Ready for Respite.

This old girl is ready for a vacation. Without going into every exacerbating detail, work yesterday was simply exhausting, we sold a record amount of food, and I was on my feet at least 14 out of the 16 hours of my day.
The bar business is a blast, don’t get me wrong, but some Saturday mornings I wake up and don’t know how I’m going to physically get through another day. Weekends obviously are our time to shine, make money, and throw amazing parties, but I will admit sometimes the motto “fake it til you make it” is my mantra, and I just have to diesel tank my ass through the longest days.

In February, when our intern went back to school, we made the idiotic executive decision to not fill his kitchen manager position immediately. The rationale was we could save some money by doing it ourselves as we had in the past, get caught up on some bills, and hold off on training someone that wouldn’t be a perfect fit. Though the extra finances have been nice, I am pretty run down at the moment. When we made this decision, we hadn’t taken into account that our business has grown exponentially in the past 3 years, we now have our own house to take care of, and my father in law (who holds down the morning shift) was going to be out at least a month for surgery. In hind site, we bit off a little more than we should have, but we always do, and that’s why our business thrives and moves forward every day.

I get all my college helpers back starting next weekend, which means party time!! I can start working on aspects of my business that I love including menu development, customer service, advertising, and I will also have more time off than a half day every 3 months or so. This makes me so pumped but I am surely counting down the days at the moment.

Some cool stuff happened this week at the bar – we were mentioned in North Hills Monthly, which is really exciting for me, because I’m originally from the Pittsburgh area so getting a little love from there makes me proud that my bar isn’t just good for my town, but good in general!

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I decided to feature weekend specials based on stuff I like to eat, and it went over better than I anticipated:

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sweet and spicy salmon – I can’t get enough of this lately!

Even through chaotic times at work, and less than ideal training circumstances, I definitely make staying on a healthy path a main priority. Eating mindfully has kept my immune system from tanking, taking the time to take care of my body has given me an outlet for my anxiety as well as something to look forward to. I cannot stress enough how much making a healthy lifestyle second nature has improved every aspect of my life. I know if I was eating like crap, drinking regularly, and being sedentary in all my down time, I would not be able to give my business the attention it deserves, lead my staff to excel at their jobs, or respect myself enough to confidently weather anything the restaurant business has to throw at me.

That’s why for my training today I did something nice for myself. After a long day on your feet, the morning after aches and pains can translate into a really shitty day. I treated myself to an hour of gentle yoga, and I definitely have no regrets about it, because I’m definitely good to tackle whatever happens between now and 5am.

I am going to live vicariously through you all today, because my time will be spent at work, so tell me something fun you’re getting into if you so desire. Happy Saturday!

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Reward Based Running

First, a confession. Today I had oatmeal for breakfast.

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It was totally everything I hoped and dreamed it would be.

Anyway, my chosen workout today was a 4 mile trail run. I generally don’t like to do my “long” runs the day after lifting, but being tomorrow is the start of spring gobbler season, I don’t want to be running around in the woods while folks are trying to hunt. Especially opening day. So I set off for my wilderness release this morning, the weather was gorgeous, my legs felt surprisingly fresh, and I got my 4 miles in in under 50 minutes, and considering the terrain, I’m totally cool with that.

Trail running is one of the most liberating activities I’ve ever practiced. It requires full body mindfulness, no plugging in the headphones and just pounding away at pavement, no zoning off, you have to be in tune with your surroundings at all times.

This is good for me because I’m a lazy ass rewards motivated person. I don’t like to get out of bed in the morning unless I’m getting paid, be it in cash, accomplishment, or opportunity. I will admit, road running and hitting a PR is fun and all, but it is nothing like the “payment” I get when I’m running a trail.

I am motivated by interesting sights like big fucking rocks (or Pennsylvania sex stones, as we call them):

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and small bubbling brooks:

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I would rather climb giant hills to witness this, than say stick to the flat road and see drug deals on the street corner.

I am motivated by the fear and excitement elicited by being in an environment shared by animals that could actually kill me if they wanted to. I would rather outrun a bear than that homeless guy who follows me around on his bicycle and asks me for cigarettes.

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I like that I can trudge up a mountain slowly knowing I’m saving my strength for an instance where I might actually need it, and to regain speed I can sprint across lakes and float down hills.

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I like that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, and if that means getting knee deep in a mud puddle, so be it.

It’s fun, it’s cathartic, and the stumps, stones, and sounds are all a constant reminder to take it one step at a time, slow down when you need to, and go fast when you feel it.

I’m definitely inspired by my new undertaking and the rewards I’ve been reaping from it, be it in awesome photo ops, newfound confidence in my strength and abilities, and something that meshes amazingly with my love to lift and gives me my coveted “outdoor time” that protects my sanity.

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Slogging Through the Sunbeams

I woke up this morning with a bad case of the “I don’t give a (damns, craps, whatever, use your imagination, the more colorful the better!)”
I know it’s hard to believe judging by my super consistent blogging tendencies, my sporadic tweets about eating body wash, and the fact that my personal Facebook typically consists of recipes my mother thinks I should try (cake batter fudge, anyone?) – but some days I have to do a little digging to get my ass moving.
If it wasn’t for the gorgeous weather today, though – I can’t optimistically say I would have been as motivated, but biscuit brain wanted to go lay outside:

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So I thought I might as well join her.

I started off in the basement gym with some deload week deadlifts and overhead presses, plus a little accessory work, of course I got all pumped up and energized because lifting is just plain fun, and moved outside for a little circuit training.

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cannot wait for the trees to fill in so I can be even more reclusive and pretend my neighbors don’t exist.

Bethany inspired today’s circuit with her Mudder training recap on Facebook the other day. I did something similar this morning. The basic template is – run a short distance (quickly), do some strength building moves, then run a short distance quickly. This is excellent conditioning for our upcoming race, but also a good way to work your body at a wide variety of heart rates and from all different angles. Here’s the actual workout I did:

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I went through the strength training portion twice, and capped it with a half mile at the end (so technically I only ran 1.5 miles total if that makes it less confusing.) I didn’t time the workout as a whole, but my 1/2 mile splits were 4’10, 4’45, 4’21 (ish).

I would love to say that post workout today I felt happier, better, and more motivated, but that would be a lie. But I do feel better in knowing I accomplished something at least. And when you force yourself to train when you don’t feel like it (obviously this doesn’t apply if you’re actually injured, in dire need of a rest day, or sick), it tends to trickle down to other areas of your health. For example, since I trained today, I am more apt to be mindful of my nutrition instead of just saying, “fuck it, I didn’t work out, so I might as well just keep the downhill vibe rolling.” Not every day is going to be full of your finest moments, and not every work out is going to inspire you. That’s why having a meticulous training plan attached to tangible goals is so crucial in my opinion to moving forward every day, even when one feels a little bit off.

I like the quote “I really regret doing that workout… Said nobody ever,” but this was one of those crabby days where although I don’t “regret” working out, I also just feel apathetic about the whole ordeal.

I remind myself that tomorrow will be better, get pumped up for the training I “get” to do, and stay thankful for the fact that I actually am capable of doing anything. Then I move on with my life.

Ever find yourself having a funky day? How do you pull through?

Out of Hibernation

I can’t believe how long it’s been since I last checked in. As much as I love the blogging community, the wonderful friendships I’ve formed, and the outlet for my fitness related musings, I am eternally heinous at committing to any semblance of a writing calendar. The fact of the matter is – these past few weeks have been a blast on the training front, chaotic on the work front, and any fun “me time” I’ve had leftover I have been trying to spring clean my house, study for my ISSA, and spend some qt with my fiancé outside of a work setting. All in all, I get my summer help back at the bar starting next Sunday, which means until then it’s work, train, eat, sleep (in any order that I can fathom.)

In the upcoming months, I’m going to use my blog mainly as a sounding board for my daily workouts and training schedules. It’s easier for me to pop in and write posts like this than it is to try and find fresh features every day. Plus, I do this whole blogging thing for selfish reasons – I like to be able to look back and see how far I’ve come, and hopefully summer 2013 is going to be so epic that I will cherish these little updates looking back.

This week is my deload week on 5/3/1, meaning lighter lifts. I remain completely infatuated with 5/3/1 no matter what my training focus is, and I love the flexibility it allows. Yesterday I did my deload squats and bench presses, along with some accessory work, and then set off to do some hill sprints:

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This obviously is not the hill I sprinted. This flat part however is the top of the hill that I actually sprinted. That beast is on the agenda in the future though.
I ran about 1/2 mile to said hill, sprinted up and jogged down 5 times (with a minute or two break at the bottom) and then jogged the 1/2 mile back as a cool down. Definitely kicked my ass, and I definitely need to start doing this more regularly.

Today is “active recovery day” – I did a restorative yoga video and some core work. I have seriously neglected my flexibility for a long time, and it’s reflecting in my squats. Yoga has actually become a regular part of my training program lately not only because on days after a hard workout it helps to get blood flowing to all your body parts, but increased flexibility within reason improves your performance in any athletic arena. Also, taking an hour to do something serene and calming before a chaotic workday helps me go in with a better overall attitude. And if you’ve had to work with me lately, I assure you that’s a good thing.

My first 5k in over 10 years is coming up in less than a month. I guess I need to come clean with everyone here real quick – I actually really love running. I like being outside, I like being alone in the woods, I like seeing improvement every day in my abilities. I generally have only been trail running, with a road run sprinkled in for timing and pacing purposes once a week or so. My base as a lifter has made me a tank – I love that I can conquer so much distance and technical terrain without much experience as of late. If you are a runner and have any doubt that lifting will hurt your performance – come chase me through the woods. Seriously.
I love how heavy lifting makes you better at everything. Not just picking up heavy stuff, but it conditions your body to do so much more. I never doubted it for a minute, but since I’ve been exploring other athletic endeavors, it has proven itself tenfold.
My motive behind this 5k is to actually get used to racing procedures before I take on some more serious and less local events. Also I like to scope out new parks and stuff that I could potentially train in. Plus as a future personal trainer, it’s good to get out in the community and show your athletic prowess. Plus Aaron bet me a pair of Tiffany’s sunglasses I can’t run it sub 30. (Don’t judge. Though I am essentially a cheapskate, if it comes in a little blue box and I don’t have to pay for it, I’m all over it.) At the moment I am having doubts of this sub 30 – but I’m just putting that thought out there so it can marinade in my brain for the next 25 days.

Ok ramble time is over! I hope everything is well in all your worlds, and I promise to make my way over to your blogs soon and catch up! Until then, have fun with your training, and treat your body kindly!