Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Workout Roundup (01/14/13 - 01/20/13)

Another week of working out and another week of it not happening exactly as I had planned. I started the week pretty strong with my running, but by the end of the week, I was not working out at all due to not feeling well.

So let's just get to the nitty gritty of what did happen this past week (01/14/13 - 01/20/13):

Monday, January 14, 2013:
Gym - Treadmill Run - 3 miles (35:01 @ 2:32pm)
This was a nice recovery run. I made sure I kept it at a slow pace. I averaged 11:46 min/miles. While it was torture running this slow, I know the importance of running slow the day after a long run. I generally don't run with music, but today I was glad I had the earphones plugged in to help with the run.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013:
Run - Astoria Park Track - 4.10 miles (Sprints - 100s) (48:07 @ 6:27am)
This run consisted of a 1 mile warmup at 12:01 min/mile pace. Then 2 miles of 100m sprints. This is usually sprint for 100m and then slow jog for rest of quarter mile and repeat for a total of 8 times. I finished the run with a 1 mile recovery run at 12:01 min/mile pace. My legs felt like lead for that last mile, but I somehow found the fortitude to push through it.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013:
Gym - Treadmill Run - 3.25 miles (34:01 @ 2:42pm)
This should of been an easy/slow run for recovery from the previous days speed workout, but for some reason when I stepped on the treadmill I couldn't help myself and ending up averaging a10:32 min/mile pace. My body seemed able to handle it, but the whole time I was telling myself I should be running slower.

Thursday, January 17, 2013:
Planned Rest Day

Friday, January 18, 2013:
Unplanned Rest Day
By the time I came home from work on Thursday I was not feeling well at all. I spent the whole day feeling sick and felt resting was the best thing for my body.

Saturday, January 19, 2013:
Planned Rest Day
Saturday is generally a planned rest day since I run long on Sunday. While I was feeling a bit better than the days before, I still chose to keep it as a rest day.

Sunday, January 20, 2013:
Unplanned Rest Day
My honey was officially sick and I still wasn't 100%, but I was much better than him. We bagged our planned long run and continued to rest.

2013 Goal Check-In

Week 1: 8.12 miles
Week 2: 16.59 miles
Week 3: 10.35 miles
Total: 35.06 miles

My lackluster week of running hasn't helped too much in reaching my goal of running 1,000 miles this year. However, I know it's only the beginning of the year and there are many more days left to run.

Now if mother nature could just do something about the frigid temperatures we are having this week!

How did ya'll spend the holiday weekend?
Besides resting, I managed to:
Read - Finished 1 book and halfway through another
Knit - Started last ball of #3 Christmas present
Movie Watched - Kings Speech (loved), Pitch Perfect (funny) and a documentary called First Position (interesting)
Cooked - Made another batch of my Vegetarian Wheat Berry Salad for the week. I will share the recipe as it seems to be a big hit.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Workout Roundup (01/07/13 - 01/13/13)

Can't believe it's Monday already! To me there never seems to be enough hours to the weekend to do all I want and before we know it, we are back to the grind of work. So before this week gets away from me, I want to recap my workouts from the past week (01/07/13 - 01/13/13).

Monday, January 7, 2013:
Rest Day - I was extremely exhausted from the day before (my honey and I spent several hours on Sunday evening deep cleaning the apartment after a weeks worth of renovations had been done in our living space) and decided sleeping in an extra hour and a half was wise before heading into work.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013:
Gym - Treadmill Run - 3.5 miles of 400s (35:15 @ 2:41pm)
Spent day two sleeping in again, but didn't want the day to go by without a run. I managed to hit the gym during my lunch hour and completed 7 sets of intervals on the treadmill. I alternated quarter miles with a 10:42 pace and 9:31 pace. Legs were tired at the end and I averaged a 10:00 minute mile pace.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013:
Ran 4 miles (45:56 @ 6:20am) - Astoria Park Track
Since I can't see my Garmin watch in the dark without hitting the light button, I decided to run on how I felt instead of focusing on maintaining a certain pace. Whenever I run by feel, I always have negative splits (each mile run gets faster) and I am always surprised because the way I feel during the run doesn't always match what my splits end up being. They are always better! So until spring daylight comes back for my morning runs, I think I just might stop looking at my times while running.

Thursday, January 10, 2013:
Rest Day - No Excuse

Friday, January 11, 2013:
Rest Day - No Excuse

Saturday, January 12, 2013:
Rest Day - No Excuse

Sunday, January 13, 2013:
Ran 9 miles (44:37 @ 10:17am) - Rockefeller State Park Preserve
It felt so nice to be back running on the trails! While this is my hardest and longest run of the week, it's also my most favorite run of the week! It is so nice to get away from the city and run in fresh air along the trails. My goal for this run was A) I would be happy with 6 miles and B) thrilled with 8 miles. The longest run I had done since the marathon was 6.25 miles in the snow two weeks ago. I surprised myself with pulling out a 9 mile run on Sunday. It was tough, but oh so worth it!

Now let's look how my mileage is stacking up towards my 2013 Goal of:
This weeks total mileage of 16.59 miles plus last weeks mileage of 8.12 miles, I am now at 24.71 miles run so far this year.

When I set this goal I figured I would need to run close to 20 miles a week for 52 weeks to hit my goal. While I didn't hit the 20 mile mark for the past two weeks, I am still confident that I will hit 1,000 miles this year. So far I have 3 big half marathon (13.1 miles) races scheduled, between March and April, which will help make up the missing mileage (because of my increased training plus races) from these two weeks.

My first half marathon of the year is the NYC Half on Sunday, March 17, which is just over 8 weeks away. Starting this week my mind is completely focused on getting my training going for this race. Sunday's 9 mile run was a nice reassurance that I still got long miles in my legs since the marathon, but I still have work to do! 

Anybody do anything fun over the weekend? 

Besides running, I couldn't pull myself away from the book "Running Barefoot" by Amy Harmon. My sister recommended it to me and I read that baby in 3 days! I did not want to put the book down. Here is the Amazon book description: 

"When Josie Jensen, an awkward 13-year-old musical prodigy crashes headlong into new-comer Samuel Yazzie, an 18-year-old Navajo boy full of anger and confusion, an unlikely friendship blooms. Josie teaches Samuel about words, music and friendship, and along the way finds a kindred spirit. Upon graduation, Samuel abandons the sleepy, small town in search of a future and a life, leaving his young mentor behind. Many years go by and Samuel returns, finding his old friend in need of the very things she offered him years before. Their roles reversed, Samuel teaches Josie about life, love, and letting go. Deeply romantic and poignant, Running Barefoot is the story of a small town girl and a Native American boy, the ties that bind them to their homes and families, and the love that gives them wings."

If you think this story might be something you'd like, I highly recommend it!

Friday, January 11, 2013

"Oh Christmas Time Is Near"

Well not actually, but for some reason I can not get the Charlie Brown Christmas Album out of my head at the moment. I guess that's what happens when you are still knitting Christmas gifts.

Back on December 5th I shared this photo on my Facebook page:
...and asked what could I be knitting with all this yarn? I enjoyed reading everyone's guesses and was sad that I had to keep it a secret since I was knitting Christmas gifts with it. Of course I promised everyone that I would share the results after the holiday's passed.

But first some pictures of my knitting journey:
"Oh what could I be knitting?" A teaser picture I sent my sister during one of my marathon Saturday knitting days.
"I will knit anywhere I can!" I snapped this picture after I had finished my long run up at Rockefeller State Park Preserve and while I waited for my honey to finish his own long run. I had an hour of a knitting opportunity. I may also have knitted on the car ride to and from the park. I was a woman on a mission.

When all was said and done, I only managed to complete 2 of the 6 gifts I had intended on making. I was able to start a third, but knew I wouldn't finish it in time to mail the package down to my family so I decided I wasn't going to stress over trying to finish it before the holiday. 

For the gifts I weren't able to finish, I made these cute cards for the recipient to open (in addition to another little gift I sent):
So what did I make? I chose to knit the Honey Cowl (linky to free pattern) by Madelinetosh. Here are the 2 cowls I managed to complete:
I chose to use Knit Picks Gloss DK yarn (4 skeins each). The one on the left was for my niece Tori in Blackberry Colorway. The one on the right was for my niece Lauren in Aegean Colorway. I was told that they were a big hit and both girls wore them at least twice over the Christmas holiday!

Before I wrapped them up, I couldn't resist trying one on. This is one way to wear it...
...and here is another...
I have to say that I love the yarn I chose. It's a mix of merino and silk. It feels divine against your skin and so very warm. After I finish knitting the other 4 cowls, I will be knitting one up for myself! They really don't take that long to knit. The first one I completed in 3 days and the second one took 5 days. Without rushing I could easily complete one in a week.

I am still working on the third cowl for another one of my nieces. This was me working on it on New Year's Eve:
Since this picture I have completed 2 skeins of yarn and am getting ready to add in the third. I had to take a little break from the knitting after New Year's, but am completely focused on finishing these gifts up as soon as possible.

So tell me, what are on your knitting needles right now? Anyone else finishing up Christmas gifts?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Weigh-In Wednesday #1

Welcome to my Weigh-In Wednesday and Workout Roundup! Today I am going to update you on my past weeks workout and where I also weigh-in on my 2013 Goals. I am going to make this a weekly post to check-in with you all and talk about how things are progressing in regards to achieving my goals.. Today I will update you on the first 3 goals I set for the year: Weight Loss, Weight Lifting and Running 1,000 miles.

First, here's what my workouts looked like for the past week (12/31/12 - 01/6/13): 

Monday, December 31, 2012:
Ran 4 miles (45:22 @ 11:26am) - Astoria Park Track
This run was a little tough on me since the day before I ran 6.25 miles up at the Rockefeller State Park Preserve Trails in 2-3 inches of snow. My legs were tired and felt like logs, but I was happy I was able to eek out a few miles on the track.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013:
Rest Day - My body was aching from the previous 2 runs so I decided to take a complete rest day.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013:
Gym - Leg Weights, Abs
Since I do weights during my 1 hour lunch break, the workout tends to be a circuit workout and I am a sweat monster when it's all said and done. This was my first weight workout in over 6 months. When I became so focused on my Fall Marathon training, weights kind of went out the window. Not a great thing, but it happened. By the time I headed home from work, my muscles were screaming at me. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013:
Ran 4 miles (46:15 @ 5:30am) - Astoria Park Track

My legs and abs were sore and I was hoping a run would help to loosen them up. Completing the run wasn't too bad. My legs pulled through it and I ran a tad but slower 4 miler.

Friday, January 4, 2013:
Rest Day - No way in heck could I move. My leg weight and ab workout was really hitting me hard.

Saturday, January 5, 2013:
Rest Day - My body was still aching and I chose to give it another rest day.

Sunday, January 6, 2013:
Ran 4 miles (44:37 @ 10:17am) - Astoria Park Track
My honey and I got up at our usual 6:30am time in order to drive up to Rockefeller State Park Preserve for our weekly long run on the trails. Unfortunately, when we got there the trails were unsafe to run. Last Sunday we ran there in 2-3 inches of snow, this week the trails were covered in a compact sheet of ice. While there were other runners out there, we decided it wasn't worth the risk of falling and hurting ourselves. So we got back into the car and drove to our usual morning running spot of the park track. The ideal place to have done this run was in Central Park, but due to our schedule that day, we did not have time to hop on the subway to get to the park. So the track it was and let me tell you I struggled. My legs were tired and by the time I finished my 4th mile I was done. It wasn't the long run I had planned, but it was better than nothing!

Now on to my goals...

Ever since my early 20's I have always struggled with my weight. I am a known yo yo'er in the weight loss/gain department. My weight generally tends to reflect how things are going in my life and it didn't help that I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism in my mid 30's which makes losing weight all that more of a challenge. In 2006 I got down to 130 pounds. The lightest I had weighed in years. Within 6 months of completing my first marathon, the weight slowly crept back on my body. Looking back, I know what happened.

For the past 6 years, my weight has gone up and done enough. In 2009, I managed to get my weight back down to 142 pounds after it crept into the 160's. Then in 2010, I started working a Night Shift job and for a year and a half my weight bloomed to an all time high of 178. 

Last year I was determined to do all that I could to take the weight back off. My focus was on the 15 pounds I gained while working nights. I did succeed with that, but it was not easy. While I can lose weight one week, the next week I could put some or all of it back on and then some weeks there will be a continual weight loss. 

By the time I ran my marathon in this past October, my weight was at 165 pounds. I managed to keep my weight steady until the week before Christmas. I had been sick the previous 3 weeks and I could not workout. Then the sweet treats at the office was a temptation for me. The week of Christmas my weight was at 169.5 pounds. I took the opportunity of my staycation to get back into running and healthy eating. By New Years Eve my weight was down to 168 pounds.

I weigh myself every Monday morning and I am using my starting weight for my 35 pound weight loss journey as 168 pounds. So where does my weight stand after the first official week of 2013? Here's the numbers:

12/31/12 - 168 pounds
01/07/13 - 166 pounds
Total Weight Loss: 2 pounds

I am happy with that number. I know what I need to do and I am going to try and stay focused on it this year. I know it won't be easy. I know I can't look at the big number of losing 35 pounds. I know I have to focus on breaking the 35 pounds up into smaller goals. Right now, I am focused on achieving a 10 pound weight loss.

By reading my workout roundup above, you noticed I only lifted weights once last week. I shocked my body with that workout and it totally rebelled on me. This week I am going to focus on lifting a lighter weight and I think that my soreness won't render me into a debilitated old lady!

Last year I ran 615 miles. I was surprised to see that number and my mind was imagining what it could have been if I had been running consistently throughout the whole year. That's where the 1,000 mile goal came into play. I will be totaling my mileage starting from January 1st. So minus my run on December 31st, I have run 8 miles towards this goal. It was a low mileage week due to my sore/fatigued body. I am feeling much better this week and look forward to my mileage increasing this week.

Overall I am pleased with the start I have had towards achieving these goals. I know it's going to be interesting and probably a roller coaster of a ride at times. I hope you come back on Wednesdays to see how things are shaping up for me and who knows, maybe you'll read something here that will help you with your own journey.

So tell me, anyone else set some health related goals for themselves this year? How's it been going for you so far?

Friday, January 4, 2013

Unfinished Knits of Years Past

I used to be an avid knitter back in 2007 and 2008. Then in 2009 I was laid off from my job of 10.5 years and my knitting mojo was replaced with stress and anxiety of being unemployed, trying to find a new job in a terrible economic time and living off off my teeny tiny unemployment check for an entire year.

Things turned around for me in 2010. I finally found an awesome job, unfortunately for my health and mind, it was working the overnight shift. My life (mind, body and spirit) did not return to the state it was in my pre-unemployment days. I struggled for a year and a half to live a "normal life." Everything in my life suffered. I couldn't even bring myself to get excited about much of anything during that time.

I was very blessed to have received a new position within my current place of employment in July of 2011. While it took awhile for my life to feel normal again, I did manage to find the enjoyment in partaking in some of my favorite past-times again. Albeit, I haven't resumed my hobbies with the passion I had a few years ago, but I do get excited looking through knitting or quilting books these days. My heart is there again and I can not wait to work on my projects.

So one of my goals for this year is to finish at least (3) unfinished knitting projects. I decided to go through my Ravelry queue to see what I have going on in my knitting life. I did not include and items that I am going to frog and I already know there is a project on my needles that I started last year in November that never made it into my project page. So I have a total of 11 projects on the needles and here are the 10 I have Ravelry projects created for them in the order I casted-on for them:

1. 16 Zipped Jacket - I started this sweater as a Christmas present for a friend. I have the body front and back done. I have 1 sleeve almost to completion. I know I stopped this project when I became worried about my gauge being off for the sleeve. I was debating frogging the sleeve and starting over or keep going and hope it wasn't too long for the recipient.
2. Bella's Mittens - I have only 1 mitten almost done. What you see in the picture below is exactly how it looks today. The mittens themselves are super fast to knit, but I got hung up on knitting that thumb. I hate picking up stitches and I believe my intention was to knit the other mitten and then do the thumbs last.
3. Sock Yarn Blanket - This is an on-going project that will take me years to finish, but it still belongs in the UFO category. I still work on it from time to time and I love that a few of my fellow knitting buddies resupply me with their own sock yarn scraps for me to add to the blanket. It truly is a friendship blanket.
4. Texturized Tweed Coat - Believe it or not, but this sweater jacket is almost done. I picked this knit back up in 2011 with the intention, and renewed vigor, to get it done, especially since it was going to be my Rhinebeck sweater in November. Where I got stuck with this knit is on the collar part of the jacket. The instructions in the book are really confusing so I turned to the designers website where she listed more clear instructions. The problem for me is that even the newer instructions aren't clear to me and I started the collar, but put it to the side when I felt the collar wasn't turning out the way it was suppose to be.
5. Chinook Shawl - I actually was having a lot of fun knitting this shawl. I believe I have only 1 or 2 more colors to work into it. I do not know why I stopped working on it.
6. Vagabond Fingerless Mitts - First I must say I LOVE these mitts. This was my third foray into stranded knitting and my dear friend designed these awesome mitts. Sso while I wasn't excited about attempting stranded knitting again, these mitts were calling my name. What you see in the picture is exactly where I left them. Again I have 1 mitt almost finished except for the thumb. Picking up stitches for thumbs seem to be an issue for me.
7. Bacon Socks (Vanilla Toe-up pattern) - I bought this yarn at Rhinebeck one year after seeing a friend of mine knit the yarn up in her own sock. I love that it looks like bacon and couldn't wait to knit up a pair of socks with it. I have only knit 1 sock and have actually bound it off twice. The first time was way too tight and the second time I went up a needle size and it was still kinda tight. This yarn does not have much stretch in it. I think I got discouraged and put the sock to the side.  
8. Effortless Cardigan - The only thing left to finish on this cardigan are the sleeves and one of the front bands. I knew I wanted to knit the sleeves on double pointed needles (not all that great at magic loop method) and needed to order them. It also bothers me a bit that the skeins are drastically different in color tones.
9. Some Cloudy Day Leg Warmers -  When I visited my sister in Myrtle Beach last July, I splurged on the Sublime yarn to make these leg warmers. My sister and I started knitting them together and while she has finished hers, I have 1 completely done and am only a few inches away from finishing the second. Should be real easy to finish.
10. TTL Mystery Sock 2012 - I participated in the TTL Mystery Sock in 2010 and loved the socks when I was complete. I started this sock when the KAL started in 2012 (even though I didn't note the start date below), but of course I got sidetracked and didn't finish with the group. I of course now know what the completed sock looks like and I think it is truly beautiful. I have completed the first sock down the start of the heel flap and haven't gone any further. I hesitate to finish the sock for a couple of reasons. One of them being I am not sure the sock is totally me and these socks take some effort to knit. I do not want to finish them and never wear them. So I have gone back and forth a few times in my head thinking of whether or not I want to frog them.
11. Back Bay - This is another pattern from TTL and I loved it when I first saw it. I had the perfect yarn in my stash and couldn't wait to cast on for it last November, especially when I learned that a couple of my fellow Rhinebecker's were knitting them at the same time. I think I only have about 3-5 inches complete and what I think slowed me down on it is that you have to carefully follow the chart, which includes cables. It's not a complicated pattern at all. It just that it's not something I can knit with any distractions (i.e., tv, music, having a conversation, etc.). I do intend on finishing this knit though because it will be perfect to wrap myself up in during the winter months.

I don't know if this is a complete list of unfinished knits, but it is one that I will be working through this year. I'll be posting updates on my progress with them through the year, in addition to any knew items I may knit. However, before I can tackle these UFO's, I must finish the items I am currently knitting as Christmas 2012 presents. Since Christmas has passed, I will share with you all what I made on my next knitting update post.

Until then tell me what crafty projects you are currently working on right now? Any knitting UFO's from year's past you want to move to the FO list?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Looking Forward in 2013

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a fun and safe New Year's Eve celebration last night. 

With the start of a new year today, I wanted to take the time to share some goals I setup for myself. Notice I am not calling them New Year's Resolutions. Some people may say it's just semantics, but I think there is a difference between resolutions and goals. For me, resolutions are things that are associated with failure, not achieving or giving up. Goals on the other hand is something very positive to me. I generally have pretty good success when I set goals for myself. I tend to be a very goal oriented person. I enjoy having something before me to work and strive for in my life.

Over the past couple of weeks, I thought long and hard about what goals I wanted to set, most of them came to me during my runs. I didn't want to set any goals that aren't attainable. I wanted them to be very realistic and even if I didn't achieve them 100%, I would still be happy at the end of the year. I wanted goals that were not only health related ones, but also happy/hobby related ones.

Without further ado, here they are:
I am happy with what I developed for myself. All the health related goals work together and I didn't choose any goals that I would dread trying to achieve. Goal #5 is really something that I would like to happen this year, but I would be ok if it didn't. I wanted it on the list because it is something my heart desires, but after I ran the Philly Marathon, I proclaimed to my honey I would only run a 3rd if a couple of health related items happened for me. So we will see about this goal and how my year goes. 

I plan on revisiting these goals here on the blog throughout the year. I want to check-in and share how everything is going. I think it will be an exciting and fun year!

So tell me, does anyone else out there set resolutions or goals for themselves? If so, what are some you'd like to achieve this year? Do you do anything special to keep track of your progress throughout the year?