Random Thoughts: Race Edition

Well here we are, finally at the weekend of the New Balance Falmouth Road Race! I never thought I would say that I’m excited to run a seven mile race, but I really am. After dedicating myself to training for the past 8 weeks, I’m excited to see how much my hard work will pay off. Do I expect it to be easy? No, I know it’s hilly and probably has little shade, but I feel ready and that’s all I can ask for, right? It’s supposed to be a beautiful day, if not a little on the warm side, so I’ll do my best to stay hydrated and keep from over heating. My goal is not to run super fast — because that would just be ridiculous — my goal is to run and enjoy it, plain and simple.  With my excitement for race day though, I do have a lot of random thoughts running through my head (some totally unrelated to the race itself). Read on for a glimpse into my brain:

One day doesn’t matter.

Remember a couple weeks ago when I said I had a struggle of a 6 mile run when I was getting sick? Well the weekend following that, I ran a heavenly seven miles, and it was the closest thing to a runners high I’ve ever accomplished. The run felt like a breeze, my legs were light and springy, and I felt like I could have gone on for days. Talk about a confidence booster for race day! Then the next week, following a 500 mile drive the day before, I once again ran seven miles. This time it was hot. This time it was tough. This time I finished, but five minutes slower.

But you know what? It was that day that I realized that one day really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. One day’s run could be thrown off by sleeping too little the night before, not eating well the day before, mental stress, dehydration, over heating — the point is, there are so many factors that can affect one day of training. It’s so easy to beat yourself up about one bad day, but the truth is that it’s just one day. And when it comes down to it, the outcome of my race isn’t going to rest on that one bad training day, it’s going to depend on the 8 weeks of training that I’ve put in. So despite my tough run last week, my confidence is high going into this weekend, and I only hope I get that springy feeling back on Sunday morning!

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I’m so excited for this gorgeous finish! [Source]

I need some crickets.

Yep, you read that right. I recently heard a story on NPR about companies that are making products (cookies, protein bars, etc.) out of cricket flour. As in ground up crickets. At first it sounds really gross, but I really think as long as I’m not seeing them in “cricket” form, I would be totally okay with eating these products. There were a couple of companies mentioned (Exo is the only one I can remember off hand)who make these products, and I really want to get my hands on some. Cricket flour is apparently a very high quality protein source, and it just seems like something that you, readers of my blog might be curious  about, no? I’m more than willing to be a guinea pig and eat some cricket flour cookies if it means introducing you all to some new, healthy (and crazy) foods!

I’m running with Meb!

Ok, so I’m not really running with Meb, because he runs approximately 10x faster than I do, but it’s pretty cool to be running a race with some of the world’s most elite runners, even if I’ll never see them. :) Especially after Meb Keflezighi won the Boston Marathon this year, the fact that he’s here to run the Falmouth Road Race is pretty awesome. Despite not being a marathon, this race attracts some of the best runners from all around the world, and I’m excited to be a part of it! I may not be  as fast as Meb, but maybe running in his (super fast) footsteps will give me a little bit of race magic.

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Here’s Meb about a mile away from winning the 2014 Boston Marathon! 

I guess I should stop saying I’m not a “real” runner.

Because if I’m not real, and this race isn’t real, than all of this training has been for nothing, right? Running may not be my passion, but I really have gained an appreciation for it through my training this summer. And I guess that running 3-4 times per week for the past 8 weeks means that this summer, I have actually kind of become a runner. I am anxious to get back in the weight room, but I have really enjoyed training and proving to myself that I can do something that I never thought I’d be able to do. I may not run marathons or even half marathons, but after all of the miles I’ve logged this summer, and the fact that I’m heading into a seven mile race means that I think I can actually start calling myself a runner. Temporarily at least. ;)

Readers: Are any of you heading to Falmouth this weekend? Have you ever/would you ever try a food made out of cricket flour? 

 

It’s A Love Hate Thing

If you’ve been reading here for any amount of time, you’ll know that I am pretty in love with most aspects of my fitness routine. I’m not one of those people who hates the gym but goes anyway because I know I “should” — I truly, honestly love working out. Most of the time.

As with anything, there are ups and downs, and things that I don’t love quite so much. There are also things about lifting/training that I down right hate, if I’m going to be totally honest. Today I thought I’d do a kind of fun post about those things about training that I love, hate, and love-to-hate. I’m not going to take complete credit for this, by the way, as I remember reading a blog post similar to this a year or two ago. But unfortunately I can’t for the life of me remember who did it, and I can’t find it.. so if it was you, give me a shout in the comments so you can get proper credit!

Love: 

  • Deadlifting. If this one wasn’t obvious, I don’t know what is. If I had to choose only one lift to do for the rest of my life, this would be it. It’s essentially a full body lift, working almost everything from your head down to your toes, and I think it’s the only lift that I actually love maxing out. Personally, sumo style works a little bit better for my build and hip structure, so that’s my favorite, but traditional and trap-bar deads are pretty high up on my list as well
  • Battle Ropes: There’s no better way to end an upper body day than with a battle-ropes-finisher. I absolutely love using them, even though they kick my ass every time. There’s just something that feels bad ass about swinging around some huge ropes, although I can’t quite figure out why.
  • Kettlebell Swings: I love KB swings because they are one of my favorite tools to combine a strength and cardio workout into one. 100 heavy KB swings in 5 minutes? You bet my ass will be on the floor, and I’ll be panting like a dog as well. As long as you’re doing them correctly and really firing those glutes to create the explosive swing movement, these are an excellent move for your entire posterior chain, which means that they are an excellent accessory move for my number one love, the deadlift. Anything that can help my DL is a-ok in my book!
  • Hill Sprints: Yes, it’s true, I really do love hill sprints. The steeper the hill, the better. I think I just really love that I can get so much work done in so little time — efficiency is a priority when the schedule gets too busy. Not to mention, hill sprints are a pretty amazing workout for your back-side too.

Hmmm… I think I see a booty theme in this “love” section.

Hate: 

  • Bench: Yup. I said it. I hate bench press. I hate it. I do it, and I do it pretty well, but it’s not a lift I enjoy. Maybe if I get a good coach and train for a powerlifting meet, I can develop some fonder feelings for this lift, but for now, it’s not ever something I look forward to. And my numbers on bench aren’t that bad, I really am not sure why I hate it so much. It might have something to do with the fact that I see progress much slower with bench than I do with squats or deadlifts, and that can certainly get frustrating. Whatever it is, bench day is probably my least favorite day in the weight room. I’m so not a bro.
  • Step Ups: I hate weighted step ups so much that I probably haven’t done them in a couple years, except for when I am forced to in a boot camp class. These are something that I have always hated — no matter how hard or easy I make the weight, I just can’t get over the tediousness of them. One set always feels like a hundred sets to me, which is why they never end up in my own programs.
  • Bulgarian Split Squats: I hate these almost as much as step ups, but unlike step-ups, I do include them in my own programming because they are such a valuable lift. So I guess I should amend this to say, I don’t hate them in their entirety, I just really hate doing them myself. Throw a barbell on my back, and it’s even worse torture, but I do try to include these in my lifts once per week because of the benefits of single leg lifts.

Love To Hate: 

  • Stadiums: Stadium runs are a special kind of beast. While I’m doing them, I hate life and everything about it. But the second I’m done, the feeling of accomplishment takes over all of that torture and pain and turns it into pride. Running stadiums is pure torture, plain and simple, but it honestly is one of my favorite workouts. I think one reason I love them so much is that they never get easy — sure, I may get faster, but never have I ever had a stadium run where I left and said “Boy, that was an easy day!”. This is quite possibly the reason that I hate them as well.
  • Burpees: I have a really strange relationship with burpees. When I’m doing them, I want to be doing anything (and I mean anything) else, but at the same time, it’s kind of fun in a sick kind of way. It’s kind of similar to my love of stadiums — for some reason burpees never get easy, no matter how fit I am, and for that, I respect them.
  • Barbell Hip Thrusts: Barbell hip thrusts actually make me angry sometimes. I’ll sit and think about how miserable they are in between sets. But they build the gluteus like nothing else, and in my opinion, strong glutes are a girls best friend. They are tough, no doubt, but it also feels pretty darn good to be able to lift some serious weight with these hips. Torture with great results? Sign me up.

Readers: What parts of your workouts or training sessions do you love? hate? love-to-hate? Does anyone else have some sort of sick love for burpees like I do? 

 

 

Being Humbled Again: New Balance Girls Night Out #2

Last Tuesday, I had the pleasure of attending another New Balance Girls’ Night Out event. If you’ll remember, I attended the first one back in May, and there was a second event in June which I was supposed to go to, but I ended up having to cancel due to personal reasons. So this month, I was excited to be able to make it back for the July NBGNO event. (To read more about what GNO is all about, check out my last post about the May event here.)

The theme of this one was “Self Expression”, basically doing whatever it is that YOU love for fitness — not being tied down by what you think you “should” be doing. There were three workouts offered before the social aspect of the night: a Flywheel Spin class, a signature group class from Equinox (this was a rooftop bootcamp..how swanky!), or a fun-run. Since I have gone to a spin class exactly once in my life, I thought it would be fun to try out the Flywheel class. The fact that it was held on the sidewalk outside of the New Balance Store in Copley Square (one of the busiest parts of the city) was both awesome and terrifying. Being watched by perfect strangers as they walk by on their way home from work? Okay, cool. :)

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Here we are, right on Boylston Street during the evening commute rush hour! 

My friend Meg came with me again, and we both decided to do the Flywheel workout along with Athena (of Fitness and Feta — if you don’t read her blog, do it!). Setting up for the class was actually pretty funny — like I said, I am not a regular at spin, and thus had no idea how to set up my bike or where everything was supposed to be. At one point there was one instructor working on my pedals while another was working on my seat.. so… yea, who’s the new kid? Awkward. Anyway, once we got going, I realized that all of the strangers walking by were not only going to see us work out, but they were about to see me get my ass kicked. Big time.

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All smiles with Meg, pre ass-whooping! 

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Getting ready to warm up with Athena! 

I’m not sure if it was the time of day (I’m a morning exerciser and tend to have a harder time with evening workouts), if I was dehydrated, or if I hadn’t eaten enough that day, but it was pretty clear to me immediately that this wasn’t going to be easy.  Did I make it through the class? Yes, just barely, honestly. Every time the instructor told us to bring the bikes to a certain torque level or a certain speed, I felt like I couldn’t physically make myself do either. My legs felt like they were made of cement, and I’m sure I didn’t look too great to anyone walking by! I even found myself getting dizzy and nauseous during the end of the workout and thought for a minute that I might have to get off my bike. Embarrassing, no? The thing is though, I kept smiling through (almost) all of the workout. As much physical torment as I was in, the Flywheel instructor we had, Christina, was absolutely amazing. She had incredible energy and found a way to make even the most torturous 35 minutes seem fun. I would definitely head to the Flywheel studio for more classes just to have her as an instructor — there are certain people that just have motivation and passion in their blood, and she has it.

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See? What did I say..Smiling through my pain :) [Photo Credit: New Balance Back Bay]

After we got off the bikes, we went back inside the store to meet up with the bootcamp group and the run group. As before, the store had basically turned into a party with snacks, drinks, swag bags, a DJ and some great speakers. It was a blast! Again, it was so great to catch up with some Boston blogging friends, as we are all so busy and usually these types of events are the only times we see each other!

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Catching up with Athena after our serious sweat sesh! 

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Some of the awesomeness in our swag bags.. They were screen printing these towels with whichever slogan you chose! 

 

New Balance has really got a good thing going on with these Girls Night Out events, and I strongly encourage you to check out the website and figure out if there are any of these in your area! Building social connections around fitness events is such a wonderful way to bring women together, and when you follow it up with delicious snacks and cocktails, how can you beat it? The summer Girls Night Out events are over, but I’ve heard word on the street that they’ll kick back up in the fall. I’ll keep you all up to date when there are any more Boston GNO events coming up in the future, but in the meantime, you can always use the Girls Night Out website to set up your own fun runs and group fitness events where you are, no matter where you live.

And I am proud to announce that despite my dismal showing at spin that night, I did show up to my November Project workout the next morning and complete 27 sections of Harvard Stadium with a 15 lb kettle bell in my pack. I like to think I redeemed myself with that one. :)

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November Project Pack Day. Excuse my bum. 

So with that, happy Monday everyone! How do you combine fitness with your social life? Or do you keep the two totally separate? Have you ever tried a Flywheel spin class?

Training For The Falmouth Road Race

Hi All! Man, it feels good to be back on track and actually have some blogging energy in my brain!

I’ve mentioned previously that I’m running the New Balance Falmouth Road Race on August 17th. It’s a 7 mile course on Cape Cod, and although I’ve never run it before, I’ve heard that it’s an absolutely gorgeous, yet difficult, course. When New Balance first approached me about entering this race, I was hesitant, to say the least. After all, it’s pretty well known around here that I don’t consider myself a runner in any sense of the word. I took about a week and a half to think about it, and went for some runs during that time to gauge how I felt. First and foremost, I wanted to be sure that if I did decide to do this, that I would be able to safely train for 7 (hilly) miles.

If it were a 5k, I wouldn’t have thought twice, but 7 miles is a stretch for me. I’ve run a full 7 miles exactly once in my life, on a treadmill. And I’ve run a 10k exactly once in my life (well, before I started training this time around), about 5 years ago.  So to say that 7 miles scares me is a gigantic understatement.

But I think ultimately, that’s what let me to say yes. It scares the crap out of me, but after mapping out a training plan for myself, I realized that I could train for this safely if I really dedicate myself to it. In fact, I think when I responded to my contact with New Balance, my exact words were “That’s way outside my comfort zone, so I’m pretty sure that means I have to do it!”. I’m all about challenging yourself, and this would be a huge challenge for me. Yes, it would mean some time away from the weight room, and yes, it would definitely mean losing some of my strength because of that (distance running is a muscle wasting activity), but that’s ok. This is a new challenge, and I knew that just 8 weeks of run-training would not completely undo what I’ve done in the weight room. Once I get back in there after the race, I’ll just have to work hard to get back the little bit that I’ve lost. For the time being, I’m ok with that — it’s worth it to challenge myself in other ways.

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I mean… motivation… 

Pre-Training Prep

Like I said, I did have to stop and really figure out if I could train for this distance safely and smartly in 8 weeks. While I’m not a runner, I do weekly stadium runs, and for the few months prior to being invited to participate in this race, had really increased my conditioning workouts by adding in a lot of hill sprints, KB work, and bootcamp classes. Because of this, I wasn’t necessarily in “running” shape, but was at a pretty good cardiovascular starting point compared to just heavy lifting all the time. This is what really helped me out, I think.  Yet I also knew that repeats of 15-30s hill sprints with recovery time in between would never compare to running 7 straight miles of a hilly course, so some serious training was (and still is) needed.

Race Training

**Please note: This is NOT a training plan meant for anyone else. I am not a running coach, and frankly, don’t know the first thing about training for a race or coaching others to do so. I do have enough awareness of my body and sports medicine knowledge to get myself through this, but for a longer distance, I’d definitely follow a defined plan. 

I decided to start out slow and steady, because as an athletic trainer I’d say the majority of running injuries I see come from overuse over time, or simply just from doing too much too quickly. I mapped out a general plan for myself with 3 weekly runs, plus 1 stadium running day and 1-2 strength training sessions per week.

My weeks have generally looked like the following:

Monday – Moderate distance run

Tuesday – Strength training (mostly KB, rings, and bodyweight exercises at home)

Wednesday – Stadium runs – generally about 45 minutes, high intensity

Thursday – Rest or easy pace/short distance run

Friday – Short-Moderate distance run, occasional light strength training session

Saturday – Longer distance, easy pace run

Sunday – Rest

There have been some variations of this, but I’d say that this pretty much captures what my weeks have looked like. When I started, my Monday and Friday runs were 2 miles, and my “longer” run was 3. At this point, my Monday and Friday runs are anywhere from 3-4.5 miles, and my longer run has gotten up to 6 miles last weekend.

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Views from my 6 mile loop last weekend… and my new compression socks! 

How I’ve Been Feeling

When I first started out, I’m not going to lie, it was rough. Back in June, 2 miles was doable, 3 was hard, 4 was unthinkable. At this point though, 3-4 is easy, 5 is doable, and 6 is pushing it. Progress, no? I haven’t really been having any pain, but have had some nagging in my left plantar fascia (underneath my foot) and was having some chronic right calf tightness/soreness that magically disappeared once I got my new compression socks and tried them on my six miler. Yay for compression! The PF soreness I don’t love, but I’ve been faithfully rolling it out and it hasn’t gotten any worse, so that’s a good thing.

I will admit that the 10k that I did on Saturday (6.2 miles) was struggle city. Granted, I was coming down with a cold, and knew within the first mile that it wasn’t going to be a good day. In hindsight, I probably should have just scrapped that run and maybe would have recovered quicker from this virus, but I pushed through and finished — much to the chagrin of my immune system. Needless to say, the past few days since then haven’t been up to par for training. I did a very short run on Tuesday, but realized within 20 min that I still felt lethargic and dizzy, so that one ended quickly. I’ve been trying to rest up and hydrate a good amount, and am finally feeling back to normal, so an easy 3-4 miles is on the schedule for today with a 6-7 mile run on the docket for this weekend. I think after the struggle of last weekend, now that I’m actually feeling better, this weekend will be a better gauge of where I’m at in terms of being ready for this race.

I also just want to make it clear that I am not intending on “racing” this race — I’m smarter than that, especially with my inexperience and lack of long term training! My main goal is just to do it, finish it, and enjoy it. I think that’s doable, right?

Readers: Have you run the Falmouth Road Race before? Are you running this year? Have you ever taken on a new physical challenge that totally scared the crap out of you? 

 

What I See When I Watch The CrossFit Games

I’m not a Cross Fitter. I’m going to put that out there first. I’ve never attended a class, and probably never will. But that’s not because I have anything against it, it’s just not my training style (and doesn’t exactly fit in my budget either.. minor detail).  I would say that most people in the world fall somewhere near either end of the CrossFit spectrum. Either they hate it and think that it’s only for gym-rat idiots who don’t care about form or technique, or they think it’s the best thing in the world; a way of life that’s practically a religion. I fall somewhere dead in the middle of these two — I can see the good and the bad in it just like any other fitness phenomenon.

The thing is though, idiots are everywhere. CrossFit gets a lot of hate but let’s be totally honest here. There are idiot power lifters, idiot runners, idiot triathletes and idiot couch potatoes. There are idiots everywhere, but just because some of them happen to do Cross Fit doesn’t mean that the whole sport is idiotic. There are some things about CF that can be unsafe, yes, but the same can be true for just about any sport in the world. There are some parts of Football that I think are completely idiotic and unsafe, but that doesn’t mean that I stop watching, does it?

Anyway, my point is that I’m coming into this with complete neutrality — I don’t gush over CF athletes like they’re the next coming of Christ, but I can appreciate the fact the people competing in the CF games are most certainly athletes. But beyond a group of freakishly-genetically-gifted and ridiculously-hard-working humans, I see beauty, strength, and the most beautiful thing of all — differences.

Watching the CF games this weekend, I found myself saying things like “LOOK AT HER ARMS” and “OMG THOSE LEGS” over and over again. These athletes, and the women especially, are physical specimens. Some people may call some of them “bulky”, but I truly find muscle on women to be beautiful. I’d take defined deltoids and quads of steel any day, but that’s just my personal opinion. I know that not everyone feels the same way and that’s fine. But one thing to truly appreciate about this sport is that even though, yes, all of these women are muscular, there are so many differences in their shapes and sizes, yet they’re all completing the same movements and the same weights. There are girls with stockier shapes cleaning and pressing right next to girls with taller, leaner shapes. There are girls who’s abs could cut diamonds, standing next to girls carrying a little bit more body fat. But they are all incredible athletes, doing incredible things. The beautiful thing about this is that these women are not out there to look good or look sexy, they’re out there to perform. And, might I add, they’re doing one hell of a job.

The women competing in the CrossFit Games are completing events that many of us could never dream of, even with dedicated training. These are athletes in every sense of the word, not just some kids going to a “box” to throw around some medicine balls and climb some ropes. These women (and men) are impressive, and let’s not forget that just because you may or may not appreciate the sport that they participate in.

It’s also worth mentioning that in every event I’ve watched, without fail when there is one last person on the field trying to finish, the rest of the competitors are there, cheering them on until they are done. In what other sport do you see that? When else will you see the opponents who just won, cheering on those in last place? It’s competition mixed with camaraderie, and it’s one of the best things I’ve seen in sports in a very long time.

Yes, CF may seem a bit silly at times to those of us who don’t do it. Really, can someone explain a kipping pull up to me and why you’d want to do those over a regular pull up? I’m genuinely curious.  And I’m really not sure about the safety of a “Clean Ladder” where the competitors are putting out multiple max attempts in the span of a few minutes, but I guess that’s no worse than 300 lb linemen ramming their heads into each other, is it? But in all reality, it’s a sport, and it’s a sport that has gotten a whole lot of people off their couches, joining communities, and feeling like they fit in somewhere in the fitness world. So how can you really hate on that?

Watching the CrossFit Games has not made me want to join my local box, has not made me want to be “one of them”, but it has truly made me appreciate what they do. As someone who’s career is working with athletes, I can tell you that the athletes I’ve been watching this past weekend are doing more than many “traditional” athletes out there. They work hard, they may do some funky movements, but they’re training their asses off, and it shows. To me, anything that makes the world a more active place is a good thing, I just ask that people who do CF use their brains, and don’t do anything idiotic that may land them on the injury list. But then again, I ask that of the general population too, so I guess that’s really no different.

Readers: Do you CrossFit? Have you been watching the Games lately? Can someone tell me what the deal is with a Kipping pull up? :) 

Celebrating 32 (Yikes)

Well folks, here we are. The 3rd anniversary of my 29th birthday. :)

I like celebrating my birthday on the blog. It gives me a good snapshot of things to look back on each year, remembering where I was the previous year and hopefully seeing some progress or forward movement in some way. Looking back on last year’s birthday post, it’s hard to believe that a whole year has passed since that time. I guess that’s how it goes, as you get older, the time goes by faster. Or maybe it’s just that as you get older you’re more aware of the passing of time… either way, now is not the time to get philosophical.

I am proud to say that after the crazy injury streak between my 30 and 31st birthdays, I have been injury free! Yes, I made it through the year without having to be in a walking boot, which is pretty amazing considering my recent past. I have been dealing with a flare up of some pretty bad tendonitis in my wrist because of all of the crafting I did for the wedding, but I don’t consider that an injury. Just the hazards of getting old, I suppose.

So now that I’m 32 and hopefully another year wiser, what have I learned since my last birthday? Well, a few things.

1. I can do it.

I know this sounds pretty vague, and I guess it is. But what I mean is that I’m finally figuring out that I really can do the things I want to do. They don’t just have to be dreams, and if I work hard enough, I can make some of these big plans a reality. I’ve now had articles published in a couple issues of Volleyball Magazine (check out the latest here), and that is something that I’m pretty darn proud of. Freelance health and fitness writing is something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time, but I’m just starting to believe that it’s actually a reality for me. I plan on spending the next year doing a lot more writing, submitting more pieces, and reaching out to other people in the fitness/health field to make this an even bigger reality, but the difference is that now I really believe I can do this, it’s not just a hypothetical plan anymore.

I also had a great proverbial kick in the pants when I listened to Kara Mohr at the Perform Better Summit earlier this summer. She built something very successful without first owning her own studio, etc. Listening to her speak, as cheesy as this sounds, was like she was speaking directly to me. I have some bigger goals, but I’ve spent the last couple years telling myself that I’ll get to them later, when I own a studio, or when I’ve done this or done that. Listening to Kara made me realize that I don’t have to wait until other things happen, I can start working on things now, because that’s how change is made. If I keep waiting, pretty soon I’ll be 40 and still won’t be any closer to my goals than I am now. So what if I don’t own a gym? Maybe I never will. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t do other things in the meantime!

Maybe the 30s are just naturally a time for this “I Can Do It” attitude? I don’t know, but I’ll take it!

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2. I could possibly compete?

I was able to hit some pretty strong numbers in the weight room this year, and that was without a coach or anyone else writing a program for me. Last time I maxed, I hit 235# deadlift, 185# back squat, and 125# bench. Not bad, eh? Then fairly recently, someone posted a chart of benchmarks for women to work towards in weight lifting — and I realized that I was hitting most of them. If I could do this on my own, what more could I do with a coach pushing me with a new program? What could I do with the excitement of competition looming over my head? I’m a competitive person by nature, but besides running races, there haven’t been many opportunities to take advantage of this. But what if I turned my passion, weight lifting, into something competitive? What if I entered a power lifting competition? This is a total hypothetical at this point, but I’m starting to realize that I could actually compete. It would take dedicated training and a program from a qualified coach, but it’s something I really want to look into. Stay tuned for any updates on that front, because you know if I register for my first competition I’m going to need lots of support from my amazing readers!

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3. Change isn’t all that bad.

In fact, in life, I think change is a pretty healthy thing. What good is it if everything stays the same all the time? I feel like we all constantly need to be evolving, need to be challenging ourselves in new ways. That’s why I did take a little break from the weight room this summer (I know this completely contradicts what I just said above, but hear me out). Deciding to run the Falmouth Road Race -a 7 mile hilly course in August- has taken me out of the weight room and onto the roads. This summer, my training has been much more about conditioning and running than it has barbells and plates, but I’m ok with that. I’ve been doing enough with my KBs and other equipment to keep my strength at an appreciable level, and I know that I’ll be able to build back up once this race is over on August 17th. A little change-up is good for the soul every now and then, and helps to keep us humble. This little break from the iron has taught me to appreciate running a little bit more, and has helped me to really enjoy my summer off with tons of time outside, exploring all of the beautiful areas of my neighborhood.

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So with that, I’m off to enjoy my birthday by doing absolutely nothing. And that’s ok, because it’s my birthday, and I can sloth around if I want to :)

Readers: Have you ever thought about doing a powerlifting competition? For those of you in your 30s, did you feel this change in perspective too, or is it just me? 

A Wedding, A Minimoon, and A Hike

Hello everyone! I’m back! My brain is back, my sanity is back, my attention is back… but now I have a new last name :)

For those of you who were wondering, our wedding weekend was absolutely amazing. Everything went off without a hitch, and I couldn’t have had a better time with all of our wonderful friends and family. The rehearsal dinner on Friday evening was wonderful, and was such a good way for our families to mingle a little bit before the big day — our families hadn’t spent too much time together before so it was nice to let them get to know each other a little bit better.

bridesmaidsMy beautiful bridesmaids at the rehearsal! 

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Will and I walking to the rehearsal..  

And the wedding.. Oh my goodness, perfect doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel about that day. I’ll do an actual wedding recap post when we get the professional photos back from the photographer, but until then, just know that it couldn’t have been better. There were no issues, no drama, just a gathering of amazing people for a beautiful, heartfelt ceremony and one hell of a party afterward. I swear, I honestly took about a week to recover from that day — the wedding was on a Saturday, and it wasn’t until the following Friday that I actually felt rested, awake, and recovered! I think that’s a sign of a pretty good party — and also a sign that my stress levels were so high going into it that some R&R was definitely necessary.

And boy did we ever get some R&R! After the wedding, Will and I headed up to Bar Harbor, ME for our “mini moon” (we’ll be doing a honeymoon in December). We stayed up there for a few days, just enough to relax and decompress after the wedding weekend, and I’m so glad that that’s where we chose to go. The weather wasn’t perfect (rain for 2 full days), but I think that was honestly a good thing, because it almost forced us to spend time just relaxing instead of “go-go-going” to try to see all that Bar Harbor has to offer in our time there. We did get to see some great sites, go on an awesome hike, and eat tons of delicious food, but we also spent a whole lot of time just sitting on the porch of our B&B reading books, drinking coffee and tea, and eating homemade cookies. Can’t beat that :) And we did get a full sunny day at the end to explore Acadia National Park, which was gorgeous and I can’t wait to go back!

The hike we did while there was pretty awesome, and we chose it off of a recommendation of two of our friends who had just been to the area. Because of the stormy weather, we wanted something relatively quick but also a trail that would still be a little interesting. We ended up doing the Ladder Trail up Dorr Mountain and then across the ridge to neighboring Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the eastern coast. The hike itself was pretty much a straight shot up the side of the mountain, with a few ladders (hence the name) to assist on some of the steep scrambles. Thank God for those, because the rocks were pretty slippery that day, and we never would have been able to make it up -or down-  without those (wobbly) ladders. The hike itself was really awesome and we had a ton of fun, but unfortunately the view at the top was lackluster because of the weather. All we could see was fog, fog, and more fog, although there was something kind of cool/eerie about being on top of a mountain that you know is surrounded by the ocean and not being able to see a thing! The funny thing was when we went back up to the top of Cadillac on Thursday and saw the view we had been missing, it was a simply breathtaking view of the ocean and surrounding islands — I could have just sat there and stared all day.

All in all though, it was a great afternoon hike, about 3 miles round trip, and just enough of a workout to keep us both happy. If you’re in Bar Harbor and are looking for a shorter hike to the top of Cadillac, but one that will still give you a decent burn, I would definitely recommend this trail! And if you did it on a clear day, I hear the views are amazing the whole way up, not just at the summit.

I’ll leave you guys with some pics of the hike, since this blog IS about exercise after all! I’ll be back later this week with a recap of all of the amazing food we ate on the trip — hint hint, there was a whole lot of lobster! And then after that, I’ll get back to actual fitness/nutrition blogging, I promise ;)

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Wobbly ladders along the slippery rocks! 

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This should have been a gorgeous view beyond that tree.. instead it was a whole lot of fog! 

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Getting closer to the summit… very very windy up here! 

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Summit! No view of the ocean, but we had fun anyway :) 

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My new husband on our stormy hike! 

Readers: Have you ever been to Bar Harbor/Acadia National Park in Maine? Have you ever hiked Cadillac Mountain? What’s your favorite way to pass a rainy vacation day?