Finding My Flow

9/13/2013 Update:

I took about a year off from blogging to give myself more time to enjoy life. After a while I missed writing and sharing through a blog, so I am back at it with my soon – to- be husband on our site livingez.us. I am still blogging about fitness and healthy living (no recipes yet, but surely some to come in the future), along with sharing our love and life in Charlotte, NC.

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Happy Friday!

On Tuesday night I went to a great yoga class at Dharma Lounge in south end Charlotte (Maybe it’s not in south end…I still haven’t mastered all the neighborhoods in Charlotte).

Regularly going to yoga is something I have been meaning to establish in my routine. Kath and I used to be regulars at a morning yoga class while we were at school, and I loved the combination of stretching, toning, and breathing exercises.  However, in the evenings I get home from work and just want to relax.

I forgot how relaxing yoga can be.

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I left the class totally refreshed and calm. Also my arms felt like jello.

It was a vinyasa flow class which means that we cycled through several basic poses. The instructor added poses at certain points and paused to deepen the stretch at others. Vinyasa is known for being more of a “fitnessy” type of yoga because of the speed at which you go through the movements (you also do approximately 3,555 tricep push ups).

Here is a lame 90s infographic that I found online that was the best demonstration of a Vinyasa flow. Unfortunately the colored penciled illustration of a girl in a blue unitard does not do justice to the amazing feeling of really getting into the flow.

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I loved feeling the movement through my body, and being able to focus on my breathing. It also provided an opportunity for me to clear my mind for the first time in a while. I love being busy and going from one activity to the next, but sometimes it is great just be still and not think about anything.

Of course, there were times during the class when my arms were on fire. Or moments I did not think I could hold a pose for one more second. But it all added up to  a great way to relax and revive myself-I am looking forward to next week already 🙂

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Half Marathon Training

Since I am currently four weeks into my (first) half marathon training, I thought it would be a good time to check in and talk about how it is going so far.

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Currently, I complete most of my workouts in the morning before work, with the exception of my long runs which I do on Sunday afternoons. So far I have been staying inside in the gym for pretty much all the runs.

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It’s funny because I used to hate running on the treadmill and could never motivate myself to stay on for very long, but over the past couple of months I have really grown to appreciate it as a training tool. Manipulating the speed on the treadmill is a helpful to help me increase my pace and to become more aware of my speed in general. Running in the gym is also very convenient. I don’t have to worry about the weather, water, my keys, or getting lost.

Despite the benefits of being indoors, I do miss running outside.

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The treadmill can make me feel like a hamster, going nowhere fast. I often have to watch Sports Center for at least 30 minutes, which gets old really fast because the show seems to be on a ten minute loop. When I am outdoors, the changing scenery keeps me interested and hills challenge my heart and lungs. The main reason I don’t run outside now is that I am still finding my way around the area, and have gotten lost every time I run in neighborhoods.

I really need a GPS attached to my wrist! I usually see a cool road or place I want to explore, so I decide to go down the road “just a little ways” and end up running rather far away. Instead of retracing my path, I reason that there must be a quicker route back to the main road and then with only a few turns, I am totally unsure of my current location and have to ask for directions from someone sleepily picking up their newspaper from the driveways.

This week I am going to resist the urge to explore and stay on my predetermined path in hopes of getting some solid running time outside.

I hope you all enjoy all the random images 🙂 I rediscovered pinterest last night and went a little crazy.

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Run for the Green 1/2 Marathon

I am finally running a half marathon! I chose this one because of the date, location, and relative flatness.

Running a 1/2 is only something I have wanted to do for about a year. I never ran consistently until I trained for an international length triathlon last summer. But after that experience I knew I wanted to continue running (but not compete in another tri until I bought a decent bike).

I started half-heartedly training last fall, but school and the whole finding a job thing took up too much time. Before my mini summer break, I also thought about trying to train for something to do after graduation. However with moving from school to home, graduation, and moving from home to Charlotte, plus our cruise vacation, everything was a little up in the air until the last minute.

Any way, after going through all the reasons why I haven’t ever ran a half, I do feel like I have the stability and structure to start training.

The race is 12 weeks away (including this week) so I have the perfect amount of time to build up my mileage.

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On another note, my first day of work was great. Thanks for everyone who called, texted and commented to wish me luck 🙂 I was ridiculously nervous-not that there was anything but filling out HR paperwork and training to be worried about. I really like my office and supervisor so far. It is a very young office, and I think it will be pretty fun as far as work environments go.

Guest Post: Lora’s Running Tips

Since I am cruisin’ right now, I am excited to introduce my first guest blogger, Lora from Crazy Running Girl. She was one of my first blogger friends; she was also my first Foodie Pen Pal! She is a marathon runner/lover and is so super fast! It is always inspiring to read about the ridiculously long runs she is able to tackle in the mornings.  She also has “Friday Randomness” posts that are always so funny, and shares stories about her two crazy cats.

I hope you enjoy her post and check out her blog as well 🙂

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Hi guys! I’m Lora and I blog over at Crazy Running Girl where I talk about running, healthy eating and adventuring in New York City (you can also follow me on Twitter!).

When Erin asked me to be a guest poster when she is away on her amazing cruise (who else is extremely jealous?!), I was like umm, yes! I absolutely love Recimplicity and am so honored to be a guest poster. Thanks, Erin!

I’m not going to lie, I’m a bit race obsessed. I have a hard time seeing a race and not wanting to run it – even if it doesn’t fit into my schedule. But sometimes it’s hard to tell if you are ready to run a race, especially if it’s your first one. Here are five signs that you’re ready to run your first race:

1)     You’ve thought about it… and it doesn’t scare you. If the idea of running a race has crossed your mind at some point, you are definitely ready to run a race!

2)     You’ve gone running recently. If you are thinking about a race, it’s important that you’ve gone running and built up a base. Most people recommend that first-timers choose a shorter distance like a 5K to prevent injuries and make sure they build their bodies up to longer distances. There are some awesome training programs for beginners too – like the Couch to 5k program.

3)     You know that run you did? You actually liked it. When people think about running, they think about the laps they had to do in gym class. Which, who enjoyed doing that? Maybe Kara Goucher. When you run on your own, it’s so different and actually enjoyable. If you feel this way, you are definitely ready to try a race.

4)     You’re ready for an adventure. If you aren’t in love with the idea of running a race for one reason or another, consider an adventure race. What about The Color Run, where they throw powdered color at you so you end up tie-dyed by the end of the race (I just registered for this and can’t wait!)? There are also Zombie Runs, Warrior Dashes and even a Pizza Run in New York City. When I lived in Florida, I even ran for a pie once. It was awesome!

5)     You’re reading this post. Caught you! You are definitely ready to run a race. Don’t let Negative Nancy tell you otherwise! Visit Active.com or one of your local running group websites to see what your options are… and take the plunge! Have you ever heard anyone say “I wish I didn’t do that workout”? No? The same applies for racing.

What are some tips for first-time 5k runners? How did you know you were ready to run your first race?

Fitness Check-in

It’s been a while since I have done a fitness post, so I thought I would check in and share what I have (not)been up to the past couple weeks.

The past couple weeks of my life have been a weird in-between period. I am in transition from school to summer to work/real life. Immediately after graduation, I finished up some school related things. Recently I have been slowly getting things together for my move to Charlotte and starting working in mid-June.  However since I have not been too busy, I have the tendency to put things off that I just don’t feel like doing immediately….Which usually results in things just not getting completed. I justify my complacency by intensively planning for the future (you don’t want to know how many excel spreadsheets that I have created), instead of being active in the moment.

One big area of my life that is feeling the effects of not living in the present is my fitness goals. Mornings are the best time for me to workout, but it has not been happening in the way I would like. I have been slacking off in a big way on running. I often don’t feel the pressure to go out and run right now, so I push it back to later in the day until something else comes up. A half marathon is definitely something I want to do in the near future, but I am waiting to sign up for anything until I know my work schedule and when I might be traveling.

Swimming has supplemented my workouts a bit, and it’s nice to be back in the water after 9 months. However, I have not been getting out there as often as I should/could. Thankfully, I am also participating in Kara’s Strong Core Challenge, which is keeping my abs sore! Checking off the exercises on her spreadsheet holds me more accountable for completing the moves.

I am interested in starting some sort of challenge or workout regime in the near future. But I want to commit to something 100 percent, and my schedule is about to get a little crazy since I leave for the cruise on Saturday for a week and then start work!

Anyway, for the next couple of days I am focusing on quick intense workouts. Once I get moving, I love it and will usually keep going. But before I start, working out can sound so unappealing especially if I know it will take a long time. So blogilates and bodyrock workouts are definitely coming my way!

May Book Club: Still Missing

It is time for the May book club review, organized by Julie at Peanut Butter Fingers.

Still Missing by Chevy Stevens

The book is narrated by Annie O’Sullivan through her therapy sessions. Two narratives emerge and finally intertwine in the last sessions. The first narrative involves her capture and containment in a remote mountain cabin for a year with her abductor. The second is her path to overcoming her fears, rebuilding relationships, and untangling the mystery of why and how she was targeted by her captor. By focusing on Annie’s point of view, the book illustrates the raw pain and difficulties of surviving such trauma. Both the past and present meet in the final chapters, which are full of dramatic twists with a satisfying, yet horrific ending.

Overall the novel is very abrupt and raw. I thought it provided an accurate picture of the lingering psychological effects of abductions that is rarely seen. Throughout the novel Annie protests the invasive media attention she received from surviving the abduction, and deprecates the millions of people are entertained by her extremely painful experiences.

Annie is not an easy character to like; she is abrasive, scarred and bitter. But I was able to understand how much her capture had damaged her and admire her desire for survival.

The beginning of the book was very violent and abrupt as Annie describes her capture and first weeks in captivity. It was too explicit and gruesome for me to enjoy, and I skimmed through a lot of her first disturbing experiences. However, after the initial violence and sadism I was able to learn more about her captor and the childhood experiences that shaped him into the person he became.

The conclusion of the novel kept me totally engrossed in the book. The last chapters were a deluge of sudden discoveries about different characters and situations. As much as I enjoyed the entertainment of the conclusion, it also made me feel guilty for being as interested in her pain as the people who read the tabloid and news stories about her.

This book is not a beach read for sure, but it was a very intriguing and horrifying thriller.

I am looking for a good beach read for next weekend, any suggestions?

Now I need to do the Strong Core Challenge workout (from Monday…) organized by Kara Runs! It only takes 16 minutes, and will hopefully get my abs ready for the cruise in a couple weeks.

Tips to Keep Running

Often when I run, the second mile is the hardest. It doesn’t matter how long I am planning on running. It could be 3 miles or 5, but the second mile is ALWAYS the one during which I want to quit. After I make it through the second mile, I usually fall into my pace and really enjoy running.

On one of my last runs I made a mental checklist of things I do/think to just keep running when I want to quit.

It seems to fall into four stages:

1. Avoidance-Instead of acknowledging the fact that I want to quit, I try and distract myself by thinking of other things

-Focus on what I will eat when I get home

-Make a mental list of things I need to do

-Plan my outfit for the day

2. Mantras– These are especially helpful for me when I am running up hills, and I can no longer avoid the thought that quitting would feel really nice

-You quit when you are done-not when you get tired

-This will be the hardest hill

-You have to run for the race

3. Mini Goal making-If a mantra is just not persuasive enough, I try and trick myself into going just a bit further

-Just run to the next stop sign (block, stop light, etc)

-Run up hills and jog down

4. Peer Pressure– When all else fails, the fact that people around me will see me quit (even if they are mowing the lawn and totally not paying attention to me) keeps me going. 

-Why do I want to stop?

I am out of breath? (no), Does anything hurt? (no)

So…there is really no reason to quit

-Those people will think you are a wimp for quitting now, are you even sweating?

 

Do you have any workout mantras? What do you think about to keep you going when you just want to quit?