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.