Reflecting on 2018. Excited & Ready For What is to Come in 2019.

Reflecting on 2018. Excited & Ready For What is to Come in 2019.

Here we are again, one year later from my last reflection on 2017. I read my reflection post a year ago today, I was scary accurate! 2018 was a huge growth year for me. I felt all the feels: good, bad, the ugly. I had some amazing moments, experiences, learning opportunities, and accomplishments I’m really proud of. Some moments took a lot of guts, other moments were crushing and just sucked. In a weird way, I feel like I really ‘adulted’ more then ever this past year. I was pushed far out of my comfort zone. I felt feelings I had never thought I could experience. I believed in myself!

I don’t wanna list all my accomplishments because I think that’s tacky, but here are few that really made this past year stand out:

-Bought my condo in St. Pete!

-PRed my half marathon (1:45) using the Hanson Method. I busted my ass 6x a week running. I’m proud I committed myself to the program because the efforts paid off.

-Traveled to Ft. Collins, CO and Atlanta, GA. I had never been to Ft. Collins, and seeing my cousin and her husband made for a great long weekend hiking mountains, biking Ft. Collins, and drinking killer local beer. My mom and I surprised my Aunt for her birthday in August and it was a total success! We saw my cousin’s house and just chilled out. It was a perfect long weekend trip.

-Graduated with my Masters in Exercise Science & Nutrition Science from the University of Tampa! After two years, I did the damn thing and earned it. It was tough, but aside from the knowledge I gained, I made more friends and memories among all the late nights and early morning study sessions and classes.

-Got a full-time job! My first time in the corporate world. I love my job as fitness specialist working with the employees of New York Life in Tampa. I never thought I would be impacting the world of insurance through health and wellness, but here I am. I look forward to going to my job everyday.

Among these moments, were a ton of shitty ones too. I won’t lie. This was my toughest year yet. I don’t wanna dwell on the negatives, but here are some things I’m ready to peace-out to:

-The heartbreak I dealt with. First real relationship I had. I thought it was an ‘end all be all relationship.’ It clearly wasn’t. Things changed between us and we just wern’t the match I thought we were. People grow apart and I learned that. I just didn’t think this would happen to us. I’m grateful we ended on good terms, but its still awkward. I’ve run into him more times then I would like…*face palm emoji.* I’m still healing and I’m 100% ok with being single right now. It kind of is a breath of fresh air, actually!

-Dealing with a shitty apartment with a landlord who wasn’t the greatest. Ok, so it was that bad to begin with…but I can’t say it was wonderful either. This is a good example of not always jiving with everyone you work with. I learned to stand up for myself and leave a place I was no longer happy living in.

-Running and I had a love/hate relationship for the last half of the year. I was on/off since I had reoccurring aches and pains in my right calf. I finally decided my own treatment of ice and stretching wasn’t enough so I consulted a podiatrist and PT. I’m grateful for what I’ve learned and can happily say I’m on my way to crushing the pavement like I was earlier this past year!

In the end, all these happy and shitty moments all ended in one thing: a lesson. Among a lesson, I learned who my real friends were, made new friends, challenged myself, and ultimately more about myself then I ever thought! That’s all pretty sweet if you ask me.

I’m looking forward to a few things, more travel (domestically, and hopefully internationally!), miles on the pavement, new friends, good food, and even more adventures and memories!

Cheers to 2019!

-Ali

 

 

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My First Few Weeks of Physical Therapy + A Good Balance with Exercise

My First Few Weeks of Physical Therapy + A Good Balance with Exercise

This has been a long overdue post! There’s been a lot going on with the holidays approaching, plus being busy as usual with work, etc. So I’m happy to be sitting down and sharing my physical therapy experience so far with you!

I went my first PT appointment the week after Thanksgiving at Optimal Performance Physical Therapy in South Tampa. I was pretty excited to get some help and learn something along the way. Plus I knew this was gonna lead me back to hitting the pavement hopefully sooner then later, so I was ready to learn and do all I could.

I had never been to a PT office, but this one was busy (are they all like this?). I was surprised at the amount of people who were in later in the afternoon and the amount of PTs working too. I saw all ages and abilities. I thought, “there’s really this many people that need PT?” as I watched people come in and out of the floor area steadily. There were even 2 people per PT (and there’s like 7 or 8 on staff regularly…). Luckily, that didn’t stall my appointment or anything. I was seen on time which I’m a stickler about. 😉 I had my evaluation where I explained everything and my PT, James,  who sent me home with exercises and stretches to do until we met for our next appointment:

Stretches and exercises I do once per day up to 5x a week, stretching multiple times per day:

  • Standing calf stretch- knee locked and heal against wall or off a step (we all know this one, but I hardly ever do it…reason #1 I need some guidance… LOL).
  • Standing soleus stretch- knee bent, heal/foot against the wall.
  • Exercises with resistance bands 3×15
    • Inversion
    • Eversion
    • Anterior tibialis
  • Tennis ball posterior tibialis roll out (as often as possible)

My PT is really nice and very easy going! So far he’s pretty chill about answering my questions and explaining everything. My heart actually skipped a beat when he did say I can run, just up to 1.5-2 miles 3x per week after my eval. I was ELATED! Although this is really low mileage for me, I’ll take anything I can get. He advised no consecutive runs, making sure I have a day of rest between runs or doing spin in between.

The following week, after seeing him twice, I explained my symptoms which were lessened thanks to soreness from our sessions and the exercises on my own. I was advised to add TWO runs consecutive which is symptom dependent. Honestly weeks that I can run have been hit or miss so I run when I can and fill in with walking, spin, or strength training.

Three miles have been my max mileage per run. If I don’t do 3 miles, I run 1.5-2 miles a couple times per week. The mix in mileage has been good since the short runs don’t take too long (less then 30 min). It’s kinda nice for a change running shorter distances instead dedicating a chunk of my morning to being on my feet! I take my pace easy regardless of the distance. The best feeling though is knowing I haven’t lost any running fitness or endurance. I’m thanking the spin classes that!!

Since I just added in 3 miles this week, I think my calf is getting used to it. I do feel some stiffness towards the very end, but I don’t push it. I try to be in-tune to my body after my runs, when the aches and pains set in. So far none of that!

So far, this has really been a humbling journey for me. I’m still appreciating the low-impact workouts while adding in some easy runs. I’m realizing running 3 miles is an accomplishment on its own! I would discount running 3 miles because it wasn’t “as far” as running 5, 6, 7 miles like I was. Taking care of your body and going slow is another lesson I’ve been learning. No one is measuring or comparing your distance or pace against another’s. On Instagram it feels like it is (I went off it because because the comparison trap is a real thing, not sure when I’ll return honestly). I’m working out and I’m feeling great without pushing mileage. I don’t fret about getting in a certain amount of mileage each day or when it will happen. Right now there’s a good balance.

In a bit, I look forward to adding more mileage pain free. But for now, I’m just moving when I can and getting stronger in the process!

Thanks for reading & Merry Christmas, friend!

Refocusing on Recovery and Taking a Break From Running

Refocusing on Recovery and Taking a Break From Running

After I ran the Ronnie’s Run a few weeks ago, I not only chaffed like a MF, but I overdid (and realized I’m also lacking) in more ways then I thought.

About a week after the race, I took it easy and did some easy runs (3-4 miles, maybe 5) and slowly got back into it since the race. I decided after a few of those, that I could up the mileage and challenge myself. A weekend or so ago, I ran 3 miles on Saturday, 7 miles on Sunday, and 5 miles on Monday. Rested Tuesday (typical day of rest). After 7 miles, I felt tight and achy. I never stretched or foam rolled. I just moved on with my day. I never questioned the next morning when I would plan to do 5. During the 5 miles, I felt tight at the beginning. Kinda typical right? The first mile is always a warm-up mile for me. *Side note: I have terrible if not, just non-existent warm-up routine that I rarely do. It’s needs work and it’ll become obvious why later…lol.

I was pushing the pace and felt good for most of it. On the last 2-3 miles of the run though my right foot, ankle, calf, hamstring…basically my whole right leg just ACHED and HURT. Like WOAH! This kind of pain was something I had not had since high school (ran cross country in high school, dealt with similar issues). I thought I just didn’t recover enough post seven miles, which was clear, but I also knew off the bat, I just pushed my body too far, too fast.

It’s been over a week since I had run last. I’m still having some issues with that side, and it’s annoying as hell. I’m doing my own rehab with help from my manager at work, plus foam rolling, and just taking it as opportunity to slow down. The universe has a funny way of making you just CHILL. It doesn’t hurt to walk, but any impact is questionable. I think it’s just overuse, but I know I also have tight calves and not so good ankle mobility. I’m getting new shoes this week so I’m hoping that will be a huge help!

Although I’m annoyed that I can’t just “go run”,  I’m using this little break to focus on other parts of fitness I typically by-pass. Aka: flexibility and cross training.

SO. Here I am, over a week of not running, but turning it around and making it a learning opportunity. Since I’m not on the run, I’ve decided since the day I hurt myself (10/22?) until the end of October to focus on flexibility. Keeping it simple and mixing in a combination of strength (balance, split squats, single leg deadlifts, towel curls for ankle/foot strength), mobility, gentle stretching, foam rolling, and yoga. I hate all of these things because they’re boring…being real here…but at this point, I know I need them all more then ever.

Among flexibility, I’m hopping on the bike more! I forgot how much I really like spin classes. They’re hard AF. I’m challenged the entire time and I get a similar movement pattern to running. It doesn’t bother my ankle or calf at all. I’m either at Soho Cycling (love the instructors and vibe there!) or the Peloton at work. I’d love to get in a pool too, since I miss that, but haven’t explored that as much yet. Among the bike, I’m also doing 2x per week strength training. Another thing I like, but not as much as I love cardio. Strength training is such a love/hate for me. 30 minutes is perfect and I feel SO SORE afterwards. I know my body is thanking me for all this change and less impact.

It’s funny, because now that I’m not running, I’m taking a totally different approach to exercise. Running is my love and will always be. But I’m seeing that there is more to life then just getting miles in. I’m enjoying the change of pace and I’m still being active, just in a different way. I feel more at peace and less stressed ironically. A few things in my life are taking on a similar perspective. If I don’t get “high intensity” activity in or my steps are less then 10,000…it’s a reminder that it’s not the end of the world. I end up focusing on other parts of my life that I enjoy like catching up with friends over coffee, organizing my new home, feeling focused and productive at work, and enjoying simple forms of movement like yoga or just walking.

Once I feel ready to return to running, I’m gonna ease into it SMART. A warm-up and cool-down will be a more regular part of my routine. Foam rolling and mobility will continue to make an appearance more often. I’ll either head over to Soho Cycle or the Peloton more often then every 3 months. I’m gonna enjoy the fact I CAN run and enjoy it and not always be so on pace.

As much as this has been a change for me, I’m kinda grateful I’m taking this bit of time off. I know it will lead to being better then I was before!

Happy Friday, friends! 🙂

 

 

 

Ronnie’s Run 10 Miler Recap

Ronnie’s Run 10 Miler Recap

Third time posting in a month or so…WIN! I’m excited to be here more regularly lately, so let’s keep this going!!

Last week I posted about on how I was having a low key weekend plus the Ronnie’s Run 10 miler race. It was definitely low key and productive, which in the midst of all the condo stuff I’ve been doing lately, it was nice to switch the focus to something else for a change.

Let’s start this 10 miler recap from the night before, because I have a few things I like to do to get my head set for a race the next morning.

I worked until 7pm Friday night and came home knowing it was gonna be PIZZA night. I always have a high carb dinner the night before a long run or race and knew the Publix Margarita Pizza was sure to hit the spot (pasta, pizza, baked or sweet potato, something with rice alongside chicken and a small salad/vegetables are my go to meals before a long run). I laid low, watched tv (food network or whatever on Hulu), read my book (Sidney Sheldon is what I’m reading now…so good! combo or mystery and romance), and was in bed around ~9pm.  I never have any alcohol since it gives me headache and leaves me feeling slugglish the next morning (light weight over here) so I skip it altogether and save some for post race. Call me a grandma, but I love nights like this any day of the week. I feel relaxed and ready to tackle the next day with confidence. I did this same kind of thing before my first marathon and pretty much every other half I’ve done. Same goes for getting ready for work the next day, an event, just wanting to feel rested, etc. It’s proved a successful pre-run routine, so I’ve stuck to it ever since!

Ready to run, I woke up at 6am to drive down to Ft. Desoto. Ft. Desoto is a beautiful and historic area and state park. It has beaches all along the shore and nice flat gravel roads and sidewalks—perfect for running, walking, and biking! They have pavilions, piers, plenty of parking, cute cafes/sandwich shops, and all kinds of outdoor recreation rentals (paddleboards, bikes, kayaks, you name it!). Not to mention, the historic fort you can walk through and explore. It’s basically the perfect place for a race, and in fact—they offer triathlons and other races there throughout October-April.

I arrive at the park at 6:30am ish and park at the north beach. A lot of cars begin to arrive and runners and walkers start exiting their cars to walk, run, and warm-up. They had vendors near the starting line, bathrooms, and music so a bunch of people, including myself head over there. From there I warm-up and head back to the vendor area. I find a friend from my outdoor bootcamp days and graduate program, Liz of Liz Anthony Nutrition who sells protein bites (AMAZING by the way!) and we chat until we head over to the start together. There was a 5k race which she did and the 10 miles which I did. Both races started together until the 5k veered off from the 10 mile course. Another cool thing, was the fact that the 10 miler race had pacers. I don’t really use the pace groups, and wasn’t planning on using them, but I ended up sticking with the ~9 minute pacer for the first 5 miles. I felt good and strong. All the training group runs I’ve been doing since July were paying off!

It wasn’t until the turnaround point (~5 miles, an out and back course) that I felt I was slowing down. I became sluggish and my strength to keep up was waning. At this point, I had about ~4 miles left to go, and was having every negative thought get into my head. I finally talked myself out the negativity and reminded myself of positive mantras. Some included “one foot in front of the other”, “run your own race”, “you are made to do tough things”, “keep moving”, “you can do this”, and what felt like a million other little phrases of affirmation to get me through. I admit, the further I’ve run for this race was 7 miles, about the right time I felt sluggish with about ~3-4 miles left to go. I kept saying these phrases over and over and didn’t let the pace group I saw leave my view get to me.

As I continued to slow, I gave myself permission to walk through the water stops for the last 5k of the race. I never do this, and was initially hard on myself for “giving in” but I knew I wanted to feel good and finish strong whatever the clock said. I don’t think it took much time off, so it was definitely well worth it to give myself a mental break and get some water (it was starting to get warm out too).

I finished in 1:34, which I am pleased with and will take despite how I felt during the last half. I estimated an hour to an hour and a half, and I was pretty much right on!

The post race celebration was good yet simple. A no-frills type of finish. They handed out chocolate milk (YUM! hit the spot too) and water. They didn’t really have breakfast or food (like no bananas…hmm). It ended up being fine because I ended up leaving shortly after saying goodbye to my friend Liz and heading back home to get my new dresser delivered!

The one con of the whole event, was not the event itself, but the fact that I chafed like a mother f***** and I will NEVER wear shorts for that distance or longer ever again!! lol. I’m not being dramatic when I say that I was torn up and so uncomfortable for about 4 days. Thank God for nonstick antibacterial gauze pad and yoga pants LOL. I just started back running today (one week later). I bought those Nike biker longer training shorts so, if anything, I’m expanding my workout wardrobe LOL.

Moral of the story, I did this race because I wanted a baseline measurement before starting my half marathon training in a few weeks. I now know what I have to work on, and I am ready and excited to once again commit to the Hanson marathon method again!

Have a fabulous weekend friends 🙂

Reseting and Doing My Own Thing…Excited For my First Low Key Weekend

Reseting and Doing My Own Thing…Excited For my First Low Key Weekend

It feels like I’ve been here, there, and everywhere during the month of September. Which is good, because I got a lot done! Moving, continuing to get acclimated in my job, adding running back into the mix more regularly, eating healthy (can be hard when you’re on the go), showing and doing fun stuff with friends IN my new condo and in St. Pete, my mom visited to better help me organize my place, getting over the breakup (much better for it and happier), Junior League commitments, worked my other jobs (fitness desk at the Tampa Yacht Club and babysat). Yeah. That’s a lot both physically and emotionally.

But I also felt overwhelmed with it all happening. As much as I love being busy, I realized I am a 100% introvert. I love to be with friends and do fun things, and don’t get me wrong, I loved having people see my place and get involved with JLT—but I am learning I need to reset and do my own thing equally as much. I am still thinking about the breakup from time to time. The more I think about thought, the happier I am that I am not dating right now. I’m doing ME and I’m grateful in an odd twisted way that I am not with him (still hurts a little writing that though).

This is the first weekend coming up that I VERY minimal things planned! I have time to lounge around and just chill. I have a 10 miler race this weekend that I’m doing alone and I couldn’t be more excited to just focus on the race, do my own thing without knowing what to expect, and without the need to be anywhere right after. I do have something later in the day, but have time to sleep before that! 🙂

Let me tell you what I plan on doing with my chill time (I’m excited to share!):

Binge watch the first season of This Is Us (I’m late on the bandwagon but that is what hulu is for)

Meal-prep: I love to cook and be in the kitchen. Especially because I have a FULL kitchen! Give me something homemade and nourishing. On another note, send me your suggestions for meals you love. Would love to hear what you like to make in the kitchen.

Clean: Not really exciting…but whatever it has to get done.

-Running Ronnie’s 10 miler race! Really excited for this since I’ve never done a 10 miler. Not a half, but longer then a 10k/5k. It’s a PR no matter what right?

Some kind of workout Sunday with stretching and mobility: Not sure what I’m thinking…probably a short run. Definitely mobility and stretching at some point. My body really needs this lately. I make sure to devote time for this at work on slow mornings or before bed.

I’m excited to reset and enjoy just being me doing what I love to make me feel my best. These things bring me happiness (minus cleaning) and I’m good with that. Sometimes I feel we have to running around like a chicken with their heads cut off to look “productive.” I did that in September and it was too much. Excited to have a low key weekend in my little condo all to myself 🙂

What do you have going this weekend? Are you chilling, busy, or a mix of both?

 

Reflections Over Resolutions: 2018 The Year of Growth

Reflections Over Resolutions: 2018 The Year of Growth

Happy New Year!

I’ve been reflecting on 2017 for the past few days and have some pretty awesome accomplishments, memories, adventures, and people in my life. Alongside those amazing things, I’ve had some tough moments along the way too. Ya gotta take the good times with bad (or meh) moments right? A lot of lessons learned and struggles along the way too but I wouldn’t change those either. I focus on what has changed me for the better.

This year I can tell is gonna be a huge growth year for me. I’m super scared but excited! I enter this year with some hesitation honestly. But I know keeping good vibes in the front, the people that care and support me nearby, and a focus on the end goals, I will f***ing SHINE 😀

Ready to tackle:

Turning 25. A solid year. Also a quarter century old. Ha! I feel this gonna be a good point in my life to really invent myself outside of this runner girl-fitness junkie type persona I have. I will always be me, but with a few other goals, intentions, responsibilities, and [more] mature mindset.

Graduating with my Masters in Exercise and Nutrition Science this May from The University of Tampa. This is probably the most scary. I’m leaving the schooling world for good. No more being a student in a classroom. I love learning and believe you’re never too old to learn something. This time around though, it won’t involve being in a classroom or needing textbooks. I see the light and am ready to start the next part of my life! It has taken me two years to complete this program. I took this whole grad school thing slow because I truly wanted to leave knowing I had a direction after graduation. I had two internships. One was less then what I had hoped the other was the opposite and was completely full-filling. I have met more friends in the program and have become close with so many then I would have ever expected! Grad school is a completely different experience then undergrad. Extremely difficult academically but OH SO worth it among all the other things I have learned and gained.

Starting the process of making a career change to become a teacher. If someone said that I would look into becoming a high school health teacher I would have laughed. I thought it was a silly idea. With my experiences in Special Olympics being a health and wellness instructor, it has completely been a game changer for me. Sharing my passion of health and fitness with students is something I believe is so important to long term health and something I get excited thinking about. No other opportunity has given a sense of excitement like Special Olympics does or this idea of becoming a teacher. I’ve found that finding that “spark” means SO MUCH. This is a spark I’ve been looking for and think as of now, I may have found it.

Less group fitness and personal training. I’ve had this gig for the past two years now. I like it and it’s definintely a great fit for me while in school, but I see this part of my life stepping back a little this year. With becoming a teacher, I won’t have time to teach noon or mid morning group classes. Although I’ll have time to train some clients either still early or late in the day, I’m not sure if I’ll want to prioritize my time that for that if I have to grade homework or papers. Depending on my schedule, I may keep some clients that have been consistent with me because I enjoy working with them and seeing them progress in their fitness goals. I train facetime for some, so that could be an option I work more with versus in person training. I’ve also considered writing more training programs for people that they complete on their own and going about it that way. Hmmm…many options to consider! Whatever the case, I know I’ll always be ready to play the role as personal trainer or group instructor. Knowing me, I’ll probably have at least one class or client on my schedule whereever I am!

Balanced eating habits without binging, restrictions, guilt, or shame. This is one is odd to share in a sense because I don’t really talk about this much and am still working on. I definintely experienced some disordered eating this past year. Not good. I still remained healthy for the most part (I was never diagnosed with an eating disorder!) but I had habits that crept in and out and affected my thoughts on food and exercise. I did gain some weight and felt overall blah at points too. Sadly, I would punish and restrict myself because of this and deemed certain foods bad and good. Next thing I knew, I was binging on all the “bad foods” and it all became a vicious cycle. I knew this was something to change. Luckily this did NOT affect my health and only lasted a short time. Listening to podcasts, talking with my mom, logging my food, and journaling have been key components on some habits I’ve changed. I’ve created healthier habits that took time–about six months worth of work. My head is in a much better place now. I eat whatever I want. All mindfully. With *minimal binges and restrictions (hardest part still). Compared to how I was living the first part of 2017, this is completely different. I have good and bad days, but have SO MUCH control and a healthier mindset then how I started off 2017.

Saying YES to more often. One thing I learned about myself this year, is that I hold myself back. I tend to go with the flow and not make too much noise about anything. I said ‘no’ to fun things because I was afraid I wasn’t good enough or that it would deviate from my goals. I need to start LIVING life and have fun too. My balance wasn’t bad but needed some adjusting. Time to keep getting out of my comfort zone! I think this is something that is always a work in progress. Planning for more days of YES and less days of “I’m afraid and unsure.” 😉