Monday, December 31, 2012

2013 Goals

I feel like I accomplished a lot in 2012 related to my physical fitness. So much healthier, physically at least.

My 2013 goals focus a lot more on my emotional/mental fitness.  They are still a work in progress, but at least a starting point. And more than goals, they are more like my own personal Happiness Project.

Additionally, I just found out today that the nagging leg pain I've been experiencing is in fact a stress fracture.  So, no more running or other strenuous legwork for 4-6 weeks for me.  Sure puts a damper on some of the goals I was contemplating for 2013.  I'll re-examine them once I'm healed though and see.  In the meantime, hopefully I can maintain my cardiovascular health.  Anyone have any tips for doing that without using your legs?

I tried to come up with twelve items with the intention of focusing on one per month, although I haven't really determined which ones are first.

In no particular order:
1) Be a better Mom
2) Breathe more energy into my life
3) Foster friendship and community
4) Improve my attitude
5) Make more time for play
6) Rediscover and nurture my passions
7) Take my professional presence to the next level
8) Focus on fitness - especially emotional & mental
9) Remember love
10) Accept myself
11) Overcome fear
12) Own my strengths - inner & outer

I'll try to expand on each of them more later as I determine specific goals and action items within them.  But it's a start anyway.

I'm very much looking forward to 2013.  I have lots of hopes and aspirations for 2013.  It is going to be a good year, I can feel it.

What are your goals for 2013?


Coming clean...

I've had another bout of no-blogging-itis.  I had a lot on my mind and was swirling about and ultimately went back and forth and just didn't prioritize blogging. 

But I think I'm back again.  Well, hopefully anyway.

I've alluded to something that's been going on in my life in quite a few posts in the past few months.  I've circled around it.  I've implied it.  But I've never actually admitted it.  I think I'm ready.

I'm getting divorced.

Yes, it's happening.  It was my decision.  My choice.  But that hasn't made it any easier to deal with.

I feel like a huge failure.  I feel awful for hurting loved ones.  I feel horrible that my daughter and my marriage is now just another statistic.  Honestly, in the short term - it completely sucks.

But I had to think of the long term.  I wasn't happy.  I wasn't reaching my potential.  I take the blame. I take the fault.

Long term I want to be happy.  And it's important to me that my daughter sees me as a strong female role model who shows her how to be happy and achieve her dreams.  That's what is important to me right now.

So please be patient with me while I try to pick up the pieces of my life.  I'm trying to do the best I can with what I have.  I'll try to blog about it when I can.  But we will see.

So, now that proverbially the elephant in the room has been talked about, perhaps I will feel like I can move on and talk more about what's going on with me and how I'm continuing to try to be a fitter mommy.

Here's wishing everyone a wonderful 2013!  Farewell to 2012!


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I am thankful for....popcorn

I LOVE popcorn. It brings me comfort. I love the texture. I love the taste. I love it almost anyway.

I consume far more popcorn than the average person. I can just eat and eat and eat more of it.

Thankfully it isn't the worst food in the world for me I guess since I do not load it with butter. Usually I just like it with spices.

So yummy!

What is your comfort food?


I am thankful for....cyber Monday deals

I am usually not a huge cyber Monday shopper and its been close to a decade since I went out on black Friday. This year however I found a deal I really could not turn down. I really want to do an obstacle course 5k in 2013 and low and behold like a sign, there was a deal for a 2013 race. Guess who is officially signed up for Warrior Dash 2013?

This girl!

September 21, 2013.

I am excited, scared, anxious, much. Scary to book so far in advance but damn it I need to start doing the things I want to but have been afraid to in the past.

Did you get any good cyber Monday deals?


I am thankful for...reading

I took a couple days off again to unplug and I did a lot of reading. I had a very rough week last week and I think I may have hot the emotional equivalent of rock bottom (at least I hope anyway...I can not imagine much worse!).

So to cope, I did a huge amount of reading this weekend both on my own and with the Little.

I read "The Road", "City of Bones", & "Born to Run". I also read a couple magazines I had sitting around that I had not had a chance to get to.

The Little & I did lots of reading together as well. She is currently loving the Little Critter books which is fun.

I personally love reading since it transports me to another place. I love also showing my baby that reading can be so fun.

Have you read any good books lately?


Saturday, November 24, 2012

I am thankful

I am lucky enough to live in a rural area with plenty of farm country. Add to that the fact that I was born and raised a country girl. Result - I appreciate the hard work it takes to put a meal on the table.

As part of my effort to shop local, I supported a local far, I love by buying my winter supply of ground beef. I love the fact that you can drive by the cows, see them happily grazing in the fields. I am by mo means a vegetarian, although I am trying to eat less meat these days, but I do want to make sure that the meat I eat came from animals that were treated as humanely as possible and that they got a chance to live.

So I drive past the fields of happily grazing cows to a local farm stand and purchase locally raised beef. And its deliciously awesome and priced better than it is at the big box market. It was $4.99/lb and its very lean....probably like 90-95%. Plus this weekend it was $5 off $50, so I bought 10 pounds to stock up and save a few dollars.

I am thankful for the farmers in our area and that they provide food for us. I am also thankful that I know how to garden and grow some of my own food thanks to my family.


Friday, November 23, 2012

I am thankful for...traditions

Today the Little and I set up our Christmas tree. I am starting this as our Christmas tradition.

I decided to surprise her and I set up the tree while she was napping. I let her nap on the couch and set up the tree in the living room right behind her while she slept. I took her a while to notice the tree when she woke up, but when she did, she was sooooo excited. It was definitely my favorite moment of the day!

She kept saying things like, "Mommy, there's a Christmas tree in the living room. It's magic. It is so pretty!"

So today I am thankful for traditions with my family. They keep us grounded and remind us of the things that really matter in life.

What traditions do you have?


Thursday, November 22, 2012

I am thankful for...Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving this year had so many emotions for me. It was especially meaningful. I have really been reminded lately of the things I should be thankful for. So I am thankful for Thanksgiving this year to bring me back to center.

It has also been wonderful seeing so many others around me expressing their gratitude.

No matter how conventional (or unconventional) your day was, I hope you had a wonderful holiday!

My little says, "It is Happy Birthday Turkey Day today." Good thing we were unconventional and had spaghetti and meatballs right?

What memories from today make you smile?


I am thankful for...days off blogging

Yep, I did not post yesterday. I took a day off. And I am thankful for that. I did other things instead and they helped my mental state immensely. So I will double up on my thankful posts today.

What?!? Are you the blog police or something?


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I am thankful for...sleep

I have trouble sleeping a lot. I do not think that will be the case tonight. It has been a rough few days for me and I am exhausted. Heading to bed now. I am thankful for sleep today!


Monday, November 19, 2012

I am thankful Little

Today I am so very thankful for my little. I love her more than words can describe. On especially tough days like today, sometimes thinking of her is what helps me through. So much of what I do is for her. She means the world to me. My G - Momma loves you!!!


Sunday, November 18, 2012

I am thankful for...movies

The Little and I watched 'Sofia the First" on Disney channel tonight when it premiered. It was a pretty cute movie, but the best part was that she watched almost all of it and we cuddled and giggled. It was so sweet. I am thankful for movies I can watch with my Little so I have moments like this to cherish.

Watched any good movies lately?


Saturday, November 17, 2012

I am thankful for...cinnamon

I love cinnamon in its various forms. Some of my favorite uses are in coffee, peanut butter toast, candy, and in smoothies. I very recently found a box of Hot Tamale candies at the store - so yummy! They are my favorite!

Lucky for me, cinnamon is also good for you (I know probably not in the hot tamale form as much as the ground cinnamon form, but cut a sister a break!). I have read some reports that it stifles appetite and helps your body metabolize sugar more efficiently. Sounds good to me.

Mostly though, I am just thankful for the smell and taste. It has such a comforting effect on me.

Do any spices have this effect on you?


Friday, November 16, 2012

I am thankful for...socks

Socks? I know...and yes I am thankful for socks. Especially new socks.  My feet have a tendency to get cold, and socks help tremendously. So today I am thankful for my comfy socks that also keep my feet warm and serve as good sock puppets for fun.

What are your thoughts on socks?


Thursday, November 15, 2012

I am thankful for...giggles

Had quite the gigglefest with the Little tonight and it made me so thankful for the moment. We took turns spinning each other in our spinning chair....smiles turned to laughs, which became giggles, and culminated in belly laughs. I swear, there is nothing like toddler laughs! You have to feel happy when you see a toddler laugh! I am thankful for those moments.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I am thankful

I have been listening to more music of late than I typically have in the past and it made me realize how much I appreciate it. It can change your mood, help you cope, give you energy, or just make you  smile.

I am making quite the random list of songs I want to download. I will admit, I have quite the interesting tastes in music, but I am not a music connoisseur by any means. And I can not for the life of me remember music trivia for my life. Oh well. I enjoy it nonetheless.

What songs ate you digging right now?


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I am thankful for...sunshine

Sunshine makes so many things better. I got to sit in the sun for a few minutes with a friend today (Hi J!) and just enjoy the natural light and pleasant company.  As the days get shorter, it's especially nice to take a few minutes and just appreciate the sunshine and what it can provide.  I'm thankful for the sunshine, despite not always having time to appreciate it.

For the longest when the Little was a baby, I'd sing "You are my Sunshine" to her each night.  I loved singing it - it always reminds me of my Grandma.  The Little apparently doesn't share the same affinity for the song as I do yet time perhaps, in time.

When was the last time you sat and enjoyed the sunshine for a few minutes?


Monday, November 12, 2012

I am thankful for....strength

I am not going to was a rough day for so many reasons....cranky toddler, finding out some hard truths, and just general weird things happening (like getting a door to the eye socket...hopefully I do not get a black eye tomorrow).

At so many moments today did I get down and out and think of giving up...but I dug down deep and found my inner strength and relied on some brute force strength (plus some kind words and encouragement from friends reminding me I am indeed a strong person and a good person), and I persevered.

Today I am thankful for physical, internal, and emotional strength to help carry us through rough seas. Whether you discover it yourself, have others around you to remind you, or a guiding force that gives you what you need - however you stay strong, be thankful that you can.  Tough times mean good times are ahead I believe...a test to make sure you are ready.

Where do you find strength?


Sunday, November 11, 2012

I am thankful for...Indian summer days

We have an uncharacteristically warm day today for a New England November day.  It was in the 60's! I am very thankful for one more day to enjoy the wonderful outdoors.

So we took advantage!

First we went to the playground on a play date. An hour and a half later after lots of swinging, sliding, running, and general play we were pretty tuckered out.

But it was just so nice. So we went to the local trail (part of the East Coast Greenway) and walked close to 1.5 miles outside.

Then we headed to Bakers Dozen where we enjoyed a coffee treat (me) and a strawberry sprinkle donut (the Little).

Then we headed out, and the Little promptly fell asleep - nap time!!

I was lucky enough to be able to sneak out during the Little's nap to go for a run (thanks to a baby sitter! I am not that type of unfit mommy!). I have been eyeing the sports field track at my local school so I headed there.

Perfect temps for a run! And it was getting cooler as I started the run. I did not set a distance or pace, just ran. And it felt so good! At one point I held my arms out and felt like I was flying. I have not had a run as enjoyable in quite some time.

I think my Nike+ did not like my off track running at some points because each lap was a different distance, but in the end Nike+ said I did 3.26 miles in 31'06". I think it was closer to 3.5 miles or more.

But what mattered most was the feeling. The thankfulness for the moment.

Then I returned home to spend another wonderful night with my Little.

Perfect day. Thanks to an Indian summer day.


Thank you to our Veterans & military personnel

Happy Veterans Day!

Please take a moment to think of everything we have today thanks to our veterans and military personnel. One day is not enough to honor all the things you all do or have done for our country.

Thank you - we can never repay the debt we owe you!


Saturday, November 10, 2012

I am thankful for...bedtime

I love my new bedtime routine with my little. She has just recently started liking longer stories, so each night we have been reading two by flashlight...mostly Dr. Seuss beginner books or some of the Little Critter series. She really likes The Little Critter books...especially "All By Myself" and "When I Get Bigger."

After we read the stories, the book goes out of bed, and the flashlight gets shut off. Then I ask her what song she wants me to sing her and it has been "The Wheels on the Bus" for quite some time. So I sing all the verses.

Them begins the tuck in ritual. Some cuddling and eskimo kisses. them she chooses the blankets for the night. Then I tuck her in - wishing her sweet dreams, sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite...kiss her forehead, hugs, eskimo kisses, real kisses, and she returns my wishes and I love yous. Then I turn on her fan and leave the room to watch her fall asleep on the monitor.

Usually takes 15 minutes for the ritual and another 10-15 until she falls asleep. I cherish thus time though. Such sweet, innocent love. The cuddling, the sweetness. I am so thankful for each night I have her.

Whats your bedtime routine look like?


Friday, November 9, 2012

I am thankful for...hugs

Along the lines of yesterday's post, I am thankful for hugs. I will confess...I am a hugger. I restrain myself quite a bit unless I know someone well because I do not want to offend anyone...but I love giving and receiving hugs. So comforting, so caring. Its communication without words in my opinion.

Who was the last person to hug you? Who did you last hug?

Lucky me, it is the same person...My little G. She is such a good hugger.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

I am thankful for...smiles

Smiles on those who love you or even the smile from a stranger can make even the worst day slightly better in my opinion. So that's why I am thankful for smiles. Especially when you are having a rough time or when you see someone you have not seen in a while (understanding a while is relative depending on the someone!).

I try to smile as often as I can...even when I do not feel like smiling and especially when smiling is the last thing on my mind. I think a smile can transform your day...maybe its yours or maybe it is someone else's...who knows....but a smile can put you on the path to "being the change you wish to see in the world."

What makes you smile?


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I am thankful for....getting home in bad weather

As if Sandy was not enough, New England is now getting hit with a nor'easter. I had heard it would be not worry. But alas by 1 PM today it was snowing...and continued to do so (still is now at 10 PM by the way). So I headed out of work a little early hoping to avoid rush hour traffic with bad weather. The roads were awful! Slippery, icy, not treated.but I kept my head, drove slowly, prepared for hills and turns far in advance, and did everything I could to be safe.

And I made it to daycare fine to pick up my little. And then I made it safely home.  So what if it took twice as long as normal - I am just thankful to be home.

At which point my little wanted to play in the I quickly proposed bringing some inside in a big bowl so she could play inside, away from the elements. She loved it. I loved watching her. :)

How do you make the most of bad weather?


PS - my thoughts are with the Sandy victims who are still without power and are facing the elements. It has been wonderful to see people helping their neighbors, and I hope everyone found someone who could help them stay safe and warm during the storm.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I am thankful for...books

I am so thankful for books. I love books. I have for as long as I can remember. They make me happy, give me advice, teach me things, and transport me to far away places when I need to escape. I am hoping to transfer that love of books to my little.  We read together every might and anytime during the day when she asks me. I love reading with my G.

I have been reading a lot lately. On top of my ever growing blog roll in my Google Reader, I have gotten into books lately. Even listening to books on CD in the car.  I just stopped by the library today and picked up five books I requested.

Here is what I am reading right now:

Book on CD:
"Under the Dome" by Stephen King.

Books from the library:
"Tiny Beautiful Things" by Cheryl Strayed
"Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall
"Mean Moms Rule" by Denise Schipani
"City of Bones" by Cassandra Clare

Book I own:
"The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin (I have been reading this book for a while...its so good and inspiring I can usually only read a chapter at a time)

I have quite the varied mix of books I am reading. Different interests, topics, and genres. I historically kept track of them via Pinterest, Amazon Wishlists, and draft emails to myself.  Recently a friend introduced me to the Good Reads app (its also a website: I am slowly transitioning to keeps track of what I have read, am reading, and want to read. Cool stuff.

I can't wait to dive into the Cheryl Strayed book tonight!

What are you reading now? Whats on your reading list?


Monday, November 5, 2012

I'm thankful for...running and fitness

I used to run when I was younger in school.  I was a pretty decent short distance runner, especially given my size.  I ran 100 M, 200 M, 400 M, and I ran as anchor on our 4X100 M relay team.  200 M was where I really shined.  Somehow though, I always envied the distance runners. But, I never did it.

Fast forward to this year and I started running again as a means to lose a couple pounds, get back in shape, get healthier, de-stress & unwind, and generally feel better about myself.  And now I'm loving it.

I've also recently started cross training and am constantly amazed at what I can accomplish.  I'm thankful to be able to run and to be able to do the things I do.

What are you thankful for today?


Sunday, November 4, 2012

I am thankful friends and family

I am feeling especially blessed lately to be lucky enough to have so many wonderful friends and family around me providing me love, support, encouragement, hugs, a kind ear, and/or a should to cry on. I am sure there is so much ore you wonderful people have done for me, especially lately. So today I wanted to let you know I am so thankful to have you in my life! I truly do not know what I would be doing without you right now!!!

What are you thankful for today?


Saturday, November 3, 2012

I'm thankful for...Cuddles with my little!

Toddler cuddles are like the best thing in the world.  They run around so much all day long and spend some much time saying, "Mommy, no - I do it" that when they take a moment out of their busy day to wrap their arms around you and cuddle, you have to appreciate it - soak it in.

Lucky for me, my little likes to cuddle.  I'll thank Lambie on Doc McStuffins I guess because she'll come up to me and just say, "Cuddle, cuddle" or "Mommy, you need a cuddle." And lucky me gets a cuddle
Just last night she was giving me sweet Eskimo kisses by rubbing her nose against mine.

Or, occasionally now a days I'm lucky enough that my little will join me in bed in the middle of the night.  I'm okay with it because let's face it, she won't want to sleep next to me for much longer.  Anyway, when she does decide to co-sleep with me, I get woken up in the morning with a HUGE toddler smile and giggles. And the cuddles.  Such sweet cuddles.

Is there anything better than cuddles with a little?  It's all subjective I guess, but I'm extremely thankful for all the opportunities I get to cuddle with my baby!


Friday, November 2, 2012

Where would you live?

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?

They say home is where the heart is, but I think it can be a bit more complicated than that.  See, my heart is in two places.  It's in Oklahoma where my first home was and there are so many positive emotions and memories tied all up in one place.  And it's where I live now with my wonderful little who does some of the cutest things on a daily basis that make my heart sing.

Then there's the thought of if I could live anywhere, I'm thinking I'd choose somewhere in Texas.  Of all of the places I lived, I really liked Texas the best - awesome people, so many things to do, and fun culture.  But my heart isn't there.
Luckily, I really love the area I live in now - it really has a great combination of the things I loved about the areas I've loved living in - country and people like Oklahoma and Texas - Rural and wonderful neighbors.  I haven't found a huge amount of things to do yet, but I think that's because I haven't taken the time to do it or found the right people to search with.  In time!

So if you could live anywhere, where would you live?


I'm thankful for...Chocolate

How could I not include chocolate early on in my thankfulness posts?

I love chocolate.  Good chocolate, okay chocolate...I can't even say bad chocolate because I don't know if that exists in my mind.

Slowly savoring it.  It takes away so many stresses from a bad day.  It's like it can heal so many wounds.  Dark chocolate is my favorite - the darker the better.  Recently I've been trying to be more interested in other, newer chocolates.

My running mentor gave me some fantastic chocolate this week that brightened my day during an especially tough moment.  Straight from Switzerland, some very yummy chocolate.  It's dark chocolate, but has that smooth texture and flavor like milk chocolate.  Super yummy.  The whole label is in another language with lots of recipes posted and I'm curious what they are for...but it just adds to the mystique!


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Favorite Quotation

I recently came across this quote and I just love it - it speaks to me for whatever reason, so it's my favorite quote post of the day for my NaBloPoMo post for the day:

“People do things differently, and that’s okay.  Learn from those who walked the road before you, but carve your own path.  So be different, explore the twists and turns along your way and don’t fear the occasional fall …. it’s part of every journey.”

It was from an article on CNN for International Day of the Girl.  Such a nice quote!

Today I'm thankful for....Electricity!

As part of my 30 days of thankfulness for November, I thought a good start would be for electricity.

As a New England resident in a very rural area in Eastern, CT we were affected by the frankenstorm otherwise known as Hurricane Sandy earlier this week.  Thankfully I was prepared this year.  Last year when Hurricane Irene hit, we were without power for almost two full weeks.  No power - zip, zero.  Having a well, that meant no water.  We weren't prepared.  But lesson learned and I now have a 7000 watt generator, a panel in my house that makes it easy to connect.  So when the power went out on Monday night (I'll admit I was surprised we made it that long!), I didn't worry.  I didn't want to go out in the storm and start the generator, so I stayed in and snuggled with my little.

Candles, flash lights, portable DVD player with a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse DVD.  I could thankfully cook because we have a gas stove.  So we "roughed it" for one night.  Tuesday morning bright and early the generator went on.  Queue the water, hot showers, and power.  It's amazing how much a hot shower can do in a scenario like that.  So I paid it forward and offered hot showers to as many neighbors as I could since I was one of the few who had a generator powerful enough to run both the well pump and water heater.  Lucky me!

Somehow, despite having a pole snapped in half on my road and lines down on the other main through way, we got power back early Wednesday morning.  I'm still really not sure how, but I'll take it.  A big shout out to CL&P in this storm.  I know they took a lot of flack for Irene last year, but I'm really impressed this year.

In either case, I'm extremely thankful for electricity today.  I know there are many in my state and neighboring states that are still without power, or worst who lost everything.  It's crazy when you see some of the pictures from the storm - I think it could have been much worse, so I'm thankful that we didn't incur more damage.

What are you thankful for today?


Back from the break....

I had to take a little mental break for a few days, but I'm back.  I also took a few days of a physical break too.  I think my body needed it!

I had done quite the aggressive work out schedule prior to that and I had quite the aches and pains.  I was physically tired too.  So I took a few days off (well, Sandy caused it to be a couple more days than anticipated!), but now I'm back.

  I'm stumbled across a couple November blog challenges I really like - and I also realize I still haven't finished my A-Z challenge.  I'll get there...plenty of time.  But anyway, I think there's a couple November challenges I'd like to partake in.

With November containing Thanksgiving, I've seen a couple bloggers doing a month of thankfulness, so I'm going to try that.  One post a day with things I'm thankful for.

Then, my wonderful friend Michelle over at Dodging Acorns posted today about NaBloPoMo - National Blog Post Month.

So that's that.  We'll see what comes of this!  Writing will help my mental fitness anyway!


Sunday, October 21, 2012

You know that feeling....

You know that feeling when you just complete a ridiculously hard workout...wait...I didn't really know until today.  Headed to the gym this morning after seeing today's crossfit workout of the day thinking it sounded fun. (Note to self - Next time you think a WOD looks fun...think twice!!!).

Here's today's Crossfit Southie WOD:
Five rounds for time of:
Run 400 meters
10 Burpees
20 Push ups
30 Air Squat

In retrospect, I'm really not sure what about this looked fun besides the running.  I think the running part always grabs my attention.  Plus the squat part...Have I mentioned that I'm doing so many squats lately that I can only believe that my butt must be starting to be irresistible?

Anyway, so I got to the gym to do my workout and it was pretty humorous - it was completely empty.  First time that's ever happened to me...but then again, it was my first time going to the gym on the weekend too.

So I did my warm up and hunkered down to do this workout.  I decided to time myself...oh what fun!

Round 1 went pretty well.  I ran a very fast 400 meters (for me) in less than 2 minutes.  Got my 10 burpees done.  Pushed through the push ups (no fun intended), and the squats were a piece of cake - I was really focusing on my form on those. Time was just over 5 minutes - not bad!

Round 2.  Ran another fast 400 meters - just at 2 minutes.  Burpees were challenging, but I got through.  Push ups - wall.  I did a mix of full push ups, girl push ups (using my knees), and then some altered push up where I went all the way to the floor and lifted myself up.  Squats again were fine. Time is just under 12 minutes.

Round 3.  By now I'm sweating and getting pretty red faced.  This is more challenging than I expected, but I like me some cardio.  Run 400 meters in 2'01".  Burpees I am basically barely passing as burpees at this point - at least the push up part, the jump part is fine.  Push ups - I'm dying here.  Did another mix of regular, girl, and my strange altered push ups.  I'm doing 20 of them still and focusing on working various muscle groups in my arms.  Squat time again is fine.  I paid attention to my form and it looks good, but I'm thinking squats shouldn't be this easy...or maybe they should considering how many I've done? Time is around 19 minutes I think...or was it 21? I'm losing track!

I considered stopping here.  I mean, it's five rounds for everyone, regardless of level.  My level 2 guys I work out with would probably be done...I could stop now right?  I'm a girl and not level 2.  No way, keep going!

Round 4. More sweat.  Run 400 meters just over 2 minutes again (somehow).  Burpees - yeah, kill me.  Suffer through them.  Push ups...I'm really dying now.  Barely make it through.  Squats - finely getting a little challenging, but still not bad.  I believe my time was now somewhere around 26 minutes.

Round 5. Give myself a little pep talk - almost done! You got this A!  Run my last 400 meters and push through keeping my pace - 2'01" again. Whoo!  Burpee and push up time...oh dear.  Worst push ups and burpees ever and I was glad no one was there to watch.  No where near good form, but I got them done...somehow.  Squat time - almost done - thank God!  Squats went okay and I pushed through.

Final time: 34'01".

Yep.  I did it.  I wanted to die afterwards.  I felt a little nauseous.  I remember sitting on the box we use for box jumps and I know why people decide to sit on the couch and not work out.  This was tough!  It would have been so much easier to go run a few miles...or not workout at all. So now I know the feeling of doing a workout and feeling like I'm crazy!

I recovered and headed to the locker room.

You know that feeling a bit after your workout, after you've showered and cooled down where you feel amazing?  Yep.  The walk out to my car - I might as well have been on cloud nine.  Wish I could have had an audience to strut my stuff in front of - I felt great.  I love how after you cool down from a workout, your muscles are still warm, yet nice and firm from the workout.  Perfect combination!  Not in pain yet, feeling good!

I somehow felt pulled to reward myself for this crazy workout by going to Starbucks and getting an iced mocha.  So I did.  I mean, come on...Chocolate after working out is good for you.  I've read it on the internet, it must be true!

And low and behold...I run into some fellow bloggers.  Fate I tell you, fate!  None other than M from Dodging Acorns and M from Filling Our Bucket. Fantastic ladies - love their blogs.  I've got to give them some blog love now - so please go over and take a look at their blogs and follow them and give them some love.  They are both working on being fitter ladies too (they both looked AMAZING today!!) - so they can use some encouragement and love.  And they are both hilarious - so go check them out already!

What a great start to the week.  See, I knew it would get better!


Saturday, October 20, 2012

An emotional rollercoaster of a week

I'm really not sure what's going on in my subconscious this week, but it's throwing my emotions for a loop.  I have days like today where I range from feeling strong and confident, to weak and meager - all without any sort of external stimulus seemingly triggering this change of emotions.

(at least it's not this bad I guess)

Perhaps it's because I was only able to get to the gym for strength training twice this week?  And then I was only able to run one other day based on my schedule.  I'll chalk this up to that.  Lots of extra steam to blow off and few chances to release it.  Or it could be hormonal I guess too.

I hope to remedy that this week though.  I'm better than this.  I should be beyond getting stuck on an emotional roller coaster. So, I'm planning to try to go to the gym or for a long run tomorrow.  Then hit up the gym for cross training three times this week.

(Love this...Totally me right?!?)

I really think the cross training is helping me.  I went for a run on Friday and decided to do a very challenging, hilly route.  I ended up running the route in my normal mile pace time, but given how hilly of a route I did, I'm very impressed with that.  I felt extremely strong when I was running and I think my form has improved.  There was a quarter mile flatter stretch in the beginning and as I passed the third of a mile distance, I was tracking for a PR mile pace.  Then I hit up the hills and let me tell you, they were tough hills - but I owned them. 

So yes, I'm happy with my 9'28" pace on Friday because it was a very hill course and I killed it.  And, the best part of all - no leg pain while running.  I still get some occasionally when I'm not working out, but I suspect that that is pulled muscles from my workouts verses and injury.

In addition to my cross training and focus on physical fitness lately, I've also been trying to think of things I want to try to do when I have some downtime and the things that matter to me.  It's going slow, but it's a start.  It's easier to come up with the list of things I want to try than it is to think of the emotional side of what values are important to me and who I am, but I'll get there.  I think I've got most of the basics and fundamentals down - now it's the more peripheral things I think...but who knows.

How was your week? How do you get yourself out of a slump?

By the way, I'm a little sad that I only got one comment in my shout out.  I'm going to assume it's because you are all so busy working out and running, so I won't take it personally.

I ran across this someEcard and it made me giggle a little.  I think I've said several times in the past week to myself that I've done so many squats lately that my butt must look AMAZING. Hopefully I'm feels pretty damn good anyway.

Tomorrow begins a new week.  And it will be better, I can feel it.


PS - And now I'm going to go have a nice tall glass of chocolate milk - because seriously chocolate milk makes anything better.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Reader reach out...

I recently saw a post by Kandi over at Enough of the Fluff where she put a call out to her readers to get a feel for who was reading her blog.  I'm kind of curious myself.  I have 7 followers according to blogger, but I like to think more of you have me in a reader and aren't actually "following" my blog, so there are more of you...many more of you.  Yes? Right?

Similar to Kandi's blog, it appears that the number of readers here is continuing to increase based on my blog stats... I feel blessed that some of you like to read my story and posts and keep up to date with all things Amber.  And hell, the thought that I may actually inspire or help somebody else in some way inspires me more.  Please feel free to share, recommend to others, or ask me about exchanging links if you have a health/fitness/weight loss related blog.
I rarely get comments so I have no idea who is reading my blog besides M & P who comment on my blog occasionally.  Waves "hi" to you two!  To the rest of you, please send me a little note in the comments and let me know who you are, what your blog link is (so I can follow you if I'm not already), and if there's anything you want to know about me that I can answer or any topics you want me to post about. Please just let me know I'm not talking to myself!

And while your at it showing some blog love, go over and give my girl Kandi at Enough of the Fluff some love.  She's been doing a lot of great posts lately detailing her struggles with her weight. She's quite the inspiration to me at any rate!


Monday, October 15, 2012

Workin' it

What's that you say dedicated blog follower?  I haven't been talking about running as much lately...Am I still running?

Well, I'm glad you asked.

The answer is yes, I am still running...just not as much.  After starting up again just a couple weeks ago now and quickly feeling the pain in my left calf again, I decided that cross training and developing some better core strength might just be a good idea.  And good timing because it came at a time when I need to be stronger than ever - both mentally and physically.  So here I am, focusing more on cross training and developing my core strength.
Tomorrow marks my two week anniversary of starting cross training, so I'm heading into my third week.  And I feel like I can already tell a difference.  When I ran on Saturday this weekend, my whole body just felt smooth and natural - in line.  And when I look in the mirror, I can see results in my arms.  And as much as I hate my stomach, it's feeling pretty nice when I have clothes on these days.  I think my muffin top is pretty much gone.  I think I still have a little ways to go on my stomach and I honestly don't know that I'll ever feel good about it...but we'll see.  My legs and butt...well, I haven't paid too much attention to them, but with the quantity of squats I've done in the past two weeks...I can only imagine.

So, what's some of my strength training workouts look like?  Well, the guys at work who so graciously allow me to attend the workouts with them (and bare with my silly questions and lack of form as I completely kill their timed workouts), are big cross fit fans and follow Crossfit Southie.  So they grab the workout of the day (WOD) each day and we do that after doing the warm up.

Today's workout...
Overhead Squats

100 Overhead Squats(95,65)
Every minute on the minute 4 burpees
Level 2 (75, 50)-3 burpees
Level 1 (45, 25)- 2 burpees
So I did the strength warm up with just a wooden pole that probably weighed less than three pounds - but it was to focus on form.  I think I did the last couple of reps with a 12 pound bar and I did almost all of the my 100 squats with that bar.  Also, despite being probably lower than Level 1, I did four burpees at each minute mark...although again, my last couple of reps ended up being girl push ups because my arms were burning.
I'm not going to lie...this was a pretty intense workout.  I wasn't really expecting it to be.  But both me and Crazy Feet (my nickname for A who was there today...hi A if you ever stumble across this!) were rather exhausted after this a good way.

By the time I exited the locker room, my quads were basically spasming from the crazy workout this was.  I did lots of stretching and it must have paid off because I'm not in pain now.  I don't mind squats so much.  I feel like I've mastered them because I've done so many in the past two weeks.

As my closer to the night, I went through the core training exercises that I posted about from Life's Run yesterday.  Then I followed that up with 125 crunches of various types.  I usually don't do follow up exercises on gym days, but honestly I wanted to see if I could best my plank time (Yay, 1'15") and I figured it couldn't hurt to try to get in the habit of doing these for a I'm going to try to do it every night.  We'll see how that goes!

Plus, all this muscle building is really giving me more excuses to eat, drink, live chocolate.  I'm not going to lie...I'm consuming a lot of it lately.  Plus lots of healthy vegetables, fruit, and water.  I'm trying to eat more protein but I don't quite think I've found the good balance.  I'll get there hopefully.

So that's what I've been up to.

What have you been up to?  Any questions for me? Any tips for me?


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Core Strength For Runners

I saw this post over on another running blog I just started to follow and I couldn't help but share since it's fantastic.

I did these exercises tonight and they were pretty good.  I impressed myself with doing a 1'02" plank.  I've done planks before, but never timed them, so that was pretty cool.  I'll credit my new workout buddies and strength training.

Please check out Life's Run and give her some blog love too.  She has some great stuff going on!

All the credit for this post goes to her.  I straight up copy and pasted the below.


What is the core?

*Your “core” is defined as your body minus your legs and arms.
*Some muscles of the core include: rectus abdominis (6-pack), erector spinae, multifidus, transverse abdominis, and hip flexor.

Why do you need core strength for both everyday life and running?
*It will help you run longer without suffering from fatigue.
*Strong core muscles provide you with a strong base and are key in supporting a strong and enduring stride.
*The stronger you are in the core, the easier everyday life will be.
Different ways to strengthen the core include: using equipment (medicine balls, etc.), weights, yoga, pilates and floor exercises.
How often should you work on your core?
At least three times a week, however, it would be extremely beneficial to do some core exercises every day.

Below are some floor exercises.

Yep, that’s me getting my plank on! PR, 3:10!
BRIDGE – Lie on the floor. Lift your hips so that your weight is balanced on your forearms. Contract your abs and lower back to keep your body as straight as a board. Hold for a few seconds then lower. Repeat.

SUPERMAN – Lay on the floor with your legs together, arms parallel and extended above your head. Keep your head and neck neutral. Simultaneously raise your arms and legs off the mat, forming a gentle curve. Hold for a few seconds, release and repeat.
V-UP – Lie on the floor with your hands overhead and legs straight. Simultaneously raise your legs and torso off the ground. Reach both your fingers and toes towards the ceiling and then return to starting position.
That is just a few exercises you can do to strengthen your core. There are many more! Don’t forget to work your core!

Disclaimer: Please note that the following information came from a handout I received to present the clinic this morning. I do include my personal thoughts and opinions. Do not attempt to perform any of these or any other exercises without consulting with your physician first.

Things I Never Thought I Could Do...

So the past few days have been filled with me doing so many things I never thought I could do...both physically or mentally.  It's been pretty invigorating honestly and helped me feel a little stronger on the inside.

Feel free to laugh at some of my silly things...believe me, they are random...but it's something that matters to me.  And honestly, some of them I laugh at myself for, so you can laugh WITH me.

1) I bench pressed 45 pounds on Friday.  Some of you may laugh and say only 45 pounds because yes, that is only the bar.  But you know what...I didn't even think I could do that much.  And I not only did it once, I did five sets of five - so I did it 25 times.  Hell yeah!

2) I unhooked a bunch of electronics and then helped hook up another electronic with some assistance.  For those who don't know & electronics tend not to get along.  I'm clueless.  As a matter of fact, when I took the ASVAB test in school, I got a 96 or higher on everything except electrical...which I got a 54 on...oops.  So anyway...unhooking is probably way easier than hooking things up...but I did it nonetheless.  The point is...before then, I didn't think I could.  I was scared.  And I tried anyway.  And I overcame.  And I conquered. 

3) I stood up to someone who intimidated me.  I'm not going to go into too much detail here, but the fact is, I did it.  And I'm so proud of myself.

4) I am starting to accept help from people and actually take them up on their offers for help.  And it's not as hard as I thought it would be.  It's still extremely tough for me, don't get me wrong...but I'm trying.

5) I ran when it was 32 degrees outside.  Over 2 miles!!!  It was cool...ha ha...well, cold.  But it was also awesome.  Thanks to my other MRTT girls who ran with me!

So, that's a list of a few things I thought I never could do until recently...that I did.

What are some things you think you can't do?  Why not try?  Let me inspire you!


Thursday, October 11, 2012

A little stronger...

So I did another strength training/crossfit workout this morning and I have to say, it's tough...but I'm feeling good.  I can already see some changes in my body and despite the pain, I'm really optimistic that this strength training will really help my running and my overall health.

I did something today that I never thought I would be able to do...I did a box squat with 60 pounds...60 pounds!!!  Yikes! Crazy.  I don't even know my own potential.  Gives me a reason to smile.

I've been quite the emotional basket case for a few days - A big THANK YOU and I'm sorry to the friends who have been there for me via text, email, phone, or in person. I don't know what I'd do without you...please be patient with me.

I saw a fantastic quote today on CNN - how fitting because today it is International Day of the Girl -- a date on the annual calendar set aside to advocate for girls' rights and raise issues of gender bias.  I fell in love with this quote and was really surprised that when I googled it looking for a pretty image/inspirational poster, none existed.  I love this really speaks to me.

I was thinking last night about a nice Robert Frost poetry line I've always loved.  Here's the full poem:

It's the last part that I've always loved.

"Two roads diverged in a wood and I - I took the one less travelled by and that has made all the difference."

I was suddenly inspired last night to draw or paint a series of this line.  Some abstract perhaps, some landscape.  I don't know, but in either case, I'd like to give it a shot as my first foray back into the world of drawing and painting.  More planning needed. But I'll add it to the list of things I want to do.

I've also really been inspired by Swim Bike Mom lately.  Her book is coming out later this year, and I have to admit...I'm kind of tempted to buy it and train for a triathlon...I've been really considering doing an obstacle course 5K/race for a while.  I think I'd have to start there...but this triathlon seems so tempting...and much more doable for me than a marathon...but hey, if we're talking crazy...perhaps if my leg will stop hurting behaves and my crossfit training makes me a stronger runner...anything is possible right?!? 

Go check her out - She's awesome. And Inspiring. And Funny. And has no idea who I am or that I'm even mentioning her on my blog...but I can dream right...? And imagine that she'll see this and think I'm kind of, sort of, perhaps a bit...a teeny tiny bit awesome too?  Maybe.

And yet somehow despite all the turbulence and emotional craziness in my life, I feel like I'm taking baby steps and becoming least for today anyway...physically and mentally...and maybe emotionally too.  Let's not go too far.  We'll see what tomorrow brings though.


Monday, October 8, 2012

Sometimes it's the small things...

I'm coming off of a rough few days.  On top of the agonizing pain I'm feeling from boot camp last week, other things have just been tough.  Feeling pretty awful about myself...insecure, small, some other things.  I've also gotten stood up/blown off by people multiple times over the past few days.  So yeah...I'm feeling kind of lame.

I was pretty sore after my Thursday boot camp on Friday.  It just got worse throughout the day.  I left work early, took the dog for a quick mile run or so, and then mowed the lawn.  Later, I tried to do some warm up and good stretching at night to help relieve some of the pain.  It didn't really help that much, not going to lie. 

I was seriously wondering if I could make it out to my run with my MRTT girls Saturday...but I woke up bright and early and headed out.  Ended up doing 2.12 miles and I felt pretty good by the end of the run.  And then I bent down to get in my car...pain had returned. 

After that we headed over to the Scituate Art Festival.  I've always wanted to go, but never seem to make it, so I was really determined to go this year.  See, I'm on a quest to do the things I've always wanted to do, but haven' I think that was #2 (#1 being going to boot camp at the gym).  I should write an official post detailing some of those items...another day perhaps. 

Where was I?

Oh yes.  So, Scituate Art Festival.  With our strange weather this weekend, it was crazy crowded Saturday.  So much so that we parked around 1.5 miles AWAY from the festival.  So after running 2.12 miles, I walked 1.5 miles to the festival.  Walked probably a good 1-2 miles through the festival.  Then walked back another 1.5 miles to the car.  Burned my calories that day apparently!

Sunday.  Did another "dog jog" with Kona.  Did a mile this time. 

Today, I'm in LOTS of pain.  No exercise today for me.  Oh, and did I mention that the pain in my leg seems to might be coming back...please, no.  I don't have time for this right now...and I really need running as an outlet for the stress I'm working through.  Argh.

Tomorrow I'm hoping I can wake up early enough to join a colleague in some strength training at the work gym.

But, onto the good stuff. 

Ended up coming home to a really enjoyable dinner - steamed whole artichoke with butter.  Every leaf was delicious.

But...onto the small things. Sometimes it's the small things in life that make life worth living.

I just made what could be the best (unhealthy) milkshake ever.

I think I'll call it...

Rough Weekend Recovery Milkshake

- A couple scoops of: Breyer's Blast Chips Ahoy Ice Cream
- Some Chocolate Soy Milk
- Some fresh strawberries

Blend until smooth.  Oh yeah.  So good.  *Almost* makes up for the weekend.


So tomorrow I'm planning to wake up and start fresh and anew.  It will be a good day dammit.  It will.  And my leg won't hurt...

This is what I want to do right now...
And this speaks to me right now:
And this reminds me of something I love: chocolate of course.  I'm starting to eat more chocolate again...and that makes me feel happy lately.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Cross training

I've been thinking more and more since I injured my leg that I probably should start doing some strength training to increase my core strength.

So, I checked a couple items off my to do list today and decided to go a Boot Camp class at the gym.  So lets see....go to a new class I've never been to, get in some strength training, meet (or not really meet since it was a tough, small class) some new people, and mainly just do something that intimidated me.  I almost bailed on it a couple times and kept trying to make excuses...but I ultimately won that mental battle and went.

And I'm glad I did.

I felt great during the class and held up really well.  I did awesome during the cardio sections.  The weight parts were very unfamilar, but I made it through.  I asked for the instructors help to pick weights and towards the end I actually ended up grabbing heavier ones because I felt like I could do more.

I felt great after the class.  Now that I'm home, I can really feel in a lot of my muscles that I got a good work out.  Hopefully I'm not too sore tomorrow!

So when I remove some of the other parts of my day that all things told are a very small portion, today was a pretty good day.

This is a good one to summarize how I'm feeling:
And one to summarize where I'm trying to go:

And one last good one I just stumbled across and really like:


Wednesday, October 3, 2012


I am on a quest for happiness and this quote is really speaking to me today:

I think this describes who I used to be very well, and I want to get back to this.  I heard my cousin B once asked my Aunt, "Why is Amber so happy all the time? It's like she wakes up happy."

Well, that probably used to be the truth. Recent years I have lost that...and I want it back. I want to wake up with a smile and go to bed with a smile. I will get there...its who I am deep down...I just have to find it.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Sole & Soul Searching

More blog silence.  I've been a bit busy, working through some things.  I've also taken a few weeks off of running after hurting my leg in my last race.

Soul Searching
I've done a lot of introspection, and I made a huge decision that will enable me to take the next step.  I'd like to think of it as turning a page in my book of life...starting a new chapter.  That's all I'll really say about it.

But it's got me thinking a lot about stuff.  What is it that makes me happy?  Makes my heart sing?  There are so many things I've thought of doing over the years and haven't for one reason or another, and I'm over that.  I'm ready to start trying new things again, tackling new challenges.

What makes me happy? Running, nature, writing, blogging, being with friends, dancing, watching sci fi, healthy eating, healthy living, being with my daughter, spending time with friends and family...Those are just a few things.  I know there are probably more things out there...and I want to find them again.  I can be happier...and I'm going to do what I can to get there.

I owe it to my daughter to be happy.  Show her that her momma can be strong and happy and set a good example for her for the future.  I'll get there, but it will take some time.  And I'm ready for it...or at least I hope so.

Sole Searching
After taking a few weeks off of running and having lots of mental battles with myself, I finally went for my first "real" run today.  And it felt great.  First I took the dog for a run...finished up just over .75 miles in just over 12 minutes.  Not bad considering all the potty breaks and stops.  Then I went back out.  1.02 miles without stopping.  Not my best time ever, but it felt good and was probably the second best mile I have run - topped only by the first time I ran a mile without stopping.

So, hopefully I'm back.  I think I'm going to take it a little slower this time, really enjoy the runs.  Focus less on the pace and more on the time.  Someone asked me today what I was running from and I quickly's not what I'm running from, but what I'm running to.  What am I running to?  Happiness. 

So hopefully here's to happy start for me.  Anyone have any tips or tricks?  Any suggestions for things to try?  I'd love to take a class to learn something new perhaps...but I might need some time to figure out more.  I'm a little nervous and will take any of the well wishes or advice I can get.


Friday, September 14, 2012

In the battle of brain vs. brawn...

That was the story of my 5k race on 9/8. It was the Shawn M. Nassaney Memorial 5k ( I signed up for this race for a couple reasons.

1) It was part of my August goals to run another 5K
2) The hubs works with Pat - Shawn's brother and the race organizer
3) My company decided to be really awesome and cover the cost of the race for the first 50 registrants.

So good cause, free to me, and helps out one of Joe's co-workers...why wouldn't I do it?

Well, a couple things were weighing on my mind. This race started at 1 PM vs. a usual 9 AM start time. I was not sure how to eat and hydrate for the race. Plus the weather is a big contributor. Because I had heat stroke as a kid, the heat really effects me. The hottest I tend to run outside in is in the mid 70's. I know, weak. But I am sensitive to the heat and due to my high heart rate when I run, my body temp soars...I end up a sweaty, red faced mess when I run when it is in the 70 degree range. So I was really concerned with how the weather would fare, but I signed up.

Come race day...forecast called for 80+ degree weather. There was a chance of saving grace I convinced myself. I love running in the rain.  Unfortunately by noon when we got there, it was 82 degrees. 

Then, they changed the course. No longer on the (very shady) cross country trail. was loops in the sports fields...almost full sun. So not only was it in the sun, but it was loops. Big bummer. 

I tried to keep my head in the game...but doubts ate away at my confidence.

By the time the race finally started, I could have predicted what would happen next. By the end of the first lap and a third of the way in I was struggling not to overheat myself, willing myself not to give up. Halfway into my second lap, I walked. A HUGE disappointment to myself which only made it worse. When I was halfway through my second lap, the fast guys were finishing. Not good for the mental battle.

I do have to give myself some kudos and say that I did not give up. I finished. I did a lot more walking than I wanted to, but even with that my time was somewhere in the mid 33 minute time frame, meaning I averaged around an 11 minute pace.

After the race I was feeling it. The ever growing pain that has been bothering me on and off in my left leg burned and screamed. It still hurts a week later. On top of losing my mental battle in the race and being super down on myself, I think I hurt myself too.  Huge bummer. I still have to call a doctor to get it checked out. We will see how that goes I guess.

Overall, not a good feeling. I know I can run a 5k without stopping, but I lost the mental battle that day and then felt worse because of it. My plan is to remember this, learn from it, and move on. In hindsight, if this is my worst 5k ever, I feel lucky.

I have another race on 9/30 and barring not having a serious leg injury, I am planning to rock it. It is earlier in the day and should be cooler so I will have that going for me.  Only time will tell though.

In this battle of brains vs. brawn, brains won and not in a good way I am afraid. But I can and will do better.

Have you lost a mental battle in a race? How did you overcome it?