Monday, August 31, 2015

August Abs Recap

Did you follow along with me on my #AugustAbs challenge(s)?

Let's be real - it was TOUGH! I did a couple different challenges and think I only missed one day of one of the ab ones (when we were camping) [Full disclosure - I stopped the squat challenge a few day early due to a funky hamstring pain]. I can DEFINITELY tell my abs "feel" stronger, even if by looking at them you can't tell much of a difference (or at least I can't).

I have to be honest, once the planks started getting up over 2 minutes I had to break them into two shorter planks (for example, my first 3 minute plank was actually a 2 minute plank followed by about 10 seconds of rest and then finished with a 1 minute plank). I felt pretty disappointed in myself that I couldn't hold it for longer, but at least I wasn't throwing in the towel completely.


At first I wasn't sure I was going to continue with much core work after this month. Sure, I know it is something I "should" do, but it always seems to be easier to lay on the couch than struggle through a plank - #AmIRightOrAmIRight?! But I do think I am going to try and continue a bit.

I am hoping to try and do at least a 2 minute plank per day and 20-25 reps of the ab exercises I was doing. The squats and calf raises I will probably stop. I already do them in my strength training workouts once a week and I really don't want to aggravate my hammy again (cause "missing" a long run SUCKS!).


I guess I probably shouldn't have expected that after a month of some core work I would have walked away with a six pack, but, man, that would have been nice, wouldn't it have been? I know, I know, I should probably address my food a bit more and maybe give it a little longer, but it's tough to stick with something that you don't see the immediate results from - or maybe that's just my issue.

Did you join in on the challenge? If so, what have your results been?

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Workout Recap - Week 35

Sunday, August 23rd – 9.5 mile run with the hubby, Foam Rolled & Stretched

Monday, August 24th – 7 mile progression run, Foam Rolled & Stretched

Tuesday, August 25th –  Strength Training (abs, back, arms and legs), 4 mile treadmill run, Foam Rolled & Stretched

Wednesday, August 26th –  19.65 mile bike ride, Foam Rolled & Stretched

Thursday, August 27th – 7 mile run, Foam Rolled & Stretched

Friday, August 28th –  REST DAY, Foam Rolled & Stretched

Saturday, August 29th – REST DAY, Foam Rolled & Stretched

Although taking an extra rest day and missing a long run was ROUGH, I have to say I am extremely proud of myself for listening to my body (and all of the SMART runners who reminded me I should take the time off). I still ran 27.5 miles this week AND I am ecstatic to report, my hamstring feels A MILLION TIMES better! Now, I haven't tried to run on it yet so I don't know how it will feel when I head out later this afternoon for a short run, but the discomfort I was feeling since Thursday morning seems to be gone! 

How were your workouts this past week? 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Skipping A Workout

Say it ain't so...

If you know me, you know I am a list maker and a task cross-er off-er. If I have a workout on the calendar, I try my very, very, VERY darndest to get it done...

But today, well, today was a different story... We can't get ahead of ourselves though. Let's start at the beginning, shall we?

For my August Abs challenge, I not only was doing TWO core strength challenges, but also threw in a squat challenge for the fun of it (the plank challenge had a squat challenge linked with it, so if one challenge is good, then three must be GREAT, right?!). And while I was at it, I decided to do as many calf raises as squats a day too...

Okay, so you probably know where this is going, right? Truth be told, I think I might have over done it. Shocking, I know. On Wednesday, I had 220 squats (and calf raises). Everything seemed hunky-dory while I was doing them, but Thursday morning I woke up to a funky pain in my left knee and what felt like a knot in my left hamstring. {Don't worry, since then I have opted out of my squat challenge...}

Yesterday's workout was a 7 mile run (thankfully NOT at my marathon pace), so I tried it out and took it easy. It honestly took about 2 miles for the wonky knee pain to go away and another mile for some of the other aches (like in my shins) to stop, but overall my hamstring still felt tight (and my body was just overall sore).

I have been foam rolling the crap out of my hamstring (along with using a lacrosse ball and a heating pad), but I woke up this morning and it didn't feel 100%. I had a 15-miler on the calendar for today and wasn't sure what I should do what I was going to do.

As luck would have it, I woke up around 2:30am to go to the bathroom (darn you small bladder!), and when it didn't feel great at that point I took to social media. I guess I was hoping people would say "push through it", "you'll be fine", but the resounding response was "TAKE A BREAK".


Although my hamstring is probably singing praises to those "smart runners" who are reminding me to listen to my body, my runner's mentality is shaking my fist and biting my thumb at you!


I mean, I hate, hateHATE missing a workout, ESPECIALLY a long run, but at this point, I think I probably should take an extra rest day (I mean I have two races next weekend, and although I am not running them for a specific time, I don't want to be hobbling around Disneyland - that does NOT go with my costumes!).

But, if truth be told, I should probably tell you that I was thinking about potentially jumping on the treadmill this afternoon for a few miles if the hammy starts feeling better by then. Also, I noticed that Sunday I don't have to work and only have a 4-miler on the calendar. There is a possibility that I may swap today's long run and Sunday's short run (meaning I would have "only" missed a 4 mile run) and do my 15-miler then if my body is feeling up for it.

Please hear me out - I am doing my bestest to listen to my body, but sometimes it is TOUGH! I would NEVER want to do anything to bring more pain or any type of damage to my body, but at the same time I want to make sure I am giving my training my all and not just taking the easy way out when things get hard. I know in the grand scheme of things missing or rearranging one run will not make or break my training, but, man, it sucks in the meantime.

What are your thoughts about skipping a workout? Do you try and "make it up" or just forget about it and move on?

Thursday, August 27, 2015

My Medical Mystery

I hate going to the doctors. Like H-A-T-E! I try and avoid them like the plague (and even if I had the plague, I would probably still avoid them for as long as humanly possible). Maybe it is because I am a bit of a medical mystery.

Let me give you a little background - when I was in 9th grade, I fractured a vertebrae in my back. I had to wear a back brace for a while and it was supposed to take care of the issue. Well, after the healing happened, the pain still remained. I went to a myriad of doctors, getting tons of tests (MRIs, CAT Scans, Ultrasounds, etc), taking just about every medication under the sun, going to physical therapy, getting acupuncture (they even hooked up electrodes to some of the needles and had them pulsate - talk about VOMIT!), you name it, I probably tried it.


After months and months of different appointments, a chiropractor actually asked my mom if she had heard of Fibromyalgia. Of course she had, she had been diagnosed with (as had her uncle, my grandma's youngest brother), but didn't want to mention it to my doctors for a few reasons (First, at that time a lot of doctors still didn't "believe" in fibro. They thought it was "all in the mind", something the patient just made up. Next, she wanted the doctors to come to their own conclusions. And, finally, there were/ are no tests for it, so it wasn't like they could technically do anything to say YES or NO. Fibro is sort of a "catch all", like if you can't figure it out, you just call it fibromyalgia because of the symptoms. (Sort of like my stomach issues that they figured was Irritable Bowel Syndrome because they couldn't find anything else more specific wrong.).)

Well, at least we had a name to the issue (and I wasn't as crazy as all the doctors made me out to seem), but that didn't fix the issues. A lot of the medications for fibro are just treating the smorgasbord of symptoms (whether they are for sleep, fatigue, depression, pain, etc) and many of them, once you get on them, you are on them for life. Since I was still young when I was diagnosed, the general consensus was "stay active, eat healthy, and you'll be fine".


Ha, if it wasn't so painful it might actually be funny. Let me tell you, I am active, I try and eat as healthy as possible, and I am NOT fine. I am living with constant pain and just having to manage life around it. After so many doctors visits and so few answers, you start to get discouraged and just decide to throw up your hands.


Lately, I have tried a couple alternative options. Even though massage is NOT my jam (my hubby loves it), I tried to give it a go. I have gotten a couple Living Social deals and have gone to a few appointments. Sure, they can be relaxing (mostly due to the calming music, unplugging and not looking at your phone or computer for the hour, etc), but I wouldn't say they helped my body feel better, so for me - not worth the money (lets be real, I'd rather put that money towards new running shoes or a race registration).

Today I tried a chiropractor again for the first time in probably 15 years. I have NOTHING against the practice, I just have a hard time spending money on myself HOPING for a fix/ cure to yet again walk hobble away disappointed. Like the massages, I saw a deal on Living Social for this chiropractor and they were right up the street so I figured I'd give it a go.

This first appointment was more of an exam. The chiropractor looked at my posture (to which he mentioned my right hip was at least a third of an inch higher than my left... totally makes sense as to why my right hip flexor is always tighter than my left) (oh yeah, and although my shoulders are aligned correctly over my hips, my necks jets out funny apparently...), took some X-rays and did a decent amount of chatting. 


He asked me, "If you were Bill Gates and money wasn't an issue, and I was a magic genie, what would you want?". Well, besides to run faster, find someone to pay me to blog, take pictures and run, and oh yeah, some world peace, I thought a decrease in general pain and a quicker recovery time from running would be a great place start and something maybe he could help me with!

I have to go back on Tuesday for my next appointment. At that point we will go over my X-rays and see what is what, along with an adjustment, if needed. He said he will lay out a course of action (if he believes chiropractic care can help any of my issues), where we will work as a team. 

To be completely honest, I have to say I have little faith in it. I would LOVE to say I am optimistic or at least hopeful, but at this point, that is not the truth. It does not have anything to do with the method, it has to do with that fact that after so many years of NOT finding anything to help I don't let my hopes get up too high only to have them crushed again.


So, there it is. A tiny bit of my wacky medical history... But the main take away is that I am stepping out of MY box, trying something new, and attempting to put me and my body as a priority.

Have you ever been to a chiropractor before?

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Fake It Till I Make It

I get it. I sound like a broken record. I feel like I am either talking about the heat/ humidity or my self-doubt when it comes to my training and attempting to qualify for the Boston Marathon. For that, I am sorry, truly, I am, but at the same time, I have to keep it real since those are a lot of the thoughts jingling around in my head these days.

The mind is a VERY powerful muscle. Sometimes I think it might be harder to train it than my legs. For example, I "know" I can run X miles, but for some reason, as soon as my mind has decided to give up on a run or tells my legs it is too "hard, long, hilly, fast, etc", my legs will give in and listen to it in a matter of nanoseconds.

In all honesty, my shorter distance runs haven't been terrible. I have been able to keep at or below my marathon pace when I am supposed to on particular runs and I am still crushing my progression runs, but my long runs... UGH! I think it has been a combination of the elements along with outside circumstances (for example, last week I gave blood the afternoon before my long run and didn't realize how much it would effect me). I remember a friend telling me "Fall PRs are made in the summer", but, man, this summer has been ROUGH!

And don't get me started on how in the world I will be able to hold my marathon pace for 26.2 MILES when it can feel like a complete struggle-fest for a mere 6 or 7. Thankfully the course of my next marathon is similar to falling down a mountain, at least for the first half, so I am banking on gravity doing a little of the hard work.

I am very grateful that the race is still over 2 months from now (although I know that time will FLY, especially since I have a 10K and 3 half marathons between now and then). My biggest hope is that I am able to get in a couple quality long runs before race day because my confidence is in DIRE need of them!


So, here it is... The new game plan... I mean I guess it has been the game plan all along... Give 110% and see what I can do... But now I've gotta BELIEVE that I CAN give it my ALL and be proud of whatever the results may bring!

Any advice on training the brain? 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

REVIEW: Bulu Box

Thanks to my relationship with Sweat Pink and Fit Approach I was given the opportunity to try out Bulu Box. Who doesn't love samples and subscription boxes?! 


A little bit about this box: Bulu Box is the first health, nutrition and weight loss discovery box designed to help you feel your best. Each month, you’ll get a custom box filled with a new mix of 4 to 5 premium samples from top brands to try. Every sample is sufficient enough to decide if the product is right for you. Shipping is free and you can cancel anytime. 

Sounds easy peasy, right?! Well, IT IS! You simply sign up for a monthly, 3, 6, or 12 month plan and then just wait for the box(es) to be delivered to your doorstep! (You are able to sign up for the standard Bulu Box or the Bulu Box Weight Loss. I was sent the standard box for the purpose of this review.)


I have to admit, when I first open the box I was a little underwhelmed. I have done a few of the subscription boxes in the past and this one felt a little minimal. The cost per box is $10 (which is on the lower end of subscription type boxes), so 4-5 samples for that price isn't terrible, but I just wanted to warn you in case you were expecting a packed box with oodles and oodles of goodies.

In my box I received a Mediterra Tomato & Basil bar, an Island Boost Blueberry & Pomegranate fuel, a More-T toothbrush, some Bugeater Food Jump protein powder, Earth's Care Anti-Itch cream, and Yerba Prima Daily Fiber formula


Again, maybe to some folks these would stoke them out, but for me, I was fine taking or leaving all of the items. None of the samples had me running to the box to give them a go right away. (Hear me out, just because this box didn't have me jumping for joy doesn't mean that it wouldn't have others pumped or that the following month wouldn't have 4 to 6 amazing options.)

First off, Ryan and I are both vegetarians, so the protein powder made from crickets was out. Honestly, even if I did eat meat I am not sure I would actually be able to drink it without cringing from the thought of insects (not to mention, I am not a big protein powder drink drinker). They do claim that crickets are a more environmentally friendly form of protein than some alternative powders, so it has that going for it... 

The toothbrush had me intrigued. The bristles were perpendicular to the handle, instead of the standard parallel design. The setup is supposed to promote up and down brushing to reduce tooth sensitivity and give your mouth a deeper, easier clean. I'll say it took a little getting used to, but I definitely liked it! Not only does it help with the up and down motion (rather than the side to side that I normally do - OOPS), but it is a great way to clean your tongue too. 

Brush, brush, brush your teeth!

Bars, bars, and more bars. Who doesn't love a good bar? I know I do - they are convenient and easy to throw in your gym bag, purse, book bag, cup holder in the car, etc. This one was a bit surprising. The flavor profile was yummy (you could definitely taste the sun dried tomatoes and the basil), but the fact that it was in a "granola bar" form threw me for a bit of a loop. I would give it a 3 out of 5. It was good, but I think if I am going for a "bar", I would prefer a sweeter flavor rather than a savory one like this (It felt like it was more of a meal than a snack. It sort of reminded me of the scene from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory where the gum changes into all of the different courses of the meal. The bar itself was tasty, just not quite in the format I was expecting.).

Mediterranean yumminess in a bar form

I was told I was anemic last year, so my doctor suggested I started taking iron supplements to make sure I was getting enough of the mineral. Sometimes iron can give you some stomach issues (especially for someone already diagnosed with IBS), so along with the iron I also take a couple fiber gummies to make sure everything stays "regular". The fiber drink that came in the box was okay. The flavor wasn't bad, but as you can see from the picture, no matter how long I (vigorously) stirred it or extra water I added, I couldn't get the powder to dissolve (and I was NOT about to chew it down). I think I'll stick with my gummies.

Orange flavored with LOTS of sediment at the bottom

I know I seem like a Debby Downer, but it was just how the cookie crumbled. I hate not loving products sent to me, but I gotta #KeepItReal.

I have a consistency thing (what don't I have 'issues' with, geesh, this post is just pointing out all of my quirks, now isn't it?!) so I can't really do gels for running fuel (they remind me of snot). Thankfully for you, the hubby DOES like gels, so he was able to try out the one that came. He liked this one because it was a little more liquid-y than the normal type so it went down smoothly and didn't linger in his mouth for long. He used it during our 9.5 mile run this past weekend and although he said he would normally prefer more of a standard flavor he still gave it two thumbs up.

As "island-y" as we got during our #SundayRunday... Alongside the San Luis Rey River

The anti-itch cream isn't too "sexy", but I'm sure it will come in handy. I haven't tried it yet, since I haven't been itchy, but I much appreciate it being an earth friendly cream made of peppermint and other mint oils. Although my mom reminds me that I am not made of sugar and won't melt, I must be pretty sweet because bugs are attracted to me like NONE OTHER! I am positive this will come in handy, but like the other products, I'm not sure I will love it enough to actually go out and spend money to purchase it.


I know I may not have had such an AMAZING experience, but that doesn't mean you won't love the Bulu Box. I would totally recommend (especially for the price without the discount code) you give it a go and try it for yourself. And what is even more tempting is that you can use code SWEATPINK and save 50% on a 3, 6 or 12 month subscription. I mean at that price they are sort of just giving it away, right?!


Have you ever tried a subscription box before? If so, what was your experience? If not, what is holding you back?