Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Find Your Greatness

Love, Love, Love this message from NIKE.  Finally, someone is getting it right!

Everyone has to start somewhere, just make sure that YOU are starting something.

Split Personality

I want to be STRONG.  I want to be FIT.  I want less body fat and more MUSCLE.


I want to be FAST.  I want to run FARTHER.  I want to PR each race.

Nice and sweaty after my run

Yep, I am well aware that running long distances and the training that goes along with it won't allow me to sustain and build more muscle.  Instead I've been focusing on HIIT training; running sprints and hills and then recovering.

But, I signed up for the Women's 4-miler on September 1st and it is just not possible for me to go out and "have fun just jogging."  I want to run well and to me that means being faster than I have in the past.  So I guess I need to continue to lift heavy, but also get my butt out there and put in some miles.

I haven't run 4 miles since my foot injury so I thought I'd give it a go this morning.  I don't know where I get my endurance from because I could have easily kept on booking it, but I made sure not to overdo it.  I had no idea what my time would be, so this was a good test for me.

Ideally, I'd like to run 4 miles in less than 30 minutes....Nothing spectacular in the running world, but I guess that will be my goal for the race?!

4 weeks = 1 minute 15 seconds off my time each week.  Let's see if I can do it and keep some muscle;)

Can't I just have it all?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Lesson in Lifting

This morning I met up with Regina, who is a beast (just saying), at the gym.  I haven't worked out with anyone else in years, like way back when we used to go to Gold's in Charlottesville and Walt was my main man in agility training.  It always takes me a while to warm up to someone new and new training, but I had a fantastic time.  We worked through a back routine in about 80 minutes and I can tell you that I will be feeling it big time tomorrow.  Some of the exercises were new, some were old, but the lifting was heavy.  We moved up in weight after just about every set and kept the reps between 5 and 10.  My main issue was my grip strength.  I'm thinking about purchasing some versa grips or something similar to help with this in the future.

I did end up going to back to do 20 minutes of incline sprints, but that was it.  I have been pounding some food since I got home.....PWO shake (banana, fresh blueberries, egg protein, flax seed, almond milk and ice), mixed greens topped with shredded chicken, walnuts, avocado, and olive oil, 1/2 cup cottage cheese with cinnamon and an apple, 1/2 cup cauliflower mash, a cup of Chobani.  Now let's see if I can grow some lats like Regina's!

Again, my mantra....get out there and do something, and better yet do something new so that you will see CHANGE!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Squash Bugs and Good Eats

While talking to Jennie on the phone a couple of nights ago, I decided to check out the garden because we have so many tomatoes getting ripe.  To my surprise the squash and zucchini plants had quickly turned brownish yellow and the veggies were dying.  Without much inspection at all, my eyes caught the movement of hundreds, dare I say thousands, of bugs!

As I'm inspecting them I'm giving Jennie the complete rundown....

        Me, "They look tick-like....what the heck? It just pooped!  Gross. Gross. Gross."
        Her response, "Did it squirt out like gel?"
        Me, "YES!"  
        Her, "Well, that's how stink bugs poop."
        Me, "Holy crap, they DO look like baby stink bugs!!"

You can imagine the next 15 minutes of me freaking out about these nasty critters (known as Squash Bugs) that are killing my squash.  After consulting numerous websites to figure out what they were and what the heck to do about them, Rich and I went on an all out killing rampage armed with dish soap (Palmolive) and water mixed in a water bottle.  We pulled up all of the squash and zucchini plants along with hundreds of bugs and eggs and tied them up in garbage bags.  The rest were doused with the spray and died within minutes.  Over the last two days we've checked the rest of the plants and iced any stray bastards that we could find.

The eggs!

The babies

Hailey was the official spotter while we sprayed

Look at those suckers making a run for it. 

On a positive note, we've picked dozens of tomatoes so I've been enjoying my favorite summertime food, fresh tomato sandwiches.  We also made something similar to Mimi's famous macaroni and tomatoes by combining whole wheat egg noodles, a little trivia, salt, and boiled fresh tomatoes.

Can you believe that we grew all of those!?

Noodles and tomatoes
And, today we checked the red potatoes and harvested each of the plants.  We sliced some of them, drizzled them with a little olive oil and salt and pepper, and baked them at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.  They were delicious!

Straight from the garden!

Straight into my belly. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Working It

Getting a little wider

Although this isn't the best shot, I do think that I am gaining a bit of width in my upper back.  I've slacked off on the pull ups because my body just needed a break.  In fact, I took two rest days in a row this weekend.  Taking rest days is hard for me to do because I feel so much better after hitting the gym, but I know that they are needed.  I was able to get 105 lbs on the bench Monday morning for 3 reps, so I know the rest was good for me! 

And just for good measure, a shot of my abs coming in...

They may not be as tight as Lolo Jones, who just happens to be on the cover of this month's Oxygen, but they are a work in progress.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

6th Anniversary!

To round out our fun-filled weekend, we went to Flying Rabbit Sporting Clays this morning.  Coincidentally, this weekend was the one weekend each year when instructors-in-training give free shooting lessons.  They provide everything that you need; guns, ammunition, clays, etc.  When we called last night, the owner was very excited about our inquiry and told us to come on down.  

Getting some instructions
Rich getting set
There were about 15 men and 2 women there for lessons and just as many instructors-in-training.  I had never even held a shotgun before, but they threw me right out there with everyone else.  After a few rounds I caught on to what I should be doing and started hitting some of the clays.  It was a huge change from shooting handguns the day before...totally different type of shooting/aiming, etc.  Having something moving to shoot at was awesome and challenging at the same time.  I think I have a new hobby for sure!
Almost ready
I met up with one last instructor who was awesome.  I'm not sure what it was that he did differently, but I liked his style and I crushed both fast moving clays that were thrown out.  It's a shame that our two hours were up because I was just getting into the groove.  I think I'll be purchasing my own shotgun in the near future! 

After shooting, we went to Outback for lunch, then to the movies to watch Ted, and ended the night with a nice steak dinner:)  I feel like we had round two of our honeymoon...lots of activities and very little downtime.  Just perfect.  

I'm so glad that I found Rich at Wild Wings 10 years ago this month:)  We are a perfect match of outgoing and reserved, funny and silly, messy and neat, carefree and structured.  Thank goodness we even each other out;)  Here is to a lifetime of more adventures and new experiences together!  Love you, honey.   

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Fueling Up

After all of that shooting, we decided to go out to dinner to celebrate our anniversary a day early.  We headed over the mountain to Wild Wolf Brewing Company.  Unfortunately, my mashed sweet potatoes were cold so we HAD to get two free desserts. Shucks.  We devoured fried Oreos (Jennie hates me!) and a brownie sundae.  Not so clean eating.  Oh well!

Okay, so back to dinner.  I had the cider brined pork loin with brussel sprouts and mashed sweet potatoes and Rich had the shrimp and grits.  Once the heat issue was resolved my meal turned out fantastic.  The shrimp and grits disappeared in about 2 minutes as well:)


We had a wonderful night out despite the rain!  And, yes, for all of you who see me in jeans day after day after day, I fricken wore a dress.  The shoes were a nightmare in the pouring down rain, but I sucked it up.  Take a good look because I won't be in another for months:)

And for good measure...here is one of Rich chugging his beer:)

Locked and Loaded

The first activity during our weekend of anniversary celebration was hitting the shooting range.  It's our "Activ-ersary" weekend;)

I know you are jealous of my pink shooting glasses:) 
It's something that I've been talking about for months.  My desire to learn how to shoot stemmed from wanting to be able to protect myself and probably watching a little too much of American Guns, Duck Dynasty, and other Discovery television shows.  

Getting everything set. 

After a quick run this morning, we headed to Hite Hollow Shooting Range.  We brought along a 380 and 45 to practice.  I  started with the 380, but then moved to the 45.  I'll admit that I was a bit freaked out when we first got out of the car because there were rifles firing really loud and there were already people on the pistol range.  Once I was out there and knew the people around us were being safe, I was ready to rock.  

It didn't take long before I was tearing up the clays that Rich hung up for us and even destroyed a shotgun shell that he hung just for kicks to see if I could hit it.  I preferred the 45 over the 380 even though it has a pretty strong kick.  My aim was much better for some reason, maybe the heavier weight?
The 380

Would I do this again?  Heck yeah.  I loved every minute of it.  On to shotgun shooting next....  Oh yeah, and maybe a blinged out gun of my own?! 

Knocking them down! 

Rich tearing it up. 

The 45....picked two off the top and the shotgun shell!

Random wild turkey crossing the road...

Friday, July 13, 2012

He's a sprinter

And by he, I mean this guy...


Aren't Huskies supposed to be sled dogs?  You know, the long distance endurance runners of the wild?!  Well, this guy must have gotten short twitch muscles instead.

That is some serious speed!

For the first time since I received my Garmin Forerunner 410 for Christmas, I decided to go for a long run.  What better company to keep than a big scary  dog? Since Jack has only ever run with me around the neighborhood, I took us out the gates slow.  I figured he'd be able to hang with a 9 minute mile pace for 4 miles or so and then I could drop him off at home if I wanted to keep going.

There was none of this going on after 6 minutes of running...
Boy was I wrong.  After the first 1/2 mile he stopped running and walked just fast enough to keep up with me.  Once we hit 1 mile and a hill, it was all over.  He was 15 feet behind me with his tongue hanging out the side of his mouth and his rib cage was pumping.  I was shocked that he wasn't running around wild trying to chase or sniff everything in sight.  So that's where the run ended.  We walked all the way home at a snail's pace.

2 miles in 37 minutes.  Woof.  I guess I need to start taking him on 1/2 mile to mile runs over the next couple of weeks so he can build up his endurance.  I know the heat doesn't help, but really?

I still love the sprinter that he appears to be:)

Trying to make up after making a disaster out of my run. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Challenge Yourself

If what you are currently doing in life is easy --- going through the motions at the gym, checking Facebook while the kids play, cooking the same old standby meals ---then get out of the rut by challenging yourself!  You are not going to improve in any area without taking chances and mixing things up.

Research some new recipes to try out and make it a fun experiment. Designate a night of the week for a certain type of cuisine that you normally don't cook.  For the next few weeks we will be cooking a vegetarian meal once a week.  This is a challenge for the the poultry folks that we are, but I'm sure I'll find some yummy new meals.

Get off the couch and do something active that will be fun for you and the kids. It doesn't have to be fancy, just different.  Play hide and seek, tag, hopscotch, go to the park, go fishing, build a fort out of linens, set up an obstacle course or race, make some healthy snacks together in the kitchen instead of handing out fruit snacks and goldfish.  All of these activities are easy to do, fun, and don't require you to spend money.

Change up your routine at the gym.  Try a new class.  I did this one today...first class I've taken since college, other than yoga.  I tried cardio-plates and really enjoyed it.  It challenged my core in a different way than I normally do and I guarantee that I will be sore tomorrow.

Switch up the body parts that you work.  If you work one body part a day, try doing full body circuits.  If you plug away on the treadmill while watching the television, then you aren't working hard enough...do intervals instead.  Now that I've been doing sprints on the treadmill, it's hard for me to do anything else for more than a few minutes.  I used to get on and run at a steady pace for 45 minutes.  No more.  If I start to get comfortable then I change the incline or speed.  I gauge my comfort by how often I actually watch something on the television screen.  I'm so focused on breathing or switching the speed these days that I don't catch more than a few glimpses at the screen.

What ever it is that is comfortable for you, identify it, and change it.  You'll be glad that you did:)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Salads R Us

We've been eating nothing but salads around here.  That's the only thing that is appealing when it is so freaking hot out.  I've been rotating the veggies and toppings so that I don't get tired of eating them.  Rich has been switching up our homemade dressings as well, but they all revolve around olive oil, sesame oil, and balsamic...sometimes he adds in some light soy sauce and pepper.  I'm slacking in the pulled chicken department, so I've been downing some greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and nuts for some added protein.

My dinner salad - mixed greens, cucumbers, walnuts, cranberries and avocado.  YUM. 

One from earlier in the week -- Mixed greens with carrots from the garden, pulled chicken, avocado, walnuts, cranberries.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Century Mark

1-0-0!  And, I'm not referring to the heat wave.  I finally moved up in weight today on the flat bench and did 3 sets of 3-5 reps at 100 lbs.  I'm only 15 lbs shy of benching my bodyweight, which as always been my goal.  I would like to be there by September...

I have never determined my 1RM, but think that I will try this next week and see where I land.  I'm almost in the well above average category and this is for a weight that I can push multiple times.  This morning I was doing 87% of my body weight, so I'd say that is pretty darn good! Maybe I can do 100% if it is a 1RM?!

Average Female Bench Press (from LiveStrong)

The American College of Sports Medicine classifies using percentiles based on body weight, age and sex. For example, a female in her 30s weighing 140 lbs. in the 50th percentile should have a 1RM of 57 percent of her body weight or 80 lbs. An average ranking is in the 50th percentile, above average is 70th percentile and well above average is 90th percentile. 

Determining Your 1RM

Select a weight that is about 50 percent of your predicted 1RM and complete 5 to 10 warmup repetitions. Rest one minute before completing another warmup set of three to five repetitions at about 70 percent of your predicted 1RM. Gradually add weight to the barbell in 5- to 10-lb. increments and perform one repetition. Rest two to three minutes between each attempt and continue making attempts until you reach failure. The last weight you successfully lift is your 1RM. Beginners uncomfortable attempting a 1RM, may complete a three to five rep maximum, and use an online 1RM calculator to calculate your 1RM for you. Always use an experienced spotter when doing any heavy lifts.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July!

Not a lot going on here, but we did make it out for lunch with my parents after doing some work at their house this morning.  I don't have the energy to grill anything up in this heat, so we are going to spend the rest of the day inside:)

Ugh....this weather

This weather is for the birds.  It has been in the 90's for a week now and many of those days were 100 degree days.  Last Friday I went out for a few errands and my car thermometer read 102 degrees....  Downright nasty, hot and humid weather.  I should have known that Friday's weather would bring strong storms, but the extent of these storms was unbelievable.  There are still thousands of people without power that were affected by these storms and that is 5 days later!

Luckily, we did not lose power for an extended period of time, but we did lose internet and cable for 3 days and lost a shutter off of the house.  One of our dogwood trees was blown over, but I'm hoping I got it back in the ground quick enough to save it.  Other people in the area were not this lucky.  There were trees down everywhere and lots of damage from 80 mph winds due to the derecho storm.  Derecho is spanish for straight.  The straight winds, unlike the spiraling winds in a tornado, move extremely fast and are widespread.  This explains why so many people were affected in such a short amount of time.

When the storm hit the power flickered on and off like crazy, the winds were howling, and I could see the trees leaning and debris flying across the yard.  It was a scary experience to say the least!  I hope that I never experience one of these storms again!  Friday, June 29th was a day that we will not soon forget.

Check out the roots on that tree!  

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Stellar Summer Meal

The hot weather is making everyone around here crave large salads, fruit and fresh veggies.  However, tonight it was all about the veggies. I decided to make some chicken kabobs on the grill with a side of toasted pine nut couscous and squash casserole.

We are swimming in squash, so we needed to eat them up! I knew I wasn't going to make something super cheesy or loaded with butter, but other than that I had no idea what I was doing.  I figured I could do something similar to lasagna and it would taste alright;)  So, I went with a high protein high fiber version of the notoriously fatty traditional squash casserole by adding in cottage cheese, egg whites and milled flaxseed.  I could have done without cheese on the top, but I knew the rest of the family would prefer it.

I prepped the kabobs earlier this afternoon by chopping the chicken into bite size pieces and marinating it in sesame oil and peanut butter for 3 hours.  I went ahead and chopped up a red pepper, yellow pepper, green pepper, and orange pepper along with an onion and washed up a small container of grape tomatoes, so everything would be easy to put together this evening.

Cottage Cheese Squash Casserole 
(loaded with protein and fiber!)

  • 2 large zucchini
  • 2 yellow squash
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1/2 cup of milled flaxseed
  • 1/2 cup egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup low-fat mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup Fiber One Nutty Clusters and Almonds cereal
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Slice squash into 1/4 inch pieces and slice onion. 
  • Place squash and onion in a large pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes. 
  • Drain squash and onion. 
  • Mix flaxseed, egg whites, cottage cheese, salt and pepper together in a small bowl. 
  • Spray a large casserole dish with nonstick spray and place squash and onion mixture into dish. 
  • Slowly fold in the cottage cheese mixture. 
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
  • Add cheese and cereal on top of squash and place back in the oven for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.