Holiday Season

The best way to spend a day.

Coffee and Chocolate

‘Tis the season to skip most of your workouts apparently.

At least that’s what I’ve been doing. The last few weeks have been spent traveling, seeing friends and family, and turning The Boyfriend into The Husband. Things are slowly getting back to normal- as normal as the holiday season is, at least. And since The Husband and I are on the same gym membership now, he’s been peer pressuring me to run more often. Well, ‘peer pressuring’ isn’t accurate, he doesn’t do anything of the sort, but I can’t exactly feel good about my choices if he sweats it up for 2 hours at a time while I sit at home drinking organic coffee (an awesome wedding present) and eating homemade Reese’s peanut butter cups (true story: they came from the neighbor and they’re delicious). So I go, and I sweat, and I mentally check out while simultaneously watching the Kardashians and elipticizing. It’s not the worst.

One day I will be my own running motivator. Today is not that day.

Sprints

Ready for the gun!

100 meter dash memories

I’ve been dabbling in Cross Fit lately and thus have been introduced to a new way of working out, which is pretty cool. The other day, to kick off the weekend, instead of lounging around drinking Doc’s Pumpkin Apple Cider and celebrating Flannel Friday, we did sprints. 100 meters, 10 times, with a 1-min break between each one. I was pretty pumped because I don’t really sprint anymore. For some reason I’m trying to turn myself into an endurance runner (does that switch ever happen?), so while I throw some sprint intervals in my runs, I generally stick to a slow (as in dial-up internet slow) pace. I was excited to sprint again.

To summarize:

  • Sprint 1: Awesome.
  • Sprint 2: Still awesome.
  • Sprint 3: Oh God.
  • Sprint 4: Why was I excited about this?
  • Sprint 5: I wonder if anyone will notice if I throw up.
  • Sprint 6: Lungs shouldn’t feel like this.
  • Sprint 7: I wonder if anyone will notice if I leave.
  • Sprint 8: Okay, if I go slow on this one, I promise to run fast again for the last two. (As if I hadn’t been trying to run fast the whole time.)
  • Sprint 9: We were distracted by a boat in the way, so all of a sudden it was time to run and I was surprised, so I just took off and ran faster than I had since Sprint 2. I almost beat The Boyfriend for this one…possibly because I got a head start.
  • Sprint 10: I don’t have to do this again!

The thing about being a sprinter is that in all the races I’ve ran, I’ve only had to sprint once; twice if I was unlucky and got sucked into the 200m dash. But usually, just one time as fast as I could. Then I could go home and eat dinner. None of this 10-times nonsense. After the sprinting, we did three planks and tried to hold them for as long as possible. I didn’t hold them very long but was still super proud of myself for the sprints.

The thing about sprinting is that it’s fun. It hurts, horribly. But it’s fun.

Foam Roller

Result of Cross Fit

Foam roller to the rescue…kind of.

The love/hate relationship to end all love/hate relationships. This is simultaneously the best and worst thing ever. The instant and excruciating pain followed by the eventual muscle rejuvenating benefits are certainly a paradox. You think your muscles are sore after a workout? Use one of these babies and really feel that fire burn. But you know what? The next day isn’t so bad. As in you don’t have to walk around like a zombie, trying not to bend your knees while walking down stairs or just not bending your knees at all. Eventually, you can even sit down on the toilet without your quads feeling like the fire of 1,000 suns.

So the way these things work (as told by my Google searching experience and this guy), is you use your body weight to massage your muscles after a workout. For example, you start out by lying on the floor on your stomach, with the foam roller under your leg and positioned above your knee, then slowly move your body backwards so the foam roller moves along your quad up to your hip and then you reverse the move. Repeat as necessary. I actually cry out in pain when I use my foam roller. The most agonizing spots? Anything that’s sore, but most notably: my quads and chicken wings, whatever those are really called. Another muscle group to presently add to the list: The muscles between my armpit and the front of my shoulder. I should take an anatomy class.

Regardless, foam rollers are not for the faint of heart; they are for the brave, the bold, and/or the stupid. It’s Heaven and Hell, all rolled (ha!) into one little object.

Growing Pains

Warm up

Photo courtesy of jumpusa.com

You ever take a break from running/working out/not napping, and when you do finally return to exercising your body goes through a host of emotions? This happened to me recently. I took a Cardio Circuit class and just warming up (hopping from side to side like an ice skater/pro-bowler) elicited surprising pops and cracks I didn’t even know where possible. Turns out the whole not-moving-thing let my joints just settle into themselves. Lovely. The popping lasted longer than I thought it would, but then quickly transitioned into whatever survival instinct kicks in once you realize you’re violently gasping for air because your body is moving faster than it has in weeks. It wasn’t a pretty sight.

After that came the realization that I’m not as strong as I was the last time I did this. That’s sobering. So as I struggled through what seemed like hours of planks, where my knee rested on the ground more often than I’d like to admit, I conceded that this got harder. I lived for the part were I could do an ab workout because that meant I wasn’t standing or lifting anything…I was just lying down trying to breathe through the pain.

Somewhere during this hour, though, things got fun. The music was upbeat (Meghan Trainor, anyone?), it felt good to be moving again, and as badly as I was out of breath and as hard as it was, it turns out my muscles didn’t all turn to mush. I got home, happily devoured some pizza (it was Pizza Night, after all), and was super excited to be back out there!

The next morning, however… The soreness of every single muscle outweighed the excitement I felt the night before. Did you know your love handles can get sore? Because I didn’t.

Hair

I live in the Land of Bad Hair Days; if the wind doesn’t get you, the humidity will. September usually offers a relief from the humidity so good hair days are possible, albeit rare. With the exception of this year, apparently. So what do to with hair and running. I don’t want to say I try to look fashionable and attractive while running, because I don’t (I run to look attractive in all those fashionable clothes I wish I owned), but it’s hard to run when you have crazy hair. Here are a few thoughts on hair styles and accessories.

Bobby Pins:

I wish I could tell you how many of these I’ve owned during my lifetime. Too many to count, really. But they’re kind of a necessity if I want my hair to stay off my neck during workouts. I just wish I could find even a few of the 100,000 I’ve purchased over the years. Where the hell do they go?

You will never have enough of these

You will own 5,000 but will not be able to find one when needed

The Braid Pony:

This is a dangerous hairstyle. It’s super cute on people with long hair, I admit, but  a slight turn of the head turns this “super cute” hairstyle in to a whip that slashes across your own face. Speaking from experience, it’s just too painful to deal with.

You're only hurting yourself with this hairstyle

Deadly weapon

Ah, Headbands:

I’ve got a love/hate relationship here. My best friend forever recommended a really good brand of awesome headbands about 10 years ago. Shockingly, after a decade they’ve lost some of their elasticity and the company no longer sells this product, so I’ve been forced to find an alternative. I’m fairly certain the sole purpose of this new headband is to form a permanent indent circumventing my head. Because man it hurts. It holds my hair back, too, but it also turns me into The Lion King.

Roar

Roar

The Braid:

This is my new favorite. I have cowlicks everywhere and baby hairs that never grow longer than two inches, so finding a way to tame all of that is a daily battle. Until I learned to side braid. This isn’t a side braid, but I like this style, too. It’d be dramatic to say it’s been a lifesaver, but it certainly has made life a little easier. Also, it looks like I’m skilled in all things hair. I’m not, but it makes me feel fancy.

Braid FTW

Flyaways and baby hairs don’t stand a chance!

 

Don’t Be a Jerk

This is what $300 looks like

Pay no attention to the color of the counter and carpet…

More accurately, don’t be a jerk to your body. It’s kind of my inner dialogue. It’s what motivates me to spend a stupid amount of money on fruits and veggies. It’s what keeps me going to the gym when I don’t want to. It’s what stops me from eating a daily dose of cheeseburgers. It’s what got me to cut down on dairy products: making the switch from regular cow milk and delicious vanilla custard covered with rainbow sprinkles to regular almond milk and vegan frozen yogurt covered in kiwi.

Not gonna lie, it’s not the worst. The almond milk and the taking care of myself. I notice how crappy I feel after I eat a doughnut. So you know what? If I eat it at all, I just eat half (but I assure you…if I didn’t feel like crap after eating doughnuts, I would eat them often because they’re amazing). I notice eating pasta for lunch makes me want to take an immediate nap. This is an issue at work. So I just don’t eat pasta for lunch on work days. Sometimes, even instead of my newly beloved vegan frozen yogurt (because let’s be real, I just spent all my money on groceries), I’ll make a smoothie at home. Which isn’t equally as delicious, but it’s good enough.

I love the word “balance.” Because for all of the good-for-me stuff I do, I also do bad-for-me stuff. Nobody’s perfect, I make poor decisions sometimes. Mostly in the form of mac & cheese for lunch. I don’t regret it, though. I never regret the Cheetos or the Oreos. I don’t feel bad about sleeping in on a cold and miserable morning. But I also don’t regret running in the rain when I really would rather watch a movie and drink a cup of tea (or glass of wine). I hate every God-forsaken step, but I don’t regret it.

The “Don’t Be a Jerk” mantra works both ways. I make sure most of what I eat is good, but I’m certainly not about to deprive myself of a couple, or seven, s’mores when we have a campfire. Thankfully we don’t have campfires and s’mores every night. Life’s too short to beat yourself up over every little decision. Eat the Oreo. Run your race. Don’t be a jerk.

Shop Local. Run Local #2

Seriously delicious frozen yogurt

Seriously delicious frozen yogurt

Last time I posted about shopping local I was talking about being afraid of making new friends and being wooed by cupcakes (I’m still in love with my shirt from Roanoke Island Running Company). We’re going to continue the local trend and this time we’ll Eat Local. And what will I be eating? Frozen yogurt. I’m takin’ it easy on the dairy these days, so vegan frozen yogurt truly makes my day. –I hear what it sounds like when I say that, and I assure you, I’m not really picky when it comes to eating, but if I have the choice (and in a beach town there are plenty of custard/ice cream/frozen yogurt choices), these days I’m going with the vegan stuff. –

The reason I love Surfin’ Spoon isn’t just because it’s delicious or because their Instagram posts make me crave it, but it’s because I use it as one of the landmarks during my runs. My other running landmark? An ice cream place. Convenient, I know. I’ve mentioned before how much stuff we have around here: bars, piers, bars, more bars. But we also have an abundance of ice cream-esque places, and they’re my favorite. They also make it easy for me to figure out how long I run so I don’t have to strap my 7lb Droid to my arm: something I’m not a fan of. Also, I don’t have a fancy watch that doubles as a running coach (yet), so the frozen yogurt places do the trick. They also serve as motivation because if I ever feel the need to justify my snacks, if I run there, I could do it.

Fortunately for my exercise regimen, they’re usually closed when I run by, but that doesn’t stop me from frequenting them in the evenings. I gotta say, there are few things better than eating a bowl of frozen yogurt at the beach. Except Sundays. Surfin’ Spoon isn’t open Sundays, much to The Boyfriend and my chagrin.

Morning Run: Pros and Cons

Pros:

Beach Road Bliss

Beach Road Bliss

  • No dodging other runners or cyclists- especially before 7am.
  • If it’s summertime, you beat the heat and humidity before it slowly smothers you to death.
  • You’ve already accomplished something for the day! Yay!
  • Seriously, everything else is down hill after this.
  • You’re up and out the door before your body really knows its awake, and definitely before it knows it’s running.
  • It makes Second Breakfast taste extra delicious.
  • You can watch the sunrise! Which is magical, I think.

Cons:

Trash Pick-Up!

Tip: Don’t follow the garbage truck when you run.

  • Sometimes its Trash Day.
  • Sweating so early in the morning isn’t my favorite.
  • If it’s winter, it’s absolutely freezing in the mornings.
  • Do you know how hard it is to wake up before the sun rises? This should be worth 4 bullet points because mornings are hard.
  • Nobody will notice if I go missing until 10 hours later when everyone returns home from work…everyone except me.
  • Sometimes First Breakfast doesn’t stay down as well as it should.
  • Guest Post: I’m not fully awake if I workout in the morning, so I can’t give it my all. Overachiever.

Confession

Today, my workout was a life saver. It saved someone’s life.

You ever get in a bad mood and just can’t get out of it? Where you can think of zero nice things and your patience is nonexistent and everything is stupid? That was my life for a few hours. And it was terrible. I didn’t even work out because I wanted to, I was invited to and agreed to go, and I’m so glad I did. Actually, the public should be glad I did.

I came out a completely different person. A hungrier, sweatier, less-homicidal version of myself. Thank you, workout, for saving the life of some poor, unsuspecting soul.