A Productive Weekend

Happy Monday! I had a great weekend, and have to admit that I was a little sad when Monday crept up again.

The silver lining is that next week is Thanksgiving and we’re going to Arizona to see family and friends. Brandon will be visiting my hometown for the first time, and I couldn’t be more excited to show him around! I also can’t wait to see my three best friends from home (two of them live outside of Arizona now, but they’ll all be home for the holiday).

We kicked off the weekend with a party for a friend’s birthday at Boathouse Sushi in Rohnert Park. I didn’t take any pictures since we were both starving by the time the sushi arrived. The rolls were delicious, but I thought it was a little pricey for what we ordered ($70 for four rolls and one drink each).

Saturday morning I got in a killer cardio and legs workout by following the routine my personal trainer created for me. I used the foam roller at the end of my workout, which definitely helped my legs recover. I left the gym feeling very accomplished. Weekend workouts are my favorite since I don’t feel rushed at all!

After my workout I met a few girlfriends in Petaluma to each lunch and walk around. We had fun chatting a checking out a few stores. I’m so thankful for my girlfriends! They’re so supportive and help me feel balanced.

Sunday morning Brandon and I spent the day doing errands…we finally planned meals and went grocery shopping and stopped to get my oil changed.

A few of the errands were more fun than the others! We stopped at a few jewelry stores to hunt for wedding bands. I have a unique engagement ring which makes it hard to match, but I did find a few options. Brandon ordered some samples to look at ceramic rings (he wants a black band) and we’re excited to look at them when they come in. Making progress!

Our really fun errand of the day was stopping at the Marin Humane Society to make a few new, cuddly friends.

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Axel and Abby, quite possibly the cutest kitties on the planet. We’re considering expanding our fur family, but we want to make a very careful choice since adding a cat to our household will be quite an adjustment for Harrison. We visited the shelter to get an idea of what age would be ideal for introducing a cat to a home with a dog. While it was tempting to take both of these sweet babies home immediately, we want to be 100% in our decision so we decided to wait and think it over.

After making some new fur friends, we stopped at Dempsey’s in Petaluma for lunch. I think I’ve mentioned this restaurant before, and it’s definitely a favorite. Dempsey’s is known for creating dishes with unique flavor combinations and their menu changes frequently.

Brandon ordered the Chinese Chicken Salad.

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He gets this every time we eat here, since it’s delicious and relatively light.

I decided to try something new and ordered an appetizer as my entrée, the Polenta Trio.

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It was difficult to get an appetizing photo of this meal, but I can assure you it was delicious! The three toppings included blue cheese and caramelized onions, butternut squash and sage, and mushroom ragu all topped in a balsamic glaze. I loved the unique flavors of this dish. Delicious!

We ended the evening relaxing at home. It was a fantastic weekend!

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First Session with a Personal Trainer

This past Monday I had my first session with a personal trainer.

Exercise is one area in which I’ve shied away from putting myself in situations where people push me to work harder. I usually prefer to work out alone for this very reason. When I ran my first 5K last weekend, I realized why having people to push you can be really helpful. Running is an activity that I have always disliked and I tend to give up easily. But as we were running the 5K my friends pushed me when I wanted to walk, and when I had a second wind I pushed them. I realized that avoiding situations where I’d have to work harder was holding me back from reaching my fitness goals.

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My gym offers three free sessions and after signing up I was really nervous to meet with the personal trainer. My first two sessions were on Monday and Thursday, and both were fantastic! In the first session, we took my measurements, worked on shoulders and arms, and I met the foam roller for the first time.

Below are the shoulders and arms exercises we went through:

Shoulder Front Raise
Shoulder Side Raise
Shoulder Rear Delt Fly
Shoulder Press
Biceps Curls
Hammer Curls
Triceps Kickbacks
Triceps Press Downs
Reverse Grip Triceps Press Downs

In the second session we went through several legs and core exercises:

Decline Bench Crunches/Twists/Leg Lifts
Lunges/Crab Walks
Leg Press
Calf Raises
Leg Curls
Leg Extensions

I can’t wait to incorporate these exercises into my regular routine!

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Meeting with the personal trainer was just what I needed to gain the confidence to step up my workouts to the next level.

Run or Dye 5K Recap

Over the weekend I ran Run or Dye so my first 5K is now done and in the books!

I woke up at the crack of dawn to get ready, drink coffee and meet up with four of my friends to carpool to the race. We arrived at the Santa Rosa Fairgrounds around 7:30 a.m. to make sure we had enough time for race prep and packet pickup. We didn’t really need to get there that early, and it was freezing cold so we waited in the car until the start of the race.

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At 9 a.m. we lined up with all the other runners. They sent around 500 runners off at 9 a.m. and then waves of runners every 5 to 10 minutes after that. They had fun music playing and were throwing out goodies to the waiting runners so the wait didn’t feel too long. We were sent off in the 5th or 6th wave, and my only regret for the race is that I didn’t look at our starting time.

Our plans had been to take the race easy but we ended up settling into a relatively quick jogging pace and ran the entire race! I took about 3 20 second walking breaks, but other than that ran steadily the entire time. I was surprised at how easy the race was (I guess all the time at the gym is paying off!) and I really wasn’t even winded. We finished strong and I was really excited that we ran the entire 3 miles.

Along the race route were four stations with volunteers throwing dye. We all got hit with color at every station so by the time we crossed the finish line we were well saturated with purple, blue, green, yellow, orange and pink dye.

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There was a stage setup and people pumping the crowd up to get us ready to several dye tosses. I caught one of the dye tosses from afar:

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So much fun! We made sure to join one of the tosses and came out completely covered in color.

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After the race we were all starving so we went to The Redwood Café in Cotati for breakfast, which specializes in healthy meals. I had the Huevos Rancheros and either due to the fact that the food was really good or that I was starving, it was one of the best meals I’ve had in a long time.

By the time I got home, dye was everywhere (in my car, all over my phone etc.).

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The aftermath.

I ended up jumping in the shower fully clothed to wash everything off and I still had color coming off everywhere until I took a second shower the next day.

I’ve never considered myself a runner, but finishing the race strong really made me want to run more and look into other races. With the added fun component of the dye, this race was absolutely perfect for my first 5K!

Upcoming Fitness Events

This weekend I will be running my first 5K! I’m joining a big group of friends to run the color run Saturday morning in Santa Rosa. Since it’s a color run, the atmosphere will be relaxed and most of the members of my group are treating it as a fun run rather than running for a great time. I’m so relieved the pressure will be low for my first race!

I’m also a little terrified I’ll never be able to get rid of the color as most of the pictures I’ve seen of the event look like this:

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Another concern is that I’ve put zero thought into what I’ll be wearing. I met up with a few girlfriends last night who are running the event and they had their outfits completely planned. They’re both wearing tutus and brightly colored clothes and told me if I showed up without flare I would be in big trouble.

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I’ve seen a lot of pictures of people wearing tutus to the race, so this seems like a pretty common thing, but I’m not sure I’m brave enough to wear a tutu while running! I think a trip to the Halloween store is in order to see what I can find.

In other fitness news, I made my first appointment with a personal trainer for next Monday. I’ve been delaying meeting with a personal trainer since for some reason it intimidates me but I finally bit the bullet. I feel like I’ve reached the max of what I can do on cardio and strength machines and need some help to really get to the next level.

In the future I’d like to run a few races, get involved in some more serious weight lifting and maybe even try Cross Fit. Even though I feel much healthier and in better shape than I was before joining a gym 6 months ago, I know that my fitness journey has just begun.

Bowling counts as exercise, right?

When Brandon and I first met and started dating, both of our social lives revolved around hanging out with friends at bars. Catching up over a beer (or two, or three) was the norm. I consider myself a pretty social person, and love meeting up with friends throughout the week and weekend to balance work and time spent at home. I found myself at a point where I was drinking far too much alcohol during the week, which I know was affecting my health negatively.

Slowly, Brandon and I started taking steps to get healthier (and save money!). We joined a gym, started eating out less and began cooking more healthy meals at home. The hardest change of all was to drastically reduce our drinking. It wasn’t difficult because we missed alcohol per se, but because drinking is the social activity of choice among our group of friends. We quickly realized doing the standard bar meet-up while being the only ones not drinking was too difficult. Instead, we’ve tried to find other activities that will be fun sans alcohol. We’ve had lots of game nights and bowling nights, and we’re looking for more fun alcohol free activities.

Since we’ve been spending a lot of time at home in lieu of going out to bars when Brandon’s brother invited us bowling Wednesday night we decided it would be a fun way to break up the week. I had planned on going to the gym in the evening, but sometimes you just need time to socialize! It’s all about balance, right?

Before we left for the bowling alley we ate one of our favorite snacks.

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Grilled artichokes! The sauce on the side is a mix of mayo, sriracha and capers (sounds weird but it’s so good!).

We headed up to the bowling alley to meet Brandon’s brother Mike, his girlfriend Abby, and a few of Mike’s friends.

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I must say, the shoes at the bowling alley near Mike’s house are not nearly as nice as the ones near ours. But they’re neon, at least! My bowling game is improving and I broke 100 again. We played two games and had fun chatting with Mike and Abby.

I was planning on getting up early in the morning to squeeze in a workout, but after getting home late I decided sleep was worth it. I think it was a good decision, but I will definitely be going this evening.

Fitness Goals

Joining the gym a few months ago totally transformed my views of health and fitness. Prior to becoming a “gym rat” I did the bare minimum, and while I wasn’t overweight I definitely wasn’t in shape either. As I’ve slowly increased my fitness routine I’ve become stronger, more confident, gotten sick less, and had a huge boost in my mood. While the benefits have been huge, I know I’ve really only dipped my toes in the fitness water. Recently, I decided to develop some short-term fitness goals to help me expand my exercise regime in the right direction.

Fitness Goals
Try a few new machines
Try a group fitness class
Train for a 5K
Get on a fitness schedule (either all morning or all evening workouts)
Extend my cardio sessions

I’m already working on a few of these goals. Last night before I did my regular cardio workout, I tried a machine I’ve been eyeing but hadn’t yet worked up the courage to try:

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The rower! I don’t know why this machine intimidated me so much because once I hopped on I found it fairly easy to maintain good form and I worked up a sweat almost immediately. I didn’t spend too long on this machine because I wanted to ease into it, but I’ll definitely be incorporating it more often.

A few months ago I signed up for my first 5K, which will be on November 2nd.

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Running is possibly my least favorite form of exercise, so by signing up for a 5K I hoped that having an end goal would motivate me to run more. I’ve run on the treadmill a few times, but kept my cardio workouts mostly on the elliptical. With a month to go before the 5K, I need to step it up and get in a few more running workouts each week.

Another goal that is easily attainable is extending my cardio workouts. For this, I need to devote a little more time to the gym. A slightly more difficult goal will be getting on a consistent schedule. Right now my workouts are scattered between getting up early on the weekends and trying to get up early before work (this has been far more difficult than I’d hoped hah) and going really late at night when my morning workouts fall through. Does anyone have tips for getting on a schedule?

Trying a group fitness class will also be a little more difficult since my gym is pretty tiny and doesn’t offer many. I have quite a few friends who are into Power Fit and Cross Fit, so I may try a class with them (eek!).

I hope that the above goals are reasonable enough that I can make small steps towards them in the near future. My overall goal is to slowly increase my fitness routine until I reach a higher, but sustainable, level of fitness.

I yoga’d yesterday

And it felt so good! I finally joined a gym three months ago after years of yoga as my main workout. After a few months of cardio + strength workouts, I’m in the best shape of my life and have been feeling so much more confident, energetic and strong. But earlier this week I realized something was missing– my muscles are sore, my body feels tight and I’m not nearly as flexible.

My gym offers yoga on Mondays and Wednesdays so I decided to check out a class. Every yoga instructor is different, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I usually enjoy yoga classes that are higher intensity and have me sweating a bit. Instead, the instructor chose a slower pace that focused on hip stretches. Quite honestly, the stretches were nearly excruciating! Especially since I have issues with my left hip, spending an hour focusing on slow, painful hip stretches was difficult to say the least.

At the end of the class, I didn’t feel as invigorated as I usually do after a high intensity yoga class, but I did feel wonderfully relaxed. While part of me felt I had missed out on a cardio workout, I realize that health and fitness is about total body health and flexibility is a huge part of that!

So…lesson learned. I’m going to make an effort to attend a yoga class a few times a month to balance cardio and strength work with flexibility. I can’t wait to yoga again soon!