Thursday, February 24, 2011

It's the Little Things That Count

Yesterday was one of the best days I've had in a while. In fact, around 2pm I actually just stopped everything I was doing, stood in the middle of my living room and just thought, "Today has been a great day!" Not often does that happen...more so I'm usually sitting in class thinking, "Is it over yet?" haha.

As is typical, my morning wake up at 5am, but I'd be lying if I said at this point that I didn't like it or that I wasn't used to it. A few months ago I was convinced I would never, ever be a "true" morning know up before the sun. Which made me think I never wanna have kids because they would demand this type of thing of me. But a little motivation and a goal to work towards also demands sacrifice but in my mind it's a good one...unlike screaming children or changing dirty diapers :)

Well so and at work they are taking the internet off the computer, which actually is probably dumbest idea because that leaves me with nothing to do and it means I'll have to find other times to finish papers at the last moment. Lucky for me though they haven't taken it off of this computer yet...soakin' up the last few hours of procrastination! After work I had to dart right out and onto the bus to get to my internship. My supervisor, whom I don't think I said enough that I adore, decided we would be going out to pick up supplies for after school program, which was a nice change of pace from sitting in the office.

While we were out she and I had several nice long chats about things that were incredibly influential to me. Let me first just say that the characteristics about this woman that draw me in are strength, empathy and sense of pride in herself as an individual. She has had many unique experiences throughout her life and actually ended up serving in the military for some time. We chatted about this and I honestly have to admit that after listening to her talk about the benefits of the experience it is something that I plan on looking into and doing more research on. There is a lot of weight in the area of finances, the military will give you 50 thousand dollars toward your school debt, and while the government offers loan forgiveness after working in the field of human service for ten years, that's only on federal loans. And lord knows I have a crazy amount of private loans that I have no plan as to how I will repay them. There's also the point that my supervisor made that she felt like she was able to still keep in touch with her social work roots while in training. She said that most of the girls around her were young and she was like a mother goose, always helping them out, which was a good thing to hear. I haven't made any decisions yet and honestly I feel like I would need to do a lot of research before even saying I'm strongly considering it, but I think it was nice to know that there are options out there :)

So as I was saying, yesterday was a great day. After we finished errands and got back to the school my supervisor informed me that she would be taking a half day and told me to go home and relax. After hearing that I couldn't have been more excited, how many people can honestly say that their superior would tell them, "I'm taking a half day so you should too, go relax"? I feel like in today's day and age the work place is all about how much time, energy and effort one can squeeze out of its works and not about their well-being. This really helped instill my faith in the field I chose, that even though I have heard some horror stories and fear burn out, there are people out there that prove this wrong.

So now it is 2pm. I'm in my apartment with the afternoon at my disposal. Good moods often evoke the need for a spoiler, in which case I thought it would be a grand idea to order Thai food, and I didn't even mind when I realized I gave the delivery guy a $6 dollar tip haha. Life is good.

I decided to take a night off from my workouts. I was actually really ambivalent about this though, seeing as I got changed for the gym and left. But after a dead sprint for the bus and missing it by .25 seconds to avoid being hit by a car I figured that it would be ok to loaf around at home. Let me just say, I am happy I did. Caught up on a little junk t.v., the two weeks of the vampire diaries, which I know is really crappy teen-drama but it's a guilty pleasure that my mind loves to indulge in for the sake of a mental holiday.

Sleep didn't come as easy but I can't say I feel worn out or dragging. And even if I was I don't really have time to notice it :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Two-A-Days Tuesdays

One of the best things that I have found about owning cats is they make excellent snuggle buddies AND, get this, they even double up as alarm clocks! Nearly every night before I fall asleep, Linus will hop up on the bed with me and walk all over my stomach and chest, rubbing his face on mine and just be more adorable than there are words to describe. He often likes to repeat this process at around 4 in the morning. What's more, every time my alarm goes off he jumps up on the bed, if he isn't there already, to make sure that I get up. I'm incredibly impressed with his ability to associate this noise with my getting up, what a smart kitty!

Any who, today's Tuesday was just like every other Tuesday, opening the gym at 5:45 and having approximately just enough time to sneak in an hour workout before having to rush off to internship. I have to admit I was really bummed because last week I took off on Tuesday and Wednesday to "study" for my basic skills test, which ultimately meant me working out longer to try and relax. So going from having an unlimited amount of time at my disposal to needing to meet a deadline was a bit stressful. The only option I really had for today was to do a "two-a-day" workout and split my weights and cardio up.

After a great hour of interval cardio on the elliptical I stole a few more minutes to get a good stretch and some abs in. Yesterday my hammies hurt so bad I literally laid on the floor and demanded that Pete stretch me. Next step is to dig into the kitchen draw, pull out the rolling pin and roll those suckers out.

A hop, skip and a jump later and I'm at my elementary school running circles around myself with proposals, phone calls and copies that 5:30 came with a blink of an eye and I needed to tell myself that I couldn't go home yet because I needed to finish my workout. If I had just started working out last week this kind of motivation would be shot, BUT since I have fallen into this crazy intense mindset that I have to meet the standards I set for myself, it wasn't a problem. Although, I intended on getting in the pool as well but decided against it since it wasn't technically a swim day and getting in the pool meant changing into my suit, swimming, getting out, getting showered, getting changed and going home with a wet head...too much!

..oh and when I got home there was a nice bowl of mac-n-cheese sitting on the table for me compliments of the chef. And despite trying not to eat as much "crap" food, boxed noodles never tasted so good :)

Mile Marker

I always love a second wind. More often than not it comes at a time when I'm ready to shut down, kind of like when I tell myself I am going to go to bed by 10:30 every night but don't actually get there til makes my 5am wake ups just dandy let me tell you! But Monday was a second wind that left me with a great sense of accomplishment and motivation.

The day itself was so relaxed, all I had on my plate was an online class from 8 to 10am and the whole rest of the day was mine because my other class was canceled and thanks to the wonderful holiday known as Presidents day, my elementary school was closed. I honestly can't remember the last time I had a day like that! After listening to my prof drown on about his life in relation to social policy and something about the biopsychosocial assessment and I can scratch off one less week of these miserable classes!

With all of the time on my plate I figured the best way to spend my day was by attacking the ever-growing "To-Do" List of mine. One such thing that I have been meaning to do is update my ipod. So get this: just a few months ago I bought a new ipod, one of those new "minis" that is a touch screen. I was so amped up about it until I found out that it isn't compatible with my mac, which is 4 years old now and still holding on. What a bummer! Luckily my old one still works pretty well, with a few bumps and bruises, the only issue is that I couldn't find a good USB cord to hook it up to so that I could alter the music on it.....until today haha. I must have spent a good hour and a half to two hours changing and updating my music and playlists.

I have to admit, running on the treadmill is becoming slightly monotonous, and I am extremely disappointed that I was not able to get outside for the three days that the weather was nice enough to run along the lake path. BUT I still make myself go. The crazy phenomenon that happened tonight though was that new music means I run faster...I'm still not sure how to calculate this equation or how it occurs, but I'm thinking that because I don't know what song is going to play next I am motivated to not pay attention to the pain in my knees, but rather get excited for what's gonna come on next. (So maybe something like m + :) = longer/faster runs; where m = music and :) = excitement).

And so, by the end of my hour run I had met the 6 mile marker! I haven't been able to actually run for 6 miles on the treadmill yet because holding a 10 minute mile on a stationary device was psychologically barring for me. It gave me this appreciation for the how hard I have been working up til now and reminded me that I will have many more moments like this to look forward to. While still on this endorphin-induced high, I pushed through some abs, stretches and got my butt into the pool for a 30 minute interval swim. It was most excellent, let me tell you! And as is typical, by the time I got home I through on some sweats and just crashed for the night, awaiting my 4:30am alarm to start it all over again :)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Playing Catch Up

Well it happened again! Another week went by and I'm really behind on my blogs :/ Despite being a fairly organized and efficient person I still find myself playing catch up in nearly every aspect of my life...except my workouts haha. Thank goodness for small favors...although I'm pretty sure at this point if I didn't get my daily workout in I'd be a handful to deal with! So I'm off to a good start but I'm a little behind pace. And while I learned after doing the Half Marathon last year that it is NOT a good idea to push yourself early on to catch up to the pacers you think you should be following, I don't see any harm in doing it with the blog. haha.

Friday: For most people Fridays are the most beloved day of the week. There is a sense of accomplishment that comes with making it to this day because it speaks to the fact that, for most people, you have accomplished 4 days worth of work and with one more you will have two days of relaxation ahead. Notice how I said most people....I am in fact not most people, unfortunately. Fridays for me are still early morning wake ups, followed by long bus rides to downtown only to sit through a class that pathologizes the demographic in which I work within. Immediately preceding these two and a half hours of misery I have to hop another bus for an hour meeting, only to hope three more buses back to hyde park in which I can finally get in a work out! That point, when I get to get on the machine to do my cardio is my "Friday moment". This Friday was nice though because I was able to do some strength training on the treadmill. I added in my inclines, weights and intervals for a good 45 minutes. Transition into some abs and stretches and then it's off to the pool. I love being in the pool. I've spent the majority of my "younger years" in the pool, and one of my guilty secrets is that I love the smell of chlorine. When I transferred from Elmhurst College to Loyola in 2008 part of me was really upset because I would no longer get the satisfaction of having my pillow smell like chlorine in the morning from being at work at the YMCA the night before. The down side in all of this is how exhausted swimming makes you. By the time you have done your laps, gotten out, showered, taken the bus home and finally get to sit down, and I mean really sit down without having to get up a million times, I'm ready to cash in my chips. To me this is a typical Friday though.

Saturday: Gone are the days that I can sleep in on a Saturday morning. Or get up and watch cartoons. Remember that show, the Weekenders? That was one of my favorites, and honestly, sometimes I still use the phrase "Later Days" like the one blonde boy used to say at the end of every episode....I'm so 90s! Haha. Nope for me it's up and off to the pool to run my swim lesson program. As much as I'm making this sound awful I truly do love it. Imagine being a part of a full circle in swim lessons: When I was little I took these lessons, when I was in high school I taught these lessons and now at this point in my life I am running them. Pretty awesome phenomenon if you ask me :) But it's the kids that get me out of bed each morning. My instructors are great, and I love working with the high school demographic. But the little ones, there are no words for how excited I get to see them...even the ones that make me sit in puddles of water on the deck because they spend the entire 45 minutes crying, boogers running down there face and pleading with me not to make them get in. There's an image if I do say so myself. This week though I was waiting to call for lessons to be over when one of my older kids who was about to jump off the diving board does a HUGE belly flop into the water and legit soaks me from several feet away. I almost died laughing, after making sure he was ok and then complimenting him on his jump. Post swim lessons I am usually exhausted but there is still a small part of me that pushed me into the gym. I know I really should be giving myself a rest day but I have decided that a little cardio everyday isn't a bad thing and I'm not at the point right now where I feel like my body can't handle it. So I hopped on the treadmill and did some another strength based workout, only I didn't really run. I just did inclines and increase/decrease pace with my 5lb wrist weights and two 3lb weights in each hand. Don't kid yourself, I couldn't hold onto those 3lb ones the whole time, I switched off, 1 minute increments on and several off, and I only did 30 minutes of this.

But being me, being used to a 2 and a half hour workout a day, 30 minutes wasn't going to cut it. I opted for another 30 minutes on the bike, just to keep it simple. More so because I also needed to get back home and get ready for dinner with Pete's fam. But you can bet your bottom dollar tat after being up at 4:45, working and working out that I was in bed by 8pm, and it was glorious!

Sunday: One of my favorite sayings: "Messy room, messy brain". This is exactly how I have been feeling for the last week. Our apartment has been needing a good cleaning: the dishes were piling up, the kitchen floor needed to be swept and mopped, the laundry needed to be done....the list goes on! Put it into Polish cleaning lady mode and my morning/early afternoon was filled. I went from the kitchen to the bathroom to the bedroom, no dust bunny even stood a chance. And I always feel so accomplished when I finish a room and I look back and it's practically sparkling from how clean it is....or maybe that's just the soap I was using. It wasn't long after though that I was defeated by both the only washer and dryer in the entire building. I will admit that I MAY have overfilled it just a little....but apparently it was just enough to cause it to not rinse out the water. So there I am pulling shirt after sweatshirt after jeans out of the washer, ringing them out and then throwing them into the dryer. It was only after my hands were ready to fall off from the freezing cold water, that the dryer decided that it was going to just not work. Not only did it eat my quarters but I had to leave my wet clothes in there because guess what? The washer started right at that moment. You're kidding me right? Keeping a positive attitude about this whole situation, I loaded all of these soaking wet clothes into the basket and lugged what felt like the 800 pound thing up three flights of stairs where I immediately dropped it in front of the door and collapsed. Before I became one with my bed I decided there was no better time than now to go to the gym and plow through a workout. A nice hour elliptical followed by some weights was the best form of medicine to cure a broken ego. The only down side was having to work for four hours afterward, and I swear that the craziest people come to the gym on Sunday nights, almost like they know I am working!!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

"Be Patient and Tough, Someday this Pain will be Useful to You"

I love this quote. I first heard it at my internship, one of my coworkers and I were talking about how much we love motivational quotes and she shared this one with me and disclosed that it was her favorite one. Since then I have made it one of my "philosophies to live by" mainly because nearly everyday is an obstacle and there are usually more problems than there are uplifts. Just repeating this in my head does a world of good for me, and it reminds me that no task is ever too hard or ever too big to take on.

That being said, this has definitely been one of those weeks that I've needed to reference this phrase...A LOT! This may sound kind of funny or backwards but I have been trying to do workouts that kick my butt physically because every other aspect of my life kicks my butt mentally and emotionally....almost like reminding myself that I am strong enough on every level to tackle my everyday....ok go ahead and laugh at me, I know you want to. Or maybe you are thinking, "Girl you are so crazy!" I know, I'm told this on average 4-6 times a day :)

Anyways, a recap of the yesterday. Up at 5:30, out the door by 6:20, at work by 6:42...the usual. I emailed my supervisor the night before to let her know I would be in late to internship so I could get my workout in. I know I've said this before but God do I love this woman. Anyone who has enough respect for their intern to allow me to be flexible in my schedule so that I can incorporate more self protective factors like longer workouts to improve self care is a saint in my book!

I was able to get a 45 minute run in, with my weights (which was hard but I just keep telling myself it will get easier as my muscles build up tolerance!!!), some stretches/ crunches and a 25 minute swim in before I bolted for the locker room to get ready. 1:10pm. Sometimes I stop and think to myself if I counted the hours I spend at the gym/work I think it would add up to a significantly larger number than the amount of hours I'm expected to complete for my internship this year (which is 480). haha. I have just enough time to hop the 55 bus, connect to the 4 and arrive at the school to begin my proposal.

I'm absolutely ecstatic that I have the opportunity to create and facilitate a group for my 5th grade girls in the extended day program!!! I worked for probably 4 hours on this proposal, with slight interruptions from my wonderful friends on gchat :)

5pm. Time to run downtown to supervision. Catch the 4 bus, transfer to the red line at much commuting. Not to mention I completely blanked and forgot that it was rush hour so everyone was packed like sardines on the train....wanna hear a joke? Getting off the train at Chicago...hahahahaha!!! Somehow I managed to squeeze out and with an hour extra on my hands I decided to run over to Freshies, which is this amazing salad/wraps shop at the bottom of Water Tower Place...yum yum yum!!!

7pm. Despite it being kind of late, I love Wednesdays at 7pm because I get to go to Supervision where I can process everything from all three of my internships and problem solve ways to overcome obstacles. Plus, need I even say that my supervisor, (a different one from the school I was at earlier) is BEYOND AMAZING! Just when I start to feel overwhelmed and bitter towards something she hopes in there and re-instills my faith in the word I do and I love her so much for that!

8pm. Time to head to the library. I would say, overall, I am a pretty organized person and one of my biggest pet peeves is procrastination. Well....lets just say that I have a paper due tonight by 7 and another assignment to turn in around 1 that I had just barely touched on. The problem is both that I am completely unmotivated to do my school work and I didn't buy the books...correction, I didn't buy the right books which kind of screws me over for the portion of the paper that asked you to apply readings to your answer. So there I sat, for an hour making endless copies of these chapters with the books on reserve so I can finally make my way home and uhm, do these paper!? Nearly 7 dollars later and I have all that I need, I think, and I make the hour commute home on the 151 to the 6 to my apartment.

10:30pm. Coffee, coffee, coffee! I haven't had coffee in almost a month, it's been all about the green me some antioxidants!!! But lets just say this was a dire situation! I worked, diligently I may add, until about 12:30, hopping back and forth between the assignments. Writing for one, loosing motivation and switching to the other, until I felt the burn out. Also, I have to say that around 11:30 I received an email from my third supervisor regarding ANOTHER shooting around the school I work at. This made me so upset! After going through everything on Monday my heart just absolutely breaks for my kids! And whats more is that the administration is not doing nearly enough to protect them and to reassure them that this is not a normal thing in life, violence is NEVER OK! I am actually headed over there today, and while I will disclose that I am slightly worried about getting there ( I am taking the bus) I worry more about the emotional stability of my kids than anything.

So after that I opted for the choice of a 4 hours nights sleep and got up at 4:30 this morning to work some more on the paper. I can say that at 9:15 I have one paper done....but I should probably get back to the other one that's due at 7pm since I don't have much wiggle room after I get off work. I have high hopes today will be a better day than the last, and you never know about tomorrow so might as well make it great.

I just want to add one more thing too, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has a facebook page. If you go to it you can "Like" it and honestly, they have some really good articles on there sometimes. Much like this one:

Much Love,

Sam :)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

"You Look Cute Today"

I decided to title today's blog after the interaction I had with on of my kindergarden students at school today. She was running down the hallways when she saw me, came to an abrupt stop, hugged me and said, "What's your name?" I smiled and said, "Ms. Sam" and she started to walk away, turned her head and said, "Oh, because you look cute today". Haha I could have melted all over the floor, that little girl has no idea, but she just made my day.

Today was long, up at 4:30am to be at work by 5:45am, just another Tuesday. I have to say though that this Tuesday is more stress evoking than others in the past because I have a paper due on Thursday that I have barely touched and that I don't have any of the books for and can't really site sources from.....jeeeesh! But at least I got a workout in, that's what I tell myself to make the glass half full :)

I got to do an awesome 2-ish hour workout on the treadmill and in the weight room. I used the ankle/wrist weights again (put them on the wrist for the elliptical and on my ankles to lift). I was quite pleased that I was also able to increase the the weight I'm lifting...I think this means I might be building muscle :D

But now here I sit, on the couch sweaty and procrastinating...thinking about all of the other things I could/should be doing, yet it brings me such comfort to catch up on my life and my workouts. I also can't help but think how lucky I am to have a supervisor that is so laid back about me coming in late so I can workout. She's fab. And totally into self-care, which works for me :)

The Build Up and The Break Down

You know those times when you catch yourself completely off guard? When you are just so comfortable with the place or position you are in that when something completely unexpected happens it completely rocks you? That was my Monday night. This year I am responsible for completing 480 hours of an internship and mine is anything but simple, and I love it. I just started back at the third portion of this, which is an After School Matters Program that I help facilitate on Mondays and Thursdays. I work with both elementary and high school kids on both a clinical bases and in the group setting. I love going to this group. I love these kids.

At around 5:30pm when we were dismissed from program my supervisor and I walked outside and the first thing we hear are gun shots. Many of the kids had already been dismissed but of the ones still standing outside we grabbed them and had them stand inside. The horror of it all was that the school made them leave not even 5 minutes later because they were "closed". Imagine what kind of impact that has on a social worker like me! The shooter was a block away from the school and the shots had stopped, which I guess meant he fled. Instantly my thoughts raced to our kids, "Where were they?" "Are they ok?!" My supervisor whipped out her phone and started calling as many of them as she could. Two of the kids had come into eye sight and I walked over to them to make sure they weren't hurt. Shooken up, but not physically injured, we had three students in all come back, one in which was standing right on the bus stop when the shooter came by. My heart aches for these kids, not just because they had to experience this (the second time this year I might also add!!) but also because even the little ones have become desensitized to it. Can you even imagine what it is like to grow up in a community where gun shots are normal? One of my elementary students, after the gun fire had been shot, walked out of the school put his hands in a way that resembled guns and said, "Oh yea gun shots, boom, boom, boom". This image will probably stick with me for some time because of how haunting it is to me.

In all, I ended up taking the three kids home, even though I know I could have gotten into really big trouble for that but I dare anyone to challenge me on that one! After everyone got out of the car I had to ask myself, "Am I ok?" I was. A little scared. The reality had set in that had I not driven that day I could very well have been on that bus stop by the shooter. I count my blessings that I wasn't. But more so I am grateful that all of my kids made it home safe.

By the time I finally got back to hyde park I had to stop at the gym to pick up my workout stuff that Pete had left for me. I was supposed to meet him around 6pm but plans got altered. I walked in and picked up my bag from the small gym and headed over to the bigger one. I had gotten out of the car with the feeling that this isn't where I wanted to be, yet I pushed myself in through the doors and up the stairs to sign up for a machine. As I got to the bottom of the stairs, in route to the locker room I broke. I didn't even have the composure to put myself on a tread mill to run. I left right away and went home to Pete who met me with open arms as I debriefed what I had just gone through. I have to say that this was one of the more experiential days in my internship, also one that leaves me with a bitter taste in my mouth. But at the same time it won't stop me from continuing on with the program because it's what I love.

Weighed Down

I have such a love-hate relationship with Sundays. On the one hand I have a whole day to be productive....maybe....but then again it's also the last day of the weekend! On this particular Sunday I decided to take the productive route. In which case I went out to Lincoln Park to visit my besties, well one of them, the other two have busy lives on Sundays apparently. Dani and I ended up going to Lulu Lemon over on Halsted to take a free partners yoga class...and it was crazy fun!!!! I haven't done yoga in I don't even know how long and so the first half hour was all about individual stretches and poses, which I have to admit after repeating so many times, was a little hard! Dani and I had a ball making sexual innuendos to each other while doing the partner portion of the class. Needless to say we were essentially stretching one another out but in very close proximity hahaha. Love you D! And there is no better way to cool down from yoga than french toast! Well, mostly because I don't think I have had a better plate of it than Dani's, so there we sat on the couch, watching 27 dresses, sweaty but completely relaxed and loose from the class.

Ok I have to admit, as soon as I got home I felt like I got hit by a bus! I literally laid down for a 30 minute power nap which turned into 2 hours...yikes! The funny part in all of this is the fact that when I got up I decided that what I wanted to do was go to the gym. Crazy right? Well it would be but remember how I said I had purchased weights the day before? I was ridiculously excited to try them out!!! (I also posted a picture on here of what one of the pairs looks like, please note....mine are blue! haha). So Sunday is supposed to be elliptical and weights day, but for some reason my brain forgot that and I put myself on a treadmill. Uhm. can I just say, even 5 extra pounds on your wrist makes running hard! I did a thirty minute run, with some hills before I abandoned ship and headed for the elliptical. No hard feelings treadmill but that workout on the elliptical was great! The weights were a great add on as I was doing the ski-like motion. I didn't feel like being too ambitious though, so I left the weights off as I lifted. Overall, great workout but at the end of it I came home and passed was lovely!!! :)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Keeping Pace

Holy is it Saturday already? I think this "life going by fast" thing has been a reoccuring theme that I just haven't quite picked up on :) So I suppose I have quite a few days to catch up on.
But I should also add, I decided that this week, self care was going to be the name of the game. I was informed, or rather uninformed, that in order to even interview for a placement in a school next year I needed to have my score for the Basic Skills Test....yikes! Well, the next test was scheduled for this Saturday (today) and then there wasn't another one til April.... I don't even know how, but I managed to clear my schedule in enough time to pay the ridiculous $176 fee for the test and for signing up late. Ok, ok I think I am drowning on. Anyways, this week I spent A LOT of time in the gym. Enough so that I began to feel judged by my fellow coworkers who would relieve me and then see me leaving as they are getting off their shifts....wowza!

Wednesday: I have to say I feel really fortunate that I am interning in a place that allows me to work with such a supportive team of people. I emailed my supervisor late Monday night to ask for Tuesday and Wednesday off and she replied promptly that I should study and take care of myself. That being said, I took it upon myself to hit the gym after my 4 hour shift at work. Running and Pool day! I decided that I've been running for a while now that my body is probably getting used to starting at a 5.0-5.5 mph speed and working up for an hour. After reading this months subscription of Women's Health, I decided it would be a good idea to start adding in some interval training and some hills. I think it was a good first experience and by the time I was done my shirt was soaked....amazing workout I'd say! But get this! Not only was I able to get a ridiculous amount of endorphins going, I also headed downtown for my hour of supervision in which I was able to vent like crazy about my frustration with the SSW. Lovely day!

Thursday: As is typical, another morning starting off opening the gym :) But it's elliptical and weight day wooooo hoooo!!! In the spirit of changing things up, I decided to alter my workout from "Performance" to "Cross Country" which is like intervals too. I was also able to increase the amount of weights I was doing on the machines as well, hot damn! Although I probably shouldn't celebrate quite yet, I'm still too caught up in being too embarressed to do free weights. My motivation levels were still pretty high, and I was going to get in the pool but for one I only had a half hour and two I felt like I had been there long enough :) ...oh right and I spent some time studying...

Friday: TGIF! Actually in my schedule, Fridays are no easier than any other day of the week. Buuuut, if you remember how I said this week is alllllll about self care...I thought it would be in the best interest of myself to stay home from class AND my meeting. All the more time to get my run and swim on :) I struggled a bit on the treadmill though. As I was getting all amped up to run I realize my headphones had been chewed through....AGAIN! Darn kittens! So no music, haven't actually done an hour run without music yet, which left the door wide open for me to be completely aware of the knee pain. It wasn't horrible, but enough to get me off after 20 minutes and hop back on the elliptical. An hour of cross country and it was off to stretch. Pool time! I was really surprised by the number of people that try get in a dip on the lunch hour! But I managed to hop in a lane and get going. Lifting has really improved my stroke I have to say. Yet I was still pleasantly surprised when I was about to flip on the wall only to find a foot in my face....GAH! Haha some guy was trying to get my attention to ask me to share the lane but I still screamed, in the water I might add, because I was really startled. After 30 minutes though I was poooooped! Good enough for me, spent the remainder of the evening studying for that test, uhg that was painful. And I'm quite sure that Pete hates me for my inability to do basic math...which I might add is irrelevant to social work! Haha Rule number 76: No excuses, play like a champion! :)

Saturday: Getting up at 4:30 in the morning on a Saturday when you are not coming in from the night out, should be blasphemous!!! I mean driving to the test the sun hadn't even come up yet and I knew I wouldn't really even get to watch it because my mind was so preoccupied with the test. 11:45am....FREEEEEDOM! I swear that as soon as I put the period at the end of that sentence I slapped the test booklet closed and RAN out of that school! Four weeks from now karma will slap me in the face and tell me I didn't pass the math section, so I'll have to pay for the test again and go back, only to take the math section again. ewwww! And despite the need to want to workout after that I promised myself I would schedule a rest day. BUT! to cheer myself up I went to Target and bought some 3lb weights to run with and some ankle/wrist weights. I'm looking forward to trying them out tomorrow after partner yoga with Dani :)

Ok I think I am totally caught up. Keeping pace with myself.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Last But Not Least...

Ok. Lets be honest, yesterday was a really difficult day to get through. Besides the normal obstacle of it being a Monday, I decided to postpone my workout til later in the evening so that I could spend time with Pete and make breakfast together. All would have gone as plan if he would have gotten his lazy butt up out of bed. So I'm a little miffed. It's 9am and I have a full day ahead of me without any endorphins.

The next challenge was when I found out that the School of Social Work failed to inform me that I would not be allowed to do interviews for my second year placement without the scores of my Basic Skills Test....which I haven't taken yet. The next test is Saturday and then there isn't another one until April. With the push from one of my supervisors and mentors in one of my internship placements, I managed to clear out my schedule for Saturday and pay the disgusting sum of $176 to sit for this test.

Now it's 6pm. And snowing like a mother....outside. I don't have a car and a 4 bus just past me up. So I stand outside, for well over 10 minutes waiting for the next one and arguing with myself in my head as to whether or not to just flag a cab. This sucks. Today sucks. And all I want to do it go home and sleep. BUT I haven't gotten my workout in yet...fabulous!

So with what little motivation I have left I hop on the bus and then strut my stuff 4 blocks down to the gym, nearly busting my butt 4-7 times on the layer of freshly collected snow. With the theme of the day being, "Everything has to be more difficult than is typical" of course there would be no machines available when I get there. Correction. There were machines open but they were already signed up for. So I caught one at 6:30, thirty minute wait but I still need to get changed and all that biggie. But of course I would sign up for the machine with the person on it before that "thought she signed up until 6:45..." Whatever lady just stay on the machine another 15 minutes.

6:40. I'm on the treadmill. I really don't want to run, but I'm here, I've braved the elements and the crazy gym people so RUN! I managed to get 5 miles done in under an hour (57 minutes-ish) which is good because normally I am pushing to meet that mark by the end. I ran on a 5.5 mph mark the majority of the time. It was a bit difficult, I remember having to talk myself through it but felt really accomplished when it was done. :)

After feeling really good about the run I decided to get into the pool. A thirty minute swim was just what I needed! After starting back in the weight room, swimming freestyle was extremely easy on my muscles and I pounded out a good number of laps.

I went home that night feeling absolutely amazing! I was in such a good mood and my body felt great, and honestly I could care a little bit less about the fact that I have a huge test Saturday I haven't started studying for....

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Sunday Funday!

Sigh. Sundays. Synonomous with hangovers, laundry, cleaning, and homework. It's just one of those days that is kind of there to help you catch up, I think. Well since I was a lame and didn't actually make it out last night I was plenty rested and managed to tackle my shit-hole of an apartment. Haha Pete through a party Friday night (that I slept through) and the apartment was still suffering from the wreck. But my goal was to be at the gym by 2-2:30pm and take out another elliptical-weights workout. It was not without difficulty though that I achieved this. With the help or maybe more like deter of a 30 minute nap (in which I contemplated even getting up) Pete and I made our way over towards the gym.

After I got on the treadmill I knew it would be smooth sailing, I was feeling great because I had eaten a lot the night before and during the day. (*As a side note I think that may be something I struggle with, how much to eat? I know what to eat because I have spoken extensively about this with many people but it's hard to judge just how much one should be taking in. Pete tells me I am not eating enough for the amount of work I am putting in but at the same time I am trying to loose weight and put on some muscle so I don't want to over-indulge).

Anyways, did another hour of "Performance" and came out with over 700 calories burned, and 5.30 miles done in an hour. Not too shabby. I also got into the weight room and did my rounds on the machines with a 3 sets of 25 reps on each. I also managed to get in a few crunches and stretched before I had to run into the shower and start my shift. I guess I should consider myself lucky to have this job because it allows me to workout in an awesome facility for free and because I'm already at work before my workout....but the part where I am sitting here...right now...bored out of my mind is what gets me. Haha one more hour and I can go home and crash for the night :)

A Little Rest Goes A Loooooong Way

Ok, today was rough. Really rough. After being up at 5:30am, commuting for close to 2 hours, metra to metra, picking up the car and running to two stores I was poooooped! Despite that I was still ambitious enough to want to go workout. But in the back of my head I was thinking, "I'm too tired for this and I really don't have the time." With a little encouragement from Pete and I had a bag packed and both of us went to the gym. I must have been running on that treadmill for 4 minutes before my knee started to act up. Crap. Well I guess I'll slow my speed. Still hurts. Ok new plan, increase the incline to 10 and walk uphill. No dice. Ok decrease incline to 4 and increase speed. Wait what? How does that help. Ok walk, just fricken walk! One mile down. I can't push myself anymore and I'm throwing in the towel for today. That was a difficult decision to make because not once since I've been working out have I just given up on a workout. But my knee killed and I'd rather not hurt myself.

I really need to consider the concept of a rest day. I know they are important but if I don't workout I get grumpy and feel gross. Yup it's reached that level. I've been offsetting with the elliptical and I am also trying to lift weights and swim, sounds like a lot right? Well it is. Enough that I may end up doing two-a-days. But my hope is that if I'm not always running there will be less impact on my knees. Now I'm just waiting to see how long I can keep this up before my body starts protesting for a rest day....I'll keep you posted :)

Up and Running

Finish the sentence: After a two-and-a-half hour workout I feel..... Well I felt completely exhausted! Friday's are always difficult because I go from work to class to a meeting back to hyde park to work out. And all of this is done through CTA, which is rough! Somehow, I managed to get myself through all of that and onto an elliptical for an hour and then lift weights for another hour with some stretching and crunches to finish up. And afterward? Sure I was ready to fall asleep but my body felt great! Maybe I'm pushing a little hard since it's only February but then again I love the rush I get, and not to mention the aftermath of it :) At the end of the workout I clocked in 700 calories and around 5 and a quarter miles. All of that was done within an hour on the "Performance" option workout. Weights were good too, I'm still entirely too intimidated to do free weights so for now I just make my rounds on the machine doing 3 sets of 25.

And when I got home...I crashed haha but in a good way :)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Start of the Race

Today I officially registered for the 2011 Chicago Marathon!!!! The excitement that overcame me was without a doubt intoxicating! going through the registration process, enter biological information, do you want to buy this or that, donate to this organization, buy these photos, enter credit card number, and congrats, you are now registered for the marathon! It's funny how a 5 minute process makes such an impact on your life. Signing up means working out everyday, eating right, and drinking A LOT of water! A whole lifestyle change that I am fully prepared to take on.

For the past three weeks I have been kicking my ass in the gym so I can't wait to train for the run. It will be 8 long months and I suppose there will be plenty of times that I may run into an obstacle or two but I'm hoping this blog will help. Hopefully this will be a driving force for me, I want to keep track of my workouts and what I'm eating so that if i loose steam this will be a back up motivator.

Training for 26.2 miles.....ready.....set......GO!!!!

Mile count today: 6 miles