Thursday, July 18, 2013

Dinosaur Arms

This week, I've been taking it easy, but as Karen brought up, my "taking it easy" is a lot more than what some people do ever. I guess it's all relative!

Last night in my strength class, we discovered that my left arm, my non-dominant arm, fatigues more quickly than my right arm. We lovingly began referring to it as my "dinosaur arm."

We figured this out when we were doing bicep curls and my left arm started needing a little help getting all the way to my chest. Since I'm the only girl in the class, the boys tease me about my weak upper body. However, when it comes to leg day, they're singing a different tune ;) When I was doing the chest press, my left arm felt weird and the trainer said "well, it's your dinosaur arm, so I'm not surprised. Look at the arm as you lift. It's like a magic trick!" That helped a little, but it looks like I might need to be targeting my dinosaur arm a little bit more in strength class so that I don't run into this issue!

Since I've been going to this class for almost two months, I have noticed some change in my arms and my upper body strength, but I still have a long way to go. I'm hoping not to lose too much strength when I'm abroad so that I won't have to start over when I get back. Two weeks shouldn't make a huge difference, but I know it will make some kind of a difference. I'm not seeing much change in my triceps, however, and that's where I would love to see some change because I don't want any jiggliness ;) A girl can dream!

Do you have dinosaur arms? What is your weakness when it comes to strength training?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Taking It Easy

I decided on Monday morning when I woke up that I wanted to take this week easy. I don't even feel bad about it. Does that make me a bad healthy living blogger? No, I think that makes me a good human being.

After Sunday's adventures in Disney, I had planned on sleeping in on Monday morning. By sleeping in, I mean I slept until 7 am (naturally) instead of 5:45. Then, instead of working out right away, I laid in bed until 8. I got out of bed and had breakfast then and FINALLY went to the gym to run on the treadmill at around 9. I did an easy 3 miles and then came home and did some chores. Then I took a nap. I went to my strength class and they kicked my butt and I could barely walk up and down the stairs. I decided Monday night that I would see how I felt on Tuesday and that would determine whether or not I would run. When my alarm went off at 545 on Tuesday, I hit snooze.

I ended up doing a 2-mile shake out run on the treadmill later in the day before I called it quits. The funny thing about this whole "taking it easy" week? I'm not even upset. Usually, when I am feeling lazy or my body wants rest, I am angry or frustrated with myself for not wanting to workout. Instead, I'm embracing this lighter week of workouts. Because I am going to be on the clock 24/7 as a supervisor when I'm in Costa Rica for 2 weeks, I'm trying to catch up on my sleep and rest this week. I plan on running trails in CR (since my boss told me there are a lot of safe ones in the area), so I don't really anticipate that my fitness will suffer during my trip. It's also the time of the month where I am the most exhausted (sorry any male readers), so I'm letting my body rest and recover so that I can come back strong next week.

Do you have have "easy weeks?" Are they difficult for you to take? Have you ever run in a foreign country? I wasn't a runner the last time I was in CR, so I'm excited this time around!

Monday, July 15, 2013

A Princess Weekend Recap

This weekend was perfect and amazing and I wish I could fill you in on Friday and Saturday, but I'm not quite ready to yet. Just believe that that's where the Princess treatment started :) I can tell you that I went to an all-vegetarian restaurant for the first time ever and I am in love. I cannot wait to go back. I didn't take any pictures of the building or my food because I was with someone who doesn't know about the blog yet, and I didn't want to scare them off ;) Also, for the first time in my life, I was really overwhelmed by a menu at a restaurant. There were so many choices that I was almost like:

Instead, I got a wrap with brown rice, spinach, purple cabbage, grilled tofu, and pineapple. AMAZING! Sorry that I don't have pictures to share :(

Sunday is where I was really in my Princess element. I met my BFF, Kelly (from Sarasota), at Disney at 9 am and it was PACKED! We had to take the ferry over to the Magic Kingdom because the monorail was too crowded and was being worked on. People were literally shoving us out of the way, but Kel and I somehow snagged a seat. As soon as we got to the park, Kelly exchanged her paper annual pass for her plastic one and I got a button saying it was my birthday. My birthday isn't really until the 31st, but since I'll be in Costa Rica, Kel and I wanted to celebrate before I left. The first thing we did was get Fast Passes for Space Mountain since it's Kelly's favorite ride, then we did my favorite thing:

Ariel was my favorite interaction of the day. We had a 10-minute conversation with her and taught her some marine biology trivia. She seriously set the tone for a great day. The best part? There was NO LINE to meet her, so we walked right up. That was actually a huge theme of our day. Even though there were a lot of people in the park, the longest we waited for ANYTHING was 20 minutes. After we met Ariel, we went on her ride and I was in Heaven. Next, we met the Fairy Godmother and got sprinkled with pixie dust:

We then used our fast passes and rode Space Mountain. Kelly and I made ridiculous faces at the camera and were screaming our heads off. The poor guy who was stuck in our car just laughed at us. We went on another ride and then stood in line before meeting Snow White, Kel's favorite princess. After we met Snow, we had lunch at the plaza (where I didn't take pictures of my food again). We split a brownie sundae (because when it's your birthday celebration you can do what you want) and walked around the park to more rides. Kelly and I went on Pirates of the Caribbean because we were hot and let me tell you, if you are in a boat by yourselves (which we were), that ride is SCARY! We kept getting startled and were screaming on the ride like little kids. I wonder what the people in the surrounding boats thought. After we got out of Pirates, we went to Epcot because that's where we had dinner reservations.

At Epcot, we headed to the world showcase and rode rides in Mexico and Norway. We had reservations at Restaurant Marrakesh in Morocco and it was AMAZING! The decor was fun and there was a belly dancer, who was really talented. I would definitely go back!

Goat cheese sails

 Vegetable couscous

Assorted Baklava for my birthday

After we were stuffed, we met Jasmine and Aladdin. We obviously became BFFs. Aladdin and I had a 10-minute conversation and now we're gonna hang out and ride around Florida on his magic carpet.

Kelly and I then continued our World Tour and met Mary Poppins before we headed on some more rides.

After we rode Test Track and Nemo, we headed back to the Magic Kingdom to secure a spot for fireworks. Since we both were driving home, we stopped at the new Starbucks (it's been there 3 weeks) on Main Street and got some coffee to keep us awake on our respective drives:

Kel and I actually got a really great spot for fireworks viewing and the show was spectacular. After the fireworks, we power walked our way out of the park (we were both pros at this since we grew up in big cities) and got on the ferry to get back to our cars. By the time we got to our cars, we were exhausted and tired of people. I am so happy that we went, though, and it was a great way to celebrate my birthday. I LOVED that all the workers at Disney would say "Happy Birthday, Rachel" and that random people would say it, too. What can I say? I'm a Leo, we love being the center of attention ;)

How was your weekend? Who's your favorite Disney Princess?

P.S. If you're interested in writing a guest post for my blog while I'm away in Costa Rica, please e-mail me and let me know! I'm going to see if I can talk my sister into manning the blog and launching posts while I'm away (since I don't know how reliable the Internet will be) and I'd love to support some of my readers!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Dealing with Hypocrisy When the Hypocrite is You

First of all, thank you SO much for all of your kind words and messages on yesterday's post. It was really hard for me to write, but it was really cathartic. That being said, this morning, I was a hypocrite (in a different sense).

Yesterday, I wrote about how I have been working on (and getting better at) going with the flow when things do not go according to plan. That was not the case this morning. I had planned on doing 6-8 miles of hill repeats this morning at the causeway. When I woke up at 530, I did not want to get out of bed. I did end up getting up, but it was already 80 degrees by the time I got to the causeway at 6 am. I went on with my workout anyway and was feeling good mentally, but physically I was aching. Today was day 4 in a row of running (three of those days were two-a-day workouts) and I was just feeling sore. I felt better as I worked out the kinks and took some fuel at mile 3, because I had intended on going 6-8 miles. However, once I started the hill repeat for mile 5, my legs were killing me. My brain told me the smart thing would be to stop, since I had already worked my legs really hard this week, so I did that. Even though I wasn't feeling bad mentally, I was kicking myself as I stretched out. I was really frustrated that things didn't go according to my plan because, mentally, I felt like I could go until mile 8. However, because my body was telling me that it needed rest, I was mad. Then I thought, "you are being such a hypocrite, why are you mad?"

I changed my mindset then. I thought about how 4 miles of straight hills was impressive, especially since I've never truly done hill repeats. I thought about how some people cannot run. I thought about how some runners might not be able to do what I have done. I thought about how my legs have carried me through 3 straight weeks of running 4-days in a row, plus 2 days of heavy strength training each week. I thought about how I was mentally strong, when that is usually where I crack. I thought about how I still love to run after running those hills. Then, I was proud of myself. So now, instead of being down on myself for the rest of the day, I'm going to be happy that I worked out and just get on with the rest of my day. That's all you can do when things don't go according to plan.

How do you deal with hypocrisy? What was your workout for today?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

I Got Free

This post is going to be a little heavier today, but it's something that I have been wanting to write for a long time, so if you don't want any heavy business today, then feel free to skip today's post. I promise I won't be offended :)

With my 23rd birthday on the horizon at the end of the month (July 31 in case you want to send me some running presents), I've been reflecting a lot on 22 and how I have transformed in just a year. If you would have asked me a year ago, my life would have been totally different. If you would have asked me a year ago, I would have told you that at this time next year (aka now), I would be planning a wedding. Instead, I got heartbreak, but I also got free for the first time in my entire life.

In September, the relationship I was in for 3 years ended. I was devastated. We had bought a condo in FL so that I could go to graduate school, fixed it up, and were finally setting into a sense of normality when things ended. I was blindsided and incredibly heartbroken. I was angry and confused. He moved out; I stayed here and am currently living in our condo. But after 3 weeks of sulking, I made the decision to let go of being angry because that was holding me back. I started to become accepting of the fact that sometimes life does not go according to plan. And I got free.

For the first time in my life, I stopped trying to plan out every day of my life. I decided to go to with the flow as best as I could. And in my sadness, I got free. Strangers, both male and female, were approaching me and telling me that I am beautiful and that I have a shining personality. This took me by surprise in that I was feeling so sad and so down on myself, yet those around me could tell that I had released whatever was holding me back. I began to spend more time with new friends, meet new people, travel around Florida, and am traveling to Costa Rica in 2 weeks. I ran a half marathon, started a blog, and tried many new things that I know I would not have tried had I still been in a relationship. At 22, I got free.

It's amazing to think that a massive change in plans can bring so much good. I have changed so much during this past year and I am proud of the woman I am becoming. I am more independent than I ever have been, I am happier than I ever have been, and I know that I am headed in a good direction with my life. I am beginning on a new adventure, of which I am not ready to fully divulge the details, but life is good. It took almost a year, but I can officially say that I have moved on, and I think this post is the final step. I have forgiven my first love, I hold no grudges, and I wish him well. I will always love him and he will always be special to me, and I credit my growth over this past year in part to him. He was the catalyst. I am thankful for great friends and unique opportunities. Most of all, I am thankful for freedom.

What are your thoughts?

Monday, July 8, 2013

The Long Run Where I Tried New Things

In honor of July's goal, I tried some new things on my long run this week: fuel and wearing compression socks during the run. I probably had one of the best long runs I've had in a while, and I only did 6 miles!

Since I have been focusing on listening to and trusting my body, I've been learning when my body has been telling me that it needs fuel during my long runs. I have also noticed that my pace is incredibly slow during long runs and that my legs are heavy because I usually do my longer runs after running 4 days in a row. So, Thursday I decided to don my ProCompression socks and store some fuel in my bra (I need to work on a better location) and hit the road.

I went running a different location; it was a nice scenic park and there were a ton of other people around. The area was nicely shaded and I ran about 6 loops around this beautiful little pond:

(Click picture for source)

I stashed my water by my car because I didn't feel like lugging my bottle around and since I don't usually run loops, it was nice to be able to stop and grab water instead of carrying it with me. At mile 3.5, I could feel that my energy levels were getting low, so I took an Island Boost (review coming soon). I have never taken any fuel during a run before, so this was interesting. I definitely think that the fuel helped me to finish strong because at mile 6, I was ready to continue running! Since I had only brought enough fuel and water for 6 miles, I quit while I was ahead and relished in that runner's high. 

My legs also felt great during the run. Since I am a sweater, I was nervous about sporting compression socks during the run because I thought that my legs would overheat. I did get really sweaty, but my legs were able to breathe and I didn't have any issues with blisters during the run. I also felt great at the end and experienced NO DOMS the next two days! 

I usually don't have too many issues with six miles since it's my "easiest" long distance run (aka I run it most often), but I am interested to see how I do with this combination on longer distances sometime soon.

I'm not sure how much running I will be doing this week, and those of you who follow me on Twitter or Instagram might have guessed that after seeing these:

I am guessing that I have a very mild concussion (I didn't go to the doctor), but I do have a very swollen forehead, and some road rash on my chin. This is the result of some miscommunication between a friend and I after a BBQ and I got dropped head first onto the concrete. I saw stars when I hit the pavement, but didn't realize that I had smacked my head until all of my friends were panicking. I had a bloody chin and forehead, but my first concern was my teeth. Honestly, the first question I asked when I came to was "Do I have all of my teeth?" When they reassured me that I did, I was confused as to why people were still panicking until I saw my face. I'm okay and the bangs hide the injury pretty well. The swelling is finally going down and I'm getting a nice purple forehead, but I should be feeling 100% in the near future! I keep joking that having a concussion is like having a persistent hangover without having any of the fun that leads to the hangover! 

Do you wear compression socks on long runs? Do you use fuel? Have you ever had a concussion?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Your Body Really Knows What It's Doing

Before I start today, I wanna say Happy 60th Birthday to this guy right here:

Looking good, Daddy-o. 

Today, I wanna talk about how our bodies really seem to know what they're doing. My goal for April was to listen to my body's hunger signals and do what's called "intuitive" eating. It actually worked out really well and taught me a lot about my body and how to properly fuel it. While I have been tracking my calories again lately, I am still listening to my body's hunger signals and am finding which foods work best for me. I was also pleasantly surprised to see that my weight had not changed. My goal for May was to not weigh myself for the entire month. I was also successful in that venture, but I fell off the wagon in terms of running/etc because I was not feeling well (read: bronchitis), so when I weighed myself on the first of June, I was shocked and upset to see that I had gained 4 pounds. I then realized that my body was doing what it's supposed to when I'm not listening to its signals. I was still eating like I was working out hard, but I wasn't working out as hard as I had been. I was trying to control my body, and that obviously backfired on me. I didn't really weigh myself the rest of June because I was scared to, but I had returned to my running routine and my weights routine. I spent the rest of June really focusing on my eating habits and listening to my body again, all while returning to my regular fitness routine. Some days I found myself hungrier than others and following those days, I would eat less. It would all balance out. This morning, I got on the scale and still expected to see my weight hovering around the weight it was in the beginning of June, but wouldn't you know it, I was back to the weight I was at in the beginning of May. Apparently, our bodies seem to know what they're doing.

This brought me back to Cori's post about controlling every aspect of our lives. Why do we spend so much time trying to manipulate our bodies to fit into this mold that we think it should fit into? Why do we have so little trust in our own bodies? This is not a religious debate, and if you do not believe in evolution please feel free to skip this part, but humans have evolved to survive. There were no calorie counting apps, no diet foods, no models to compare ourselves to, we just ate, moved, and survived. Why can we not trust our bodies to do the same now? Yes, we do have to make some adjustments since we are basically a sedentary society, but I think that we can still trust our bodies to take care of us. I firmly believe that if we love ourselves, take care of our bodies, and fill our lives with positivity, everything else will fall into place. That is the ONLY way I think that we can "control" our lives, by loving what we have and loving the beautiful chaos. Sorry for the rambles.

No questions, I'd love to hear your thoughts for today! 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Goals Check-In: June Recap

I cannot believe that it is July already! It is time to review my goals for June! In case you missed my previous recaps, you can find them here and here:

Goal Number 3: Volunteer More

This goal was a success! I volunteered every weekend in June, which is more than I can say for the other months of the year. For the first weekend of June, I volunteered at Surfers for Autism where I almost got a tattoo. The following weekend, I volunteered at a beach clean-up at the Barrier Island Sanctuary in Melbourne. That event was incredibly easy for me, as I just sat at a table and checked in the guests and gave directions to the beach. It was good that I had an easy day that day because I was not on my game at all. The next weekend, I volunteered at the Barrier Island Center by teaching a touch tank. I LOVE teaching the touch tank and exposing young children, and adults, to invertebrates common to Florida. It's also awesome to interact with those children who you can watch be ignited by a love of science and nature. 

This past weekend I went to Island Dolphin Care where I helped with some camp sessions and did errands around the office. I also had the opportunity to teach another touch tank, which made me the happiest camper in the world. I truly love that facility and I would spend all of my days there, even for free. 

Goal Number 4: Try at least one new thing a week

This will be super fun. I'm counting it as including foods, exercises, activities, anything new-to-me! I'm definitely going to go out of my way to try something new, but I am really excited about it. Plus, this will be an INCREDIBLY fun goal when I go to Costa Rica in a few weeks. I cannot wait to see what I get into! 

What are your goals for July? Who else cannot believe that it is July already?

Monday, July 1, 2013

Back on the Wagon: Weekend Recap

Hi guys! Sorry I've been MIA these past few days! I spent Wednesday until Saturday morning in Key Largo at Island Dolphin Care and then yesterday afternoon/evening was spent partying WAY too hard at a friend's BBQ. I've missed reading all of your blogs and interacting with you, but I should be back to normal routine now!

I got to Island Dolphin Care on Wednesday afternoon and was surprised when I had the opportunity to watch a surgery be performed on one of the dolphins from their sister company. I watched the surgery live in a room next to the operating room, but man was it awesome! It took about two hours, and the dolphin appears to be doing well! Keep your fingers crossed that recovery progresses as hoped!!

On Thursday, I was at Island Dolphin Care at 6:30 to collect my critters from the touch tank and hit the road to Miami to teach at an elementary school. Since I had to be at work so early, I didn't get to get a run in. However, I started my day with this beautiful image, so I can't complain:

Dolphin jumping in the sunrise

We got to the elementary school at about 8:30 and my first program started at nine. I taught 10 programs in 5 hours, and boy was I exhausted! I was teaching outside, so it was incredibly humid. The weather was also really stormy, so there were times where I had to rush through parts of the program to make sure that the kids didn't get rained on. The kids seemed to have a great time and I really love teaching, so I am so thankful to have opportunities like this. After I got home from teaching, I took a quick nap and headed out to meet a coworker from last summer who happens to live in Key Largo now. While we were out, this guy bought me a few beers. No lie, I met him.

He's just as weird in person. 

Friday was spent doing errands around IDC, helping with sessions, and celebrating G's birthday. It was a night out that was so wonderful and so much fun. I crashed a bachelor party, mooched free booze, and shared lots of laughs with some of the people I love. I am so hopeful that my grad school project works out and that I can work for IDC in a year and spend every day like I spent Friday. That place is truly an island of happiness.

I got up early on Saturday and made it back to Melbourne by 10:30, headed to the grocery store, assembled my veggie kabobs, and headed to a BBQ. The veggie kebabs were gorgeous and were a huge hit with all of the non-vegetarians as well!

I used grape tomatoes, portobello mushrooms, zucchini, and red onion to assemble the skewers, seasoned with Thai Coconut rub, drizzled olive oil on the top, and grilled them for about 15 minutes. They were amazing. Apparently, though, you're supposed to soak the skewers in water to stop them from charring. Oops. You live, you learn. The rest of the day was spent drinking booze, swimming in a lake (which I hated, but had to fetch the wiffle balls because I was the only female wearing a bathing suit during the game), and spending a lot of time with really good friends. One of my co-workers from last summer was on his way to the Keys, so he stopped by for the night and met all of my friends. It was so good to have him visit! I definitely missed him. I also got way, way, way too drunk and was fighting it all day on Sunday. That's what happens when you start drinking at 12:30 am and don't stop until 9 pm.

These last few days were filled with a lot of joy and a lot of indulgence, but this week I am getting back on the wagon. Running in the morning, weights in the evening (today at least), and regular runs for the rest of the week. I got a new set of fuel to taste test, so I can't wait to try it out on the long run this week! I am definitely feeling all of the bad choices and I cannot wait to get back into my routine. I'm going to do my best to stay on track this week, even with the holiday on Thursday.

How was your weekend? Did you go to any BBQs?