurdles. They may not have been major obstacles, but I feel like these opportunities to make positive decisions will help out when something bigger comes my way. As one of my biggest inspirations says, “Just keep moving forward!”.

Hope you all had a wonderful week! What opportunities have you had recently for making positive decisions?

Walk and Row

I’m trying to take FULL advantage of my Classpass by trying as many new activities as possible. I have to say, I am absolutely LOVING it. So fun to do new things that are still giving me a great workout. So yesterday, I jumped into a rowing class! I had rowed a little bit last winter during a brief CrossFit stint, but nothing more than a few minutes. I decided to hit up an afternoon class at Row House with Sam.

We spent the first ten minutes or so learning proper technique. I didn’t hear any corrections directed at me, so I just kept doing what I was doing! Turns out that later on in the class I’d find out that I have really great form on the erg, so that’s cool! It’s always nice to go in to something new and do it well.

After this warm-up/technique session, we started the actual workout. We did sets of power 10s, a ten minute period of rowing 300 meters hard, then 40 seconds of rest, and finished with a 5 minute all-out sprint. In between each set, we did 5-10 minutes of body weight exercises like squats, dips, pushups, and ab work. With each set of rowing, we were given kind of a target to hit, which was really helpful to me. The 5 minute sprint was done almost entirely in total darkness. I’m sure that was to help us focus entirely on working the erg, but I actually wished I could see my distance (the goal was 1000 meters). Either way, by the end of this sprint, I was spent.

The class was very simple to follow, the instructor demoed everything we needed to do and it is very self-paced – you work at your level. My only gripe was that it was extremely hard to hear him. I’m not sure if it was the microphone or the acoustics of the room, but everything came out kind of muffled. However, the class was small enough and he moved around enough to help that no one was left behind.

I’m feeling pretty sore today, but nothing too crazy. I do know that I absolutely LOVED rowing. It just seems to be something I’m kind of naturally good at, and seems to really be a total body exercise. I’m feeling it in my legs, arms, abs and back today. I will for sure be back to Row House, and honestly if I had to leave Classpass tomorrow, I’d probably join a rowing studio. It was that great.

To try and alleviate some of the soreness, I went for a walk today. I’ve been focusing on some low/no impact activities lately since I was having some soreness in my foot. I haven’t had any soreness in several days, so decided it was time to hit the road again and see what happens. I went on a 50 minute walk this evening in some absolutely beautiful weather.

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We’ll see how the foot reacts, and if all systems are go, might try bringing some jogging back into the mix! SeaWheeze is a mere 294 days away!

How was your Saturday? Try any new workouts?

Rolling with the Punches

As I mentioned in my last post, I have been feeling some tenderness in the top of my right foot lately. I decided to take a rest from my runs to see if this discomfort would go away. In the meantime, I wanted to make sure I was still doing things to improve my overall fitness and mobility. Last week was just plain crazy with some pretty significant changes in my personal/work situation, so I knew it would be hard to fit in workouts anyway.

Friday night was a big night out to celebrate some of the aforementioned changes. While this was a food and drink calorie-fest, it also turned into a pretty epic dance night so…I’ll call it a draw. Saturday was nothing but a recovery day in every sense of the word.

Sunday is when I got back to business. Since I had so much fun dancing Friday night, I ended up doing about half an hour of hip hop workout routines, followed by this awesome program I stumbled across called the Anti Office Workout. The general idea behind this workout is: “It addresses the muscle imbalances and posture problems that develop from constantly sitting”. Boy do I need that. It focuses on hips and shoulders, two of my most persistent problem areas that I truly believe are constant issues because of sitting at a desk all day. I was still pretty pooped from the weekend antics, so I only made it through the bridge part of the corrective workout (after doing the soft tissue work and stretching). I hope that incorporating these movements will help with mobility and strength, and by extension my performance and injury prevention.

How was everyone’s weekend? Anybody try a great new workout?

Sunday Sickday

Sadly, this week’s Sunday Runday turned into Sunday Sickday. While I managed to drag myself all over NYC to make some time-sensitive returns and buy some fancy new running gear, I felt like garbage all day and ended up sleeping the entire afternoon and evening. Which meant no running. Since I’ve been feeling a bit achy, including a foot that’s been a little sore, I suppose the extra day of rest wasn’t a horrible thing. While I really want to stick to a regular schedule, I definitely need to make sure I’m listening to my body as well.

Feeling sick has also flushed my diet down the toilet, including taco bell, tortilla chips and popcorn today. Yikes. I ate like…no actual, real food today. I really feel like one thing that will help me get to my final goal of SeaWheeze is dropping some weight. I’m not really one with body image issues, I just think that I’d be a much more efficient and less-injury-plagued runner if I wasn’t carrying around so much weight. Unfortunately, I know that eating Paleo will absolutely help me drop the weight, I’m just sometimes pretty weak when it comes to eating…garbage. I find it hard to maintain the 80% paleo rule. I seem to be a little all-or-nothing when it comes to my diet. I’ve completed two Whole30’s, so I know I can commit, but it seems when I’m not going all out, I have a hard time keeping on a reasonable track. Does anyone have any advise for something like this?

In other, more fun news, I picked up some running goodies today. I had been intrigued by CW-X’s Stabilyx tights for a while. I asked for some advice from my favorite triathlon resource, and got incredibly positive feedback about the tights. So today I picked up a pair of the Stabilyx tights as well as the Ventilator top. While I went in for the pants, I might be even more excited about the top. I have always had trouble with my posture, even when not running. Unfortunately in the last six months my poor posture has created some injury issues in my shoulder. This top is designed to help with posture, and I think it will be really helpful while running. Even though I try to concentrate on my posture a lot while running, I know when I get tired I start to slouch. I’m hoping this will help out with that. The tights are designed to support your joints and muscles, as well as aid with recovery. It’s still a little warm in NYC for full tights so it might be a while before I wear them, but I’ll be sure to post a review once I’ve given them a spin.

Hope everyone had a great weekend and great runs! I have a really crazy work week coming up, but hope to post some reviews of some new fitness classes I want to try through ClassPass soon!