Thursday, June 20, 2013

Round 2.

It's been quite awhile since I've posted on here, because life has been so crazy.  I am feeling the need to organize my thoughts though, so here it goes.

Up until this point, this blog has been about my struggles.  Learning to run, learning to overcome injury, learning to run through energy, learning what I can eat, what my diet will allow.  From this point forward, it's Round Two.  As things are starting to fall into place, I have more focus and dedication than ever. This is going to be spot where I can truly make a reference of all the things I learn, my favorite workouts, my favorite recipes, as well as a place to be joyous about the victories. This is also about Round 2 in my life:

I made a decision this year to go back to school to finish prerequisites to apply for a doctorate program in Physical Therapy.  All in all, if everything goes "as planned," I am looking at 5 years of school (which I started a month ago). This is possibly one of the most daunting and terrifying decisions I have ever made, but I am so ecstatic and ready for this change. I do realize that there will be days that I will question this decision, but I am thrilled at the challenge.

The past couple of years have been a trying experience at "getting into shape," and pushing myself towards a goal I once thought wasn't achievable. However, it was truly a learning experience and has changed the person I am today.  Fitness and health are no longer these pipe dreams in my head of things I wish I could have.  Running a mile is no longer a pipe dream.  Learning to eat on a restricted diet is achievable, and hell, I can still get enough protein (people are worried) to fuel 5-7 workouts a week.
You are not defined by your weaknesses.  You must turn those weaknesses into strengths.

Every single time I was injured over the past couple of years, or thrown some type of nutritional challenge or a combination of both, the research involved with figuring out and solving the problem was fascinating.  Learning how the human body works, how it all works together, and how we effect it with every single move we make and food/drink we consume (or don't), is fascinating.  It has made me want to learn more, not only to prevent things from happening, but because I want to help others as well. I can't wait to learn more and to become a resource for others to help them through their struggles, and ideally become a resource to those who need assistance before the injury/issue even happens.

As my life amps up, I'm realizing that I need to stay organized and I need to stay focused.  The other day, I referred to my life as "constant multi-tasking," because that's how I really feel right now:
  • I currently work 40 hours per week, starting at 6:30am.
  • I am currently enrolled in summer school, which is two classes, and since they are condensed, they are very full time. In August, it's school full time and work part time.
  • Due to my dietary restrictions, I am almost always either planning my food, grocery shopping/recipe searching, preparing my food for the time being or for the meals the next day, and logging my food. (This is also in part due to the fact that I am pretty much always hungry).
  • I am working out. I work out 5-7 times per week, ranging from 25 - 90 min each time.
I'm pretty much working 4 full time jobs. :) (P.S. I have an amazing boyfriend, 2 cats, friends, and family in there too...)

I'm so far succeeding at this, because I really feel that they are all equally as important to my overall health and well being.  It is super easy to lose focus and to change my priorities, but it's a matter of making the time.  There is always time.  Even when you are tired or unmotivated, you will find the time and energy once you get out of bed and show up.  I feel like it is a vicious cycle: If I do not work out, I do not sleep well. If I do not sleep well, I am tired, unfocused, and often gain weight and retain stress.  If all of these things occur, my stomach generally gets set off by the stress and I am miserable. This makes for misery and lack of focus in school and work, and literally no happy times with my friends and family and the people I want to be happy around.  It is a slippery slope.
If you are not sleeping, and you are facing a lot of stress and anxiety, I challenge you to workout a little bit every day.  You will sleep and your body will be forced to release some of the tension.

Heading into a full time school schedule and trying to balance the rest, I am incredibly dedicated to keeping my fitness routine in check. If I am sitting at a computer all day and all night, I know what the tension will do to my head and neck, so it's important to keep all of that moving.  I am also hell bent on running the P.F. Changs Half Marathon in January and am determined to enjoy all 13.2 miles of it! If I keep a regimented schedule, then come training season in the fall, (in theory) my body won't be completely shocked at the momentum of adding in the additional strength training, cross training, and additional mileage.  (Last year, by the time I got to the race, I was so tired and sore, mentally exhausted, my stomach was retaliating at every chance it could, I was injured, and I was ready for the race to be over).  The "fun" is the race! It's the reward for all the hard work and training.

Here's what's been working so far for a workout schedule:
  • Running: 2-3 times/week, with 1-2 miles of sprint interval training.  (Wednesday early am plus 1-2 lunch break runs on the treadmill). We are working on adding additional mileage, but running into a scheduling conflict with the Arizona summer sun. 
  • Cross training: Zumba! (Tuesday nights)
  • Weight training: Legs (Monday nights), arms (2 lunch time workouts/week, 1 bicep/tricep and the other chest/arm/back/shoulders)
  • Abwork.  Right now 1 lunchtime workout/week but am trying to figure out a way to get it in 3x/week integrated into other workouts). Strong core means everything else is stable, so I really need to get this one worked out.

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