Weekly Workout Recap

For the first time in a long time, I feel like I’m finally getting back on track with my workouts.  I wish I would have gotten a few more miles in but I’m definitely happy with myself.

My view from Saturday's long run. Gorgeous.

My view from Saturday’s long run. Gorgeous.

Monday:  3.5 mile beach run.

Tuesday: Cycling (8.54 miles in 30 minutes), weights – hip abductors & adductors,  triceps, biceps and deltoids.

Wednesday: Happy National Running Day! 4.5 miles with my two favorite running girls.

Thursday: Quickie weights session – biceps, triceps, deltoids, lats.

Friday: Rest day – holla!

Saturday: 10 mile run.  First double digit run in way too long.

Sunday: HIIT workout.

Well there you have it, last week’s sweat sessions.  And I have big plans on the workout front this week, too.  Ok, not really.  I’m just hoping to keep up the momentum, add some yoga and foam rolling into the mix.  I definitely feel less stressed when I can get some good workouts in.  I sleep better and am a happier person to be around – my hubby can vouch for that.

Speaking of The Hubster, I have to brag on him for a minute.  He ventured outside of his NON-clean eating comfort zone to try some Paleo banana raisin bread I made.  And {drumroll please} he liked it!  Maybe I shouldn’t have written him off as a lost cause. =D

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Big props to my friend Carrie at Fitness and Frozen Grapes for the awesome recipe.  It was super simple to make and I can vouch that it’s worth the ingredients to try it.  Although, I noticed that I lacked a bit of self control -3 huge pieces right out of the oven- so I will only make this periodically.  Even though it’s paleo, it still should be viewed as a decadent treat.

Question:  What did you do this weekend that made you happy?

Take Time for Y-O-U

Many of y’all know that in my real job (not that blogging doesn’t feel like a job sometimes) I work with victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.  40+ hours a week I basically live and breathe in a very violent world.  I went to lunch with a coworker the other day and we were talking about how overwhelming this line of work can be and how it can really wear on your mental health if you’re not careful.

That conversation was the catalyst to this post.  It almost seems silly to write about making sure to take time for yourself but I bet if I asked most of you -especially you moms- would have to stop and think about the last time you did something entirely for yourself.  If an answer readily comes to your mind, BRAVO!! If not, keep reading.

Whether you work with victims of violent crimes, crunch numbers all day long, or chase your children and that never ending to-do list, we still need to make sure to get in some uninterrupted ‘me time’.  Time where you can set aside your worries and just allow yourself  to be unapologetically, Y-O-U.  How we spend that time is different for each of us and can range anywhere from exercising, to going shopping with girlfriends, or just barricading yourself in with a good book.  For me, I decompress through running and blogging. I know, shocking, right?

youReally it doesn’t matter how you spend your ‘me time’, the point is making sure you get your own time to keep your stress and anxiety levels down.  Because let’s face it, you’re no good to yourself or anyone else if you’re emotionally spent.  Annnnnnd if left unchecked, stress can actually have a physiological impact  in your life.  As I was researching stress, I came across this great infographic from HelpGuide.org that sums up the negative aspects that not taking time for yourself can have.

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If those symptoms look familiar to you, I encourage you to take a step back and examine what you have going on in your life.  Are you over extended? Is there something that you can stop doing that would alleviate some worry/anxiety/tension? Alternatively, is there something that you can start doing that would alleviate some of that same worry/anxiety/tension?

Maybe you’re doing something you love and it’s become overwhelming.  I know I love running but sometimes training for race after race can make it feel more like a chore.  It just zaps the fun right out of it.  Life’s about finding the right balance.  Don’t be afraid to explore until you find the right balance between the every day life stressors and play time.

And laugh.  Laugh like you did when you were 5.  I’m talking deep belly laughs; the kind that make you shoot chocolate milk out of your nose and tears stream down your face.  Laugh like you don’t have a care in the world.  Laugh so hard that it infects others so you all are actually ROTFL’ing and not just typing it.

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If you can incorporate laughter into your ‘you time’, AWESOME! I promise the stress will just melt away.  And who doesn’t want to live unencumbered?  Sounds dandy, right?  I want to challenge you to carve out some ‘you time’ this week.  Schedule it.  Enlist the help of your family, call a babysitter, do whatever it takes (short of tying up your kids) to make sure you get that time.  You deserve to recharge your batteries and your family/friends deserve to see you at your best!

Question:  What is something that you like to do for yourself?  How do you recharge when mental exhaustion and stress start to take over?

Want more info on the benefits of laughing? Check out this article from Psychology Today on laughing:.

Celebrating Life

First things first, time to announce my Vega Energizing Smoothing winner.  Congratulations JenniferLynn I will be contacting you shortly for shipping details.

Now that I have that out of the way, I want to talk about today.  Today used to be just plain ol’ November 16th, nothing fancy to it, no reason to pay it any special attention until 7 years ago.  On this day, November 16, 2005, my family found out that my brother had been killed in Iraq. Instantly, November 16th became a day that I would never forget.

I still remember every single detail about when and how I found out, what time of day it was, even what the weather was like outside.  It’s fascinating to me how our brains lock in certain details and keep them forever.  I will probably be able to recall the same vivid details when I’m 80.  Some day I’ll share them, but this post isn’t the right time.

Roger had been killed with several other Marines while searching farm houses for terrorists as part of Operation Steel Curtain.  They came under gunfire and a terribly fierce battle erupted that altered the lives of countless people.  My brother was awarded a Bronze Star Medal for his heroism.  I encourage you to read the short citation from his Bronze Star; it gives you some idea of what happened that day.

This is from the memorial in Iraq. So many lives lost in a period of 3 days.

From Roger’s funeral; just a few days after Thanksgiving.

Each year on this day I stop by and visit my brother and say hi to him from my Mom and Dad since they live too far away and can’t.  I drop off flowers and give him an update on what’s going on.  I try not to play the ‘what if’ game but, inevitably, I’m going to lose and sometime today I’ll find myself wondering ‘what if’ he was still here or some variation of that scenario.

While this is a very sad day by all means, I try not to let the past dictate my happiness.  I choose to celebrate life instead of pine over death.  I choose to remember my brother and all the silly/dangerous/ridiculous things we did together as kids.  All the fights we got into.  All the advice he passed on to me.  His infectious grin.

And tomorrow, I choose to be a kid again.  I will run carefree through the streets of New Orleans in a tutu while strangers throw powdered paint at me.  (Sounds like fun, right?)  When I signed up for The Color Run last February I knew that it would fall this weekend and I thought it would be a wonderful way to celebrate life.  Roger was a fun guy and I can imagine him having a blast throwing paint at random people.

Everyone deals with grief differently.  It’s ok to be sad, angry, numb, confused, whatever.  But it’s important to remember that it’s also ok to be happy.  Nothing says that you’re bound to sadness; it’s a choice that’s made and I choose happiness.  I choose to cast my excess baggage on God and let him carry the burden for me.  After all, his shoulders are much more broad than mine.

The first year after Roger was killed I dreaded today like the plague.  I didn’t know what to expect or how I would  react.  Over the years, I’ve realized that if I make a conscious effort to address that this day (or other significant days like his birthday) are going to be emotionally charged, I have a much better chance of it not affecting me.  It’s the times I’m not prepared that really catch me off guard and knock me on my butt.  Trust me, I have plenty of spontaneous pity-parties during the year but today, and this weekend, will not be one of them.

To say I’m excited about The Color Run tomorrow would be an understatement.  I have been talking about this race since before I even knew it was coming to New Orleans.  There’s just something about finishing a race looking like an Oompa Loompa that really appeals to me.  I have all of my neon gear and I’m ready to go get pelted with paint! I know Roger would have liked that.

I miss my brother dearly and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about him, the other families that lost their hero, and also the men that were survived.  I honestly think today is much harder for those Marines that survived and I pray for peace of mind for them.