Weekly Rundown, 3/18-3/24

This week seemed to fly by! And the weather got nicer and nicer. Well, warmer and warmer, we did have a bit of rain. Dang, I hate mud season.

First there is there’s ice so I can’t ride, and now there is the mud, so I have nowhere to exercise them. Blech. But I did get to run outside, so progress is being made. Not so much for Daisy, our dirt road was too muddy for her to walk on often. But soon.

Monday: mostly off. I did do 16 minutes of stretching yoga when I got home for work. Absolutely made me feel better 🙂 Just the few minutes of breathing and simple stretches relaxed me and made me ready to take on the week. Which was good, since we were super busy at the lab!

Tuesday: a morning workout before I headed to the office. I decided to keep doing those Burpees. I think they not only help my core, but my knees seem more flexible too. Definitely worth doing, so I started with 10, ran 2 quick miles (17:26) and did 10 more Burpees (sans push ups this time).

Wednesday: another morning workout. So nice to get it out of the way and not have to figure out how to fit in exercise when I get home from work. Especially with feeding the horses, dogs and hubby 😛 I did weights, 1×20 and 1×15 reps, before ending with some stretching.

Thursday: planned another morning run, but ran into a time crunch instead. So when I got home I grabbed Daisy and my husband and we did a lazy mile walk. It was nice to get her out and watch her sniff!

Friday: finally, a day out! I did my personal “5k” route and noticed immediately the difference between an open route in Maine and a treadmill! But the hills just added to the fun of being outside, and I was very happy when I got home. Especially since each mile was a hair faster than the previous.

Saturday: once more I started with Burpees, 10 of them (with push ups). Then I walked a brisk 13:39 mile on the treadmill before finishing with 2×20 weights and yoga. A great way to start my day. We took off Portland and the Boat Builders Show and gawked at some really cool boats. Two bathrooms!! And classic wood everywhere.

Only one bathroom, but two bedrooms and a sunroof!

Sunday: another walk, this one 2 miles at a fairly brisk pace on the treadmill. Then a slightly longer yoga practice, 21 minutes. Left me feeling pretty wonderful. Which was great, because then I had to clean the house!

April Yoga Challenge

My ladies at work and some others thought it would be fun to do a Yoga Challenge in April. Certainly not as difficult as the Burpee Challenge we did last month, but much more relaxing. Some of us just don’t do yoga as much as we would like, some of us hate stretching, some of us have never tried.

Whatever the reason, this will be an excellent way to both stretch and start a consistent yoga practice. We are all going to do the same routine, but will vary the poses depending on our experience and flexibility. I invite you all to play along with us.

The idea is to decide how many times a week we can do it, and how long we will hold each pose for, increasing that time each week. I am going to do the practice 5 times a week, and hold each pose for 3 breaths to start, adding a breath each week so I will be holding poses for 6 breaths on the last week. It’s our challenge, so we can decide individually how we want to run it. But once we decide, the challenge is to DO IT consistently for the month.

First (imagine this in bold flashing letters):
  this is meant to be a stretching routine. Do not try if you have any medical reason not to, and do not push any of the stretches beyond comfort level.

The best way to measure the time of the pose is with breathing.  Breathing is important in yoga, deep full breaths are far more meaningful  than actually touching your toes. Counting your breath is also easier than keeping an eye on the clock, and lets you focus on the movements. Additionally, it makes sure you are not holding your breath!

Traditionally, you should inhale as you start the pose and exhale as you deepen it. So inhale as you start, exhale as you settle in it and then try to take a deep, full breath (in and out) as you hold it. That would be holding the pose for one breath. The following week, try to add a full breath, and another the following week, increasing the duration of each pose. Slower is good, taking the air and holding it for a beat before releasing it instead of sucking in and immediately chuffing it back out.

The routine takes roughly 10 minutes. If you are starting with 1 breath, it might just take 8 minutes, by the time I get to 6 breaths it will probably top 15 minutes.

PS: these pictures are of people who clearly have been doing it forever. As long as you are reaching and breathing, whether you touch your toes or the floor is really immaterial. The practice matters, not the end result.

Yoga I

Mountain Pose
stand with feet together, and palms touching in front of your chest, then sweep arms wide out to side and overhead, touching palms as you stretch up.    Inhale as you go up, exhale on way down. These are continuous, flowing movements (as is the Forward Bend, next) so they don’t need to be held for a count of breath. Do 4 sweeps overhead before starting Forward Bends.

Forward Bend
start in Mountain Pose.  Sweep arms up, then out again as you fold forward from the hips (folding from the hips is important, bending your back at the waist can hurt your back and won’t stretch the back of your legs as well). Reach hands as far towards the floor as you can, then sweep arms up and return to Mountain Pose. Repeat 4 times.

Forward Bend with arm raise
from Mountain Pose, clasp hands behind back, roll shoulders back (inhale) and bend forward (exhale), raising arms as high as possible above your back as you bend. Release arms and sweep forward as you straighten. Do 4 times.

Standing Twist
raise arms half way out to side, drop the shoulder blades down your back (in other words, don’t hunch your shoulders, they should be down and relaxed), inhale and twist to face one side. Try to keep hips straight (ish) and use your middle to twist, not legs.

 

Tree
Start in Mountain Pose, then stand on one leg, foot secure on floor, weight in the heel. Tuck your other heel against your leg, with toe on floor or along your leg. Sweep hands out to sides and above your head, touching your palms. Stretch up as you balance and hold for your number of breaths before changing sides.

Plank
this can be done on knees or toes, your choice. From hands and knees, raise to a push up position for your number of breaths.   Keep thighs tight, core tucked in, shoulder blades together, and back straight.

Cat/Cow
on your hands and knees, inhale as you roll your shoulder blades down your back and sink your lower back, stretching your head and neck forward, chin up. As you exhale, roll your back up towards the ceiling and reach your nose towards your tummy. Repeat 4 times

Child’s Pose
from Cat, push back so arms are outstretched, forehead is on  floor and your seat is on your feet (or as close as you can get).

Staff
sit with legs, straight out and back upright.  Tighten thighs, flex feet and use core to keep upright, place hands lightly behind for balance.

Sitting Forward Bend
lean forward from hips, not waist, stretching hands toward toes (keep toes flexed if possible).

Leg Twist
leaving one leg extended, cross your other leg over, placing foot on outside of knee.  Hook opposite arm over the knee  and place other hand on floor behind hip, twist so that you are looking over the shoulder of the hand on the floor. Try to keep spine straight vertically as you twist.

Sit cross-legged.
wiggle a bit til your sitting bones are on the floor comfortably, with ankles crossed and hands on knees, back straight.

Stretch arms out to side, palms up.
Take a breath, flip palms down, continuing to stretch to side, then reach overhead, touching palms. Interlink your fingers and push palms to ceiling for a breath. Release hands, putting one on floor in line with your hip and stretch the other to ceiling as you lean over towards the hand on floor (bend the arm to lean further, or use to help keep you up). Keep opposite hip on floor to get a good side stretch, then repeat on other side. (Sorry, I couldn’t find a picture for this one!)

Resume cross leg position, hands on knees
Take a deep breath, and enjoy the time and love you just spent on yourself.

 

Weekly Rundown 3/11-3/17

Teases of spring this week 🙂

I was able to walk outside in the afternoons on my breaks without my coat and without freezing! Then, naturally, Thursday morning we got up to 4 inches of snow. Snow showers overnight indeed.

Best thing about March is that snow melts quickly.

Monday: off

Tuesday: a quick mile on the treadmill in the morning. I stretched out with 7 minutes of yoga afterwards, before getting ready to trudge off to work.

Wednesday: I decided to go a little further before work, running 2 miles in 17.44. I really need to start working on my milege. Doing just 2 miles seems so short to me, and I would like to get up to 15-20 miles a week this summer. If my knees cooperate. I don’t foresee doing a 100 mile month, but that would be so cool. Just once. Maybe a good goal for September?

Thursday: I am trying to work weights back into my rotation. I have been kinda ignoring strength training over the winter. But I know it will help my running and keep me balanced, so I did just a bit before work. I love mixing my yoga with the weights. I start in mountain pose and do some stretching of my arms and legs, then do my first set (okay, so I only did one set, but it was 1 x 20!). I break the sets by my “3-way plank”– a regular plank for 5 breaths, then one arm planks on each side for 5 breaths. A set is five moves, three arm moves alternated with two leg moves. I generally do 2 sets, but, as I said, I have been slacking big time. I finish with Down Dog and Warrior before floor stretches.

Friday: I was so tired. Not sure exactly what I did this week, but it hit me on Friday. I get Fridays off, and I had no ambition at all. I wanted a longer run, and even thought about going to the Rail Trail for an outside run. But Mother Nature brought in some rain and sitting in a chair reading sounded so much better. That also put the kabash on walking Daisy. Fortunately she likes the chair too. I managed to drag myself up around mid morning, ran some errands in town with the pups, then came home and read a little more. Finally, in late afternoon, I did get on the treadmill and did 3.6 miles, which was about what I wanted. I finished off with some Burpees (yup, I figured I should still do those occasionally) and stretching before getting around to house cleaning and dinner.

Saturday: we went snowmobiling, probably for the last time this season. There is still a ton of snow up north, off trail was probably two and half feet deep. Since I am only five feet, I tried hard to stay on trail! It was bright and shiny when we got on the sleds, but when we got up into the mountains the clouds came out, the wind gusted and snow flew.  Had a great time! I did do a brisk mile walk on the treadmill, with intervals of carrying weights, before we left. Of course, my Fitbit counts steps as I ride the sled. Since I am fighting to steer and shifting weight for curves, not to mention holding on with my legs–and standing when the trail got quite rough, which was a lot that day–I think I am going to take all those steps. As we were in the mountains, the Fitbit also thought I climbed 408 floors, which is pretty amusing 🙂 And still, after all of that, I wasn’t as tired as I was on Friday!

 

Sunday: Mother Nature ruined my plans once more. The sky was bright but the air was cool and the wind was biting. I managed to take Daisy for a mile walk, but I decided the treadmill was a better place for my run. It was one of those days when I really didn’t know what I wanted to do when I got on the treadmill. Once I got past 2 miles, I thought it would be nice to run a 5k. So I did! I had also planned on stripping the horses, and lunging them to get some early spring work in. However, the wind is so brutal, it seemed mean to take their blankets off. Also, I didn’t really want to stand outside while lunging them. They didn’t seem to mind taking the day off.

And on the third day of Spring….

….I ran outside!

I know I have done a couple runs, but they were generally to get somewhere. Today I ran just to have a nice long run out on the road.

I am proud I did because it was spontaneous and the weather was not promising. Blue sky and sun always invites us out to play. It is harder to motivate yourself to get out the door (instead of downstairs on the treadmill where you can watch tv) when there are looming gray rain clouds out there. I thought it would be raining when I got up, and when I realized that it was light out and still dry, I thought I should actually run outside.

I ran my personal 5k route (it is actually a hair over, 3.3 miles, so a good trainer) and made it up all the hills (there are nine of varying size). I am betting it was the stairs I did throughout the winter on my walk breaks at work. My time wasn’t all that great, but with hills and first run of the season, I can live with it.

I almost beat the weather. I had just hit the 2 mile  mark when I saw the first floating snowflake. At least it wasn’t rain! Within half a mile it was a steady snow/sleet mix hitting me in the face. But it was still a wonderful run, and being outside was fantastic. And now on to the rest of spring (sans snow).

 

The Burpee Challenge….

…..is done!!! Yippee ai-aaaaaa!

I finished my month of 748 Burpees on Tuesday. Our final day was 60 Burpees.  I am happy to report I did them in one set,  and they were surprisingly not difficult. I guess that means the long buildup  works! (Something to keep in mind with other goals.)

When I was doing my research into Burpees, I found that they were used in the 40s as an entrance test into our military.  If you could only do 27 in one minute, you were considered in poor shape. Excellent shape was being able to do up to 48 in the given minute.

You know I had to try that after my month, right? Apparently, I am in poor shape! I could only squeak out 26 in the minute. Of course, I suppose I shouldn’t have tried it after running 3.6 miles. But I felt fine–just slow, apparently. I guess I will just have to keep trying!

Weekly Rundown 2/25-3/4

Another cold week in Maine. I am definitely waiting for Mother Nature to relent so we can get outside on a regular basis. There is this wild rumor going around that next week should be in the 40s (farenheit). Sometimes I think the weather people just tell us these things so we don’t stone them when they walk the sidewalks!

Trees were so beautiful on a sunny day.  But I can’t wait until they have leaves on them!

I had planned a progressive run week. I feel like I haven’t been running as much or as long as I want to. So I planned 1 mile, then 2 mile, etc. Unfortunately, my knees were pretty achy and I decided discretion was the better part of valor. They have had a hard winter, and I think it is the cold.

 

 

 

Monday: A quick workout before I headed off to work. It was a snowy day, so I was rather hoping that the lab would be quiet most of the day. One bonus of going in so very early is that on stormy days, there isn’t anyone else out there to worry about! I am still going on the Burpee Challenge, and we are up to 36. I am not doing the push up Burpees, my shoulders revolted and I am giving in to them. So I did 18, then an 8:45 minute mile run and 18 more before getting ready to head out on the slippery roads.

Tuesday: off….except for those pesky Burpees. I split them again, doing 18–every other one with the push up–before feeding the horses. I came back in and realized we were supposed to do 38, not 36 (it was early, and I hadn’t had coffee yet) and did 20 more without the push ups.

Wednesday: another quick workout before work. I did a straight run of 40 Burpees then hopped on the treadmill for a brisk 12:55 mile walk.

Thursday: I got my Burpees out of the way before work, doing a set of 42. I always walk during my 15 minute break in the afternoon, it relaxes me to be active and just get away for a few minutes. In warm weather I walk outside, but I have been stuck inside for several months now. I am getting creative with my paths around the 4 floors. And I always try to get as many stairs in as I can, they’re going to help when I start on those hills this spring. On this day, I went up 3 flights, then back down 1 to walk a short path around the floor before going up 2 flights again. I repeated this all the way down to the bottom, then walked the 4 flights to the rooftop. And because I don’t like an odd number (stupid OCD), I decided I might as well walk along the bottom floor and back up to the first floor where I work for a round total of 14 flights of stairs (really, the OCD was just a good excuse to get one more flight in). When I got home I did 15 minutes of slow, stretchy yoga. It felt sooooooo good.

Friday: A marvelous day–only 1 Burpee! And it actually was warm-ish, so I got to take Daisy out for 26 minute, 1.4 mile walk. I also hung out with the horses. The blacksmith was coming to trim their toes, so I went out and petted them and took the blankets off before giving them a brush.  While I waited, I cleaned the stall and barnyard. That was a workout right there!

Char was happy to see me!

 

Saturday: Blankets were back on the horses as it was more than a little chilly again. So I got on the treadmill again, after doing 22 Burpees (with push up). I did a preset run that took 30 minutes for 2.7 miles. Then I finished the Burpees, doing 22 more without any push ups and ended with 10 minutes of stretchy yoga.

 

 

Sunday: A slightly shorter Daisy walk–I am trying to build up gradually so she can get in shape for the longer summer walks–as a warm up, then walked more briskly on the treadmill for another 1.79 miles. I split the Burpees again, doing 23 with push ups before the treadmill and 23 more without push ups after. I finished the day with 15 minutes of mostly stretchy yoga.

Weekly Rundown 2/18-2/25

I missed another week’s rundown! But nothing exciting happened that week except it was warm enough to take Daisy for an outside walk. This past week was a little busier, with more and more burpees and a trip north on Saturday. My knees have been a little achy, and I blame the cold!

Monday: Treadmill run for 2.6 miles in 23 minutes. I did a .20 warm up and cool down on either side of the run. I never used to do that, especially if I was active before the run. But I think it helps my knees, so I have been trying to be better about adding it in. I finished off with 18 burpees, a 30 second plank and 6 minutes of stretching.

Tuesday: off! An easy day and only 1 burpee required 🙂

Wednesday: I hopped on the treadmill before work for a brisk walk. I have been trying to get more walks in to save my  knees. I am aiming for fast miles, and I worked my way up to 4.7 MPH for a 13:35 mile. Followed, of course, by 2 burpees.

Thursday: Pretty much off. I had planned for weights and yoga, but life did not comply. I did manage 11 minutes of relaxing yoga (necessary after the long day) after finishing 24 burpees.

Friday: I had to go town for an appointment for my husband, then planned to go back for errands.  I didn’t want to be worrying about getting my exercise in, so I snuck a quick workout first thing. I did pretty much the same as I did on Monday–warmup, 2 miles and a cool down. And, of course, the perpetual burpees–26. But no push up, it felt like I was cheating! I did just “regular” burpees without the push up, although to me burpees with a push up are the regular ones. But my shoulders objected, and I decided it was better to do any burpee than not be able to do them after pushing too hard.

Saturday: We went snowmobiling bit further north in Maine. It was a lovely day. I did walk a quick mile (I’m improving, 13:13 this time) on the treadmill before leaving, just so I felt I got something done. I also broke my burpees into 2 sections to make life easier, with 13 before the walk and 13 after. Still no push up, didn’t want to stress my upper body before fighting with the snowmobile all day. We rode out several hours to a restaurant for lunch and then back. The ride took about 5 hours, then we had to drive home!

Sunshine was gorgeous, and the trail was perfect.

 

Sunday: Fortunately, another 1 burpee day. And a bit of rejuvenating yoga. Followed by a nap!