Sunday, April 29, 2012

Chief Maloney

So a story has been dominating our lives for the past two weeks, and since none of you live nearby, I felt the need to pass it on. And not just our lives, but anyone who lives in New Hampshire (or Massachusetts or Maine, for that matter). Two weeks ago in Greenland, NH (one town over from us), there was a stand off between police from neighboring towns and a druggie who had barricaded himself into his house. What was supposed to just be the presentation of a search warrant and then a search of the property turned into the guy shooting five cops. One of those cops was Chief Maloney. 

He was EIGHT DAYS away from retirement and this was his last big job before he was done. He was the only one of the injured who died. This has hit my life, as he would work at the movie theater for the "rowdy" movies or the movies that needed additional carding, so I had met him many times and all of my good friends who currently work at the movie theater have been hit particularly hard by this. We're all particularly angry about it because it doesn't feel "worthwhile" - the idiot killed himself anyway, so he wasn't even brought to justice. However, it's not all bad news.

In driving to work everyday, I drive through Greenland. The day after the shooting, I saw an immediate change in Greenland. Every flag in the seacoast area of New Hampshire was flying at half, and every business in Greenland had some sort of sign outside of the establishment with prayers, thoughts, and condolences for Chief Maloney. (My favorite is "Maloney - Protecting Heaven.") 

I knew that this loss was having a widespread effect when I saw how quickly everyone reacted to it. Then, a week later, his funeral effectively shutdown the seacoast. Over 5,000 police officers went to his funeral, not to mention that civilians were out en masse for it. 

I was starting to think that that would be that. Tragedies have a way of peaking and then fading off, and there are some left hanging on and wondering why people don't still care about it. However, that's not what happened in this case.

It started off fifteen police officers wanting to run the 5.6 miles from the Portsmouth Police Department to the Greenland Police Department in the chief's honor. Then they opened it up and it was "let's all get together and walk or run in his honor." 

Within a few days, people came out in huge numbers to help out. Suddenly, a major event organizer/race chip (timing) company offered their services for free so the race could be timed and the runners could have bibs. Local businesses donated water by the palette. Local restaurants donated food for post-race. Buses donated their services to shuttle the runners from the finish line back to the start and their cars. Shirt and hat companies donated the race swag to give to the runners. Usually races take 6 to 9 months to organize, and because of the impact Chief Maloney had on this community, it was pulled together in approximately a week and a half. About 2,100 people raced, and over $40,000 was raised for the chief's family.

I think it's an amazing story, and while his death is a tragedy that would be considered film worthy (8 days before retirement - ugh), the community's response is something I never could have fathomed. Who needs big cities? 

Do me a favor... next time you see a cop, tell him thank you.

**Next update will be about the race itself, but I felt you needed some background before then.**

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Highs and Lows

Yesterday, while forcing myself to do cardio even though I had no desire to, I started making a list of the Pros and Cons of having a treadmill in your basement.

  • Working out any time you want!
  • Wearing just a sports bra and spandex shorts, even when you're not in shape enough to do that yet.
  • Cranking the music and not having to use headphones/earbuds. (This is huge for me.)
  • When I lose motivation, I stare at this little thing.
  • You can stop and go to the bathroom and not be afraid of losing your treadmill.
  • Your dogs can hang out in the basement and watch you as they fear for your life (because you're running on a monster that makes loud noises). 

  • My treadmill faces my bikes. Which is basically just torture. 
  • We don't have cable in the basement. I have a TV set up down there, and we have plans to bring our Wii down there (for Netflix), but we haven't done it yet. Which means music is my only option.
  • While it's a clean basement, it does have a bit of a basement smell. So the breathing isn't great, and when I'm sprinting, I'm taking in big gulps of musty air. Not so much refreshing.
  • It's a tad dusty down there. So sometimes it's perfectly fine, and other times I'll be running and suddenly find myself blind because something gets stuck in my contact lens. Then I almost die trying to fix the problem.
  • I'm in a basement. And it feels like a basement. So when I'm feeling particularly anti-cardio, I get fixated on the fact that I'm practically in a dungeon! 
In other news, today was my weigh in and I've officially lost 27.5 pounds in six weeks. Pretty amazing. I feel great but I also feel like I'm getting a little burnt out on the cardio I've been doing. I need to mix things up with some circuits in the upcoming days so I don't totally lose interest in the treadmill. The past couple times I've gone on it, it's felt like sheer torture so it's definitely time to do something different. Weights, on the other hands, are fantastic right now. I can't seem to get enough of them, which means I need to be careful to not over do it and hurt myself!

Speaking of hurting myself, I did this to myself getting out of the shower yesterday. 

That picture was taken after I'd washed it off - there was much more blood than that originally! When I went to put on my running shoes today, it hurt but I decided to ignore it. How bad could it be? ...I lasted about three minutes before I decided that today would be all weights just so I could take my damn shoes off. This is coming from the same person who once PRed with a broken toe and completed a 7 mile race with a stress fracture in her foot. Really, I should've seen it coming when any time I moved last night, my toe would catch on my sheets and the feeling of it made me want to vomit. Apparently broken bones are fine with me, but skin snagging on things is a no-no. 

Well, the Bruins just officially ended their season, and with that, it is time for me to go and pout / cry. Have a wonderful night.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Shakin' All Over

Today I was NOT feeling cardio. Just the idea of getting on the treadmill was enough to scare me away from working out at all. Despite that, I knew I had to get in my heavy weight day. I've learned that if I do my heavy weights day any later than Sunday, it affects my weigh in on Wednesday. Because of that, I do my heavy days on Wednesday (post-weigh in), Friday, and Sunday.

Back to today. I know I have to do serious weights but I have no desire to do cardio. So what do I decide to do? Heavy arm half hour followed by heavy leg half hour (give or take). And holy moly. I'm still shaky and it's been about an hour since I stopped. Tomorrow might be super painful but right now I'm pretty happy!

Here's the breakdown of my workout:


- 5 skull crushers (suuuper slow) with an 8 lb weight
- 3 sets of 10 curls with 8 lb weights
- 3 sets of 10 hammer curls with 8 lb weights
- 3 sets of 10 flies with 3 lb weights
- 30 shoulder shrugs with 10 lb weights
- 3 sets of 10 bench presses with about 25 pounds (curl bar + 15 lb in weights)
- 3 sets of 10 "lawnmower pull" with 8 lb weights (I don't know the real name for these, but they're for triceps)


For legs, I did an adapted version of Julie's Squats and Deadlifts workout.

Her version includes 3 minutes of non-stop squats, which just wasn't going to happen. So I changed all of it so that each workout would do a total of 3 reps, but I treated it like a circuit. One time through was one rep for each, and I did the entire circuit three times. So here's what I did:

- Squats with 50 lbs for 1 minute
- Deadlifts with 50 lbs for 1 minute
- Lunges with 40 lbs, 15 for each leg
- High knees for 1 minute (I added this in place of more squats)
- Leg extension with high weights, 15
- Leg curl with high weights, 15
- Wall sit for 30 seconds

I had to change the leg press and ball curls she had on hers, as I do not go to an actual gym but I do have the little leg weight contraption on the end of our weight bench. Also, for my third wall sit I did 60 seconds. One word: ouch.

I completed my workout with a 60 second plank, and then folded in on myself in child's pose for about five minutes while my muscles shook away.

I have to say, for my first time doing deadlifts, I was a big fan! My only problem was that my weight lifting gloves suck. Apparently women aren't supposed to lift more than about 20 pounds, because they include minimal padding. For shame, Reebok. For shame. When women want to do 50 lb deadlifts, they should NOT have to get blisters from it! Needless to say, I'll be trashing my "high quality" Reebok ones and going to Walmart to get the $8 men's ones that Jake has. Apparently you need to be a man to get worthwhile lifting gloves. Good to know.

Time to force myself through a shower and then watch the rest of the Bruins game.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Keeping the Treadmill Interesting

About two months ago, husband and I decided to build our own little gym in our basement. It started with a treadmill and punching bag I acquired via Craigslist, and since then we've put together a pretty cool gym. 

Since I got my treadmill, I've gone back and forth between loving it and being bored with it. This week, I LOVE it. 

Thanks to Julie over at PBFingers, I discovered an interval workout that consists of 20 seconds of sprinting followed by 40 seconds of fast walking. The way I've done it a few times now is 10 minutes of incline intervals (starting at 5.0, going up to 9.0, and then going back down to 3.0), spending 1 minute at each incline. After 10 minutes, I start the speed intervals and go for about 10 minutes at an incline of 4.0, and then do 10 more minutes of incline intervals. 

While some people may find intervals a little annoying (as they're not pre-set, I have to change everything myself, so I'm basically staring at the time for the entirety of the session), they are perfect for me. I'm a person who loves cardio and sweating, but sometimes I get so antsy that I just can't even get a decent workout done because I just want to get off of the freaking treadmill. I especially love the 20 second sprint / 40 second walk (or jog, depending on the day) because of how quickly the time goes by. Focusing on such small amounts of time makes 30 minutes fly by. And you'll never believe how fast 40 seconds can go by until you've done that workout!!

For some reason, I woke up today at 5:45 am 100% ready to go and felt the need to double my workout. I wound up doing 30 total minutes of incline intervals and 20 minutes of speed intervals, followed by 10 minutes of jumping jacks, jump ropes, burpees, push ups, and mountain climbers. In other words, I sweat my face off. It was FANTASTIC. 

If you're looking for circuit workouts or some ideas in general, I strongly suggest you check out PBFingers' workout page. She has a lot of great circuits that can be done at home and with no equipment, which I find extremely helpful. Not only are they great for when you want to mix things up, but they're things you can do when you travel. I plan on doing some of them when I'm camping this summer! 

The rest of my day was full of yard sales, a flea market, and random errands. I'm exhausted so I've been forcing myself to stay up until 8 pm when I could have easily gone to bed at 2 pm. 

Tomorrow will probably be full of intervals once again, and then it's my heavy weights day! Woohoo!


Friday, April 20, 2012

Starting Over

There are few things more difficult than starting a new blog. Except, perhaps, starting a new phase of your life.

I am not new to blogging, and my last blog can be found over at Triathlete in Training. While that blog served me well, I have a hard time relating to the version of me that appears in those posts. I was obsessed with meeting my goal of completing a triathlon, but I did not really look beyond that goal. Once I completed my first triathlon, I tried time and time again to get my heart back into racing, but I lost my love for it. The proof of this can be seen in two facts: one) the amount of times I succumbed to major injuries because I stopped caring about my well being and two) I gained about 40 pounds. But that's in the past now. The new phase has begun.

The new phase starts with being married, graduating from college, and trying to find a job that I enjoy instead of the one that just keeps me mildly busy and makes me rip my hair out. On top of all of that, I started a diet program. In the past I've been very anti-dieting, and believed in just living a healthier lifestyle or it won't stick. However, in the past year or two I've watched my mom go from a size 24 to a size 4 using the Ideal Protein diet. I know that I am capable of making healthy choices and living a healthy lifestyle, but I just need to get the weight off before I am able to do that. Enter, diet. Basically, I've cut all sugar out of my life and added more protein. Additionally, I've started working out like a fiend again, which definitely helps.

The great news is, it's working. I've lost 24 pounds and 22 inches (total from various places) in the past five weeks. While the numbers are great, the best part is, I feel fantastic again.

It's hard to remember how great it feels being active when you're sitting around and eating pizza all the time. Yes, I do miss pizza. But I have energy again. I don't even need caffeine because the working out and protein intake are enough to keep me going. It's incredible how powerful working out makes you feel. You stand a little taller, walk with a little swagger (that might just be sore legs from sprints), and your entire thought process starts to shift.

I have three things I focus on now: Running, lifting, and fighting. Running so my heart is strong and because I love to sweat. Lifting so I feel like I can beat up anyone I see (no, really, I get a lot of pleasure out of that). And fighting. Fighting the old me - the negative thoughts, the cravings and desires to just drink a damn beer, and fighting for the future. I'm fighting now so I'll be around for as long as I possibly can. Somedays, I'm fighting just to fight.

So, welcome to my new blog. I promise that not every entry will be so full of text and no pictures whatsoever, but I made a promise to Katie that I would get a post up by tonight.