Wednesday, February 29, 2012

New to You Cross Training Challenge - February

As with everything lately, I feel like I'm just getting stuff done in the nick of time - luckily for me there's an extra day in February this year so I can squeeze this post in today!    I had some really grand plans for cross training this month, but they didn't really pan out.  So, my February submission will be an at home workout that has been collecting dust on my shelf for far too long...

We've had P90X in our house for over a year.  Up until this month I have only done the X stretch, Core Synergistics and Ab Ripper X workouts.  Last week I tried out Kenpo X, Cardio X and Shoulders and Arms.   Since I can count any of these for my February workout, I'm going to talk about Kenpo X because it's the one I liked the most.

This is what the manual has to say about Kenpo X:
The word Kenpo means "law of the fist," and that's exactly what you'll be throwing during this cardio-intense workout.  That and a whole bunch of kicks, elbows, knees and forearms.  You'll learn a highly effective way to defend yourself, while at the same time getting one heck of a total-body, super-cardio workout.

Here are my thoughts after doing this workout for the first time:

The Good:
  • The warmup and cool down.  P90X really emphasizes proper warm up and cool down.  In a 58 minute workout the first 11 minutes are spent warming up/stretching.  I also like that a lot of yoga moves are incorporated into the warm up.
  • The workout is fun - who doesn't love kicking/punching/getting your aggression out?
  • The instruction is great - most moves are explained well, easy to follow (even for someone like me who gets her rights and lefts confused!)  One good tip he gave was to not  "bang your joints" - meaning to kick, but don't hyperextend your legs during the kicks.  In other kickboxing classes I've done I definitely have a tendency to do this on my back kicks and it makes them painful, so I was grateful for the reminder.
  • There are 5 rounds in this workout with water breaks in between.  I used the water break time to do more kicks and punches and kept moving - but if you need breaks they are there.
  • Great core workout - all the kicks really force you to use your core to keep proper form.  It's something you have to concentrate on, but I was feeling it in my sides for sure.
The Bad:
  • The warmup.  Ok, I know I said the warmup was a good thing - and I do appreciate that this (and all the P90X workouts I've done) emphasizes proper warmup - but I think 11 minutes is pretty long.  I was anticipating the workout to be an hour of cardio - but with the warmup (and cool down) it's only about 45 minutes.
  • The intensity.  I was just expecting this workout to be harder.  I'm sure if I was doing P90X the way it is intended to be used (6 different workouts a week for 90 days) then I'm sure it would be more than sufficient - but as a stand alone cardio workout, it wasn't as intense as I had hoped.
So that's my February Cross Training Challenge!  Thanks again to Kim for hosting the challenge and getting me to try new things.  Hopefully next month I'll have something a little more exciting to report!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Five for Friday


1)  Sorry I've been MIA around here - such a busy week!  I haven't blogged, or commented, or really done anything in the cyber world.  I will try to catch up this weekend.  Super busy week here because we (my sisters and I) are throwing a 70th birthday party for this lady (aka Mom) this weekend:

Mom with two of my sistahs
Needless to say, busy busy and lots of details to tend to.  I will be happy when we can just relax and enjoy the party!

2)  Running.  My foot had been feeling pretty good, but I was just having this feeling like it was right on the brink of feeling some pain.  I felt like if I pushed it, it would be bad.  So I did something completely out of character, and I actually listened to my body and DIDN'T run!  Woo Hoo - look who's being smart!  I'm going to start back up with a one miler next week and progress SLOWLY again from there.  I'm really trying to be patient AND maintain a positive outlook here.   I have been doing some other workouts, which I will post about soon as they fulfills my commitment to Kim's New To You Cross Training challenge for February. 

3)  After my call for chicken recipes last week I made this soup from Cooking Light.  It was super good. 
4)  Last night I went and got a massage from my friend Been (pronounced "bean").  Oh. My. God.  It was so awesome. 
Been and I at the Hippie Chick Half Marathon last year
Been just finished up her studies in Amma Therapy - which is, as she explains it:
Amma Therapy is a form of bodywork using hand manipulation to work through the meridians of energy, or Qi, in your body.   I do an intake based on several questions regarding your health history, I use tongue and pulse diagnosis, and then I base my treatment on what your body needs that day. 
She's also taking classes in Sports massage to supplement her work.  All I know is that I felt amazing after my treatment.  THANK YOU BEEN!!!

5)  Biggest Loser.  I have nothing to say about these people and the drama.  It's ugly.  So, instead I will leave you (once again) with this:
You're welcome.

Have a great weekend!  Head on over to Fitness, Health and Happiness for Fitness Fridays!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday Five

Yippee!  It's Fri-day...

1)  The racing season here in Portland kicks off with the Shamrock Run in mid-march.

 This is a hugely popular race with 3 distance options - 5k, 8k and 15k.  The 15k is one of my favorite runs - it's really hard (hilly) but I love the route up and over Terwilliger.  In past years I've used it as a guage for my fitness.  Unfortunately, I won't be able to run it this year (stupid stupid foot).  

I've been feeling sorry for myself and wasn't going to sign up for any of the races because I couldn't run the distance I wanted to, but then my husband said he wanted to do the 8k....and then my son said he wanted to run the I decided to sign us all up.  Brian is doing the 8k, my son and I are doing the 5k and my daughter is doing the "Leprauchan Lap" (.6mi).   My son has never run a 5k, so this should be interesting.  I envision lots of "water breaks".

2)  My foot has been feeling good - I've cut back to 2 mile runs in distance, and it's responding well to that.  I DID run 3 miles at the run for Sherry - but I just couldn't bring myself to cut that run short.  It held up really well, so I'm feeling good about things.  Still need to go get new running shoes though...hopefully this weekend!

3)  WANTED:  Chicken Recipes!  I made a crock pot chicken yesterday and have leftover chicken I need to use up.  Any good chicken recipes y'all recommend?  I'm kind of running low in the originality department and would like to try some new things (preferably healthy, clean recipes!).

4)  I've had a good workout week so far, so I'm feeling good in that department (better than last week at least!).  I was looking for something tough to do on Wednesday, when I read a review from Heather at Will Run for Coffee for this workout: 
Oh my god.  So hard.  SO SO SO SO hard.  It's a full 66 minutes and my arms were noodles by the end of it.  I can usually do push ups and everything in full plank, but I had to go down to my knees for some of this workout - it was killing me!  I've had this DVD for about 6 months, but I've only done it a few times.  I think I definitely need to get this into the rotation, because if it's this hard, it's probably exactly what I need to be doing. 

5)  Biggest Loser - well, they tried to make Conda seem human and approachable by explaining some stuff from her past, but I wasn't feeling the redemption angle.  She's just a mean girl, and I still can't stand her.  I was really happy Daphne beat her.  It's also EXTREMELY clear that there is a red team voting alliance of Kim, Conda, Buddy and Mark - because voting Roy out when he lost 9 pounds?  Completely ridiculous and makes zero sense.  Conda lost the challenge for her team despite being given a 2 pound advantage, yet she's safe?  Whatever.  

Looks like lots of drama coming up next week though - should be interesting!

That's it!  Hope you all have a great weekend!  Head over to Fitness, Health and Happiness for Friday Fitness!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Stealing the "Thankful Thursday" idea that I've seen on other blogs.  My thanks today goes out to my running buddy Michelle.  She's awesome.
After the Vancouver Marathon
Michelle is my next door neighbor and an amazing friend.  When we first moved to this neighborhood I didn't know anyone and I was worried I wouldn't have anyone to run with.  Not only did I move in next door to a runner, but also one who is willing to get up at insane hours of the morning to get our runs in. 
running at dark-thirty
She's amazingly generous with her time, and is always willing to watch my kids or lend a helping hand for anything or anyone.  In fact, every Monday when Robin and I go to spin, she watches our young ones so that we don't have to deal with the gym daycare and be late for class.

She has run 3 marathons, Hood to Coast multiple times (and I'm on her team this year, so I'm really excited about that!), tons of half marathons and other races as well.  She's always willing to start a new training plan and tackle a new challenge.  Knowing she's outside waiting for me ensures that I'll get up and get the run in.  With my injury our time together on the road has been limited, and I miss it.  Those are lots of hours that we used to spend talking, and I can't wait to get that back. 

In January 2013, Michelle is taking on her biggest (running) challenge yet, the Goofy Challenge at Disney World.  You run a half marathon one day, and the full marathon the next day.  I'm hopeful this injury will stay away, and I can train with her for this.  She's been so supportive of me and my running goals, I hope I can return the favor to help her meet this one.

I can't wait to see her accomplish this!

And another reason she's awesome - when you borrow eggs from her they show up like this:

So thank you Michelle, for being a great running partner, but more importantly an awesome friend.  I can't wait to see you kick Goofy's booty!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Running for Sherry

Along with many others around the country, my friends and I ran this morning in memory of Sherry Arnold. 

Since I heard what happened to Sherry I've gone through many emotions - hope for her safe return, followed by sorrow for her family and friends, as well as anger that there are people in this world who would do such things.  But today while we ran, I felt peace.  While in one way this run served as a reminder of the need to always be vigilant and aware while running, the show of support this run garnered also showed how amazing people are and how a collective effort can produce strong and meaningful results.  I hope that Sherry's friends and family were brought some measure of comfort in the footsteps of all who ran/walked/rode for Sherry today. 

Here are some pics of the morning.
Been, Kristin, Michelle, Me, Robin, Natalee and Michelle
Running for Sherry
Our friend Holly came with her cutie Henry and strolled a bit:

And our friend Doug was out running as well:

We just did a short out and back on the path for 3 miles.  Michelle, Robin and Kristin ran some miles before we got there as they needed to go longer than me and my gimpy foot would allow.
We ran into two other large groups while we were out who were running for Sherry as well -it was so awesome to see that!

My friend Anne who was running with another group.
All in all it was a great run with great company.  While obviously I wish the circumstance leading to the run never happened, it was uplifting to see the running community responding in such an impressive way.

When I got home I found these pictures from friends who couldn't run with us in my inbox:
Mike on the Wildwood trail in Forest Park. 
His caption: "A time to reflect for Sherry while on the trail".
Ed running by Green Lake Park, by Seattle

Heather, Margie and Clark the wonder dog
(complete with his own bib) on a 20 miler by Haag Lake
So thankful to all my friends everywhere for running this morning.  So thankful to Beth for hosting this run and giving us all something we felt we could do for Sherry and her family.   So thankful to be able to run to celebrate Sherry's life, and be a small part of putting some positive energy out there in the face of something so tragic.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Friday FIVE

1)  As I said in yesterday's post, I've been a slacker in the workout department, so to remedy this I said hello to my good friend Jillian...
Yeah, I've completely lost some fitness - I used to do this workout 2-3 times a week no problem, but yesterday it was hard!   I got it done though....

2)  Trying a new recipe this week was a complete fail - but I did make this Baked Potato soup to take to my sister's 40th birthday dinner.  It's pretty much always a hit, and total comfort food.

Baked potato in soup form, YUMMMMM.

3)  Tomorrow is the virtual run in memory of Sherry Arnold. 

If you are in the Portland area and would like to join us, we'll be at the parking lot by the Sellwood Bridge (before Oaks park) at 8am to run on the Springwater trail.  If you can't join us, but you are running, please take the time to print out a bib here, and run in memory of Sherry.  Details of the race can be found here.

4)  Biggest Loser.  Adrian was sent packing - and while I don't think he did himself any favors by not listening and making some inopportune comments, I do think he was put in a defensive position from the get-go and was bullied out of town by Conda, Kim and Mark. 

Conda has to be one of the most annoying contestants ever.  I can't stand her.  She didn't even have the grace to be embarrassed when Dolvett called her out about complaining and talking behind Adrian's back.  Just awful. 

And Kim looks like she has something nasty in her mouth all the time...just sayin.

Oh, and a side note to the peeps at the BL - next time there's a challenge where Dolvett is going to be dunked in the water, can't we do better than having him wearing jeans, shirt and vest? 
Again, just sayin...

5)  I got nothing - HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND!

Head over to Fitness, Health and  Happiness for Fitness Friday!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Has anyone seen my mojo? workout mojo, that is?  It's GONE!  I don't know what's happened, but I just can't get it done.  Every night I tell myself I'm going to get up and work out.  And every morning my alarm goes off and....then...I...just...can't...get...up.....

My last workout was Spin on Monday.  Before that it was a run and strength workout on Friday.  Who is this girl who is working out every third day?  How did this happen?  I need my workout MOJO back!!!

Ok, so what to do?  How to get motivated?  First thing, I think a little accountability is in order.  A weekly recap of my workouts on this here blog.  Since I won't want to admit that I take two rest days between workouts maybe I'll get my booty in gear and make sure I won't have to.

Second, I actually got some news today about my most favoritest race in the world...
I got on a team!  My regular team didn't get an entry this year, but today I got invited to run with another group!!  Woo hoo!  My running buddy is on this team so I know it will be fun.  They are more competitive than the team I normally run on, so it will be a different experience in that regard, but I'm looking forward to it.  I am hoping my hubby will be running on his company's team so we will at least be able to meet at the beach.  I've been hoping to get picked up and I'm so happy to have an official spot.  Yeah baby!

So maybe knowing I have Hood to Coast on the horizon will get me in gear and moving.  Now I just have to get my foot completely healed and get back in running shape so I can kick some h2c ass!  No problem, right?  Hmmmm, I should get to bed now so I can get up and WORK OUT - mojo, here I come!

Happy Thursday!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Friday Five

1)  I just got done with an awesome workout!  I ran 2 miles as a warm up and then came back and did this:

I've never done a Zuzana workout before, but Christy at My Dirt Road Anthem has spoken so highly of her workouts, I thought I'd try it out - whew! It's quick, but you definitely feel it! I'm looking forward to trying out more.

2) Injury Report. foot has been acting up a little bit.  I talked to my doctor buddy, and he said I ramped up too quickly.  He said I should have progressed more slowly starting with 1 mile and working my way up instead of starting at 3 miles like I did.  After he said it, it seemed SOOO obvious - but when I initially did the first few 3 mile runs my foot felt good, so I went with it.  I'm cutting back on distance right now (hence the 2 mile run today), and will slowly build up again and we'll see how that goes.  I'm in super-cautious mode.

3) On Sunday night, I cooked a whole chicken in my crock pot from this recipe.  It was so easy and the chicken just fell off the bone when it was done.  I put the chicken in the fridge to use throughout the week, and then threw leftover veggies I had saved into the slow cooker with the chicken bones and made chicken stock.  So efficient, aren't I?  Oh, and we got 3 dinners (Chicken Enchiladas, Spicy Chicken Pasta and White Chicken Chili) and 4 lunches of leftovers out of that one chicken!  

4)  Biggest Loser.


5)  Portland area runners!  Some friends and I are going to run Beth's (Shut up and Run)  virtual race in memory of her cousin Sherry Arnold on February 11th.  For those unfamiliar with this sad story, Sherry went out for her morning run in Sidney Montana on January 7th and never returned home.   Two men have been arrested in connection to her disappearance, and she has been confirmed dead, even though her body has yet to be recovered.   As someone who runs in the morning and occasionally by myself, I was pretty disturbed and saddened to read about Sherry’s death.   The details of the story and of the run can be found here.

For anyone interested in joining us - we're meeting at the parking lot by the Sellwood Bridge (on the east side, before Oaks Park) at 8am, February 11th to run on the Springwater trail.  I'm hoping to run 3 miles, but I know other people are running further.  Anyone is welcome to join, just shoot me an email if you plan on being there, so I will know to look for you. It would be great to get a big group to run some miles in memory of fellow runner. 

Happy Friday - head over to Fitness, Health and Happiness for Fitness Friday!