Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Short At Home Upper Body Workout

I received a few requests for some workouts and the recipients of said workouts haven't hated them, so I thought I'd share them with you. Enjoy and if you hate them, I'm sorry.

A Short At Home Upper Body Workout

1) Push Ups - 20

2) Overhead Raises - 20 (I use a kettle bell or a bag full of can goods/laundry/etc.)

3) Tricep Dips - 15 (A chair, couch or bed works just fine)

4) Basic Bicep Curls - 15 each arm (that kettle bell and bag-o-stuff works again!)

And repeat exercises #1-4 two or three times! I like this workout on days when I just don't have a full hour to get to the gym or just need a short pick-me-up workout.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The 10% Rule Rules!!!!!

Back in February when I first found out about my ankle injury I wasn't sure I'd ever be feel the same about running and feel like me again. I know that sounds a bit drastic, but running has been such a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember. It's been my celebration when things are great and my fix for when things aren't so great. In February, my doctor told me that once my ankle was healed I'd have to start from scratch (I was marathon ready!) increasing each week's long run by no more than 10% and that felt a bit discouraging. I've been down this road before (see: previous ankle injury and minor knee surgery) so I wasn't sure I'd have what it takes to make a come back. I enjoyed the experience of training and competing in a fitness competition but just knew that one day I'd have to return to the sport that I've loved for so long. I'll be honest, I started out with 1/4 mile and increase by 10% up to a mile and then I skipped all the way to 3 miles - bad, I know but I was just anxious. I realized my error and decided a few months ago to start with my comfortable base of 3 miles and increase only by 10% from there. It has been a slow rebuild but I've been sticking to it. Uncertain of just how well this plan was working I signed up for a 5k with no intention but to have fun. I felt great the entire race- legs were strong, ankle was keeping up and my form felt better than ever. I ran a 27+ 5k and though I know it's not where I used to be, it is the healthiest 27 minute 5k I've run in a very long time. Better yet-

I finally feel like me again.

Now I know this 10% rule really is great and even though I'm eager to run those long distances again, I'll get there. I can almost taste that sub 2 hour half-marathon!!!!!

5 Mile Recap

On Friday, as you know, I ran five miles. And I survived. And I kind of liked it, even though nothing really went as planned. But let's start from the beginning.

A few weeks ago, I declared that I would run five miles on Thanksgiving. Obviously, Friday was not Thanksgiving. Explanation? My family was beginning their celebration in Connecticut at 1pm. To get up, run 5 miles, get ready in nice clothes, sit in traffic on the Mass Pike, AND make it to my grandparents on time would have required an extremely early wake-up call, and no offense to running and goals, but it wasn't going to happen. So I pushed it to Friday. It was actually a fantastic idea too because I didn't drink nearly as much as I would have if I'd not had to get up.

So Friday, I got up bright and early (we have to leave for VT by 9am, so I still had to get up early, but not AS early) for a solo 5 miles. Remember how my sister was going to run with me? Well that didn't happen either. She wasn't feeling well, but I knew I couldn't use her as an excuse, so I suited up and headed out the door. But without my iPod, since it was dead. And I only got as far as my front steps when my Garmin died. Poor planning, Maddie. I'd mapped the route before hand, so I didn't really need my Garmin for distance, so I ditched it and grabbed my phone instead. The phone would serve as a safety measure, music and picture device.

But, it takes crappy pictures, like this one.

Crappy picture or not, that view definitely got me pumped up. It was so still and quiet in the city, and it felt so good to be pounding the pavement instead of nursing a hang over (not that I don't do that my fair share...it just wasn't the case on Friday.

As I said, I'd mapped out the miles already, and it was broken up pretty nicely. The first mile and a little took me along the river, and I'd round out mile two after crossing the Mass Ave bridge. It's kind of a beast (although nothing compared to the Longfellow), but I tackled it once last week so I knew I could handle it.

I felt great through mile two, and was happy to round into mile three. Mile three and four were my old running route I used to do almost daily last summer from my old apartment. One mile to the Public Garden. One mile back. I miss that route a lot because it's SO pretty, and I actually love running on the brick sidewalks. I've yet to eat it, although I'm sure some day I will.

When I got to the garden, I stopped for about three minutes. At this point, I had not actually had any music for about two miles. My phone was being really annoying and was not streaming music. Fail number 6234 for the morning. I hadn't wanted to stop before, being afraid that I'd throw myself off my game, but I really knew I needed music to power through the last two miles, despite the gorgeous scenery.

The music lasted for all of like 4 minutes before it wouldn't stream again, but I just wanted to be done. Mile 4-4.5ish was rough. Like I was going a snails pace rough. But I hadn't walked yet, and I wasn't about it. So I busted it out and finished! Mile 4.5-5 was awesome. I was on cloud 9. I still wasn't going fast, BUT I was doing it! And I did it! It took me few minutes long than I'd hoped for, but like I said, I am just so proud of myself! I did stop to stretch my legs 4 different times (about 30 seconds each time, except for the big stop near the garden), but I didn't walk once. I ran all five of those miles. Boo. Yah.

I know that lots of people run 5 miles all the time. Or more than 5 miles all the time. But this was a big one for me. Mentally, I wasn't sure I could do it, but now it doesn't seem so bad. I've done it once, and I didn't even come close to dying, so I know I can do it again. I'm ready for a 10k on Saturday, and I'm just hoping I feel as good...and I'll have a full charged Garmin and iPod before I even think about leaving the house...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

A Cupcake Crawl

Happy Belated Thanksgiving!!

During my sister's visit a few weeks ago, we took care of some wedding planning. One of the important tasks I wanted her help on was finding a great bakery to bake the wedding cake. We thought it'd be fun to write up reviews of each bakery we visited in my wedding book and to share them here. I feel badly putting the names of the not-so-great places on here so I'll just share the name of the winning bakery.

Bakery #1
The first bakery we visited is known for using local, organic ingredients so walking in our hopes were very high! After we ordered, I was overly excited and swiped a fingerful of frosting while my sister was in the bathroom, I didn't want to jump to conclusions so I waited to give my opinion until we both ate a full bite but it turns out my first taste was the apparent "highlight". The cupcakes (chocolate and red velvet) were so dry and the frosting was greasy.

"Worst cupcake I've ever eaten" - My Sister
"I never met a cupcake I didn't like, til this one" - Me

They look so good, don't they? The cake also had a weird acidy after taste and we felt bad leaving uneaten cupcakes on our plates but hurried out of there. We felt a little defeated but were hopeful that we could only go up from here.

Bakery #2
Our second bakery stop took us to a very popular bakery (it was even featured on The Food Network). I've eaten at their restaurant previously but had not tried any cake. Thankfully, they didn't disappoint- the cupcakes were fluffy and subtly sweet.

"More buttercream puh-lease" - My Sister

Initially, I ordered a slice of cake but found it to have a little too much liqueur in it.
"I could get drunk off this cake" - Me

Yes, that is what I look like when I drink excessively. Though it would be a plus for our budget to have drink and cake in one, I think we'll leave this idea behind.

This bakery was good but we felt that there was something else out there that would be just right. And we were right.

Bakery #3
After doing some more SF wedding activities we were finally ready to try just one more bakery, Ducle Bakery. Wedding planning has been funny as we've hit so many bumps in the road and nothing has been exactly as I've always wanted but for some reason we've been totally okay with it all - the most important thing is that I'm marrying an amazing/funny/smart/sweet/handsome/perfect-for-me guy and we'll always make the best of everything; so I wasn't surprised to find out this fantastic bakery doesn't make wedding cakes, but we're going to make it work!! Our red velvet and chocolate cupcakes were beyond perfection.

"I'd even eat that chocolate cake" - Me (I'm not big on chocolate cake but seriously, I would order a dozen of these and every single bite)

"A whimsical experience. Never liked a red velvet cupcake til this moment" - My Sister

We picked up a chocolate on chocolate cupcake for Jay to enjoy when we got home and made him give us a review too.
"Moist. I taste chocolate, not ingredients" - Jay

I'll be posting again (very soon) on what I've been up to outside of wedding planning. Have a happy Saturday!

Friday, November 25, 2011


5 miles. Done and done!

I did it! I'm so happy and my legs are so dead! :)

Full recap later this weekend. We're off to VT to for Thanksgiving #2 with the hubs' side of the family.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Southern Hospitality

I'm posting tonight from the comfort of a giant Hampton Inn bed. I'm down south, just outside Atlanta, Georgia, where much to my dismay, it does not live up to it's nickname, Hotlanta. It was chilly and windy today!

I'm down here for work. My company has an office down here and I have some biz to take care of, so I'm down just until tomorrow. It will be a fast trip, but a good one, I hope! I started out pretty exhausted this morning, because I went to a Foo Fighters concert last night! A friend of mine couldn't go due to an impromptu business trip, so he offered me the ticket. I only took junky pictures with my phone, but it was at the Boston Garden and it was LOUD. My right ear is still ringing, but it was wonderful.

Needless to say, I was asleep before we even took off from Boston this morning (I had a 7am flight)!

This week has been a good one already though. On Monday, I took advantage of the warm weather and went for a run outside. It's hard to believe it was 60 degrees! I did 3 miles and was pretty happy with it.

Don't mind the booze in the background, the mirror just happens to be next to the bar.
And tonight I busted out four miles on the treadmill! It was a TERRIBLE UGLY SAD four miles. I almost quit after 2.5. I even stopped the janky hotel treadmill, but I knew I'd be disappointed with myself if I didn't finish what I set out to do. I haven't run on the treadmill in a while and I think I was just bored. I took a picture of the tiny hotel gym, but apparently I deleted it. Instead I have this awkward hotel lobby picture!

hey there crazy eyes. And yes, I am wearing the same t-shirt as Monday, but I had long sleeves under it before :)
After my terrible run/walk (at least it happened, right?) I needed dinner stat. There are quite a few places around my hotel, but I had something in mind.

I've heard so much about Publix and their awesome subs, when I passed it on the way into the hotel, I knew it would be my dinner (plus, it's less weird to have a sub to go for dinner than to sit at a restaurant by myself). I was only moderately impressed with the sub though. It was pretty generic, and they had no more wheat bread. But I did get an apple to go with it, which was good and crunchy!

I'm exhausted and very much enjoying this comfy bed. And, Overboard is on TV! I love this movie. But I'm quiet happy with the week and am really looking forward to the weekend! :)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sunday, Plan Day

It's Sunday night, so that means it's time to get ready for the new week! I'm going to Atlanta Thursday and Friday for work, so it's short week planning, which is nice, but also annoying. I haven't fully unpacked from Pittsburgh last weekend (because I hate unpacking. And putting away laundry or dishes), so I am kind of just repacking. Luckily, Johnny was good enough to go to the grocery store so I could stay in my pjs and think about planning for the week. I came up with a new plan for myself too, which is exciting, but first...

This weekend was an at-home weekend for the first time in a while, which was really nice. The VT cousins came down with their adorable baby to spend the weekend with us, and we had a grand old time. Yesterday, we went to the aquarium!

I haven't been to the aquarium in a long time, so it was actually pretty fun to check it out again. I bought a LivingSocial deal a couple weeks ago, so admission was only $8 an adult instead of $23! We always talk about going when the VTers are in town, but we've never really been interested in spending $50 a couple to go. This deal popped up and I jumped right on it, and it was well worth it! I was most excited about the newly added shark and ray touch tank! I couldn't wait to get my hands in the tanks. No sharks came my way, but I touched a bunch of rays and it was SO cool. (Obviously I am a dork sometimes).

Much to our pleasure, the weather yesterday and today was absolutely wonderful. It's hard to believe that it's the middle of November right now. We walked a whole lot over the weekend, adding a few miles to my Pile on the Miles total for this week! (We did walk back and forth from a new fro-yo place, but it still counts!)

SO back to my new plan. Remember how I said I'm going to run 5 miles on Thanksgiving? Yup? Ok. Well I still absolutely plan on doing it. But I've one-upped myself. Not only will I be doing 5 miles on Thanksgiving, but I'll be going a 10k the first weekend in December! I know it might seem slightly crazy, but I KNOW I can do it, it's just a matter of making myself do it.

I got on this kick to do a 10k after I got an email from my dear friend who lives on the other other side of the world asking me if my 5 mile plans meant I had 10k plans. Well, at first it definitely didn't. But as soon as she mentioned it, I got it stuck in my head. So I decided to commit to it. First, I looked up a training plan through Runner's World.

I wanted to make sure it was even reasonable. I know it's going to be pushing myself, but that's definitely the point. Seeing what Runner's World spit out, I definitely feel confident. My pace is a bit faster than what they've got me training at, so I know it won't kill me. And, I recruited my sister to run with me. She's great about running at my pace with me and pushing me a little harder, so right after I looked up this plan I texted her to make sure I'd have a partner in crime.

So it's done! It's happening, and I just hope I'm ready in a few short weeks!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A New Month!

This post is so so long overdue. I actually started it a couple times already, but I've been so busy that I never got finished and never made it up.

First, I was going to post about how it snowed on Halloween and how I dressed up like Johnny.

Then I was going to post about how I got coupons in the mail for Target, and how I used the coupon to buy a large bag of apple, which I baked in the Crock Pot and how I used them for breakfast and dessert the next day.

AND THEN, I was going to post about how I went to Pittsburgh this weekend with my sister and my gma. And how was toured the city and my gma showed us all the places she used to live and told us wonderful stories about her life (which was not easy at all, by the way). We took her for her birthday present. We wanted to have a trip with my gma while she's healthy and able (and 81).

I was going to post about how my uncles joined us (as a surprise to my gma) and how we went to church on Sunday at St. Andrew's...the same church where my gma was married to my father's father 59 years ago). And I was going to post about how we went to Fallingwater, the Frank Lloyd Wright house outside of the city.

But instead, I'll post about my gym efforts this week.

I signed up to take part in Pile on the Miles. It's headed up by Monica, over at Run Eat Repeat. The goal is to pile on the miles during the holiday season instead of the pounds. Since I've been doing a little bit of the pound piling myself, I figured this was a great way to stay on track. The first week was only three days, and probably the three busiest days of my life, so I didn't get my five miles in, but THIS WEEK. This week, I'm golden. It's only Tuesday (the week starts Friday at 8am), and I've already finished my required five miles!

I went to the gym in Pittsburgh with my sister (after attempting a run, but failing to find a good route and getting too cold), and last night I WENT FOR A RUN. This is a big deal because a) it's been a while. Like way too long. And 2) I did it after work and in the dark! I'm really not good at getting back out the door once I get home, but when the weather was still 60 degrees, I knew I had to take advantage! It actually wasn't terrible either.

Which leads me to my five miles goal...I'm definitely not any closer right now, so the goal is Thanksgiving. I thought I'd be able to do it before that, but I've got to be realistic. SO folks, you heard it here first. On Thanksgiving 2011, I will run 5 miles. (yikes!)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Whoa - It's Already November

Clearly my goal for November will be to post 2-3 times a week!! I'm sorry I haven't written in such a long while.

Here's what's been going on:

1) I did go visit the BFF and it was amazing! Seriously if we could do some rearranging of the states and put MA much closer to NM I would be one happy camper!! I felt so special all weekend and this really made me feel like my wedding is SO soon!!!!!

2) Jay and I celebrated our dating anniversary. We didn't actually do anything the day of our anniversary but that Thursday we enjoyed some Melting Pot. 3) Jay, Chaca and I went to Texas! We attended a tailgate with my family where the main entree was this delicious morsel of meat...Totally kidding. But my dad did hide that in the ice chest and asked me to go grab something from it. Here's the story on this family rat: When I was in high school my dad would hide this rat in the garage (and other parts of the house and my car) and while I was so sleepy and trying to get ready for school he'd ask me to go get something from the garage and then I'd find that thing and would always get scared because I was half-asleep but it always cracked me up. He's seriously such a funny guy!!

I made popcorn balls for the tailgate and was a bit nervous because I thought this would require some skill. Nope, it sure didn't. I melted sugar, marshmallows and some butter and drizzled it over fresh unsalted popcorn and viola! They were delish.

4) It was Halloween - my favorite holiday! Jay and I carved pumpkins, ate candy (the year we buy a lot of candy is the year we get very few trick-or-treaters) and of course dressed up!

Why yes, that is a poodle in a poodle skirt!! My sister bought this for her last year and I just knew I had to dress up with her! Jay even dressed up 50s style too!! Chaca typically hates wearing clothes but as soon as I brought this dress out she wouldn't stop jumping at me until I put her in it. She wouldn't lie down all night, she sat very nicely and was on excellent behavior when all of the trick-or-treaters came out - such a lady!

5) I haven't exercised in a while. While I was in the Dallas airport I noticed my shoe rubbing against my foot. I had checked my bag in so I didn't have another pair of shoes to change into so by the time I made it back to NM, I had a huge blister (gross I know, I'm sorry). For whatever reason I decided that it wouldn't be that bad to go run on Tuesday even though I could hardly put my foot in any shoe. I ran 3 quick miles and when I made it home that blister had become much, much worse. Oops. It was a great run. I knew that this wouldn't heal unless I gave it time. So I did and now that it's nice and healed I have been having long, intense days at work and haven't made time to go do anything. I need to make changes.

6) I have a fantastic visitor coming in tomorrow! My little sister!! I'm so excited and I know we'll have a great weekend visiting. I can't wait to update you on her visit!!

Have a great weekend!