Wednesday, December 30, 2009

2009 Mission Accomplished???

The end of the year is every year, I've been going over the past year and determining if I met my goals for the year. So how did I do?

These were my goals for the last year:
*Complete a triathlon
*Complete 2nd marathon (still deciding which one this will be but I'm leaning towards Chicago)
*Improve eating habits (I do have a specific plan for this particular goal which I will share soon)
*Create a 3 year personal/career development plan and begin implementation of the plan

Well I didn't complete all of these goals but I'm still satisfied with the past year.
I completed a triathlon and had a lot of fun doing so. I decided not to run another marathon because I was feeling burnt out and my heart just wasn't in it. My eating habits were just so-so, I definitely could have done better in that respect. I created my personal/career development plan and I have begun implementation of that plan. I received a promotion a few months ago and that was the first step in my plan, I feel I'm well on my way career-wise.

I'm still trying to finalize what my theme for next year will be. Last year I stopped doing resolutions and decided to instead have a theme for the year and to list a few specific goals associated with that theme. I'll figure it out by tomorrow and post my decision either tomorrow or on the 1st.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Easy Living

I've often wondered how people can let themselves get morbidly obese. I still DO wonder how it happens but today I did have an epiphany about how it starts. I'm not about to disclose some mind-blowing revelation, so don't get excited. I just simply realized it happens because it is EASY. It is so much easier to just do nothing. It takes virtually no effort to sit around and not be active. To just eat whatever you want and not even think twice about the amount of calories or the impact of what you're eating on your health. But here is the thing, the longer you take the "easy" route and go down the path of destruction the HARDER it is to get back on track. The harder you have to work to lose the weight and fight the urge to live unhealthy.

I've been taking it easy lately which means it is going to be harder for me to get back on track. It's okay though, I'm ready for the challenge....

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

P90X vs. My Husband

Hey y'all! I haven't fallen off the side of the earth, I just haven't been very inspired to write anything but a nudge from Dena and a hilarious workout last night just might get me back on track.

I mentioned in a previous post about the Primal Blueprint and how I was going to try to adhere to that way of life. Well we (my husband and I) decided that it we would take it slow and just make a few changes right now and then really get started after the holidays. There is just too much bread, sweets and stuffing floating around during the holidays to make a significant lifestyle change.

As a part of our improved lifestyle we are going to start working out together. I know my runner friends won't like the part of the Primal Blueprint that makes a case against chronic cardio workouts (i.e. marathon training). I can respect some of the scientific information the author presents BUT I'm not going to stop running! Concerning the working out together part, we are going to start taking walks (my husband doesn't like to run) and we are going to do some of the P90X workouts together.

Which leads me to the title of my post. Monday night the husband said he wanted to get started with our work out plan and that we needed to do a P90X video on Tuesday. Since we aren't doing the official plan and we're just going to do some of the videos a few times a week I decided to pick one of my favorite videos (Core Synergistics). He was talking junk about how he was going to do better than me with the workout, blah blah blah. I just smiled and replied "of course you are". Well 35 minutes into the video he's laid out on the floor crying about how he feels like he's going to throw up. HAHA! I'm sure that eventually he'll build up to the point where he can actually finish the workout but at least he learned a valuable lesson about challenging me when it comes to fitness.....

Friday, November 6, 2009

Good Luck Amy!

My running buddy Amy (who I've been neglecting) is running her 1st marathon on Sunday. Although I won't be there to cheer her on I will be cheering in spirit. I met up with her yesterday for a short run and it was great. I don't know what I was thinking staying away so long but I made her promise to let me know when she was going to start back running after her marathon so I could join her. The plan is to always stay trained well enough to be able to do a half marathon. That sounds like a pretty reasonable plan to me.

I'm looking forward to hearing all about her run and even though she claims it is going to take her 12 hours to finish, I'm predicted that she'll run it in well under 5.

GOOD LUCK AMY! I know you can do it.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Never Underestimate Your Spouse

I've been reading this book, "The Primal Blueprint" and it really has me considering a major lifestyle change. When I say major, I mean MAJOR. I won't say that this is a Diet because it isn't something you do for a period of time, it is a way of life but the changes are mostly focused around your eating habits.. I'm not going to go into great detail in this post because I haven't actually finished the book and I want to have the full picture before I discuss it here.

The biggest change is that this way of life calls for the elimination of grains from your diet. That's right, no bread, pasta, rice, corn or any other grains. The book goes into depth about the science behind the recommendation to eliminate grains and how it will lead to a healthier life. I usually give the side eye (o_O) to these books that propose what seems to be radical changes in the way I live my life. This book, unlike many others, provides a large amount of references and I've found other, unrelated, articles that agree with the beliefs presented in this book.

Why am I even considering this? Because I want to feel better. I'm in relatively great shape (although I could still stand to lose a little body fat) and there isn't nothing medically wrong with me. But I don't feel GOOD. My stomach is almost always upset and it was clear from my non-dairy exercise that it isn't just lactose that is a problem. I more than likely have a gluten sensitivity and eliminating grains from my diet is one way to ease that pain. Eliminating grains is something I was considering before I even heard about this book but since reading the book I'm even more motivated to actually do it.

Last night at dinner I brought this up to my husband. I just knew he was not going to be happy about my decision and was definitely not going to participate. Surprise, surprise he just said, "so does this mean I can still eat meat?". Apparently his breaking point is taking away his steaks, he doesn't care so much about bread and pasta. I'm not going to go "cold turkey" because that would more than likely just result in a binge and because I'm not going to waste the food I already have in my pantry (that is open). The items that are unopened that won't be a part of my new lifestyle, I'll just add to my donation to the local food bank. This will be a gradual thing but my plan is to be at least 80% primal by the beginning of the year. I'll keep you posted....

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Only Thing to Fear

"The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself" - Franklin D. Roosevelt

It's not that I don't understand the quote, of course it is the fear of (fill in the blank) that is the problem and not the actual thing we are fearing. Perhaps this is true but even if fear is the only thing we HAVE to fear, it most certainly isn't the only thing we DO fear. There are a lot of things that we fear and everyone has their own private fears. When it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, the fear of change plays a big part.

Change scares a lot of people, probably because "the unknown" scares a lot of people and that is essentially what change is. You are doing something new, something you don't have experience with and that can be scary. It is much easier to go on living life the way you always have than to potentially experience discomfort by changing your ways.

The reason I bring this up is because I think this fear is what has prevented me from making the changes to my lifestyle that I know I need to. Well that and my lack of willpower/possibly addiction to unhealthy foods. If I make the decision to eat healthy, I'm afraid I'll miss eating all of the crap I shouldn't be eating anyway. If I stop watching TV (as much) , I'm afraid I'll miss something exciting and interesting. But you know what? I'm pretty sure that in the long run I'll be much happier if I am healthier and have the potential to live a better and longer life.

If I focus on the things that will truly make me happy then I'll be able to overcome the fear of change because I know the change is for the better.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Recipe of the Week: Mini Meatloaf aka Meal for My Future Kids

When I think about the future and the potential of kids I often wonder how our dinners will be. Will we all sit at the table and talk about our day or will we eat on our table trays while being distracted by the TV. We always had at least one meal a week at the table with no TV when I was growing up. I think that it is important, it is a time to catch-up and check in on each other.

I don't really remember that many meals from my childhood, which is surprising because it wasn't THAT long ago. I do remember the few times my mom made meatloaf and I remember that I hated it. Who wants to eat a hunk of meat that looked dry and had some red sauce on top? Not me that's for sure. The funny thing is, my mom is a great cook so her meatloaf was probably good, I just didn't like the idea. Because of this I have never attempted to make meat loaf (until now). I found an extremely easy recipe and decided to just go for it.

It was a hit! My husband loved it and he told me he despised meatloaf (yeah, I made it anyway). Now I have the perfect meal to force my future kids to eat. I can't wait to say the famous line "you can eat this or you can go to bed hungry" LOL. I'm joking....maybe....

Mini Meat Loaves
*Adapted from the Feb 2009 issue of Better Homes and Gardens

1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup purchased pasta sauce (I used tomato sauce and added some Italian seasoning to it)
1/2 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1 lb lean ground beef (I'm sure you could use turkey if you prefer)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (4 oz)
Italian seasoning or any other seasoning you like

1. Preheat oven to 450F. In large bowl combine egg, 1/2 cup of the pasta sauce, bread crumbs and seasonings (I don't know how much seasoning, just sprinkle some in).

2. Add beef and 1/2 cup of cheese; mix well. Divide beef mixture in four equal portions. Shape each portion in a 5 1/2 x 2-inch oval. Place on a 15x10x1-inch baking pan. (The pan I used was slightly smaller 13x9 and it worked just fine)

3. Spoon on remaining pasta sauce and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 15 minutes or until internal temperature registers 160F (I used my handy oven probe and it took 20 minutes for it to each 160)

4. Serve with green beans or whatever you favorite veggie is.

5. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Giving Up Jarred Pasta Sauce

This all began the other night when I was making dinner. I didn't really have a specific meal in mind and since I hadn't gone grocery shopping I was going to have to make due with what was already in my pantry/freezer. I had some shrimp and some pasta so I thought, all I need is some spaghetti sauce and I can make shrimp spaghetti. Sadly, I didn't have any of my usual Chunky Ragu sauce in the pantry. What I did have however was the perfect ingredients to make my own spaghetti sauce. I whipped my "homemade" sauce up in no time and after the first spoonful I decided that I was officially giving up store bought spaghetti sauce.

Tonight I made my own sauce again, this time using lean ground beef instead of shrimp and once again it was delicious! It was sooo easy, I really don't know why I wasn't doing this before. I know you are all extremely interested in knowing my recipe, so I will try to appease you. If you know me, you know I'm not the best at explaining how I make something unless I'm following an exact recipe.

Warning: this is not exact but just a rough guide to go by.

Large Can of Hunt's Diced Tomatoes (I like the ones already seasoned with garlic, oregano, and basil)
~4 oz Tomato Paste
Italian Seasoning
Crushed Red Pepper

1. Mix the diced tomatoes with the tomato paste. Stir the tomato paste until it dissolves into the juice from the diced tomatoes. *I'd suggest that you add the tomato paste in slowly, you may need more or less.

2. Add seasoning to taste. I never measure my seasoning so I wouldn't even know where to begin as far as amounts are concerned.

3. Enjoy! Yep, it's that simple.

-If you like your sauce more "juicy" then you may want to consider adding a little bit of tomato juice or using some crushed tomatoes.
-I'm thinking of trying out adding additional vegetables to the sauce. Maybe one of those bags of italian vegetables.

On another GoWear Fit came today (yeah I bought it) so be on the lookout for a post about that really soon.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Recipe of the Week: Espresso-Rubbed Steak with Green Chile Pesto

I've made this recipe twice, once with the pesto and once without. I liked it more with the pesto which is actually very easy to make. I was a little intimidated by the thought of making pesto sauce but as long as you have a food processor you won't have any problems.

Ingredients (Steak)
1 1/2 beef flank steak
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp kosher salt or salt
1 tsp instant espresso coffee powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano, crushed
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Ingredients (Pesto Sauce)
2 medium fresh Anaheim or Poblano chile peppers (I used 1 of each)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro (cilantro tastes like soap to me so I used fresh basil)
1/4 crumbled Cotija cheese (I couldn't find this cheese ANYWHERE so I used Parmesan)
2 tbsp pine nuts
2 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions (Steak)
1. Score both sides of steak by making diagonal cuts in a diamond pattern. In small bowl, combine chili powder, salt, espresso powder, garlic powder, oregano, and pepper. Sprinkle over steak; rub in,.
2. Coat a 12-inch nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Heat over medium-high heat until very hot; add steak. Reduce heat to medium. Cook 12 to 14 minutes for medium rare or 14 to 16 for medium, turning once halfway through. Transfer to cutting board. Cover loosely with foil to keep warm while preparing pesto sauce.
3. To serve, thinly slice steak against grain.
Makes 8 servings

Instructions (Pesto)
1. Halve peppers lengthwise; remove stems, seeds and veins. Coarsely chop peppers. In food processor combing peppers, cilantro (or basil), cheese, pine nuts, garlic, red pepper, salt/pepper to taste.
2. Process to finely chop mixture. With processor running, add 1/2 cup olive oil in steady stream through feed tube to combine into a coarse paste.
Makes about 1 1/2 cup pesto.

This is a delicious steak and sauce. I will definitely add this to my recipe box (okay I don't really have a recipe box but if I did I'd add this to it).

For all of my non-meat-eating friends, the pesto would also taste good over some pasta or maybe you could pour it over tofu?


Friday, October 9, 2009

Planning Makes Perfect

I'm the planner queen. I make life plans, meal plans, exercise plans, shopping plans, all types of plans. I have calendars, electronic planners, notebook planners, hand-held planners. I make to-do lists, to-go lists, to-buy lists, to-see lists. I set time limits, price limits, all types of limits.

Where does that get me? Sometimes it gets me far and I follow my plan and achieve my goal. More often it just leaves me with a well-written PLAN. Excessive planning makes you a perfect planner but it doesn't make you a perfect executor. A great plan is just a nice set of words if you don't actually put that plan into action. The action portion is where I sometimes get hung up. I have some excellent plans in my folder of plans that I've never actually started. I haven't figured out what makes me see certain plans through while others stay trapped on a sheet of paper.

I saw this funny episode on South Park where they were making fun of how girls are always making lists. I found this hilarious because I've always made lists, I probably make at least one list a day. I never thought of list-making as being a female thing but maybe it is.

My point is this, I will never stop creating my "perfect" plans but I am going to spend more time implementing the plans I've created. Hmm...perhaps I should go create a plan on how I'm going to implement my plans....LOL, just kidding!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Kiss My Rut Goodbye

I've been in a rut lately. I don't really know why because I should be super happy. My life is great, I just got a promotion at work and I have a wonderful family. But for some reason I've just been feeling BLAH, especially when it comes to working out. I guess you've already figured out by the lack of P90X posts that I did not complete my 90 days as desired. Part of me feels like a failure for not sticking with it but another part of me understands that it is okay. It isn't the end of the world and I still own the videos so I can just start again.

Yesterday I kissed my exercise rut goodbye. Perhaps I underestimated the affect that running has on me and how I may need it to stabilize my moods. My new plan is to alternate running with the P90X workouts. The main benefit of the P90X workouts is that if you follow the plan your muscles stay "confused" and therefore get more out of the workouts. Adding in runs and spacing out the workouts won't affect this aspect of the program and it will help me maintain a better attitude.

I also realized that I eat horribly. I know I'm not the worst but my eating habits are pretty terrible. If I ever want to achieve that fat loss that I claim to want then I am really going to have to do a better job of sticking with a healthy eating lifestyle. Not a diet, I need to change my mentality and just improve the way I eat overall. Damn those delicious, unhealthy foods that always tempt me.

I went for a run yesterday and while it wasn't as long or as fast as I would have liked it felt great. I shortened it because about a mile and a half into it a crazy downpour started and I was soaked to the bone so I decided to turn back before I got struck by lightening or a tree branch fell on my head. Even though the rain cut my run short, I felt like it was cleansing for my soul. My desire to do and be better is renewed and now I'll work even harder to achieve my goals.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I'm thinking about getting a BodyBugg or at least trying one out. I think the gym I go to has something where you can rent one for a month so I'm going to look into how much that costs. If you've never heard of the BodyBugg, it measures your caloric output to help you accurately estimate what your caloric intake should be in order for you to lose weight.

I know, I I really need to spend money on another gadget? Probably not, but I have come to the realization that I have a small addiction to gadgets. I love them, when I find out about a new gadget I want it. If I had the money or less restraint, I'd probably have all of the items that they sell in those infomercials. I think this particular gadget could be useful in helping me break my current plateau, at least I hope that it will.

I'll let you all know if/when I get it and what it tells me. What I really need is something that I can just attach to my body that will beep when I've eaten too much. Maybe I could even set it to give me a mild shock when I even think about eating unhealthy food.....too extreme?

Monday, September 14, 2009

P90X and More

My friend and writer extraordinaire Dena asked a question on my last blog post about the feasibility of doing P90X and still running several times a week. There are two main things that factor into whether or not this would be possible for a person.

The biggest issue is time: Each of the P90X workouts lasts approximately a hour and a half. For me that is about all the time I have for working out during the week. I get up around six in the morning and I don't get home from work until around six at night. At that point I don't really have the time to do more than a hour and a half of exercise, especially if I'm going to cook and/or do any type of cleaning. If I was the type that enjoyed getting up in morning and working out then it would be a lot easier to fit in multiple workouts during the day. Or if I won the lottery and therefore didn't have to work I could workout about three times a day. (A girl can dream....)

The second issue is soreness: Soreness isn't exactly the word I'm looking for but the point is that the workouts are fairly intense and you would need to plan on which days you're going to run so that you aren't in too much pain. The plyometrics and leg/back workouts are brutal on your legs so you probably won't want to run the next day. Now if you did a relatively short run in the morning of those workouts then that would probably be okay.

If you have the time then it should not be a problem to fit in running (or another exercise) in with P90X. If you are already pressed for time and barely fitting in your exercise then you probably won't have the time to do additional workouts with P90X. I really believe that the people that they show on the P90X infomercials are doing additional workouts (or maybe they just aren't eating chili-cheese fries).

In my ideal life I wouldn't be at work for 9-10 hours a day (not including the time it takes to get there) and therefore I would be able to get up in the morning and workout and then workout again in the evening without quickly becoming run down.

If anyone else has any thoughts on this situation then please feel free to comment.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

P90X Update and Longest Bike Ride

Today I went on what turned out to be a 57 mile bike ride. My longest ever. The weather was PERFECT and the scenery was beautiful. I enjoyed the route because it was different from our normal route and it wasn't very hilly.

This ride demonstrated just how stronger my legs have gotten with P90X. We rode at a pretty decent pace, about 15 mph, and I was comfortable the entire time. I only got a little tired around mile 48 but then I got my second wind. My legs felt powerful and strong throughout the ride and I know that it is due to all of the squats and lunges I have been doing in P90X. I wonder what affect this will have on my running...I may sign up for a race before the end of the year.

I have 4 weeks left in the program and I am satisfied with my results thus far. While it is true that my fat gill hasn't completely diminished, a friend of mine reminded me today that I had that fat gill even when I was about 30 pounds lighter so maybe it is just a deformity of mine. Maybe after I have children and I have more money I'll just have it sucked out....

This past Friday and Saturday I did my workouts with my mom. It is pretty embarrassing when your 63 year-old mom can do more pull-ups than you. Sheesh....I have to get my strength up. I also determined that I really need to get a pull-up bar because using the bands isn't giving me the workout that I really need. I bought one of those pull-up bars that goes over the door but my attempt at using that resulted in me almost breaking my neck. So I'm going to buy one of the ones that you screw into the door frame and hope that works better.

I have lost some weight and an inch off my waist as well as about 2% body fat. If I really buckle down and start eating healthier then I know I will continue to see even better results. I'm going to look into the books my friend Dena recommended, hopefully there will be some things in there that I can convince my husband to eat. He's kinda picky.

Monday, August 31, 2009

P90X - 1 Month Left

I am close to the end. I have four weeks left in my P90X journey and I am fairly satisfied with my results. I am definitely stronger than I was when I started the workout and I have lost some fat. I have to be honest and admit that I slacked off a little bit this past month and therefore I haven't seen the results I probably could have seen had I tried a little harder.

I still enjoy the workouts because even though I've been doing them for 2 months they are still challenging and I feel like I've worked out. I have some thoughts about what I'm going to do after I finish this last month but I will wait to share those with you once I get closer to the end.

Hands down my biggest pit fall is FOOD. I am starting to think I have a problem. It is a problem that I share with many other people but it is still a problem. I generally can do alright during the week (unless someone tempts me into going out for lunch). I cook healthy dinners and I keep healthy snacks on hand. Where I fall apart is the weekend. There is something about the weekends that just messes me up completely. How do you blow a week's worth of healthy eating in two days? With cheeseburgers and fries that's how! Even if it isn't fast food, I still end up eating too much on the weekends. If I really want to see the results I desire then I need to fix this problem of mine. That will be a goal of mine over the next few months....stop having disastrous weekend eating habits.

Does anyone else have this weekend eating problem? What do you do to avoid overeating on the weekends (or in general)?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Recipe of the Week: Oven-Fried Spicy Chicken

I know it has been a while since I posted a recipe but I honestly hadn't made anything using any new recipes. I decided to get it together this week and try out some of 100s of recipes I have around here.

1 cup corn flake crumbs (I just crushed up some Special K)
2 tsp chipotle chili powder (or regular chili powder)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp garlic salt
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp season salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
4 bone-in chicken thighs (I removed the skin)

1. Heat oven to 375. Line backing sheet with aluminum foil. (I recommend spraying the foil with cooking spray because mine got stuck to the foil.)

2. In a bowl mix together buttermilk, 1 tsp cayenne pepper and seasoning salt. Place chicken in bowl to soak.

3. Meanwhile, mix corn flakes, chili powder, cumin, salt and rest of cayenne pepper in a large ziploc bag.

4. Remove chicken from bowl and place in bag. Shake until coated with cornflake mixture.

5. Place chicken on prepared baking sheet. Bake at 375 for 50-55 minutes or until golden and crispy and internal temperature registers 160. (I just want to say that having a probe hookup in your oven is wonderful.)

Nutritional Information per thigh: 285 calories, 18g fat, 21g protein, 9g carbohydrates

Thursday, August 13, 2009

P90X - Week 6 or 7

I was nicely reminded by my good friend Dena that I've been slacking on my updates ;-). I won't even promise to do get back to daily updates but I can make weekly ones for sure.

My first week 5 didn't go so well because Mother Nature and I had a disagreement and I really didn't feel well enough for a week full of workouts. I made the decision to do week 5 over since I missed several of the workouts. That makes this week my new week 6. Only 6 more weeks to go.

This set of workouts incorporates two slightly different arm workouts. I like both of these workouts but I still have problems with the push-ups due to my wrists. Luckily doing them on my knees still provides a workout for my chest and arms. It does however cause rug burns on my knees which is definitely not a good look during the summer...

Body Changes:
My back fat has not decreased as much as I would like but I'm still keeping hope alive. My arms and legs are stronger and more toned. I'm excited because I'm only half way finished so if I keep it up then I'll have some really noticeable results.

As I said before, I hadn't been doing as well as I should have concerning my eating habits. This week I have been very diligent and have recorded all of my food and exercise into my calorieking account. I have met my calorie goal every day so far and my carbs/protein/fat ratios haven't been too far off. Now if I can just stick with this for the next six weeks.....

Additionally, I went for a four mile run today and it was great. I had been feeling kind of frustrated the past few days and the run definitely made me feel better. I have to make sure to keep running as a part of my routine.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

P90X Update - 1 Month Down!

I have not done a good job of keeping up with blogging about my P90X journey. After working in front of the computer all day, doing my workout and cooking dinner; I haven't felt much like blogging about anything.

Things are going great with the program. I am definitely getting a lot stronger and my muscles are becoming more defined. This gill of fat on my back isn't disappearing as fast as I'd like it to but that probably is because I haven't exactly stuck to the suggested meal plan. I have a lack of willpower when it comes to food. I should be able to pass up a burger and fries but for some reason I can't. If I didn't like to workout I'd probably weigh 300lbs.

This first month has gone by pretty fast. The workouts were challenging and haven't really gotten easier because I just work harder at them. The only part of the workouts I don't like are the push-ups. I have to do modified versions because I have problems with my right wrist. I can't bend it in the correct positions needed to do a regular push-up. I'm going to check with the doctor to see if there is a way to fix this. Since I can't work as hard on the push-up part I just put more effort into the other arm exercises .

So....1 month down and 2 to go. I'm definitely going to make it and hopefully will have some beautiful results to post for all to see. If this back fat isn't all the way gone then you'll only get a front shot, LOL.

Monday, July 13, 2009

P90X - 2 Weeks Down, 10 More To Go

Today I am starting on week 3 of this 12 week journey. I feel pretty good. My shoulders and glutes are a bit sore but overall I'm in less pain than I was at the end of week 1. I think the main reason I'm feeling sore is because on Saturday I added in an extra workout of bike riding and running. I hadn't been riding or running in a while and I felt surprisingly great. We did a brick workout of 10 mile ride + 1 mile run x 3. Oh and we got faster on the bike part each time (I can't say the same for the run portion, lol). I will definitely make a point to continue riding and/or running on the weekends while I'm doing P90X.

As far as workouts are concerned the 1st three weeks are exactly the same so there isn't anything exciting to discuss about that. I do feel stronger overall and the workouts are becoming slightly easier, a big emphasis on slightly. I have still yet to complete the entire abs ripper video. That thing is 15 minutes of pure torture!

My weight and body fat % has been fluctuating up and down for the past week so I'm not really sure what is going on with that. I will be honest and admit that I haven't been doing the best at following the diet plan like I should be. I'm going out of town at the end of this week so I know that I will probably make some poor food choices but I'm going to try my best not to get completely out of control. I'm going to take my laptop with me so that I can do the workouts in my hotel room.

I'm still motivated and going strong. I definitely feel I'm going to have some great results by the end of this thing.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

P90X - Day 8 & 9 : Find the Burn

The guy that does the video is always telling you to "find the burn" well I found it all right. My muscles were burning just turning pages in my notebook today. I wonder how long it is going to take for the soreness to go away. Maybe it is going to be this way for the entire 90 days since the workouts switch so often. 

This week is just like last week so yesterday was chest & back and today was plyometrics. I still can barely make it through the plyometrics workout and I really thought I was fit. I've run a marathon and complete a triathlon, geez! Apparently this workout doesn't care because it is kicking my butt anyway.

The good news is that I have lost 2 pounds and reduced my body fat slightly (only 1% but hey it is an improvement). Also I feel great which is extremely motivating. I hope everyone else is doing wonderful as well.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

P90X - Day 6 & 7: Don't Wear Heels

I'd like to start off this blog post with a word of warning. It is not a good idea to do the Legs & Back workout and then go dancing at the club in 3-inch heels. That is unless you are attempting to start a new dance craze called "The Charlie Horse". Seriously, trying to strut walk through the club + your calf muscle seizing up on you = massive fail. I certainly learned my lesson.

Day Six was scheduled to be the Kenpo and Day Seven was the rest or Stretch X day. Due to the holiday and the fact that I could barely walk on Saturday I chose to switch the order around and do the Kenpo today.

Kenpo was great! It is a type of martial arts so it was basically a bunch of kicking and punching. I feel like I could beat someone up pretty bad right now, LOL. Just like all of the other workouts you get out of it what you put in. If you are punching lightly then you don't get the same workout you would if you are punching with force. I went all out. I pretended I was punching all of the people things that annoy me. I think this will be one of my favorite workouts of the bunch. There are still about 5 more that I have yet to do so I don't want to speak too soon. 

After the workout was over and I was eating dinner my arm was trembling just picking up my yeah, this was a serious workout.

Friday, July 3, 2009

P90X Day 3, 4 & 5

Clearly my plan to give an update everyday is not on track. Oh well, I'll make an effort to do better but the way these workouts are kicking my butt I don't feel like blogging afterwards. So here's a recap on the past few days.

Day 3 - Shoulders & Arms:
I'm excited about this workout. I really want some of those sexy, muscular arms and I feel like this will help me get there. This was probably the easiest workout thus far but still not easy by any means. Currently I'm using bands in place of the pull-up bar because I can only do half of a pull-up. Not to mention the fact that I almost had a nervous breakdown trying to get my pull-up bar put together (it's still not together by the way). Tank tops here we come!

Day 4 - Yoga:
When I saw that day for was yoga I thought, score, finally a break. Umm NOT! The yoga was ridiculous. First of all it is an hour and a half which is 30 minutes longer than the other workouts. The first 30 minutes where a version of power yoga where we were moving the entire time. I was fine up until about the last 8 minutes, at that point I had to skip out on some of the upward dogs because my arms just couldn't take it anymore. The next 30 minutes was balance poses which wasn't too tiring but it definitely was challenging. The last portion was yoga abs which I'm hoping will help sculpt my abs of steel.

Day 5 - Back and Legs:
I'll just say that my calf seized up and I almost started crying during this workout. I thought I had pretty strong legs but I don't have P90X legs (yet).

General Thoughts:
This has been great so far. Hard but great. I like doing the workouts along with the video because it keeps me going. There is no way I'd complete one of these workouts on my own. I've been doing pretty good on my diet but I still need to lower my carb intake slightly.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

P90X - Day Two: Polymetrics

Polymetrics is ridiculous! I don't think I've done polymetrics since I was in high-school and for good reason. It was a bunch of squats, lunges and jumping around. I almost had a heart attack. I definitely had to pause the tape and take a few extra breaks during the workout. If I thought I wouldn't be able to raise my arms after yesterday's workout then I might not be able to walk after tonight's.

On the nutrition front, I need to figure out something better. I followed what I thought was correct but according to the guidelines I am supposed to only have 20% carbs and I was more around 50%. I already have my meals planned out for this week so I'm not going to make any major changes. Next week I will put the proposed meals into calorie king and play around with the choices until I come up with the right mix.

Now I just need to find a protein bar that doesn't make me want to barf.

Monday, June 29, 2009

P90X - Day One

You can tell by the title of this post that I decided to go ahead with the plan of doing the P90X workout series. I thought about it for a few weeks and decided that based on my personal goals this is something that I want to do. I just having been seeing the results body wise that I wanted and I'm hoping that this will give me that extra push I need.

I planned on writing a pre-P90X post but I was too busy being pissed off by watching the BET Awards last night to write the post. I plan on following the nutrition plan too so yesterday I went to the grocery store and bought all of the things that I need for the week. Nutrition is always my biggest hurdle so I am going to try really hard to keep on track.

Today's workout was  Chest and Back. This involved a lot of push-ups, pull-ups and other arm work. So umm yeah, my arms are pretty weak. I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to lift my arms in the morning but it was a great workout. After the Chest and Back series I did the Ab Ripper video. I didn't not EVEN complete that entire thing. It was extremely difficult. I'll be able to finish it soon though! 

I plan on posting everyday, we'll see how that goes......

Monday, June 22, 2009

What Inspires You to Run?

I received a comment(from Sian) on my last post asking "Do you really just get into it." I'm assuming the question is around the desire to just get out and run. Does one just really get into it to the point where they just love and can't wait for their next run.

There is no concrete answer to this. As I've previously posted, I've been running since I was young so it has always been a part of my life. I go through periods where I absolutely LOVE running. I just have the desire to bust out of my office space and run down the street. When I feel this way I can't get enough, running clears my mind and energizes my life. 

I would be lying if I said that I always felt this way about running. Sometimes (like for the past couple of weeks) I just don't feel like running. I don't know why but I go through these periods where I just don't have the desire to run. 

I think it all comes down to why you are running. I have lots of friends that run and they have a variety of reasons as to why they run (companionship, health reasons, sanity, etc.) I think that if you stick with it for a while you will start to love it. And if you don't love it then don't do it. I am a big advocate of running and I think everyone that can should do at least some running but life is too precious to waste time on doing something you REALLY don't enjoy. 

There is always cycling....

So fellow runners; do you have any advice for Sian? When you started running did you automatically love it or did it have to grow on you? If so, how long did it take?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Where's Elvis?

I apologize for leaving so abruptly and not letting you all know. I've been in Memphis since Sunday for work and have been super busy. I promise to get back on top of my blogging when I get back in town this weekend. I shouldn't even be up right now because I have my last session in the morning and without some sleep those things aren't the easiest to stay awake through.

I hope everyone is doing well and is on track with whatever your individual fitness goals are. Free food and no time to exercise means I'm going to have a lot of work to do when I get back. I might need to go ahead and call Paul about that 100 mile bike ride he wants to do.

Friday, June 5, 2009

P90X Question

Has anyone tried the P90X series? From what I can tell it has been out for a while so it isn't something new that people are doing. I've read a few reviews and like reviews for anything of this nature people either like it or love it. It is clearly not for beginners but I took the "fitness test" that they recommend before purchase and I passed (with flying colors). 

I am enjoying cycling and running, the swimming not so much but it is getting better. I still want to do triathlons but I feel like I'm not seeing the changes body-wise that I am looking for. A few people that I've talked to that actually did the program said that it was "life changing" for them and that they finally saw the results they had been trying to get for a long time.

What do you all think about the program?? I do have my 10 year high-school reunion coming up soon....

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Operation No Dairy Results

I somewhat made it through the entire two weeks without eating any dairy. I had a slip-up the day of my trip up the mountain but how could I turn down pizza after that? All-in-all I definitely learned some things during the two weeks. I'm not sure if two weeks is truly long enough to really make a fair analysis but that's the time I set and here is what I learned.

1. I need to stop eating dairy. Just taking two weeks off from dairy improved the way I felt. I was less bloated and less gassy. I don't know if there could have been something else that added to this but I didn't change anything else so I will attribute my improvement to not eating dairy.

2. There is no way I can stop eating dairy, LOL. There are too many things I love that have dairy in them for me to just cut it out completely. I am going to try to limit my dairy to only occasionally instead of eating it every day.

3. I eat dairy everyday! Before doing this if you asked me how many servings of dairy I ate in a day I would have said maybe 1 and sometimes none. WRONG! By really paying attention to what I eat I realized that there are a lot of things that I was eating that contained dairy and I wasn't even aware of.

4. My favorite coffee drink at work has dairy in it, hot chocolate has dairy in it, my new favorite salad dressing has dairy in it, my favorite chips have dairy in them. I mean WTF! Does everything have dairy in it???

5. Tofutti sour cream does NOT taste better than real sour cream. It looks like it might but trust me, it doesn't. I love sour cream and I was REALLY hoping this would be an acceptable substitute, it isn't.

Bottom Line: I am going to save my dairy servings for special occasions but I'm not going to cut it out of my diet completely just yet. There is a popular saying that goes "Change will come when the pain of staying the same is worse than the pain of change." so I guess until it gets worse I won't be changing completely.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Mountain Climber

A couple of weeks ago my coworker Paul asked me if I wanted to go with him, his wife and our coworker Bryan for a ride in the nearby mountains. He made it sound like it would be a leisurely ride through beautiful scenery. It was only a 22 mile ride. I had gone 50 so I figured this wouldn't be too bad.


This 22 mile ride up TWO mountains was anything but easy. Yes the scenery was extremely beautiful (when I was able to see it through the pain I was feeling). This definitely ranks at the top of the list of most difficult things I've done physically.

We started off at the top of Hanging Rock (I think that is a picture of it above, lol) then went down and towards Sauratown Mountain. It took us about 8 miles to get to the actual climb up the mountain. When we get there Paul says "okay now this is where it starts getting steep." STARTS!!?? It has already BEEN steep to me and I was already feeling the burn in my thighs. I just kept in mind that it was just a 3 mile climb so I could do that with no problems. Well I wouldn't say that I did it with NO problems but I made it up although I wasn't so sure I was going to make it at one point. I was zig zagging all the way across the road trying to get up that hill. Luckily on that part of the ride there wasn't any traffic so I didn't have to worry about watching for cars. I finally made it to the top and got to take a short break before we started back to the car.

The ride down was fun. It is kind of annoying that it took about 45 minutes to get up the hill and then only 10 to come back down. My forearms hurt from pumping my brakes so much going down the hill. I was afraid to go TOO fast although I did get up to 36 mph. I also didn't want my brakes to melt so I was careful not to ride them too much.

The last climb...since we parked at the top of Hanging Rock we had to ride back up to get to the car (whose idea was it to park at the top??). This was the worst part of the ride for me. The hill was shorter, about 2 miles, but it felt so much more difficult. I guess because there was more traffic and because I was pretty tired at this point. When I had a little over half a mile left I really wanted to give up. I almost started crying and if I would have been able to get my foot unclipped (I didn't even have enough energy to do that) then I would have stopped for sure. I'm kinda glad that I wasn't able to get my foot loose because it made me keep going and at this point Paul had come back to make sure I wasn't dead ride the rest of the way with me so that definitely helped a lot.

All in all I'm glad that I did it and that I now know I CAN do it. I'm glad that I had some great people to ride with because that definitely helped me make it through the ride. This will make the hills on our regular route seem like nothing. I don't know if I'll ever get to the point where I want to do the 3 mountain madness (this adds on another mountain and about 40 more miles) but maybe.....

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Finding My Still Point

I went to a wonderful yoga class yesterday. It may have been the best yoga class I have ever participated in. The instructor was wonderful and the class was challenging but not terribly difficult. The best part of the class was when he told us to find our "still point". This is the slight pause in between your breaths. Right after you breathe in and right before you breathe out. He asked us to focus on this point. It was nice to just relax and focus on my breath (or non-breath). 

I have a lot going on right now, all good but still a lot. How great I felt in the class made me realize that I should take more time to just relax and focus on my still point. One way I'm going to do this is to make Yoga with this guy a regular part of my schedule. I enjoyed it more than I did the Pilates course.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Operation No Dairy Update

I'm on day 3 of my quest to eliminate dairy from my diet for the next two weeks. So far it hasn't been that hard other than Monday when we went to the Mexican restaurant for lunch.

I think what makes it easier is that I cook dinner and bring leftovers to work for lunch. I just make sure I don't make anything with dairy in it. This really isn't that big of a deal because other than mac & cheese and lasagna I don't really make things with dairy in them that often. Hmm this would mean no sour cream on taco night though....

I haven't felt any different yet, I'm still feeling the same discomfort I have been having but it is only the beginning of day 3 so I need to give it some time. Although what is my goal? If I DO feel better in two weeks am I going to cut dairy out of my diet for the rest of my life? Probably not. Why oh why can't someone just come up with a medicine (that works) that would help with lactose intolerance???

Monday, May 18, 2009

Weekly Wrap-Up and Goal Setting #13

I don't even really remember what I did last week but it wasn't that much. Luckily last week was a recovery week so I used it as such. I wasn't feeling too hot so I just took it easy and did a few runs and swims. I was planning on going on a bike ride on Sunday but the weather didn't cooperate and I had a lot of things I needed to do around the house.

Goal Setting:
I haven't even looked at what the workouts are supposed to be this week (bad I know) so I'm not sure what my goals are going to be other than to try my best to complete as many workouts as I can. I have been lacking energy lately but I hope I can turn that around.

The biggest goal of mine for the next two weeks is to not eat ANY dairy at all. I hope that I can stick with it but I already know that it is going to be hard. I had my first test today when I went to a Mexican restaurant and of course everything that I wanted had cheese in it but I stayed strong and avoided the dairy. We'll see how this goes...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Body Fat Percentage Bullcrap

So I told y'all yesterday about how I bought the body composition scale and how upset I was by the percentage it gave me. I was convince it was a liar so I decided to have my husband (who rarely works out and eats cheesecake like 3 times a week) get on there to see what his is. Umm yeah so now I'm even MORE upset. His body fat percentage is less than half of mine. I mean COME ON! In what universe is this even fair? He went out and ran/walked a mile and a half today and he'll probably lose 2 pounds. Me on the other hand, if I go more than 3 days without working out I gain 2 pounds.

My mom asked me the other day "why aren't you skinny?". Yes, why am I not skinny? I'm really starting to think that I have some sort of condition that isn't allowing me to lose weight. I think I'm going to go get this checked out because something isn't right.

On another note: I'm going to try to go for 2 weeks without eating any dairy product. I think that dairy is really causing me intestinal distress so I want to see how I feel if I just eliminate it from my diet. This is going to be extremely hard for me because I LOVE pretty much everything diary. I haven't met a cheese I didn't like, ice cream has always been a great friend to me, cream sauce *sigh*. Oh well, if it gets rid of my stomach pains then I guess it will be worth it....maybe...

Monday, May 11, 2009

Weekly Wrap-Up and Goal Setting #12

I wasn't even going to do an update today because I feel like crap. I probably should be asleep right now but I'm not for a variety of reasons, one being my addiction to TV. Since I'm up I might as well do my weekly post.

All in all last week was pretty great. I felt good until this weekend when the Demon came into town. I completed all of the scheduled workouts for Monday-Friday. I feel off on the weekend, skipping out on Sat and Sun workouts. I made up for the workout on Sunday by helping my mom build a fence around her garden.

Sidenote: She planted EIGHTY tomato plants so if anyone likes tomatoes I'll have plenty to share.

Umm well that depends on how I feel this week. It is hard for me to judge right now because all I want to do is lay on the couch and eat cookies. I'm going to try to get in at least one of every exercise this week and hopefully more. Friday evening is the Relay for Life event (I'm still taking donations if you're interested in giving) so I'll do a lot of walking/running that day/night. Hopefully I can get a long bike ride in this weekend.

On another issue....I think I mentioned I was going to purchase a body composition device. Well it came today and that is probably what has added to my foul mood. I'm really hoping that thing is incorrect otherwise I have some serious work to do. I mean what in the world, I don't even want to type the number that thing gave me for my body fat percentage. I knew I hadn't lost any weight but I thought it was because I had gained muscle but now I don't know what to think. This is very frustrating because even though I know I don't have the BEST eating habits I know that they aren't terrible and I work out consistently so I really don't understand. It's not like I'm going to stop working out but I would like to see more results. *sigh* I have some changes I'm thinking of making that might help; I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Hills...How I've Missed You

In keeping with my schedule for the week I went to the park to do some hill repeats. I went out even though it was kind of cool and misty. Luckily there was a lull in the storm so it wasn't raining during my workout. I did six hill repeats and I felt pretty good although when I was doing my cool down my calves were burning and felt like they had rocks in them. The workout itself wasn't too exciting but I did see some strange things while I was at the park.

This lady was jogging around the park and she had on a raincoat and she had an umbrella in her hand. I don't really understand this. You're exercising, you have a jacket with a hood, why would you waste the energy to carry along an umbrella? If it starts raining are you going to stop, put up the umbrella and walk the rest of the way? Seemed a little ridiculous to me.

The other thing was that when I first pulled into the park there was a couple sitting in a parked truck. They were arguing when I left for my run. When I got back from my run the truck was steamed up and they were getting it on hot and heavy. REALLY? It is not nighttime and this is not lover's lane.

Our yoga class was cancelled due to the rain so instead of skipping out on that workout I found a 30 minute yoga workout on Exercise on Demand (this channel is starting to be pretty useful) and did that. These videos can be hit or miss but this one was pretty good. I think I will incorporate it into my weekly schedule at least until I can complete the entire workout at the moderate level.

So far I'm on track for the week but I usually fall off on Wednesday so we'll see what happens.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Weekly Wrap-Up and Goal Setting #11

I'm really trying to get back on top of posting consistently so we'll see how that goes.

Wrap Up:
Last week was so-so. I felt good but I skipped out on a few workouts. Hmmm...that seems like a pattern. I don't know what it is that prevents me from actually completing all of my workouts.
I did complete both bike rides with one of them being my longest yet at 51 miles. I also did get a few swims in. I guess the biggest part I missed was the running. I planned on doing the High Point Half-Marathon but that so didn't happen. I knew after I attempted to run six miles and felt like I was going to fall out after 4 miles that I wouldn't be able to successfully complete a half-marathon.

Goal Setting:
My plan this week is to actually follow the plan that Marisa gives us. I have done well so far since today I was supposed to do a swim and strength training. I did my swim at lunch and then came home and did a full body strength workout that I found on Exercise on Demand (that thing was crucial!).
Tuesday: Hill run and Yoga - I will have to do the hill workout right before yoga but that shouldn't be a problem since the yoga will be focusing on flexibility and not strength training.

Wednesday: Swim and Bike - This is supposed to be a long swim so maybe if I come in a little early it won't matter if I take a long lunch to get my swim in. I'll do the bike at the park after work. Although the schedule says to do a flat course but I have no idea where to find a flat place to ride around here.

Thursday: Bike and Run - Since I have a lunch meeting I'm going to try to do my run in the morning (if I can drag myself out of bed) and then do the bike after work.

Friday: Off (Thank Goodness!)

Saturday: Brick Workout - Perhaps if I get up early enough I can do this from my house before there is alot of traffic, I don't really like riding alone but it is just for an hour so I'll be fine.

Sunday: Swim - This one is going to be hard since it is Mother's Day and I'll be at my parents I don't think I'll be able to make it to the pool. I will probably replace this with a short run unless my dad takes me to his gym.

OK so I'm going to try to really focus on nutrition (I know I say this every week). Maybe I need to just figure out the perfect mix and try to stick with that at least for breakfast, lunch and snacks. Dinner will vary of course but if I can keep all the other meals pretty much the same then maybe that will help?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

A Very Wet Day

I had a very busy day today exercise-wise. This morning I got up early and went for a long bike ride with Paul and then I met my tri-group for a wonderful swim clinic. I've decided to share the details of my day today, LOL.

The Ride:
This was my longest ride to date - 51 miles! I felt great too. I am really starting to get the hang of this whole gear switching thing. The course we rode wasn't super hard but there were a few relatively steep hills and a bunch of gentle slopes. The hills were still somewhat tough but not extremely hard. All this cycling is going to make my thighs even bigger :-/ now I'll have to work on getting some of the fat off of them so that at least if they are big they will be big and toned. The forecast called for rain so I was crossing my fingers that we didn't get rained out. We lucked up and only had about 10 minutes of light rain. It was actually kind of refreshing because it came when I was starting to get hot. Of course, the ride wouldn't be complete without being chased by dogs. We were chased by one killer dog and a few less vicious dogs. I'm really going to have to get that pepper spray....

After the ride I stopped and got a bagel and some chocolate milk so I didn't fall out before the swim clinic.

The Swim Clinic:
It was great! It was useful to understand what an ideal stroke looks like and what I needed to work on in order to achieve that. Marisa gave us several drills to help improve our stroke and also let us know what we each needed to work on. I felt like the slow kid in the class because after each length she had something to say to me about what I was doing wrong. That's okay though it just gives me more to work towards. I read this article that said that when you are first working on your stroke that you should do significantly more drills as opposed. So I plan on focusing on my drills and improving my stroke.

Sidenote: I'm still trying to figure out how I'm doing all this stuff and I'm not losing any weight. It's a mystery....

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Sleep Diary #5

It has been a while since I've made an entry in my sleep diary. Things had been going pretty well other than the fact that I wasn't actually going to sleep when I should have been. My plan of going to bed around 10:30 just wasn't happening. I've been lucky to get in the bed before midnight. Considering that I was sleeping alright once I got into bed.

Last night was terrible though. I had a pain in my side that kept me up all night. Every time I would get to sleep I would wake up after about an hour. That is not a good night's sleep. This kind of made me much does it matter if your sleep is interrupted during the night? Based on my experience I think that it matters a lot. I'm going to do my best to get to bed at a more reasonable time so that I can be a little more alert during the day.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Weekly Wrap-Up and Goal Setting #10

I accidentally skipped last week's Wrap-Up and Goal Setting. Really the main wrap-up was captured in my review of the Belews Lake Triathlon. My goals for last week were just to recover and attempt to focus on nutrition.

Last week was a pretty good week. I got in a nice swim workout, a couple of runs and a great bike ride. One of the runs was a little difficult because apparently we have skipped right over Spring and headed straight into Summer. I was completely unprepared for how the heat would affect me when I went for a run on Thursday. It is back to carrying water with me while I run. Sunday I went on a bike ride with my friend Susan, we did about 20 miles and then did a 3 mile run afterwards. It was really helpful riding with her because she discussed gear shifting and gave me some pointers on when to shift from my big ring to my small ring.

Goal Setting:
I have not really been doing a good job at accomplishing my goals but at least I'm getting out there and doing something.... I am having the hardest time following the plan that Marisa gives us for the week but I at least try to do the stuff even if I have to switch around the days.

I am supposed to be doing the High Point half marathon this weekend but I'm not feeling too confident about that since I haven't been running as much as I'd like to leading up to the race.
Swimming: I usually do this at lunch time so that's why it is sometimes difficult to fit in. I'm going to try to go twice this week (Tuesday and Friday)
Running: 3 Times(Tuesday and Thursday and Sat)
Biking: Twice (Monday and Sunday)
Weight Training: Once (Wednesday)

Next week I'm going to see if I can actually follow the plan that Marisa give us even if that means getting up and going to swim before work.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Recipe of the Week: Plum Chicken

This is a recipe that I've made several times and realized I never posted it on my blog so here you go.

1 1/4 lbs. skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1/2 tsp. Chinese five-spice powder (I don't like this so I use cayenne pepper and seasoning salt)
3 green onions
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 c. chicken broth
1/2 c. plum jam (I've also used black cherry jam which was pretty good)
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1. In bowl, toss thighs with five-spice powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt. From dark-green end of onions, finely chop enough to equal 2 tablespoons, reserve for garnish. Cut remainder of onions into 1-inch pieces; set aside.
2. In 12-inch skillet, heat oil on medium-high until hot. Add thighs and cook 10 minutes or until they're browned and lose their pink color throughout, turning once. Transfer thighs to plate; cover to keep warm.
3. In drippings in skillet, on medium, cook 1-inch onion pieces 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in broth, jam and vinegar, heat to boiling. Reduce heat to medium and cook 3 to 4 minutes or until sauce is syrupy. Return thighs to skillet and turn to coat with sauce.

Suggested sides: green beans and brown rice

Tamara's Take: 9 - This is a quick and easy recipe. I think that I will even branch out and try some different flavors of jam. It is very tasty and great over rice.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Belews Lake Triathlon Race Report

I am now an official triathlete!! WHOO! HOOO! I really enjoyed the race and I am already trying to plan out what my next one will be. I didn't win any awards but I had a wonderful time and felt great which is really all that matters. Here's the run down of the event:

Pre-race: I was a nervous wreck. I woke up around 4am and couldn't get back to sleep. I packed everything the night before so I didn't have to worry about that. I couldn't even eat all of my breakfast because my stomach was doing back-flips. On the ride down there I was practically shaking and my heart was beating really fast. I'm not sure why I was so nervous, it isn't like I was trying to win a championship or anything.

Swim(750 meters): 20:19 - This was surprisingly my favorite part of the race. I find it funny that the part I was the most worried about turned out to be the part I felt the best in. Yes, the water was COLD but it didn't have that big of a negative affect. I will admit that when I arrived and saw where the buoys were that I was thinking there was no way I was going to be able to swim that far. I actually passed some people in the water which was a shock to me. I felt strong throughout the entire swim and tried to pick it up towards the end although I'm not sure how much that actually happened. I did an okay job at spotting but towards the end I veered to the left a little farther than I would have liked.

Bike (14.5 miles): 59:44 - The bike was the hardest part of the race for me. There weren't any super steep hills but there were some significant hills on the course that really slowed me down. I feel like I have the power in my legs I just need to learn how to optimize the use of the gears. Throughout the entire race I felt like I was never in the correct gear. The positive thing is that I actually went faster than I felt like I was going. Not to mention, for some reason I was sure that the bike portion was only 12 miles so figuring out that it was 14.5 miles after I finished made me feel better about the ride. I didn't pass anyone on the bike ride but I sure did get passed by a lot of other people, most of them were nice and had some encouraging words which made me feel a little better. The funny thing that happened while I was riding is that I was looking at the legs of the people that were passing me and seeing a number on the right calf. My first thought was, oh I must not be doing that bad if #64 is passing me, wow I don't remember passing him in the swim, I must have done better than I thought in the swim. It didn't take me long to remember that the number on the right calf is the age of the person and that I was getting passed by a bunch of "old" people, LOL.

Run(3.1 miles): 32:16 - I would have loved to be able to do the run in under 30 minutes but I told myself before the race that if I could do it in under 35 that I would be satisfied. The start of the run was brutal because it started up a pretty long hill. My calves were burning and I felt like I had a ton of bricks in my shoes. Once I made it up the hill I felt a lot better and definitely picked up the pace for mile 2 and 3. I did walk briskly at the water station because I was feeling kind of dehydrated. I did not drink nearly enough water during the transition periods or while on the bike. I think it was because I was still kind of nervous and my stomach was bothering me so I didn't want to push that. Next time I will make sure that I take in enough fluids. The race coordinators were kind enough to have the finish on a downhill so I made myself really push it and even got into a sprint race at the end with some guy, I guess he didn't want to get beat by a girl LOL!

Transitions: I was concerned about not knowing what to do on the transitions but when it came down to it I was very comfortable and things went well. I think this is mainly due to the transition clinic that Marisa held for us the week before and from all the great advice I got from my fellow competitors. I wasn't super fast at either of the transitions but they went smoothly and gave me a chance to gather myself before the next event.

Thoughts: I loved it! It was very difficult and I can't even imagine doing a longer one right now even though I do plan on it for the future. I know it will just take a lot of hard work and dedication. I'm thankful for all of my wonderful friends and family that were there to support me and to provide lots of advice and to calm me down. Three of my friends won awards: Marisa (2nd female overall), Paul (3rd Clydesdale), Susan (2nd Athena). I'm very proud of them.

My coworker Bryan and I started the race 15 seconds apart. It was nice having someone that I knew nearby. He put on this show the day before the race about how nervous he was going to be but he seemed pretty calm to me. We didn't exactly stay together during the race but I did see him during each part so that was nice. It is great to have a familiar face out there on the course. There were some other people from the running group and tri training group out there as well. I don't know what their individual goals were but they all looked strong to me when I saw them on the course so I hope that they were pleased with their results.

Bottom-line: I'm now hooked and will be looking for my next fix real soon, LOL.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Triathlon Trepidation...3 Days Away

My first triathlon is coming up in a few days and I'm starting to get nervous. I don't know why I'm nervous...I've done a lot of preparation and training. Not to mention, it's not like I'm trying to win an award, I'm just trying to enjoy myself and get in some good exercise at the same time.

Doing races and events gives me motivation to stay on track with my exercising because I know that I have something that I'm preparing for. I don't even really know what I planned to write but clearly it has escaped me.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Weekly Wrap-Up and Goal Setting #9

Wrap Up:
I actually did okay this past week. Haven't lost any weight and I swear my thighs seem to be getting bigger...I'm going to assume it is muscle which is a little better but still frustrating when I try to fit into my pants.
Strength training: had me sore for the next few days! I really need to work on my upper body strength.
Biking: I made it twice, once was a spin class and the other was a 21 mile ride outside. I pushed myself in both cases so I'm feeling pretty good about my 12 mile bike ride for the race.
Swimming: I don't think I actually swam this past week except for my swim in the ice cold lake which was probably ended up being a couple hundred meters.
Running: Once, I skipped out on Saturday because my stomach was killing me.
Hmm...maybe I didn't do a well as I thought, LOL. But at least I felt better than last week.

Goal Setting:
My first triathlon is this Saturday! Whoo hoo. So this week I'm going to take it pretty easy and just do a few short workouts. I'm excited, nervous, and a little scared. Today we had transition training which made me feel even more comfortable although I don't think I'll be racing through my transition site, I'm just going to take it easy and focus on the different segments of the race.

What do you have planned for the week?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Not Quite Ready

Yesterday when we were getting ready to leave the swim clinic Marisa mentioned that her and some other people were going for a bike ride today. I asked if I could come along and she said "sure!". She said they were going to do around 3 hours. I was thinking...3 hours, that's doable.

When I showed up this morning she said we were going to do around 40 to 50 miles. I'm thinking in my head, oh so we must be planning on being out for longer than 3 hours. Uhhh, NO. Clearly based on the way we sped off they were not planning on being out for longer than 3 hours. I knew after the first hill that this probably wasn't going to work for me. I'm used to coasting along and picking up the pace every now and again. Riding with them my pace was picked up the entire time.

This is what happens when you've been cycling for six months and you try to ride with people that have competed multiple ironman competitions and one who has been riding for over 15 years. I tried to turn back after we had gone about 8 miles because I knew there was no way in hell I was going to make it 30 - 40 more miles at this pace. Marisa talked me into continuing but about 6 miles later when I'm sure she saw I was struggling to keep up. Well actually I wasn't struggling to keep up, I just plain wasn't keeping up. She was nice enough to direct me to a short cut back. I know she was worried about me riding alone but riding alone for less than 10 miles was a lot better than having me fall out on the side of the road which is what would have happened if I tried to keep going at the pace I was trying to maintain.

The ride back wasn't that bad. It gave me some time to reflect and to focus on my shifting and pedaling. I'm still getting the hang of actually pulling up on the pedals instead of only pushing down. The only bad part of the ride back was when I was coming up a hill and these two large, vicious dogs came running out at me. I thought I was going to have a heart attack because I could feel the dogs breath on my ankle. I couldn't get my foot unclipped to kick at it, which is probably a good thing because I'm pretty sure that would have resulted in me falling. I just screamed at the dogs until they left me alone. I am SO getting some pepper spray and the next dog that messes with me is going to get a face full!

Even though I couldn't keep up with Marisa and her friends I feel really good about today's ride because I pushed myself. At least I know I can go faster that I have been going. Maybe not for 40 or 60 miles (which is what they actually ended up doing today) but at least probably for 12 which is the distance next weekend so that's great!

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Today I went to an open water swim clinic to help prepare for my first triathlon that I will be competing in next Saturday. I can't remember the last time I have swam in a lake or even if I have ever actually swam in a lake. Since deciding to sign up for this triathlon the swim is the part that has been making me the most nervous. I'm not the best swimmer to begin with and the fact that this swim is in a lake doesn't really help.

So today I put on my wetsuit (UGH, I look like a stuffed sausage in this thing) and get ready to hop in the lake for swim. Oh, did I mention that the temperature of the water in the lake was 62 degrees.? Yeah, 62 degrees....painfully cold. I guess it could have been worse, although if it was any worse then I don't think I'd have been getting in the water. My toes and fingers were practically frozen and it hurt to put my face in the water. I must like torturing myself.

Enough complaining....I am very happy that I went to the clinic today. I feel so much more comfortable about the swim. The lake wasn't nearly as dirty as I thought it would be and I think having a bunch of other people in the water must have scared all of the fish away because I didn't see any. It was a little different swimming in a wetsuit but I think it won't be that big of a deal. I'm glad that the swim is a timed start instead of having everyone start at the same time. I don't think I'm ready for all of that chaos yet.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Nutritional Needs

The other day I asked my tri trainer if we were going to have a discussion about nutrition during our training program. The reality is that I probably already know everything I need to know about proper nutrition. I have read numerous nutrition books and articles. I have taken nutrition courses when I was in college. I know about portion control and what the proper balance should be for carbs/fat/protein. I have meal plans, healthy menus and a wide array of healthy recipes. I know how many calories I should have a day. I know that I should take into account my exercise and that it is just as important to eat enough food as it is to not eat too much food.

What is my point?

The point is.....lack of information isn't my problem. A lack of willpower is. I know all of this stuff but it doesn't mean a damn thing if I don't use this knowledge to create and stick with a healthy eating plan. I exercise regularly so I know that I could see the results I say I want if I could just get a handle on my eating. I just have an addiction to unhealthy food. I can't pass it up, I can't stop eating it. It would be one thing if I did it occasionally but I do it far to often. It's not like I don't enjoy healthy food, I just REALLY enjoy things like chili cheese fries and cookies. I don't know what I need to do to spark a real change but I'm going to work on figuring it out. The biggest thing is being more diligent in my meal planning and making sure that I have healthy options instead of unhealthy ones on hand for when I need a snack. Hopefully something will spark soon!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Biking Does Not Equal Spinning

I learned today that biking is not that similar to spinning. Spinning is a lot harder! I decided to take a spinning class today since I knew that I wouldn't ride outside by myself. It probably didn't help that my thighs were still sore from my workout yesterday. I had no idea it would be as difficult as it was but at least I made it through. Here is why it was so different to me.

The size of the bike wasn't optimal. Clearly they don't make these bikes for people 5 feet and under which is a bunch of bullsh*t. I mean really, I know numerous athletic women that are short so why won't exercise machine companies make some bikes that will suit us??? I lowered the seat ALLLLL the way down and it still wasn't perfect. It need to be about an inch lower to be comfortable.

You don't get to coast! You have to continue spinning the entire time. Sometimes you get to spin at a slower pace but you still have to keep spinning. Geez, I am used to coasting a large part of my rides, LOL, so this was pretty difficult.

Not to mention the instructor kept looking at me when she told us not to bounce. One, I don't even know what she meant by this. Two, LADY, have you seen these hips? They bounce on their own, I have no control over what they do. I just really don't foresee myself taking another spin class because while it was a great workout, it was pretty uncomfortable. Maybe one day they will make spinning bikes for short people.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Weekly Wrap-Up and Goal Setting #8

You would think that taking some time off would make me less tired but I swear I'm just as tired as I was before my break.

Wrap Up: last week was pretty much a bust. I was feeling very worn out and so I decided to listen to my body and get some rest instead of pushing it and making myself feel worse.

Goal Setting:
This week I'm really trying to get back on track. Today we did a strength/cross-training workout that has my thighs on fire! I'm not exactly sure how I'm going to fit everything in this week because I have a lot going on but I'm going to try my best.
Strength Training: Once plus at least a 1 minute plank each night
Biking: 2 or 3 times
Swimming: 2 or 3 times
Running: 2 or 3 times

We'll see how it goes....

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Happy Anniversary to Us

Today is our 1 year anniversary! Whew...we made it, LOL. The traditional present for the 1st anniversary is paper. Since we are in the digital age I count the internet as "new" paper. So in celebration of our anniversary I thought I would list 10 reasons why I love my husband.

1. He puts up with my messiness and even picks up the shoes and coats I leave thrown around on the floor.
2. He lets me have control over the remote.
3. He has semi-agreed to us getting a cat despite his cat "allergy".
4. He tells me that every meal I make is delicious (even though I don't really believe him).
5. He supports me fully in my work and training.
6. He rubs my sore muscles after a long hard workout.
7. He laughs at my jokes and some of them are pretty bad.
8. He puts up with my constant mood swings, I am truly a Gemini.
9. He entertains the fact that I say that I am going to become a more organized person at least once a week but it has yet to happen.

There are a bazillion more reasons why I love my husband...these are just a few. Now I'm off to start preparing a wonderful dinner of stuffed mushrooms, crab cakes, filet migon, cole slaw and double-baked potatoes. YUM!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Recipe of the Week: Chicken Nuggets (Baked)

I don't have kids but I imagine that these would make for a nice, kid-friendly meal. I served them with oven baked french fries and salad.

Prep Time: 10 minutes plus 15 minutes marinating time Cook Time: 20 minutes

Marinade Ingredients:
1 cup buttermilk
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp sweet paprika

Chicken Nugget Ingredients:
3/4 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
3/4 cup flour
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 egg, beaten with 1 Tbsp of water
1 cup panko (or regular) breadcrumbs (I used panko)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Dipping sauces, such as BBQ and honey mustard

1. Combine all marinade ingredients in a medium bowl. Add chicken and stir to coat well. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator at least 15 minutes and up to 2 hours. ( I only did it for 15 min and it was fine)
2. Preheat oven to 400F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Pour flour onto a dinner plate and season with salt and pepper. Have beaten egg ready in small bowl. Combine breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese on a shallow plate. Working with one piece of a time, remove chicken from marinade (shaking off excess) and dredge in flour to coat. Dip into egg mixture then coat completely with breadcrumb mixture and place on prepared baking sheet. Continue until all pieces are coated and placed on a sheet. (OK so this was a little too much work from me I just put the flour and the breadcrumb mixture into 2 separate bags and put all the chicken pieces in the bags and shook them up instead of doing 1 piece at a time and it worked well and was less messy.)
3. Bake until golden and cooked through, about 20 minutes (turn nuggets halfway through to crisp both sides). Serve with dipping sauces.

Tamara's Take: I'd give this around an 8. I don't even know why I rate these things with numbers because it really doesn't mean much to anyone else since they don't know my scale. Anyway, this was easy and delicious. The nuggets were light and crunchy with a nice taste even without the sauce. Next time I think I will add some hot pepper to the mix to add an extra kick to it. If I ever babysit someone's kids and I need to fix a meal I will definitely consider making these for them.

If you try it, I hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Laughing Fit

Today I went for a run with Amy R. She wanted to do a relatively long run which I was up for since it meant I could eat more today. The run was filled with lots of laughs starting with the fact that we both decided that we had to run at least 7 miles to account for the food that we had already eaten earlier that day, LOL. Is it sad that I schedule my workouts around what I want to eat or is it just a good plan? I'm going to go with it being a good plan.

We did a little over 7 miles at an average pace of 10:33. The great part was that we pushed it the last mile and did it in under 10 minutes. We did do one mile over 11 minutes but I blame that on the huge hill we had to run up and the fact that we broke out into a laughing fit moments before the hill. It was one of those laughing fits that is sparked by a small, funny comment and just turns into uncontrollable and unstoppable laughter.

I'm starting to feel even stronger in the running department and I'm strongly considering doing the High Point half-marathon in May. It just depends on my schedule because I might be out of town that weekend.

Have I ever told y'all how much I love running?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Weekly Wrap-Up and Goal Setting #7

Dang I've been slacking on the posting....I'll do better this week I promise!

Wrap Up:
I feel like I start off the week on track and then I just start to fall off towards the end of the week. This is especially true when it there is bad weather on the weekend. I find it soo much harder to work out when it was raining because I'd much rather be curled up on the couch. So here is how last week went:
Weight-loss/nutrition: Not so great...gained back the 2 lbs I lost last week. Oh well.
Swimming: Once - 650 meters
Running: 4 times (21 miles)
Biking: none :(
I need to figure out who to maintain my motivation throughout the entire week. Oh and I didn't do any strength training either.

Goal Setting:
I still need to figure out exactly what I'm going to do this week because I already know that I'm going to be going out of town this weekend. That means I'm pretty much going to blow my diet this weekend so I'm not going to even worry about it, LOL.
Swimming: 2 times
Running: 4 times
Biking: I'm going to try to do some biking at least once but I'm not making any promises.
Strength Training: once (for real, I'm going to do it this week!)

If I didn't have to go to work it would be a lot easier to fit in all of these workouts but I'm glad I have my job so I'll figure out a way to make it work.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Weekly Wrap-Up and Goal Setting #6

OOPPS! I forgot to do my weekly wrap-up and goal setting yesterday. I was tired and it completely slipped my mine. Anyway, better late than never.

Wrap Up:
I didn't accomplish ALL of the goals I set out for the week but I still did pretty good. I lost 2 more pounds which is great. I didn't even feel hungry the entire week like I was afraid I might. The good thing about this week was that it was sunny and not too cold. So here's what I did.
Swimming: Once (750 meters)
Biking: 16 miles - I decided not to run on Wednesday because I just didn't feel like it.
Running: 21 miles - my 6 mile run by myself was an excellent run.

Goal Setting:
This week I started my official triathlon training with Marisa. I am really going to try hard to stick to the plan that she gives us. Here's what I'm doing this week.
Swimming: 3 times
Running: 4 times
Biking: 2 times (these may have to be on the stationary or in spin class...UGH)
Strength Training: 1 time

This is a definite step up in my working out but you know what that means? It means I can eat more!!! Whoo hoo. I definitely run (and other stuff) to eat.

What are you doing this week?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Solo Bike Ride

I was too wimpy to get up and go for a early morning bike ride in the cold so I had to settle for riding alone. This was my first bike ride alone and while I am comfortable on the bike I am not THAT comfortable. I decided to do the 10 mile loop I mapped out around my house. It was okay but there were a bit too many cars for me. I am a "worst-case scenario" type of person so all I could think about was, what if I get hit, what if I pop a tire, what if my chain falls off, etc, etc. I wanted to do more than 10 miles but I didn't want to do that same loop again so I decided to turn into my neighborhood and ride around on the smaller streets for a while.

It was great. There were almost no cars on those back roads and the area was beautiful. I rode past a small lake, some animals including an adorable pony. I thought I might get lost but I didn't which made me proud of my memory and directional skills. I'll just be happy when I learn a little more about bikes and riding so that I will be more comfortable riding alone.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Recipe of the Week: Fluffy Pancakes

We did a 10 mile run today and it was a pretty good run. The urban loop is a wonderful route to run especially in the morning when there isn't a lot of traffic. This morning was colder than I expected but after getting warmed up it was nice. After burning off over 1000 calories I figured I deserved some pancakes so I decided to try a pancake recipe I found on-line.

-makes 50 to 60 silver dollar pancakes

4 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup flour
2 cups sour cream
3 tablespoon sugar

1. Put the eggs in a mixing bowl and stir until well blended.
2. Add the salt, baking soda, flour, sour cream and sugar, and mix well.
3. Heat a griddle or frying pan until it is good and hot, film with grease, and drop spoonfuls of batter onto the griddle--just enough to spread to an approximately 2 1/2 inch round. When a few bubbles form on top of the pancakes, turn them over and cook briefly, no longer than 45 seconds.
4. Serve with warm butter and warm syrup. Enjoy!!

*I halved the recipe and it turned out just fine. The pancakes are VERY light and fluffy which made them somewhat difficult to flip but don't worry, they will turn out great.