That time I threw my scale at the wall

I disappeared for a bit, but only because I’ve been incredibly busy! The last few weeks have been full of work, working out, and as much time spent with friends and family as possible. In some cases, the best way for me to work through things is alone; after all, I’m someone who craves solitude. But, recently, getting out and doing things has really helped me to feel satisfied at the end of the day. Now that I’m really committed to getting in the best shape I can, my evenings are full of burpees, fast feet, sprints, V-ups, and the dreaded pull up bar. I have never, and I mean ever, been able to do a pull up. I don’t know if I’m alone here, but in all my active years, those muscles were never ones I worked on often. But, lucky for me, one of the instructors I really like (his classes are always upbeat, he’s full of energy, and his classes don’t murder my knees) always tries to incorporate pull ups.

This hasn't happened yet but I'm expecting it.

This hasn’t happened yet but I’m expecting it.

How strange, to feel trepidation at something as silly as a pull up bar. Before pull ups, it was push ups. Before that, sprints. But the more I work at something, regardless of how challenging, the more I look forward to the challenge. I think I should probably add mountain climbers and squat jacks to that list. Another trainer that I really enjoy loves to combine those and it makes my poor knees cry. But all this pain and growth has played a vital role in finding and better understanding myself. Who honestly enjoys admitting their shortcomings? Not me. But I have to.

I don’t have great knees, thanks in part to my own stupidity. I dislocated my knee in college one night at like 4:30 in the morning. My leg gave out, completely out of the blue, and I found myself laying on ice in starburst-worthy pain. I looked down, saw my right kneecap sitting at a 90 degree angle from where it belongs, and promptly shoved it all the way back into place. That was the first time I’ve actually been in such acute pain I almost threw up. I then got to drive my car across the parking lot to the first open spot available (I forget why I was all the way up at the full front…something stupid I’m sure) using my left foot, and limped across the entire parking lot screaming bloody murder and leaning on cars. I then hopped up two flights of stairs, wrapped my knee in sweaters and raised it on a pillow, and fell asleep. I called my mom the next morning to let her know what I ‘thought’ happened…like what else do you call the definite dislocation of your knee? After being completely appalled that I hadn’t sought medical attention yet, she drove up and drove me to the hospital, where I’m pretty sure they tortured me, then prescribed me Vicodin and a leg stabilizer. Thanks, hospital. Being the smart person I am, I worked on my healing knee as a server, using painkillers to make it bearable. I do think, to some extent, working on it has helped it from swelling and rebuilt strength more quickly, but I

These are just the injury pictures I had on Facebook. Clearly, I'm not a careful person.

These are just the injury pictures I had on Facebook. Clearly, I’m not a careful person.

definitely notice that my knees respond to high impact body work a lot more quickly.

Other than that, I managed to get thrown from a four wheeler in the middle of the woods directly onto my back two years ago. How I didn’t break my back/neck/smash my head against a tree/crack my head open/etc. is an honest-to-god miracle. The two guy friends I was with, one being my old roommate, thought for a few seconds that I had died. Did I ever seek medical attention? Of course not. What did I do? Get up, ride back to the campsite (aka my roommate’s backyard), take some ibuprofen, and continue to drink and camp with friends. I then went on vacation for a week, during which I didn’t have full range of motion and mysterious swelling in various places on my back. Common sense all around.

Lastly, last summer, in the wake of a break up, I was running a lot to help get me out of my own head and managed to do something to my lower back/right hip that causes me chronic pain and my hip popping out of place for no reason. Out of nowhere, during a run, I felt something, I don’t know, pull or change, and had pain that radiates from my sciatica ever since. I’ve mentioned before that I saw a doctor for it and he came up with a brilliant conclusion (basically that it was all in my head and I’m a big ol’ baby). All in all, I haven’t taken great care of my body from an impact standpoint. Before my injuries, I had 12 years of swimming, four years of tennis, 7 years of ballet, a year of gymnastics, 8 years of

My body's response to more than 5 SF classes a week.

My body’s response to more than 5 SF classes a week.

cheerleading, and one very sad attempt at track under my belt. My body has straight up had it with my bullshit at this point. So, this means that even though I’d like to go to SoldierFit classes 86 times a week, I have to limit it to 3-5, depending on the impact level of the classes that week. Otherwise my body will most definitely cry foul and I can only assume throw itself into a 300-esque pit.

Which leads to my point (finally, right?): I threw my scale the other day. Not away. Like, at a wall. After losing a disturbing amount quickly thanks to my break up and inability to eat during tumultuous times, I was shocked when it stayed stubbornly at the same weight for not one, not two, but THREE WHOLE WEEKS. Am I fully aware that this is likely due to muscle building and have I measured myself instead? Yes. I’m not an idiot, I know how the body works. But sometimes you just want the numbers to reflect it, weird as that sounds. And treating your scale like a frisbee, as momentarily gratifying as it was, doesn’t actually solve my problem. I’m sure it’s all a part of society, we’re taught that we aren’t healthy unless our weight is a certain number (I feel like women always try to round it to 120 pounds as being that ‘number’ they try to attain…even as a size 2 I was still 125 so I have no foggy notion why this is).

Caaarbs. Carby carby carbs.

Caaarbs. Carby carby carbs.

It’s really hard not to get impatient. I want the strength, endurance, and super fabulous body right now. Of course I do. But that’s not how it works, and the only way I’ll see results is if I keep going in a way that won’t cause my body to start self-flagellation. Will the results be as quick as they have been for others? Of course not. My body is different and, frankly, I love carbohydrates. I’m still craving pretzels like no other for reasons I’m still not fully aware of. I eat gluten (GASP). Once recently, I even put bacon down my feeding hole.

Okay, stop really quick. Feeding hole is disgusting and I apologize for that. Ew, Alyssa.

Otherwise, life has been pretty decent. I ran my first 5k two weekends ago. By ran, I mean jogged half and walked half because HAHAHA I can’t run 3.some miles nonstop yet. It was the Glo Run in Carlisle, PA and it was an absolute blast. My endurance definitely has increased though; another troop I take a lot of classes with told me last week that he’d seen a big change in my endurance already and I almost hugged him. I feel different, energy-wise and physically. My legs are normally where I see changes first and already they’re becoming pure muscle. I have muscles whose names I don’t know that are showing up to the party and helping me rock out the tire flips and 8 zillion squats. I find myself pushing to get just one more push up in before we change stations, even when my muscles are burning and that lazy part of my brain is saying, “He’s counting down from 3, you can stop…stop…ALYSSA JUST STOP MOVING.” It’s a good feeling. I mean, it hurts, but it’s good.

Nicki (left), Taylor (right), and me (where else) at the lake on the Fourth of July.

Nicki (left), Taylor (right), and me (where else) at the lake on the Fourth of July.

Last weekend was the Fourth of July (for anyone living under a rock since the Roman times, who has no concept of the calendar we use today) and it was a lot of fun. Last summer, my friends threw a party at their house and I had to sit through watching my ex and his new girlfriend be super in love for several hours. I had a good time, but nothing can put a damper on that like your ex-manthing’s new girlfriend talking to you about giving him fellatio. Let me tell you. This year, we all have kind of moved up and on our separate ways. I spent the morning/afternoon sitting by the lake at Cunningham Falls, lazily hooping and eating veggie chips. It was absolutely beautiful outside. We moved our party elsewhere around 3pm, due to the need for grilling and poolside nonsense. So, my group of friends and I traversed back to my friend Nicki’s house to grill and blow water out of pool noodles like 6 year olds. And it was just as hilarious as when we were six. Eventually, we toddled off downtown to watch the fireworks (which were astoundingly better than last year), then home to bed. Because even though pool noodles are hilarious, we all are usually asleep by 11 because…adulthood.

I have to note before I end this post that I typed it up yesterday and didn’t finish it until today because, you know, work and stuff, but I went to class yesterday and we practiced running backwards.

We practiced running backwards.

I AM TURNING INTO A SUPERHUMAN…with the hamstrings of a demigod. I also stepped back on the scale today and almost threw it again so I’m thinking it might be time to put it far away in a dark corner where I can’t get on it. I’m going to try and write more in depth about my experience running my first 5k, which is why I didn’t delve too much into it here. To some people, running a 5k is nothing. It’s three miles. But for me, this was about three years of “Oh I think I should” in the making before it actually happened. It deserves its own blog post with its own incredibly inappropriate gifs.

So life is picking up. On the ex front, my body decided it would be a super good idea to start having out of the blue, vivid dreams about him. Like happy ones. I woke up crying one morning because I hadn’t thought about all of those memories in a while – trying to forget, I guess. I’ve had a few others, sporadically, since then and I’m really hoping they stop because they’re creating way too many feelings I don’t want to have anymore. Loving someone who actually used the sentence, “Regardless of my feelings about you, I have to at least see if it can work with ____,”  is only asking for more pain. I also know that I can’t force myself to not love him anymore. Love and betrayal aren’t mutually exclusive. And I’m a person who finds it really difficult to fall in love, but when I do, it’s with all of me.

So pulling myself back out of that is going to take more time than I’d like it to. And for now, I’m going to accept that I still love him and use it to my advantage rather than as an excuse to wallow. I’ll continue to try and send only positive thoughts his way, and use it as a learning experience. If I’ve learned one thing (okay, I’ve learned a lot of things), it’s that I have changed. I’m not the person I was two or three years ago. I don’t have the same low self-esteem I had then. I found my loyalty, fidelity, and, honestly, maternal instincts I didn’t think I had. Somewhere in the last six months, I found my biological clock and now I feel like the crocodile in Peter Pan. I don’t know, that’s a whole other conversation for a different post. Anyway, only three more days until I’m on a plane to Oregon! There will be so much picture-sharing, I almost feel guilty already.

But not.

– a.

West Coast here I commmee!

West Coast here I commmee!

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Trading my soleus for a 5k

Let’s first point out how hilarious my pun title turned out. …It’s Monday, I tried. It was surprisingly nice today, even though I was only really able to enjoy it on my drive home from work (poor timing Batman). Yesterday ended on a strong positive note – I finally got off of the couch and had a productive day. Folded laundry that had been begging to be remembered, cleaned a room that looked like a storm had hit it (okay, it was my bedroom), went to the gym and kicked my butt all the way into mid-week, and spent some quality time cuddling on the couch with Sun Chips. No, I was not physically cuddling with a bag of Sun Chips. Please erase that image.

Cartoon1

Or commit it to memory, your choice. I was cuddling with a human, and it was adorable. Except when we decided to put “The Raven” on and I completely geeked out over a man being sliced in half. The lights weren’t even off! I’m more of a fan of thriller, less gore. If you want my opinion of the movie, I’d give it, but it probably wouldn’t be super positive. Dying for love has never been a romantic ideal for me, so that ruins a lot of the premise of the resolution.

But the Sun Chip laziness and glory was so worth it after the butt-kicking. I (finally) went to the gym yesterday afternoon after contemplating an outdoor run for, oh, four hours. The wind had picked up and every time I thought about my eyes and nose dripping for two miles, I found myself back under my fleece blanket on the couch. I hadn’t been to the gym in a while, honestly. I’ve been running at home outdoors and hiking as much as possible. So, it was a nice change of scenery (how weird does that sound? A gym? Scenery?). Now, I used to hate treadmills. I mean loathe, despise, cringe at, etc. They were not my cup of ANYTHING. This is, I think, because when I was younger, I tried to run on one and it felt like every time I came down it made a super loud noise and it felt like I was sort of bouncing.

Basically, I felt fat. But earlier this week when I ventured back onto one at the hotel, I had one of the best runs I’d completed in a long time. It was magical. I set my pace and was a lot better at keeping it than when I run outside, I was able to watch my little red dot go around the the 5k trail on the screen, and I knew how many calories I had burned, how long I’d been running, and how far I’d gone instantaneously. My iPhone can do the same thing in regards to the information, true, but as someone who really struggled (and still actively does) with shin, knee, and hip problems, I love the option of just stopping if things get painful. If I’m outside, I could still be a solid mile or so from home.

So instead of running the two miles I’d intended, I ended up completing a 5k! And if you look at the photo I took of my treadmill, I was super smooth taking it by the way, you can tell that I am not an extremely talented runner. Yet. My goal now is to train over the next 2-3 months to run a 10k, and run it straight through.

treadmill

I’m going to be tweaking the novice plan I found here to fit my own needs and issues, which I’ll put up on this blog. April-May is the goal for running a 10k for me; as a swimmer rather than a runner for years and years, finally setting race dates would be fantastic. But, this plan starts with the ability to run three miles without stopping and while I can finish a 5k, I can’t run it straight through. So, I’m going to give myself extra time to build up and make sure I’m increasing the mileage at a rate that won’t cause me injuries. I do like the cross training, and I’m looking forward to it. Obviously, you all will be seeing the work out updates here! Which, along with ‘recipes’, will be another tab on my menu shortly. Yay!

My workout ended with some hip work (adductions and abductions, for killer strength) and bicep work. I expected to be sore today but was pleasantly surprised when it wasn’t much more than the occasional twinge you get when you know you had a good workout, but didn’t push yourself too far. After my fabulous workout, I treated myself to what every red-blooded, high energy 23-year-old should have: a Grande Skim Cappuccino! Now, I usually try to support local businesses more than corporations, but the Starbucks was right there and I had a gift card that I’d been holding on to since Christmas.

aftergym

I’m pretty honest about myself, folks. I’m not a 115lb marathon runner (yet!). I’m most certainly a work in progress. But I think that’s what can make for interesting reading sometimes. I love reading blogs about people who have already gotten ‘there’, who already have it all. But I don’t, and I know there are a lot of others who don’t either. I’m naturally a curvy person and I ate a lot of Sheetz in college. It was delicious, but it stayed with me. And now I’m trying to become the strongest, healthiest person I can. It’s not easy, but it’s a fun adventure.

When I got home, after driving around dancing rather like a maniac to Ciara’s “Goodies” and other classics, I ate one huge bowl of my dad’s homemade bean soup. It was vegan, which made me eye my dad confusedly, but so good. To increase my protein intake even more (and because I was sick of craving ice cream), I made myself a chocolate peanut butter protein shake. And enjoyed every creamy second of it. I’ll post the recipe below but I’m going to be updating it soon – I’m trying out this PB2 stuff I’ve seen all over fitness blogs. I love peanut butter, so much, but it does have the downside of high fat content.

beanstewToday I woke up and basically threw myself into my car – having a cappuccino at 6pm pretty much threw off my sleep schedule entirely so I slept until 7am then had to dash out the door. I swung by the (local!) coffee shop and grabbed a coffee and Nova Lox bagel for breakfast. Nova Lox bagel is a black russian bagel with cream cheese, smoked salmon, red onion, tomato, and capers. I always ask for “extremely sparse” cream cheese, otherwise they dollop it on heavy. Absolutely delicious. Lunch was my work’s attempt at Shepherd’s pie, which will never be as good as an ex’s friend used to make it (go figure), and after a few more harried hours of me basically running around throwing paper, I came home and ate a big ol’ bowl of leftover chicken and asparagus risotto. I didn’t take a picture of it, because I ate it directly out of the Tupperware. I’m not sorry.

As promised – the beginning of my Novice Training Plan Tweak!

Because Sunday is the “big run” day, Hal suggests that Monday be a “Stretch and Strengthen” day to help sort of rest the muscles while still getting a work out. He didn’t specify length of time or too much into what exercises one could do, so I picked a few ones that I could do in my bedroom. For the last two exercises, I used a medicine ball. By the way, I love medicine balls. It’s a little creepy.

StretchandStrength

Good luck! I say 20 reps because I like doing two sets of 10, but however you do it is up to you. Now, I’m going to drink my Yogi tea and listen to some more Disney songs. And probably draw a cartoon of me hugging a medicine ball.

If you want my Dad’s recipe – let me know and I’ll add it next time!

How do you like to treat yourself after a good workout?

Have you ever used a training program before? How did it turn out? Did you like it?

 

-a.