Wednesday, July 31, 2013

30 weeks & another 30 day challenge

My body certainly *seems* ready for baby but my house? My schedule? My BRAIN??  Not so much.  Time has just flown by and it doesn't seem like many minutes pass between the "publish" click and the "write a new post" click in these weekly updates.

I've managed to stay on top of my fitness throughout my pregnancy and although I've gained more weight at this point than I would have expected (with still 10 weeks to go!), I feel fantastic and overall I am pretty confident that I will bounce back to my normal self in no time if I stick with it.  I don't own a scale and have never obsessed or even thought about the numbers I see there on doctor visits (the only time I know how much I weigh), unless it surprises me. It's really relative though, isn't it?  Our image of ourselves is far worse than what anyone sees so really it should be about how you feel, how your clothes fit and how good you feel about yourself.  The "number" has a tendency to skew that perspective and normally, for the worse.  So why bother with that?  I like to see the muscle tone in my quads when I pass a mirror or a slight chisel in my shoulders in random photos rather than what number pops up on the scale. 

So having said all that, I realized that I wanted to work on that muscle tone some more.  With running and biking coming off of the equation and those two types of exercises being what I depended on most to keep my legs in great shape (especially cycling), I've taken up a new challenge.  What the heck.

My friends are doing a squat challenge that seemed absolutely crazy to me (and my knees would concur). The number of daily reps just seemed like a recipe for injury, in my opinion, and one that my body would not respond well to as I know from experience.  The one I have started is put together by Rebekah Borucki. I follow her on Instagram (that thing again?) and she is quite the go-getter. She's a mother of 4, wife, business owner and mostly a great motivator to get moving in the right direction with healthy lifestyle habits.  She has an awesome website filled with blog posts and videos on meditation, yoga exercises, recipes and basically all things to help get you to a "truly, happy, healthy and fulfilled life" via her "Blissed In Network" Check her out here --->   This is the squat challenge I'm working on now.


So here's the update for the week before another week has passed me hubby (and #1 supporter of my fitness regimen) has been pulling a crazy work schedule so it's kept me away from some of my "normal" routine while he travels.  My challenges have not been 100% consistent but playing catch up keeps me on track where I end up doubling up or spend extra time practicing.

M - Hubby out - Yoga challenges for Day 22 & 23
T - Hubby out - Off - Math and Reading with big kiddos
W - Aerial Tone at lunch, Day 24 Yoga challenge & Master Swim in the evening.
WU 800 (same as usual)
400 3,5,6 breath intervals
200 BR
100 EZ free (cut workout short for nephew's going away dinner)
TH - Day squat challenge - 25 + 1.03 plank, Day 25 yoga challenge and practice of Day 26
F - 30 squats, 1:07 plank and day 26 practice
S - 35 squats, 1:03 plank
S - 40 squats, Yoga Challenges Day 26, 27 & 28 (forgot my plank! ah!) - spent the day at water park type resort which kept me walking, climbing stairs and lugging my teletubby body in and out of tubes...THAT was a workout (and a quite a sight!)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Week 29 update from all angles

Looking back at this week from memory, I would say "wow, 3rd trimester got the best of me and I didn't do a whole lot".  By looking at my notepad entry of workouts, however, I'd say I did TOO much!  Why on earth I felt like I was a slacker is beyond me but I am thinking it has something to do with the way I felt physically at the end of the week or better yet, at exactly the time I was thinking back (presently in week 30, that is).

I had a strong week of workouts and I even did a better job of eating fairly balanced meals including morning smoothies with all the power punch ingredients I've never really tried before...coconut oil, kale, chia seeds and a host of different fruits.

I ran out of gas by the end of the week which really skewed my perspective.  But by the looks of things, with good reason...I wore myself out! 

Here's the wrap up:

Monday - 1700M Masters Swim
wu 200 free
wu 200 kick
wu 200 pull
wu 200 1 arm drill
WO 200 5 stroke breath int
WO 100 3 stroke breath int
WO 50 5 stroke breath int
WO 100 easy breast
WO 200 5 stroke breath int
WO 100 3 stroke breath int
WO 50 5 stroke breath int
cd 100 easy free
Day 15 yoga ToeKillerAsana
Practice Day 16 (argh) of Yogangsters challenge (Bhujipadasana)

Tuesday - Travelling daddy = fulltime mama duty after work and welcomed physical rest & no complaints. :)

Wednesday - Pulled a double hedging the ominous rain storms...Lunchtime Aerial Tone (so tough after a couple of weeks off) and made it to MasterSwim to find out it was cancelled but I pulled out a saved workout and made my own 1600M swim plan. :)
w/u same as above total 800M
WO 200 br
3x 50k50p100fast (My son came with me and timed these...made it go by even faster and got a heck of a workout...phew!)
Day 17 (easy leaning tree thankfully) & another try at 16 (ugh! probably not the best to try this after Aerial AND wrists, arms and quads were toast.)

Thursday - Total recovery day...even went to sleep before midnight!

Friday - Rested for the most part but couldn't help but spend some timecatching up on Yoga Challenge poses Days 18 19 & 20 (High Lunge w Eagle Arms, Prasarita (which I ended up redoing) and the awkard Archer Pose, respectively)

Saturday - Decided to venture out for a "walk" which of course, less than half mile in, turns into a 3.5 run.  I ran to the neighborhood park since this was a "trial" run because 1- it was hot and the park offers partial shade and a water fountain 2- it has a nice new padded track and 3- it's near by so I can easily walk back home if I felt too tired.  I redid Yoga day 19 while there and it turned out to be a nice stretch.
Double perspective with the #Dblcam App
All in all, I felt great during the actual run.  I came home to cool down and rest and realized that the run completely wiped me out.  I felt pretty worthless the rest of the day.  So much so that I was dreading a party later that evening because I didn't know if I could handle wearing my cowboy boots and standing/dancing for an extended period of time.  I wanted nothing more than to just LAY.

I managed a short nap and recovered fairly well...enough to boot scoot with my honey and have a great time...(I did reserve a stool to keep me off my feet as long as possible, though)

Sunday - I was going to pass on the day 21 (Koundinyasana II Variation) challenge because it looked too difficult and because I was both sore and tired.  I downloaded a book, which I haven't done in well over a year and had full intention of reading on the couch and veging out all evening.

My daughter on the other hand, was working on her pose when her dad decided to give it a try.  They took photos of each other and I kept hearing "oh, I can do better, let me try it again"...I found this amusing and it made me quite happy to see them doing this together.  I couldn't let this all go down without at least giving it a try.  Ugh.  It was so hard.  I tried one way and then another and when I finally felt something "click" I knew I could do it in some modified way.  My biggest issue with this pose (aside the fact that I have a baby in me and an additional 25 pounds to contend with) was my wrists.  Oh my goodness, I guess I am in the stage of the pregnancy where are all your joints loosen up and open up because they just plain hurt trying to hold my body up.
I finally got into position but getting that leg up and keeping it there was quite the challenge.  I broke a sweat and I can honestly say that I am still sore from this excerise.  My husband and kid continued with their antics and even started doing some acroyoga moves.  I was terrified but they were both having so much fun.  I honestly can't believe my eyes sometimes to see my husband participating in these things.  It makes me happy, happy, happy. :)
Two photographers = 2 angles...ha!  A face plant or two *may* have occured during this process.
I'm hoping to crack that ebook open during week 30 when I really DO slack off! ...unless I am convinced otherwise.
Happy hump day!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Swim lingo decoder: diary of a newbie Part 2

You can't teach an old dog new tricks they say.  Learning how to read a swim workout is a new trick I wasn't prepared for.  I thought swimming involved nothing more than a large body of water, arms and legs moving simultaneously and breathing. In some sort of coordinated effort. Oh what a simpleton I was to think that!

Once I figured out how to work on that coordination, which by the way I am happily improving on with every Masters class I attend, I realized that there is a shorthand of terms that are thrown about haphazardly around the pool.  I never noticed before because I was busy with the basics or perhaps I was thinking that was a "pro" language that surely I would never have to learn.  I was wrong.

Whenever a coach can't make practice, the weather is bad (it's cold) or if there is a long holiday break when no classes are being held, it is customary to get an emailed workout from the coach.  My first email back when I was pregnant with #3 in 2011, looked like this:

I did not follow this workout. Obvs!  My eyes crossed a little and I gave up on trying to translate this into English.  I just went up to the pool and swam mundanely back and forth, trying ever so hard to not lose count of how many laps I'd put in (was that 19 or 21? Ugh!).  This particular coach is not very consistent with how she writes her workouts up because the next one looked like this:

Oh my goodness.  Whaaat??? I could decipher about a 3rd of that message (and reading it now, there are still things that I don't know!)  So, I passed but going to the pool again and just counting 1, 2, 18, 32, 47 can get REALLY boring.  I started looking into buying a waterproof mp3 player to help pass the time and after a few web searches I instead decided to put that effort into LEARNING what the heck all that mumbo jumbo meant.

So here is a swimmer's lingo translator for beginners.  FOR BEGINNERS.  Which I am still.  I am sure there are bunch of other terms and shorthand that I am completely unaware of and I'll be sure to include that in the Intermediate or Advanced installment of this post (if I ever get there).

First and foremost...laps or lengths?  I thought a lap was point A to B. WRONG.  THAT is a length. Point A to B and BACK to A is a lap.  So...if you swim 20 laps, you have gone the LENGTH of the pool 40 times.

Pool distance.  That's another doozy beginner's are unaware of.  How long is the length of pool you are swimming in?  Most people have no clue but in my case, the club owner and the swim director are always willing to stop by and chat and they for sure knew the answer when I asked.  The majority of lap pools are 25 yards or 25 meters.  Bigger fitness facilities or aquatic centers will have a 50M or Olympic sized pools.

So, in a 25M pool, if you swim a "100" you've gone 2 laps or 4 lengths of the pool.  Easy peazy, right?

100M = 2laps = 4lengths

To expand on that for the sake of relativity:

1 mile = 1609.34 meters = 32.19 laps = 64.37 lengths
.5 mile = 804.67 meter = 16.09 laps = 32.19 lengths

Sprint Triathlon - usually .5 mile or 750M (but can be shorter (200-500) & sometimes referred to as a "Super Sprint")
Olympic Triathlon - .93 miles
Half Ironman (IM) - 1.2 miles
Full IM - 2.4 miles (!!!!!)

Easy to see how counting back and forth can be a chore, not to mention incredibly easy to lose track.  In my case, I end up swimming "extra" just in case so I don't short change my work out.  And that's just crazy talk.

Usually a swim workout is structured like any other workout, start with a warm up, have a main work out and then a cool down to wrap it up.  My warm up has consistently looked like this:

200 easy free
200 pull
200 kick
200 1 arm free

That's a half mile warm up right there.  In my past life, I would just call it a day right then! But in layman's terms, this is what that means:

Free - Freestyle swimming or the "Front Crawl"
Pull - Using a pull buoy between your legs so only your arms are activated during your swim.
Kick - Using a kick board so your arms rest and your legs do all the work.
1 arm - I am sure there is a more technical name for this but it basically means swimming freestyle using the right arm only going up one length and only the left coming back.
Easy - or "EZ" not necessarily slow, but a good time to be aware of form.

The main workout can be configured in many different ways to either focus on speed, form, breathing, etc.  I really like that there is a format because the monotony goes away and before you know it, you've swam at least a good mile and probably more in an hour's long class.

What I didn't know until last week that I know now is the "3,5,7 breathing" talk going on in that second email up there.  Since I started drafting this post, I had a workout that consisted of something just like it.  It's a breathing interval workout where (as in the above example) you'd swim 200 (4 laps) using a Pull Buoy (arms only) and every 50 within that (1 lap) you alter breathing patterns by taking a breath every 3 arm strokes, then every 5 strokes for the next 50 and so on. 

As someone (a 29 week pregnant lady) that needs every bit of air they can in a workout, my intervals were more like 3,4,5,4,3 and when things got tough at 5, I'd ratchet down.  The rest of my class this week was going up to 8 I think.  (Also while my workouts tap out at about 1800M theirs usually go to anywhere between 2000-2400M).

Sometimes the workout will say "drill" which means you can choose what drill to use during that particular part of the work out.  I have not been exposed to a whole lot of drills but since you're out here on the internet, you know there is a plethora of information out here with ideas.  I did a quick search a found a few places that have more useful information including drill and full blown workouts...check them out!

This is all just scratches the surface of what all you can do during a swim workout.  It's always nice to have a class to join for the comraderie, motivation and extra push but if you can't and do have access to a pool, there's no reason to make it a fruitful and fun workout.  In addition to the pull buoy, kickboard, swim cap and goggles in your bag (and the snorkel I mentioned here), you can also add some extra gear to make things a little more interesting.   Paddles, flippers, ankle weights and gloves can all work on conditioning and'll just need a bigger bag! And don't get me started on the gadgets...mp3 players, lap counters, stop watches and watches that track everything from heartrate to distance, pace, splits, stroke rate, etc.  
Photo credit:
For me, I'm keeping it simple and just trying to keep up with the Master Swimmers by doing as much of the workout as possible while still feeling comfortable and not over doing it.  I'd love to swim all the way through the end of the pregnancy and get started back up post baby as soon as I am able. My coach, who has been very encouraging and who called me a "hero" this week, has already been alerted that my goal post baby is to come back ready to ditch the snorkel and kick it in to high gear.  We will do just that and then watch out! Ha!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Week 28 update and a shift in gears

This week marks the start of the third trimester and as important as exercise and fitness has been thus far in keeping in tip-top shape ready for baby (and after), drinking plenty of water, nutrition and sleep are equally important.  I've successfully added plenty of water to my daily intake (thankful for the crushed ice machine at work that makes it so much easier) and this week I experimented for the first time with making smoothies and trying KALE! I've been trying to be more cognizant of what exactly I eat and don't eat and am working on getting a routine on that too.  More on that later...
My first Kale smoothie!
The summer months have always been bittersweet for me.  Having the kids out of school and working full time during these short and sometimes long 2.5 months is a difficult thing to balance.  I want them to have all the fun in the world but I am limited to certain hours of the day that I can do those things with them.  Mainly, in the evening after work.  Our bedtimes have been nothing less than midnight as a result and I found that only sleeping 6 hours a night for several weeks straight (when you are use to 7-8) has a way of creeping up on you.  That endless amount of energy seems to suddenly tap out and it kind of feels like hitting a brick wall. The Saturday morning Masters class is hard to make when you wake up after it's over! Whoops!

My exercise regimen slowed a little this week not just because I needed to catch up on my Zzzzz's some but also because some of my options have been pulled from play.  For starters, my evening Aerial Tone class has been temporarily moved to a night that conflicts with Masters Swim.  Secondly, I've cut out running for the time being because it has been so dreadfully hot at the times when I can run.  Not to mention that the lack of sleep has made me too tired to have the desire to lace up when it's that miserable outside as well.  Thirdly, since I had that flat on my bike, I noticed a few days later that the tire is flat again which means that there must be something still stuck in the tire that I must have missed. To add to that, I had some accident filled visions when I started riding last know, the what if scenarios that run through your head in quick second pictures in you brain (or is that just me?) that cause you to be EXTRA cautious? After warming up though, these thoughts go away and the ride is fine but still, you can't ignore that a bike sitting with a flat in the garage combined with these images is not some sort of sign that long distance solo cycling should come off of the list as things to do at 28 weeks pregnant.  I feel perfectly okay while riding in fact I LOVE IT but I am erring on the side of safety for fear of having a freak wreck because my tire gets stuck in a crack or a crazy squirrel runs out in front of me and I lose control.  Better safe than sorry.

Having prefaced this update with all that I'll say that I do intend to maybe add treadmill runs (although I hate those), spin classes or even ride on the trainer (hate that too) as well breaking away and getting the Aerial class in during lunch.  We'll see how I manage that.

Here is the update for week 28:

M- 1500M Masters Swim:
200 Easy Free
200 Pull
200 Kick
200 1 arm drill
200 Breast (a first for me...awkward but different is good)
400 timed free
2 x 50 25breast 25 free
Yoga challenge Day 8 - Kneeling Crescent (an easy one and a great shoulder, back & quad stretch post swim)
T- Yoga Challenges for Day 9 & 10
Revolved Downward Dog & Head to Knee Forward Bend
These both took a lot of warming up and stretching and I'd say we were doing Yoga for a good hour.

W- 1500M Masters Swim:
200 free
200 pull
200 kick
200 1 arm drill
100 alternating 25s 3, 5
10 x 25 kick 45RI (full class race) Ahh!!!
6 x 25 alternating 4,5 20RI (the rest of the class was at 8x @ 4,5,6,7,8,7,6,5)
200 easy free
Yoga Challenge - Rooster (I thought this was going to be easy...doing it post swim at a late hour I realized just how hard it was.  I felt like a pretzel most of the time practicing and am absolutely amazed I was able to get off the ground)
TH- Easy stretching and Day 12 Yoga Challenge - Half Bound Extended Side Angle Pose
F- Did some serious Salsa & Merengue dancing at a birthday party with 4" heels. If you don't think dancing is a workout, I'll tell you my quads were still sore from it the next morning.  So yes, it counts!! (plus, waaaaay fun!)
S- Missed Masters Swim but got plenty of sleep.  Hooray! Spent a good amount of time working on Day 13 of our Yoga Challenge - Extended Leg Wheel Pose.  Wow.  What a doozy.  I think I will be coming back to this one quite a bit post baby just so that I can compare improvements.  I got the leg up but only in a headstand position.  I felt like I was pulling a calf muscle so I didn't stay there very long.  (This is likely due to that kick race in swim class).  I was not happy with my regular wheel so I left it for later.

We also got a bike ride in on the new downtown trails later... no one took the mountain bike off the table, right? :)  Side note: I thought this was going to be a leisurely ride but I found that pushing that heavy bike was a heck of a workout especially on my calves (oh, yea...NOW I see a pattern. I didn't realize it at the time, just now as I type it out. Ha!).
Worked on wheel again.  Killing my calves here and hammies too.  Almost felt them pulling while trying to do this again but finally happy with the result (all things considered). I practiced day 14 momentarily - tucked leg Headstand and realized that I was just not into it.  I have zero core control so pushing up and having the wall "save" me was fine by me.  I thought I'd try it again on Sunday.
A little "acroyoga" with the babe while working on the extended leg wheel early in the day and finally happy with a regular handstand Wheel post bike ride. 
S- Slept in and ran errands - complete much needed OFF day. Didn't even bother with the Yoga Challenge. But I did come close to cracking my kid's Fruit Ninja score! Haha! This a challenge that they put upon me the day before that I am DETERMINED not only to beat but also to set a new high score for THEM. :p

Stay tuned for week 29 updates as well as the results of my smoothie experimentation.  I found some yummy and healthy ingredients and recipes I can't wait to share!  Also, stay tuned to find out how this whole Fruit Ninja thing works out.  ;)

Happy Monday!


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

27 weeks and SUP we go!

Nearing the end of the 2nd trimester and there's no denying, I'm feeling pregnant now.  The energy to get up and GO is not quite as abundant, however, I feel that more so when I am sitting for extended periods or with idle time.  It seems more difficult to get up and go DO something when I'm sedentary but once I'm "doing", I feel fantastic!  If I can only figure out that happy medium so that I don't have these wild swings from one end to another. :/

I did manage to keep a little active during the holiday break however, even trying out new fun things that the whole family could enjoy!  I've been wanting to try "SUP" (Stand Up Paddleboarding) for a couple of years now and was determined to get it in this year. Specifically, I wanted to try SUP Yoga - where you take a yoga class while on the board.  I figured I have to crawl before I walk so getting on the board first would be a big accomplishment.  Finding a place that offers this type of class may be a little more challenging but at the very least, I could attempt balancing into some poses (just to see if I could do it) if I can get myself on a board.

Two failed attempts over Spring Break and our early Summer vacation was making feel like it was just not meant to be (too windy or cold).  I knew the 4 day weekend would lend itself to give it another go but I also knew that it would require buy-in from the family (i.e. the other half).  Luckily, my other half is in tune with what I'm thinking and SO sweet and thoughtful that he kept this in the back of his mind and decided to surprise us (really, me) with a getaway to do just that...SUP! YIPPEE!!!  He did all the research on where we should go and even had a game plan (wha-what?)

I was pretty ecstatic particularly because I've been really yearning to be near the water.  Maybe it's the Florida beach girl in me that just equates summer with water fun.  Unfortunately, the beaches around here are...well, let's just say that they leave much to be desired (compared to what I know).  We do, however, have plenty of lakes.  Finding one that offers SUP rentals are few and far between though. We went to Austin where they are making a big splash with trying to get the word out about SUP, pun intended.  And when I say splash, I mean that at SUPATX , they have the largest paddle board fleet in the world!  They have all the boards and they have Canoes and single, double and triple kayaks too!

It was a trial run for us so we had a few boards and a triple kayak that we could switch off into and put the baby on that had a bit more stability (although she really liked being on the board too!) I really thought that I would have some serious balance issues and would end up falling off a bunch but I am happy to report that I never fell!  You basically start paddling slowly on your knees, find your balance and step up to standing with a wide stance and ta-da you are SUPping!  It's a bit of a slow movement but a great arm workout to get you going across the lake.  We pulled over and played in the water for a while.  The kids battled each other off the boards a la American Gladiator style and the baby eagerly jumped off the kayak to get in on part of the action too.  The water was very refreshing and cool on a hot and sunny Texas day and I honestly did not want to go back.  I could have stayed there all day.

My water camera is awful.  I can't believe the resolution is so bad on something we paid so much for. :( 
We managed to get our yoga challenge poses in for the day too (two checks off my wants list!) but before we could get more fun pictures, we realized the wind had drifted us downstream and we had a LONG way to get back. With a HEAD wind!  This is where the workout came in to play, big time.  Kayaking back with the baby was a breeze but keeping track of three very playful kids on their SUPs was a little more difficult.  The current was pushing them back so we were running interference to get them moving in the right direction.   I swapped out and paddle boarded all the way back and by the time we were done by shoulders were burning (oooh, so good!). :)

All in all, a great time was had by all and the next morning I heard "let's do that again!".  So now, I am searching for a lake that is in closer proximity so that we can make this a common weekend excursion throughout the summer.  I highly recommend giving this a try.  I, for one, cannot wait to do it again!

Ah, yes let's not forget our 27 week wrap up (via iphone screen shots):

That pretty much wraps up the second trimester (already?!).  I am really curious to see what the next trimester brings and how active I can stay.  Stay tuned! :)


Monday, July 1, 2013

26 week update

Still keeping at it! I feel great for workouts but the shortest of stairs take the wind right out of me. It must be the triple digit heat. ?

Here's this week's update straight off my notepad. 
Week 26
M - 1350swim
200 free
200 kick
200 pull
200 1 arm
2 x 200 pull
150 free
Yoga challenge - eagle twist
T - plank 1:35
W - AerialTone yogax2 headstand/
forearm handstand/split, plank 1:40
Th - swim 1600
200 free
200 kick
200 pull
200 free
200 1 arm
5 x 100 timed free
100 easy free (hey, that's a mile!)
Yoga challenge - deep lunge
F - bike 13.5m - flat tire at last mile :(
S - yoga - standing split with foot grab (translation: intense ham string stretching & warming up to even attempt this contortionist move) I'm calling this a leg workout considering how sore I still am. 
S -yoga - lotus & final day of challenge. We did it!

Here's a pic of the final #YogainSpace challenge for June. A nice meditative lotus position amongst blue trees. 

I feel like I've come so far throughout the month, testing my physical & mental  ability in working through these poses. 
It's been really fantastic to see that I CAN do it if I just give it a try & work through it.  I'm especially grateful for the bonding time between my 11YO daughter & I. She's really enjoying yoga & is pushing herself daily (hourly) to go further. Hence, why we are embarking on continuing with the July challenge as well (#Yogangsters). This should be interesting especially since I'll be between weeks 27 & 31 of the pregnancy!  

Stay tuned to see my progress & some, what will sure to be, blooper attempts at these poses later in the month. :)

Happy Monday & cheers to a short week!