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List-making

Are you a list-maker?

Image courtesy of Zackfire.com

I am! I make lists for everything. From your every day “to do” lists, chores, Christmas lists, things I want to do before I’m 30 (the days are dwindling on this one!) I am always making lists or leaving notes for myself to get things done.

Do I always check everything off my list? No, absolutely not! But it is a way to help me organize my thoughts, places I want to go and to  remember things that I might otherwise forget to do (this is especially relevant to chores or buying birthday cards, things I don’t do every day).

My best friend often refers to list-making as part of our “only child syndrome” which I totally agree with but I think I’m also kind of obsessed with organization in general, including my thoughts and ideas. Although my lists aren’t always organized…some are on paper, some are on my Google Calendar, some are on post-it notes at my desk at work. Sometimes I lose them or forget where they are ;-)

But the reason I decided to post about this today is that “to do” lists in particular are causing me problems on the weekends. Now, I am able to get A LOT of things done on the weekends since I am off from work and I write down everything I want or need to do before I go home on Fridays. But I also end up absolutely exhausted, I’m talking feet hurting and everything because I do too much. Sometimes by Monday, I am so tired and sore from the weekend that getting up and going to work is almost impossible.

On the weekend, I think I finally have time to do everything and go everywhere. A friend of mine even joked to me recently that all of my Foursquare check-ins were wearing HER out! When other people start to notice, then it’s really a problem!

A typical weekend for me would include getting up early on Saturday morning, going to yoga, grabbing a coffee, grocery shopping, lunch, fun shopping (Target, the mall, etc.), maybe get some gas, stop by a bookstore, oh I forgot something and have to go back to the grocery…before I know it, it’s dinner time. And I’m ready for bed. Sunday is pretty much a repeat of the same only instead of yoga and coffee, it’s church that I get up early for. And I’m usually scrambling around to get everything done at home that I neglected on Saturday while I was out and about.

So this weekend, I have decided that I want to be productive but I also want to make time to rest and take a load off since I do work all week. I don’t want to wake up on Monday morning feeling like I ran a marathon. I have a lot of energy, but I don’t need to completely deplete it!

What to do? Completely throw the list out? Well, no, some of my errands are going to be kind of fun. Like using the Whole Foods Living Social voucher I scored this week and I really do want to start baking with the three large cans of pumpkin that are now in my pantry. I also want to take a yoga class and take Suzie to the dog park, oh and grocery shopping…can you see how I end up here?

What I need to do is set some priorities. My Google Calendar also really opened my eyes to just how busy I am, both during the week and on the weekends. It’s a good tool to use because I know where I need to be and what all I’ve got going on now and in the future, but it’s also got way too many things listed on it. I need to cut back. So this weekend, I am going to challenge myself.

Since this is a post about list-making, here is the list of the only things I absolutely have to do this weekend:

  • Grocery shopping
  • Laundry
Wow, short list, huh? I can’t believe that is all I have to do and the list I was working on before is miles longer. Now, let’s throw two fun things on there…
  • Yoga class
  • Suzie-Dog park (weather permitting)
Now for a couple relaxing things…
  • Take a nap!
  • Bake something awesome and pumpkin-y (yes I consider baking relaxing!)
If nothing else gets done but those top two, then everything is okay. If I get to do one fun thing and one relaxing thing, great. If I get to do all 6 things I have listed, it would be awesome and chances are I wouldn’t be too worn out, assuming I don’t do them all on the same day, except napping, that has to happen both days!

It also looks like I will spend more than a few hours of the day at home. I feel better already. Now I just have to keep it up. And not add anything to my list.

What about you? Is your life over-organized and yet still full of chaos? Are you able to relax on your days off or do you go back to work feeling even more tired than you did at the end of the week?

On the wall yoga

On Thursday, I was really feeling the need for yoga. This usually happens when I am tired, sore, stiff and just needing some time to myself to focus on realigning my body and mind. I quickly remembered that they do offer classes here at work so I checked the schedule and sure enough, there was a 4:00 class that lasted an hour. Perfect!

The teacher was new to me but I knew instantly that I was going to enjoy the class. I love how each yoga instructor brings something different, puts their own special touch on their teaching. I’ve been doing yoga for several years now (off and on) and this was the first time I had done what I will now refer to as “on the wall yoga” :)

I’ve used a wall before for balance during tree pose, before I got steady enough to do it on my own, and also for laying down poses like “legs up the wall” for relaxation. But no kidding, the entire class was on the wall! I wish I could’ve taken some photos but that would’ve been weird so I went searching instead.

We started out using the wall to work on our downward facing dog pose.

Sorry, I couldn't resist!

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Only instead of placing our paws hands on the floor, we were standing and placed them on the wall. We also transitioned from downward dog to plank, did some side planks, and then worked on our chatarunga, which is one of the most challenging yoga moves for me personally. The instructor said it was good to practice on the wall because some of our body weight is still in our legs and not so much pressure is placed on the wrists. This must have worked because today, my triceps are really sore!

This is what it normally looks like on the floor:

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After doing this for a while, we started working on triangle and warrior II, placing the little toe side of our back foot against the wall for support and our hand for balance if we needed it. It was during these poses (especially triangle) that the instructor noticed my tendency to hyper-extend my legs. I’ve always been conscious of this but she helped show me a way to put a slight bend in the knee and engage the calf and thigh in order to get the same strengthening effect in the leg without hurting the joints. I love how I learn something new every time I do yoga!

Triangle - I used a block under the front hand

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Does anyone else sing "The Warrior" by Scandal when they do this?

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But my favorite time of this class had to be when we did half moon pose. This is one I feel like I can NEVER do, mostly because I don’t practice it much. But I can never get my leg up very far or keep my balance very long. We started out in triangle, then turned a bit and extended the back leg up the wall. The full expression of the pose is like this:

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So just picture that with that back foot against the wall and that front hand on a block and you get me :) We did each side a couple of times and eventually, when we felt comfortable, we could gradually remove the foot from the wall. It was amazing! I felt such a sense of confidence from being able to do these more challenging poses, not to mention the incredible stretching!

After all those standing poses, we finally sat down and did some bridges with our feet up on the wall.

What bridge pose normally looks like

For relaxation, we did some legs up the wall and lying down spinal twists (not using the wall) then shavasana. It felt so good do this after all that hard work:

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I was so glad that I went to this class, it was meant to be. I’m definitely going to have to practice some of these poses on the wall at home. And maybe go back to this class next Thursday too :)

Back to one

If any of you follow River City Fitness, you may have seen yesterday that I have decided to go back to one blog only. I don’t know why I thought I could keep up with two separate blogs when I have enough trouble keeping up with one sometimes!

Anyway, everything I do will be over here now. Food, running, yoga, life, everything. I no longer feel the need to define my blog or have it live up to it’s name all the time. It’s just my blog, about me, and eating is just one thing I do :)

I have no plans to delete RCF but everything from there has been moved over here so there’s really no need to visit that page anymore. What held me up from making this decision for a long time was the fear that I’d lose my Race Recaps page, but it’s here too!

Thanks for all the support, I hope to be back to regular blogging soon! In the meantime, you can ‘Like’ this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter if you are so inclined.

Thanks!
Sarah

Losing focus & 30 days of yoga

I have not made it to Body Pump this entire week!

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Yesterday, I was just way too tired because I had stayed up late on Wednesday night and had some house cleaning to do for this weekend.

And on Tuesday, I was way too sore from a yoga class that I took on Monday night. It was seriously the most intense class I have ever been to. I was sweating like I was in hot yoga only it was just a regular, air conditioned room.

Now, to me, the point of yoga is not to sweat as much as you can, burn a lot of calories, or to be extremely sore the next day. What I like about yoga is that it makes me feel leaner and longer, plus it gives me so much mental peace and happiness. It also stretches out the tight spots I get from all the walking, running and other activities I inflict on my body.

And it’s fun to challenge yourself in new ways you didn’t know were possible. That’s what happened in this class and that’s why I was a bit sore Tuesday. We did some long holds in chair pose and with support, I got to do wheel again! I hope someday I can do this one on my own. ;-)

I recently read about Healthy Ashley’s 30 Days of Yoga challenge, where she is committing to doing at least 10 minutes of yoga per day for 30 days. This caught my attention and I totally intend to at least give it a shot. I mean, certainly I can do 10 minutes, right? Sometimes I stand in tree pose while I’m waiting for dinner to finish cooking. ;-)

But then again, as a person who enjoys multiple forms of exercise, I have a hard time staying focused on any one (or two) activity in order to see real progress. I jump around between running, weight lifting, yoga, walking, etc. so much that I don’t stick with one thing for very long or I neglect one activity for another.

So what should I do?

I think this is happening because I do not have a specific goal. No races to train for (yet) and nothing else really motivating me right now.

I don’t like choosing between so many things I enjoy but is it really realistic for me to think that I can run, walk, do yoga and Body Pump each multiple times in one week? There are just not enough hours or days.

If I were able to fit them all in, I feel like I would be doing each thing one day and then not devoting enough time to anything to keep it up.

Hmm…deep thoughts for a Friday afternoon!

I feel so distracted right now. Did I mention my high school reunion is tomorrow?! Perhaps I should wait until Sunday to make any major decisions. ;-)

What are your favorite forms of exercise? Are you able to fit them all in?

Make a plan and do it!

After the race on Saturday, I took Sunday off to rest and get my usual household chores taken care of. Then on Monday, I was too busy. Tuesday, I didn’t feel good. Somehow I haven’t exercised since last Saturday!

I’m all about listening to one’s body but I think this has gone a step further than that and I have become incredibly unbalanced.

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Normally, this would not be a problem and honestly a welcome break every now and then, but this has happened two weeks in a row. My concern is not about vanity or worrying about gaining a few pounds, I know that not exercising more regularly than I have been is just not good for my health.

In fact, I was starting to wonder if the sickness I keep getting off and on might be due to the fact that I’m not moving as much as I usually do? Or have I cut back on exercising because I don’t feel good? I’ve had a sort of chicken/egg conversation going on in my head the past few days!

Last night, I felt like it was time to put my feelings onto paper and make a “plan” as to what I can do about it. Here is what I wrote:

Tuesday May 18th, 2010:

Ugh, I feel awful. Why?

  • Too much food (after dinner)
  • No exercise since Saturday
  • Sore throat/cough/congestion 
  • I gotta move!
  • The foods I am eating are okay, not exercising ISN’T.

Game Plan

Tomorrow, I will…

  • Start the day off with yoga (check, thanks Exercise TV!)
  • Eat a healthy breakfast and drink some tea (check)
  • Take 2, 15 minute walk breaks at work (check 1 of 2, so far)
  • Do yoga class at work (check) or run
  • Do another short workout this afternoon (if time permits)
  • Drink lots of water and tea (so far, so good, check)
  • Enjoy girl’s night tonight!

Man, it felt good to write all of that out. Not only was I able to acknowledge that I was feeling bad, I was able to move on and set a plan into motion so that I won’t feel bad anymore!

As you can see, I have already met more than half of my goals for the day. They are all simple little things that add up to me feeling better. I’m all about adding up the little things :)

And I’m feeling great today…

Exercise TV: Yoga Fitness Plus

Yesterday, I took a day off to spend the day with my husband, see a movie and attend a concert! But earlier in the day I took my dog for a 2 mile walk, so we both got some exercise :)

This afternoon, I sort of felt like taking a nap but instead, I decided to wake myself up with a invigorating yoga routine! I looked up the Exercise TV programs on my cable box and found Yoga Fitness Plus with Elise Gulan.

The program was really challenging, including a lot of strength and ab moves and a lot of advanced poses that I am not quite ready for. But the instructor would indicate what someone at a lower level can do.

Usually, I would get annoyed with a really vigorous yoga program and just turn it off but instead of getting frustrated, I just went down into child’s pose or stayed in downward facing dog when I felt like I needed a rest or couldn’t do what the instructor was demonstrating. This was the first time I had ever done that!

One thing I did not like about this program was that there was no relaxation at the end. After an intense workout, that is my favorite part! But it is definitely a good one to do if you are looking to work up a sweat and get your muscles on fire.

It felt really good to be doing yoga again after quite the (unintentional?) hiatus. I look forward to trying more programs and hopefully getting back into classes again soon!

Do you prefer yoga classes (or videos) or do you like to do your own flow?

What's next?

As soon as a big race is over, I’m always left wondering what my next challenge will be.

For the past 16 weeks, I have been mostly focused on training for the mini marathon and now I have a little down time to do some different things and run a bunch of really fun 5K races!

But what else will I do next?

Today, I did a challenging 15 minute incline walk on the treadmill, one set of a full body workout with weights, and some ab exercises. I usually do 25 reps of each ab move but today I noticed they were much stronger, so I went up to 35. That’s the key to keep exercises working for you — either increase the weight, the reps, or change the moves completely!

I’ve been thinking of doing a 30 day ab challenge this summer. It is the most neglected area of my body and yet it is so vital to all the things I do, whether it’s sitting at my desk at work or running mini marathons…I need a strong core!

I also miss yoga terribly, I cannot even tell you the last class I took or did on my own at home. This is a travesty! Yoga can be expensive but there are so many options available for all budgets. I just need to make an effort. I also want to try Hot Yoga again soon :)

In addition, Josh admitted that he is not really using his gym membership. While I am sad that he’s not been going, you can only lead a horse to water. And we both agreed that someone should get use out of it, so we are having it transferred into my name!

The gym he goes to is not quite as nice as Urban Active but it will come in handy on the weekends and in bad weather. Plus, they have Body Pump classes :)

I’m also toying with the idea of running the Louisville Half Marathon in October. But I have a little time to decide. I figure if I do register for it, I will have to start training in July. So we’ll see!

As you can can probably tell, I’m sort of all over the place, but I like to think it all balances out :)

What are your fitness goals for the summer?

Yoga and resting

Wow, you guys! I am seriously sore today. Jackie wasn’t kidding when she said her workout would sculpt the glutes, ha ha!

I’m also feeling kind of tired mentally, so I decided to take a rest day and just attend an easy yoga class here at work. WRONG! Today was the day the easy teacher decided to do some challenging poses.

After lots of triangles, sun salutations, eagles, etc. I am even more tired now than I was earlier today. Oh well, at least I can rest this afternoon and tonight, right?

Do you take rest days? What do you do?

Glorious yoga

I went to another yoga class at my workplace today and it was AWESOME!

I really love the instructor, only the 2nd male I’ve ever had, and the class included a lot of my favorite poses (pigeon, Warrior Series, etc.) and a few that I had never tried…like Eagle.

When I left, my legs were feeling it and I felt totally at peace and calm. There is nothing quite like how a good yoga class can make you feel.

This was my third yoga class this week and I am feeling so good about everything, including my training. I can almost attribute the “frustrating” weeks of my training program to those when I did not include yoga!

Tomorrow, I get to visit my friend Carrie at Eternal Health Yoga and I can’t wait. That will make 4 yoga classes this week, woo hoo!

Do you practice yoga regularly? Do you find that it enhances your fitness program (not to mention overall well-being)?

Two in a row

I recently posted on Twitter asking other running bloggers how often they run. Some said 5-6 days a week, some 3 or 4, with alternating days. Everyone is different!

I had started to think that perhaps I needed to cut down to 3-4 and try not to run two consecutive days anymore because I’m worried about injuries and getting burned out like I did last time I trained for a mini marathon.

So since I ran two miles yesterday, technically I should have just laid low today. But since I like to do long runs on Saturdays (not that I have in a while) I want a day off before that.

So I headed to the gym and went right over to the Cardio Cinema. They were showing “Gone in 60 Seconds” this time. Definitely not a favorite, but still fun to watch while running.

Holy crap, that movie is 10 years old. What?!

Oh yeah, I ran 3 miles in 32:57!

When I first started, my hip felt tight and my knee hurt a bit but after the first mile, I was good to go. I’m so glad I ran today and didn’t talk myself out of it. Now I can rest tomorrow and get ready for Saturday :)

I also took a yoga class today which ended up being taught by the same instructor that I got frustrated with once before. But luckily, I changed my attitude, realized the class was about my practice, and it ended up being okay. Not great, but okay!

How often do you run?

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