A Midsummer’s Resolution

Anyone who has ever made a New Year’s diet resolution, joined a gym, talked to anyone ever, or lived has really discovered how hard it is to create and maintain a healthy lifestyle.  Full disclosure: I have belonged to all of the above clubs and rode the lifelong roller coaster of being on and off the fitness track.  I get in a good groove making my own healthy meals, working out 5-6 times a week, attempting to meditate and take time for me, drinking ALL the water ever.  Then, inevitably, my life gets busy (usually in the summer) with teaching summer camp, extended day duties, travel in awful DC traffic to rehearsal, acting my face off, drive back home, pound through memorizing lines, and crash.  All this leaves little  make that no time for anything else.

There's a reason these are popular shirts!

There’s a reason these are popular shirts!

My eating is usually reduced to snacking on the job or gasp fast food on the way in the car.  Workouts…. when?  Weekdays I do the above and weekends I am busy performing the show I already rehearsed.  My job often means missing best friends’ & family members’ weddings, vacations, birthdays, and everything in between.  A missed workout seems paltry in comparison.

But this is something I want to work on this year.  It may not quite be a New Year’s resolution but since I am a Shakespeare girl anyway I’m gonna call it a Midsummer’s Resolution.  (Okay, so it’s spring but summer is when it will get crazy!)

Part of that will be using this spring to establish some health & fitness habits! I was clicking through Pinterest procrastinating searching for inspiration for a lesson plan when I stumbled upon a Women’s Health article: 15 Fitness Habits You Need Establish In Your 20s.

Well if that wasn’t fate!

So what does it include and how can I improve or maintain by fitness habits:

1) Fall in love with strength training– current score: B, I love strength training and am missing that sore feeling for a great pump session a bit with Insanity’s focus on cardio. Hopefully I can bring a few days into my run training soon!

2) Drink more water- current score: C+, When I remember this I am great, when I don’t remember I am awful.  Doing theatre outdoors this summer I will really have to stay on top of this or I will pay the price.

3) Vary it up- C, I like running & dancing, I like feeling like I am improving in something.  I also know I am going to plateau without changing some things.  I have plans to try some different workout routines, Insanity is part of that.  Hopefully I can keep it up.

4) Embrace the rest day- B, It’s a little more difficult with such an outlined workout program like Insanity.  If anything I like my rest days a little too much!

5) Learn proper form and don’t cheat- B+, I mean who doesn’t cheat a little on that last bicep curl when you just don’t think you can do anymore…

6) Switch up your running shoes- F, I have one pair of running shoes, one pair of cross training shoes, and one pair I use for teaching dance when sneakers work better…. Maybe once my christmas bonus rolls around.

7) Refuel properly post workout- D+, Slowly but surely improving.  I don’t like milk so the chocolate milk solution won’t work for me.  Anyone have a go to they want to share?

8) Go to random gym classes- D, I’m not part of a gym so this isn’t easy but I am looking at trying some new stuff and will update soon!

9) Stretch before and after you exercise- C, Because I am following what Shaun T does I am doing well.  When Shaun T isn’t there I tend to want to save time.  And stretching hurts… hmm maybe this was the reason I am the only dancer I know who can’t do a split.

10) Make your workout a part of your day- D, This is going to be the main struggle this summer y’all!

11) Be mindful- C-, I’m always on the run and the busier I get the harder this is.

12) Invest in good workout clothes- C, You know what actors make right? And I’m not talking Jennifer Lawrence here.

13) Do either yoga or pilates- F, I struggle with yoga I always have and I have yet to try pilates (I know I know how am I that behind on the fitness craze)

14) Choose your friends wisely- B, We all know Triple A is clearly a good support system, and one of the theatre’s I work for is doing a health challenge/group.  However, actors are also notorious drinkers and I do love me some Jameson.

15) Have fun- C, The last rule we have for acting classes we teach too! I’m decent at it but I also look at fitness as something I have to do… this one needs some work!

So how did you stack up? Be sure to check out the article for detailed info.

Here’s to keeping a fit & fierce lifestyle!

-Little Red

George Washington Parkway Classic Race Recap

On April 13th I participated in Pacers 30th annual George Washington Parkway Classic 10 mile race. This is a point to point race which starts at Mount Vernon (George Washington’s home) and ends in Old Town Alexandria’s waterfront. Considering the finish line is less than a mile from by apartment building I felt like I had no excuse not to run it, so I signed up fully planning to have Triple A run with me.

A few things happened to mess up my plan. My diagnosis of Graves’ Disease and Hyperthyroidism basically shut down my training until about 3 weeks before. Then Triple A and I realized he had a matinee performance of Reefer Madness that day in Maryland and running the race would be cutting it too close time wise.

I debated not going or changing to the shorter 5k distance they offered, but I finally decided I would at least start and worse comes to worse the bus would pick me up.

Packet pick up was a breeze at the Old Town Alexandria Pacers location.  It took me less than 5 minutes including finding parking, free parking at that, which must be an unheard of feat in Old Town until now!

Packet Pick Up Goodies

Packet Pick Up Goodies (bear not included)

I received my race day bib with gear check number and beverage ticket attached, safety pins, an information pamphlet, and the race tech t-shirt all enclosed in the clear plastic gear check bag.

Then came the day of the race: far sooner than I would have liked considering my training predicament.

I opted to take the provided runner transportation buses to the race start and planned to walk home from the finish.  I arrived at about 6:30 and was immediately put on a bus. The drive felt so long and I did my best not to think about it and focus on the beautiful sunrise along the parkway.

We arrived at the start area at Mount Vernon about an hour before race time.  It was beautiful but COLD and I was thrilled they had mylar blankets, coffee, bagels, and water at the start area (especially since I forgot to eat before I left… thanks nerves!)

Sunrise at Mount Vernon

Sunrise at Mount Vernon

Beautiful day to Run!!!

Beautiful day to Run!!!

 

I quickly got a mylar blanket, grabbed about half a plain bagel & water, and headed over to the gear check area provided by Two Men & a Truck.

Gear check was quick and efficient so I headed for the porta potties and discovered the longest line I have ever seen.  No really ever. Despite waiting about 25 minutes I made it back to the start with out 15 minutes to spare.

My least favorite part of any race ever happened next, and might very well be reason alone I will most likely never run this race again. Despite all the posting and over emphasizing about busses NOT running after the cut off time there were still busses coming into the round about/race corrals as the race was supposed to start (even with a 7 minute race delay).  We were never told to get in corrals, how the corrals were working and then I was crowded up against a MOVING bus as people tried to get into the area to start the race.  Talk about dangerous! Thankfully a very burly man helped me get to the other side since he could see I was freaked out. Poor planning Pacers.  For the $75 entry fee I expected to not almost get hit by a bus.

Once we got started I ran that first mile QUICK.  I just wanted to get away from that awful experience and wasn’t sure if the busses would have to come after us to get where they needed to go!

The race course is beautiful, stunning, and breathtaking at times as it runs right along the Potomac River. There are very few spectators, I saw maybe 10 total, so it was a nice run to focus on my thoughts and just keep truckin’.

I was feeling pretty good and was running by feel for the 1st half of the race.  But as the temps went up with the sun, and the gradual rolling hills got a bit bigger I started having to run by heart rate.  Part of the challenge of my hyperthyroidism is my elevated heart rate which hasn’t quite evened out with treatment.  I looked down around mile 6 and noticed I was running at 100% of my max heart rate! I immediately walked the next .5 miles or so.  I have been using this method throughout Insanity training but it was so different using it on a run and eventually it started to feel limiting and I got a little frustrated.

Then all the sudden I was in the final stretch, and after high fiving the cutest  kid everyone else was too busy running past I picked it up for the last half mile.  One of the men who already finished was .1 miles away from this finish yelling at us to “Dig Deeper!” and I just about lost it laughing but hey if Shaun T wants to help me finish a 10 miler I’ll take it.

I crossed the finish line and was handed a cool spinning 30th anniversary medal, given water, and an awesome snack box. I thought about grabbing a beer but the line was too much and I had a full day ahead of me. I think if Triple A was there I might have stayed at the finish line festival a little longer.

I did it! Despite no training I did it!

I did it! Despite no training I did it!

The results came out that afternoon and I found out I had run a 1:57:39 an average of 11:46 min miles.

To say I was shocked considering I had no training except Insanity and the Crystal City 5k’s I was THRILLED! My goal was just to finish, but I walked out a finisher, proving I won’t let my autoimmune disorder hold me back, and with a PR (since I had never run a 10 mile race, but it counts). Best of all I didn’t get picked up by the bus!

Overall the race course was a great experience.  If Pacers can fix the start line and corral issues I would consider running it again, until then I’ll stick with running the nearby trail on my own.

Hope you are keeping it fit, fabulous & fierce!

-Little Red

 

 

Weekly Workout Recap

Needless to say it was another long week.  My allergies REFUSE to leave no matter what I do.  I continue to spend most of my Insanity “water breaks” blowing my nose instead.  Gross…

But I reached a milestone this week: Month 1 of Insanity is complete!!!!

Not gonna lie I am scared for Month 2 but I will try to stay focused on the recovery this upcoming week.

Without further ado my workout recap for the week

Sunday – Rest Day/Easter I spent most of this day getting way too excited about easter candy. Especially marshmallow eggs and these awesome Nerd jelly beans Triple A’s mom got. We balanced it by playing frisbee and kanjam for a bit! (For the record: I am terrible and almost hit Triple A’s aunt followed by flinging the frisbee into the road)

My weakness

My weakness

Monday- Pure Cardio & Cardio Abs So tired but got it done!

Tuesday- Cardio Power & Resistance Always my favorite I pounded this one out!!! (Sadly for the last time)

Wednesday- Plyometric Cardio Circuit ugh… thats is all

Thursday- Cardio Recovery, Volunteering for Nike Women’s Half Expo I will miss this one too although I never mastered the deep pulses and holds

Friday- Pure Cardio & Cardio Abs, Crystal City 5k Fridays #4 , Volunteering for Nike Women’s Half Expo The last of pure cardio and the 5k race series I did in April.  It was a lot to do in a day but we celebrated with burgers and beers!

Saturday- Plyometric Cardio Circuit Of course Shaun T would make me do my least favorite of the month 1 videos twice in one week, of course.  Farewell to this DVD.

Hope everyone had a fit & fabulous week!

-Little Red

It’s Following Me

Well as usual I am running behind.  Not literally but in terms of keeping up with life.  Surprise alert: Teaching 45 kids from ages 4-9 for 5 days straight 8 hours a day makes you feel like this:

10 more minutes...

10 more minutes…

 

I mean really even trying to write all those numbers made me feel like that.  The thing people say about kids stealing energy from you must be true (how else do they do it????)

But occasionally you are rewarded with seeing them all adorably sing “Impossible” from Rogers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, or dance around to “The Jitterbug” from Wizard of Oz.  However one student topped all things EVER of adorableness.  This one four year old was walking in our tiled hallway, which shines like a mirror sort of, and started stepping very carefully saying “It’s following me!”  Yep, she had discovered her shadow for the first time and it was THE MOST ADORABLE THING EVER. (there are not enough capitals to describe this)

But lets take a look at the workout week on top of the massive amounts of elementary school energy I endured.  I’m not gonna lie this was R-O-U-G-H.  Oh and add in the allergies for good measure. In addition to sweat I was dealing with snot which meant water breaks were more like tissue breaks. Gross.

"It's not a pretty picture"

I may have looked closer to this than I liked.

 

Sunday- Rest Day! but not really I ran the George Washington Parkway Classic 10 miler (race report soon)

Monday- Fit Test #2, that came so quickly and the results are below

Tuesday- Plyometric Cardio Circuit, I may have thought about crying through this workout I was so exhausted

Wednesday- Pure Cardio & Cardio Abs, I got through almost all of the abs.  Hooray for progress!

ThursdayCardio Recovery, thank goodness I needed the stretch but my muscles felt crazy tight like I wasn’t quite getting there

Friday- Cardio Power & Resistance & Crystal City 5k Fridays #3, I cannot thank Triple A enough for being there otherwise I may not have finished this race.

Saturday- Plyometric Cardio Circuit, I really want to punch Shaun T when he says “This isn’t tap dancing” umm…. WHAT??? Tap dancing is fun while burning calories this is torture.  And don’t talk smack about Tap!

 

Body Stats/Measurements

Fit Test #1         Fit Test #2            Result

Weight:                          108.2 lbs              110.1 lbs                   + 1.9 lbs

Body Fat %:                   19.7%                    19.2%                        –  .5%

Resting Heart Rate:    55 bpm                  56 bmp                     + 1 bmp

Chest:                              32 in                      31.5 in                      – .5 in

Bicep:                             10 in                      10 in                             0 in

Waist:                             28.5 in                  27 in                          – 1.5 in

Hips:                               38.5 in                  38 in                          – .5 in

Thigh:                             23 in                      21.5 in                       – 1.5 in

Calf:                                 14 in                       14 in                             0 in

 

Fit Test Results

Fit Test #1         Fit Test #2            Result

Switch Kicks:               64                            108                           +44

Power Jacks:               48                             62                             +14

Power Knees:              95                            112                            +17

Power Jumps:             25                             39                             +14

Globe Jumps:               9                               13                             +4

Suicide Jumps:            15                             17                             +2

Push-Up Jacks:          20                             26                             +6

Low Plank Oblique:  50                              62                             +12

And of course a few pictures (if terribly taken by myself):

sorry diffuser in the way!

sorry diffuser in the way!

Yes that is A Chorus Line poster

Yes that is A Chorus Line poster

 

Slowly but surely I am getting it done!

Here’s to spring weather, even if allergies are going nuts.

-Little Red

 

Busy Busy Bee

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Check out Aladdin’s abs!

First off sorry for the long gap.  The biggest project I am in charge of at work is happening this week and leading up to it was pure madness.  Of course in my line of work planning a Spring Break camp for younger kids requires tireless hours of listening to broadway musicals, watching disney movies, and finding coloring pages. Let me assure you it is EXHAUSTING!

IMG_1766

As exhausting as Insanity I assure you

All on top of which we had our biggest fundraiser of the year… and I started to get sick.

I am better now, otherwise I would miss the whole teaching the kids part, which is my favorite!  You get a bunch of kids singing “Whole New World” and pretending to be magic carpets and tell me it isn’t adorable.

Here is the part weeks round-up:

Sunday- Rest day!!

Monday- Cardio Power & Resistance (aka my favorite), teaching “Shoeless Joe” dance

Tuesday- Pure Cardio (so not looking forward to adding Cardio Abs on top of this)

Wednesday- Plyometric Cardio Circuit (I killed it this week!)

Thursday- Cardio Recovery (mmmm stretching, and burning lots of leg burning)

Friday- Cardio Power & Resistance, teaching Jitterbug from “Wizard of Oz” dance, Crystal City 5k Friday Run (busy busy day)

Saturday- Pure Cardio & Cardio Abs (I spent most of the time staring at the abs exercises going HOW?!?!?!?!) then spending about an hour foam rolling and doing trigger point performance therapy on my legs (hurts so good baby!)

Hope everyone is having a good spring break! (I have all the kids in my classroom so I know the parents out there are relaxed!)

-Little Red