Sunday, April 20, 2014

Fitness Blender 5 Day Fat Loss Challenge - Recap/PFTW

Like I may have mentioned once or a billion times, I fell in love with Fitness Blender after Kim suggested their Tank Top Arms video (in all honesty, I cursed her for several weeks before I decided it was true love).

When they announced recently that they were launching a 5 Day Challenge, I was IN. I love a challenge, I love structure, and I love following a plan. I didn't really pay attention to it being for fat loss, so that's my mistake.

#1 is my favorite child {#1 thinks she's clever and that she snuck this in while I was cooking.}

The challenge was officially titled the 5 Day Fat Loss Program Jumpstart - every day, they would provide a video to be completed. It is geared towards someone with at least some fitness, but I feel like it could be pretty easily modified to suit a range of fitness levels. Don't quote me, I'm not an expert.

Day 1 (Monday)
40 minute butt/thigh workout. According to Daily Mile, I liked this video, and it was new-to-me, so I'm glad they introduced it. A lot of their videos are done in an AB AB format, which I enjoy - it makes my brain think we're getting things done faster.

Later in the evening, Gab and I did the FB kid video. She LOVES this video, because she's a crazy person.

Day 2 (Tuesday)
37 minute upper body with cardio intervals. Liked the upper body superset. Always hate jumping jacks. There were 2 strength exercises and one cardio interval per set; 10 reps for the strength, 1 min cardio, twice through. Three total sets.

Plus 4 easy miles with run club.

Day 3 (Wednesday)
This was the day I was dreading. 35 minute Insane HIIT Challenge. For A Person who Frequently Runs, I am so awful at HIIT/Cardio exercises. Suffice it to say, this video KILLED ME DEAD. 7 groups of 2 exercises, 3 sets per exercise, 20 sec on/10 sec active rest, in an AB AB format. 20 seconds is so sneaky - sounds so short, IS ACTUALLY SO SO SO LONG.

I completed the video, but it was UGLY. I took an extra 30 second water break after the jump squat/mountain climber set, and did mountain climbers instead of the weird lizard things, because there was NO WAY my arms were able to move.

This video was HARD.

Day 4 (Thursday)
37 minute Fat Burning Cardio - this was not toooooo bad, except for all of the jumping. Turns out, I really suck at jumping. This video consisted of 16 different exercises, 40 sec on, 15 sec active rest. It was fairly low impact, but I was sweating like a beast.

They also offered a yoga video option for the day instead of the cardio, but I opted to do the cardio. Go big or go home?

I originally had a tempo run on tap for the day, but scratched it for a trail run with hill repeats. I don't know why I thought that would be easier.

At least it was pretty. 4 miles.

Day 5 (FRIDAY)
35 minute Total Body Toning Strength and HIIT. Apparently this is how I felt about that video.


The FB description for this one is, "We have three different groups of two exercises; we'll be doing 10-14 reps for each set. Repeat each group twice, in an AB, AB format (with a short active rest in between) before moving on to a round of HIIT; 20 seconds on, 10 seconds off, 4 times through. All you're going to need is a set of dumbbells."

I for real hate jump squats. 

I vaguely think that I maybe liked this video, and might do it again, but I was kind of just relieved to end the challenge.

Saturday: NOTHING
We went to the beach, and I mocked #1's runner problems.
Sunday: long run
10 miles, .9 easy, .1 strides, from half marathon pace down to 5k pace. Legs were kind of lame the first few miles, but once I warmed up, all was well.

Overall, I enjoyed the challenge - I don't really weigh myself, so I don't really know how effective it was for jumpstarting fat loss, and I certainly didn't modify my diet too much, but.... Fat loss is not my goal. If that's what you're looking for, the emphasis on cardio and HIIT will help. 

For me, if I had paid attention when it started that it was a fat loss program, I don't know if I would have done it. (HA, who am I kidding, I'm a sucker for a challenge). I'm more focused on strength, and on half training. While this series was EXHAUSTING, it just didn't have as much strength work as I have come to enjoy. Not FB's fault, because that wasn't the point of the challenge.

I am disappointed/annoyed at how weak I am at cardio - I imagine adding some of that into my weekly routine will only help; honestly, I avoid the HIIT videos like the plague because I hate it so hard. I GUESS I'll try to work a little bit more in. sigh.

But like I said, I enjoyed the format. Five days is such a short commitment, that it was easy to dive in. It introduced a few new videos to me, which I appreciate. 


Monday: upper body/core (I really missed this video!!), yoga
Tuesday: 4 easy, probably during #1's track practice; hiit????
Wednesday: 5 easy, lower body
Thursday: yoga/upper body
Friday: long run - 8 miles with 4 at race pace (cut back week!)
Saturday: rest
Sunday: speed - 5 with 4x1600

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Four Things Thursday

1. One of the most frustrating things about job hunting is finding a job that sounds great, going through multiple rounds of interviews, and then getting turned down with a "You're tooooooo qualified". On one hand, yes, in fact, I AM too qualified for the job - which I knew, and pursued anyway, because I (this will shock you) wanted that job. On the other hand... I mean. Presumably you read my resume before I spent time talking to you. Why are my qualifications surprising? 

2. This summarizes exactly why I can't take Runner's World seriously.  
‘Just because you’re married and have young children and a job doesn’t mean you don’t have time to run…You need this time. Taking it for yourself (by letting your husband baby-sit while you run, for instance) will benefit the whole family.’Question: can you babysit your own child?

3. I'm incapable of refraining from a challenge, so when Fitness Blender announced their five-day challenge for this week, of course I accepted. Day 1 was a 40 minute butt/thigh video, Day 2 upper body with cardio, and day 3... Insane HIIT
It's befuddling to me that I can run, but 30 minutes of some cardio kills me dead. 

4. SPRING BREAK. We went to the beach for the first time in... gosh. Four years?! That sounds ridiculous since we live so close, but cancer and ports and chemo and whatever. 

Seriously, 15 minutes down the road from this, and yet... 
The girls had absolutely no fun. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Week in Review/PFTW


This week is spring break for my kids, which really means it's the week of zero quiet and still waking up early. #1 has track practice every morning, so no sleeping in for meeeeee.

Spring break is way less fun as a grown up.

Last week....

Monday - 88 min XT
I was "excited" to see Fitness Blender releasing a new 1000 calorie workout - but then I turned it on, and quit, because I cannot kickbox. I gave it a shot, through the first two rounds of HIIT, but I spent the entire time being confused about punching and kicking and figured that was not a valuable use of my time (haha).

Instead, I did this 88 minute video. I've done this one before, and I do like it - but it is exhausting. 10 minutes of abs, 36 minutes HIIT, 26 minutes full-body strength, plus warm up/cool down. Dead dead dead. Hamstring curls? Such little movement, such big pain.

Tuesday - yoga/run
Did the new Fitness Blender stretching/pilates/yoga video (30 minutes) in the morning, followed by run club Tuesday evening.
Instagram, yo

The Tuesday night run club is sponsored by Lifetime Run, and led by my old PCRF Coach, Doris. I'll follow her anywhere, because she's one of my most favorite people. The group run is free, and meets Tuesday evenings in Laguna Hills. Easy 3 mile out and back catching up with some friends. It was HOT, but worth it.

Wednesday - 4 miles "speed" work
I planned on 1 mile warm up, 2 miles "race pace", 1 mile cool down. I based race pace on my Holiday Half PR from December, which is not really in play right now since I just barely started running again regularly. But I figured it would give me an idea of what kind of fitness I had.

Except that I'm dumb and don't follow plans - instead of sticking to the pace I wanted (9:35ish), I ran FAST to see how fast I could manage. Which defeated the entire purpose of this exercise. My two miles clocked in at 9:23 and 8:56, which is fast for me, and was certainly not sustainable. I don't know what I was trying to do. That was silly.

That afternoon, I took Gab to the pool because it was NINETY BILLION DEGREES. Apparently SoCal skipped winter and spring and went straight into summer. 

the toothless wonder
Thursday - XT
One of my favorite things about Fitness Blender videos, is that I can combine them to make a longer workout - on Thursday, I did this warm up video (10 minutes), my favorite upper body/core combo video (30 min), and the yoga video from Tuesday. Solid hour of cross training/stretching.

Thursday evening, I'm sure you can guess where we were. I'll give you a hint. 
You never would have guessed, would you. They raced on a crappy dirt track, and it was not a good night for #1. They don't have any races this week, so a nice 2 week break for her will probably do her some good. I didn't participate in high school sports, because I was busy being a lazy, anti-social jerk, but it often seems hard to be a high school athlete, where they're expected to perform at a high level so often - twice a week for 6-8 weeks in track seems crazy, to me. Good thing they're young and feisty!

Friday - "long" run
I was telling the H that it seems crazy that 8 miles is a long run for me, when a year ago, it was an easy mid-week run. Anyway. Kept the pace easy, and caught an episode of Real Housewives of OC that I hadn't seen, so success! 8 miles in.

Saturday/Sunday - nothing
Really. Nothing at all, except eating. 

Total - 15 miles (eh)

Monday - XT. There's a Fitness Blender video I want to try out (this one - 40 minute lower body - if you want to follow along at home). Gab has also requested to do their kids video again, so I'll likely do some of that, too, even though it kills me dead (seriously, how are the cardio/hiit videos SO HARD??). 

Tuesday - easy/run club, hopefully 4 miles?, upper body

Wednesday - 5 miles, tempo (lol)

Thursday - yoga, easy XT

Friday - 10 miles

Saturday - arms/upper body; 3-4 miles

Sunday - rest

Total: hopefully around 19-23 miles

Track update....

#1 ran a 5:40 mile and it was a bad day, which makes me laugh, because 5:40 miles are so fast, it's crazy that it can happen on a crappy dirt track and be a bad day. 

I spent most of Friday night/Saturday ALL DAY watching the Arcadia Invite live webcast. Yeah, I was watching #1's team run - but mostly, I was killing time waiting for the girls 3200 Invite, which had a loaded-as-heck field, including my favorite, Sarah Baxter. 

We got to see Baxter run during XC season, and she is incredible - she was undefeated in XC in her high school career, until NXN, where she came in third, with Alexa Efraimson taking the win there.

She's never been an outstanding track runner, but she was undefeated at the 3200, until a few weeks ago when a local girl, Bethan Knights, tied her at 10:07 (fun fact, we raced Knights' team on Thursday, and she took it super easy, and still blew our distance girls away). 

So seeing Efraimson, Knights, Baxter, and a slew of other fasties lined up was really fun. 

Until Baxter didn't run. 


Rumor has it she's fighting some stress reaction or something, so I certainly hope that it was the right call for her and she heals up quickly, but damn. That would have been a fun race.

I told #1 she has to qualify for CIF so we can have an excuse to see Baxter run before she graduates. That's not weird, is it?

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

You get a race discount! YOU get a race... you get it.

I have some race discounts to share!

May17 - XTERRA Renegade Off-Road Tri, Du, and 3 Mile Trail Run Challenge - code "HEATHERDISCOUNT" for 10% off. (Check out the special Dirty Series medal, too!)

May 26 - Laguna Hills Memorial Day Half, 10k, 5k, and Kids Run - code "HEATHERDISCOUNT" for 10% off. Just announced, there is a new medal series launching this year - check out the details on Renegade's site!

June 22 - Breath of Life Ventura Tri - code "HEATHERDISCOUNT" for 10% off - this race is also part of the SoCal Tri Series.

July 4 - Run in the Parks, Laguna Niguel - code "renegade14" for 10% off!

Aug 23 - iTRY Women's and Youth Tri and Run/Walk - code "HEATHERDISCOUNT" for 10% off. I did this event last year, and had SO much fun, I'm coming back this year. 


Weekly recap

Monday - rest! 
It does a body good?

Tuesday - arms/core
According to Daily Mile, this was 50 minutes of "alright" feelings. I don't remember what I did, so I'm assuming I didn't love it, or hate it.

Wednesday - run/XT
4 easy treadmill miles, plus 10 minute abs (this video) and 35 min legs (this video). I like both of these!

Thursday - run
My legs were D E A D after the video, so I just did an easy shakeout run through the slums of Irvine.
#graffiti #seenonmyrun

Thursday night was also Dual Meet night for #1 - her team won, making them 2-0 in the league. 

Friday - arms
40 minutes of another mystery video! Honestly, I spent the majority of the day insanely jealous of everyone running Ragnar SoCal - there was a new course this year THAT RAN RIGHT BY MY NEIGHBORHOOD, and it skipped all the stupid inland stuff to run right along the ocean, AND the weather was fantastic. So jealous. 

Friday night, #1 raced at Trabuco Hills Distance Carnival (which, BTW, was also right on the Ragnar course - I didn't run Ragnar this year because I knew she was racing, so way to really rub some salt on that wound, RAGNAR). 

what even, that calf. 
17th place finish out of 137, and another sub-5:30 finish - she was pretty sad she didn't PR, but not every race is gonna be a PR, kid. 

Saturday - rest! 
First Saturday "off" in a billion years, so we slept in, got donuts, and did nothing.

Sunday - "long" run
6 miles, never felt good, but it was FINE. It's been a long time since I've bothered to really struggle through a run - since I haven't been training, I got into the habit of just stopping when it didn't feel fun any more. If I want to run a half marathon in 7 weeks, I guess I need to stop doing that. I GUESS. 


Monday - XT (I'll recap this next week, but I almost died dead finishing a Fitness Blender 90 minute video).
Tuesday - run! 4 miles easy
Wednesday - run!! 4 miles WITH SPEED WORK dun dun dun. And arms/core.
Thursday - rest/easy xt (#1 is racing)
Friday - Long, 8 miles
Saturday - rest
Sunday - XT, easy 3-4 miles if I feel like it?

Basically, I'm hoping for around 16-20ish miles this week, and while I say I'm introducing speed work, I'm really just going to shoot for a couple of miles at "goal" pace (which is vague, so this isn't really speed work at all, it's more like, run a little faster and see what happens pace). 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Some stuff happened last week... PFTW

Hey there!

Last week did NOT go according to plan. Logistics are tough, yo, even for a SAHM. I finally wrote up a training plan for Laguna Hills Memorial Day Half, that I'll maybe talk about more later this week?

Upper body work - combined two Fitness Blender videos (Arms/Shoulders and Upper Body Tabata) for a 55 minute strength session. According to my Daily Mile, I liked these videos.

Core/Lower Body - 40 minutes. I was supposed to head to run club this day, but my schedule just didn't work out that day with #1's track practice.


5 pretty pretty trail miles!
Hilly route on some local dirt, and was surprised to find that the uphills weren't nearly as bad as I thought I remembered them - maybe strength training is paying off???? Followed in the evening by track meet #1 for the week. Where they had a bake sale. So it was the best ever.

Easy treadmill miles, fueled by...
I sometimes play this game on the 'mill, when I don't have a real specific run planned, where I decide how far I'm running based on how much I want to hear the song that's playing when the miles tick over. This one came on at the end of mile 2, and I ended up with a nice 5 miles for the day. Thanks, blondies. Followed at home with 45 minutes of arms, chest, and abs.

OH! I almost forgot! We had an earthquake on Friday, too, and it was REALLY EXCITING. #2 and #3 didn't even feel it, but #1 almost LOST HER MIND. The H said we would be moving back to Florida right this second if it were any stronger. NOPE THANKS. Earthquakes are better than humidity.

I spent the day with #2 at Academic Pentathlon, where she had NO FUN AT ALL (except for all the times she was laughing hysterically), while The H took #1 to her track meet. And then I did nothing.

Spent the morning spectating PCRF 10k/Half - there was a date and venue change this year that put the race literally next door - we rolled out of bed and went outside at 8 to cheer on the runners, and then headed over to the kids zone expo.

Followed in the evening with 3 miles easy-ish, plus 10min abs.


Monday: 3 easy, arms
Tuesday: 4 easy with run club (FOR REAL this time), total body
Wednesday: Legs
Thursday: rest/XT
Friday: Long run (hahahaha 6 miles), arms
Saturday: rest?
Sunday: 3-5 easy, XT

I'm still running all easy miles, and will probably introduce speed work again next week. Maybe? Or maybe I'll just keep running trails because hills are speedwork in disguise! (I say that to #1 and she hates it).

Track update!

#1's team got new uniforms, and they are WAY less hideous than the old ones.

Ummmm I don't even really remember how she did at the Thursday meet (it was a dual meet against a school that.... frankly, they're just not really good, so they all treated it as a tempo run/workout). But Saturday's race, she won both of her events - girls frosh/soph 1600 and 3200.

And she won by..... about that much.

I know it's braggy, I don't care.

It's also a little fun to see her listed as the fastest freshman recorded at her school in the 3200, and second fastest in the 1600. Okay, for real I'm done bragging.

I almost can't wait for her to be bumped up to varsity, to put some extra challenge out there for her. It's nice that she's able to win by running fairly easy, but it'd be cool to see what she's really got.

I can't believe I ever spawned a human that can move that fast. Genetics are crazy.

Monday, March 24, 2014

What I've really been up to (nothing) and PFTW

This will come as a shock, but kid sports are still destroying any free time we ever had on the weekends. I promise that isn't a complaint; it's just the facts.

#1 had a bit of a break between cross country ending at Thanksgiving, and track starting in mid-January, so that was swell. Her season started out a little slow, with just some voluntary all-comer meets and a trip to Fresno for state indoor champs - this was kind of a big deal, because she had to qualify for it (and she DID!, so that was exciting), but the event ended up being kind of a fiasco and not really anything we would go out of our way to repeat again, unless she reallllllly wanted to.

But her season started up for real in the last few weeks, so we're transporting her for track practices on Tuesday's at another school (her's has a dirt track), dual meets on Thursday's, and invitationals on Saturday's.

On top of #1, Gab has joined a run club through her school, thankfully that's only Friday afternoons, and #2 is training for the Irvine Junior Games, so we try to spend Sunday evenings at the track with her.

All of this to say, we are pretty much living and breathing kid running. Ironic, since I've barely been running at all.

Thanks, Daily Mile. HAHAHAHAHA.

In my defense, I got super gung-ho about running again a few weeks ago, and then I came down with some sort of zombie plague two Saturday's ago, and kind of recovered all of last week.

I haven't been a total sloth, though! Since Kim introduced me to videos, I have her to thank for my addiction. I've been doing videos a TON (until the last week when I was barely able to even EXIST (I get extra dramatic when I'm sick)), with a legs video once or twice a week, arms 2-3 times, and core 3-5 times. Some of my favorite videos so far...
Butt and Thigh with Cardio Intervals
30 Minute Lower Body Sculpting
Mass Workout for Legs
Upper Body Superset
Abs and Upper Body
10 Minute Abs
Total Body Strength

I've been trying a ton of random videos, these are the ones I tend to come back to consistently. I love that I can mix things up, pair up videos when I want to create a longer workout, and I really love the set up of the AB/AB format that they do frequently.

There are a bunch of HIIT videos, too, but I pretty much decided I hate HIIT and would not list it as a favorite because HIIT IS THE WORST.

There is even a video for kids, that Gab LOVES. And it's HARD, you guys, for real.

Anyway, part of my running problem, I'm sure, is the lack of races on the horizon.

Lucky for meeeeee, with my partnership with Renegade Race Series, I am running a few events coming up....
The Laguna Hills Memorial Day Half Marathon will be held May 26th - there's also a 10k, 5k, and kids run. If you are also running the Reaching for the Cure half coming up this weekend, you can snag a snazzy March 2 May medal, too, limited to the first 250 rsvps!

I always want to make a race a PR, but I'm not sure what kind of running shape I'm actually in, so I'll evaluate in a few weeks and decide. The race is only 8 weeks away, so I guess I should get cracking at that....

Plan for the week!!

I'm base building a bit, obviously, since I've been laaaazy. I randomly did a 10 mile run a few weeks ago, while watching the LA Marathon, and it was really great - so it's nice to know that fitness level is still there, but I don't want to do anything dumb to anger Jerk Shin, or anything else. Holy run on sentence.

Monday: Arms/Core (I will likely do this video, this video, and this one - I've started making #1 do core with me - it can only help her, right?!).
Tuesday - Legs (this video in the am, probably?), then run club!! No idea on the mileage.
Wednesday - Arms/Core (maybe this one, plus my favorite), easy run, miles will depend on Tuesday's run
Thursday - Total body (maybe a new to me video?)
Friday - Long run! 6-8ish, easy; core
Saturday - off, #1 is racing!
Sunday - easy run, 2-3

To keep me motivated, I am also running a few for-fun events this summer...

The Summer Trail Run series (remember I ran these last year, and they were SO FUN)

...and iTRY take 2! I'd like to beat last year's time on this course... which means I'll eventually have to bike and swim again? I really loved the event last year, and can't wait to repeat it.

Beyond the summer, I've got a Halloween half marathon in my sights, and.... dun dun DUN. A fall marathon. I really, REALLY wanted a spring marathon this year, but it just didn't happen - I wanted to run a few, but they were sold out by the time I made up my mind. I threw myself on the waiting list for Mountains 2 Beach, but by the time I needed to start actually training, there was no movement on the waiting list, so I scratched it. Of course, the very next week, I got the email that my number was up. WTF.

I'm leaning towards Santa Clarita Marathon Nov. 2nd - it's cheap, on a Sunday so it won't interfere with XC, and not something I'd really need to travel for, which are three of my requirements. Santa Barbara and Surfer's Point are also on my short list; but I think I'd prefer Santa Clarita. I don't know why. That really makes no sense, who would rather run in Santa Clarita? I've also tossed around the idea of Long Beach, but then I remember the logistics were TERRIBLE and the weather is always sketchy.

Interested in a track update?

#1's current pr's stand at 5:25 in the 1600 (hand-timed, so I don't know if that's legit?? I'm not track smart yet), and 11:46.83 for the 3200!
Crazy, right??

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Three Thing Thursday

1. Hi!

2. It's been awhile, eh? This is what I've generally been up to, starting from most recent backwards:

look! Sunny, in SoCal.
Collecting eyeball lasers from #1 at track events
spring has sprung on the trails
Coaster Run at Knotts! Another great Renegade Race Series event.
#2 is training, too!
Beautiful beachy weddings

And, #1 won the 1600 and 3200 in her first pre-season track event. This qualified her for Indoor State Champs, which was a FREAKING DEBACLE. 
3. And now we're all caught up!

I've finally started coming out of the running funk, and have a couple races on my calendar, so I thought I'd dust this sucker off and get back at it.

What have you been up to?


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