Tag Archives: fitness

Weigh-In Wednesday, Week 6

Before I dive into Weigh-In Wednesday, I have some sad news to share.  My friend from graduate school, Sara, passed away yesterday.  I wrote about her in my Get Lucky 7k post.  I didn’t know Sara well, other than our trip to Brazil for school and chatting on facebook about running.  But, she was one of those people so full of energy and kindness that it felt like I knew her well.  I met her Dad at the Get Lucky 7k and I can see where she got her positive attitude.  My heart goes out to Sara’s husband and family.  I don’t really know what to say, other than it’s so sad to see someone tragically taken from this world at a young age because of a split-second decision by someone to drive drunk.  I know a lot of us have probably driven at times where we were borderline, but this is an important reminder that it is better to be safe and just take a cab. 


Happy Hump Day!  The weeks have just been flying by.

Progress!  Yay! 

I’m sure this has become as interesting as watching paint dry, but I think this slow progress is what I can expect.  As I get closer to the wedding, I might consider a 30 day challenge or cutting out certain foods and beverages to help lose weight temporarily.  But, the reason I’m not doing that now is because those things are usually only a temporary solution for me (do you really think I’d give up Crispin for life?  I don’t even want to joke about something like that).  I want to figure out the happy medium in my lifestyle where I can maintain at 135.  I know my goal is 130 but that is mostly to give me some wiggle room :)  

The Food

It is easier and easier to eat healthy Sunday through Friday afternoon because it is becoming a habit.  We keep our fridge well stocked with fruits and vegetables for snacks, and I stick to soup and salad even when I buy lunch at work (which has been more often than I like the past few weeks).  I don’t completely let myself go on Friday and Saturday night, but I allow myself to relax a little and enjoy the weekend.   

I went on a really fun party bus on Saturday night to celebrate my friend’s 30th birthday.  We stopped at Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner.  I ordered chicken fingers with mild sauce, which came with fries.  I ignored the fries (yes, still going on that New Year’s resolution!) and ate four of the six chicken fingers.  I know that wasn’t the healthiest choice on the menu, but I had eaten healthy 90%+ the rest of the week so I was OK with it. 

As I continue to make progress, I expect the food portion to get easier and easier.  I will always crave burgers, fries, and other deliciously unhealthy food.  What it comes down to is being able to make the conscious decision to eat these things in moderation.  That decision gets easier every day. 

The Workouts

I work out about 4 times per week.  I’d prefer if it were 5-6 times per week while I’m training for Tough Mudder, but 4 times per week is still good.  Last night, I modified part of a treadmill workout I found on Peanut Butter Finger’s blog.  I have limited running to 3 times per week to allow myself at least a day to cross-train.  My first run of the week is intervals, my second is a tempo run and my third is a long run.  This is the workout I did last night.  The first 20 minutes is the workout from Peanut Butter Fingers and I modified the last 10 minutes for extra challenge and because I think it will help my speed more to run at 1 minute intervals.  I have no science behind why I think that :)

I was dripping sweat by the end of 10 minutes, but it wasn’t too challenging from a cardio perspective until the last 10 minutes.  This is mostly because I’ve been building up my running.  I did the first 20 minutes of this workout a month ago and couldn’t go beyond that.

I decided to put a lot of focus on my arm strength since that is what I’m most worried about for Tough Mudder.  I did a workout that Bess Be Fit posted this week.  She recommends going through this twice so you do a total of 200 reps for each move, but I could only do once.  I also could only do 30 tricep extensions.  I have a lot of work to do!

  • Bicep curls: 40 reps at 5 pounds, 10 reps with 10 pounds.  Repeat.
  • Overhead tricep extension: 40 reps at 5 pounds, 10 reps with 10 pounds.  Repeat.
  • Upright rows: 40 reps at 5 pounds, 10 reps with 10 pounds.  Repeat.
  • DB rows: 40 reps at 5 pounds, 10 reps with 10 pounds.  Repeat. 

I used 5 pounds and 7.5 pounds because that is what I have at home.  I tried our 15 pound weights for the last 10 reps and couldn’t do more than 2-3.  The 7.5 pound weights were probably a little light so I’d recommend going with 10 pound weights if you have them.  I could definitely feel this workout in my arms afterward.  I was actually a little worried about dropping the water pitcher as I was refilling my water!  When I try this workout again, I will probably do timed intervals instead of reps (1 minute with 5 pounds, 15 seconds with 10 pounds… or something like that).  I tend to get bored with counting so I think the timed intervals will be easier for me.

Ok, off to work I go!

What are some of your favorite workouts for arm strength?  How do you strive for moderation in your diet?

How is your week going?

Spring Cleaning: April Goals

(first, let me just point out how badly I wanted to do a play on April Fools for the name of this post)

Tonight, I did something I’ve never done before.  I chose to clean instead of work out.  I don’t choose working out over cleaning because I love to work out that much; I do it because I dislike cleaning that much.  Seriously, sometimes I pick stuff up and think, “WTF am I suppose to do with this?”  Obviously if it is a magazine the answer is never to throw it away.   I might need those articles again sometime.

Ok, I’m not really that bad (most of the time).  I am pretty good at organizing stuff.  When I moved in with Matt, I was able to merge most of my stuff with his by putting in more shelving and rearranging how everything was organized in the storage room, closets and cabinets.  But, I’m not good with the day-to-day upkeep around the house.  I think I got into the mood to clean tonight because it is spring and we are having my family over on Saturday night.  So… enough about my lack of cleaning skills.

I read a really good blog post on Saturday where the author graded herself on various goals she had set for the month of March.  She had cute little chalkboard icons and everything.  I can’t remember the name of the blog and it is driving me nuts!  I remembered the blog… it is Eat, Spin, Run, Repeat.  I highly recommend checking it out.  I thought it was a really good idea to set goals for the month since it is such a short amount of time.  These aren’t really “goals” as much as things I want to get done in April.

Partake in a few personal indulgences.

I am bad at this.  I have been talking about getting my car detailed for over two years.  Have I had it done yet?  Nope.  I buy one pair of jeans every 18-24 months because I can’t justify spending money on clothes that can’t be worn at work every day.  I indulge every now and then on smaller things, like some makeup I just bought at MAC, but I really don’t shop a lot for myself.  So, here are my personal indulgences:

  • Get my car detailed.  I love my car so, yes, this is a personal indulgence.
  • Buy a new pair of jeans.  I already have this planned for the weekend of April 14 when Colleen comes to town!  The pair I bought last year is too stretchy so I have saggy butt by the end of Casual Friday.
  • Start my race bib scrapbook.  This isn’t really a financial indulgence as it is a time indulgence.  I want to dedicate a few hours one afternoon to finally starting a scrapbook for my race bibs.  They currently look like a big tangled pile of messiness:

Stay on the healthiness journey.

Ok, obviously I’m going to do this… especially now that I found my wedding dress and have extra motivation.  I wanted to put a couple specific things down about this though.

  • Swim 3 lengths of the pool without stopping.  Considering I can’t even swim one length right now, this will be very hard for me.  I am really nervous about this one, but it needs to be done. Time to put the swimming lessons I took 3 years ago to use.
  • Complete 10 incline push-ups.  This will be another tough one, but necessary for Tough Mudder!
  • Lose 4 pounds.  I’ve been bouncing around the past few weeks and need to start making some progress here.

Career / Personal Development

I own 23 books about business or leadership that have either been given to me or I bought (not including 2-3 other books that I swear I own, but can’t seem to find).  I have had the best intentions to read them… at some point.  I am actually interested in these topics, but what usually happens is I put them on my bookshelf and completely forget about them.

  • Read three of the books.  I already started The Energy Bus last night. It is pretty good so far.  Don’t worry, you will hear about it when I am done :)

Make progress on the wedding planning front.  

Venue, photographer, and DJ booked.  Check.  Wedding Dress. Check.  Ok, so we have made good progress so I can’t really complain.  We just want to make sure we plug along so there aren’t any surprises.  These are some big things we want to get done in April

  • Price out professional invitations versus DIY invitations.  We know DIY will be cheaper, but we want to figure out if the savings is worth our time trying to do them on our own.  I love crafts so I wouldn’t mind doing them on my own, but the summer is also already starting to get busy.
  •  Pick out the bridesmaid dress. This will be done on April 14!
  • Plan the ceremony music.  This is up to Matt since I got my way and we are going with a DJ instead of a band :)
  • Send a “Save the Date” email with the hotel information.  Klassy.  I know.  But, we don’t see much point in sending formal Save the Dates if we are going to send invitations in two months anyway.
  • Book our engagement photos.  My friend Denise very nicely offered to take our engagement photos… and I’ve been a flake and haven’t gotten back to her.  So, I need to do that this week.

There it is.  My month in a nutshell.  I’m sure I’ll do some other things too, but these are the big ones to get done.

What goals do you have for the month?

Weigh-in Wednesday, Week 5: Feeling Good

Happy Hump Day!  Wow, I can’t believe it has already been five weeks!  Thanks everyone for the kind words last Wednesday.  Rayna posted this video on my Facebook wall that I’d like to share as motivation for others who have a hard time fitting workouts into busy days:  Zuzana – Don’t Give Up!. I can’t get the You Tube imbed to work so click on the link to see it.

Despite very minimal results, I have felt great the past few days (other than crying through the eulogy at my grandma’s funeral).  My legs feel lighter when I run and my clothes definitely feel better.  I can always tell when I am gaining momentum with my weight loss because I have less thigh jiggle :)

I love this point where I start to feel great because it becomes easier for me to make healthy decisions.  If I feel good and my clothes fit better, I want to keep them that way.  If I’m not at that point, I get down on eating healthier and squeezing in exercise on a busy day (“it won’t make a difference, anyway.”)  Ok, I confess – there are still some things I can’t easily turn down.  I found these in our freezer a few days ago:

I thought they were gone, but it turns out they were just hiding from us in our freezer… those sneaky thin mints.  Nom, nom, nom… I’m like Cookie Monster around those things.  Overall, I am pretty happy with how my eating went this past week.  These were some of the highlights:

  • Today, I had an all-day work meeting that involved catered food and a dinner at Stella’s Fish Cafe.  I had my own healthy breakfast at home, avoided the glazed donut that was trying to seduce me with it’s delicious frosting, and I didn’t have an alcoholic drink at dinner.  This is usually tough since everyone else is having a drink and it is the end of a long day so a beer or wine just sounds really good.
  • There was a lot of tasty-smelling potato chips at the VFW after my grandma’s funeral  yesterday.  I gave these up for 2012 and I still haven’t had a potato chip or french fry!
  • Matt and I ate a healthy dinner at home on Saturday night before meeting our friends at the bar to celebrate our engagement.  (we did have a late night sushi happy hour though)
  • The best part is I didn’t really miss all of this stuff I turned down.  There was a second of thought, but overall I didn’t obsess about how difficult my decision was to say no.

My week of activity looked like this:

  • Wednesday –  I had about 45 minutes to work out between work and meeting a friend so I did a 3 mile temp run & short walk with Macy.
  • Friday – Tough Mudder circuit
  • Saturday – 5 mile long run.  I ran my a 7k 1:30 faster than when I ran the Get Lucky 7k just one week earlier!
  • Sunday – Nice, leisurely 2 mile walk with Matt and Macy while wearing my Vibram Five Fingers
  • Tuesday – I had a work dinner and didn’t get home until 8 so I just did a quick workout.  It was a 25 minute treadmill interval run (15 minutes alternating between 10:00 mile pace and 7:30 mile pace, 15 minutes alternating walking and running an incline of 8).  I also did as many push-ups and squat/shoulder presses as I could to kill my arms.

I have 53ish days until Tough Mudder.  I am most concerned about my upper body strength, so my focus over the next is to get back on the 2-3x/week routine I had going before my grandma got sick.  I know I’ll be fine with the running portion, but I am not sure about my ability to do things like lift myself over a wall or get across monkey bars!

I’ve been slightly hard on myself lately so this week I’m not going to post about what didn’t go well.  It is killing me not to point out my “opportunities”.  Not to sound like a complete nut, but I do this at work a lot too.  I had my review last week and started it out by taking over the meeting and telling my boss what I think I could have done better.  Yep, true story!  Obviously you can tell I am a Type A person.  My job is basically all about process improvement and sometimes that extends a little too much into my personal life.  Luckily, I have Matt to balance me out.

So, how do I feel at Week 5?  I wish I had more drastic results, but only because I am impatient.  I’d like to have better results over the next five weeks than I have this past five weeks, but I am still really happy with my progress.  I am comfortable I will see better results in the next five weeks because life should become a little more stable.  I mean, what are the odds I can have two major life events (my engagement and grandma’s death, for the new readers) happen in the next five weeks too? ;)

Are you ever too critical of yourself?  How has your week been going?  Anything positive you want to share with us?

Weigh-in Wednesday, Week 4: Measurement Success

I was not looking forward to weighing myself this morning.  Then, when I stepped on the scale… ugh, utter disappointment.  I knew it was coming though.  I had a crazy week with my grandma being in the hospital and then passing away (not to mention the half a bag of tortilla chips I’ve eaten over the past few days).  Then, I was even more down on myself because this was my excuse two weeks ago – I had a crazy week that was totally unusual when I got engaged. 

But, after I measured myself I realized I was being too hard on myself.  I’ve had a lot of success with my measurements, which is something I always overlook (to the point where I never even take them when I’m trying to lose weight).  I’ve lost three inches from my waist and almost five inches from my hips!  I know some of this is from bloating (and possibly measurement errors on the hips), but even losing bloat weight means I’m eating healthier overall and the workouts are working.  So, enough talking about them… here are my stats:


I was about 145-150 pounds and a size 10 when I graduated from college.  Today, I am 141 pounds and a size 6 (or 4 at some stores!  gotta love those stores that cater to my self esteem).  That isn’t a big difference in weight, but it is a big difference in size.  So, I know it isn’t all about weight but sometimes I don’t remember that it isn’t all about weight.  I still think weight is a good indicator of success, but this is a good reminder that it isn’t the only indicator. 

My success of the week:

  • I worked out at least every-other day, including running in the Get Lucky 7k.
  • I completed the Tough Mudder training after my treadmill intervals on Monday.  I was so sweaty that I was sliding all over my yoga mat and will need to break out my mat towel when I do the circuit tonight.  I don’t remember it being this intense when I did it last week!  By the time I got to the decline push-up, I couldn’t do them.  I had to do the girly knee push-ups and even those were pushing it for me.  The best thing about this workout is you can do it at home! The only equipment required are dumbbells and a pull-up bar.  We don’t use our pull-up bar up anymore so I skip those and do them at the gym (I say “them” like I can do multiple pull-ups… ha!).
  • Other than the half bag of tortilla chips, I ate healthy about 70% of the time.  It helps a lot that the salad bar at my work actually looks appealing this time of year and they’ve really stepped up the sandwich section.  We haven’t been able to grocery shop much the past week so I’ve been buying lunch at work the past few days.  I really need to get to 80%+ to lose weight so expect to also see something about this in the “what didn’t go well” section of this post. 

What didn’t go so well:

  • My 30% was mindless snacking.  I really didn’t need those tortilla chips, but they were there so I ate them.  We also gobbled up the rest of our Girl Scout cookies (if you saw how we inhaled them, you’d know gobbled is the right term).  We decided that next year we’ll buy one box (because we can’t completely deprive ourself!) and donate money to the Girl Scouts. 
  • I didn’t start my BODYPUMP routine that I wrote about in last week’s post.  I was at the hospital three nights last week and on Sunday so I am ok with this one.  I created a workout schedule that includes BODYPUMP every Friday night until Tough Mudder and stuck it on my fridge.  I know that doesn’t sound like an exciting thing to do at 6:30 on a Friday night, but it will keep me away from happy hour for a while and is the least stressful night of the week to fit it in. 
  • I’ve pretty much abandoned my WW points tracking.  There is seriously no good excuse for this.  I have an app and know the points of most of my food so I should just write it down!  Next week, you will read that I tracked my points every day.  I promise. 

Ok, so there it is… four weeks into my journey!  How do I feel about it?  Ok.  I’ve made decent progress.  I know it could be better.  Normally, I would have gotten frustrated and quit by now.  I give myself props for that, but I also don’t believe in getting points for just showing up.  It’s not enough to show up to the gym or sort-of eat healthy, you have to work hard and make it a priority to make progress.  I know what I need to do.  Now I just need to be consistent about following through. 

What is your advice for me after reading this week’s post (or all of them, if you’ve been following since the beginning)?  Be honest!


Striding for Sara at the Get Lucky 7k

It has been both an exciting and emotional week, punctuated by a really great St. Patty’s Day race and beautifully warm weather this morning.  We booked our venue and photographer (which I will write about in a separate post tomorrow), my grandma is in the hospital and her prognosis has been anywhere from “she may be going home tomorrow” to “she might not make it through the night” (now, if she leaves the hospital she will need 24-hour hospice care), and this morning I ran the Get Lucky 7k in honor of a graduate school friend, Sara, who has been in the ICU at HCMC because of a car accident two weeks ago.  This was one of those weeks where you realize that life shouldn’t be taken for granted.  First, I’ll give you my public service announcement on donating blood and then I’ll tell you about the race.  (side note: the craziness of this week is also why I didn’t post my update picture for Weigh-In Wednesday.  I will make sure to do it next week!)


I met Sara when we both traveled to Brazil in January 2009 for a short-term study abroad.  She is a very warm and friendly person.  But, as odd as it may sound, I really got to know her better this past year over Facebook.  She became an avid runner so we started corresponding more and more, and planned to run some of the same races this year.  It’s weird how Facebook friends become real friends (if that makes sense).  She is just one of those people who is so warm and friendly that, even over a social media site, makes you feel like you’re a friend.  Judging by the number of hits to their Caring Bridge site, I think a lot of people feel this way about Sara and her husband.

Anyway, when our mutual friend Robin told me about the accident, I was really sad and wanted to help in some way.  But, how can you really help in a situation like this?  You can give blood and raise awareness about blood donation.  (visit the Red Cross blood donation website for more information).  Sara and her husband both benefitted from blood donations after their accident and my grandma had a blood transfusion this week to improve her pain level.  All three of these people benefitted from the generosity of others who have donated blood.  To be honest, I haven’t donated yet.  But, I plan to.  I know it won’t go to Sara, Chris, or my grandma but it will go to someone else’s friend or loved one.

The thing about runners is we like to use running to spread messages, so Sara’s friend Angela had t-shirts made to help us spread the “Save Lives, Give Blood” message at the race.  This is me in my shirt:

There were 6 of us who ran the 7k and 8 people who ran the half marathon to honor Sara.  The effort is growing via the Strides for Sara website, where many runners are logging their miles and more information about donating blood can be found.  I have a list of the races Sara planned to run this year, so Angela is coordinating a group of us that will cover all of her races.  If you’d like to join the community rallying around Sara and/or the effort to raise awareness about blood donation, visit Strides for Sara to log your miles or get information on future races.


IT WAS A BEAUTIFUL DAY!  I ran the Get Lucky half marathon last year and it was in the 20′s.  This year, it was in the 60′s when the race started.  Of course, all of us Minnesotans were loving the weather!  This was my first time running the 7k and I loved the course.  The half marathon is held in St. Paul and the 7k is in Minneapolis.  I definitely prefer the views during the 7k run.  I carried my camera with me to document some of the course:

Toward the back of the starting line – there were 7k people running the 7k!

This is my wave running to the starting line…

Running behind the Guthrie…

It is hard to tell in the picture, but there are still runners at the starting line waiting to go (just past the buildings) and the street below is about .5 miles into the race.  Lots of people!

An Irish band singing along the route…

This is me about 2.5 miles in (yep, I look scary while exercising)…

The people at the finish line (and I was in the middle wave so this isn’t even everyone!)

Matt and I at the end of the race (he finished ahead of me)…

I was very under-prepared for this run so my goal was to finish without stopping, which I did!  I was a little sad that I averaged 10:30 pace for a 7k, but completed a half marathon last October at an average pace of 10:00.  I guess that is the difference between the beginning of race season and the end!  My goal for this season is to run a half marathon in 2:04 or less, which is a far cry from my very first half marathon time of 2:30 in 2008.  I guess I am getting faster, even if I still feel like I’m running in slow motion.

I don’t have many races lined up for this year yet so I better get moving on my training if I want to hit my goal!  When I picked up my Get Lucky packet, I signed up for Team Ortho’s first annual Women Rock half marathon on September 1.  It is 1 week before my wedding, so it will force me to stay in shape!  As a prize for being one of the first 100 people to sign up, I got this:

Matt said he will use this as motivation this year! (he doesn’t need to – he is already in good shape) I’m honestly not sure what to do with this calendar but I found it funny anyway.  Ok, this has been a long and somewhat rambling post so I’m going out to enjoy this wonderful weather.

What races are you signed up for this year?  Do you have any activity goals this year?

Those last 15 pounds…

Happy Weigh-in Wednesday!  Ok, I know today is Thursday but that is so much catchier :)   Weigh-in Wednesday is my quest that I will share every Wednesday (after this week) to finally get rid of the last 10-15 pounds.

I know I don’t need to lose weight.  I wear a size 6 pants and small shirt so that alone tells me I don’t have a weight problem.  But, I’m also only 5’3” and I’m at the very top of the healthy weight range for my age and height (ok, maybe a few pounds over some days).  I’d feel more comfortable if I dropped the extra fluff and, more importantly, kept it off!  Besides, I do invest a lot of time into running so it’s a little frustrating that I still have the fluff hanging around.

I have tried, and failed, many (MANY!!!) times over the years to get rid of this weight.  This is why I think I’ve failed:

  • Food.  I would rather work out than have to worry about eating healthy, but I need to finally accept that 70% of it is diet (which is SO depressing! but also SO necessary to accept!).
  • Running.  This is all I do.  I probably ran over 1,000 miles last year and only lost two pounds.  This is what my friend Tony, who is a personal trainer and former Marine, had to say about that, “I am sure you already knew this but running is probably the least effective way to try to lose weight, especially when you are good at it. Your body is just like a car, when you keep running your body becomes more efficent to the repetitive nature of the exercise. That is why switching it up is so important…”  Apparently I didn’t already know that!
  • I don’t build it into my lifestyle.  When I train for a race, it consumes my life.  When I am done, I completely fall off the wagon because I am so burned out from training.  I do the same with food.  I am either very healthy or eating a whole sleeve of Do Si Dos.  I need more moderation.

Based on my self-analysis, I have put together this plan to help me reach 130 pounds within 16 weeks:


  • I am going to follow Weight Watchers.  I chose Weight Watchers because it is realistic with my work travel schedule and it will help me learn about portion control, while still allowing for small indulgences.
  • I will eat 2 “clean” meals per day at least 5 times per week.  I think it’s important to eat natural foods whenever possible.  This should be relatively easy since Matt and I have been eating mostly “clean” dinners since the beginning of January.


I drink a lot of water as it is, but I’d like to make it a rule to have 3 Camelbak’s per day.  I own six of these water bottles and usually have one with me.  Best. waterbottle. ever.   It must be the chewy straw.


  • Diversify.  This should be easy to do since we are training for Tough Mudder and a sprint triathlon.   This will include strength training 2-3x per week, biking, swimming and running.
  • Focus on intensity.  I tend to get too comfortable in my workouts.  Working out with Matt helps a lot since he motivates me to work harder.
  • Incorporate morning workouts.  This will allow me to enjoy more evenings cooking dinner or taking care of errands so I won’t feel burned out at the end of this.

I welcome feedback, tips or suggestions!

Baseline measurements

  • Weight: 145 pounds
  • Waist: 32”
  • Hips: 38 ¾”
  • Bust: 34”
  • Arms: R – 11 3/8”, L – 11 ¼”
  • Thighs: R – 24 ½”, L – 23 ¾”
…and here I am!  (in case you’re wondering — yes, Matt thinks I’m a weirdo for wanting to broadcast this on the internet.  However, he has learned by now that I’m a “sharer” so he just goes with it.)

 Macy wanted to take a body shot too:

Have you achieved a weight loss or healthiness goal that was very important to you?  What approach did you take and what advice do you have for me?