Workout Buddies

As mentioned in a previous post, I owe my passion for working out to a college friend because of all those hours spent in the weight room of the Curris Center at Murray State University.

My pups--some of the best workout buddies you can have! (Now trying to do yoga with them is a little more difficult.)

I believe everybody should have at least one workout buddy to keep them motivated. I’m lucky to have two friends who will get up at 5 in the morning to run on the treadmill (at least until it’s warmer in the mornings, and then we’ll run outside) for four miles. The past two summers I’ve run in my neighborhood on my own in the morning before work, but I used to stop running once it started to get darker and colder because I didn’t have the motivation to continue. But now I have two people who keep me motivated to push and run at least 4 miles. This is great since my official training regimen for my first half-marathon starts in February. I’m going to need that support and consistency in my runs this winter.

I also count my dogs as workout buddies because they get me out and moving, no matter what. Dogs need walked–they need activity. Everyday I go home for lunch and walk the dogs around the loop in our neighborhood (as long as it’s not raining), which helps me relax from the morning’s work and refreshes my mind and body for the rest of the day in the office. I also try to take them for longer walks through the neighborhood at other times, or we’ll take them hiking. In the summers, we try to walk them at least a mile after dinner to work-off the food (and my constant need to munch) and give them more exercise. And let’s not forget training for agility–that involves short sprints for me. I love having them as my motivators!

And speaking of motivating…I’ve been trying my best to motivate my fiance, Matt, to workout more. I love working with someone and making sure their techniques are correct, and that’s the same with Matt. This week started his journey back into fitness, which saw him do an upper body weight circuit one day and a spinning class the next. It makes me smile to walk into the gym and see him already on the elliptical, and I hope to see him there more often. Not only do I want a smokin’ groom later this year, but I want him to be around for a good long while.

Who’s your workout buddy? Any tips to keep your better half in the gym with you?

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More Than Dog Training

As I continue to get this blog going, my goal is to share a little bit about myself in each introductory blog post, to give you an idea of who I am, where I’ve come from, and my goals for the future in just about every aspect of my life.

Dally competing in Dec. 2011

For the past few years, I have participated in what some might call an “unconventional sport”–dog agility. I grew up with dogs all my life, but never really thought they’d be a big part of my life like they are now. I was always into riding and competing with my horses (more on this later), but when I moved to Lexington and still didn’t have my horses with me, my competitive drive and need to train something was focused on my Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Dally. I got Dally the Fall after I graduated college and she travelled the country with me from internship to jobs, from Texas, Oklahoma, and now Kentucky. She’s been my best buddy–I can’t help but smile every time I see her face.

LaMesa & I preparing for her run in Dec. 2011

Then in January 2010, I added on to the family with LaMesa, a Swedish Vallhund. She’s been a trip! She has a boundless amount of energy and can always make me laugh as well. She’s totally different from Dally in her attitude and athleticism, but she hasn’t been easy to train. It’s been a big education for me the past year of training with her, and we’ve done well so far.

We compete in American Kennel Club (AKC) and Canine Performance Events (CPE) events. Dally and I even qualified for the 2012 AKC National Agility Championships, but they’re being held in Reno in March, and it’s not possible for us to travel that far at this time. So, we’re aiming to qualify for Nationals in 2013, which will be held in Tulsa, Okla., which I can definitely handle!

So if I happen to mention agility on this blog, this is what I mean. I have a separate blog following the training and trials of Dally and LaMesa. I’m not the best at keeping it up to date, but I try my best. Please feel free to follow that blog as well: Agility on Stumps

Holiday Cookies

It’s Christmas Eve, which means a day of preparations for the big day–Christmas Day. For some it’s another day spent with family or travelling, but for me and my family it means cleaning, last-minute wrapping (or shopping in Matt’s case), and baking.

I love to bake. I used to bake a lot when I lived at home, but ever since I’ve grown up and moved out on my own, I’ve cut back a lot. I’ve done so because I’m of the thought that if I bake it, I must eat it. And now that I’m trying to eat better, and somehow get my fiance to eat better, I just try not to tempt either of us. But on the holidays? You can’t run from temptation fast enough.

So has been my life with food. I will be the first to admit that I have absolutely no willpower when it comes to food. It’s not like I grew up with my parents spoon-feeding me sugar, but when you grow up on a farm where you come in late after the chores are done, you eat late. Now, living on my own, I try to have dinner made and eaten around 7:30. I also try to eat 4-5 meals a day–breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, dinner (some times a snack before I workout after work). I try my best to have round meals with protein, veggies, fruits, and whole grain carbs.

This summer I started tracking everything that I ate with the MyFitnessPal app on my phone. It is a great tool for anyone who is trying to obtain any fitness goal. I’ve even turned on a few friends and family into using it. It opened my eyes into knowing exactly what calories I was putting in me, as well as what I was burning out. You don’t have to have a smart phone, you can go on the website and use it as well.

Eating well will always be a struggle for me. I’ll have periods of healthy eating, then I binge. Yes, I’m a binge eater. I believe it’s because of my lack of will power. I’ve read where nutritionists say it’s best to not deprive yourself of your favorite things because that’s where you get yourself into trouble. So I try to allow just a little bit of treats every now and then. But some times I just can’t help myself. And the more I start running, the more ravenous I seem to be. Any tips on healthy eating (on a budget) are always appreciated. When I try some recipes that pass my fiance’s picky palate, and are healthy, I plan to share them with you.

Merry Christmas!

Sweating Out a Cold

MidSummer Night's Run 2011--Not the best running photo of me, but it works!

Wednesday I was hit hard with a cold. It’s been a while since I’ve been sick, but it hit me like a ton of bricks. I woke up with a bit of a sore throat, but decided to still participate in this holiday run in downtown Lexington that I was invited to. It was a lot of fun–a group of runners known as the “Todds Road Stumblers” met on campus of the University of Kentucky, ran a little more than two miles downtown and sang carols at the Christmas tree at Triangle Park (in front of Rupp Arena), then ran the two miles back to where we parked. My throat started to hurt more, but I pushed through to run 4.28 miles in 38:27, with rain falling during the last mile.

I didn’t workout at all on Thursday due to my cold, but this morning I woke up with resolution to at least get in an elliptical workout to try to sweat out the cold. And boy was I sweating! I worked out for 30 minutes for 2.75 miles and got in a few crunches before calling it a day. After a hot shower, I’m starting to feel like myself again.

Which brings me to filling you in on my workout history. I didn’t used to be so addicted to working out. I played volleyball in high school for a couple of years, and threw shot put and discus one year on the track team, but I never loved to run or workout a bunch. I was naturally strong, for a girl–which comes naturally when you live on a horse farm. I didn’t start to love the gym until college when I’d workout for a couple of hours three times a week with a friend. My senior year I discovered kickboxing (real kickboxing, mind you) and became addicted to intense workouts and started caring about my health and looks.

I started running when I lived in Amarillo, Texas, for six months. It became something that I loved to do to clear my mind and shake off the stiffness from sitting at a desk all day. I ran my first 5K in 2009 at the Susan G. Koman Race for the Cure, and I’ve since run four others. My goal for 2011 was to run a 10K, but that was derailed due to a stress fracture in my foot in the Spring because of training for the longer distances and dog agility. Now my goal is to complete a half-marathon Spring 2012 in the Kentucky Derby Festival Half-Marathon. A big leap from 5K runner to half-marathoner I know, but the time felt right, and I needed something to push myself to keep going this winter.

The farthest I’ve run up until now is 5 miles, and I try to run 3-4 miles three times a week, thanks to my morning treadmill runs with friends at 5:30. I’ll start seriously training for the half in January, with my long runs during the weekends, when I can run outside and not on the treadmill.

So any tips you can share to bump up my mileage safely, I’d totally take them!

Why Blog?

It’s taken me a while to get this blog going. I’ve tossed aroud the idea of starting to a blog, perhaps similar to those that I read on a daily basis. Why? Mainly because I need a way to vent, or just to put my thoughts onto “paper,” or to put my goals and angst out there for anyone to read to keep me honest. Either way, I’ve finally taken the leap.

Why blog? I don’t believe my life is anymore interesting than anyone else’s. I lead a regular life as a young woman in her late 20s, battling the usual angst of the “quarter-life crisis” just trying to find my place in this world. I’m happily engaged, so of course this blog will follow the wedding planning (d-day is Oct. 6). I’ve also embarked on training for my first half-marathon, so there will be some talk about running and workouts and such.

I don’t really know where this blog will lead. I hope to post some professional things on here (like published articles) as well as fun things–like brags on my dogs at agility trials.

I’ll probably slowly get going, trying to get my bearings in this blogging world. So bear with me. I look forward to sharing life with you and I hope to watch things grow from this meager beginning.